What Are The Benefits of a Raw Food Diet For Dogs?

For many of us who have owned a dog or who now have a dog what we fed our dog was never a big issue. We fed them puppy food until about a year old then we switched to adult food until they were around 7 and then we switched them to senior food. Now in the past years a new diet has come about and that is the raw food diet for dogs.

What is a Raw Diet?

A raw food diet for dogs is basically that raw food for your dog. Raw meats like chicken, duck, beaver etc. are mixed with bones, organs , fruits and vegetables. Many dog owners believe this is what dogs ate at one time when they were in the wild and they feel this diet is beneficial for them. Since this was their diet at one time most animal owners who support this type of diet believe feeding raw is just a more natural food source for their dog.

raw food diet for dogs
eating raw

There are two types of raw diets that owners are feeding their pets. One diet is referred to as the Prey Model Diet and the other is called BARF Diet.

Prey Model Diet

– This diet is a representation of what our pets namely dogs and cats have been eating in the wild for thousands of years. People who support this type of diet believe that even though our pets have been domesticated for many years that they are still by nature designed for this type of diet where they eat whole prey. By whole prey they mean just that the whole animal. A prey animal consists of organs, bones, muscle meat, skin, hide/feathers, fat and other tissues. Animals that hunt in a pack will hunt larger game such as deer bison etc while a lone hunter will go after smaller prey such as squirrels, rabbits, birds, fish etc.   All of these prey animals would be ideal in your pet’s diet.

However since we really cannot go out and hunt this prey for our pets or let them hunt their own dinner this diet depends on food that is usually raised for human consumption. Variety becomes an important factor in the prey raw diet since livestock raised commercially usually does not contain the variety or concentration of nutrients required for our pets.

It is also worth mentioning that this diet does not include any vegetables, fruit or dairy.

BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) Diet

– This diet recommends that the meat and vegetables be ground up. Also supplements are recommended when following this diet regime since as stated before, livestock raised for human consumption lack essential nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids.

Benefits of Raw Food Diet For Dogs

While researching to find out what benefits there are if any in feeding your dog a raw diet I found many compelling stories of owners and their dogs.

Some of the benefits that owners noticed were their dog had firmer stools, their digestion improved, allergy symptoms were greatly reduced if not gone altogether, weight was more manageable and their skin and coat were much healthier. Also dogs that were suffering from chronic illnesses did see an improvement in their health.

Dogs who were on the Prey Model diet saw a great improvement in their oral health. Eating raw meaty bones actually scrubs massages and flosses a dog’s teeth. Gums and teeth were much cleaner and healthier after switching to a raw diet. Also many owners noticed no more doggie breath. So we see that there seems to be many benefits to feeding your pet a raw diet but is there any drawbacks to this diet?

What Harm If Any Is There In Feeding A Raw Diet To Your Dog

Surprisingly many veterinarians are among the anti raw group. They claim feeding your dog a raw diet can be quite risky. Many veterinarians contend that a raw diet is just not nutritionally balanced. They state that the raw diet being fed to your dog is lacking in necessary nutrition for your dog’s health. Many anti raw people believe the raw diet can be contaminated with disease causing bacteria such as salmonella and listeria. This can then end up in the dog’s stools which can then infect the environment. People that live with the dog can actually become infected.

Other pathogens found in fish, beef, pork and wild game can make your dog sick or worse.

Bones are another risk. Bones can cause choking, intestinal blockage and/or perforations. Also a dog could possible chip or break one of its teeth.

Other factors that may sway you to stay away from raw is the inconvenience of it if you travel. If you take your dog most hotels and motels are not equipped to store your raw food and if you board your dog you are going to be paying top dollar in order to store your dog’s diet at the kennel.

raw food diet for dogs
raw vs commercial

As far as the cost of a raw food diet for your dog from what I could find out it does depend on whether you follow the BARF plan or the Prey Plan. Since you are preparing the Prey plan yourself you have more control over the cost of the ingredients that you use.

When you compare raw to commercial kibble I would have to say the kibble would be cheaper.

One thing for certain is that if you are going to change your dog over to a raw diet be prepared to do a lot of research. It might be a good idea to check with your vet or with a dog nutritionist. Feeding raw is much more than measuring out a cup of kibble.

There are a couple of sites that will help you build a diet for your dog. One that you can start for free at is BalanceIt.com and the other you need to pay for PetDiets.com

So for all the years that I have had dogs I have never fed my dogs raw. I would like to hear from anyone who has experience with this type of diet.

Also to learn more about your dog and other health issues head over to Secrets To Dog Training.

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    • NemiraB
    • January 10, 2016

    Hello, thanks for introducing raw diet for dogs and showing benefits of it.
    Did I skip, that dogs get more vitamins and minerals from raw food? It the same as for people. If we consume to much junk and processed food, a lot problems appear.
    I saw obese dogs too.
    Of course, problems can not just from food, but it can come with age, lack of activity.
    As I know in a lot countries, such in Europe, dogs get raw food, sometimes when people prepare dinner for themselves, they give bones.
    Anyway, thanks for information.

    • Richard U
    • January 10, 2016

    Who would have thought may be not me but raw food for dogs, which if you ome to think of it should be the best things every dog owner should be thinking for their dogs.

    I must confess i liked this post and it quit open a whole new way of thinking for me in terms of dog food and all things pet foods too.

    Please keep this up and as i know huge army of dog owners out their will love your work and sure patronice your offer as well.

    • Roopesh
    • January 10, 2016

    Hi There
    Truly an interesting read.
    I must be honest with you, I had no knowledge of either of these raw food diets for dogs until I read your article.

    I have a Jack Russel and a German Shepherd.I have always been feeding them commercial grade food and they seem to love it.

    I think they may take a liking to the BARF diet, but it is hard to say for sure.I too am worried about the bones and the diseases.

    I also wonder if their system will take kindly to the new adjustment after been accustomed to pet food for such a long time.

    What do you think of it?


      • Maureen
      • January 10, 2016

      Hi Roopesh Thanks for your comment. I have never fed my dogs anything but commercial dogfood and they all have seemed quite healthy. When you switch your dog over to raw it will upset their system. There is a whole regime for the right way to introduce a raw diet to your dog, you cannot just switch them over. The breeder who we got our dobermans from does not agree with the raw diet at all. I think she said something like if I won’t put it in my mouth I am not going to put it into my dogs’ mouth. She lives near a teaching university for animals and many of the vets there do not agree with the raw diet either.

      So I have to ask who is the boss the Jack Russel or the German Shepherd. I would bet that it is the Jack Russel

    • Barb
    • January 10, 2016

    Thank you for this information! It makes sense if you think about it. Although it would be more effort to feed your dog, I’m sure it would be worth it for someone who has a pet with allergies.
    I have a friend whose dog has terrible food allergies. She’s struggled to find a dog food that won’t make Coco sick. I’m going to send her to your site!

      • Maureen
      • January 12, 2016

      Thanks for your comment Barb. Switching your dog to a raw diet is quite a detailed process which I did not get into in this article. Many supporters of raw believe it does help a dog with allergies but keep in mind these are people who are very pro RAW. Make sure your friend does her research.

    • Patsy
    • January 21, 2016

    This is an interesting article about raw diet food for dogs which I have never heard of. I normally feed my dogs with cooked meat and carrots, or using dried dog food. I was wondering about the risk of bacteria like E Coli and salmonella contained in raw meat and chicken. I know that it is not good to feed chicken bones to dogs as the bones can be quite sharp and endanger/hurt their throat and digestive system.

      • Maureen
      • January 30, 2016

      Feeding your dog a raw diet is not in my mind a simple thing. Along with the risk factors that you mention you need to make sure the diet is balanced. You cannot just feed all beef or all chicken or all fish, it has to be a balanced diet. You really need to research this out before attempting this particular diet. We love our dogs and their health is very important to us.

    • Alyssa
    • April 11, 2016

    Hi Maureen,
    I’m trying to find a happy medium between raw and full of bones that could lodge in my dogs throat or digestive tract and nutrient-deficient dog food stuffed with grains! Personally, I can’t see feeding my dogs raw meat. Its not good for humans, and dogs have been so domesticated for so long, I’m not crazy about giving them uncooked meat. If it can make humans sick…. But, to be fair, I completely ditched the cheap dry dog food and switched to a dry food that does not contain any grains. It is strictly meat based. My dogs allergies have cleared up, thankfully! A very informative article with all perspectives covered. Thanks for the good read!

      • Maureen
      • May 4, 2016

      Glad to hear your dog’s allergies have cleared up.

    • chjerpstedt
    • July 18, 2017

    Your website would have been very useful 12 years ago when my dog was puppy. I was not familiar with a raw food diet for dogs, it makes a lot of sense.

    Thanks for the information.

      • Maureen
      • July 22, 2017

      The raw food diet does make a lot of sense but it is a lot of work. So if you ever decide in the future to go this way make sure you really do some research on it. Also if you find a place that does sell prepackaged raw food make sure they are reputable. A friend of mine had purchased some of the raw prepackage food for his dog and the dog almost died. I am not sure of the details but the illness was caused from the food.

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