Raw Food for Dogs: Benefits & Risks

by | Jun 1, 2021 | Dog Health, Nutrients

Food is essential to humans and dogs. After all, it provides the energy needed to stay active. However, you can only stay healthy if you follow the right diet. 

But what constitutes the right diet? 

If you ask most pet owners, they might tell you about the commercial dog food they give their pets. However, several owners are trying out something new by feeding their dogs raw food.

But what exactly is a “raw diet” and how can your pet benefit from it? Let’s take a closer look at this controversial diet as well as its benefits and risks.

What is a Raw Food Dog Diet?

A raw diet for dogs usually consists of muscle meat, organ meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products like yogurt. Raw food for dogs are available in different types:

  • Homemade
  • Commercial
  • Freeze-dried
  • Dehydrated

Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst was the first proponent of raw diets for domesticated dogs. He claimed that adult dogs can eat raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps often consumed by wild dogs.

If you want to try out a raw diet, here are some safe options:

  • Muscle meat
  • Whole or ground bones
  • Organ meat
  • Raw eggs
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits (apples)
  • Some dairy products

What are the Benefits of Raw Dog Food?

So why get your dog on a raw diet, anyway? Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the benefits touted by raw dog food supporters:

  • Shinier coat
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Better digestion
  • Stronger immunity
  • Toned muscles
  • Lesser allergies

Other supporters also claim that raw feeding can help reduce funky odors. However, there isn’t enough research yet to support this argument.

What are the Risks Associated with Raw Food?

When Billinghurst pushed for raw dog food diets, he argued that grain-based pet food was unhealthy for dogs. But most veterinarians and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration beg to differ. 

Researchers have identified several risks that come with raw diets for dogs, including the following:

  • Uncooked protein can contain harmful bacteria. These pathogens can make you and your dog sick.
  • If you put your pet on a raw diet over the long-term, it could have a negative impact on its overall health.
  • Whole bones can put your dog at risk of choking, breaking its teeth, or damaging its internal organs.

Additionally, cooked meals are still the best way to go especially if your pets are sick.

Is Raw Meat Good For Dogs?

The experts have weighed in: raw meat is bad for your pet. But why’s that?

First, your dog won’t get the nutrients it needs solely raw diet. Moreover, it’ll be easier for your dog to digest the food when the meat and carbohydrates are cooked properly. After all, a smooth digestion can help your dog increase energy, build muscle, and boost immunity.

Uncooked meat can also infect you and your dog, especially if it contains harmful bacteria like salmonella and E.coli. If you’ve exposed yourself or your dog to these pathogens, you could be more prone to getting sick.

Other raw food like fresh fruits and vegetables (like bananas, carrots, and apples) are great for your pet, though. Make sure you wash fresh produce before feeding them to your dog so that it’s free of any dirt or residue.

How Do I Prepare My Pet’s Raw Diet?

Your dog’s size and breed will help you determine how much nutrients it needs. That said, it’s best to find an ideal option with your vet’s help before starting a raw dog food diet.

Once you’ve talked to your vet, you can go ahead and feed raw food to your pet. Here are some raw dog food recipes you can try.

Raw Beef Patties

Think of this recipe as the raw version of those juicy, mouthwatering burger patties. The ingredients for these patties are packed with essential nutrients like protein, iron, and calcium.


  • 2 ½ pounds of ground beef
  • 4 ounces of chicken liver
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • ½ cup of baby spinach
  • 2 eggs with shell
  • ½ cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  1. Put the carrot, apple, and spinach in your food processor. Chop these ingredients into fine pieces.
  2. Put the other ingredients except for the ground beef in your food processor. Mix them together until they’re well blended.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  4. Add ground beef to the mixture then mix until well combined.
  5. Make palm-sized patties and place them on a paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Freeze the patties then put them in a container.
  7. Place the frozen patties in your refrigerator to defrost them.

Raw Rabbit, Chicken & Beef Dog Food

Rabbit meat can be a good alternative to beef and chicken. It’s extremely lean, with more protein than other kinds of meat. Furthermore, your pet can eat rabbit meat if it has a sensitive stomach.

This recipe mixes rabbit, chicken, and beef together for a filling meal. Other ingredients include eggs, vegetables, and berries.


  • 2 ½ pounds of rabbit
  • 1 pound of chicken heart
  • ¼ pound of beef liver
  • 4 pastured eggs
  • 2 stalks of broccoli
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 6 ounces of blueberries or mixed berries
  • 2 grams (1 teaspoon) of green-lipped mussel powder
  1. Cut the rabbit meat into small pieces. You can give the bits to your dog or mince the meat, liver, and chicken heart in your food processor.
  2. Blend the broccoli, spinach, berries, and green-lipped mussel powder.
  3. Mix the chicken heart, liver, egg, vegetable and berry mix, and minced or chopped rabbit.
  4. Pour the mixture into smaller containers then place them in your freezer.

Red Meat Mix

This raw dog food recipe uses red meat which is packed with nutrients like iron and zinc. You can use beef or lamb for this raw diet mix.


  • 250 grams of raw beef or lamb, chopped
  • 1 cup of raw carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup of apple, chopped
  • ¼ cup of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 ½ cup of pumpkin or squash, chopped
  • ⅔ cups of brown rice
  • 4 teaspoons of sunflower oil
  • 4 grams of fish oil
  1. Cook the brown rice and pumpkin or squash until they’re soft.
  2. Let it cool then mix in the raw ingredients.
  3. Give your dog a reasonable portion of the mix then refrigerate the leftovers.

Ensure Your Dog Receives the Right Nutrients

Raw dog food diets are a feasible option, but they might not always be the best type of diet for your pet’s needs. After all, some dogs don’t eat certain types of food while others may have health complications. If you want to try out a raw diet, make sure you consult your vet first.



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