Truth or Myth: Raw Food Will Make My Dog Aggressive
A common question we receive is, “Will feeding a raw meat based diet cause my pet to become aggressive?”
Let’s dive into it. A major benefit to raw is increased palatability! Nothing like putting a bowl of fresh meats, bones and organs in front of your pet and seeing them quickly gobble it up. This palatability makes the food tremendously high value. High value rewards and treats are foods that trigger a greater interest from the animal. This being said, some animals may guard or become possessive over foods and treats that they really enjoy. The raw food is not causing the dogs to become more aggressive, it is because the dogs now value their food more, and feel they need to protect it. It is a natural instinct for dogs to become defensive or possessive over food. Having said that, depending on how food driven your dog or cat is, it could potentially happen with any diet. A number of consumers also fear that feeding a raw meat based diet will cause their dog to become a
blood thirsty killer. It is important to remember that dogs evolved from wolves, and to this day, remain true to their carnivorous instincts, behaviours and dietary requirements. Essentially meaning, dogs that the predators they are, have a natural taste for meat and blood. Dogs who chase other animals, do so because of instinct and because we have bred them to do so. Take the famous Greyhound. Through years of breeding, we have genetically strengthened this dog to become the stream lined, chasing
machine we know today. Before its racing days, the Greyhound was originally bred to hunt, chase and kill game animals. We have to remember that just like their ancestors, all modern day dogs were bred with an original purpose, most often to hunt, kill or protect. This behaviour is unchanged by diet but rather remains due to the original origins of the dog.
Bottom line is, no one likes a dog fight or aggression! However, there are several things you can take to prevent one, no matter what you feed. Feeding a raw diet requires scheduled meals versus free feeding. Free feeding is a method of feeding where a bowl of food is left out for a dog or cat to graze on whenever they so choose. In most cases, raw food is readily enjoyed, so scheduled meals are a must! You will find most veterinarians and professional trainers recommend scheduled meals for optimal
health and behaviour. Developing a feeding routine with meals makes monitoring pet health and appetite easier. It also helps also to make any necessary food changes a breeze and prevents guarding issues. Additionally, we strongly recommend teaching a “PLACE” command and practice the command at meal times. Asking your dog to “PLACE” on a designated area while they wait for their food to be prepared teaches patience and reduces excitement during feeding times. Instilling good manners is the
best preventative measure you can take. If you need assistance training your dog to be calm during feeding times, contact a local trainer.