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The Pros and Cons of Raw Feeding for Dogs

Introduction to Raw Feeding for Dogs

When it comes to feeding our beloved pets, many pet owners have different opinions on what is best. One of the more controversial choices is raw feeding, also known as a raw diet.

Raw feeding, as the name suggests, involves feeding dogs a diet of raw food that typically includes raw meat, bones, and organs. However, raw feeding has drawn criticism from some pet owners and veterinarians, who believe that it can be dangerous to dogs’ health.

In this article, we will explore the definition and controversy surrounding raw feeding, as well as the reasons why some pet owners choose this option.

Definition and Controversy Surrounding Raw Feeding

Raw feeding, or a raw diet, involves feeding dogs raw food that is typically comprised of raw meat, bones, and organs. Supporters of raw feeding argue that it is a healthier and more natural diet for dogs, as it mimics what they would eat in the wild.

However, others are critical of this diet, citing concerns over potential health risks. One of the main concerns associated with raw feeding is the risk of bacterial contamination.

Raw meat can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli, which can make both dogs and humans sick.

In addition, feeding dogs raw bones can pose a choking hazard, and there is a risk of intestinal obstruction if dogs swallow large pieces. Despite these concerns, many pet owners still choose to feed their dogs a raw diet.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why.

Why People Choose Raw Feeding for Dogs

Natural Diet for Predators

One of the main reasons why some pet owners choose raw feeding is that it is a more natural diet for predators. Dogs are descended from wolves, who survive primarily on a diet of raw meat, bones, and organs.

Supporters of raw feeding argue that this is the diet that dogs are biologically adapted to, and that it can help improve their overall health.

Health Benefits for Dogs

Proponents of raw feeding argue that it has numerous health benefits for dogs. Raw food is rich in nutrients, which can help boost dogs’ immune systems.

Raw feeding may also help reduce inflammation in dogs with allergies or other inflammatory conditions. In addition, raw feeding may help dogs maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Movement towards Natural, Less Chemical-Dependent Living

A growing number of people are turning towards natural, less chemical-dependent living, and this trend extends to pet care as well. Some pet owners believe that commercial dog foods are filled with chemicals and preservatives that can be harmful to their dogs.

By feeding their dogs a raw diet, they can be sure that they are feeding them a natural and healthy diet without any harmful additives.


Raw feeding is a controversial topic in the world of pet care. While it offers several potential health benefits, it also carries some serious risks, including the potential for bacterial contamination and choking hazards.

If you’re considering a raw diet for your dog, it’s important to do your research and talk to your veterinarian to determine whether it’s the right choice for your pet. Whatever you decide, remember that a healthy and well-balanced diet is key to keeping your furry friend happy and healthy.

Raw feeding for dogs has been a topic of controversy ever since the practice first emerged. While advocates of raw feeding promote it as a more natural and healthier approach to nourishing our furry companions, skeptics and detractors believe it poses risks to both pets and their humans.

In this article, we will delve deeper into both sides of the debate and explore different types of raw feeding for dogs. Objections

to Raw Feeding for Dogs

One of the main objections to raw feeding is rooted in the fact that dogs are domesticated animals.

Unlike their wild counterparts, domesticated dogs have adapted to living with humans and have been bred for specific tasks, such as herding, hunting, and companionship. It’s worth noting that some breeds are better suited to a raw food diet than others.

For example, dogs such as the Siberian Husky or the Alaskan Malamute, who retain much of their wolf-like ancestry, may be better able to handle this type of diet. Domesticated breeds such as the Chihuahua or the Pug may not be quite as well-suited to raw feeding.

Another objection that is frequently raised is the safety concerns associated with feeding dogs a raw diet. Raw meat contains bacteria such as Salmonella and E.

coli, which can cause foodborne illness in dogs as well as their humans. Raw feeding can also pose risks of choking, intestinal obstruction, and dental fractures.

Different Types of Raw Feeding for Dogs

If you are considering raw feeding for your dog, it’s important to understand the different approaches. Here are three types of raw feeding commonly practiced by dog owners:

Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF)

BARF is a raw feeding approach that emphasizes a diet based on the natural foods that dogs would eat in the wild. This includes raw meat, bones, organs, fruits, and vegetables.

The idea behind BARF is that by mimicking a wild dog’s diet, we can help our domesticated companions maintain optimal health. BARF diets typically include roughly 60-80% raw meaty bones, 10-15% organs, and the remaining amount in vegetables and fruits.

Supplements – including probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins – may also be added to balance the diet.

Raw Meaty Bones (RMB) Prey Model

The prey model is a raw feeding approach popularized by Dr. Tom Lonsdale, an Australian veterinarian. Unlike the BARF approach that includes vegetation, the RMB Prey Model focuses solely on animal-based protein.

The diet is modeled on what a dog would eat if it were hunting in the wild, including raw, meaty bones and organ meats. According to proponents of the RMB Prey Model, dogs don’t need to eat plants to be healthy as they would in the BARF diet, and that it can be easier to balance your dogs diet with only animal products.

Commercially Prepared Raw Food

Commercially prepared raw food products are pre-packaged, ready-to-serve raw feeding options available in pet stores and online. These products were developed with the goal of providing a balanced raw diet to dogs without the need for pet owners to prepare the meals themselves.

The ingredients used vary, but most products are made with raw meat, bones, and vegetables, with added supplements for optimal nutrition. Pet owners can choose from products that are flash-frozen, freeze-dried, or refrigerated.

Raw commercial diets provide a convenient option for dog owners who want to feed their pets raw food but don’t have the time to create the diet themselves.


While raw feeding for dogs continues to be a topic of debate in the dog-loving community, its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. Adopting a raw feeding diet for your pet is a personal decision that should be taken after a thorough and careful evaluation of its benefits and risks.

Whatever method of raw feeding you choose, it’s important to prioritize safety – both for your pets and your health – and to ensure your pets receive a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Raw feeding for dogs remains a controversial topic among pet owners and veterinarians.

While the idea behind raw feeding is to provide our dogs with a natural and healthy diet, there are several safety concerns surrounding it. In this article, we will examine the risks and benefits of raw feeding, as well as safety precautions that pet owners should keep in mind.

We will also look at the practicality of raw feeding, including how to handle, store, and prepare raw food for dogs.

Health and Safety for Dogs and Owners

Safety Concerns for Raw Feeding

One of the most significant safety concerns associated with raw feeding is bacterial contamination. Raw meat can harbor harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.

coli, which can cause foodborne illness in both dogs and humans alike. Another drawback of feeding dogs a raw diet is the risk of choking, intestinal blockages, and fractured teeth.

If a bone is too small, it could lodge in your dog’s throat and cause them to choke. Additionally, if your dog swallows large pieces of bone or other raw food, it can lead to intestinal obstruction or other digestive problems.

Risks and Benefits of Raw Feeding

Proponents of a raw diet claim that it is a healthier and more natural option for dogs. Raw feeding can provide numerous benefits, including healthier skin and coat, stronger teeth and gums, and a stronger immune system.

Raw diets can also support weight control. However, raw feeding can also lead to nutritional deficiencies and inadequate caloric intake, particularly if the diet is not properly balanced.

One study found raw feeding to be associated with a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies and infectious disease transmission.

Safety Precautions Around Raw Feeding

If you decide to feed your dog a raw diet, there are several safety precautions you should follow. Always wash your hands and any utensils, bowls, or surfaces that come into contact with raw food thoroughly in hot, soapy water.

Keep raw food frozen until it’s time to defrost it to reduce the risk of bacterial growth. Dogs should be supervised when eating raw food to prevent choking, and bones should always be properly sized for your dog.

Lastly, always buy your raw food from reputable sources and make sure they undergo regular testing and come from trustworthy suppliers.

Convenience and Practicality

Handling and Storing Raw Food for Dogs

When it comes to handling and storing raw food, it’s essential to remember that raw meat can contain bacteria that may harm humans and dogs alike. It’s important to handle raw meat separately from other food items to prevent cross-contamination.

Store raw food in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer, and make sure to label it with the date it was purchased, as it can go bad quickly.

Comfort Level in Handling Raw Meat

If you decide to take the plunge and feed your dog a raw diet, it’s important to assess your comfort level when handling raw meat. For some people, handling raw meat can be unsettling, and it may take a while for them to become comfortable with it.

Gloves and disinfectants are useful tools to help reduce the ick factor.

Preparation of Raw Food for Dogs

Preparing a raw diet for your dog can be time-consuming, and it’s essential to ensure that the ingredients are appropriately proportioned and balanced. Depending on your approach to feeding raw food, the preparation method can vary significantly.

For example, preparing a BARF diet may require more selection and chopping of vegetables, meat, and organs, while the RMB Prey Model would involve cutting and serving chunks of meat, bones, and organs. Raw food preparation can also be a busy endeavor, and pet owners may want to pre-portion and freeze meals for convenience.


Raw feeding for dogs may be gaining in popularity, but it remains a topic of heated debate, with good reasons for and against it. It’s important to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of raw feeding, and to ensure that the diet is appropriately balanced, and safety precautions followed.

While it can take time to adjust to storing, handling, and preparing raw dog food, the result can be a healthier, happier, and fitter companion in the long run. Raw feeding for dogs is a controversial topic that has drawn divided opinions both in the pet owner and veterinary communities.

Advocates of raw feeding point to the various health and wellness benefits that this type of diet can provide, while skeptics warn of the risks to pet and human health. In this article, we will examine the possible benefits and drawbacks of raw feeding for dogs.

Benefits of Raw Feeding for Dogs

Health Benefits for Dogs

There are many health benefits associated with raw feeding for dogs. One of the most significant benefits is improved dental health.

Raw feeding reduces the buildup of tartar and plaque on dogs’ teeth, leading to healthier teeth and gums. Raw feeding may also decrease the risk of bloat, a life-threatening condition that can occur when dogs eat too fast or ingest too much air.

Pleasure and Relief from Boredom for Dogs

Another benefit of raw feeding is the pleasure and relief it can bring to dogs. Eating a raw diet can provide dogs with a more engaging feeding experience, as they can enjoy chewing and gnawing on bones.

This allows them to enjoy natural behaviors that they would exhibit in the wild. Eating a raw diet can also help relieve boredom, as it provides dogs with plenty of sensory stimulation.

Other Benefits for Dogs

Raw feeding can also have other benefits for dogs, such as producing smaller, less smelly poops. This is because raw food is more easily digestible than processed foods, reducing the amount of waste that dogs produce.

Raw food can also improve the health of dogs’ anal glands, which can be prone to infection and inflammation.

Risks of Raw Feeding for Dogs

Intestinal Perforation from Bones

One of the most significant risks associated with raw feeding is the possibility of intestinal perforation from bones. This can occur if dogs are given bones that are too small or that they end up swallowing.

Bones can splinter or break apart, causing sharp pieces that can puncture the intestinal tract. This can be life-threatening, requiring emergency surgery to correct.

Intestinal Impaction from Semi-Digested Bone

Another risk associated with raw feeding is intestinal impaction from semi-digested bone. Raw bones can take longer to digest, leading to a buildup of bone fragments within the digestive tract.

This can cause constipation, blockages, and other digestive issues.

Other Risks

Raw feeding poses other risks to dogs and their owners, such as the risk of bacterial contamination. As with all raw meat, there is a risk of Salmonella, E.

Coli, and other bacterial infections. This risk can be minimized by handling and preparing the food safely and selecting high-quality, trustworthy sources for raw food.


As with any dietary choice, raw feeding has its benefits and risks. Supporters of raw feeding maintain that it provides numerous health benefits and a more engaging feeding experience for dogs, while detractors point out the risks of bacterial contamination and bone-related blockages and punctures in the digestive tract.

As a pet owner, it’s essential to consider all the facts and dangers before making the decision to switch to a raw diet for your furry companion. Consult with your veterinarian and ensure that your raw food is consistently sourced from trusted, high-quality suppliers, and handle and prepare it appropriately to help minimize the risks.

Raw feeding for dogs remains a subject of heated debate in the dog-loving community. While proponents suggest numerous benefits, such as healthier teeth, stronger immunity, and a more engaging feeding experience, detractors warn of the risk of bacterial contamination, bone-related injuries, and digestive obstructions.

Whatever this type of diet you choose, it’s crucial to evaluate the risk-vs-reward ratio, make a well-informed decision, and take extra safety precautions throughout the feeding process. If you opt to perform a raw diet for your pet, consult with your veterinarian and invest in high-quality food from trusted suppliers, and always handle and prepare it appropriately to minimize risks.

Ultimately, the decision to feed your dog a raw diet should be based on what’s best for their overall health and well-being.

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