Raw Food Diet CONS
Feeding Your Frenchie Raw – Raw Food Diet Cons that you need to know
There are many advocates of feeding raw among the French Bulldog community – in fact, it’s not difficult to find Frenchie breeders, holistic practitioners and online forums touting the health benefits of a raw regimen everywhere you look. The foundation of feeding a raw diet rests on the premise that this kind of diet is much more similar to the natural diet of wild dogs, and therefore packs a greater nutritional punch than processed diets. But there are raw food diet cons that you need to know. There can be several disadvantages to feeding raw food, and in particular raw meats, however, so it’s vital for Frenchie owners to do their research before setting that dish of raw vittles down for their pup.
1) It’s Not Without Risk
Several published studies have highlighted the presence of Salmonella bacteria in the stools of dogs that are fed raw diets. If your Frenchie is healthy, then it’s unlikely that they’ll get sick, but there’s an increased risk of exposure and illness for any member of a Frenchie family with a compromised immune system (sick pets, young children, seniors, diabetics, and anyone undergoing cancer treatment). Intestinal perforation or blockages from eating bones are also potential hazards that your Frenchie might face from eating raw, not to mention infections from intestinal parasites that aren’t killed by cooking.
2) Not All Diets Are Equal
Another issue with feeding raw, whether it be a homemade meal or specifically formulated by a food company, is that many raw diets rely only on the vitamins and minerals that are contained in the actual ingredients of their food. To be truly healthy, your Frenchie needs a nutritionally complete meal with just the right balance of nutrients, but unfortunately, many raw formulas have the potential to cause vitamin or mineral deficiencies, imbalances or hormonal disorders because they don’t include adequate or appropriate sources of these nutrients. Just adding in a vitamin supplement won’t cut it either – it’s the right balance that’s essential! Surprisingly, even commercially made raw diets are rarely tested for more than a basic guaranteed analysis of the diet’s crude protein, fat, and fiber content. Iodine deficiency, calcium and phosphorus imbalances are particular issues that may come with feeding raw (or any badly formulated diet, for that matter.) This is particularly a problem for growing puppies!
3) Cooking (Sometimes) Is Better
It’s possible that some raw diet advocates may not be aware of this, but certain components in some raw foods can actually hinder the way your pooch digests food and absorbs nutrients, to a certain extent. Raw meats contain inhibitors that stop trypsin (a digestive enzyme) from working effectively to break down proteins, and a component of some raw fishes (whitefish, cod and herring, for example) called thiaminase destroys vitamin B1. Raw egg white in your pup’s diet can actually prevent the absorption of biotin (part of the Vitamin B complex) into your dog’s body, too. The good news is that moderate cooking, especially with steam or water, inactivates all of these anti-nutritional factors in raw food protein sources – and what’s more, it also begins the breakdown of these proteins, making them far more digestible and their nutrients easily accessed by your pup’s body. Note the difference here: moderate cooking, versus the high heat processing of multiple ingredients that’s typically seen in kibble diets. Just make sure you are using balanced cook meal recipes for your dog.
Does this mean that feeding a home cooked diet is off the table? Definitely not! The benefits of feeding human quality food are accepted by even top pet nutritionists –even humans thrive when we choose fresh, whole foods over processed meals. In reality, the excellent nutrient availability of these diets is usually the reason for improved health, not the fact that they’re fed entirely raw. Raw fruits and vegetables are still great ways to provide your Frenchie with antioxidants, carbohydrates, and fermentable fibers that support gut health, though, if you feel that you still want to incorporate uncooked components in your Frenchie’s meals. It is vital, however, that you carefully follow the advice of a veterinary nutritionist in order to avoid inadvertently harming your pup, despite best intentions.
Most dog owners really just want the best for their pups, so give your Frenchie every advantage by all means. But be aware of the raw food diet cons, and ask yourself if feeding raw is really the only way to provide the best of care.