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Normal Blood Values And Raw Fed Dogs

The majority of vets don’t advocate raw feeding and much of the reason for this is they don’t understand much about it.  The result is that many vets are alarmed when the raw fed dog’s blo0d values are skewed and this can result in costly and unnecessary follow up care for the dog and his owner.

Blood testing results from raw fed dogs will often differ from those of their kibble fed counterparts and this is something you should be prepared for if you ever need blood work done on your dog.  Below is a quick summary of what blood values are typically different.

The results below are taken from a study by Dr Jean Dodds that involved over 200 dogs of various breeds fed a raw diet for a minimum of 9 months prior to collection of the blood samples. The results of the laboratory tests were compared to healthy dogs fed dry kibble diet.  Most of the blood values were comparable with the exception of the above.


Hematocrit 51.0 ± 6.6 – 53.5 ± 5.6% 47.6 ± 6.1% 37 – 55%
BUN 18.8 ± 6.9 – 22.0 ± 8.7mg/dL 15.5 ± 4.7mg/dL 6 – 24mg/dL
Creatinine 1.20 ± 0.34mg/dL* 1.07 ± 0.28mg/dL 0.4 – 1.4mg/dL

* results found only in dogs fed a Volhard diet

Below is further information.

  • Hematocrit

    Hematocrit is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells in whole blood. Decreased Hematocrit (anemia) can be caused by poor nutrition, parasites or chronic disease including cancer and liver disease. Increased values (dehydration) are more of a concern with the dry kibbled fed dog than the raw fed dog because of the lack of moisture of the diet. Raw fed dogs are also more likely to get adequate iron and vitamin B from their higher quality protein diets.

  • BUN

    Blood Urea Nitrogen is a waste product derived from protein breakdown in the liver. Low levels are most commonly due to inadequate protein intake, malabsorption, or liver damage. Increased levels can be caused by kidney damage, certain drugs, low fluid intake, intestinal bleeding, exercise, heart failure or decreased digestive enzyme production by the pancreas. Raw fed dogs typically have higher BUN levels because they consume more protein.

  • Creatinine

    Creatinine is also a protein breakdown product. Its level is a reflection of the body’s muscle mass. Low levels are commonly seen with inadequate protein intake, liver disease, kidney damage or pregnancy. Elevated levels are generally reflective of kidney damage and need to be monitored carefully.

Be prepared when your dog needs blood work done. Keep this guide and have it ready to discuss with your vet.


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