Young dog chewing on raw meaty bone

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat? Yes!

When pet parents first hear about raw food diets for their furry friends, their first thought is often: “Can dogs even eat raw meat?” And it’s no wonder why. As humans, we (for the most part) stay away from uncooked meat because our bodies can’t handle it. But this isn’t the case for our canine companions.

Not only can dogs eat raw meat, they should! Read on to learn more about why you should feed your dog a raw diet.

Your Dog Is Designed to Eat Raw Meat

Did you know all dogs are anatomically designed to derive nutrients from raw animal protein - including raw bones and fat? Yes, even your furry little lap dog has the right short, simple digestive tract; a high level of hydrochloric acid in their stomachs; and a hinged jaw, all designed to eat and digest raw meat. And the same goes for larger breeds and everything in between.

So, can dogs eat raw meat and chicken? The answer is a resounding yes from a biology standpoint!

Can a Dog Get Sick From Eating Raw Meat?

Another worry pet owners have about raw meat diets is that it will make their furry friend sick. However, dogs can eat raw meat without getting sick. In fact, Dogs Naturally points out that dogs aren’t any more likely to get sick from eating raw meat than they are from eating kibble.

It’s also important to note that when it comes to contaminated pet food, kibble is more often than not the culprit. Data from FDA Enforcement Reports, from January 1, 2012 through September 12, 2022, found that of all pet food recalls due to pathogenic bacteria contamination:

  • •97% was kibble-style pet food

  • •1.4% was treats

  • •1.1% was raw-style pet food

  • •0.1% was dehydrated or cooked-style pet food

Raw food is a safer option for your pet, especially when it’s prepared with high-quality ingredients and properly stored.

Dogs can eat raw meat and not get sick because of their digestive system that’s designed to handle bacteria in the gut. Your dog has a highly acidic stomach and natural digestive enzymes that help them process even harmful bacteria without becoming ill.

How We Feed Raw Keeps Dogs Safe

Of course, the quality of the raw meat and preparation are key to keeping your pup healthy. Always choose high-quality meats that are stored and prepared correctly (i.e. never left at room temperature too long) to avoid any bacteria growth.

At We Feed Raw, we go the extra mile to ensure the food we provide is always safe and healthy. We use only high-quality, human-grade meats and produce our recipes in a USDA-certified facility. We strictly adhere to industry-standard best practices and precautions. All ingredients must comply with rigid incoming quality assurance specifications.

Most importantly: As part of our food safety program, we use HPP (high-pressure processing). High-Pressure Processing is a non-thermal pasteurization technology that employs ultra-high water pressure (up to 87,000 psi) to neutralize food-borne pathogens such as Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella. Because the process uses pressure rather than heat, there is little to no change in product taste, texture, or nutritional value. 

What Kind of Meat Can Dogs Eat?

When it comes to feeding your dog raw meat, most proteins are safe. Dogs can eat raw meat and chicken as well as duck, turkey, venison, and lamb. They can enjoy a mix of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone from these animals.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat Bones?

Your pup can eat meat, but what about giving your dog a bone to chew on? The answer is once again yes, but with some stipulations. 

Recreational bones (beef ribs, beef kneecaps, etc) are great for mental stimulation, jaw exercise, and teeth cleaning. In fact, in the raw feeding world, they're affectionately referred to as "nature's toothbrush." 

With recreational bones, your dog is meant to chew the meat off the bone but not actually eat the bone itself. Recreational bones can be fed in addition to the diet and do not replace meals. Once your dog is done chewing the meat off of a recreational bone, pick up the bone and throw it away. If you've never fed your dog a recreational bone, we advise first doing so under supervision.

Raw meaty bones (chicken backs, turkey necks, etc) are the types of bones that are used for a complete and balanced raw diet (these are finely ground into our patties). Raw meaty bones are meant to be completely consumed and are often fed as a meal or part of a meal.

Never give your dog a cooked bone to chew on since these are dry and can splinter.

How Often Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

If meat is so good for your pup, does that mean your dog can eat raw meat every day? Yes!

With the right balanced raw diet (more on that next), your dog can enjoy raw meals every day. And there’s no right or wrong way to incorporate raw food into your pet’s diet. Adding even 25% raw to your dog’s daily meals can have overall health benefits.

Whether you choose to feed your pet 100% raw, mix it with their typical pet food, or use it as a topper, it’s completely up to you.

Should Dogs Only Eat Raw Meat?

There’s a misconception that a raw diet for dogs consists only of meat. But that should never be the case. A nutritionally balanced raw meat diet is made up of the correct ratio of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone, plus added vitamins and minerals. You may even incorporate other proteins (like eggs), along with fresh veggies.

Dogs shouldn't be fed raw meat from the grocery store as their whole diet. The ground hamburger or raw chicken at the supermarket is meant to be cooked for human consumption. As is, it’s not nutritionally balanced. 

Benefits of Raw Meat Diet For Dogs

Giving your dog raw meat as part of their diet is great for their well-being. Dr. Richard Patton highlights that adding more raw meat to your dog’s diet can lead the way toward healthier gut bacteria, balanced blood sugar, and a better endocrine system. 

Overall, this means a healthier, happier pup!

Want to learn more about the benefits of feeding your dog raw? Read more here about why we feed raw.

Raw food for dogs by We Feed Raw

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