10 Benefits of Lightly Cooked Food for Dogs

Rhodesian Ridgeback dog standing in the grass

We are what we eat—and our kids are, too. With the recent surge of dog food recalls, it’s never been more clear that good nutrition is critical for a healthy, happy dog.

There are a lot of options to feed your dog, but processed foods aren’t any better for dogs than they are for us.

A diet of lightly cooked food for your dog has endless benefits.

Karen and Family, Founder of My Perfect Pet
Pictured: Karen, founder of My Perfect Pet, and her beautiful dogs

Here are a few benefits of lightly cooked food:

1. Safety

At My Perfect Pet, we take safety very seriously. In 2006, our beautiful Hunter became suddenly ill. Within weeks of his passing the headlines announced the largest pet food recall in history. We knew there had to be a better way and that’s when started creating our own food, prioritizing quality and safety above all else.

We start by baking meats to FDA recommended temperatures in order to destroy common pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria. The reason FDA recommends heating meats to a specific temperature is that heat is the surest and safest way to ensure that the risk of pathogens remaining in the food is eliminated, not just reduced.  We also manufacture all food in our own Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility so we can control every step of our process and ensure both safety and quality at every step of the way.

2. Shinier coat

A shiny coat is one obvious visual cue of good health, and with a diet of lightly cooked, real foods, your pet is likely to lose the dull fur. You may notice this change pretty quickly upon changing to whole, lightly cooked food.

3. Healthier skin

Shiny coat often goes hand in hand with healthier skin. Healthier skin may be related to a reduction in allergy symptoms (see #7) or simply having a natural source of essential nutrients.

4. Cleaner teeth

Fresh, lightly cooked foods are more digestible, and since digestion begins in the mouth, more digestible food spends less time on teeth and gums feeding plaque and tartar. Dry crunchy food does not replace a toothbrush for dogs any more than it does for us. In fact, quite the opposite is true as dry hard food is more likely to remain wedged in teeth and gums.

Bad breath is often caused by poorly digested food remaining in the mouth for longer periods of time.  Switching to fresh whole foods improves breath and improves overall condition of teeth and gums.

5. Better digestion

Lightly cooked muscle meats are much more digestible than meals or ground bones. Lightly cooking and grinding makes the meats easier for the dog’s system to break down, while preserving the nutrients naturally present in fresh foods.

Dog’s systems are much shorter than humans, making it even more important for their systems to be able to break down the foods and absorb the nutrients before passing through.

6. Less odor

No one likes a smelly dog, whether it’s dog breath, body odor, or gas. Odorous gas is a clear sign that the dog’s system is struggling with digestion. A diet of lightly cooked foods, more digestible foods can help to eliminate odors from a variety of sources, from the mouth with fresher breath to the tail which can wag without odorous gas..

7. Smaller stools

What goes in must go out, but if your dog is able to digest most of her food efficiently, there is less waste. When fed a diet of lightly cooked, nutrient-dense foods, your dog gets more useable nutrients, and you get less clean up!

8. Fewer allergy symptoms

Dog can have allergies, just like people. We have a list of the top dog food allergies here.   Meat meal is one of the big culprits. By choosing a diet of lightly cooked whole food for your dog, you eliminate the synthetic proteins and amino acids that are a big cause of allergies.

9. Weight management

A reported 55 percent of American dogs are considered obese. As with people, being overweight can lead to serious health issues. Many pet foods include fillers and are extremely high in carbohydrates which are converted to sugar in the dog’s system and can lead to weight gain.

Choosing a mix of nutrient-rich food without added fillers and carbohydrates will keep your dog lean and fit. Making sure to feed the proper amount can help keep weight in line for your furry kids. Not sure how much to feed your dog?

10. More energy

If your dog is always running and bounding, more energy may not sound so good, but generally a healthy dog wants to walk, run, and play. Food is fuel, and the right food fuels your dog for an active life. (If you need some ideas for burning off some of that energy see our tips here.)


We couldn’t stop at just 10 benefits when there’s one more very important one to touch on — enjoyment!

Which would you rather have? Dry rations or meals from a can, or fresh meat and veggies? Real food has real smells—and real flavor. Dogs love the scent and taste of lightly cooked meats. Watch them enjoy their meals like never before, and enjoy knowing that you’re giving them the best.

Clearly there are many benefits to a diet of lightly cooked foods. My Perfect Pet’s blends make providing a balanced diet of whole, real foods a breeze, and rewarding to watch them enjoying it!. Our lightly cooked food eliminates concerns about bacterial contamination while maintaining all the natural nutrients you are looking for in what you feed your kids!