This month I am going to compare pre-made raw diets and commercial cooked diets for dogs to help you better understand and assess the quality of these pre-made products. Much of the following are approximations, but it should tell you how much protein, fat, moisture and carbohydrate/fiber are in each of these diets. As for the ingredients, the raw diets needs to have enough bone in them to balance the meat proteins with calcium. Raw diets do NOT need any other carbohydrates/fiber/vegetables.
Cooked diets need two ingredients. The first is animal products, which include fats and this should make up about 75% of the diet. The other ingredient is non-starch carbohydrates which should make up about 25% of the diet. While carbohydrates don’t provide any nutrition for dogs, they help keep the stools firm. Starchy carbohydrates contain too much sugar and create larger, often fluffier stools with more odor.
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When buying pre-made frozen raw food, there are a few things to consider. I prefer to buy frozen food that only contains meat, organs and bone. It is preferable to avoid pre-made raw food that contains carbohydrates, especially starches such as grains, rice, potatoes, peas or carrots. These are higher in sugars and totally unnecessary in a raw diet. I completely avoid pre-made raw diets with flax seed oil, as it does NOT contain the omega 3 oils dogs can use. Flax seed oil can also cause inflammation and lower fertility. I also don’t feed foods with rosemary, as this can promote seizures in some dogs. Lastly, I don’t feed foods containing coconut oil as it is totally useless internally for dogs, as are plant oils.
In commercial cooked diets, look at the percentages of protein, fat, moisture, and carbohydrates/fiber. If the website doesn’t show what is in the food, or the percentages, RUN, do not walk, away. To me that spells something fishy.
Here is an example of how to calculate how much percentage of fat, animal protein, carbs and fiber and moisture are in the food.
The percentages should add up to 100%. If you add the 8% protein, 4% fat, 1% Fiber and 77% Moisture, they add up to 90%. So where is the remaining mystery 10%? That missing 10% are carbohydrates the companies don’t mention or label. In fact, it is really 11% because fiber comes from carbohydrates.
That means the total filler is 11% and the protein and fat are 12%. And I am not sure if the companies are counting part of the carbohydrates as protein, and those proteins don’t do much for dogs. Dry dog foods do this with pea flour. Animal protein is needed. In this light, carbs are about the same as protein and fat. That is too little protein. And when you look at these commercial cooked diets, they look a lot like mashed vegetables, it is hard to find the meat. Those starch laden expensive diets will cause weight gain, plaque and staining of the teeth, plus decay, and don’t off much in the way of nutrition.
Below is a link that can help you determine the percentage of carbohydrates in the food you are feeding:
What food you decide on is your choice. But please, pay attention to the label and know what could be missing in the diet and what you may want to avoid for your dog!