Is raw food good for dogs? It's a complex question, with a very simple answer.
Perhaps you are considering a change of diet for your adult woof, or your adolescent pup. It might be due to a reaction, flatulence, an upset stomach, or maybe you feel your best friend needs something, well, new? In this post we answer a question we are naturally asked a lot: Is raw food good for dogs? Let's jump in to the myth busting.
Myth 1: A Raw Meat Diet Isn’t A Balanced Diet
It’s true that feeding your dog a raw joint of chicken or a steak every day won’t provide all of the nutrients they need for full health. However, a proper raw food diet isn’t just meat, just as in the wild, dogs need a varied diet, with majority raw meat but also featuring fresh vegetables, herbs, probiotics and essential fatty acids for the optimal nutritional balance. That’s why all our Rawgeous Pet Food meals are developed with the advice of pet nutritionists and experts.
Myth 2: Raw Meat will contain dangerous bacteria and salmonella
There have been several high profile health scares over recent years that have made all of us necessarily cautious about food hygiene and the risk of salmonella is real. That’s why at Rawgeous we send every batch of our dog food for independent laboratory testing. As pet nutritionist Lawrence Deeley said about Rawgeous Pet Food: “It’s safer than eating a Sainsbury’s meat sandwich”. In fact, each Rawgeous meal contains beneficial bacteria - no nasties, which is much better for your pups overall gut health.
Incidentally, your dog’s digestive system is primed to handle harmful bacteria and dogs have highly acidic stomachs as well as natural digestive enzymes and bile that actually help them fight off bacterial nasties better than humans can. The more natural a dog’s diet, the stronger its immune system and gut flora, so the better able it is to fight off harmful bacteria and deal with salmonella.
When dogs are fed kibble we are actually undermining their gut’s natural defence mechanism as kibble doesn’t contain the live enzymes they need for a perfectly balanced digestive system.
You can further avoid bacterial contamination if you, store and prepare your dog’s meals with good hygiene protocols in mind. See our section on ‘Storage, preparation and Feeding’ for more information.
Myth #3: Feeding Raw is too labour intensive and I don’t have time.
If you were going to hunt down and kill your dog’s dinner I’d forgive you for thinking that this was too time consuming and difficult. Even to try to prepare a perfectly balanced meal containing the necessary vegetables, seaweeds, omega oils and high quality raw meat that your dog need in the ideal quantities could be too much of a challenge for an average weekday. However, with Rawgeous Pet Food all the hassle is taken away. Our pet food is a perfectly balanced meal. You simply defrost the portion the night before, and serve the next day. No degree in canine nutrition needed, and all you need to remember to do is wash your hands before and after and clean all surfaces that you use for preparing raw meat with an antibacterial spray, soap and water. Read more here.
Myth #4: Raw Pet Food is too expensive:
If you have always bought the cheapest tinned or dry pet food you can find, then you may well find a high quality raw pet food more expensive.
However, raw is not as expensive as you think. With Rawgeous Pet Food subscription plans, you can feed your pet for less than £2 a day, and you will avoid a lot of costly vet bills so in the long run buying poor quality is a false economy.
Have a read of our raw feeding calulator for puppies and dogs for more information on this.
Myth #5: A Raw meat diet can make your dog aggressive and bloodthirsty
This is a damaging, and unfounded myth. The idea that feeding your dog healthy, natural diet will turn him or her into a wild wolf baying at the moon is frankly a little crazy.
A dog may be defensive or territorial when eating and won’t want to share, but that’s a natural instinct and has little impact on their general behaviour. It has in fact been shown that a well balanced raw pet food diet will improve behaviour and calm a dog’s temperament, whilst increasing energy levels and mood. We work with dog groomers and trainers like Julie Harris who only feed their dogs raw because of it’s proven and visible health benefits.
Does raw dog food change behaviour though? Yes! Introduction of a balanced, natural diet can help improve overall temprement leading to a much happier pup all round!
Myth #6: You shouldn’t feed bones to dogs as they could choke.
Not all bones are suitable for dogs. Cooked smaller bones can splinter as they will become brittle after cooking so you should use caution if giving a dog any leftovers.
However, a raw pet food diet doesn’t include these types of bones and as you will have seen in nature documentaries, in the wild dogs and wolves gnaw on bones to get essential calcium and to keep their teeth clean and strong. The correct amount of bone adds an essential and safe addition to your dog’s diet.
Myth #7: Small dogs and toy dogs can’t cope with a raw meat diet.
People assume that a raw meat diet can only be suitable for the larger working dog breeds, and that you shouldn’t feed raw to small and toy dogs.
This may well be a myth that developed from a fear of these smaller pooches choking on bones. However, as long as the raw pet food is well balanced and safely prepared it is perfectly suitable and just needs to be provided as a portion size appropriate to the smaller size of the dog.
So maybe we’ve explained why raw isn’t dangerous, doesn’t cause bloodlust and won’t break the bank, but just in case you’re not persuaded, let’s consider the alternative…
Why we don’t recommend Kibble:
- Commercial kibble is full of mycotoxins - these are toxic substances produced by fungus that can cause everything from allergies to digestive upset to cancer.
- Kibble often includes a lot of plant based protein rather than meat protein and this is not as beneficial for your dog as it’s tummy isn’t naturally designed to process it.
- Even high protein Kibble can contain up to 45% carbohydrates, which dogs have no nutritional need for and is just ‘filler’ without any true nutritional benefit.
- Kibble manufacturers often have to add synthetic vitamins and minerals to counteract the natural nutrients lost through high temperature processing. These are hard for your dog to digest and are at the end of the day, simply chemical additives and as we’ve noted above, kibble lacks essential enzymes that your dog needs for a healthy gut and immune system.
So, is raw food good for dogs? Hopefully, we've expelled any misconceptions and have you well on the way to making the right choice for your dog. Raw feeding is not only better for your dog’s digestive and immune system, it’s also makes a visible difference: clean teeth, bright eyes, healthy skin and a shiny coat. Check out our info and advice section for more useful articles on the benefits of a raw diet plus tips on transitioning to a raw diet.
We also have some great information on treating your dog too!