Raw Feeding Your Dog: What You Need to Know

There are different options than kibble

Admittedly, this is a new adventure for me. In my raw feeding journey, I am learning so much about the benefits of raw diets for our Best Friends. I want to shout from the rooftops, “Ditch the kibble and feed your dogs a raw diet!” Following are some tips about raw feeding your dog, and what you need to know.

My Journey to Raw Feeding

When Franklin developed his cancer, I observed the benefits of a raw die firsthand. The holist vet said, “Ditch the kibble. Cancer feeds off the carbs.” I remember feeling shocked and thinking, isn’t kibble what dogs are supposed to eat?

I quit feeding ALL kibble in favor of straight-up raw steak. No, the raw steak diet was not balanced in any way. However, when your dog is suffering from a nearly 100% fatal cancer, and won’t eat, you tend to take any measures to make him happy.

On the raw diet, skin allergies Franklin suffered from his entire life cleared up nearly immediately. His coat was supple and shiny. The itching disappeared. Further, the yeasty, stinky dog smell disappeared. Coincidentally, he had NO gastrointestinal problems either!

Raw Diets: Fad or Here to Stay?

If you’re a dog person, you’ve probably heard or seen advertisments for prepared raw dog food. Raw diets aren’t a new trend. However they are becoming more mainstream and more accepted as more and more pet parents share their dogs’ diets on social media and more raw dog food companies keep popping up.

Dogs throughout history have enjoyed raw meats far longer then they’ve eaten processed kibble. Kibble is actually a postwar phenomenon; with REALLY powerful and convincing marketing and advertising! Before the advent of commercially prepared dog diets, our Best Friends dined on scraps, leftovers and sometimes trash.

Of course, they didn’t enjoy the long healthy lives they do now. On the other hand, dogs also didn’t have as many of the maladies they do today. (That could be due to them not living as long back then to develop the maladies, or current commercial kibble diets and environmental factors now; obviously subjects for further research). Following are some things you need to know about raw feeding.

Concerns About Raw Diets: What You Need to Know


This is a concern my vet brought to my attention. However, if you consider that you do prepare your own raw meat and sanitize the surfaces afterward, what makes preparing a raw diet for your dog any different? It’s not so difficult to wash your dog’s dishes and sanitize surfaces after mealtime, right? Plus, there have been salmonella contaminations linked to dry kibble manufacturing slip-ups as well.


Many vets warn against raw diets as the risk of parasites may be associated with a raw diet. Considering that a dog’s digestive tract is much shorter than ours; its main job is to get nutrients through as quickly as possible. Canines possess a highly acidic stomach, they are able to efficiently digest and kill off pathogens. If concerned about parasites, you can opt to deep freeze any meat for 2-3 weeks before feeding. You can also opt to test your dog for parasites more frequently through a stool sample at the vet.


It takes a fair amount of work to ensure your dog is receiving adequate nutrition. Many well-intentioned pet parents throw a chicken breast in a dish, call it raw, and call it good. Homemade diets; whether raw or cooked need supplementation. This takes the form of added calcium, bone, vitamins, whole foods, or nutritional supplements. If pet owners are not prepared to purchase a commercially prepared, high quality raw diet, then it takes some research and appropriate recipes to balance nutrition.

Vet Support

My most recent vet warned against raw feeding. In fact, it’s probably most likely that your traditional vet won’t support a raw diet. Most major veterinary associations in the US don’t support feeding a raw diet. Reasons include a lack of objective studies on raw vs. kibble diets, lack of board certified veterinary nutritionists approving raw diets, concerns over parasites and contamination, and lack of balance in home prepared diets. This is an exhaustive area that deserves research on its own.

Benefits of Raw Diets: What You Need to Know

Stronger Gut Microbiome

By now, we all know the beneficial role our gut microbiome plays on our overall health. I personally try to eat as many real, unprocessed foods as I can. Consequently, my body knows when I’ve been feasting on processed trash, because I feel trashy!

A study from Iowa State University found that raw meat and bone diets for dogs were highly digestable and did not result in gastrointestinal distress. Additionally, the protein in a raw diet is more digestable than protein in a kibble based diet. Dogs will adapt their gut microbiome to a new, raw diet.

Support for Allergies and Health Maladies

According to my new favorite book by Dr. Conor Brady; Feeding Dogs: Dry or Raw? The Science behind the Debate, 632 raw fed dogs underwent a study. 67% of the owners tried a raw diet to cure some of their pets’ issues. Results of the study showed that 74% of skin issues, 88% of gut issues, 79% of eye issues, and 53% of urinary tract issues were cleared up!

A further study by Dog Risk of University of Helsinki, Finland found that a raw diet protected dogs from hip displaysia. This university is a treasure trove of scientific studies of raw diets in pets. Access them here.

A sample raw supper. Yes, it takes more effort putting together balanced, raw or homemade meals for our Best Friends than just dumping dry pellets from a bag into his dish. Aren’t they worth the effort though?
Healthier Skin and Coat

Since raw diets are so highly digestable, it makes sense that the nutrients are put right to work. Another study from The University of Helsinki found that a raw diet in dogs with skin issues increased antioxidants that had an anti-inflammatory effect on skin problems.

Bottom Line: Every Dog is Unique

I certainly cannot tell you the best thing to feed your dog. Some dogs have sensitive systems, some are immunocompromised, some are picky beyond belief and won’t touch certain foods. The best recommendation I’ve ever heard regarding feeding dogs is, “Feed the dog in front of you”. This means, the dog in front of you may absolutely thrive on a raw diet.

Have you considered a raw diet but need some tips on where to start? Feel free to contact me for resources and easy ways to begin incorporating real foods; whether raw or cooked, into your dog’s diet.

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