By now, you’ve discovered the benefits of feeding your dog a fresh diet.
But should your dog’s diet be based on raw or cooked meat?
Both fresh cooked and raw diets are minimally processed, packed with nutrients, and much tastier than bland, boring kibble.
Learn what makes each diet different and how to decide which is better for you and your dog.
In a raw diet, your dog’s calcium mainly comes from raw meaty bones.
Chicken, quail, and duck bones are popular edible bone sources because they’re lightweight and easy for even small dogs to eat. Chicken quarters, duck necks, whole quail, and chicken feet can all be fed as-is, with the meat left intact.
Your dog doesn’t have to eat whole bones to get their calcium. They can also get it from ground-up bone content found in bone in raw dog food grinds.
Larger bones, like beef neck bones, marrow bones, and ribs are typically used as recreational bones, which can be gnawed until the meat has been cleaned off, but the bone itself is too large to be eaten. Recreational bones are used to clean teeth and fight boredom.
In a cooked diet, though, you’ll need to find other sources of calcium. Some fresh cooked dog diets include bone meal, ground eggshell, or a calcium supplement.
If you don’t want to give your dog a raw recreational bone to clean their teeth, you can always try bully sticks, pig ears, and dental treats. Keep in mind, though, that raw bones were found to reduce oral bacteria by 79%, compared to 70% with brushing, 60% with bully sticks, and 54.6% with VeggieDent chews in a Rutgers University study.
Cooked bones should NEVER be fed to dogs or given as a treat. Once heated, bones become hard, dry, and splintery. This change in structure makes the bone more likely to cause bowel perforations, choking, and other injuries. Even smoked bones found in the pet aisle of your grocery store can be dangerous.
You can, of course, build a diet that’s a combination of cooked food and raw bones, if you’d like.
Dogs do not always drink enough water, so a high moisture content diet can help keep them hydrated and help protect them against kidney disease, UTIs and other urinary issues.
A raw diet is mostly made up of water, as raw meat is approximately 75% water.
When meat is cooked, it loses about 25% of its weight in water.
Both options are much better than kibble, which contains just 6 to 10 percent water.
Whether your dog eats kibble, raw, or cooked food, you can boost their water intake by adding water, bone broth, chicken stock, or raw goat’s milk to their food, or feeding high moisture snacks between meals.
Not only does meat lose water weight when it is cooked, it loses its overall volume.
That means raw food looks “bigger,” and it’s more filling, and that can help control your dog’s appetite if they need to lose some extra weight.
Overall, though, either raw or cooked food can help your dog lose weight. Depending on the recipe you feed, fresh diets typically do not contain nearly as many carbohydrates as kibble. While your dog’s body can digest carbohydrates and convert them to fuel, it’s much more efficient at utilizing proteins and fats.
When it comes to digestion, it’s a mixed bag. Some dogs seem to have an easier time eating raw food, while some do better on cooked.
Your dog’s body produces enzymes that aid chemical reactions within the body, such as muscle and nerve function, digestion.
Raw meat is packed with enzymes, though temperatures over 170 degrees will deactivate those enzymes. This may be the reason that many dog owners who feed raw report that their dog has more energy and improved digestion.
Dogs with a delicate stomach typically need to slowly transition from kibble to raw or cooked food. Probiotics are beneficial to dogs on all diets, and can be provided in raw goat’s milk, kefir, yogurt, and digestive supplements.
When it comes to meat, eggs, and fish, some vitamins and minerals are broken down by the heat used in cooking and processing. This is why most kibble contains so many artificial vitamins – to replace the vitamins lost during high temperature processing.
Fresh cooked foods are typically not exposed to as much heat as kibble, but nonetheless, some nutrients are lost. Not all nutrients are lost, though.
As for fruits and veggies, though, cooked is actually better than raw. Though dogs can eat produce, they have a hard time breaking down and utilizing plant matter. If you’re feeding a raw diet, you’ll need to lightly steam or puree their fruits and veggies. Bone Appetit Raw contains finely pureed fruit and veggies to maximize their bioavailability.
The best way to find out which is better for your dog is to introduce them to new foods. See what works best for them.
When a diet works for your dog, you’ll see small, compact stools, clear, bright eyes, plenty of energy, and a decrease in yeast-related issues like ear infections, itching, and inflammation.
Bone Appetit Raw is a convenient way to give your dog the very best. It’s made with human grade, cage-free meat, organic produce, and lots of love from our kitchen to yours.