Dogs and cats have the digestive system of a carnivore, meaning that most (or all) of their diet should consist of meat. Unfortunately, a lot of kibble brands fall short. A raw food diet is a healthy alternative to these grain-filled dry foods. A proper raw diet can fix a myriad of issues such as irritable bowel disorders and allergies–it can even prevent the need for dental cleanings!

A raw diet is a general term for a pet diet that consists of raw meat products. Many people put these diets together at home, purchasing inexpensive meat cuts and organs at local stores. The idea is to balance the diet so that the animal gets meat, organs (liver, for example), and bone (that part is easy since you don’t debone the meat you’re feeding). Generally, pet owners start with lighter meats like poultry before moving on to red meats. As long as the transition is done properly, dogs and cats thrive on raw diets.

More and more pets are being diagnosed with irritable bowel disorders. Sometimes the veterinarian in question will recommend a prescription diet but most owners find that these diets don’t actually help. There’s a reason for this and you don’t have to look any further than the ingredients list. Prescription kibble diets are mostly corn and flavorings! It’s no wonder these diets don’t tend to work. Raw diets are fantastic for pets suffering from digestive disorders. Raw meat is easy for dogs and cats to process, unlike corn and other grains found in low-grade kibble. Many animals with “incurable” irritable bowel syndrome can suddenly get better after starting a raw diet.

Allergies are frustrating for both the pet and owner. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of the allergic reaction, making the problem difficult to fix. Although many dogs have environmental allergies, most often the food is the culprit. Raw diets are generally kept simple so it becomes easy to pinpoint any problematic foods. In some cases, allergies may simply disappear once the pet is switched to raw food.

One awesome benefit of raw diets is cleaner teeth–most dogs (and cats!) on a raw diet won’t ever require a dental cleaning. Raw meat and bones prevent tartar from building up, keeping the teeth sparkly white. This sometimes throws off veterinarians, who are used to judging the age of an animal based on the cleanliness of the teeth! Since dental cleanings can be expensive, this is a great benefit of raw food diets.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to research raw diets for the first time. A great way to get started is with pre-made raw diets. These tend to take the form of frozen or freeze-dried patties, making them a nice introduction. Portion sizes are listed on the bags, taking out a lot of the guesswork. These diets are rarely found in big chain stores so your best bet is to look for smaller local pet stores like Bath & Biscuits. Owner Danielle Wilson is certified in animal nutrition and along with Bath & Biscuits employees, we are knowledgeable about the diets we sell and can point you in the right direction. With a little bit of help, it’s easy to switch your pet to a raw food diet.