- Raw dog food consists of uncooked and unprocessed muscle meats, organs, dog-safe fruits and vegetables, and dairy.
- Raw dog food keeps nutrients more intact but is prone to contamination of harmful pathogens.
- Fresh dog food is made up of natural ingredients, such as meat and vegetables, cooked to remove any pathogens.
The comparison of raw vs fresh dog food is complex for dog owners as the number of those choosing to ignore commercial dog foods is growing. Fresh and raw foods have become popular trends for pet owners that fill a need of dogs that suffer from allergies and medical conditions. I, for one, have tried both types and witnessed major health improvements to my canine friends.
Choosing natural and unprocessed foods can be done from subscription services or made at home. Today’s best fresh dog food subscription services continue to grow in popularity as pet parents turn their backs on kibble. Then there are also some of the best dog food delivery service brands which offer raw diets. Raw dog food is believed to return dogs to their natural diet, which includes raw meats and vegetables, while fresh dog food are carefully cooked meals made from natural ingredients. Still unsure which food type is best for your pup? Read along as I detail each one by one.
The Raw vs Fresh Dog Food Debate: A Quick Look
These two types of pet food are the ones that offer the most health benefits to dogs. While a raw diet is the most nutrient-retentive, if not prepared properly, it can be easily contaminated with pathogens and make your dog sick. Conversely, fresh dog food are made of similar natural components but gently cooked to make it safer to eat.
What is Fresh Dog Food?
Fresh dog food is a diet cooked using high-quality proteins and vegetables. The use of fresh food in a dog’s diet comes from homemade recipes and subscription services that utilize human-grade meat, fresh vegetables, and other ingredients fit for human consumption. Fresh food has a short storage life and is often kept in a fridge to maintain freshness. Switching to a fresh dog food diet should be done under the supervision of a veterinarian. The transition from kibble to fresh pet food can be jarring for a pup and require a transition over a week or two.
Whether made at home or ordered from a subscription service, cooked dog food is made from natural foods. Choosing cooked food baked at a low temperature still maintains the integrity of each ingredient and limits the risk of an upset stomach. The AKC  details the benefits of fresh dog food, including:
- Better smelling breath
- Healthier weight
- Shiny coats
- Improved eyesight
- Smaller stools
Why Choose Subscription Services?
The benefits of a subscription service include convenience. Most subscription services offer an app that helps you choose the right plan for your pup. Completing a form to start your subscription usually includes providing information about breed, size, and age. Getting the right number of calories for your dog is important whether you provide fresh dog food or kibble.
Taking the guesswork out of feeding your dog is a good option, with subscription services offering USDA-approved ingredients. Adding human-grade ingredients to your dog’s diet will help her to remain healthy and active. The diet your dog needs is similar to yours. A healthy human diet includes protein, vegetables, and good carbohydrates. Getting the ratio of each part of your cooked food and raw dog food diets can be difficult. The best subscription services use veterinarians or pet nutritionists to maintain the healthy nature of each recipe offered. The backing of animal nutrition experts helps to keep a pup healthy at the different stages of her life.
What is a Raw Diet?
A raw food diet includes recipes using a range of options including:
- Muscle meats
- Dog-safe fruits and vegetables
Raw foods have become popular among pet parents hoping to improve the overall quality of the food they provide their canine companions. Raw food diets are popular among dog owners who feel the processed foods offered by commercial pet food manufacturers are not healthy enough for their pooch. The processing and overcooking of dog foods are a problem for some owners who want their pups to get the most vitamins and nutrients from their food as possible. Subscription services are available for raw food providers such as We Feed Raw, who will determine the best options for your dog’s needs.
The Benefits of Raw Dog Food
There are many benefits to providing raw meat and vegetables. Studies have been completed into the health benefits of dogs fed a raw diet compared to those eating kibble. The dogs eating raw foods were shown to have higher levels of bacteria in their stool, meaning they had a healthier gastrointestinal system. Check out my detailed comparison between raw dog food vs kibble to learn more.
Dogs fed on raw foods have been shown to have:
- Shinier coats
- Better eyesight
- Fewer allergies
- Better teeth
- Healthier skin and coats
Advantages Over Kibble
Dog owners who choose fresh food and raw diets believe their choice has advantages over kibble. The main concern for dog owners is the use of byproducts and fillers in kibble, which makes either raw or cooked food better. Byproducts include the parts of animals outside organ meats and muscle meats. Animal byproducts make it difficult for dog owners to understand what they are feeding their pups.
Kibble is created with an eye on long shelf life. The longevity of kibble is based on the use of additives and preservatives. The use of preservatives has been linked wot the skin allergies some dogs have been affected by at different stages of life. Dog foods formed into kibble are known for using low-quality ingredients that lose their nutrients when they are cooked at high heat to form brown biscuits. Storing kibble is one of its advantages. Storing kibble in an air-tight container will keep it fresh for weeks.
Find an Expert
When you are looking to improve the quality of your dog’s diet, you should look to the advice of a nutritional expert. Nutritional experts can advise about the benefits and problems of fresh dog food or raw diet for your pup. Raw foods have become a popular trend among people who are looking to limit the number of processed foods their puppy is eating. Dog owners can get expert help to limit the potential for medical and skin issues in the future. Raw food and fresh ingredients can reduce the amount of inflammation a dog is affected by. Inflammation is linked to pain and medical issues in pups throughout their lives. A vet will advise you about whether raw foods are appropriate for your dog.
Consider the Cost of Subscription Services
One of the biggest considerations for dog owners is whether they can afford to provide raw and fresh foods for their pups. Switching between different types of dog food can cause her distress and limit her growth. Before choosing to switch to a raw food diet you should research the potential cost. Make sure your pup will be able to get the right amount of food before you make the switch to any subscription service.
1. Is raw or fresh food better for dogs?
Raw foods do not lose any of their nutrients during the cooking process. Not all dogs can digest raw foods, with medical conditions causing problems with raw foods.
2. Why is raw better than cooked for dogs?
Raw food provides many benefits for dogs, including:
- Shiny coats
- More energy
- Healthier skin
- Stronger teeth
3. Do dogs prefer raw meat or dog food?
All dogs are different. Some prefer commercial kibble and others enjoy raw foods.
4. Why do vets recommend a raw diet?
Some vets are concerned about dogs with medical conditions eating raw food diets. Families with elderly people and young children are not recommended to provide raw food for their dogs.