Raw Dog Food Diet for Dogs Pros and Cons

Raw dog food recipesNote: This post has been expanded into an ebook with 10 easy raw dog food recipes and a guide to raw feeding. Click the button below to download the ebook.

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I always wanted to switch my dog to a natural, raw diet. I held back because I needed to do some research on canine nutrition and the pros and cons of a raw diet for dogs.

Feeding raw doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s not as easy as tossing a cup of kibble in a bowl.

To see if a raw diet is right for my dog Ace, I did a lot of research. Next, I decided to feed him a pre-prepared, commercial raw diet for 90 days to see if the diet works for us. He ate raw dog food that came in ground, frozen patties including meat, organs, bones, fruits and veggies.

Through this post and my ebook, I hope I encourage you to think about switching your dog to a raw diet, or at least a natural, grain-free kibble.

What is a raw diet for dogs?

A raw diet for dogs is simply that – raw. Raw meat, raw organs and raw bones along with raw fruits and raw vegetables if you so choose.

Why is a raw dog food diet healthy for my dog?

Woman who feeds her dog raw dog foodRaw, organic dog food is the healthiest food for my dog because it is fresh, whole and unprocessed.

Dogs can get by on a heavily processed diet (just like their owners get by), but it’s not the healthiest. A wide variety of fresh, unprocessed foods contribute greatly to a dog’s overall health.

Why can’t I cook the meat for my dog?

I can, but why would I?

Raw meat and raw vegetables are healthier for most dogs than cooked food because cooking destroys the enzymes needed for superior digestion and nutrient absorption, according to The Whole Dog Journal, a monthly publication for dog owners. These enzymes survive the freezing/defrosting process just fine.

Raw dog food recipesRemember, dogs ate raw meat for thousands of years before “dog food” was invented.

To learn more about feeding your dog a homemade raw diet, download my ebook for $9 using the button below.

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Why is dry dog food kibble bad for my dog?

I do not have to be a vet or a nutritionist to realize that most commercial dog foods are not ideal for Ace. Please read the ingredients of your dog’s food and let me know what you find out.

The first two ingredients in a dog’s food should be high-quality proteins, according to Michelle Smith, owner of Natural Pet Center in Fargo, which sells natural dog food and other pet products.

These should be specific proteins like duck or chicken. Other ingredients should be high-quality fruits and vegetables. Grain is not necessary, and all corn and by-products should be avoided.

When an animal goes to a slaughterhouse, only about half of that animal is used in human foods, according to Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy organization. These “other parts” (heads, feet, blood, unborn babies, etc.) are considered by-products and are used in pet foods.

“Meat meal,” “poultry meal” and “by-product meal” are also common ingredients in pet foods, according to Born Free. The term “meal” means the ingredients have been rendered.

Rendering plants take all the random, leftover body parts and boil them down to a broth. Although the high temperatures kill bacteria and parasites, the natural enzymes and proteins found in raw ingredients are also destroyed.

An animal that died on the farm may not reach the rendering plant for several days, according to Born Free. By this time the carcass is highly contaminated. Although so called “4D” animals (dead, dying, diseased or disabled) are now banned as ingredients in human food, they are legitimate ingredients for pet food.

There are also no laws or regulations against using rendered roadkill, horses, dogs or cats in pet foods, according to Born Free. To be sure, only buy dog foods with specific proteins in the ingredients such as duck or lamb, not “poultry meal” or “animal by-products.”

Many pet foods also contain brewers rice as the first or second ingredient, which is an inexpensive rice by-product that contains no nutritional value, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials. The AAFCO sets (unenforced) standards for the quality of livestock feed and pet food.

If you do decide to feed your dog rice (most dogs don’t need grain in their diets), make sure it’s whole grain brown rice.

Commercial dry dog food is also loaded with chemical preservatives, sweeteners and dyes, according to Born Free. None of these ingredients provide any nutritional value to a dog. They are used to improve the taste and appearance of the food. Potentially cancer causing chemicals such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin are permitted in pet foods as preservatives.

Why should I feed my dog a raw diet?

raw dog food
Well, if the above reasons weren’t enough …

1. A raw diet is the healthiest diet for most dogs.

A raw diet is the healthiest diet only if it is done properly. Do your research or you could end up with a very sick dog.

A raw diet is the healthiest diet for dogs because it consists of real, raw meat without any preservatives or by-products. Raw food also contains natural enzymes that haven’t been destroyed by the cooking process.

2. A raw could potentially help to prevent cancer and many other health problems.

While a raw diet is not a “cure” for most health problems, it can definitely help improve your dog’s overall health. A raw diet can help prevent obesity, allergies, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and so much more. Don’t wait until your dog has something terrible like a cancer diagnosis before you switch him to a healthier diet. Switch his diet now in order to potentially prevent future diseases.

3. Dog food companies do not necessarily care about the health of your dog.

Raw dog rood patties frozen and pre-madeDog food companies want to make money. That’s why most dry dog food is made with cheap ingredients like corn, rice by-products and animal by-products.

You can’t trust a bag of kibble to provide your dog with the nutrition he needs just like you can’t trust a TV dinner to give you the nutrients you need. It’s fine every now and then, but a lifetime of eating this way creates serious problems.

4. When you make homemade raw dog food, you know exactly what she is eating.

If you suspect your dog might be allergic to certain dog food ingredients like grain or corn or certain proteins, making raw dog food yourself is a good way to eliminate the source of the allergies, according to Dr. Amy Anderson of West Fargo (N.D.) Animal Hospital. Amy just so happens to be Ace’s vet 🙂

5. A natural raw diet makes it easy to add more variety to your dog’s food.

If I ate the same food for every meal, I would start to become deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. However, when I look at my food overall, I am eating the nutrients my body needs throughout each day or week. This is why you want to mix up your dog’s food.

Once your dog adjusts to one raw protein such as chicken, you can start switching it up and feeding him turkey, duck, salmon, beef, lamb, etc. Plus, you can add all kinds of yummy vegetables to the food such as broccoli or carrots.

6. Your dog will look healthier if she eats natural raw dog food.

Owners who feed their dogs a raw diet claim their dogs have shinier coats, healthier skin, more lean muscle and less fat. They have cleaner teeth and gums, and their breath is less smelly. I hear there’s a lot less poop, too. That’s always nice 🙂

7. Raw dog food contains enzymes that are important to the body.

These enzymes are important for digestion and nutrient absorption. When food is heated above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the enzymes are destroyed, according to Aimee Quemuel in her book “42 Rules to Fight Dog Cancer.” For the same reason, you should include raw fruits, vegetables and nuts in your own diet.

8. You love your dog and you want him to receive the very best care.

The least you could do for him is look into a raw diet and see if it’s something reasonable for you and your dog. No one loves your dog more than you. And no one is looking out for his health better than you. Don’t forget that.

9. Dogs ate raw food for thousands of years.

Eating raw meat is natural for a dog! Dogs have been eating grain-based kibble for only the last 100 years or so. How on earth did they get by without kibble? 🙂

Here is a video of my dog eating raw food:

Reasons not to feed a dog a raw diet

There are, of course, perfectly acceptable reasons not to feed your dog a raw diet. Here are a few:

1. Feeding a dog a raw organic diet costs more.

Some hard-core raw food enthusiasts will tell you that feeding your dog raw does not cost any more than a high-quality kibble. This might be true if you’re going to buy mass quantities of meat in bulk or if you work out a deal with a local rancher.

But who’s really going to do any of that? Not me. If I feed my dog a raw diet, I just assume I’m going to pay quite a bit more. During this trial, Ace will be eating pre-prepared raw patties. If I make the food myself, I will be buying meat from the grocery store. Either way, $$$$. Here are some tips on making raw dog food affordable.

2. Feeding a dog a natural raw diet can give the dog an upset stomach.

There are mixed thoughts on this. Sure, raw meat can make a dog sick, but so can cooked food. A new diet is bound to cause a few digestive issues. Some raw dog food companies and vets say it’s better to switch the dog from kibble to raw instantly, with no transition. The reason for this is because it’s difficult to digest the combo of kibble and raw. Others say to do a gradual switch the way you would with two kibbles. This is the route I am taking. Either way, if my dog experiences an upset stomach, it will pass.

3. Raw dog foods are messy.

Ace the black lab mix eating raw dog food homemade natural pre-prepared organicCleaning up after a sick dog is messy, but so is preparing a bunch of raw meat. It’s smelly, and it sits in your fridge to de-frost. The dog’s bowls and eating area will probably also be messier. And in Ace’s case, there will be more drool, too. You’ll also have to wash your own hands, the dog’s bowls and the area where you prepared the food because of the raw meat and the possibility of bacteria. It’s no different than the precautions you take to prepare your own meat.

4. Feeding a raw dog food diet is time consuming.

If you go with the pre-prepared route like I’m doing, it doesn’t take that much time. You just throw a patty in a dish and let it de-thaw overnight. Then serve. But you will have to wash your dog’s bowls more often. And, if you plan to prepare all the food yourself using your own ingredients, then you’ll spend time planning the meals, shopping for ingredients, storing the ingredients, preparing the food and cleaning up.

5. Storing raw food for your dog takes up more space.

We have a small freezer. Right now my freezer is holding two weeks of raw food for Ace, along with some of my own food. If you have a small dog, storage won’t be as much of an issue. But if you have medium to large dog (or a great dane!) or if you have multiple dogs, you should consider buying a larger freezer for more storage.

6. Some dogs can’t handle all the raw protein.

Old dogs, dogs with kidney issues and dogs with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) are just a few examples of dogs that should not eat a raw diet, according to Anderson.

Always check with your vet if you are not sure.

7. Your vet might not understand the benefits of a raw diet for dogs.

A good vet will listen to you and openly discuss the pros and cons of a raw diet for your dog. If your dog’s vet does not support a raw diet, find a holistic vet in your area or explain to your current vet why you are interested in a raw diet.

Anderson said she typically does not recommend a raw diet for her clients’ dogs because it is too complicated to maintain longterm. It’s also hard to know whether or not your dog is getting a balanced diet, especially if you are making the food yourself.

8. Your dog will be begging for more ‘human’ food.

This will be a nonissue for most of us since most of our dogs already beg.

Lately I’ve been more likely to mix in healthy table scraps, vegetables or cooked meat with Ace’s food or give it to him as treats. Now he seems to expect a piece of banana when I make my morning smoothie. He seems to expect a piece of asparagus when I am cooking vegetables, etc. When he gets too annoying with his begging, I make him lie on his bed in the other room. Poor Ace.

9. It’s difficult to feed your dog a healthy raw diet while you travel.

It may not be realistic to feed your dog raw while traveling. I know I plan to feed Ace kibble when we travel or when he stays at a kennel or with a pet sitter. If switching back and forth is too hard on his digestive system, then it may be better to stick to kibble 100 percent of the time. We will see.

Ebook on raw feeding by Lindsay StordahlLearn more about feeding your dog a raw diet with my ebook “10 Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes.”

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Do you feed your dog a raw diet?

What pros or cons would you add to the list?



169 thoughts on “Raw Dog Food Diet for Dogs Pros and Cons”

  1. What did you feed Ace prior to starting the Raw Food trial? Have you done a cost comparison between the two? Just curious. I think for a lot of people that may be the biggest sticking point, especially if you have multiple dogs.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Cost is the biggest sticking point for me, too. I am going to do a post on comparing costs. Raw is more expensive than kibble no matter what anybody says.

      Ace was eating mostly Evo before. Although I switched the brands up every now and then. Right now he’s eating 2/3 dry and 1/3 raw.

      1. Yeah, I don’t see any way around raw being more expensive, just curious how big the difference is.

        Are you gradually introducing raw with the intent of moving him to 100% raw during your trial, or are you going to continue a mix of the two? I think doing a combination raw/dry might be more doable (economically and practically) but also get them some of the benefits.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          I am mixing them while he adjusts, so for a week or so. Then 100 percent raw. I also thought of doing one meal dry, one meal raw every day, but from what I’ve read, it’s hard on their digestive systems to mix the two. Dry, processed food is harder to digest and raw is easy to digest and they usually don’t do well with a combo.

          That being said, at least one person has told me she feeds one dry meal and one raw meal to her dogs each day and they do fine. It would be worth talking to a vet about or trying it to see how the individual dog does.

      2. Hi Lindsey. Dont forget to add the vet costs on to the side of dry kibble. Now there are no guarantees but, it has been mine and many others experience that raw really does help promote much better health.

        Happy feeding!

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          I agree! Sometimes it’s just still not justifiable, though. Raw food is considerably more expensive and inconvenient than feeding dry.

  2. It’s admirable what you are doing for Ace. He’s one lucky dog to have such a conscientious owner! I will have to read the label on the dogfood bag next time before I purchase it. Right now I’m trying harder to focus on eating healthier myself.

    The dry dogfood in the bag is just so convenient and I also see the cost of raw as prohibitive. What brands of dry dogfood do you feel are the healthiest? Also, is there any scientific proof that switching to a raw diet extends the life of a dog?

    Hope Ace enjoys his mealtimes even more now!!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      There are a lot of high-quality dry dog food brands. You just have to read the labels and look for a food with real protein like chicken or duck or turkey and no by-products. I like Evo because it’s grain free, same with Nature’s Variety Instinct. My cats eat Felidae right now. The dog version of this is Canidae.

  3. I don’t think raw costs more than kibble, certainly if you compare it to a good kibble like Orijen. That kibble costs at least $10 a kilogram here, but it’s generally possible to pick up muscle meats for less than that at the local supermarket, and offal (hearts, kidney, lambs fry etc) is generally about half that on special (always specials at the supermarket we go to).

    (We’re in New Zealand. I know this is in a local currency and most of you guys use lbs not kg, but the principle is presumably the same).

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You can feed dogs raw food for less than the cost of kibble if you really put some thought into it and plan ahead. The problem is, most people (including myself) are probably not going to go through the trouble. Thanks for the tips.

  4. We’ve been absent from the blogosphere for a while, but I was so excited to see you are trying a raw diet with Ace! When we switched Biggie on and off raw/kibble, it was always important to switch ON to kibble slowly, but we switch OFF kibble and on to raw immediately, and have had no ill effects.

    Biggie loves his raw food (I make it myself). we are going on 3.5 years of it and he is super healthy and happy. And he loves to eat!

    By the way, I haven’t found there to be any issue with begging for human food – it doesn’t seem to be linked at all to what Biggie’s eating, and IS linked to how we respond to begging behaviors. If we ignore his begging, he stops.

  5. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hey Biggie! About time we try raw, right? I do worry about when we travel and I have to switch him back to kibble. That will be a pain.

    Thanks for the reminder that if my dog is begging, I’m the one who needs to change MY behavior 🙂

  6. Just by the way, have any of you guys tried eating the dog kibble? – I have always tasted all of the kibble we’ve ever given our dog, and it’s never tasted that good to me. Added to that, most of it tastes fairly similar (maybe they all use similar preservatives). By comparison, most of the meat when cooked does taste good. I don’t of course mean that a dog’s diet is that similar to a humans, but I doubt that my and my dog’s sense of taste is that awfully different. (I’m just reading Patricia McConnell’s The Other End of the Leash, about how she made the effort to use her sense of smell, to mimic her dogs, and was surprised that she could smell a lot better than she thought – and her dogs were quite excited that she was trying to get attuned to their world. By the same token, I think it helps to get some indicator ourselves of what we are feeding our dogs).

    1. I’d say that a dog’s sense of taste has to be awfully different. Like many dogs, my dog has indulged herself in a cat turd or two of the years. She’ll eat grass, dried up and crispy worms and many other things that I wouldn’t dream of putting in my mouth. And in contrast to me not liking things that she does, she hates spicy foods or anything with lots of vinegar on it, or sour or sweet, yet I love them so.

      But we can definitely agree that meat tastes delicious! 🙂

  7. Lindsay Stordahl

    I haven’t tasted any of Ace’s kibble. But I have tried some of those dog cookies that look like human cookies and also some homemade dog treats 🙂 They are always a bit disappointing 🙂

    I really don’t think my sense of taste is the same as my dogs. He will eat cat poop, garbage, dead animals, cigarette butts, etc.

    Still, interesting points you make, especially about making a point to smell things more closely the way a dog does.

  8. Hi Lindsay,

    If you go away or travel look in to feeding a raw freeze dried product rather than switching back to kibble. There are a couple of brands out there but check them out as quite a few of them are cooked freeze dried rather than raw.
    The price is higher but it is way convenient, i feed it to my dogs as dont have much freezer space.

    Sam 🙂

  9. I’ve been feeding my dog raw for about a month due to my vet recommendation. No dry, commercial food at all. My lab has arthritis in her back and was very overweight. In a month, she’s lost 5 lbs. and her health is much improved. Prior to this diet, she could barely get down the deck stairs to go to the bathroom. Now, she follows me around outside and last week even jumped onto my bed!!! I kept a spreadsheet to keep track of the costs and it’s about $1 per day. Yes, I shop the sales for chicken leg quarters and it does take time to separate things and steam veggies for her. But it is well worth it!!!! I should have done this years ago!!!

    1. Paula there is no need to add vegetables so the work you spend steaming them is really a waste of time. Dogs don’t get any nutritional value from green beans because they lack the enzymes to digest them.

      Also, make sure that poultry is no more than 10% of your dog’s diet. Most meats should be red meats like beef, pork, lamb, etc. Poultry lacks the zinc and iron dogs need.

      Linsay, here is a recipe for you. Hand your dog a pork chop. Wow that was hard! LOL!

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Thanks for your comments, Cyndiann. If you are such a strong supporter in feeding a dog raw food, I would think you would want to encourage people like me to make the switch by starting with a commercial raw dog food. It’s a good place to start.

        I am feeding my dog commercial raw dog food for 90 days as a trial. I do not claim to be an expert on canine nutrition. I am looking into several options for what to feed my dog, whether it’s a high-quality dry dog food, a commercial raw dog food or raw dog food that I get for him myself (basically throwing a pork chop in a bowl as you describe). For right now, a commercial raw dog food is a good way to start for someone with no experience feeding raw.

        Vegetables certainly don’t hurt the dog, but people shouldn’t go overboard worrying about feeding a dog enough veggies, either. For right now, I choose to feed my dog vegetables every day (they are in his commercial raw food), and sometimes he gets some veggies as a treat. He loves them, and they certainly don’t hurt him. Plus, they are low in calories.

        Could you please share further information about why a dog should eat red meat vs. poultry?

        1. I disagree that it’s a good place to start. It costs a lot more than feeding plain raw and the veggies do cause problems, usually with skin itches and ear infections. The infections are usually caused by yeast and that comes from veggies and fruit. Didn’t you mention somewhere that your dog is having ear problems? There was some itching problem from what I remember. It’s very likely that the food is the problem.

          If there is a problem with the dog’s reaction to the food you can’t tell which ingredient is the problem which makes an elimination diet almost impossible. When you feed raw you start with just one source, like chicken, so you know what caused the reaction (itching, loose stools, whatever).

          Red meats have the correct amounts of iron and zinc that dogs need. Poultry lacks that. Cats on the other hand do great on poultry.

  10. The other thing I wanted to mention, while feeding our dogs raw they have overall improved in the health from head to end of tail:) My one dog used to have seizure but not anymore. I rather spend money on healthier food for my pets than vet bills/medications. It all boils down to pay vets or raw food? Friendly tidbid;)

  11. The diet you are feeding is not a typical raw diet. The food is ground, it’s loaded with veggies and fruits which aren’t needed and cause things like your dog’s ear infection.

    You also mentioned a lack of energy and that can be blamed on the commercial patties you are feeding. If you were feeding a true raw diet of all meat, bones and organ meats the energy boost would have happened.

    And your dog’s need to drink a lot of water should have gone down and is most likely to be blamed on what you switched to which isn’t a real raw diet.

    Also, what you are feeding is very much more expensive than a raw diet. They charge more and on top of that water down the meat with fillers like vegetables and adding too much liver. Please don’t call those patties a raw diet. It’s still a commercial dog food.

  12. Lindsay Stordahl

    These raw dog food patties are a commercial raw diet, yes, but still a raw diet.

    Perhaps Ace would have increased energy on a “homemade” raw diet of all meat, bones and organ meats. That may be something I will try in the future. His need to drink a lot of water has gone down since I switched him to a commercial raw diet.

    I agree, the commercial raw food I am feeding him is very expensive. It is cheaper to buy the meat and bones myself. This is something I am looking into.

    1. Glad to hear that he’s not wanting as much water now. It’s a sign of diabetes for one thing, although kibble is dry which is not how their food should be so they do tend to drink way more. A dog’s natural food would never be dry like kibble.

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  14. I have been told by numerous reputable sources that it’s a major NO-NO to go buying meats from your supermarket and feeding them to your dog as part of his raw diet. These supermarket meats are full of hormones and antibiotics which are safe for us humans because we cook our meat and they are killed off during the cooking process. Not the case when you feed them raw to your dog.
    Make sure you know where your commercial raw patties are coming from also and how the meat has been treated.
    Lastly, if you want to feed veggies, I think you’re supposed to grind them up first. A dog’s digestive tract is so short that if you don’t start the digestive process for them by grinding up the veggies, the dog doesn’t get much benefit from them, they just pass thru as waste. Think of when a wild carnivore eats prey, the only veggies/carbs they’re getting is from the inside of the stomach of the prey – already partially digested.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Good point on grinding the veggies. That is a very good idea or they will definitely pass right through.

      I disagree on the supermarket meat. If it’s “safe” for us, I’m certainly not afraid to feed it to my dog. However, I also know the antibiotics and added hormones are not things I want to be eating so I choose not to eat meat at all. And I also choose not to feed my dog meat with antibiotics or added hormones. Many people choose to buy organic meat for themselves and their dogs. Stella & Chewy’s proudly advertises that its meat does not have antibiotics or added hormones. It’s too bad, but I do trust this company more than I trust the average company that produces food for humans.

      Thank you for your contribution to this page.

  15. Hi Lindsay,
    Your post has been interesting to follow as we are currently struggling with our lab puppy who is suffering from allergies. After trying 5 different kinds of kibble, he is now on a high fibre vet diet and seems to be responding well, however it is still kibble. She has asked that we keep him on it for 6 weeks to try and ‘stabilize’ his system before we switch him again (either to raw or a different kibble). Our vet is very supportive of raw diets and we will be looking into whether we will go with a ‘barf’ diet including a higher amount of veggies or whether we will go with more of a ‘raw meaty bone’ diet for him.

    I was just wondering about your comment above regarding store bought meat for a raw diet. Even though its safe for us to eat, we cook our meat from the store, we do not eat it raw. As Julie mentioned, I have also read it is not beneficial to buy meat from a store to feed your dog as much of the good stuff they need has been removed to make it suitable for humans to digest (I cannot remember the source…sorry). I’m just wondering if you or anyone else has heard more regarding this issue?
    Thanks so much,

  16. Lindsay Stordahl

    Well, one problem with the grocery store meat is that it’s often very lean. People don’t like to eat extra fat, but dogs need a lot of fat. Dogs also love and benefit from organs, bones and so on. Most of the people I’ve talked to who buy their own meat for their dogs get it directly from a butcher. That way it still has all the “good” stuff dogs need.

    I haven’t bought grocery store meat for my dog. I have only bought commercial raw dog food from a pet food store.

  17. The major concern I have with raw food diets is that while it is true that it is a more ‘natural’ food for the dog and certainly what their ancestors ate in the wild, wild animals are also frequently hosts to parasites such as intestinal worms. That’s part of the reason why humans cook their meat, after all. I’ve heard of commercial processes that destroy bacteria without cooking the meat, but what about things like parasitic worms encysted in the tissue?

    Also, I’m curious what the ‘enzymes needed for superior digestion and nutrient absorption’ are. As far as I know, the only enzymes that assist in digesting food are the dog’s own, not whatever existed in the food he eats. Everything in the meat is broken down into its most basic components to be absorbed by the dog’s digestive tract.

    I quit feeding my dogs commercial kibble some years ago, and briefly considered the raw food diet as a possible alternative. I prepare homemade food for my dogs now, which is partly raw except for meat, which I cook due to the concerns mentioned above.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Good points, Anna! I don’t know the answers to your questions. But they are good ones. I will find the answers for you and let you know.

  18. Great topic! But I have one question any ideas on proportions of food in relation to size and breed of dog? I have never gone full raw diet because i just don’t know how much to give them. I do give them raw meat but have heard that dogs are really omnivores and not sure how much meat to feed them. I have heard the fisrt thing a wild dog eats is the stomach of the animal it kills which would usually be a rodent, bird or small mammal.(not sure if that would be red meat) I also know the coyotes will bring their pups in the yard in late fall and eat the apples that are on the ground under the apple tree. one of my dogs loves to go into the garden and graze…strawberries,rasberries, dug up potaoes and carrots and eats them and that seems to be just from instinct. so I’m not sold on the MEAT only diet.
    I have fed my dogs parts of food that I am already preparing for my family. for example if we are having chicken I take the backs and give it raw to the dogs. (only give a dog raw chicken bones as cooked can splinter and cause serious damage) I have also taken the veggies from making soup stock and fed it to the dogs they love that too. I get using the frozen patties and thier convienience. You can talk to a butcher(small town/ country) and ask for waste (thats the parts no one wants) the big guys sell it to the dog food co etc. The small guy usually just throws this away because no one wants to buy it. If you build a good rapore with them they would probably just give it away. The butcher I use will give me all the bones I need. the cattle leg bones are great I have roasted those ones and then once they have gotten all the marrow out I will put peanut butter and some kibble inside to keep them busy. I also go to other places we live near hutterite colonies and we can get lots of stuff from them too.
    As for raw meat and bacteria it is very important not to leave raw bones lying around as they can be a problem for the humans more so than the animal.
    BUT FYI
    my dogs are on the farm frequently….small feedlot…there is a dead pile and they get into it from time to time…YUCK!!!!But not once has any of my dogs gotten sick from that. As my vet would say what doesn’t killem will strengthen their immune system. (our situation has changed so we are never at the farm esp with the dogs anymore)

    As for antibiotics and hormones almost ALL producers use that stuff and if they say they aren’t; they are lying. The only true organic is the stuff you grow yourself! But thats a whole other blog about getting back to basics and growing our own food…lol

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You know, I don’t have an exact answer for your question, Jenn. Thank you for asking it. From what I’ve found, most people recommend about 8 ounces of meat per day for every cup of kibble the dog was eating. The rule of thumb I hear most is to feed your dog 2 to 3 percent of her body weight. You can take your dog’s weight and multiply that by 16 to get the dog’s weight in ounces. Then take 2 percent of that.

      My dog is 67 pounds x 16 (ounces) = 1072
      1072 X .02 = 21.44 ounces of food per day.
      He needs more than that because he’s naturally lean, so he got about 24 ounces when I was feeding him raw.

      Then take into consideration how much of that total amount will be meat.

      I’ve written a few other raw food posts that go over these issues a bit.

      This post may help you. Scroll down to where it says How much raw food should I feed my dog? http://www.thatmutt.com/2011/04/16/homemade-raw-dog-food-recipes/

      This post also may help. Scroll down to where it says how much meat does my dog need per day? http://www.thatmutt.com/2011/03/18/how-do-i-feed-my-dog-a-raw-diet/

  19. IM NEW AT THE RAW FEEDING AND THERE IS SO MUCH BACK AND FORTH IN FO ABOUT VEGGIES AND BONES. IM SO STRESSED. I WANT TO FEED RAW TO MY DOGS AND CATS. ONE OF MY DOGS DECIDED AFTER A MONTH OF RAW HE DOESNT WANT IT. ARE VEGGIES REALY NEECASSARY, IS PORK SAFE TO GIVE DOGS AND WHAT ABOUT THE BONES, WHAT BEEF BONE ARE SAFE TO FEED? PORK? ANY HELP FOM SOMEONE WHO REALLY KNOWS THANK YOU

    1. Whether or not dogs need veggies depends on who you ask. Some vets and dog owners say dogs are omnivores and some say they are carnivores. I believe dogs do not need vegetables, but I also know the veggies can’t hurt them and maybe they could benefit from the added vitamins.

      Pork bones should be frozen for a few days in order to kill a rare but possible parasite found in pork that can kill dogs. For this reason, I avoid feeding my dog pork.

      As far as bones, all bones can be dangerous. Dogs can break off sharp pieces that can poke them or get caught in their throats or intestines. Large bones are safer since the dogs will have to actually chew rather than snap them apart or swallow them whole. Make sure to supervise your dog in order to make sure he or she is actually chewing the bone.

      That is my two cents. Perhaps someone else would like to chime in.

    1. Some people do. When I fed my dog raw, I continued to give him dog biscuits and other treats. I think it’s a bit ridiculous not to. I may try to eat healthier myself, but I will eat the occasional cookie, slice of pizza and so on. My dog will be just fine if he has a Milkbone.

  20. First off, Lindsay i think this blog is great as it helps get more word out for raw which i think is great for our four legged friends! I have been feeding my dogs raw for the past few years now(my cats are your typical picky felines and refuse to even sniff the stuff so no go yet) but do give them the occasional kibble meal as it is practical at times when you forget to thaw it. Also i have been working at a holistic pet food store for the past year and have learned some really interesting tidbits about raw feeding(whether conventional or homemade). So my opinion to the earlier comment on veggies and whether there good or not is really all dependent on your dog as like people they all have unique digestion tracts so what works for one may not work for another. The general idea with raw from what ive learned is to start basic and just give ground chicken or turkey(including bones, organs and blood) for the first few days or maybe a week or two so there digestive tracts can adjust. Then slowly start adding in your veggies and seeing what agrees and doesnt, usually we recommend making sure your giving two parts green veggies, one part orange veggies and one part fruit, all needing to be ground down to a pulp as dogs and cats do not break down cellulose and so the veggies will pass right through leaving very little nutritional value(so really a waste of your money!). Another interesting concept that is becoming increasingly popular is using no veggies with your meat mixture and adding tripe, which for those of you who arent aware is the lining of animals stomachs and when from a grazing animal such as a cow is basically pre-digested veggies so the dogs and cats will absorb the nutrients from it, saving you from grinding them down and is a pure, easy to digest source of vital nutrients and digestion enzymes. I throw in tripe already as a great mix up for my dogs meals, but would like to try this and see how well they do or do not respond as the concept seems right to me so im sure it will go over well! Hope this helps a bit. 🙂

  21. Hello everyone. After doing alot of research I finally switched my dog over cold turkey. He has been eating raw for about a week now and he loves it. His name is Seiya and he is a 9 month old red Sib Husky. I always knew how to pick out kibble because I used to work with animals, and went to a few courses. I first learned about raw feeding when I met a man that had 5 huskies. He used them for pullling cargo and competative dog sledding. He told me he fed his dogs raw. They were so big a beautiful. Ever since the , I was super interested.

    I have noticed how inexpensive his food is now. Before I would spend about 36$ on a medium size bag of dog kibble which only lasted about 2 weeks. I decided to start seiya off with chicken breasts with bone and leg and thigh with a side of chicken heart and liver. I havent given him any veggies or fruits yet or other meats. Since hes starting off l, i dont want to cram him with all these different raw foods. This cost me about 5$ and I got enough to last him 4 days because he eats once a day ( which is something he chose on his own. He wont eat more than once). Now where i live food is cheaper than in most places, but here is an idea that a pro raw feeder gave me. Go to your local butcher shop. Most people dont buy chicken heads, or animal heads for that matter. They dont by much lungs or livers, hearts, feet, tails etc. So therefore they are sold very inexpensive. You can also see if you csn strike a deal with the butcher ones your a regual, or even before. Sometimes they might give it for free or even close to nothing. When you go to the supermarket buy meats that are on sale or thr ones that are close to being expired (dirt cheap), and freeze right away. If there is a faint smell, dogs wont mind. If the meat is a few days passed but is not rotted, then you can give it to them. Sometimes dogs wilp ven hide their food until ripe because they love this. Hope this helps.

  22. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yes, that is very helpful. I appreciate that you took the time to share this. I hope the raw feeding continues to go well with your dog. I have since switched back to kibble for convenience sake. I still believe raw is probably the healthiest way to go, though.

  23. Im sorry to hear that you had to go back to kibble. But hey, when you go back to raw I hope it works out better. Its a learning process. I studies raw for about a year before I decides to do it. Even before i got my seiya. If you do your homework and read many books and different sources, you will find that it to Be very easy. It will become one of those daily routines that you dont even notice your doing. Also a tip when traveling. I do a bit of trveling myself, by plane and car, so i did some research about the best wy to travel with a raw fed dog. I have yet to try it but here it is. One that surprise me is fasting. It makes sence though. Sogs come from wolves so they have the same digestive system. When wolves hunt they eat a whole lot because they dont know when their next meal will be. Sometimes they go a week without food. Im not saying to fast your sog for a week, but a day or two wont hurt, you just have yo know how. According to what i have learned, you want to fast your dog two days before the trip. The next day you want to give him a whole lot of food. This meathod is called eat fast. Many raw feeders practice this as a weekly routine. It makes them feel like in the wild. Anyway, you feed him a whole lot that day, so when the travel day comes he will fast. After the fasting period you want to feed him more than usual again. You can also try freezing smallet portions and taking a cooler if you are traveling by car. They can live with smaller portions for a few days. Hope this also helps. Just remember to research first. Its all about trial and error.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Well I didn’t “have” to go back. I chose to for my own convenience and to save money, as well. I also researched raw food for a good year before I fed it to my dog. It will always be something I’m considering again. For now, I’m OK keeping him on a natural, dry, grain-free food.

      I really like your idea on fasting during traveling, for shorter trips anyway. So many dogs don’t even have an interest in eating while traveling anyway. There’s too much else going on, or maybe they know they need to take it easy on their stomachs during roadtrips, who knows. Anyway, even on the dry food, I will sometimes fast my dog for a day or two while traveling because he tends to get really anxious and get the runs. So that’s a great idea for raw feeders to try. People are so worried about feeding their dogs on a schedule. They do just fine missing a meal or even missing a day or two of eating. I know quite a few smaller dogs who choose to eat every three or four days.

  24. I can’t recommend fasting and binging for large/large-chested breeds. Overeating is attributed to bloat, which is fatal unless treated in a very short period. Definitely not worth the risk just to avoid the inconvenience of travel.

  25. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yes, that is always a concern for me. My dog has a big chest and a small waist and I do think about the potential for bloat. I just make sure my dog is quiet and has some time to rest after he eats. I save the intense playing and chasing for several hours later.

  26. Just want to share my experience with raw feeding. I have 2 dogs- a 40 lb Keeshond and a 10 lb shitz-poo mix. My Keesie had a sudden onset of seizures at age 4, no known reason after extensive workup. She had the cluster type of seizing and after 2 emergency visits w/ labwork and meds and a $2000 bill I was desperate to find an alternative treatment path. Long story short, my Kees was started on Chinese herbs (Vet prescribed) and I started both dogs on a totally raw diet (which my Vet did NOT agree with). The dog was also weaned off of phenobarbitol over a 6 week period of time. Well, it will be one year Dec 1st since starting all of this, and she has been SEIZURE FREE!! I read a lot of books and blogs before starting my dogs on raw and yes, there was some stomach upset at first (only the Kees- the shitz-poo did great from day one).. As far as cost- it costs about $40-50 a month, depending on what I feed them. After about 7 mos, I transitioned to a cooked meal in the morning and raw chicken w/ bones at night- mostly because I got tired of handling raw meat twice a day. I was spending at least that much on dry/ wet processed dog food and treats per month before starting raw/ homemade. I do give a few supplements w/ the cooked food- digestive enzymes, crushed eggshell and kelp. My dogs are doing great, their teeth are shiny clean, coats are beautiful and both are nice and lean. I would never go back to processed foods. Good luck to all- do your research and most of all, don’t be afraid to try this method of feeding.

  27. Why isn’t anyone recommending the commercially prepared “RAW FROZEN DIETS”?
    Nature’s Variety, or Primal ? I have just started my English Bulldog on Nature Variety’s Raw Frozen Diet and he loves them. I switched him to Raw due to his ongoing health issues – skin problems, ear infections, allergies, etc. and so far he is really enjoying this food. I would never myself go and buy meat from a supermarket and offer it to him. The risk of E. coli and salmonella is really a concern. So I’m sticking with the professionals who make the already prepared “Raw Frozen Diets” and I’m glad I switched, and so is “Maximus”.

  28. Lindsay Stordahl

    The pictures in this post are of Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw diets. That’s what I fed my dog. He loved it. I was also happy with it, except for the price!

  29. Very happy to see all the positives in the comments 😀 I have read SO many who think Raw feeding is so bad. I have also been doing a lot of research and plan on switching mine over to raw as well VERY soon. Just to scarey to feed the commercial kibbles anymore! I have a boxer and choc lab and they are both lacking the energy they should have. I am feeding Canadea right now. I thought that being it is ‘said’ to be a higher quality food that it would be better for them and give them more energy. Not the case really. Maybe a LITTLE but not what I would like to see. Both have been checked for any abnormalities (worms, heart worm etc…) and both are said to be healthy by my vet. We have switched many times and the only thing we have not tried would be the Raw food diet. Worth a try! I have been storing up some raw meats in my freezer for a few weeks now and going to try this next week for the first time. I have also been told to get a few of the books on Raw feeding so will do that today and read a little more before I start! Thanks for writing about this 😀 It has truly helped and loved all the different opinions from your readers.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Best of luck to you, Carrie! I’ve heard quite a few dog owners say their dogs have more energy while on raw food. I didn’t notice that with my dog when he was on raw. He is on a dry kibble right now called Orijen. His energy is low now, but it was low on the raw food too. Let me know if you notice a difference with your dogs.

      Like you, sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with my dog but his lower energy is probably just because he is well into adulthood. He’s 5 1/2 years old.

  30. We just bought a Vizsla puppy, both his parents and grandparents have been fed raw diets for the majority of their lives. It is also supposed to be really good for allergies as this breed can be prone to them.
    We have been feeding our dog about 2lbs of raw meat and bone a day. With a combination of ground meat (beef, elk, bison, etc.) and half a chicken back or neck. Then he just munches away on it!
    We found that raw diet is actually cheaper than kibble. It is costing us about 60 – 70$ a month of food for him. All we did was find a chicken farmer just outside of town and sells us the bag of chicken backs and necks that are 5-7lbs each for 5$. Quiet a good deal. It’s more cost effective because it is most of the parts that they can’t sell anyways.
    Hope this helps and motivates more people to feed their dog raw.

  31. I feed my Shepherd cross a raw diet. Cheap and easy. I buy a box of chicken carcass from my local butcher – 40 lbs for $20. Lots of meat left on and lots of good bones for her. I put about 1.25 lbs into individual ziploc bags and get about 30 to freeze. I buy heart, liver and kidney from the grocery store and food process it with greens ( my leftover asparagus ends, wilting spinach and lettuce, broccoli (which I throw into a bafg and freeze through the monthand whatever is on sale) adding about 1/8 bottle of cod liver oil per blender full. I put these into little Ziploc bowls and freeze as well. Every day I take out a chicken and a greens bowl and put in the fridge. By the time I feed Milli it is half frozen thus is not goopy or messy and it is super easy. A month of food takes me about an hour and I spend about the same as I did when I was buying my previous dog (who died of cancer as did the 2 dogs before him) premium kibble.

  32. I have considered raw, but my dog won’t eat it. I’ll give her a beef bone with a lot of meat on it – she won’t touch it. I have to put it in boiling water for a couple minutes before she’ll chew on it.

    I think variety is the key. No one really has all the answers, and what works for one dog, won’t for another. I give my dog a variety of premium kibbles (usually grain-free) and mix in cooked meat and veg, sometimes finely-chopped raw veg, sometimes canned dogfood (usually while traveling), cooked eggs, sardines, mackeral … I’m sure she wouldn’t object to a ball of raw hamburger tossed in with her kibble mix (I once dropped a raw chicken gizzard on the floor and she ate it… but she’ll eat ANYTHING that hits the floor and she knows she has to get to it quick before I take it away so she probably doesn’t even KNOW what she’s eating. Gloomp!)

    “Enzymes” seems to be the current buzz-word in use and it’s very effective because it sounds impressive but no one really understands exactly WHAT enzymes are! (Including myself!) But I do remember learning in anatomy and physiology that our liver produces over 500 different enzymes… surely that is enough to cover food digestion, you think?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks for your comment, Heidi. I agree with you that variety is key. Some dogs will do well on raw. Others might not do as well. My dog also eats a variety of premium kibbles, usually grain free.

      I’m no expert on enzymes either. All I know is raw food contains beneficial enzymes that aid in nutrient absorption. Raw food enzymes make it possible for us to get the most benefit out of the nutrients in food. Once food is heated to 116 degrees F or so, those enzymes are killed. That’s why it’s important for humans to eat raw (live) food as well – nuts, veggies and so on. There are different kinds of enzymes. Some are produced in our bodies and some we only get through eating raw food. So eat your veggies, kids.

      Perhaps someone else wants to chime in on their knowledge of enzymes.

  33. Hi Lindsay, I have started the raw diet and we are in week two! We LOVE it and so do the dogs. At first they started just licking the meats etc. I was worried they would not eat. They took about 20 min to finish their first meal of a chicken leg quarter and now can eat one in 7 min or before. Just wanted to post a link to the blog I started in case your interested in checking it out 😀 Thanks a lot for all the info you and your readers have shared!

    maxmylie.blogspot.com/

  34. Hi Lindsey, I have 2 almost 14 week old Northern Inuits and I have been feeding them a Raw Diet (along with normal Dog food since they were 10 weeks old (so 4 weeks say)). They absolutely love it. As they are still on 3 meals a day, their first one in the morning is normal wet dog food and kibble, meals 2 and 3 are a raw meat with 2 x the raw veg ie. Chicken wings, chicken leg quarters or heart, liver, turkey (they had a 3 kilo turkey raw between them on Christmas day so didn’t eat much on boxing day) beef mince and cucumber (which they love), raw egg (in shell), carrots, peas, spinach and apple. All the raw food I buy them is supermarket bought, as far as I was concerned this was fine. The cost works out almost half of what it did with commercial dog food, my pups seem happier and they r still full of energy. Oh yeah and they get a bone a day, beef or lamb bones. I still give them some puppy treats too! In Scotland, commerscial dog food is pretty much expensive anyway, so feeding raw is really cheaper. I don’t mush the veg, just chop it up as they won’t eat it mushed. Also my cats are still on commercial as they won’t eat raw.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks for the info! It’s always helpful to hear what other people are feeding their dogs. So glad to hear your puppies are in good hands and that they are doing well on the raw diet.

      1. I’m sure yours are in good hands too! I just hope what I’m doing is right as ther is such conflicting information about Raw feeding.

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          I know what you mean. I always hear that it’s not good to mix the dry food with the raw food because the raw is easy to digest and the dry is harder for them to digest. But I know of some people who feed some sort of combo like you are doing with no issues. You just have to do what works for your dogs.

  35. Hi Lindsay

    I fed my 4 shelties dry kibble since puppyhood and they all lived long healthy lives though they all succumbed to cancer and tumors were also an issue not to mention tartar. I have now decided to take a different route with my new toy poodle puppy. Since bringing him home I have fed him a raw diet of chicken, beef, lamb, eggs , fruits and vegetables. It is a learning process and I am trying to read as much as I can on the subject of raw diets so all your comments are a big help. So far so good beef trump chicken and pumpkin is a big hit .I always keep a bowl of organic kibble handy for him which he nibbles on occasionally but hope to go completely raw if all goes well and our vet gives him a thumbs up at his next checkup.It’s too early to tell if RAW is the way to go but time will tell. Without doubt the price would be prohibitive to families with multiple or large dogs. Perhaps an option for large dogs or multiple dog families would be half kibble /half raw. Good luck all and thanks for all the bits and pieces of wisdom

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Best of luck to you, Monica, and thank you for your comment. The problem I hear about most with doing half raw and half kibble is that some dogs end up with upset stomachs. This didn’t seem to be the case with my dog when I was transitioning him, however. The reason people say it’s not best to mix the two is because raw is easier for them to digest and kibble is more difficult. The combo upsets their systems. If you do a meal of raw and a meal kibble, it would be best to feed at least 12 hours apart or maybe to feed once per day.

      But every dog is different, of course. Heck, look at all the random combinations of food we humans eat! Raw is obviously better for us, too, but that doesn’t mean we eat only raw.

  36. Great article! I was thinking of preparing my dog’s food. Either raw or lightly boiled. But I’m a college student and money is already tight for me. I currently buy Natural Balance dog food. Does anyone have an estimate on how much this raw food diet would cost for a 30# dog?

  37. Hi Lindsay, dissappointed to hear that you switched back to kibble. Although your feeding the best possible kibble available (orijen).
    I am feeding my border collie and pointer raw (Bravo) commercial and it has been working great! I buy the chub and then cut it into 8oz patties and they each get one in the morning and one at night. The cost is significantly lower than Stella’s….but it requires a little more work..but I don’t mind. I thaw it a little and then cut it up and refreeze it. Both of my dogs have more energy and seem more liveleir than before and very little waste. Also their yellow teeth of turned back to white….mostly. I can’t imagine feeding kibble any more since learning what all is in kibble….unless u are feeding a 6 star food such as Orijen, Wellness or Innova. For those tasting their dogs food…please don’t do that until you read whats in the food…..and I don’t mean on the label. Euthenized animals are in some foods and the poisons to kill them are still present. Beware!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thanks for your comment. I know, I do feel bad sometimes that I am not feeding my dog raw. But you know what? I am not even eating the best food myself! If I can’t afford to buy the top-quality food for myself all the time, I don’t think my dog needs to be eating the best food either. I think he can get by on what I consider to be the No. 1 dry dog food on the market. And I’ll get by eating quite a bit of fruits, veggies, whole grains and organic chicken mixed in with quite a bit of pasta, bread, dressings, sweets and other unhealthy crap that I love 🙂

      I always think about switching him back to raw again in the future. My cats, too. Time will tell.

  38. Justine Errington

    Im thinking of changing over to this for my dog and would like to know the quantities of raw and veg, and if u by frozen mince meats?

  39. What an excellent article. I’ve been feeding my dogs raw minced meat and bone for a while now and they are doing well on it. There are only a handful of raw dog food suppliers in the UK but it is a growing market. It can be more expensive than processed dog food but it means less trips to the vets so saves money in the long term.

  40. I’ve just recently switched my dog over to raw. He was on a fairly high quality grain free kibble prior to the switch, about $45 for a 38lb bag. I’m curious what you were paying for your kibble. I currently live in a condo so buying in “bulk” is not an option. It just strikes me as silly to have a chest freezer in a condo! Anyway, my point is, our kibble was EXPENSIVE! (we have a 70lb greyhound) We buy his meat from the grocery store, enough for a week and a half or two weeks at a time, and we’ve found it to be much less expensive than kibble. We buy the “family pack” of chicken or whatever kind of meat, so we save 50 cents per pound or so and keep an eye out for sales.
    Anyway, just thought I’d throw in an example of raw working out as cost efficient. It greatly depends on the quality (cost) of the kibble you were feeding before. AND it is absolutely impossible to pay for that pre-made raw food long term without breaking the bank. It is just crazy what they charge for those packs, especially if you have a large breed dog. And you don’t get to 100% control your dogs diet, which is a major part of why I made the switch. Good luck to everyone making the switch! And make it FUN for both you and your dog.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hey Amanda. The kibble I feed my dog is very expensive as well. Not nearly as expensive as the pre-made raw dog food of course but still high. A bag of Evo (grain free kibble) is about $47 for just at 28-pound bag. Basically $2.50 per day for my dog vs. $7 per day for the pre-made raw food. Nice to know that someone has found a way to save money and feed raw!

  41. We recently got a puppy who had been fed a “homemade” raw diet by the breeder and we are trying to keep her on raw food. We have been experimenting with various raw alternatives. The most cost effective pre-made raw solution we have found so far is buying 5lb Bravo Balance chubs by the case (30lbs). The case costs $67 or $2.23 per lb for chicken. For a dog that eats 1.5lbs/day that works out to $3.35 a day and about $100.50 per month.

    The Balance version of the chub provides the full AAFCO nutrient profile. We like to supplement with some omega 3 via fish oil tablets and/or a periodic meal of canned salmon (with skin and bones) since the AAFCO profile does not include this. We also throw in a raw egg (with shell) some mornings. Mixing in some meals of “Raw Meaty Bones” (chicken backs, turkey necks, etc.) typically lowers the cost a little.

    Other versions of the Bravo chub with fewer ingredients are available for those who have the experience/knowledge to develop their own nutrient profile.

    In general, buying chubs by the case and cutting your own patties saves quite a bit of money versus buying pre-made patties. As long as you have enough space in your freezer and get a good system in place it is not that much extra work.

    Other companies also sell chubs, but they seem to be more expensive (at least in our area).

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you so much for the info! That is not an option I have looked into, but it sounds like a good way to feed raw. Not too expensive and not too much trouble.

  42. Erich Riesenberg

    I pay under $1 per pound for beef hearts bought from the local packing plant. Under 50 cents for beef liver.

    A bag of Russet potatoes from Aldi is 28 cents a pound. Plenty of fruits and veggies can be bought on sale at under 50 cents per pound. Variety is the spice of life, for people and pets.

    Steve Brown of SeeSpotLiveLonger.com strongly advocates feeding mid-grade kibble with fresh food added is the easiest for most people who are unable to properly prepare homemade diets. Spending several dollars per pound for processed pet food is a waste of money in comparison.

    Mary Straus of DogAware.com who writes many of the Whole Dog Journal seems to support this approach. She also advises against the urge to feed only raw organic, in one WDJ article.

    Our pet adoption group uses the Diamond brand products, which includes Kirkland Signature from Costco and Taste of the Wild. Compared across price points, they always provide a better quality for similar cost. Add some freshly pureed fruits and veggies and the pet is better off.

  43. I have found great source of cheap frozen beef,chicken ,fish and … and its more cheaper than premium dry food and healthier.

  44. Great blog…thanx
    I have two shitzu papillon i yr old female dogs
    I have been confused about adding veggies to my commercial (frozen) raw food
    Something about amylase or some enzyme necessary to digest cellulose not found in dogs on a raw diet
    Anyway,,,,,the poster who mentioned pre digested vegetable contents of an animals stomach….called (green)TRIPE…confirmed what I’ve been thinking

    I tried raw tripe and it made me want to throw up
    Canned tripe,,,not so bad

    My question is….is the smelly raw stuff better than the canned

    Another thing…I tried NRG raw dehydrated food with big chunks of veggies
    Here a poo…there a poo….everywhere a poo poo

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I just assume anything raw is always a bit more nutritious than canned food. I have never fed my dog tripe. I hear it is really nasty, but very good for dogs and they love it! Go figure 🙂

      I don’t know why your dogs had a reaction to the dehydrated food. Possibly because it had something new to their systems.

      The key is to try different foods but introduce them all little by little. Some foods will sit well with some dogs and not with others. Many dog owners like raw feeding because of the variety. They don’t get too caught up in a balanced diet. They figure it all balances out over the week, similar to the way we eat ourselves.

      Personally, I didn’t like the stress about worrying that my dog would get sick. And every now and then he would get an upset stomach. He gets an upset stomach even when I switch his dry foods. So for me, right now anyway, it’s just easier to keep him rotating on two or three types of kibble – typically Evo and Orijen. Right now he’s eating a brand called Blue Buffalo.

  45. Our Airedale puppy is now 9 months old. He eats all raw: chicken breast, 1/2 chicken back, an egg, puréed green beans, liver/hearts/gizzard organs, fish oil pill, sometimes some rice. We vary the menu with mackerel in a can, you know those dogs love stinky foods. He’s never had anything but raw—except once at a kennel when I forgot to take his lunch for the day. He had a lot of gas after that cup of kibble, I guess his body was trying to process the content of the food he wasn’t used too. We feed him 3x a day, but we just started him on leg quarters and will be backing off the 3x a day routine, hopefully he can deal with the change. The frozen Kongs is a great idea which I will definitely give a try. Thanks for the information, so helpful!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank YOU for sharing your experience. It’s always helpful to hear about what other dog owners are doing.

  46. This is some very cool info on Raw Diets for the dog. I have been feeding my dog a raw diet for about 2 months and he loves it and looks and feels great! I feed him O.C Raw Dog. He loves all 8 proteins it comes in and the patties are very easy to feed!

  47. I have just recently changed my lurcher who is 15years old, suffers with a pancreatic problem and who had (ashamed to say) only ever eaten a processed diet all her life…..The results have been amazing!!! I was beginning to think I needed to make a decision about her quality of life because the problem with her pancreas was cropping up more and more but I’m thrilled to say that she is like a puppy again!!!! Ok not quite but even though it made sense and seemed the right thing to do I am astounded by how much better she is. sHe has more energy,brighter eyes, better smelling breath, healthier coat, old dog smell has gone and best of all no pancreatic problems!!! My only regret is I didn’t do it earlier. I use a company who deliver a months supply fresh to the door.
    Raw comes highly recommended from me folks!
    Great blog:-)

  48. I feed raw food to all 4 of my dogs and my 15 year old cat. I would not recommend mixing raw with kibble because it takes kibble a much longer time to digest then raw food and that can cause some upset. For those of you who feed “premium kibble” please look into where those foods are manufactured. I researched several of them and was surprised that many come out of the same manufacturing plants as very cheap store brands.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Some people say their pets don’t have a problem with the kibble/raw combo, but I agree with you. I think it depends on each individual pet, however it’s not exactly ideal to mix the two. My dog seemed to do fine when I slowly transitioned him from dry to raw by mixing the two. However, once he was on raw food, if I switched him to a meal of kibble here and there for convenience, he would have tummy issues. He seemed to do better with one or the other or with a period of fasting between the two.

  49. Amber in Dallas, TX

    I am so happy I found your blog, such great information. I recently decided to switch my German Shepherd to raw food, but I do not know where to start. I found an organic canned food that seems to be better than any “kibble” on the market. It claims to have no fillers, uses high quality protein, no corn products… I believe it is made by a company called Dogswell (dogswell.com) and I bought the Nutrisca and Happy Hips canned varieties. They are about $1.50 per 130z can. I have always fed my dog 2x per day so I fed 1 can per feeding and I also bought large, frozen turkey necks. I thawed 1 each day and she has had 1 turkey neck and 2 cans of this new food for the last 3 days. My dog has been scratching an itch for the last 2 months, her undercoat is completely gone! Benadryl had become her only relief, only bc she was too tired to scratch anymore. I had given her a bath, checked for fleas, ticks, bites, any kind of skin rash…nothing. I took her to the groomer to have her shaved bc I was so tired of sweeping up buckets of hair everyday and thats when I had my “aha moment”, light bulb went off after spending about 30 min w/ the groomer. She only feeds her 5 German Shepherds raw and gave me a few sites to check out for supplements, recommended Coconut oil, a holistic vet online, more info from any groomer I ever met. I need to know how many lbs of raw food to feed my dog each meal, is it like I do for myself and add up the calories in the kibble I was feeding and just use the caloric intake as a base? I love the idea for pre-prepared meals, fast and convenient! Any recipes and suggestions you can give will sure be appreciated. In case you are interested in the sites from my groomer I will list them below:

    heidelberg-usa.com Made a supplement called TOTAL Dog Supplement powder- only 1 tsp per day per dog is required and it comes in a 3lb bag for $20!! Will last awhile and has all the things dogs will need on a raw diet.

    google this ” Dr. Karen Becker raw diet ” holistic vet with some great videos on youtube

    Feel free to email me, I look forward to more posts and your advice! Thanks :~)

    1. Amber in Dallas, I am late checking in, very late checking in, but do you know about DFW_BARF — it’s a Dallas area list but members come from far and wide. Lots of good info on feeding Raw.

  50. I am so happy I found your blog, such great information and up to date unlikely other webiste. I have a lots of questions need you ladys help.

    I just starting to learn the raw food for my dog, he is mix with Akita and Shepherd. He is 13yr and have 2 very large fatty tumors under his front leg.. the vet said its too risk to do the surgery so my friend suggested to do raw food diet. But more I read I got more confused. In his age I really not sure will suitable for him , and as most website stating that Vet. are not recommeted so don’t know who to ask.
    It been a week I gave him a mix raw vegetables with ground meat (cooked) He loves it and seems drink less water and kept on sleep.

    Questions;
    Max, he just have check up and teeth clean done, very things fine beside fatty tumors and arthritis. I meanly want him to loss the fatty or slow it down so how many food I should feed him??
    Is any one out there have switch the diet to the senior dog??
    Is ogarnit meat and vegi necessary?? what kind vegi I can give? or may be a recipes?
    How to prepard to make sure its safey? is there have pre-made so my kid can feed him while I am not around? any recommentation??
    How can I start it?? he been out the dry food about a week.

    I have so many questions please excuse my ignorance and help me out.
    Greatly appreciate..

    Vivian
    Confused

  51. Hi there, I just came across your blog today while I was doing a search on different types of collars for dogs. I’m very happy to hear there is a growing community of dog owners that are feeding their dogs raw. I am having great success with my dog – his coat is nice and shiny, eats ‘less’ (my past dogs seemed to eat so much weight in kibble), and his stools are smaller and most of time have a ‘shape’ to them (instead of soft and mushy).

    A few things I’ve learned and come across:
    1. Dogs shouldn’t really be fed ‘raw vegetables’ – wolves/coyotes do not have any form of greens in their diet. Also, mixing meat with veggies would confuse a dog’s digestive system. If you think about it, when a wolf catches their prey, they do not bring along a side of broccoli with his rabbit leg. If you do choose to introduce fruits/veggies into their diet, I would recommend berries only (raspberries/blueberries), and do not mix it with their meat. In the summer months, this is when wolves would supplement their diet with berries if they cannot catch any prey, but they wouldn’t typically eat berries if prey is plentiful.

    2. If you’re thinking it’s expensive to purchase raw food, you should try to find a local butcher for your food. I believe the raw diet trend is catching on, and two local butchers in my neighborhood are selling meat for dogs. What they typically sell is ground up chicken backs, necks, and wings (bone included). They also sell duck, rabbit, beef hearts, and others – it really depends on the season, but I’m sure when it’s Thanksgiving season, turkey for dogs will be available. I pay about $1 to $2/lbs, and I also buy whole chicken backs and necks. I used to spend about $60 to $80 / month on premium kibble (grain-free, all natural, and all other marketing gimmicks), but right now I feed my dog about a pound of raw/day and it’s about $60 a month. Butchers are a great source of good quality meat, for yourself as well as your dog (the supply chain from farm to butcher shop is much shorter than a grocery store).

    3. There are many schools of thought on the meat to bone ratio, but I usually do one day ground meat, the next day bone-in meat (like chicken back/neck combo). In terms of organ meat, one raw dog food supplier recommended 20% of their diet to be organ meat.

    4. A couple of websites that I found very informative:
    http://www.rawfeddogs.net/ (this is a prey-model site)
    http://rawfed.com/myths/preymodel.html (prey vs. BARF diet)
    http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ (great online magazine about naturally rearing techniques).

    Great job with your blog! It’s been a pleasure to read.

    In reference to your old collar post – I’ve had the best success with Martingales and Prong collars.

    1. James C, when the wolf eats that rabbit, he’s also eatting the greens (“vegetables”) the rabbit ate. Most prey animals have digested, semi digested and undigested vegetable matter in their digestive systems. So it isn’t really true to say that carnivores don’t eat it.

      1. Very true about the vegetables. Dogs just need them to be ground up. It isn’t unhealthy for them to eat raw vegetables, they just won’t get the nutrition from them unless they are slightly steamed or food processed. Raw food is the best!

  52. Hi there,

    So I am really new to the raw feeding. There is so much out there and my head hurts.

    I have been looking for a list of great raw meaty bones to give my lab mix.

    So far we have tried soup bones, beef rib, lamb shanks and chickens necks.

    I am really stressed when Nori eats the shanks and rib because she cracks the bones and then eats them. My vet is sorta pro raw but cautioned against lamb shanks after a German Shepard came in and had to have sharp pieces removed from his anus. Ugh. Anyway, what about lambs ribs? Are they as soft as chicken bones?

    Nori barely chews the chicken necks but has had no problems.
    I am just wonderinf if those tiny sharps pieces from beef ribs ang marrow bones are going to be a problem.

    Also which RMBs do you like?

    Thanks

    1. Hi There – any of these websites should help you on where to get started:
      rawfeddogs.net/ (this is a prey-model site)
      rawfed.com/myths/preymodel.html (prey vs. BARF diet)

      A few things to help is to get a kitchen scale to portion out your dog’s meals. The best measurement to use is 2 to 3% of the dog’s adult weight as the daily food portion. For example, a 40lbs dog gets about 1lbs of food a day.

      In regards to bones – I have heard that lamb bones aren’t that good, because they are hard. For serving bones, if you want to comfortable about it, I would only serve chicken/duck (any bird) bones to your dog (raw bone, of course!)

      And, reach out to your local butcher, many in my neighborhood actually ground up the meat from chicken neck, backs, gizzards and bone into an easy serving ground chicken meal for dogs.

  53. Kerrie Harrison

    My baby had an inflammation of the bowel and was regularly going through the vomiting motion. He lost a ton of weight. I was advised by a friend about the barf diet. No vet I seen seemed to give any advice on this. He was on hills zd but had no interest in eating it and when he did he vomited. I decided to give a barf menu with a mix of a single meat each day – lamb, pork, beef, fish, kangaroo, turkey (as chicken upsets him) and dry food another day. I mix the appropriate 20% ratio to body for week then divide that, with offal, mixed with raw Veggie with slight sweet fruit or veg, that I put through a juicer. Pisco has improved significantly… But my healthy dog is having bowel problems. The kangaroo and pork are too rich for her and her bowels are loose. Should I mix all meats together. Neither of them suffer from bad breath anymore, I’ve increased her consumption of dry food “Artemis” I’ve found to be good… She no longer is snorting from mucous build up but I am concerned about ongoing loose bowels and lethargy. Does changing raw meat daily cause problems? Should I mix them? Pisco is ok with them. I’ve started to slightly cook the kangaroo to ensure no parasites as I thought this might be a problem. Can anyone help me?

    1. Hi Kerri,

      I would read as much as you can about feeding raw. I actually when to Bark(petstore) to buy Nature Valleys raw food patties, which are good AND also buy from a local butcher that makes raw patties which are very good, in between I do give her chicken backs, necks and organs here and there but I would not switch up on the meats so quickly. This will cause loose bowels…very loose PU!!!!!!…we had that problem too, I was so excited about feeding her different meats I rushed into it to quickly…

      She really loves the raw diet and I feel so much better feeding it to her. When we go away it is so easy just to take the patties and off we go….No preparing and I still feel like it is a lot better then the kibble and canned. I hope this helps.

  54. I can’t stand the smell of dog food! I feel bad when I feed dogs that cheap nasty food… I know that there organic and raw dog food, but people are too cheap sometimes. They keep forgetting that their dog is a part of their family.

  55. We have fed raw to our golden retriever since day one. She is almost a year old now. Goldens are known for health issues, so we researched for a year to find her. Raw diet consists of bison, beef and chicken. Spinash and asparagus and she loves green beans. She has flax oil as well as salmon oil and raw beef meaty bones. She has a beautiful coat.. very small poops 🙂 in the yard as her body absorbs and uses the meat. She loves apple and bananas are her favorite. I give her organic yogurt on occasion (very tiny tiny amount) with her fruits. Only once a month usually and only a couple of tablespoons.

  56. We home cook for our dogs now, and it started because we have a 17 year old diabetic and a 15 year old with renal failure. We cook the meat and mix it with raw vegetables, and one reason is that the meat we can buy today can be contaminated with ecoli bacteria and other undesirables. We also find it easier to separate the fat, which our older dogs can’t have.
    Cost wise, we find it about equal to feeding a top quality canned food.
    Our food also contains about 1/3 whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, etc. Complex carbohydrates help alleviate the glucose spike after eating, important in a diabetic dog. Don’t forget, a wild dog will eat pretty much the entire animal, including the contents of the stomach and intestines, which is how they fill their need for fiber. If your dog’s stool is too runny, or too hard, then he probably needs more fiber in his diet.

  57. When we travel, we take our awesome Edgestar freezer. we use a converter to plug into cig lighter, and it works PERFECLTY!
    Just an idea how to take raw food with you.
    And when I do travel and make the packs, make it flat, you can fit more.
    We drove 7,000 miles to get a brother for my Papillon. NJ to WA…And not 1 issues with the freezer method. Hopefully, you’ll have a lighter hole in the back. All new cars, trucks, SUv’s have it. And it you dont, use an extension cord!

  58. I thought I would comment on your reasons not to feed raw 🙂

    1. Feeding raw costs more: In some places this may be true but some months I don’t spend a single penny on dog food. I have enough to last my two big boys (61 lb smooth collie and a 65 lb and growing bluetick coonhound) for the next two months in my little freezer right now. I am looking for a second freezer but not because I need more room to feed raw successfully. I have had so many opportunities to get cheap meat from hunters and local farmers that I have had to pass them up due to not having the space.

    “This might be true if you’re going to buy mass quantities of meat in bulk or if you work out a deal with a local rancher. But who’s really going to do any of that?”

    It isn’t as difficult as you would think. Many of us do it. I have received hundreds of pounds of free meat from hunters cleaning out freezers from last year to make room for this year’s meat, farmers who have butchered an animal and don’t have room or a use for certain parts (usually organs), and friends and family cleaning out their freezers.

    Many butchers will order bulk meats for you. That is an amazing way to save money. I can buy 50 lbs of beef kidney for $40 from my butcher. Fifty pounds doesn’t take up as much room as it sounds like it would.

    It is as simple as placing an order with your butcher and picking it up when it comes in or placing an ad on Craigslist and waiting for responses. We always meet the Craigslist people in person to get a feel for them first. There are many genuine people out there and we have yet to meet a bad egg. And many of them will keep your number and call you the next time they butcher an animal, need to empty their freezer, etc.

    2. Upset stomach: It varies from dog to dog. Pups seem to take to it more naturally than older dogs who have been eating kibble for many years. I could see the difference between my 8 week old puppy’s transition and my 7.5 year old dog’s transition. Some dogs just have more sensitive stomachs anyways. My collie would never have made it through a slow transition. He cannot have ANY kibble or his stomach gets upset. My bluetick, however… Well, we call him “Iron Gut”. He can eat anything and not have an upset stomach. I have found that the best way to switch dogs is to do it all at once and to start with boney chicken (backs, quarters, etc) for two weeks then move on to turkey, then pork, then fish, then beef, then wild game. I have not seen many dogs handle the slow switch well but, like you said, there are many different opinions on that matter.

    3. It’s messy: There is no need for it to be! You also don’t need to defrost their food. My boys get frozen meals more often than not. It can be a great thing for a gulper. My bluetick gulps his food and feeding frozen provides him with more of a challenge as well as keeping him from eating too fast. We feed outside so there are no bowls involved. We used to feed in bowls but they dragged it out to the grass anyways.

    4. Time consuming: Not really. We, quite literally, take their food out of the freezer, weigh it, and toss it outside and let the dog out with it. For me, it takes the same amount of time as it does to pour a bowl of kibble. Where the time comes into play is when you buy in bulk. That was daunting to me at first but now it’s just routine. I don’t mind it in the least. However, I can bring home my bulk orders, toss them into a big, plastic, storage container in the garage, and, once thawed, spend a couple of hours repackaging for freezer storage and only have to do it once every other month. That’s only 6 times a year. A small price to pay for saving a fortune.

    5. Storing takes up more space: Well, for me that really doesn’t matter. Not much of these reasons matter because they are not a big enough reason for me to go back to kibble. If I have to buy another freezer (You can find some great used ones on freecycle and craigslist!) in order to feed my dogs a species appropriate diet then so be it. Like I said before, I have about 100 lbs of food in my one freezer. We eat more fresh foods anyways so we never used our freezer much to begin with.

    6. Health issues: There are many dogs who have various health issues who have thrived on raw. Obviously, an unhealthy animal wouldn’t survive in the wild but luckily, our dogs have us to care for them. A raw feeding vet would know exactly what dogs can and can’t handle raw. Most can. A lot of health issues can be greatly helped with a raw diet. Too many vets will stick a dog on a Science Diet kibble and call it a day.

    7. Vets: It isn’t difficult to find a new vet. I look for a vet who is, at the very least, willing to learn about the raw diet. It is absolutely mind boggling to me to think that a vet could think that dry, processed nuggets are better for a dog than real foods. I am lucky to have a vet right now who feeds raw and has been doing so for 16 years.

    It is not difficult to make sure a raw fed dog is getting all of the proper nutrition. We blow canine nutrition out of proportion.

    8. Increased begging for “human food”: There is no such thing as “human food”. When we eat food we are eating the same things other animals eat. We have created this idea that dogs eat dog food and humans eat human food. My dogs eat the same meat that I do. I may set theirs aside for them but we eat the same things.

    There is no increased begging here. They know when they are being fed and they know when we are preparing our own meals. My collie begs no more now than he did when he was on kibble.

    9. Traveling: Not if you prepare for it. A cooler and some ice are all that’s needed. I don’t know how you travel but even when my dog was on kibble we would stop and let him eat on solid ground. It is no different now that he is on raw. Bring some disposable gloves if you don’t want to touch it or some sanitary wipes. Frozen food will stay frozen in a cooler much longer than you would think. SOme people even go with dehydrated meats when they travel. If I wanted to I could dehydrate my own or go buy dehydrated lamb lung, duck necks, etc from out all natural pet store.

    I am also interested in whether you are researching BARF (Bones And Raw Foods) vs PMR (Prey Model Raw). I feed PMR as I believe dogs are carnivores. Dogs cannot digest plant materials unless we have cooked and processed it for them and, I believe that, if it has to be cooked then they don’t need it. On PMR a dog is fed a ratio of 80/10/10. The first 80% is muscle meat (muscle, heart, lung, tongue, etc), 10% bone (raw, of course), and 10% organ (5% being liver and 5% being another organ like pancreas, kidney, etc).

    We include oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, etc. for omega-3s. Grass fed meats can supply that instead but fish is easier for us to find for an affordable price. There really isn’t much more to it than that. We avoid weight bearing bones from large ungulates like cattle, elk, moose, bison, etc because they are dense enough to crack teeth. We feed 2-3% of their projected adult body weight but all dogs are different so adjust accordingly. It really is simple.

    For anyone interested check out the preymodelraw.com website. It has helped MANY people transition to raw without the worry of feeding the BARF diet. It is definitely something to consider looking into when you are thinking about feeding fruits and veggies to your pet carnivores 🙂

    It is the guide I used to transition both of my guys.

    Sorry for the rambling. It was just such a pleasant surprise to see a blog about raw food and someone considering it rather than speaking out against it from fear and ignorance as I see so many do.

      1. I really appreciated reading what you wrote in addition to what was wrote already on this blog. I have been researching dog foods and since I sell Golden Retriever pups I want a dog food to recommend my new puppy owners. I’m going to add a page to my website about a raw diet for dogs! Thank you so much for the information!!!!

  59. “…Old dogs, dogs with kidney issues and dogs with pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) are just a few examples of dogs that should not eat a raw diet, according to Anderson…”

    Is this due to the myth of high protein being bad for dogs with kidney issues? http://files.championpetfoods.com/Myths_of_High_Protein.pdf would be an interesting read, complete with scientific references to back up their comments which contradict this idea. Quality protein diets are better than high carbohydrate diets for kidney problems. Many senior dogs have been moved to a raw diet and found a new lease of life.

    Will say if interested in raw, research it first. Be additionally careful if you have a dalmation with a low purine requirement to prevent uric stones whatever. It’s possible to feed raw but a lot more complicated.

  60. Our greyhounds have been on raw diet which usually includes ground beef or turkey, and vegetables.
    Our 6 yr old is sick and we don’t know the cause yet but urinalysis and blood test show abnormal levels of protein and it appears the kidneys are leaking protein.
    We are advised to reduce the amount of protein in the diet
    Beef and turkey are high in protein. We are not crazy about a high carb diet and low protein but looking for ideas on what should be given to our greyhound.

    Paul.

  61. Point one: dogs have been with us for over 50,000 years, and over that time have evolved to eat pretty much what we eat, with few exceptions.
    Point two: most of our dogs are overfed, underworked, and don’t require a high calorie and protein diet to do well.
    Point three: our 17 year old diabetic JRT, 15 year old kidney failure JRT, and our 2 and 5 year olds do very well on a diet of 1/3 whole grains, 1/3 raw vegetables, and 1/3 cooked, lean meat.
    This is a balanced, high fiber, low protein, low calorie diet. The whole grains soften the glucose spike after eating for the diabetic, the low protein is good for the 15 year old kidney failure, and everybody gets their balanced nutrition. Nobody is overweight, and my “hard keepers” are maintaining weight. They are never constipated, nor have diahroea. Coats are shiny and soft, energy is great.
    The only problem is that their toenails grow like crazy, and I have to cut them once a week!

  62. Awesome info. I recently (for the past 2 weeks) have been feeding a partially raw diet to 8 of my 9 dogs & they love it. While I haven’t started them on raw meaty bones yet they love the fresh ground beef trimmings that I get from a butcher shop. I mix it with whole raw eggs, flax seed or wheat germ, cooked whole grain brown rice, fresh zucchini & sweet potato, unsulfered molasses & sometimes a can of mackerel fish.

  63. My pet store, Bark n Purr Pet Center, in Austin, TX has been selling commercially prepared raw pet food for about 10 years. We have never found a case where feeding raw to dogs is a negative. Their stomach is so acidic that it will not harm them as it might a human. If they throw up initially it is because their stomach acid has adjusted to a higher pH to handle the carbohydrates. Fast them for one day to let their stomach acidity return to normal. We have had one Pomeranian rid itself of Black Skin (a supposedly incurable disease). The same dog stop having seizures in 2 weeks after changing to a raw diet. Raw food is even more important for cats. Cats are obligate carnivores. We have found one brand that most cats will eat, Radcat.

  64. I have a little nine year old fellow who is half Border Collie, half Chihuahua (don’t think about it!), and who also has three legs. He lived most of his life as a street dog, so heaven knows what kinds of cuisine that involved!

    My son started feeding his dogs raw food because one had an extensive, mange-like (but not contagious) skin disease, which promptly cleared up completely. His raw diet of choice was frozen, whole rabbits. And I mean whole: hunt, shoot, freeze. While I came to admire this in principle, it just was not about to happen in my house (all those little eyes). So I ordered Darwin’s raw food for dogs. It’s excellent, and the company’s very, very helpful with phone consultations.

    The first dinner I introduced him to the raw food, I mixed it half-and-half with kibble. He wolfed it down as if he hadn’t eaten for a week. So the next day, dinner was all raw food. After two months, his coat really truly is shinier, his weight is perfect (lost almost two unnecessary pounds), and he exudes wellbeing and energy. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it.

    I’m in the process of developing my own recipe So far, I’ve got a mixture of ground beef or turkey, pureed chicken liver, and yams, carrots and peas “chopped” in the blender. This is lacking in bone and cartilage and a few other items and innards I want to include, but even so, it all seems a billion times better than that awful kibble.

  65. I have a rescue dog who has suffered from very bad Dermodetic mange his whole life. (took him from his mother at age 3 weeks along with 3 other puppies becasue they were all dying and mum couldnt look after them) he has suffered from it since especially when his immune system is low like when he goes through growth spurts or gets a bit sick. I started off feeding him on can food, until my vet who is a very holistic lady and valued friend put him on various different herbs and essences to help boost his immune system and recommended I change him to a raw meat diet. I started off bying chuck/round steak from the shop and that was super expencive so I got in touch with my local cattle station who gladly packaged up 10-20kg bags of minced off-cuts and delivered them to my door. I mix it with pasta and vegies and also a bit of kibble for a bit of crunch and my dog loves it. it has also worked out to be cheeper then can dog food. He also gets chicken necks and chicken wings and all my left overs, needless to say he is once spoiled pooch that probabaly eats better then what I even do… unfortuantly though his skin can only be maintained and he does still go through the occasional period of skin issues! (luckily at the moment we are in a very good place and fingers crossed he hasnt had an episode in months) when he is not having skin issues (and he actually has fur to comment on) I ALWAYS get comments on how great his coat looks and how healthy and happy his is. his story breaks my heart but I am just so grateful he is in my life, he is my best friend and my family and I would do anything for him!!!

  66. I started my 9 year old Pug on Stella and Chewy 2 weeks ago tomorrow. She had a few rough days transitioning but today is doing great. She loves it.
    Rosie is a Science Diet allergy recipient. She started with vomiting around 3 years of age and graduated to full blown skin problems by the time she was 7. Of course we did all we could to stop the vomiting, which was put her on Science Diet d/d… grrrrr. She did get some better with the digestion issues as long as we stayed away from grains, but never completely, and while we were struggling to keep her well, we were doing more damage to her with potatoes. Finally, this past January, I said enough. After finding a legit vet. written cook book, i started cooking for her. She started improving greatly, but living in an area where good vitamin resources are limited, after several months I noticed she was starting to lean when walking and having a hard time getting up. So I found out about Stella and Chewy and the rest, I hope, is history. What I like about S&C is they do not mix proteins, do not use grains, nor potatoes. She is already getting her energy back with a full raw/ vitamin enhanced diet. After all I just said, my biggest point is this. Feeding Stella and Chewy, homecooking or RAW is cheaper than feeding prescription dog food and the vet visits that go along with it.

  67. When traveling, you could carry along the Freeze-Dried RAW dog meals. It comes in a bag and is in the form of patties to which you add water. Stella and Chewy’s makes freeze-dried raw and so does Paw Naturaw (organic also) and there are probably other brands as well. When I’m going to be away, I buy some of this for my husband to feed to our dog since he does not want to deal with the raw.

  68. do you need raw pet food? I own and operate a chicken processing plant in central Wisconsin we are a state inspected facility and have been in operation since 2000. we are only open form May-November. for the past few years i have been selling the neck of the birds for pet food but it never really took off! so i purchased a grinder to make a paste with the Necks, Hearts, Livers, and Gizzards. I can do any combo of the 4.

    cell# 715-572-1477

  69. i make my dogs raw food with lean ground beef mixed with cooked brown rice and peas and carrots – do you think the rice is superfluous? i also feed them raw chicken backs and necks with the fat cut off and for treats frozen marrow bones!

  70. Lindsay, you are correct. Not only do dogs not need grains, they also have a hard time digesting them. Dogs’ digestive tracts are short, not designed for digesting grains. Humans’ long digestive tracts can easily digest grains. Cows have even more complex digestive systems so that they can digest grass. It makes sense to feed what the body is designed to handle. That’s why it’s also a helpful step to cook or at least blend the veggies you feed to your dog. Raw carrots are a fun treat, but pup doesn’t digest most of the carrot. You will see orange 🙂

    1. Hi Judy and Lindsay 🙂

      Good stuff – thank you for clearing that up….

      the most amazing thing that I have noticed that while on the raw food is that the quantity of poo has been reduced by 70% and there is hardly any smell.

  71. I switched my Samoyed/Sheltie mix at 9-1/2 yrs of age to raw. She’ll be 14 this January and is is GREAT shape for her age according to her vet. My miniature schnauzer started eating raw a 8 weeks old and is now 3 and doing great on it…should be a poster child for feeding raw. Basically my girls eat raw chicken thighs with omega 3 capsules when I don’t feed fish and organ meat. When I can get other proteins at a good cost they get it…but they normally eat chicken. They love it. I feed grain free kibble only when raw isn’t possible and they both do ok on it but prefer their raw. Oh…they get a raw egg once or twice/week as well. Raw carrots are a favorite treat. Veggies make great treats.

  72. Hi Lindsay,
    I’m excited to have found your blog/website. I have decided I’d love to start a dog-walking/play business and think you’re experience and expertise sounds so helpful! I have an issue though: I just purchased your ebook…the problem is, I was having an issue logging in to my paypal. I wasn’t able to reset my password, so I went and used an old email address. THe payment came out of my account, but I’m afraid I won’t receive the book in the right email address. I can’t get into the old email account–it’s hotmail, which I guess has changed to microsoft, anyhow, I can’t get it! Could you please let me know how I can contact you with the email address that I’d like the book to be sent to? (It’s the email address I’ve entered here for your blog…the gmail one)
    Thank you!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Just let me know what email address to send it to. I will try sending it manually to your gmail address. Just let me know if you don’t receive it.

  73. Hi. I have a ten year old lab who has arthritis and is in pain at times. We are in the Philippines and at times it is hard to find medicines for pets. Would you recommend raw diet to my chelsea? She is quite obese. Shes around 40 kilos. I feed her pedigree dog food. Also the choices of food are very very minimal in our area. How can i lessen her pain? I really need help. I ahve two other dogs one is mix poodle-shitzu and the other is a one year old boxer. What is the ideal amount or weight of raw food to give my three dogs and how often should i feed? Right now they get a bowl of pedigree twice a day. Please help me. I am in pain when i see my dog in pain.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      My older foster girl Dora was on Dasuquin for pain in her joints, and that seemed to help. You could switch to a raw diet for her overall health if you are comfortable with the idea.

  74. Hi, I’ve been feeding my 2.5 year old border collie mix prey model raw for about four months now. She gets half a chicken carcass every morning, and dinner alternates between turkey neck, pork bones, and a homemade lamb/liver/supplement concoction. Two days ago she didn’t eat her turkey neck, but then ate her chicken in the morning. Last night she didn’t eat her pork bone, and this morning wouldn’t eat her chicken. I have an emergency bag of Instinct Raw in the freezer for my cat, and she ate that. She seems fine otherwise, normal poop, active, doesn’t seem to have sore mouth/teeth (tugging at leash playing keepaway). Should I be concerned? Any ideas what the problem might be?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m guessing she is just not hungry, and she eats when she is hungry. If all else seems OK, then it’s probably just that. Of course, if you are worried you should talk to her vet.

  75. One of my 3 shitzus was diagnosed with anal carconma cancer last March. Wasn’t supposed to live past May but it is The end of January and he is still here with a tumor but no pain yet, walked 45 minutes a day and has been on a cooked diet since he was diagnosed. Last week he stopped eating for 3days. I panicked but was considering having to let him go. I was getting ready to cook 2 riveted hoping and praying he would take a bite because I had tried every kind of cooked meat and vegetable there was but I had read that you could feed your dog raw meat so I offered him some raw steak. Oh my gosh. He ate it and I went to the store and got him some beef ribs and serloin and he has been eating it ever since. Then he ate apple slices, raw carrots and some bran cereal. Hey he doesn’ t have long but his energy and bright eyes are back and if I can give him comfort that’s what I am here for. So I started my youngest 6 yr old girl on it two days ago. Raw steak and stir fry vegs chopped up. She loves it and so far is doing well. My 16 yr old blind, deaf, boy still wants his roasted chicken, brown rice, raw vegs.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Sorry to hear one of your dogs is sick, but I’m glad they are all benefiting from a raw diet. Thanks for sharing your experience, and I hope your dog has many good days ahead. Sending you my positive thoughts.

    2. I have two Shi-Tzu’s that have been on Science Diet Lamb and Rice for an awfully long time, until my Vet gave Fluffy (gaining too much weight) a Metabolic Science Prescrip. Diet, therefore, keeping JoJo on the Lamb & Rice. We noticed that JoJo has (for yrs) been scratching, red ear infections come and go, and now his face/eyes or red. Changed Vets (Petco) and learned that Ear Infections could be a Food Allergy. So, I will certainly switch to raw meats and vegetables/fruits for my lovers, and I will spread the word what dog good companies are doing to our precious pets.

  76. If you are worried about the inconvience of raw taking up your freezer space or when you travel or board your dog. You can use stella and chewys freeze dried raw dog food. All the convience of kibble with all the belnifits of raw. You just add some water to it and its rehydrated again. Its pretty awesome! and totally balanced for you so you dont have to worry

  77. Hi, I have a 5 year old Shitzu, who suffers from itching and bites her paws and her arm pits till they bleed, she also just got stones, I am so fed up with vets as they put her on a prescription diet s/d and she refuses to eat it, so I’m not able to give her meds. I am strongly considering putting her on this raw meat diet that everyone is talking about, she has no problem eating raw meat. My nephews vet suggested it for his German Shepard and the clean up( his poop) has no smell and it can be sprayed with a hose and disappears into the grass, NO MESS! Wonderful My question is how much raw meat, ounces would I feed a 17 lb shitzu….?Please help my Pebbles needs help!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Check out these two posts, Author. Most raw feeding sites will recommend about 2 percent of the dog’s ideal body weight. Honestly, I don’t measure my dog’s food. I just feed him a bit more if he seems hunger or thin and a bit less if he looks heavy.

      Here are some raw dog food recipes: http://www.thatmutt.com/2013/02/16/what-ive-learned-about-homemade-raw-dog-food-diets/

      Some info on how to feed raw dog food: http://www.thatmutt.com/2011/03/18/how-do-i-feed-my-dog-a-raw-diet/

  78. Stella’s makes a freeze dried raw diet that you can buy for when you travel. It’s just as good as the frozen raw. It’s just made for those pets who are on a raw diet but also travelers. Our two 8 month old Papillons don’t seem to notice a difference or they just don’t care. They tolerate both equally well.

  79. I have fed PRIMAL raw food to my border terrier since no other food (dry or canned) would alleviate his CECS (also known as Spikes disease or formally as canine epileptic cramping syndrome) which has plagued him since about 6 months of age. What I have found is that his particular cecs is aggravated by PROCESSED proteins….like proteins cooked so much as to turn them into kibble or to safely can the food, or to make treats like chicken, pig ears ( which I never fed anyway) jerky treats, etc. Basically he eats all raw including fruits and veggies and his Primal patties. He gets treats of apple or banana and on occasion a bit of string cheese or pure yogurt (fage, as no additives, flavors, corn syrup etc.) He did well with this for 4 years with only one brief seizure. Recently having some construction work and he got ahold of something from them, and has had a horrible prolonged episode of 5 days on and off, seems to be coming out of it….why do people seem to think they can give your dog a treat when you tell them not to?
    Anyway RAW FOOD saved this dog. I am a true believer. He is 9 and recent blood, liver work shows he is in perfect condition!!!!!!
    Another thing you might think about is vaccinations. My dog is done with these. Most dogs by later ages are fully protected. Because of the processing of vaccines, he has has seizures as a result of these too, now I do the more expensive titer blood tests, to show his immunity is acceptable to licensing agency.

  80. My dog is about 8 or 9 (she’s a rescue–Mini Schnauzer), diabetic, about 20 lbs.
    There are no diabetic formulas for dogs that aren’t pure GMO based. There’re a lot of corn (Science Diet WD) and other junk, so I decided to home feed her. Our vet’s testing methods are off and we don’t always know where she stands on insulin amounts. Here’s what I feed her: Organic chicken, cooked, organic unsweetened yogurt, flax seeds, vinegar (3 drops), organic black beans, organic raw carrots (she probably eats about 10-15 a day as treats), organic green beans, organic extra virgin olive oil and if I’m out of chicken, I replace it with sardines that are in heavy oil and salted. I give her about 4 of those x 2. And I give her 1000 units of fish oil-1x. She gets 5cc of insulin–the horrible recombinant stuff. Am I doing the right thing for her? She was overweight–up to 26 lbs. and now she weighs less. Do you think this is a balanced diet? I can’t get answers or interest in her diet from the vet. She said no fruit. I give her a couple of drops of honey on top of her yogurt if she looks wobbly. She eats at 6am and 6pm with green bean and carrot treats and then yogurt treats at my lunch time. She was strangely wobbly and weird and restless tonight and I’m worried, because she also eats a lot of seasonal bugs and maybe frogs. Thank you!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      One thing to include in the diet is calcium and organ meat. You can probably get some chicken liver or turkey parts at your grocery store, or you can ask a local butcher for some beef organ meat. I also recommend feeding raw chicken bones such as chicken thighs or chicken quarters. If this makes you nervous, try giving some ground egg shells or a calcium supplement.

      These are just my suggestions. Since your dog is a diabetic, I think it would be best to consult a holistic veterinarian. Another option could be pre-prepared commercial raw food. It’s pricey, but you could feed it once or twice a week.

  81. This blog is complete garbage. You state that a raw food diet PREVENTS CANCER. In fact it was #2 in the reasons why you should switch. BULLOCKS.

    If you have the cure for cancer (ie you can stop all Osteosarcoma’s from ever happening in any dog) then why are you not rich and famous with your portrait in every vet’s office?

    And why does just about EVERY raw food diet has to add some non-raw-food supplement because (wait for it) the raw food does not provide all the nutrients a dog needs?

    Lasty most of your cites/quotes are garbage. You talked to a pet food store owner and she said it was OK? Really? How many years of medical school do you go to before you can open a pet food store? Call us Michelle Smith and have her list her credentials. Oh, and I’m sure the ADVOCACY group ‘Born Free’ is also a learned group and not just a lot of dog owners who want to save all the cure puppies.

    The author of this useless blog should be banned from the Internet.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Sorry to read such a hateful comment from you, Paul. I see that you love dogs, and I know you will do what you feel is best for yours.

    2. I thought that internet provides freedom for people having different opinions. I hope that no one just with different opinion is banned from freedom of expression on the internet.

    3. Frankly your an idiot. I feed my German shepherd raw, and I don’t include any supplements what so ever. Supplements are just other companies trying to grab money from gullible people by telling you how healthy it is and your dog needs it.

      Here is how simple a raw diet can be, last night opened my fridge, threw in a whole chicken quarter 2 lamb chops on the bone and fed the dog, tomorrow he might get a piece of steak, another chicken quarter and maybe a slice of liver [very rich only one slice] , maybe the day after he will have a chicken quarter a heart and few beef ribs.

      If he gets fat he gets less, if he gets thin he gets more.
      It is that easy, no supplements except I like to make sure he get a whole fish including head and one raw egg including shell once a week.

      all I do is go down to the local meat place once a week and get an assortment of meats, chicken Is the primary food, pork chops, steak, ribs, lamb chops, hearts, liver chicken necks, chicken feet, and then feed .

      As for the difference ? 8 year old german shepherd, used to hike about 40k most weekends, but been struggling this year, his back legs seem to be going

      Since I switched him to raw, hes now standing up his front legs on furniture again, [hasn’t done that for over a year] looks amazing, loads of energy and those enormous soggy stools he used to do 4 times a day have disappeared for a couple of small little hard unsmelly drops.

      As for cancer, Raw food doesn’t cure cancer and you obviously cant read if you think that’s what it says.

      What they do say is all the chemicals in tinned food and processed food can cause cancer, AND yes that includes the so called 100 natural supliments.

      Don’t trust other people with your animals health, because they will always take short cuts and the cheaper option that includes the so called raw food patties that you have no real idea what is in them, or how fresh it was and the manufacturer probably doesn’t either.

      Raw food is exactly what it says healthy real meat, if you want to add fish and raw egg, great if the dog will eat it.

      So Bollox to you Paul and go waffle about a subject you actually know something about

  82. Peter Pfisterer

    I am self called dog fanatic and since my boxer Bruno died of poisoned dog food during infamous 2007 Menu Foods recall, I am on the crusade. My goal is to save dogs from being murdered by mass manufactured so called “dog food”.
    Out of loss and out of love TopDogDinners.com was born. Visit me and see for yourself that there are no more excuses NOT to feed dogs real food – fresh, natural, custom designed with specific dog in mind!
    Stop the kibble! Stop the can! Stop the recycled food!
    ps-Lindsay…you have class!
    ps-Paul…I feel sorry for you! you must be very unhappy person!

  83. Nice post! This part “Reasons not to feed a dog a raw diet” is very useful. I think every dog owner wants to know the reason behind this post. Anyway, thank you for posting. Very HELPFUL 😀

  84. 7.5 years ago I picked up an Aussi puppy. What a great dog. I always fed him Taste of the wild and finally EVO. The 1st of this year he could no longer do our 2.5 mile walk 5 days a week. Arthritis started to cripple him. He loved to chase and catch a Frisbee. No longer. He would have to push himself up with his front legs. Stairs were soon out of the question.

    His vet said he had rheumatoid arthritis and there is no cure. He recommended I should have a MRI done on him and possibly a visit to a specialist. We put him on Carprofen pain meds. I decided to see another vet who recommend a dog acupuncturist!

    His weight went from 57lbs-67lbs lying around always sleeping. Broke my heart. What was happening to this very active dog? I was surprised that this affliction came on so suddenly and at such a young age IMHO.

    My daughter started pushing me to switch him to a raw meat diet like her two dogs, I rejected the idea. Finally 3 months ago after watching him suffer so long I did.

    I am 61 and as a kid we always fed our dog table scraps and some caned animal meat bi-products (remember Alpo?) but never dried dog food with no problems. My dog went to the vet only to get rabies shots and when a bike hit him once.

    After the 1st week on raw meat his stiffness showed some slight relief and we noticed he was loosing the tarter from his teeth. Instead of taking a day to eat all of his Evo he would devour his raw meat, weekly bones & veggies twice a day in less than 1 minuet. His bowel movements were 75% less in volume.

    90 days later his weight has fallen from 67lbs-58lbs. His arthritis is no longer apparent & no pain pills. He is a red tri and his coat is now very soft & a rich red color again. No problems with stairs, walking or even vigorous tug of war. Most importantly he is now very active, happy and makes me smile.

    An allergy effecting his hip joints, inflammation? I don’t know but I do know for sure a raw meat diet works great for Tek!

  85. I just started about a week ago a raw meat diet for my 6year old Chihuahua and his girlfriend a 170 pound 18 month old English mastiff Maddy. They loved it and have more energy. I cut the beef up in the morning about 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef bought locally and add in raw blueberries, cooked yams turnip and carrots that I grow , mix a bit of that in with the raw meat. It is way better than the blue buffalo and flats of canned dog food that I went through. Maddy’s and Rocky’s life will be much healthier and less vet trips for allergies.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, definitely. You’ll want to make sure your dog gets enough calcium by including some chicken or turkey bones a few times per week. And include some organ meat.

  86. I just recently adopted a stray yellow lab, and being a proponent of the paleo diet I’ve been interested in researching ways to feed my girl Avi a more primal diet. I see you’ve mentioned Fargo a few times, and I actually live in Fargo 🙂 I’ve been searching for more of a holistic veterinary clinic, but can’t seem to find any. Any suggestions? I’m so new at owning a dog and just feel a little lost with trying to start her on a raw diet. Also any other advice on places in Fargo with cheap raw food would be helpful 🙂 I’m a graduate student with a limited budget, so i’m trying to see if I can make this raw diet work. Thanks!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      When I lived in Fargo a lot of people would go to the Casselton veterinarian because there is a more holistic vet there. Commercial raw dog food is always expensive. I would buy it at Natural Pet Center, but only on occasion. Instead I just bought the meat at the grocery store. Having a Costco membership helps. Chicken is usually 99 cents per pound.

  87. Do you warm your raw food in any way? I thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Then I break it up into small chunks or slice it, and right before feeding I pour a small amount of hot water over it, but it is still pretty cold.

  88. Pingback: Why I Feed My Dogs A Raw Diet – Pets Home

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