The wolf, the most recent common ancestor of all dogs, only eats what it can hunt and kill. As a result its diet is necessarily a raw food diet, of which protein is the most important nutrient. You might think, therefore, that the most healthy diet for your dog is a raw food diet. Is this true, and specifically what are the advantages and disadvantages of feeding your dog raw food?
Long before pet-food became a household commodity people still owned dogs and cats. Back then, their diet was made up typically of scraps from the table, low quality cuts of meat and anything that they could forage themselves, from roadkill to rats and mice.
This diet obviously isn’t great, however it’s not as bad as you might think. For example, when a dog eats a small animal it also ingests the stomach contents of this animal, which can give it extra nutrients. Dogs and cats are carnivorous too, and so they are designed to survive on meat and nothing else.
Eating low quality raw meat and foraging for food has an obvious drawback, and it exposes animals to disease. Modern pets do not have the same level of natural immunity as pets a hundred or so years ago and so raw food can lead to serious health issues. A safer alternative to raw food is high quality dog food, made from good sources of meat and supplemented with other nutrients, e.g. vitamins and minerals.