Does A Raw Dog Food Diet Have Any Benefits? The Pros And Cons Of Going Raw


    A growing trend is for dog owners to switch some, if not all of their dogs' food intake to a raw diet.

    So what is a raw diet? In short it prioritises natural, raw ingredients like meat, eggs, fruit and vegetables to resemble what dogs in the wild might eat, rather than processed foods.

    With any diet changes there are pros and cons which we have covered below.

    What Is Raw Dog Food?

    Raw dog food is a type of diet gaining popularity amongst canine owners. It consists of ingredients that resemble what a dog would naturally eat in the wild, such as uncooked meats, organs, bones and vegetables.

    Proponents claim this type of “natural” diet is closer to their ancestral norms and more closely mimics their gastrointestinal tract evolutionarily designed for.

    This unconventional cuisine enables dog owners to take advantage of the benefits that come with feeding their pup an all-natural approach to nutrition. These benefits can include digestion support, improved coat quality and vitality, greater energy levels, immunity boosting promotion stronger teeth and gums - just to name a few!

    Raw feeding has become increasingly popular over the last few years due to this newfound knowledge on canine health nutrition habits being made accessible by research studies exploring alternative diets such as raw food diets in dogs.

    What Is Included in a Typical Raw Dog Food Diet?

    A typical raw dog food diet includes items such as:

    • Muscle meat, often still attached to the bone
    • Bones
    • Protein rich organs like livers and kidneys
    • Raw eggs
    • Fish
    • Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
    • Apples or other fruit
    • Superfoods like hemp seeds and kelp
    • Some basic dairy

    Since each individual pet has its own needs and preferences when it comes to nutrition, it's important that owners tailor these meals accordingly in order to ensure optimal health.

    Is a Raw Dog Food Diet Suitable for All Dogs?

    Many canine owners wonder whether a raw diet is the ideal nutrition for their pet.

    As research progresses, it is becoming increasingly evident that for some dogs, the consumption of raw food may be more beneficial than traditional cooked diets.

    Yet, one size does not fit all when it comes to canine nutrition – and before embarking on this type of diet, owners should carefully consider their dog’s individual health needs and requirements.

    On one hand, proponents of a raw dog food diet claim that by consuming uncooked meat and vegetables, canines are fed meals as close to nature intended as possible.

    While there may be benefits to providing dogs with a ‘natural’ meal plan there are justifiable concerns over bacteria found in uncooked meats which can make both humans and animals ill.

    In addition, this type of food is expensive compared to bulk-buy processed foods readily available on the market.

    Ultimately an owner must weigh up these factors before deciding whether or not a raw diet is suitable for their pup’s overall health needs.

    Oftentimes the answer will lie in a balance between traditional dog food, raw food and supplements to provide the complete nutrition required for your individual dog.

    If there are any concerns, always consult a veterinarian who will help guide and advise them through any decision taken at every step of the way.

    The benefits of a raw dog food diet

    If you do choose to go down the path of a full or partial raw diet for your dog, there are a number of potential benefits that can be achieved.

    Joint and bone health

    A raw food diet can help improve the joint health of dogs, particularly as they age.

    Raw bones, which are a key component of a raw diet, provide necessary minerals and help keep teeth clean. They also provide natural chewing exercise, which can help keep joints mobile.

    In addition, the balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus found in raw food can help support strong bones.

    Weight management

    Maintaining a healthy weight is important for dogs, as excess weight can put strain on their joints and lead to other health problems.

    Feeding your dog a raw diet can help with weight management, as it can be easier to control portion sizes and calorie intake.

    Raw food is also generally more nutrient-dense than processed options, so your dog can feel more satisfied with smaller amounts. This can help prevent overfeeding and weight gain.

    It's important to tailor the portion sizes to your individual dog's needs, taking into account their age, size, and activity level.

    Strengthened immune system

    A strong immune system is important for overall health and can help your dog better fight off illness and disease.

    Raw food contains high levels of protein and nutrients, which can help support the immune system.

    The natural balance of nutrients found in raw food can also help reduce the risk of certain nutrient deficiencies, which can weaken the immune system.

    Improved skin and softer, shinier coat

    The condition of your dog's skin and coat can be greatly impacted by their diet.

    Raw food contains essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6, which can help keep skin moisturised and reduce inflammation.

    This can lead to a softer, shinier coat and improved overall skin health.

    Raw food can also help reduce the risk of certain skin conditions, such as allergies, as it does not contain the additives and fillers found in some processed foods.

    Dental health and better breath

    Good dental health is important for dogs, as poor oral hygiene can lead to a variety of health problems, including smelly breath!

    Chewing on raw bones can help remove plaque and tartar from teeth, which can improve dental health and lead to fresher breath.

    The natural abrasive action of the bones can help scrub the teeth clean and prevent the build-up of dental plaque.

    In addition, the enzymes found in raw food can help kill bacteria in the mouth and promote overall oral health.

    It's important to note that not all bones are suitable for dogs to chew on, and it's always best to supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones.

    Reduced stool volume and odour

    A raw diet can result in smaller, firmer stools that are easier to pick up and dispose of. This can be especially convenient for dog owners who live in apartment buildings or don't have access to a backyard.

    In addition, raw food stools tend to have a less offensive odour compared to stools produced on a processed diet. This is because raw food is more easily digestible and does not contain the additives and fillers found in some processed foods, which can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body and contribute to a strong odour.

    Enhanced reproductive health

    A raw diet can have numerous benefits for the reproductive health of both male and female dogs.

    In males, a raw diet can help improve sperm quality and motility, which can increase the chances of successful breeding.

    In females, a raw diet can help regulate the heat cycle and improve fertility. The natural balance of nutrients found in raw food can help support hormonal balance and overall reproductive health.

    It's important to note that a raw diet is not a substitute for proper veterinary care and it's always best to consult with a veterinarian before making any diet changes for breeding purposes.

    Reduced body odour

    A raw diet can help reduce body odour in dogs. Processed foods can sometimes lead to a build-up of toxins in the body, which can contribute to a strong odour. A raw diet can help flush these toxins out of the system, leading to a fresher smell.

    The natural balance of nutrients found in raw food can also help support healthy organ function, which can aid in the elimination of waste and toxins from the body.

    In addition, the enzymes found in raw food can help kill bacteria in the mouth and promote overall oral health, which can lead to fresher breath and a reduction in body odour.

    It's important to note that proper hygiene and regular grooming can also play a role in reducing body odour in dogs.

    What are some of the drawbacks of a raw dog food diet?

    So while all of those benefits sound great, there are some potential pitfalls that can occur with a raw dog food diet.

    Choking on bones

    One potential downside of a raw diet is the risk of choking on bones. Raw bones, particularly chicken bones, can splinter and cause blockages in a dog's airway or digestive system.

    It's important to supervise your dog when they are chewing on bones and to remove any small or splintered bones that could present a choking hazard.

    It's also a good idea to choose bones that are appropriate for your dog's size and chew strength to minimise the risk of choking.


    Another potential concern with a raw diet is the risk of bacterial contamination.

    Raw meat and bones can carry bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can be harmful to both dogs and humans.

    It's important to handle raw food safely, using proper hygiene practices such as washing your hands and surfaces that come into contact with the food.

    It's also a good idea to store raw food in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent bacterial growth.

    A balanced and healthy gut microbiome may help your dog overcome any potential bacteria issues, consider supplementing your dogs diet with a canine probiotic to help support their gut health.

    Unbalanced diet

    One potential downside of a raw diet is the risk of an unbalanced diet if not planned and prepared properly.

    A raw diet should be composed of a variety of ingredients to ensure that all nutrient requirements are met.

    It's important to include a balance of muscle meat, organs, bones, and vegetables in the diet.

    You might also find that it is worthwhile supplementing a raw diet with additional vitamins and nutrients to make sure they are not deficient in any one area.

    It's also a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to ensure that the diet is balanced and meets your dog's specific needs.

    Time and money

    While our priority is certainly the health and wellbeing of our fur family, the reality is that a raw diet for our dogs can be costly and quite time-consuming.

    Raw food requires refrigeration or freezing and must be thawed before serving. This can be time-consuming, particularly for busy individuals.

    Like buying and cooking fresh dinners for human consumption compared to fast food, raw ingredients can be more expensive than commercial processed options, which can be a challenge for those on a budget.

    So while there are many potential benefits to a raw dog food diet, for some it will simply not be achievable to dedicate time and money to creating these meals.

    Final conclusion

    Raw dog food diets have been around for quite some time and can provide plenty of health benefits for your furry friend.

    While there are some potential drawbacks to taking on a raw diet, with careful research and discussion with your veterinarian you could find the perfect balance between these pros and cons.

    Consider all of the factors before making any changes to what your pup is eating, as it’s important that we feed them something that maximises their health and wellbeing.

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