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The Dog Food Advisor

I read a story yesterday about a dog in Australia who eats better than I do. Bowie has spent months taste-testing a “gourmet, raw food and native-ingredient bush tucker degustation menu” ahead of an event in Melbourne. He’s been chomping on raw emu and kangaroo, “seasonal vegetables in golden turmeric coconut milk” and “dog-safe mint sorbet and crocodile crisps”. The cheese sandwich in front of me looks pathetic in comparison. Bowie’s diet is quite extreme — my dog eats very well but I draw the line at crocodile crisps. However, there’s no doubt raw and fresh human-grade dog foods are rocketing in popularity. With good reason too. Raw food is based on dogs’ ‘ancestral’ diet and is very carnivorous. Every part of an animal is in there — muscles, organs, bones — just as dogs would eat in the wild. This means much higher protein levels and a lot less carbohydrate content — and no additives.  You can supplement the diet with vegetables, probiotics, Omega-3 oil — anything really, even kibble. Benefits include: firmer stools, improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, reduced allergy symptoms, and better weight management. It has its downsides like any dog food. It’s not as cheap or as convenient as kibble and, as it’s raw meat, you have to handle it with care. Bacterial contamination such as Salmonella and E. coli germs can be a problem and while the risk to dogs is very low, there's a greater risk to humans. 

 You should also be careful about where you buy your raw food from.  There are many 'micro-brands' whose food isn't tested or may not be nutritionally balanced (e.g. no calcium content because the bone is removed). It's easy to over- or under- supply nutrients without proper care. You need to get the balance right. Full disclosure: My dog’s main diet is a raw ‘80:10:10’ mix (80% meat, 10% bone, 10% offal) with additional treats, probiotics and chews, and he’s in great shape. It’s a financial stretch but I’m convinced it helps keep vet bills down — that’s just my opinion, mind. (The biggest bonus for me personally is picking up his small and firm stools!) If you want to try a raw diet, there are suggested brands on our site. And you can get an exclusive 25% discount and free shipping with 5-star-rated We Feed Raw by clicking this link or via our DFA review.  We Feed Raw's food meets the AAFCO-approved nutritional levels for all life stages, including large-breed puppies, and includes meat, organs and bone. Fresh food is different. It’s usually human-grade meat and vegetables gently cooked to preserve nutrients and is low in moisture. It’s similar to something you might cook for your dog at home — indeed, many fresh dog food brands started out when someone decided to do just that. But now they’re mostly designed by board-certified veterinary nutritionists. Oh, and people have been known to accidentally eat a portion — but it’ll do them no harm! Like raw, fresh food tends to be delivered frozen — you then keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer, defrosting as necessary. The food you receive is tailored to your dog’s needs based on details you give about their age, weight, breed, etc. The downsides are, again, price and convenience. It's something you need to weigh up. There’s a ton of deals on 5-star-rated fresh dog foods currently available through DFA. Here’s a selection:Ollie60% off your first order and a welcome kit worth $50 until 3/31.Nom Nom60% off and free shipping with your first order until 3/31.The Farmer’s Dog50% off and free shipping with your first order.Raised Right $40 off your first 16-bag box with code DFA40 until 3/31.A Pup Above$50 off your first order with the code DFA50.Open Farm20% off and free shipping with your first order.Spot & Tango20% off and free shipping with your first order. And in case you missed it above: We Feed RawExclusive 25% discount and free shipping.Remember, if you’re going to change your dog’s diet do it graduallyThis video gives you some great tips on how. You can see our list of Best Raw Dog Foods here. And our Best Fresh Dog Foods here. I wish you a wonderful weekend full of dogs. Until next time,

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