The raw diet is becoming more and more popular among dog owners. It banks on the idea that dogs feed on raw meat in the wild. But the question is this: is the raw diet suitable for Bulldogs? In this post, I will explore the pros and cons of raw food diet for dogs to know if it’s a good choice for your canine.
What is the raw diet for dogs?
Raw diet for canines remains controversial. It involves feeding domesticated canines with raw meat, bones, vegetables, and fruits. Before domestication, dogs feed on fresh food in the wild, which the raw diet proponents are using as a reference for this revolutionary practice.
In general, the raw diet isn’t new to domesticated canines. For example, sled dogs and greyhounds have long been fed by their owners with raw food. But in 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst brought the idea closer to pet owners.
Billinghurst came up with the BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. The idea is that older dogs would benefit from raw food, which their ancestors ate before domestication. In conjunction, Billinghurst argued that grains are detrimental to a canine’s health.
Modern veterinarians who are open to the idea recognize its benefits. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves raw diet products for canines.
From Billinghurst’s work, more and more raw diets for canines have emerged. Each one promises a set of benefits, but it doesn’t erase the fact that raw diet is still a widely debated topic.
Pros and cons of raw diet for dogs
To help you assess if raw diet is ideal for your Bulldog, I’ve discussed here the pros and cons of the said diet. Take note that the advice of your Bulldog’s veterinarian is still crucial in determining the best diet for the pooch.
Benefits of raw diet for Bulldogs
Raw diets won’t have a cult following if not for their proven benefits. The following are some of the perks Bulldogs may enjoy from eating a raw diet:
The biggest benefit attributed to the raw diet is a shinier coat. This is crucial for the Bulldog breed known for its sensitive skin. Such a benefit is possible because raw meat has intact amino acids that help in boosting the coat health of canines. This is said to promote cellular regeneration and less inflammation.
Since the nutrients are bioavailable, your dog receives all the necessary nutrients to have healthy skin. You can also add other skin-boosting ingredients to the raw diet for the best results.
Raw food is also observed to promote better dental health to Bulldogs. As your doggo chomps on raw meat and bones, it naturally brushes off the plaque on its teeth. Still, proper brushing is needed to prevent serious dental problems.
The common problem with kibble and canned food is it leaves food bits in a dog’s mouth. As a result, it makes the dog prone to plaque buildup that will progress to periodontal disease if not addressed early on.
Aside from the abrasive properties, raw meat is also low in sugars that could stick around the dog’s teeth and cause bacterial growth.
✔️Better energy levels
Since all the nutrients of raw food are intact, your dog will receive ample nutrition that will be converted to energy. Many Bulldogs put under a raw diet are observed to be more active than those who are eating kibble.
Still, it depends on the specific raw food you’re serving. Always aim for a balanced diet, so your Bulldog will thrive in a raw diet should you wish to make the big switch.
Bulldogs are muscular canines, so it’s important to give them high-quality protein that could keep up with their nutritional needs. If prepared right, raw meat is an excellent source of complete and unadulterated protein to build muscles. This is very critical for all life stages, especially for Bulldog puppies that are still growing.
Bulking up your Bulldog with healthy protein through raw food is also a great way to avoid artificial additives that could ruin its gut.
For Bulldogs who are prone to diarrhea, a raw diet can help stiffen their stool. However, take note that this benefit is largely dependent on how well the raw meals are prepared.
This benefit is possible because raw food doesn’t have preservatives and additives that will slow down digestion. It will also reduce intestinal irritations that affect stool quality.
✔️Easier weight management
Does your Bulldog need to shed excess pounds? A raw diet might help! Since it’s high in protein, your Bulldog will build more muscles and shed its excess fat.
Remember that some kibble products are mired with sugars, unnecessary carbs, and additives that will make your dog gain weight. And since Bulldogs have a ravenous appetite, unhealthy food increases their risk of obesity.
✔️Control over the food ingredients
Lastly, a raw diet gives pet owners the freedom to choose the ingredients they want to feed their dogs. This ensures that the food is fresh and contains all the necessary ingredients for a balanced diet.
This is a good thing for pet owners with Bulldogs with intense sensitivity to commercially produced dog food products.
Aside from that, Bulldog owners can explore various food sources to see where their dogs thrive the most. It’s very helpful for canines with special dietary needs.
Disadvantages of raw diet for Bulldogs
As much as a raw diet has its perks, it also comes with some downsides. The following are some of the things you should know before you make the big switch for your pooch:
❗It’s prone to contamination
One of the biggest concerns over the raw diet is its high risk of contamination. Raw meat is susceptible to parasites and bacteria that could put your Bulldog’s life at risk. When not stored and prepared properly, raw meals can do more harm than good for your dog.
Cooking helps kill various pathogens on food ingredients. This benefit is absent if you’re preparing raw food. Unless you can observe intensive hygiene, a raw diet may not be a good choice for your Bulldog.
❗It takes more time to prepare
Another thing that makes raw diet unappealing to some Bulldog owners is it takes more time to prepare. Unlike kibble that you only need to scoop out of the bag, a raw diet takes more steps.
The process of researching, preparing, and disinfecting is extremely time-consuming. This is why raw diets aren’t suitable for Bulldog owners who have busy schedules.
Rushing the preparation would just increase the risk of contamination. In this case, your Bulldog is better off eating canned food or kibble.
The reality of the raw diet for Bulldogs is it comes with a high price. Feeding your Bulldog raw is expensive, which is an added burden.
Fresh meat can eat up your budget, even those that are freeze-dried or frozen. Unless you can find a butcher that can supply quality meat at a low price, it’s hard to bring the cost of a raw diet to that of kibble.
It’s hard to admit, though, but the raw diet is often accessible only to those who have the money to spare. Otherwise, buying substandard meat just to serve raw meals will only make your Bulldog a big nutritional disservice.
❗It’s prone to nutritional imbalance
Another thing that makes a raw diet quite challenging to maintain is the risk of nutritional imbalance. Without the proper knowledge, pet owners can easily make mistakes in their choice of ingredients.
If you’re bent on making this diet work for your Bulldog, you need to consult a pet nutritionist. Unfortunately, that will cost you an added fee, which doesn’t look appealing for those on a budget.
Nevertheless, many pet owners can manage to perform their own research to make the diet work. Still, it entails a lot of time, effort, and dedication, which many of us can’t afford.
❗You need a large freezer space
Lastly, a raw diet for dogs requires a large freezer space. This is so you can store raw meat in ideal conditions to prevent contamination. Unfortunately, it means you have to invest in a large freezer, which is costly and space-consuming.
What can I add to my Bulldog’s raw diet?
The raw diet requires a lot of planning and research to ensure that your Bulldog is receiving ample nutrition. For starters, the following are some of the best ingredients to incorporate into raw meals:
- Raw eggs
- Muscle meat
- Animal organs like kidney and liver
- Ground or whole bones
- Bone broth
- Fresh fruits
- Leafy greens like celery, spinach, and kale
- Yogurt or goat’s milk
- Pumpkin puree
- Soaked beans
- Fermented vegetables
- Coconut oil
Take note that you should avoid adding raw and fresh fish to your Bulldog’s diet. Raw fish is extremely prone to contamination and could potentially trigger stomach upset. If you want to add a fish flavor to your dog’s raw meal, you can use fish oil instead.
Also, I suggest planning your Bulldog’s raw diet per week. This will let you establish a budget and meal plan that will make it easier for you to manage the new diet.
When in doubt, it’s always best to consult your Bulldog’s veterinarian or a pet nutritionist. This will help you come up with a balanced raw diet plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do vets recommend a raw diet for Bulldogs?
A: Veterinarians are divided when it comes to recommending raw food diet. Some of them are in full support of it, but others are against it. Also, it’s important to remember that a raw diet isn’t for all Bulldogs. It’s important to assess your canine’s overall health to know if it will thrive in a raw diet in the long run.
Q: What should my dog’s poop look like on a raw diet?
A: A Bulldog under a raw diet should have a firm stool with minimal odor. Also, your Bulldog shouldn’t strain to pass the stool. Otherwise, there might be something wrong with its food or gut health. Just note that the color of your dog’s stool will normally change depending on the protein source it’s consuming.
Q: Does raw food give dogs diarrhea?
A: During the transition to raw food, it’s normal for Bulldogs to have softer stools at first. It’s normal unless the soft stool turns into explosive diarrhea. If it happens, there’s a chance that the raw food you serve is contaminated by bacteria. This is why extreme caution is necessary to prevent contamination and poisoning.
Q: Is raw food easy for dogs to digest?
A: This depends on how well your Bulldog accepts raw diet. Overall, a raw diet with high levels of natural moisture should be easy to digest. You should also encourage your dog to drink more water to boost its digestion. But if your Bulldog suffers from indigestion due to a raw diet, it may not be the best option for the pooch.
Q: Do dogs prefer raw or cooked meat?
A: It depends on a specific dog. Some Bulldogs prefer cooked meat while others will devour raw meat faster. To know if your Bulldog will like raw meat, you can try giving it raw chicken and see how it will respond. If you’re bent on switching your Bulldog to a raw diet, you should spend time preparing the meals to know what your dog actually likes.
Q: Can I feed raw salmon to my dog as part of a raw diet?
A: You should avoid giving fresh and raw fish to your dog, be it salmon or sardines. Raw fish is susceptible to parasites and contamination, which will cause a big problem. This is the same reason why the raw diet for dogs is centered on red meat.
Before you make the big switch, you should first weigh the pros and cons of raw food diet for dogs. As much as it offers a ton of benefits, it’s not suitable for all Bulldogs. I suggest consulting your dog’s veterinarian for proper guidance. Is your Bulldog eating a raw diet? How’s it going so far? Share your experience in the comment section below!