Whether you associate April with the beginning of spring, the month of Easter, or simply the start of a warmer season, April is a joyous time.
What you might not know is that the first week of April is also National Raw Feeding Week, a pet holiday that encourages pet owners to incorporate raw foods into their furry friend's diet. There are various benefits to feeding a raw diet to your pet that can boost their health.
Though, you don't have to make your pet's diet 100% raw. A little can go a long way! Here are some of the main benefits of feeding a raw diet to your pet, as well as ways that you can incorporate raw food into your pet's meal times.
A Raw Diet Supports the Endocrine System
People who only feed their pets cooked or processed foods are typically unaware of how these foods impact the endocrine system, or rather, how they don't support it. The endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones and is vital to the proper functioning of the circulatory system, which affects all organs.
Raw diets help support the endocrine system, leading to healthier gut microflora and regular levels of blood sugar. When you switch your pet over to a raw diet or add some raw foods into their mealtime routine, their stools may also improve because the raw diet helps with the digestive process.
A Raw Diet Supports Skin and Coat Health
One of the greatest benefits of adding raw foods into your pet's diet is that it helps promote healthier skin and coats. If you make this dietary change, you may notice that your pet's fur is shinier or softer, or that your pet is less itchy than normal.
In addition, puppies that have a raw food diet experience fewer environmental allergies as an adult compared to adult dogs that were not given a raw food diet as a puppy. Raw-fed pets are also less likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease as they grow older, showing that raw foods help support long-term health and wellness.
Processed Food Loses Nutrients
The processed food that many pet parents give their pets loses important nutrients during the cooking process. While many believe that cooking helps to get rid of harmful bacteria, it can also get rid of healthy bacteria that benefit your pet. Adding raw foods into your pet's diet can be a great nutritional supplement—even if you don't want to or are unable to switch them to a fully raw diet.
Until domestication, all animals survived and thrived off of an all-raw diet—nothing processed or cooked. Adding some of these foods back into the fold can boost your pet's health by giving them nutrients that might be hard to come by in their everyday kibble or wet food.
Raw Diets Can Be More Feasible With Freeze Drying
Raw diets can be easier to sustain with freezing or freeze-drying. When raw pet food is preserved through freeze-drying, your dog or cat can receive beneficial nutrition and vitamins without you having to run to the store every other day.
The shelf life for freeze-dried products is longer because of the low moisture content, but not to fear—freeze-dried pet foods are still full of the healthy bacteria that can help your pet thrive
Take it Slow
If you decide to switch your pet over to a raw diet, it's important that you don't do so all at once. Changing your pet's diet in such a drastic way will likely lead to an upset stomach and loose stools. While this may naturally happen regardless of how gradual the process is, introducing a raw diet to your pet slowly will make it easier on their stomach.
Having a slow transition to a raw diet should be done over several days by incorporating raw foods into your pet's normal diet. Primal Pet Foods has some great suggestions for this gradual transition, including adding frozen and freeze-dried tidbits into your pet's daily diet and keeping them hydrated. Slowly replacing your pet's kibble or canned food in stages will help your pet adapt to the change and will lower the chances of diarrhea and other stomach problems.
If you're interested in a raw diet but worried about realistically switching to 100% raw food, don't be discouraged! Incorporating even a few raw foods into your pet's diet can go a long way. We'll say it again: Your pet does not need to be on a totally raw diet to appreciate all the benefits that raw food has to offer. Even small changes can have significant positive transformations on your pet's health.
Visit your local pet retailer to find raw diet options for your loyal companions and support their health and happiness this April, and every month to come.