Some will have you believe that cooked dog food is superior to raw dog food because raw dog food brings the risk of illness due to bacteria and raw dog food is made from diseased meat.
While some brands don't mind spreading misinformation and fear, I think it's important to arm dog lovers with the truth about cooked dog food and raw dog food.
What is Raw Dog Food?
Raw feeding is a diet fed to dogs in an attempt to replicate the diet of their ancestor, the grey wolf. Raw dog food is comprised of 80% raw muscle meat, 10% raw bone, 5% raw liver, and 5% raw offal (secreting organs). While there are many ways to feed a raw food diet, the majority of raw feeders seem to feed their dogs a diet based on either Whole Prey Raw or BARF (biologically appropriate raw food).
Whole Prey Raw is a diet of whole raw dog food, either whole cuts of meat or whole animals. The BARF model can be whole or ground and also includes vegetables, fruits, raw fish, and dairy.
People who feed raw have seen an improvement in health, a decrease in inflammation, cleaner teeth, gorgeous coats, and more. But not everyone can feed raw for a variety of reasons – lack of resources or knowledge being two.
What is Cooked Dog Food?
For people who aren't able to feed their dogs a raw food diet, but they want to get away from kibble/canned food, cooking is an alternative. There is a myth that I used to believe – cooking kills all the nutrients in food, which makes cooked food pointless for dogs. If cooking destroyed all of the nutrients, would we humans we around to have this debate?
The question we should be asking is how much does cooking change the food we feed to our dogs. This is a question Susan Thixton answered in Nutrient Differences between Raw and Cooked Foods. What Susan shared that “the nutrient content of foods does change when cooked – BUT, it depends on the food and the specific nutrient as to what that change is. Sometimes cooking increases a nutrient, sometimes it decreases.”
You can check the nutrient profiles of food by reviewing the USDA food composition databases. Out of curiosity, I decided to check the nutrient values of a protein I feed to my dogs – duck:
Reasons to Choose Cooked over Raw Dog Food
Because I communicate with dog lovers daily, I understand why some may choose not to feed raw…
- Raw feeding is too expensive in their area; they can't source ingredients at an affordable price.
- Raw feeding within their budget requires additional freezer space that they don't have.
- Raw feeding is overwhelming and complicated; they lack time to learn how to feed a balanced diet.
- Someone in the home may have a health issue that precludes raw feeding as a diet option for their dog.
- Some dogs prefer cooked food instead of raw.
- They've tried raw feeding, and their dog didn't do well on a raw diet.
- They're terrified of making a mistake or not providing their dogs the nutrients needed.
- They live a lifestyle (constant traveling, live on a boat, etc.) that precludes raw feeding.
Whatever the case may be, I think it would be a mistake for me to disregard someone's situation to push them to feed their dogs a raw food diet before they're ready. This is why I've been writing about cooked diets for dogs recently.
My Biased Thoughts on Evermore Pet Food
I used to think that raw feeding was superior to all diets for dogs. That was until Scout got sick and his white blood cell count dropped to a point where I was worried that his system wouldn't be able to handle the bacteria in raw dog food. Some people told me he'd be fine; I wasn't willing to take a chance. So I cooked for him that week.
That was when I learned that raw isn't for everyone or every dog.
A couple of months ago, we received an opportunity to review Evermore Pet Food in exchange for our honest review of their food. The owners of Evermore sent us a sample pack that included proteins my dogs could eat:
I've always been impressed with Evermore because…
- Their food is human-grade.
- They are transparent about ingredients and sourcing.
- They source from humane, sustainable farms where the animals are grass fed.
- They don't use starches (pasta, potatoes, and rice) in their food.
- They don't tear down other brands to build themselves up.
- As a woman-owned company, they inspire me to continue building my business.
Cooked dog food can be used as part of our dogs' balanced diet, it can be rotated into a raw food diet (alternated with raw or fed as a food topper), or it can be stuffed in a Kong and fed as a treat. Most importantly, Evermore Pet Food can be fed to dogs that aren't able to eat a raw food diet.
My Dogs and Evermore Pet Food
Each of my dogs tried Evermore Pet Food, and they loved it. I didn't try it with Rodrigo because I try not to change up his diet too much due to his digestive issues. Sydney, Scout, and Zoey did well on the Evermore food, which I alternated with their normal raw diet over a two week period.
I don't plan to switch to a cooked diet. However, I would welcome this food as part of my dogs' meal rotation.
The Cost of Evermore Pet Food
As with all premade raw and cooked food for dogs, Evermore Pet Food is an investment. Whenever you pay for someone else to take care of the sourcing and balancing of pet food, delivering it to your door when you need it – you're going to pay more than homemade pet food. What you may not get with homemade pet food is:
- sustainable sourcing
- grass-fed animals
- balanced meals
Is Cooked Dog Food as Beneficial as Raw Dog Food?
Many people will tell you that raw dog food is superior to cooked dog food. While raw dog food has been working great for my dogs, I'm no longer willing to shut the door on a cooked diet for my dogs. Whether people are feeding cooked dog food as a stepping stone to raw or as an alternative to kibble/canned – cooked dog food is a nutritious option for dogs, and Evermore Pet Food is a brand that I trust.