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Benefits of a raw food diet for dogs

Feeding dogs a raw food diet is becoming more popular among dog owners. People are becoming more aware of the relationship between a dog’s diet and the dog’s health. Many veterinarians suggest a lot of the common health problems in dogs have to do with the food they eat.

Many people will feed their dog a mid-grade dog food and then supplement their diet with dog vitamins. Most dogs will be able to survive by eating dry dog food for their entire lives. The question is, will they be healthy for their entire lives?

Why is dry dog food bad for my dog?

Some common arguments against dry dog food include:

  • Many dry dog foods have a meat by-product as the first ingredient. These by-products may lack nutrition and could contain toxins that dogs eventually develop allergies to.
  • Artificial flavor, color and additives are common in dry dog kibble, however they contain no nutritional value to the dog.
  • Some dog foods do not have any wholesome ingredients and are made with mostly fillers such as cheap, low-quality corn and rice. These fillers do not have the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that fresh food does.

Another major concern with dry dog food is the process that is used to make the food. Dry dog food is made with a heat process that causes the ingredients to lose a lot of their nutrients. In order to add the lost nutrients and fats back to the food, the factories will spray the kibble with a fat, oil and vitamin solution.

For a dog to get the nutrition he needs from a dry dog food, you should ensure he is eating a good brand of dog food with quality proteins as the first three ingredients with no by-products listed at all. A good way to find top-quality dog foods with no fillers is to read dog food reviews. This will give you an idea of what the food contains and the impact the food has on a dog.

What are the benefits to a raw food diet for dogs?

A raw food diet puts the control of what your dog eats into your hands. Dogs were once wild animals, and their diet consisted of raw foods. Now that they have been domesticated, they eat the same food every day.

Although dogs may have changed a bit since their wild ancestry, their digestive systems are not much different. Let’s look at some of the advantages of feeding a dog raw food:

  • Homemade meals use fresh, quality foods. This means your dog will get better quality proteins and carbohydrates. Because the food is prepared fresh there will also be higher quantities of what your dog needs.
  • Homemade diets can be prepared with only foods that a dog should eat. This eliminates the need for filler, which will reduce the strain on your dog’s digestive system.
  • Raw foods contain enzymes that are beneficial to the body. Most of these enzymes are destroyed when food is heated.

The benefits of a raw food diet are pretty basic – more vitamins, more nutrients, better quality food, more nutrients from those foods and the elimination of fillers.

But that is not all. Many people who feed their dogs a raw food diet will boast about changes to their dog (after switching from dry food to raw). Here are some changes that many dog owners have noticed:

  • A healthier skin and coat
  • A stronger immune system
  • Better digestion and absorption of nutrients (this includes fewer, and smaller stools and less odor)
  • Stronger teeth and better breath
  • Healthier looking body/mass

Now you must be thinking that with all these benefits there must be a catch. Some dog owners have listed a few downfalls of the raw food diet, however most state that after they get into the routine they do not even notice.

Reasons not to feed my dog a raw diet

Some common complaints about the raw food diet are the cost, and the lack of convenience.

It is very convenient to buy a giant bag of food and feed a cup to your dog every day. With a raw food diet, you are required to prepare a meal for your dog. One way that people get around this is by preparing meals in bulk and then keeping them in the refrigerator or freezer. You can also buy pre-prepared raw meals for dogs from companies such as Nature’s Variety.

The next common complaint was the price, but if you think about how much you spend currently on dog food and then calculate how much it would be to buy fresh ingredients, you may be surprised to find the price difference is not very substantial.

If you would like more information on the raw food diet for dogs, including some great recipes, you may be interested in this guide to putting your dog on a raw food diet.

Do you feed your dog raw food? Why or why not?

English springer spaniel, black lab mix and lab/pitbull mix sitting in a park


Sunday 22nd of January 2012


Well i finally got Lexee to the weight she should be at (9 lbs) My question is: I would like to try Nature's Variety Frozen Raw medallions but i am concerned that it is too high in fat and this will make her overweight again. Your thoughts? Thanks Sharron calgary, canada

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 22nd of January 2012

No. I don't think it will make her fat again. It is all the carbs that make dogs fat. Dogs need protein and fat in their diets. As long as you are not overfeeding her, she should be fine with the raw food.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 14th of November 2011

She might like the raw food better. Most dogs do! You could also try canned food.

Sounds like she is a bit of a picky eater, and I wouldn't worry too much about that. She is an animal. Animals will eat when they are hungry. If she chooses not to eat for a day or two, no big deal. She will be hungry the next day.

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 12th of November 2011

There are all kinds of factors. If your only goal is to help her lose weight, why not step up her exercise?

As far as losing weight from switching to a raw diet, that is possible. What is she eating now? Most dog foods have a lot of carbs because they are made from grains.

Raw food from Nature's Variety does not contain carbs and could help your dog lose weight. The food is 95 percent meat, 5 percent vegetables and 0 percent grain. The hard part will be determining the appropriate amount of food to give her.


Sunday 13th of November 2011

Hi Lindsay

Thanks for answering my question. Lexee gets 4 walks a day, which adds up to a hour per day. Currently she is on Orijen Senior. She doesn't mind it but she isn't keen on dry dog food. She'll eat it for about 2-3 days then quit eating it. She does this with most kibble and believe me she has been on most of the high end dry food.

thanks Sharron Calgary Alberta


Saturday 12th of November 2011

lexee is a 2 1/2 yr old yorkie/chihuahua female, spayed - healthy, except for being a couple of lbs overweight - would feeding her nature's variety raw medallions be suitable for her and would it cause her to gain more.

thanks sharron


Sunday 4th of September 2011

Been feeding RAW for 4 years now, have 4 dogs and they all have white teeth. The oldest is 4 years old, 110 lbs large american Pitbull, and he has the brightest teeth I've ever seen on any dog, naturally. They get everything from pork, to turkey, chicken, beef, elk, goat, sheep, rabbit and fish. They also get many offals, liver, gizzards, eyeballs, glands, heart, tongue and rabbit heads with fur. My dogs don't stink, ever, not even when wet. They stool is tiny and solid and breaks up into chalk within days. They don't shed, the Mastiff just a little bit during early spring. No bad breath, no farts, no infections, no skin problems, no emotional ticks, nothing. We try and make them tired through exercise daily, they're the luckiest dogs on planet earth :-)

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 4th of September 2011

Sounds like you have four lucky dogs! Thanks for sharing!