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Raw Food vs. Kibble: What Should You Feed Your Dog?

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Dog owners want the absolute best for their canine companions to ensure they live healthy, happy, and active lives. The first step in achieving that goal is feeding your dog a balanced, nutritious diet. Historically, dry dog kibble and canned dog food were the only choices on the market. But over the years, raw food options have become increasingly available. Some brands, like Wellness® CORE, now even offer formulas featuring a blend of dry kibble with freeze-dried raw meats mixed right in.

What food is right for your dog?

You should always discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian. They will be familiar with your dog’s nutritional needs based on health, lifestyle, and exercise level. For example, working dogs, service dogs, and even show dogs, may have different caloric requirements than a more sedentary household pet.

Raw Dog Food

A raw dog food diet commonly consists of:

  • Organ meats
  • Muscle meat
  • Whole or ground bone
  • Raw eggs
  • Dog-safe fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Some dairy, such as yogurt

Supporters of raw food claim the potential benefits to be:

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Improved dental health
  • Increased energy
  • Smaller stools

Dog owners should be aware that feeding your pup a raw food diet may be more time consuming than giving them cooked, commercially-made dog food. Meticulous care is required in the handling, preparation, and sanitation of raw food. Also, a raw food diet is typically more expensive than a processed kibble diet.

Raw food diets are not recommended in homes with small children or immunocompromised individuals. This is due to the health risk raw foods can present. For example, there have been multiple reports of recalls of certain raw dog foods due to contamination with salmonella, E-coli, campylobacter, and/or listeria.

Dog owners should also know that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has taken a formal position opposing the unregulated feeding of raw foods. Their policy states: “The AVMA discourages the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens, because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans.”

However, there are still many raw food diet advocates. If a dog owner elects to pursue this type of diet, find a veterinarian who is familiar with raw foods and can help guide you in the proper handling and cleaning required to prevent possible health concerns.

Wellness® CORE® RawRev is one option that those interested in incorporating some raw into their dog’s diet may want to consider. Their high-protein formulas combine dry kibble with freeze-dried raw meat pieces, helping to take the guesswork and potential risks out of feeding raw.


Dry Dog Kibble

Dry food ingredients vary by brand, but all kibble dog foods are required to be balanced and meet the nutritional needs of a dog. In fact, the content, calories, and nutritional value of commercially prepared pet meals and treats are regulated by law. The ingredients in dry dog food kibble are processed together and cooked.

These required ingredients include:

  • Protein sources like beef, poultry, fish, and eggs
  • Grains
  • Cereals
  • Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Supporters of dry dog food kibble claim the potential benefits to be:

  • Reduced dental plaque
  • Healthier gums
  • Reduced risk of bacteria
  • Easier storage
  • Less risk of spoilage
  • Cost-effective

There are many dry dog foods available. As with all foods, reading the label will help you find the best possible brand for your dog. Always remember that the first ingredient is the most prevalent in that food.

Look for a food that has a protein as the first ingredient, not a grain. The best dry dog foods have a single or novel source of protein, such as lamb, chicken, or salmon. Grain-free diets exist, but carbohydrates are required for energy, especially in rapidly growing, large-breed puppies and very active dogs. The choice of grain, however, is important. Some dogs may have sensitivities to wheat, corn, or soybeans.

All dry dog foods need preservatives to prevent the fat from becoming rancid. Some commonly used preservatives have been controversial, such as ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT. Dry foods tend to use more natural preservatives, such as tocopherols (vitamin E), citric acid (vitamin C), and rosemary extract. The shelf life of these foods may be affected, so always read the label on the bag and check the “best by” date. Avoid buying excessive amounts of food at one time if it will not be used in a timely fashion.

Alternative Options

While many dog owners exclusively feed either dry or raw, options now exist that provide the best of both worlds. Wellness CORE offers nutrient-dense, protein-packed dry dog foods that support whole-body health. Taking it a step further, the Wellness CORE RawRev line adds 100% freeze-dried raw meat pieces, like lamb and turkey, mixed in with dry kibble for a meal that dogs absolutely love.

The result is a balanced, delectable formula for dogs, featuring high protein levels for optimal energy and lean muscles. What’s more, the inclusion of the omega-heavy raw meat pieces will help your dog develop a shiny, healthy coat worth showing off. So, if you’re thinking of starting to feed raw, but you’re intimated by the effort, expenses, and uncertainty involved, Wellness CORE RawRev is a great place to start.

The post Raw Food vs. Kibble: What Should You Feed Your Dog? appeared first on American Kennel Club.

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