Yes, dogs can eat raw meat … and they should! Feeding a complete raw meat diet to your dog is the best way to provide a balanced diet. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there about feeding a raw food diet to dogs.
This can be confusing and discouraging for dog owners who want to do what’s best for their dogs. So let’s answer the question … can dogs eat raw meat? Here’s the truth behind 7 of the most common questions people ask about a raw meat diet for dogs.
Is Raw Meat Good For Dogs?
Yes! Raw meat is what your dog’s body is built to eat. Raw meat is easy for him to digest … and a raw-meat based diet can provide him with all the nutrients he needs to thrive. It’s what he would eat if he was living in the wild, hunting for his own food. He might eat some berries and grasses as well, but raw meat would be his first choice if he could find it.
It’s also the first choice of holistic veterinarians, like Dr Marty Goldstein.
Is A Raw Meat Diet A Balanced Diet?
Raw meat diets can easily be balanced to meet your dog’s complete nutritional needs. But one of the main myths that big pet food companies spread is that raw meat diets aren’t balanced, and don’t provide all of your dog’s nutritional requirements.
It’s true that just feeding your dog a juicy steak won’t provide all of the nutrients he needs to thrive. But, this isn’t what a commercially prepared raw diet or a properly formulated homemade diet is about.
Feeding a raw diet to your dog is about much more than just meat. Dogs fed a raw diet need variety in their meals to provide all of the nuitrients they need for optimum nutrition. You also need to add bones, organ meats, essential fatty acids and whole foods … to supply vitamins and minerals that will keep your dog healthy.
Can A Dog Get Sick From Eating Raw Meat?
Your dog isn’t any more likely to get sick from eating raw meat than he is from eating kibble. Various well-publicized health scares have made consumers worry about salmonella and other pathogenic bacteria. What’s ironic with these reports is that no one seems concerned about commercial kibble recalls due to contamination.
In fact, your dog’s digestive system can handle bacteria in the gut without a problem. Dogs’ bodies are built to prevent harmful bacteria like salmonella from invading the body and upsetting the healthy balance of intestinal flora. Dogs have highly acidic stomachs as well as natural digestive enzymes and bile that help them process Salmonella and other bacteria without becoming ill.
Some dog owners worry about the risk of bacteria for people in the home, especially children. But, just like when you prepare meat for your family, you can avoid contamination by practicing sensible hygiene. Clean utensils, dishes and surfaces used to prepare your dog’s food, and of course wash your hands and teach your kids to do the same. Also, make sure you buy your dog’s food from a reputable supplier who uses good quality meats.
Isn’t It Complicated To Feed A Raw Meat Diet?
Feeding your dog a raw meat diet can be as simple as thawing a frozen patty and putting it in your dog’s bowl. It’s not like you have to go out with a bow and arrow and hunt down prey to prepare it for your dog from scratch!
To really make it easy, you can buy a pre-made frozen raw diet for your dog. Or choose a freeze-dried raw food that just needs rehydrating in water or broth.
Even if you prepare DIY raw meat meals for your dog, it’s no more time consuming than shopping for yourself. You don’t need a degree in canine nutrition to get things right!
It doesn’t have to be. Compared to most kibble, commercial raw-meat diets are usually more expensive. But feeding a raw diet may be less costly than you think, especially if you prepare his food yourself. Dogs can eat cheaper cuts of meat, plus bones and organs, that don’t have to cost a lot.
You can save money by buying meat at a local abbatoir, butcher or farm, and look for cheaper cuts of meat that will provide just as much nutrition. Your dog doesn’t need filet mignon to have a healthy diet, and he’s not squeamish about icky-looking squishy organs like liver or brain! And he’ll love chewing on raw meaty bones that help provide the minerals and other nutrients necessary for strong bones and muscle development.
One other factor to consider is that your dog will likely be much healthier on a raw meat diet … so you’ll save money on vet visits!
Does Raw Meat Make Dogs Aggressive?
This is one of the biggest myths surrounding feeding a raw meat diet to dogs, and perhaps the one that has done the most damage.
The thought that feeding your dog a healthy, complete raw diet will turn him into a slathering beast with insatiable bloodlust is based purely on fear.
Feeding a raw meat diet won’t make your dog aggressive. Of course, with any food that your dog really enjoys, he may get possessive and won’t want to share! So it’s essential to teach your dog good manners and polite behaviour around food … no matter what type of diet he eats. A raw meat diet won’t cause or worsen any behavioral problems in your dog, nor turn him into an aggressive monster. In fact, research shows that raw diets actually improve your dog’s mood and behavior.
Is It Dangerous To Give Bones To Your Dog?
If you use the right bones, they’re not dangerous for your dog. But not all bones are suitable for dogs.
First of all, never give cooked bones or small, fine bones. Fine bones can splinter and cooked bones become brittle. These can create a choking or intestinal blockage risk. But these aren’t the types of bones you’ll include in a raw meat diet for dogs.
Wild dogs and wolves gnaw on raw bones to get essential calcium and other minerals …and bones help to keep their teeth clean and strong. Providing that you choose raw bones that are the right size for your dog, they’re an essential, healthy, highly palatable addition to your dog’s diet. Choose raw meaty bones from non-weight-bearing animal parts like necks, tails and ribs. They’re softer so your dog can chew them up and swallow them so he gets all the nutrients.
If you prefer not to feed bones, you can use a dried bone powder or bonemeal.
Can Toy And Small Dog Breeds Eat Raw Meat?
Yes, they can! Many people think of a raw meat for dogs as being just for large, robust breeds, and that you shouldn’t feed raw to small and toy dogs. But that’s not true.
People are afraid their small dogs might choke on bones. But if you choose the right size bones, your tiny dog can enjoy a raw meat diet just as much as his larger cousins. Bones that are good picks for smaller dogs include chicken or duck necks and wings, and lamb riblets. (Or, if you’re still worried, use a bone powder as suggested earlier.)
Why Choose Raw?
OK, so raw feeding is good, but why bother? There are several reasons, including:
- Most kibbles contain between 25% and 45% carbohydrates, which dogs have no nutritional need for.
- Commercial kibble contains aflatoxins – toxic substances produced by fungus that can cause everything from allergies to digestive upset to cancer.
- Kibble can include lot of plant based protein that’s not beneficial for your dog.
- Most commercial processed foods contain added synthetic vitamins and minerals, which your dog’s body doesn’t absorb well, and can be harmful long term.
- Raw feeding is not only better for your dog’s digestive and immune system, it’s also great for healthy teeth, skin and coat.
Your dog relies on you for a lot. If you want to give him the best chance at a healthy life, raw is the way to go. Fresh, whole foods can provide your dog with everything he needs to be healthy.