Cooked vs. Raw Pet Food: Choose What’s Best for your Pet
Pet owners, dog trainers, breeders, and veterinarians are witnessing the benefits of raw feeding. In this blog, we will compare cooked vs. raw pet food to provide insight on both and help you choose what’s best for your pet!
Cooking raw meat eliminates all bacteria that could potentially be living on your pet’s food. While it may benefit your pet to kill all unwanted pathogens, you also eliminate the beneficial bacteria essential for your pet’s gut microbiome. Before dogs and cats were domesticated, they consumed their prey in the wild without using a microwave or a stove, and their populations thrived. The truth is, our dogs and cats are exposed to pathogens every day, unintentionally. A healthy digestive and immune system can handle high bacteria levels – good and bad.
Feeding a Raw Diet
Feeding a raw diet has various health benefits, but some include healthier skin, improved dental hygiene, smaller stools, and higher energy levels. Below is a photo of Yulee, a 150-pound Leonberger who has eaten a Top Quality Dog Food raw diet his whole life.
Photo by Vic Nuemann [IG: @jd_leos FB: westminstermass]
A raw diet incorporates a rotation of various muscle meats, bones, organs, fur, feathers, fruits, vegetables, and other natural supplements. Green tripe, a natural source of digestive enzymes and probiotics, can boost gut health, and whole fish offer omega-3 fatty acids for joint health. TQDF’s wild-caught sardines are a great source of natural omega-3’s and are a customer favorite! Whole foods provide a full spectrum of absorbable nutrients for your dog’s body.
Cooking Raw Food
Raw meat is perfectly digestible for healthy dogs and cats. But of course, there are exceptions. Each dog lives a unique experience, and there is no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits-all diet. In most cases, a raw diet can drastically improve health and wellness, and we encourage you to try it out to receive optimal benefits. However, if your pet has a compromised immune system or chronic illness such as cancer, raw food may not be palatable or desirable. If this is the case for you, lightly cook raw grinds over the stove; never cook raw food in the microwave, as this nukes all nutrients. If you choose to cook your food, digestive enzymes may need to be supplemented – even lightly cooking food may kill a large portion of digestive enzymes in the food.
Safe Practices for Lightly Cooking
Lightly cook raw meat over the stove to a raw temperature between 92ºF – 118ºF. Raw meaty bones should NEVER be cooked unless you are boiling a bone broth or stock. Cooked bones are susceptible to splintering and present a serious choking hazard for your pet. Raw meaty bones should only be served raw as the bones are softer and easier to crunch down on. The Beef Knuckle Bones, Duck Necks, and Chicken Necks are soft bones that will work well for puppies and adult dogs.
Safe Practices for Handling Raw Food
Always practice safe handling of raw meat, poultry, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. This will prevent the growth of unwanted pathogens. View a list of helpful tips below on handling raw food safely. More information on safe handling practices can be found on our website.
- Keep food in frozen temperatures below 15°F until ready to use.
- Safely Defrost in the refrigerator between 33°F and 40°F and serve within 48 hours.
- Wash hands, surfaces, and utensils with hot soapy water thoroughly before handling raw food.
- Food should be stored in Top Quality Dog Food packaging or airtight bags.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for educational purposes only. You are responsible for your pet(s) health and safety. We encourage you to research topics further and consult with your Veterinarian or Pet Nutritionist before modifying your pet(s) diet.
Lee, Elizabeth. “Raw Dog Food Diet: Benefits and Risks.” WebMD, WebMD, 21 Apr. 2012, pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/raw-dog-food-dietary-concerns-benefits-and-risks#1.
“How Bacteria Boost the Immune System.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 15 June 2010, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100614171907.htm.
Scott, Dana. “Omega-3 For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide.” Dogs Naturally, 15 Apr. 2021, www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/omega-3-for-dogs-the-ultimate-guide/.