If you’re the proud pet parent of a German Shepherd, you’re bound to love the breed. After all, with their furry ears of laughably -large proportion, their bushy tails, and their loyal and playful nature, what’s not to love? But how do you know that you’re giving the best possible care to your German Shepherd? Take their dog food, for instance; how do you know you’re making the right choice? Is raw food better for German Shepherds? Let’s find out more about feeding raw food to dogs.
As the term might suggest, a raw food dog diet is a combination of uncooked ingredients, including a protein source, like meat, and carbohydrates like grains, vegetables, or pulses. There are a few different options for feeding raw food to your dog, and some are safer and more straightforward than others. Firstly, there are commercial raw food diets that are already formulated to contain everything your dog needs, including vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, some raw food diets are not meant to be a complete diet or haven’t been tested to ensure they contain the proper nutrients to keep your dog healthy. If you choose to feed your German Shepherd this type of raw food product, it’s best only to use it as an occasional treat and ensure the rest of the dog food you offer is nutritionally complete. The final option is to make your own raw food diet for your dog, using a recipe formulated by a qualified veterinary nutritionist.
Everyone wants their furry family members to be as healthy as possible. One of the best ways to achieve this is with the right nutrition. But is raw food better for German Shepherds than a commercial complete dry or wet dog food?
Many owners who feed their dogs’ raw food often report that their coat is glossier, their eyes brighter, and their teeth cleaner. Because their teeth have less plaque and tartar, this also means that raw-fed dogs suffer less from bad breath, which is a blessing for their owners too! Many owners of raw-fed dogs also say that raw feeding helps reduce obesity and that their dog is fitter, stronger, and more muscular. However, it’s vital to remember that these claims haven’t yet been backed up by scientific evidence.
Because raw food contains a lot of water, your dog will need to drink less than they would if they were fed dry kibble. This makes it easier for them to maintain good hydration. This optimum hydration status, combined with the lack of fat and fiber, means that their stools are usually passed easily and tend to be much smaller than those fed cooked diets.
So, the benefits of raw feeding sound great, don’t they? But unfortunately, it’s not all good news. There are also some risks associated with feeding your dog a raw diet, and these risks can affect you and your family members as well as your pets.
Firstly, as with all raw meat, bacterial contamination is common. Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli can cause vomiting and diarrhea in humans and their furry family members. Aside from bacteria, raw meat can also carry parasites like worms, tapeworm cysts, and protozoa, which can also make animals and humans unwell. It’s not just contact with the raw food itself that could make you sick, but food bowls, contaminated surfaces, and even your pet’s face and mouth will also pose a threat. You can find out more about which bacteria could be lurking on your dog’s raw food here.
Another risk associated with raw feeding is the risk posed by bones. Large bones can cause damage to your dog’s teeth, be a choking hazard, and cause a gut blockage. Smaller bones or sharp splinters of bone can irritate or damage the lining of the stomach or intestines and can occasionally cause a life-threatening perforation.
Finally, another potential issue with feeding your dog raw food is the risk of causing a nutritional imbalance or deficiency. This is easily done because fine-tuning a dog’s diet to contain precisely the right amount of vitamins and minerals is very challenging. You can take a look at this guide to learn just how much food your German shepherd needs.
If you want to feed your German Shepherd entirely on raw food, you should start by doing your research. Ensure that the raw food you choose is nutritionally balanced and complete. If you’re formulating your own, use a recipe developed by a qualified veterinary nutritionist.
Of course, even if you’re only feeding raw food occasionally as a treat, the other risks still stand. So, it’s important to store and prepare raw meat safely and hygienically, and always wash your hands after touching it. You should also make sure you and other people avoid contact with your dog’s face and mouth, especially right after a meal. Keeping your dog up to date with parasite treatments is also sensible. When it comes to bones, it’s best to avoid them altogether since there is no 100% safe way to give bones to a dog.
There’s lots of debate about raw food and whether it’s better for dogs than traditional wet food or dry kibble. Whatever you decide, make sure you speak to your veterinarian and do extensive research to know how to minimize the risks to you, your canine companion, and your family.
If you choose to feed raw food to your German Shepherd, you should use a commercial raw food that is certified as nutritionally balanced. If you decide to make your raw food diet, you should get help from a qualified veterinary nutritionist to make sure you give your dog the nutrients they need.
Some pet owners who feed raw meat to their dogs report benefits like improved hair coat, brighter eyes, more muscular build, and smaller stools. However, feeding raw meat to dogs is not without risks, including gut blockages and even bacterial infection of vulnerable family members. You should always speak to your veterinarian and do your research before starting to feed your dog raw to know how to do it as safely as possible.
If you think raw food is suitable for your German Shepherd, it’s best to use a commercial raw diet certified as nutritionally complete. However, if you decide to make your own raw food diet, you must seek the help of a veterinary nutritionist so that you don’t cause your dog health problems due to poor nutrition.