Feeding raw dog food to your dog is the best way to provide them with the nutrients they need, in the way that nature intended. This is why the raw dog food diet is also known as the “BARF” diet, which stands for “biologically appropriate raw foods.”
So, why is raw dog food so good for your dog, and why is it fed raw and not cooked? In this article, we will explain why cooking raw dog food is not advisable, and share some tips on storing and serving it properly too.
Can I cook raw dog food?
Raw dog food is carefully chosen, prepared, and stored in such a way that feeding it raw to dogs is not only totally safe, but also provides optimum nutrition in a digestible, highly appealing format.
The process of cooking a food of any type does more than just heating it up – it changes the nutrient levels and alters the qualities of the food (including its texture and taste) on a cellular level, which is exactly what we, as people, are looking for when we cook meals that were designed to be heated.
However, raw dog food isn’t intended to be heated, nor to undergo the changes that cooking causes, and cooking raw dog food can cause a range of problems for your dog.
Dogs don’t eat cooked food in nature
Eating hot food is not something that dogs were designed for, in terms of both the serving temperature, and the fundamental changes that are brought about during the cooking process.
Raw dog food is designed to give your dog the type of food they evolved to eat, in a format that mimics as closely as possible the foods that dogs would naturally eat in the wild. Cooking raw dog food cancels out all of these benefits.
You’ll lose nutrients
Cooking food alters its nutritional makeup, and when it comes to cooking raw dog food, the heating and cooking process results in the loss of valuable nutrients that your dog needs to thrive.
Whether you carefully prepare your own raw dog food at home, or choose a pre-packaged, ready-to-serve food that can be stored in the freezer for later, it is designed to be fed raw. Cooking it will result in the loss of valuable nutrients that your dog needs to stay fit and healthy.
Cooked bones can be dangerous
Virtually all dog owners know that feeding certain types of cooked bones can be dangerous for dogs, because the cooking process changes the bone structure itself, sucking nutrients from the bone marrow and making the bones brittle and prone to splintering.
This effect is particularly acute when you cook meat with small, fine bones like chicken, which can split and splinter and be dangerous for your dog. However, cooking changes even larger bones too. A bone that is perfectly safe and healthy for a dog when raw may pose a real hazard to their health if cooked.
It negates the purpose of feeding raw
Feeding a raw diet to your dog has a huge range of benefits. It provides them with the type of natural diet that they evolved to eat, gives them all of the necessary nutrients with no junk or filler, is highly palatable, and designed to be safe and appropriate.
Storing, defrosting, and serving raw dog food
Whether you prepare your own raw dog food at home, or buy in ready prepared nutritionally complete meals, it is important to store and serve the food appropriately.
When you prepare, or receive an order of raw dog food, it should be properly stored in the freezer to keep it fresh and healthy. Your dog’s daily portions should be defrosted in the fridge before serving.
Just remember to handle raw meat carefully, and prevent cross-contamination with cooked products or other foods. And, of course, to ensure that your raw dog food isn’t left out to spoil.
Cotswold RAW’s dog food is designed to be nutritionally appropriate and delivered in a highly palatable format, so it’s easy to serve up to your dog.
If you want to find out more about introducing our dog food tester pack meals to your dog, check out our handy guide to getting started. For information on how much Cotswold RAW food to feed to your dog, you can find an easy reference chart and further guidance here.