Raw Food Diet for Dogs: A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide
If you’ve been thinking about switching your pup to raw dog food, you may have a lot of questions, like what is a raw food diet for dogs? Can dogs even eat raw meat? Is raw meat good for dogs? What are the benefits of a raw diet for dogs? Is raw meat for dogs safe? Can puppies eat raw food for dogs?
Here’s everything you need to know about raw dog food for beginners.
What Is Raw Dog Food?
Raw dog food is an uncooked diet for canines that features a mixture of raw meat (and associated connective tissue and fat), organs, and bones. Some people also choose to add fruits and vegetables to their dog’s raw food diet, but those ingredients typically aren’t necessary since dogs are biologically designed to thrive off animal parts alone.
While humans need to cook meat before consuming it to remove pathogens and properly digest it, dogs are still designed to safely eat and digest raw meat, just like their wild wolf ancestors. Unlike humans, dogs have strong stomach acid, bile, and digestive enzymes that are specifically designed to kill pathogens and break down raw meat.
Is Raw Meat Good for Dogs?
Yes! Raw meat is the diet nature intended for dogs, as long as it’s nutritionally balanced. Just giving your pup muscle meat without including any organs or bones would cause nutritional deficiencies, so it’s crucial to provide food (like We Feed Raw) that has the right proportions of muscle, organs, and bones.
Why Is Raw Dog Food Better Than Cooked Homemade Dog Food?
If you love cooking for your family, you might already cook for your dog (or be interested in trying). While cooking for your pup is a far better option than highly processed kibble, raw is actually the best diet you can choose for your dog. Cooking meat also removes much of its nutritional value, which then needs to be added back. Your dog is designed to get the most nutrition from raw food; feed them what nature intended.
Benefits of a Raw Food Diet for Dogs
Raw food has a wide variety of benefits for dogs of all ages. Here are some of the reasons people are switching their dogs to raw diets.
Smaller, Firmer Stool
Since raw food for dogs isn’t packed with species-inappropriate grains, fillers, or other ingredients your pup can’t digest, your dog will have smaller, firmer poops on a raw diet. That’s because your dog is actually digesting and absorbing more of their food, so less comes out as waste.
Improved Skin and Coat
With its increased moisture and healthy fats, dogs fed a raw diet tend to have healthier skin and coats than dogs on other diets. Additionally, with fewer ingredients, raw diets may be less likely to cause allergies. In fact, a recent study at the University of Helsinki showed that puppies fed raw food are less likely to grow up to suffer from canine atopic dermatitis compared to puppies fed kibble.
Since gut health affects skin health, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that dogs fed a species-appropriate raw diet have healthier skin and shinier coats than dogs fed kibble or canned food.
Packed full of carbohydrates that dogs can’t properly digest, kibble is one of the leading causes of the pet obesity crisis—more than half of all dogs and cats are overweight or obese—and obesity causes many of the same health issues in animals as it does in people.
Switching to a raw diet and cutting out certain treats may help your dog lose excess weight and maintain a healthy figure. 90% of our customers said their dogs maintained a healthy weight after switching to We Feed Raw.
Better Dental Health
Highly processed foods like kibble contain high levels of starches and sugars that can cause unhealthy bacterial growth. As much as dry dog food manufacturers want you to believe that kibble is good for your dog’s dental health, it’s about as effective at cleaning your dog’s teeth as eating crackers would be at cleaning your teeth.
On the other hand, raw dog food contains naturally occurring enzymes that do help protect gums and teeth. We also recommend feeding recreational raw bones a few times a week to naturally clean plaque and tartar from the teeth while also providing jaw exercise and mental stimulation.
More Mealtime Excitement
Would YOU be excited to eat kibble for every meal? Since dogs were designed to eat raw meat, they naturally get more excited for the scent and taste of We Feed Raw than they would at the sound of hard brown pebbles clunking into a bowl.
Stronger Immune System
When your dog’s body doesn’t have to work as hard to digest their food and extract nutrients from it or fight off inflammation caused by species-inappropriate ingredients, the immune system can better do what it’s meant to do: fight off illnesses and keep your dog healthy.
Commercial pet foods typically contain a huge variety of ingredients that dogs weren’t designed to digest, which can trigger allergic reactions. Since We Feed Raw uses only species-appropriate animal meat, organs, and bones, it’s less likely to trigger allergies, making for happier, healthier dogs.
Potential Concerns About a Raw Diet for Dogs
Pet food companies want people to be afraid of a raw meat-based diet for dogs, so there’s a lot of misinformation out there about raw feeding. Let’s talk about some of the potential concerns you may have about feeding a raw diet for dogs.
“Raw dog food could make your pup or your family sick!” You’ve likely heard a friend, family member, or even your veterinarian warn you that raw meat could make your dog or even your human children sick.
Since raw and undercooked meat can make humans sick, it’s natural to worry. However, with some basic food safety precautions and We Feed Raw’s high-pressure processing (HPP), you and your entire family can stay safe while your pup enjoys the diet they were built to eat.
High-Pressure Processing (HPP)
Also used to ensure the safety of food intended for human consumption, high-pressure processing (HPP) is a food preservation method that uses cold water and high pressure to inactivate potentially harmful pathogens without affecting the integrity of the food itself.
Some foods you may already buy for your family that are often sanitized using HPP include juice, guacamole, seafood, salsas, baby food, fruit purees, dairy products, and many more.
We Feed Raw uses USDA-certified human-grade meats with strict compliance requirements of BRC-safe quality food manufacturing, so you can be sure your pup isn’t eating diseased animals that could make them sick.
Raw Dog Food Safe Handling Tips
You likely wash your hands and disinfect surfaces after handling raw meat when you do your own cooking, correct? Taking these same precautions after handling raw meat-based diets is simply the final step in ensuring your entire family stays safe.
There’s no getting around the fact that raw dog food is more expensive than kibble because it isn’t filled with cheap ingredients that bulk it up without adding any nutritional value. However, you may save money in the long run by having fewer vet bills thanks to having a healthier pup. Also, you don’t need to commit to feeding your dog a fully raw diet to reap its benefits.
Save Money in the Long Run
If your dog suffers from allergies, dry skin, obesity, or another malady that may be caused by their diet, switching them to raw food may actually save you money in the long run by improving their health and reducing their health-related expenses.
Mixing Raw Dog Food With Kibble
Can’t afford to feed a strictly raw diet? No problem! It’s totally safe to mix raw dog food and kibble. Your pup will still get some of the benefits of a raw diet even if it’s not the only thing they eat.
Trying to create a perfectly balanced raw diet yourself can be extremely time-consuming. From measuring the ingredients to ensure your dog gets the right proportions of everything they need to sourcing things like organs and bones, raw diets can be a time suck—but they don’t have to be.
We Feed Raw Is Easy
Made from approximately 80% meaty meat (muscle meat and associated connective tissue and fat), 10% organs, and 10% finely ground bones, We Feed Raw’s patties provide complete and balanced nutrition. All you need to do is thaw, portion, and serve, making our raw food nearly as easy to feed as kibble.
Unfortunately, most vets are given little education about pet nutrition in vet school, aside from what they learn from kibble-funded studies. Most veterinarians only spent a few hours learning biased information about the best food for dogs or cats.
How to Talk to Your Vet About Raw Dog Food
You should reassure your vet that all We Feed Raw meals have been formulated by a PhD animal nutritionist with 30 years of experience. All of our recipes are complete and balanced and comply with AAFCO recommendations for dogs of all life stages. Finally, inform your vet that We Feed Raw uses high-pressure processing (HPP), a USDA-approved pathogen-reduction step that is effective at neutralizing Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria.
Choosing the Best Raw Dog Food Diet for Your Dog
How do you pick the best raw food for your dog? There are many factors to consider. Do you have the time and expertise to do it yourself? Are you looking for a commercial diet?
A few things you should keep in mind when selecting raw dog foods include:
•Make sure the diet is complete and balanced
•What steps does the company take to protect the food?
•Do you need to add anything extra to make sure your dog gets the proper nutrients?
•Do they deliver directly to your door?
•Where do they source their meats?
If you still have questions about We Feed Raw, check out our FAQ page.
Which Is the Best Raw Meat for Dogs?
Some dogs have allergies to specific meats (most commonly beef or chicken), and there’s no one best raw meat that’s perfect for all dogs. Each protein source has its own pros and cons. We recommend rotating between at least 3 different meats so your dog gets the most well-rounded diet they won’t get tired of.
How Much Raw Dog Food to Feed Your Dog
A wide variety of factors go into determining how much raw food to feed your dog, but a general rule of thumb is to feed 2-3% of their body weight each day. What does that look like?
•100-lb dog = 2-3 pounds of food per day
•50-lb dog = 1-1.5 pounds of food per day
•25-lb dog = 0.5-0.75 pounds of food per day
It’s sometimes easier (especially with smaller dogs) to convert their weight to ounces. Simply multiply your dog’s weight by 16 to get their weight in ounces; then use that number to find out how many ounces of raw food they should get per day. For example:
•A 25-lb dog weighs 400 oz and should get 8-12 ounces of food per day
•A 15-lb dog weighs 240 oz and should get 4.8-7.2 ounces of food per day
•An 8-lb dog weighs 128 oz and should get 2.56-3.84 ounces of food per day
Keep in mind that dogs who are younger, more active, or need to gain some weight may need more than 3% of their weight in raw food per day, while senior, inactive, or obese dogs may need less than 2% of their weight in raw food per day.
We Feed Raw makes it easy. When you take our quiz and tell us about your pup, we tell you exactly how many ounces of We Feed Raw you should feed your pup each day. You decide how many meals to split that amount into.
Can Puppies Eat Raw Dog Food?
Yes! Puppies can begin eating raw food as soon as they start weaning off their mother’s milk. We Feed Raw is an excellent choice for puppies because all our food goes through high-pressure processing to neutralize pathogens, making it a safe, natural choice.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs?
Yes! Dogs can absolutely eat raw eggs. In fact, eggs are full of nutrients, like folate, riboflavin, iron, fatty acids, and more. We recommend only including a raw egg in your dog’s diet a few times a week, however, since too much egg white can cause a biotin deficiency.
How to Transition Your Dog to Raw Food
Many dogs are prone to stomach problems when switched to any new diet suddenly, so it’s best to transition your pup to raw food gradually. We recommend adding 25% raw food to 75% of your dog’s current food for 3 days, then feeding a 50/50 mix for 3 days, then feeding 75% raw and 25% of their old diet for a further 3 days before transitioning fully to We Feed Raw on Day 10.
Get Started With We Feed Raw Today
Hopefully, we’ve managed to answer all your questions about raw feeding. Take our quiz now to find out how much We Feed Raw your pup will need each day and make the switch to our balanced and complete, easy-to-feed patties today.
What is raw meat for dogs?
Raw meat for dogs is an uncooked diet that consists of a mixture of raw meat (including connective tissue and fat), organs, and bones. It is based on the natural diet of their wild wolf ancestors and provides the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
Is feeding dogs raw meat safe?
Yes, feeding raw meat to dogs is safe when it is nutritionally balanced and handled with proper food safety precautions. Dogs have strong stomach acid and digestive enzymes designed to kill pathogens and break down raw meat, unlike humans.
What is raw dog food?
Raw dog food is a diet consisting of uncooked animal parts, such as meat, organs, and bones, which is designed to mimic the natural diet of dogs' wild ancestors. Some people also choose to add fruits and vegetables to their dog's raw food diet, although these are not typically necessary.
What is a raw dog food diet?
A raw dog food diet is an uncooked, species-appropriate diet for dogs that features a mixture of raw meat, organs, and bones. This type of diet is based on the natural feeding habits of wild canines and is believed to provide numerous health benefits for domesticated dogs.
What is feeding raw meat to dogs?
Feeding raw meat to dogs involves providing them with a diet of uncooked animal parts, such as meat, organs, and bones. This type of diet is designed to closely mimic the natural feeding habits of wild canines and offers numerous health benefits for dogs.
Should dogs eat raw meat?
Yes, dogs should eat raw meat as long as it is part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Raw meat is the natural and species-appropriate diet for dogs, providing them with the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
What is feeding dog raw meat?
Feeding dog raw meat involves providing a diet consisting of uncooked animal parts, such as meat, organs, and bones. This type of diet is designed to closely mimic the natural feeding habits of wild canines and offers numerous health benefits for dogs.
What is raw feeding for beginners?
Raw feeding for beginners is a guide for those who are new to the concept of providing their dogs with a raw food diet. It covers essential information, such as the benefits of a raw diet, potential concerns, how to choose the best raw dog food, and how to transition your dog to a raw food diet.