Raw Diet For Dogs: Will It Improve Your Dog’s Health?

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Bowl of raw meat: raw diet for dogsRaw dog food diets are controversial. While some think this is the way dogs were meant to eat before dogs became pets, others think dry dog food is the correct diet for our four-legged fur balls. Let’s dig into raw food diets for dogs more so you can draw your own conclusion about whether this diet live up to the hype.

Article Overview

What Is A Raw Food Diet For Dogs?

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A raw dog food diet emphasizes uncooked meat (often muscle and organ meat), whole or crushed bones, fruits, vegetables, raw eggs and some dairy.

Raw diets started with racing greyhounds and sled dogs. In 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst proposed extending the diet to family dogs. He called this the “BARF diet” for dogs, which stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Billinghurst suggested dogs would flourish on BARF dog food since this is how they ate prior to being domesticated. He also argued that commercial pet foods were harmful to the health of dogs. However, many vets and the FDA disagree with Billinghurst’s views.

What Are The Claimed Benefits Of Raw Food Diets for Dogs?

Billinghurst and his supporters say the benefits include:

  • Shinier coat
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • More energy
  • Smaller stool

Potential Risks Of Raw Diets

While there are potential upsides and some veterinarians may recommend it, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is not on board with BARF. Citing a number of studies, the AVMA discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal proteins because they can contain potentially deadly pathogens that can sicken your pet and possibly be transmitted to humans. Yikes!

Other possible disadvantages include:

  • Bacteria in raw meat poses a threat to the dog’s and human’s health
  • Giving whole bones to dogs presents a risk of choking, broken teeth or internal punctures (learn more about if dogs can eat bones)

Transitioning Your Dog From Dry Food To Raw

It’s important to remember that transitioning your dog to a new diet is a slow process. Below is a rough schedule you can use for this dietary shift. If you notice your dog isn’t feeling well, you should go back a day in the transition plan and proceed at a slower pace. For example, if your dog struggles with 1/2 serving, shift back to 1/4 serving for another day or two before moving forward.

Another thing we’d like to mention is that raw diets are only safe for dogs 12 weeks and older.

  • Day 1: give your dog only water, no food
  • Day 2: 1/4 of raw diet serving and 3/4 of regular diet
  • Day 3: 1/2 of raw diet serving and 1/2 of regular diet
  • Day 4: 3/4 of raw diet serving and 1/4 of regular diet
  • Day 5: full raw diet serving size

Break the daily serving size into two meals per day: one in the morning and one in the evening.

Raw Dog Food Recipes

Want to get your dog started on a raw diet? Here is a recipe you can try out. We should note that the nutritional balance varies based on the breed and size of your dog, so talk to your vet about the best option for your pet. Or better yet, get one of the brands we recommend to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 oz chicken livers
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 1/2 c baby spinach
  • 2 whole eggs (including shell)
  • 1/2 c plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Note: It is critical that you use high-quality grade meat and understand that there are risks associated with consuming uncooked meat. In addition, there are several foods your dog should never eat so plan your recipe accordingly.

Directions

  1. Put carrot, apple and spinach in food processor and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add remaining ingredients except for beef and process until well combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add the beef until well mixed.
  4. Form into patties the size of your palm and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Freeze patties and transfer to a storage container to keep frozen.
  6. The night before you wish to feed, remove the patties from the freezer and place in refrigerator to thaw.

Best Raw Dog Food Brands

Give Your Dog A BoneBillinghurst’s book, Give Your Dog a Bone, has sparked commercially processed raw dog food diets to help pet parents who are short on time.

These store-bought food products are freeze-dried or frozen to maintain their nutrients and consist of grains, vitamins and vegetables (the pet owner purchases raw meat separately and adds it to the mix).

Below is a list of our top picks for raw dog food brands:

Video: How To Determine Serving Size

Wondering how much to feed your pup on a raw diet? Learn more in this video:

Bottom Line: Every Pup Is Unique

Just because your furry friend gobbles up a raw meat diet, that doesn’t mean it’s right for all dogs. Some animals might never be able to switch due to food sensitivities or other health issues. We strongly emphasize discussing your dog’s specific needs with your vet before making any dietary changes and being patient in the process. Remember that any diet change can cause some stomach issues.

If your dog does get sick or needs medical attention, see a vet right away and consider getting pet insurance now so if a need arises, your medical costs would be partially covered for any exams and medications of issues that exclude preexisting conditions. Learn more about the benefits and if pet insurance may be a good fit for you. You might also check out these other homemade dog food recipes that contain cooked food as an alternative to raw.

Why are you considering a raw diet? Have you tried it with your pup?

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Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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Debra Barnes
My dog, yellow lab, has many lipomos. Was wondering if a raw diet would help with this?
Angel
Don’t cook the bone or give big animal bones like cow, pigs, etc to your dogs they should be fine bone splinters when cooked and they are dogs even tho domestic they are still animals designed to eat raw food by nature, but ya slowly make the change don’t just cold turkey dry food, slowly do it
Bryan Mendez
Help my names Bryan,
I had recently got my baby boy Astro He’s a pit bull he’s currently 8 weeks old, I heard over the years that pit bulls pick up allergies from different things, I’ve been feeding him That blue wilderness food with a wolf in the cover (puppy) one. But, also heard that raw diet has a bunch of benefits yanno they’re immune system and stuff. I’ve been told to do raw and honestly It sounds great and want to give it a try. I’ve been debating getting the foods myself but also seen places that deliver the same foods weekly and been interested in that
Kind want some feedback on what to
Brian Cullen
There is zero peer review scientific evidence that raw is better (or worse ) than dry , it’s all anecdotal .
Kam
It’s important to remember that most domesticated dogs are pampered house pooches very far removed from their wolf ancestors lifestyle and needs. A raw diet may very well be appropriate for certain working dogs but a good brand of dry food might very well be appropriate for many others. I’ve had 3 dogs all fed with dry food that live very healthy lives with minimal to no healthcare issues. My current dog runs with me up to 4 miles. no diet is going to be appropriate for all for a variety of reasons. I don’t see any reason for people to get so defensive over something so trivial.
Kathy Nugent
My little love Boober has lost his battle with cusions disease. We put him on the raw diet using the recipe on this site about a year after his initial diagnosis. It had almost an immediate effect. He had developed brown/black crusty areas all over his body witch immediately cleared up. He seemed like he felt better and happier. His certoid number dropped to one digit above normal where they had previously been 4 to 5 hundred too high. Although he still drank water and urinated more than what you would consider normal this symptom did improve and drop somewhat. Our Boober had seizures, continuous and persistent seizures. We were never able to determine if this was from a tumor, we just couldn’t afford the tese, but the seizures frequency dropped somewhat however they never stopped. He would go a few days without a seizure but then we would have 1 or 2 a day (meaning 24 hours) for a few days then he would skip a couple days and so forth. He lived 7 months after we started him on this diet. Watching our little love suffer with this horrible disease was almost more than I could handle. I don’t know at this point if I will ever get another dog in the future but if i did I would consider feeding this diet from the get go.
Elizabeth
I have feed all my dogs for over 30 years a raw diet and I have had Newfoundland’s and Great Pyrenees live to be healthy and happy anywhere from 13-15 years when if you know anything about either of these breeds you know they say typically they live from 9-11 years. I believe wholeheartedly in a raw life style. After all, for thousands of years these were wild animals and ate anything that crossed their paths. So for you all to poo poo something you seriously know nothing about. Do your homework and see if this way of life is best for your pet.
Gtb
Absolutely a wrong thing to do feeding raw food. Aggression will become apparent and likely inevitable by feeding your dog raw. Try moving to a farm with poultry and other free range live stock and let us know how that worked out? (Guranteed chicken killers and a death sentence) The risk of bacterial diseases being transferred to humans is imminent. Proper dry good quality dog food is more than satisfactory. So many unnecessary risks are eliminated besides why do you think most manufacturers of raw use black packaging that is not recyclable?
G Stockton
If you buy from a reputable firm there food has by law to be tested for salmonella and results forwarded to DEFRA. You are more likely to get salmonella from dried dog food, and that has been proven
fali
but….why are we moving to a chicken farm? lol
BillionDollars
I’m feeding raw food now for 8 years and let me tell you that all this lies that people can come up with that it will lead to aggression or bad health or that it can contain salmonella is so far from the truth. I did breed dachshunds and from between 3 – 6 weeks started pups directly on raw, they grow slower because that is how it needs to be. The mothers don’t even look if they had pups during the nursing time until from 0 – 12 weeks and when the pups are taken away she is in better condition than any other females that eat kibble.

If dogs do get ill on raw diets it is more like tick fewer or poisoning, but not from raw food. One thing you need to remember is that dogs are more like scavengers and their tooth are the way they are because it was made to tear things apart like meat from bones.

I make my own raw food and I know what is going in it. I myself took in rescue dogs and put them on raw food. The only behavior problems they have or get is they look better and get very noisy at eating times because they enjoy their food.

Even dogs that are thrown to IVDD like the dachshund when feed raw their chances to recover are better, but you need to take an IVDD dog within 12 – 24 hours to get acupuncture and not other harmful painkillers, I know because I walk the road once and then when it strikes again I was prepared with better knowledge and all 3 that went down with IVDD walk again without any surgery.

Back to the raw food, if you make your own then you know what they eat. Commercial dog food is more like junk food and it only makes dogs sick. See how many dogs get diabetes, cancer and start to suffer more allergies than ever before and then they start to get illnesses that humans get. Let you think, doesn’t it?

Alana
That’s why you train your animal to have manners.
Kourtnie D Nandlal
This person has absolutely NO clue as to what a raw diet will and won’t do! I have dobies and wolf dogs, live on a working farm with horses, goats, chickens, and other various livestock both big and small. I feed raw, have for ages, as a matter of fact my vet highly recommends a raw diet, and never not once have had aggression from any of my dogs! Dogs have shorter digestive tracts and produce more stomach acid than humans so the risk of food borne illnesses are almost non existent! Proper food handling on our end also eliminates that risk, obviously this person has never cooked a home cooked meal for themselves and knows nothing of safe for handling! Commercial food is full of poison, just research DCM and then look at all the recalls!
Do your research, learn from educate folks, stay away from ignorance like this person!
RCB
My dogs aren’t on a raw diet. We live in the country with goats, cats, rabbits, and birds. My dogs still would love to chase and make a meal of any of them if my dogs aren’t kept contained.
Andrew D
My labrador grew up with chickens which free roam our property. He’s not on a 100% raw diet. He still eats kibble, but I feed him a lot of fresh, raw chicken thighs with bone and skin. He’s got a strong prey drive and loves to chase deer, rabbits, coyotes and cats, but he learned very quickly as a puppy that live chickens are off limits. That seems to extend to wild ducks and geese, because he doesn’t pay any attention to them when we go to a lake. He never bothers the chickens, and in fact seems to regard them as part of his pack. I’ve seen them cosied up next to him in the back yard taking a sun bath, and he never minds when they walk up and investigate peck around in his food bowl while he’s eating. My point is: Once a dog learns to kill and eat other animals, it becomes a problem. But a dog that is properly fed will expect his food to come from humans and will ordinarily never make a connection between his food and live animals.
Joe
my Service dog eats raw and he works at preschool with me and also lives with my farm and small animals on my homestead of pets my Guinea pigs and Chickens/Turkeys/Ducks nap on him my goats butt and chase him around like he’s just another kid my mini horse plays fetch with him the pot belly sleeps in his bed and knocks him off the couch when they hang out and my cat steals his food (she’s such a BRAT! and she doesn’t eat raw she’s just a jerk) so no aggression here as Service Animals legally can’t be so he isn’t (also why are you here if you don’t like raw sounds like a very sad life if this is what you chose to do with it)
Cyndi Daniel
Can you recommend any books for me to read on raw feeding. My next rottie puppy is going to be fed that was. Than you.Can you send me a message back on messenger? Having problems with my Email. Thanks!
Evelyn Petersen
I believe dehydrated raw or cooked food would be more beneficial for dogs,I don’t trust regular Vets., or the FDA, because there pockets are being padded by name brand pet food companies as well as pharmaceuticals!
Trisha
Amen, that’s the truth!
Sandy mike
I agree totally. I worked at 3 different vets in my lifetime and there are meetings to actually tell the clients their animals will get sick if you don’t use example(Iams) I was appalled it’s ALL about money. My dog has been on raw meat since a pup mixed with a little dry dog food
Rich
Had my GSD pup on a raw diet for several weeks. He had loose stools and I thought it was the raw diet but it wasn’t. He still had diarrhea with the best quality kibble, which is not a good diet for any dog. My dog eats human food, a mixture of rice, veggie mix and shredded cooked chicken breast or beef and chopped apples. He would have been fine on-the raw diet. Raw diets are work to manage as they need more than just meat, they need some bone and veggies. the bagged kibble is easy and convenient to those not interested in learning what good nutrition is for the canine and feline friends.
Leslie Lund
I would never give my dogs raw meat. I am terrified of pathogen’s and or bacteria. I am too scared to try it.
Sandy mike
My dogs bowels got corrected with raw food He’s 78 pounds and stool is small and odorless. After watching endless videos and switching over. I am convinced that it was the right move. No more stinky poop and shedding.
Gtb
You are right besides it turns a lot of dogs into aggressive beasts. People think they know better until they come to realize that their dog displays aggressive behavior like a pack feeding on deer kill. The germ and bacteria factor is another good reason to steer clear. Whether it be dry or wet all manufacturers do it for the money just like the rest of us do what we do to earn so this conspiracy theory is utter nonsense and the talk of fools.
Nancy K.
Seriously?? What do you think dogs ate before kibble was ever formulated in the late 1800’s? Educate yourself before assuming this to be true.
BillionDollars
Leslie, don’t be terrified to feed raw meat, your fur friend will love you for that and you will add extra years to their lives. You can start with raw mince, the once you prepare for yourself and see how they enjoy it.
dawn
Recommend reading Lew Olson’s book “Raw & Natural Nutrition for Dogs”. She explains so much about dogs digestion and why raw is acceptable and preferable to processed dog food diets.
Also details why grains are should not be a mainstay in diet
She recommends cooking the vegetables and pureeing them to add to raw meat vs just using uncooked veggies. She encourages variety of animal proteins and such – to help with a more balanced diet. She discusses supplimentation (a critical component if you do not feed raw meat bones). It all makes sense but I believe the proof is in the “pudding”. If you dog is healthier then its good for your dog. It is a bit of an expense, but there are ways to help with the budget. FB raw feed groups, check with butchers and restaurant supply houses for better deals on meat. Its a learning experience to be sure!
Kathy Nugent
Our 13 year old Maltese started having seizures and 18 months ago was diagnosed with Cushings disease. I believe due to the heavy dose of daily medications he is on he gradually quit eating all together, we could only entice him with table scraps, we tried everything from the cheapest to the most expensive. I read that a raw meat diet cuts down on the certoid production so we gave it a try. He loves it, he’s been on it for 3 weeks and is doing well. The first thing I noticed is he had developed scabby crusty sores all over his body, they have totally cleared up. He is due for blood work in a couple weeks, we are anxious to see the results.
Kelley Archer
I hope it helps. My girl has Cushing as well. Her skin is so dry and I have a terrible time getting her to eat. I hope the blood work looks good for your pup.
anne
I just adopted a 3 year old dog. He has a bad smell to him. I read he may have yeast and It was suggested I use a raw diet. I just started him of zignature. (pet store recommended) After about a week I was thinking of mixing it with raw. Not sure if this will help but I am willing to try anything. Bath don’t help either. Also goat milk was suggested. Any thoughts.
Britta
Raw meat is not so difficult but a bit more expensive. I switched my dog to all raw due to allergies/yeast infections on his skin. Eye of round and chicken are the best price. My dog is much improved and his smell went away. He looks better and feels better. BARF diet is what I essentially follow. Imitating what he would eat in the wild. Livers, hearts, necks,…. I do add brewers yeast to his food which helps the gut.
Aphrodite
Hello! I am a mother of two beautiful youg girls both adopted from our local animal shelter. Zoey is an pitbull terrier mixed. adopt at age one year,She is now five years old. Bella! beagle mixed. she is 9 month. old. My girls dont suffers from any significant medical condition, however have seasonal allergies. I researched best diet to feed my girls to help them remain healthy for long as possible. According to Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst.He suggested dogs would flourish on BARF dog food since this is how they ate prior to being domesticated.He called this the BARF diet for dogs, which stands for Bones and Raw Food or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. I agree with his Philosophy due to the results I have with zoey. I added a nutrient supplement and thier food .As for your dog ! May I suggest adding A nutrient supplement called Dinovite. This product has help limit the amount of hair shedding, and paw biting. I noticed her coat is shiny and help with energy levels. I hope this helps! GOOD luck!
Karen
Don’t mix raw with kibble. The bad smell is yeast. Google “probiotics for dogs” – will help fix his yeast problem. It will take a while and even seem like it’s getting worse before it gets better. For info go to the Adored Beast website (I haven’t tried the products but the videos are very informative)
Rebecca
Have his anal glands checked. He may need to have them “expressed”.
Gtb
Or pull his paw!
Laura Summer
Zignature has pea and chick pea in it as a main ingredient. Not yeast free. You can start raw by mixing at first with kibble to transition but definitely give all raw a try. We use Primal or Small Batch. There are also probiotics for dogs and they can help. Dr Karen Becker has good information on this too. Yeasty smell in ears is a sign of yeast in body and can be reduced. Good Luck!
Jaime
Karen Becker is my “go to”! LOVE HER!!!! Apple cider vinegar is a GREAT probiotic for dogs!
Selma
I use acv in my boys water daily as a deterrent for fleas/ticks. Didn’t know about the yeast.
Unknown
I think that’s perfect! Try it out and if he looks better in about a month or a few days you know he/she is doin good!
Unknown
Dont mix dry food with raw, only go with raw, or cooked meat but buy vitamins to put back in after done
Jaime
All of our dogs do this EXACT diet. Zignature with Stella and Cherie’s raw, krill oil, apple cider vinegar AND primal goats milk. WONDERFUL!
Sandy mike
Go raw. I had reservations at first. This rescue puppy would have smellin loose stool after feeding him dog food. I switched 4 years now. Stool is amazingly small and NO smell to it. He’s 78 pounds tons of energy and is super healthy.
Gtb
His teeth should be checked
Mark
My dog had the same thing, horrible smell. Vet said to wipe him with baby wipes. You might have to shave him to get the wipes to touch his skin. Or use hand sanitizer and rub it all over him. Baby wipes cleared my dog up fast. He stunk!
Deirdre
One of my pugs had a terrible coat with dandruff and bald patches when I adopted him (18 months old). Official allergy testing yielded 14 different foods he was allergic to, including fish, rice, beets, carrots, spinach, corn, cow’s milk, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey, etc. So, I started him on raw meat from a butcher with USDA inspected (for animals) meat. I also cooked him an organic egg white omelet with green beans,green peas, and other “legal” vegetables in coconut oil. In addtion, he gets Primal Frozen raw nuggets. His coat now is shiny (he’s a black pug), no dandruff, and he seems to thrive on it. He just turned 12. I have a younger pug (adopted age 4, now 6) who was a show quality pug and show pug momma. She’s itchy and attacks her feet. Her muzzle is very flat, and she had surgery to help her breathe better. I put her on mostly raw, mixed with her Earthborn Weight Control kibble as a transition from her previous owner’s diet. She is allergic to wheat and kangaroo (!). Unfortunately, she still is itchy, so I’m trying to figure that out. It may be her breeding–show pugs are somewhat “deformed” in my opinion, so her genetics may be part of the problem.
Cindy
I’m considering raw for my 9
Year old portugese water dog for the same reasons. How much do you give them based on their weight?
Britta
I read 2.5 to 3% of their body weight. My dog I
Weighs 109 pounds and gets 3 ponds of meat per day (2meals) that seems to work for him. He is very active.
Tricia Pearson
What’s your secret to the cost? Our GSD is 54lb 7 month old puppy. She’s breaking the wallet! Lol we can hardly wait until she’s past the puppy stages and be able to drop from almost 3lbs a day to 1lb. Poor thing can’t digest anything other than cooked or raw.
Karen
Might take a while for the gut to repair itself – try a probiotic to help it along
George
I think you always have to look at both sides of the argument. Yes, there is always the potential that there are harmful things in raw dog food. But, if one were to look at the ingredients in dry or canned dog food, they would be appalled. The chemicals in those foods are incredible and often more harmful to dogs than people understand. I made the switch to raw dog food after my dogs just didn’t want to eat dry food anymore. I started ordering food online and its been an amazing switch. My dogs have never been sick from the food, they have shinier coats and healthier teeth. I would recommend it to anyone who is considering the switch and has a high energy dog.
Kat
What brand are you ordering online, if I may ask?
Amber
If you click on the blue “online” word above, it connects you to the brand – raw wild.
Gene
Please don’t use this kind of language in this forum. Not only is it improper, it makes you both appear ignorant.
Vegan4Life
Ew, I would NEVER give my dog raw food!
Meat4Life
You’re probably a disgusting unhealthy person who knows nothing about nutrition.
GrownUp4Life
Grow up Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I am all for RAW think it is the only diet for my pets. Keeps them healthier and I know exactly what they are eating. No roadkill or floor sweepings for my pets, only free range hormone and antibiotic free meats.
But it is just ew to others and that is ok too.
Gtb
The person is a Vegan or did you miss that? Insulting a comment or ones opinion with disparaging remarks speaks volumes as your being Meat4life
Margaret Montalvo
You may not eat meat. Canines of all walks of life started eating raw food. Don’t be so ignorant.
Britta
As you know, carnivores eat raw meat by nature. That’s the food that is intended for them and us. My dog thoroughly enjoys a self caught rabbit, fur and all. Animals are smarter than people in the food sense, they eat what they need, we think about it and eat what we want. There are no fat animals in nature.
Tricia Pearson
You would if you were watching her die right before your eyes. My dog has EPI. She’s only 7mos old and upto about a month ago she could digest any kind of kibble or overly cooked food. She’s on a strict raw only diet and now making the most perfect poops! We are so proud and excited when she has a beautiful poopy! Don’t discriminate. Everyone one has a preference and some of us have a must!
Beth
I’m switching my GSD’s over to raw due to skin infections and ear infections my male mostly how is it working for you and can I just make the switch also giving them bones scares me to death
Rosie
I’ve been feeding my two Aussie girls a raw food diet for four years. It IS scary at first. Research and read and educate yourself. You will get better at it. At first it can be tricky on your dogs’ bellies, but you can research how to transition, too. Stick to it and you WILL see good results.

I just wanted to address your fears about feeding raw bones. I did try little ‘soft’ bones like raw chicken wings or thighs, but I’m just too wary of it and I was scared sick the whole time they’d be chewing them. At first I thought about getting a grinder to grind raw bones, but the powerful type I’d need for that are much too expensive. I ended up by giving calcium in the form of powdered egg shells. I bought a small electric coffee grinder. I buy organic eggs whenever I can (to reduce chemicals that are used to commercially wash the eggs). I rinse the shells with plain water then dry them overnight on the counter. I then grind them to a fine powder and add about a half teaspoon to each raw food meal. Each dog gets a whole raw egg yolk and egg white in one meal per day, and my husband luckily eats alot of eggs! If you don’t have a good egg source, you could ask friends or co-workers to save the shells for you, or maybe even your favorite breakfast place.

Good luck on your journey! My advice: Don’t be afraid of it, educate yourself to gain confidence and improve with time, remember that variety is KEY to a balanced raw food diet, use pre-biotics and pro-biotics, look at your dogs’ poops every day, and don’t listen to naysayers. Read all you can. Good luck!

Penny
I have a Miniature Poodle, a Toy Poodle and a Mixed Pug/Yorkie. We are so lost on raw feeding. Bones scare the heck out of me and how do I know they are getting the nutrition and how much to feed? Bones? What kind of bones?
Rosie
Penny:

Your fears show that you are concerned about doing it right. The more you can educate yourself, the more confident you will be that you are giving balanced nutrition. This website has articles you can read, as do many others. Do a web-search for raw-food recipes. You will see that it’s essentially like feeding different stews or mixed ‘burgers’ (variety of muscle meats, small amounts of organ meats, variety of veggies, variety of fruits, pre- and pro-biotics that are either in natural form or as purchased supplements).

You can do a web-search of what veggies and fruits are good or bad for dogs. One thing I do is buy a mix of baby salad greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens, arugula, etc) and chop it up well and ‘wilt’ it in very hot water and add to the meats. You will find what works for you.

You do not have to feed bones! You can give them finely ground eggshells, which are 95% calcium. Your dogs are small, so just give them no more than ½ tsp per meal. Adult dogs will just poop out excess calcium, so no worries. If your dogs are under a year you have to be sure not to give too little or too much.

Just remember that it IS a learning curve! It will never be as cheap or easy as dumping dry or canned food in a bowl. However, the satisfaction of doing the best you can for your beloved pets makes it a labor of love. Good luck on your journey and congratulations!

Becca
Rosie,

Do you have any recommendations on educational content. I currently have a 10 year old mastiff that is struggling. We’ve had to stop giving her kibble because even after years of her eating it, it’s now making her sick. We are on a cooked chicken diet that’s helping but I think raw is the transition we are considering to make.

Rosie Homer
The first thing we did was to leave the vet we had for 30+ years and instead now go to a Holistic vet (who was once also a traditional vet). She was a great help in discussing the importance of food on canine health, the transition, the expected results, and suggesting educational reading materials. The best, easiest to understand, most comprehensive book was “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats”. The Vet also performed traditional tests, diagnosed a problem our girl had, helped us begin the raw food diet, re-tested, and now our girl is fine in large part to the raw food diet and should live a long, healthy life. I encourage you to order the book, but also be sure your beloved mastiff doesn’t have a specific health issue that should be addressed in ways other than just diet alone. Best to you…and your much loved girl.