Raw Food Diets for Dogs: Pros and Cons

Humans follow a variety of diets – whether it’s low-fat, low-carb or detox diets, people have invented a wide range of nutritional plans that are supposed to improve their overall health.

This trend isn’t limited to people, either, as humans have started experimenting with different diets for their pets for decades. Dogs, being man’s best friend, have been at the forefront of alternative diets alongside their masters.

One of the most popular new diets is the raw food diet. Most dogs like Toy Cavoodles or Border Collies benefit greatly with this diet. A raw food diet for dogs consists of natural, unprocessed foods such as muscle meat, organs, bones, vegetables and fruits.

The main goal of feeding a raw food diet to dogs is to provide them with all the essential nutrients they need while avoiding processed foods that lack nutritional value.

The basic premise of a raw food diet for dogs is that it should consist of 80–90% raw fresh meat (muscle meat, organs and bones), 10–20% vegetables and fruits, 5–10% organ meats and supplements like vitamins and minerals.

It’s important to note that if you’re feeding your dog a complete and balanced raw food diet it should include all the components necessary for optimal nutrition.

Why Give Your Dog a Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet may be beneficial for dogs because it incorporates ingredients that are similar to what their ancestors would have eaten. This type of diet consists of fresh, unprocessed foods, such as raw meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and vegetables.

This diet typically does not include grains or any processed foods. A raw food diet is thought to be closer to the natural diet of a dog’s wild ancestors and may provide additional benefits that a processed or kibble-based diet cannot.

Unlike processed diets which often contain fillers or preservatives, a raw food diet provides highly bioavailable nutrients that can easily be absorbed by the body. Dogs on a raw food diet typically experience improved digestion since the ingredients are less likely to cause digestive upset due to additives or preservatives found in other types of foods.

Additionally, because the ingredients are not cooked at high temperatures, they retain more of their natural vitamins and minerals than processed foods do. This means that your dog may get more nutrition out of each meal they eat.

In addition to providing higher levels of nutrition and improved digestion, a raw food diet can also benefit your dog’s overall health in various ways. For example, many believe that this type of diet can help reduce inflammation and improve joint health due to its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. This type of fat is found in cold-water fish such as salmon and mackerel and helps keep joints flexible while reducing inflammation throughout the body. It may also help reduce allergies since many allergens are killed during the cooking process but remain intact in uncooked foods.

Finally, some studies have linked a raw food diet with improved dental health. Kibble and other conventional dog food may contain lots of sugars and simple carbohydrates that provide easily-available nutrition for oral bacteria. Raw food diets contain low levels of these nutrients, making it more difficult for tooth-destroying bacteria to flourish.

Are There Any Downsides to the Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet for dogs can have some serious downsides if not implemented properly. Some of the potential drawbacks of switching your dog to a raw food diet include:

Nutritional Imbalance

While feeding your dog a raw food diet may seem like a healthier choice than kibble or canned foods, it can be difficult to get the balance of nutrients right. It is essential that the diet includes all essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to keep your dog healthy and strong.

Without proper guidance from your veterinarian or a qualified nutritionist, you could end up giving your dog too much or too little of certain nutrients, which could eventually lead to health problems.

Bacterial Contamination

Raw meat and poultry can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli which can cause serious illness in humans and pets alike if ingested. To avoid contamination, it is important to follow strict handling guidelines when preparing raw food for your pet including washing hands, surfaces, utensils, bowls, and countertops after contact with raw meat products; storing raw meat separately from other foods; and not leaving out uncooked meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour on hot days).


A raw food diet can be expensive compared to traditional kibble or canned food diets because of the cost of ingredients as well as time spent preparing meals. In addition to purchasing fresh ingredients such as meats and produce each week, special supplements may also be needed in order to ensure that all essential nutrients are included in the diet.

Additionally, frozen meat products must be stored properly, which may entail buying a larger freezer. This not only entails the cost of the freezer itself, but also the electricity costs of operating it.

Time Commitment

A raw food diet requires more preparation time than traditional kibble-based diets since individual meals must be prepared each day from fresh ingredients instead of taking advantage of pre-packaged portions with balanced nutrition levels already accounted for by manufacturers.

This means that owners need to plan ahead each week when shopping for ingredients as well as dedicating time each day (or several times a week) to actually prepare meals according to their pet’s dietary requirements – something that may not fit into their busy lifestyles if they are away from home most days or are often on the go.


Ultimately, whether or not a raw food diet is right for your canine companion will depend on many factors, so it is important that you do thorough research before making any decisions about what kind of diet you want to feed your dog. Additionally, you should consult your veterinarian before making big diet changes, as their health and any medical conditions may need specialised nutrition.

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