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Study Shows Raw Feeding Extends Dog Longevity: Lets Talk About It

Today, we are thrilled to have a guest blogger, James Woller, owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, write an article for us that further supports the reason why not to feed kibble but to go raw instead.

As per our company's mission statement, we are dedicated in educating pet parents the benefits of raw feeding, which ultimately contributes to your pets' well-being and longevity, so without further ado...


Study Shows Raw Feeding Extends Dog Longevity: Lets Talk About It

There is no doubt that humans' eating behaviors have dramatically changed in the past century.  The past 100 years have seen humans largely move away from farming and rural environments towards suburban areas, consuming enormous amounts of convenience foods: some of which would be unrecognizable to our ancestors just two or three generations back.  

This same time period has seen a dramatic increase in the domestication of dogs, and the change in our eating habits has unavoidably caused a change in the way we feed our pets.  But as we are now learning, dogs are no better equipped to handle cooked, processed foods than humans are. This new unnatural diet is causing dramatic negative repercussions for dogs' health, wellness, and even their lifespan.  

Not only does a diet of processed food see dogs presenting with human-style health ailments like diabetes, cancer, and obesity, causing worried pet owners to search for tips to help your dog lose weight, studies have shown that switching to a raw food diet can measurably increase a dog's lifespan.

What Are Dogs Built To Eat?

Dogs existed – and thrived – in the wild for hundreds of years before becoming domesticated by humans.  Descended from the wolf, dogs are clearly carnivores, with their internal physiology, gut layout, and teeth structure providing unavoidable and unambiguous evidence of this fact.

Historically surviving primarily off live prey, wild dogs could survive many days between feeds, with their internal physiology facilitating the consumption of a large amount of protein in a very short period of time.  A dog's digestive system is simply not created to facilitate the slow digestion required when consuming carbohydrates, including grains and plant food: nor do dogs have the molar teeth required to adequately grind plants and complex carbohydrates.

Surviving, Not Thriving

That being the case, it seems baffling that the majority of commercial dry kibble is primarily made up of plant-based carbohydrates, with a very small quantity of low-quality protein.  Historically, commercial dry kibble was largely carbohydrate-based during times of meat shortages, however, there is no need for this trend to have continued to the present day.

It's true that dogs are, for the most part, able to survive on a diet of commercially produced kibble.  Or are they? Scientific studies are now starting to reveal what many have suspected for some time: that commercial kibble is causing a host of diseases and illnesses for dogs, while measurably decreasing their lifespan.

While a dog can technically survive on a diet of dry kibble, it can hardly be said that they are thriving.

When Raw Is On The Menu

A scientific and statistical study by Belgian researchers Bruno Sapy and Dr. Gerard Lippert looked at more than 500 dogs over a five-year period and conclusively proved that diet is one of the greatest factors that can affect a dog's lifespan.  Further, while a dog's size and breed will inevitably affect their lifespan, these are obviously factors that are outside the control of a dog's owner. Family configuration and housing were also considered in the researchers' report, "Relation between the domestic dog's well-being and life expectancy," but were found to have no impact on a dog's life expectancy.  That left sterilization and food as the only factors under the control of humans that have a measurable impact on a dog's life span.

Sterilization was shown to add as much as 15 months to a dog's natural life expectancy by reducing the chances of the dog suffering from cancer or other illness of the reproductive system.

It was a raw food diet, however, that had the greatest impact on life expectancy, adding as much as 32 months – almost 3 years – to a dog's life.  Indeed, the statistical study showed that dogs fed with industrially processed food live an average of 10.4 years, while dogs fed with home-made food can reach an average age of 13.1 years.

Increased lifespan is just one advantage of feeding your dog a raw food diet.  Let's look into the background and benefits of raw food for dogs:

  • Natural weight control
  • Fewer dental problems following cleaner teeth and fresh breath
  • Improved mobility in later life
  • Reduced chance of developing allergies
  • Improved stamina and energy
  • Potential savings, especially when you consider visits to the vet and the cost of the food itself.  For more information, see raw vs dry commercialized kibble: cost per daily feed.

It can seem a cruel twist that dogs – with whom we share our homes, our families, and our lives – have a maximum lifespan that pales in comparison to our own.  As a dog owner that loves your pet and wants the best for them, it makes sense that you would do everything you can to not only prolong your dog's life, but ensure they enjoy health and happiness during their limited years.

As we now understand, the type and quality of a dog's diet are directly related to their lifespan.  Learning that feeding a raw food diet can increase your dog's lifespan by as much as three years – potentially a quarter of your dog's natural lifespan – should be incentive enough to consider making the switch to raw.

About The Author:

James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast, and owner of Release the Hounds and Jet Pet Resort, professional dog walking and boarding companies in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his companies, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.

The information provided here is not intended to replace regular veterinarian care.