What is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs?

Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Why a Raw Diet Is Better Than Kibble for Your Dog


There’s a lot of controversy around raw diets for dogs. Some sources claim that “dogs aren’t wolves” and therefore, the logic goes, they don’t “need” to eat raw meat. Well, the reality is that today’s dogs are sicker than ever, and most eat kibble, which can never be as nutritionally complete or diverse as raw, natural food. Is there a correlation? I believe so. Raw Food Diet for Dogs Here is info on raw food diet dogs.


What is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs


What is a Raw Food Diet for Dogs?


A raw diet isn’t just hunks of meat. Dogs have been our companions for so long, they’ve adapted to a more omnivorous diet. So just because they’re not wolves doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from the perfect micro- and macro-nutrient balance that only raw, natural food can provide. It includes:


  • Muscle meat (the mainstay of the diet); often on the bone
  • Organ meats (liver, kidneys, heart, etc.)
  • Raw eggs* and egg shells
  • Whole or ground bones
  • Raw vegetables (broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes)
  • Raw fruit (apples, bananas, avocado)
  • Minimal dairy (yogurt is best)


* In this country, we are terrified of raw eggs because of the risk of salmonella. However, eggs are washed, and dogs’ digestive systems can easily handle the bacteria found in raw foods. For peace of mind, get the good eggs (organic and free-range and if possible, from a local farmer) and refrigerate them. Larger dogs can eat eggshells whole (some love eggshells as much as we love potato chips); for small dogs you can dry the eggshell and grind it into a powder. Eggshells are an amazing source of calcium and other minerals and can actually help prevent internal parasites.


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Benefits of a Raw Food Diet for Dogs


Imagine what would happen to your body if you only ate steak-and-potatoes TV dinners for your whole life. As much as processed food is “fortified” with vitamins, it’s never in the perfect proportions found in Nature. You would never get the complete nutritional spectrum that is only available when you eat a variety of whole, fresh foods.



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Another word for this is malnutrition. Malnutrition isn’t just “not enough” food; it’s also “not enough of the right food” – and it’s surprisingly common in wealthy industrialized nations, because of our love affair with carbohydrates, sugar, and fat. Malnutrition leads to significant health problems, including cancer. That is the #1 reason to avoid feeding your dogs a kibble-based diet!


I’ve seen the difference with my own dogs. When I switched to raw, I quickly saw:


  • Shinier coats and healthier skin without that stinky “doggy” odor
  • Cleaner teeth and less “dog breath
  • More energy
  • Smaller stools


Potential Risks of a Raw Diet


So why the controversy? The biggest perceived risks of a raw diet are:


  • Bacterial infection from raw meat or eggs
  • Choking or broken teeth hazard from whole bones


Decisions, Decisions…



Today, you have options that can help mitigate some of the concerns of feeding raw.


  • Contamination/bacteria: If you’re worried about contamination and bacteria, you can also get commercially prepared raw foods that are frozen or freeze-dried – and these facilities are regularly tested for safety.
  • Your dog CAN have raw chicken. Their system can handle any potential bacteria just fine. On your end, just wash the knife and cutting board as you would if you were preparing chicken for your family.
  • Too much fat: there’s some buzz about a raw diet being higher in fat. Don’t be scared of fat!! It’s a necessary part of a diet… in moderation. Everything in moderation. Eating fat will not make your dog fat. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will make your dog fat.
  • Cost: If you want to save money, prepare your own. There are lots of great commercially prepared raw diets out there but they can be expensive.
  • Broken teeth or choking from bones: not all dogs have great teeth, and not all dogs have mouths large enough for big beef bones. Great alternatives are bone meal (ground bones, which are the basis of bone broth mixes you buy at the natural food store); or to feed them eggs, and grind up the (dried) eggshells to sprinkle on their food.



The Secret to Success – Raw Food Diet for Dogs


Raw diet critics will often point to the lack of nutritional labeling on raw foods. Well… since Nature doesn’t come with stickers and labels, and because humans aren’t the geniuses we think we are when it comes to food (look at how many problems we caused ourselves with the food pyramid)… the best approach is surprisingly simple:


  • Variety.
  • Everything in moderation.


Going back to the TV dinner example… if you switch to a raw diet for your dog and constantly feed the same four or five things (beef, chicken, sweet potatoes, and spinach) you’ll be in the same situation as if you were feeding kibble: a limited nutritional spectrum.



What is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs?


Here are 5 rules for successfully feeding your dog a raw diet:


  1. Mix it up. Think about this: the typical American eats the same 36 (yes, thirty six) foods consistently week after week. That’s the human version of a kibble diet. So make a meal plan for your dog’s week, mix it up as much as you can with a different meat every day (some days, muscle meat; other days, organ meat; fish; eggs; and with different veggie and fruit combinations).


2. Remember the bones and eggshells! Organ or muscle meat won’t give your dog the calcium and other minerals found only in bones or eggshells. Dogs love to gnaw on bones, and bone marrow is so good for them, but if your dog can’t handle bones, bone broth, bone meal, or ground eggshells are safe alternatives.



3. Raw Organs for Pets = superfoods. One of the biggest mistakes raw feeders make is to focus on muscle meats and ignore the organ meats. Feed 10-30% of the “meat” portion as organ meats (except liver – feed no more than 10% liver because of very high Vitamin A content). Organ meats include liver, kidneys, lung, testicles, brain, spleen, and “sweetbreads” (pancreas and thymus). You may think they’re icky… your dog thinks they’re delicious – and nutritious.



4. The bulk of the raw diet is muscle meat: beef, bison, turkey, lamb, pork, game, duck, fish, and chicken. Make sure you mix regular cuts of meat with lean cuts and fish, to avoid feeding too much fatty meat/skin. Remember: balance and variety.


5. Vary the fruits and veggies. Squash, carrots, avocado (NO pits), leafy greens, celery, broccoli, oranges, papaya, apples… the only ones to avoid are grapes (and raisins) and pitted fruits.



How Much To Feed?


Feed your dog 2-3% of his ideal adult weight every day. A 50 lb dog would eat just over 1 lb of raw food; more if your dog is very active, less if your dog is a sofa spud.


It may take a little time for you to figure out the ideal amounts to feed since you’re not working with a standardized food. Simply monitor your dog’s weight and adjust as needed.



Raw Food Diet for Dogs – Start Slow


Make changes to your dog’s diet slowly to make it easier on their kibble-constrained digestive system. If you feed twice a day, substitute half of the kibble with raw. After a week, you can switch to a fully raw diet.


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Once you’ve made the switch and your dog’s digestive system wakes up, you won’t have any more problem switching from chicken to fish to whatever, any more than you have problems eating different foods every day. Raw Food Diet for Dogs


You’ll start to see results very quickly as your dog’s body jumps for joy at getting real food… and you and your dog will be glad you made the switch!



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What is the Raw Food Diet for Dogs? I hope this clears things up for you so you can get your precious pup off of health-degrading kibble.


Do you feed your pup raw food?  What is the best raw dog food for your dog? Please share your comments and experience below.

Share The Joy


  • Latricia Turner

    Excellent article. I took my dog to the veterinarian and he said I could not feed my dog “human” food. I now know it is what kind of “human” foods. Raw foods are good for a dog. Thank you again.

    • Tammy

      Hi Latricia, thank you for sharing. I hope you can feed your dog RAW, healthy food and see improvement in his/her health! 🐾

  • Lace

    Ah, what a refreshing article on raw feeding. I feed my cats a raw diet and they are much healthier now, shiny coats, healthy weights, they’re poop doesn’t stink like it used to and they rarely throw up, just the occasional hairball. On kibble they were fat and threw up often. But no more now we’re raw! Vets are in business of sick pets, there’s no money in healthy pets. Plus, dogs don’t cook their food or manufacture kibble in the wild… That’s how I tend to think about it!

    • Tammy

      Hi Lace, I’m so happy to hear that you feed your cats a raw diet. I know years ago when I didn’t know about raw, my dogs would get fat and throw up as well. Kibble is so bad for them and you’re right, that’s why vets push the kibble to make more $. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ronnie Jordan

    Thank you for informing me of this. I remember when I was young and had a dog we always gave them dry Purina products. No kind of table scraps or anything. Poor thing I feel bad now knowing that we were really depriving him of the proper nutrition. Things have really changed as far as feeding your dog.

    • Tammy

      Hi Ronnie, you’re right, things really have changed. We always fed kibble when I was growing up with dogs. Wish the raw was around back then too. Thank you for commenting!

  • It’s funny reading this post because my dog absolutely hates the biscuits but loves her meat.

    I think that just goes back to a dogs instincts and their taste for raw meat.

    It makes their meals a lot appealing and the dog a ton more satisfied!

    Thanks for the article:)

    • Tammy

      Hi Jeremy, that’s funny about the biscuits! I haven’t met a dog yet that doesn’t like the raw stuff. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  • Hi Tammy, Thank you for sharing this information! I think mother nature knows a lot more about what is good for our pets, but we as humans always seem to think we know better. *LOL* The results of serving RAW food to our pets should speak for themselves. I think all pet owners want what is best for their furry family members, so why not try serving RAW food. 🙂

  • colleen

    I had never really heard of a raw food diet for dogs before, but after reading this it makes so much sense!
    You never really know what does into processed dog kibble, and to be honest it probably is extremely low quality so raw food definintely makes a lot of sense.
    I had a bishon friese for 15 years and he LOVED fruit and veg, you don’t normally associate dogs with fruit and veg but he really enjoyed it, he even ate lettuce haha
    great article, thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

    • Tammy

      Thanks, Colleen, we had a lab that would eat lettuce…well, she would eat anything really! Appreciate your comment. 🙂

  • Penelope

    Eggshells! I had no idea you could feed those to dogs but I guess it makes sense 🙂 I think of my cat as a little carb queen…I think cat kibble, esp the dried stuff, probably has all kinds of qualities that make it addictive to them and things that certainly don’t count as food. I like that making the raw food is easier than I’d originally thought. Thanks for the great info!

    • Tammy

      Hi Penelope, yep, you’re right. Just like the junk they put in our processed food to make us addicted, they surely put it into pet kibble as well. Thanks for the comment!

  • Great post!

    I knew a physical therapist who told me that they had to adopt a raw meat diet for their 3 dogs, which resulted in shinier coats, more energy, and smaller “landmines” in the backyard. I have told lots of people that story, but they still pay hundreds of dollars a year for specialty food for their sick dogs. It is tragic.

    One thing that the fellow in the video did not mention about those bones is the marrow in the center. There is a lot of nutrition in that marrow! I know a lot of people on the Keto diet (for people lol) who prize any beef bone marrow that they can get. Apparently it used to be quite the delicacy, so dogs would benefit from that as well.

    • Tammy

      Thank you, Irma. Yes, the bone marrow is SO good for them and the bones work great for cleaning teeth. It is tragic that the vets and pet stores push the so called “specialty” food. It’s all about the money for them. More sick pets = more vet bills! Appreciate your comment. 🙂

  • Steve

    I have often wondered about raw food for dogs. Our dog got ahold of some raw chicken breasts not too long ago, we had them thawing outside, forgot about the dog, and she ate all four of them. I figured she would be sick as a dog LOL. Nope, she didn’t have any problems. Do you think this is something to do every day? Also, I can see this getting expensive. Is it okay to do it a few times per week? I am interested to get your take on this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tammy

      Hello Steve, thank you for the questions. I recommend feeding raw every day to get the full health benefits. It is a little more expensive than kibble, but you will save so much money on vet bills because it will really make a difference in your dog’s overall health and oral health. Even dental cleanings are expensive! If your dog is young enough to get started, it will help to also eliminate senior ailments when your dog is older; again, saving on vet bills. You can try alternating, but I bet your dog will stop eating kibble because the raw tastes so much better to them. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need anymore help or have more questions, thank you! 🐾 I bet your dog thoroughly enjoyed eating those chicken breasts…

  • I can’t thank and appreciate you enough for this article. Everyone now a days take interest in cook books, food and recipes but no one take any interest in writing about animal food. You have done a really great job, You deserves a round pf applause for that. I will share it with all my friends who have dogs.

    • Tammy

      Thank you, Sarah, I feel it’s really important for our dogs to have healthy RAW food. It’s so beneficial for their health!

  • AJ

    Excellent article. I have been looking into trying out a different food for my black lab. I think this will actually be perfect for her. A little expensive, but well worth it.

    • Tammy

      Thank you, AJ! If you give it a try, please come back and let us know how it goes for your lab. In the long run, you will save on vet bills, so it’s really worth it to make the switch. 🙂

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