Can a Dog Eat Raw Food?

Whether dogs can eat raw foods or not is a controversial subject. Some are in favor and some are against it. The latter strongly criticize those who feed raw foods to their dogs. Here we'll discuss the latter to try to find out what is the source of their beliefs. 
Can a Dog Eat Raw Food?

Last update: 09 February, 2019

Sometimes logic leads us to the right path, sometimes it doesn’t. So, what’s the logic behind the idea that a diet of raw food is the best one for our dogs? Is it the right path to take? Let’s find out.

Why choose raw food?

There are many reasons that convince proponents of the raw food diet that they’re on the right track. They think that a raw diet is a lot more beneficial for dogs. 

A dog eating an apple.

  • Processed food loses its nutrients, according to some theories. It loses a huge part of the essential vitamins and nutrients that animals need. After cooking it, and then adding preservatives, food coloring, and other components, the percentage of “real food” left in dog food is minimal. It’s for this reason that raw food proponents think that feeding dogs with raw pieces of meat and vegetables is the healthier choice.
  • Humans are the only animals that can cook their food. Every other species eats it raw. As a matter of fact, if you leave a dog outside he will eat anything that comes his way, cooked or not. Let’s not forget that our furry friends are distant relatives of a wild species: Canis lupus (better known as the wolf).
  • Raw food contains beneficial bacteria for the digestive system of a dog. According to raw food proponents, they also contain enzymes and many other nutrients that are favorable to a dog’s immune system.

The advantages of processed foods

Processed dog food is made by “experts”. They spend many years researching how many nutrients, vitamins, and other substances each particular breed of dog needs. They also take into consideration the size of the dog, as well as its age. It’s for this reason that they’ve been able to develop a specific type of food for every kind of dog. 

If your dog follows a processed foods diet suggested by your vet, then you shouldn’t be concerned about a lack of essential nutrients. Experts think that processed foods are easier to digest and, therefore, favorable to a dog’s digestive system.

A dog looking guilty.

Advantages and disadvantages of raw food

In order to feed raw food to your dog, you must do some research, as the experts do. You must know what every food you feed to your dog contains. In addition to that, you’ll need to know how much of it the dog needs on a daily basis. Finally, you should know if it contains every nutrient the dog needs.

You must weigh each food item so that you can give the recommended daily dose. We can prepare food in different ways: raw, cooked, grilled etc. However, depending on the method, its properties, nutrients and caloric value will vary.

There is something raw food proponents are right about, however. Raw foods retain all of their nutrients and are highly beneficial to an animal’s organism.


Of course, nothing bad will happen to your dog if you feed it a raw piece of meat once in a while. But, if you really want to feed your pet exclusively on raw foods, then it must be a planned and well-balanced diet.

You must also be aware of the dangers of switching between raw food and processed food. This could lead to an overdose of proteins and fats which will be harmful to your pet.

The best way to find the perfect equilibrium is to consult your vet. They can advise you on what’s best. They might recommend a raw food diet, or confirm that a mixed diet is better. Also, if you want to make it easier for yourself, ask for advice regarding the proper amounts to feed your pet with. Keep in mind that in order to make proper decisions in regards to your pet, expert advice is key.

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  • Freeman, L. M., & Michel, K. E. (2001). Evaluation of raw food diets for dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • LeJeune, J. T., & Hancock, D. D. (2001). Public health concerns associated with feeding raw meat diets to dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

  • Finley, R., Ribble, C., Aramini, J., Vandermeer, M., Popa, M., Litman, M., & Reid-Smith, R. (2007). Commercial Raw Food Diets. The Canadian Veterinary Journal.