Wolves are dogs’ ancestors, but how much are they related today? 

If we think about the wolf diet, we imagine how wolves capture prey and eat raw meat. But can dogs eat raw meat? Well, the answer is a bit complicated. 

Let’s discuss the nature of raw feeding with its benefits and downsides. We’ll summarize everything you should know and give you a few tips if you’re thinking about switching your pet to a raw dog diet:

Raw Feeding 101

Raw diets contain raw foods like:

  • Organ meats — heart, liver, and kidneys
  • Muscle meat
  • Whole or ground bones
  • Raw eggs
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Dairy products — yogurt or milk

The main point is that the food isn’t cooked.

What Is Considered Raw Feeding?

Giving all kinds of raw foods is the basis of this diet. Let’s go through all the options. 

Organ Meats 

They contain many essential vitamins and minerals and play an important part in the raw meat diet for dogs. For instance, the heart is a source of iron, zinc, selenium, and B-vitamins. Also, it has the amino acid taurine, which is vital for your dog’s heart function, and the CoQ10 enzyme that prevents oxidative stress.

Eating liver provides your dog with many nutrients, including fat-soluble vitamins K, A, D, and E. In contrast, kidneys contain a large amount of protein and folate. Also, they have anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.

Muscle Meat

That usually includes boneless muscle meat from chicken, beef, or pork. But raw meat for dogs can also come from organs like the tongue, green tripe, gizzards, and other connective tissues. These muscle meats provide a large amount of protein, fats, minerals, and hydro-soluble vitamins.

Whole or Ground Bone

Bones provide calcium and phosphorus to keep your dog’s bones strong. That’s why ground bone is a common ingredient in a raw food diet. You can use chicken bone as it’s hollow and easiest to grind. In commercial raw food, companies grind the bones down to bone meal, eliminating the possibility of your dog choking on them.

But can dogs eat raw meat bones? Yes. You can use rib bones for your dogs to keep their teeth and gums healthy and promote normal chewing behavior. Be sure to choose the right size to prevent a choking hazard. Also, never give cooked bones to your dog as it can damage the gastrointestinal tract.

Raw Eggs

Eggs can benefit a dog’s diet. They provide a healthy amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. 

But can dogs eat raw eggs? Well, they don’t have any benefits as opposed to cooked eggs. Besides, raw eggs increase the risk of contracting a bacterial infection like Salmonella. Also, egg white contains avidin, inhibiting the biotin vitamin absorption.

raw meat and vegetables

Fruits & Veggies

Besides feeding dogs raw meat, you can also offer them some fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits like apples, bananas, blueberries, and veggies, like carrots, cucumbers, and peas, are amazing additions to your dog’s diet. They provide a wide variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

If you’re still unsure about using raw meat, try raw fruits and veggies first. But when you give them to your dog as snacks, don’t forget the 90/10 rule. Feed your pet with 90% balanced and complete dog food and only 10% healthy treats.

Yogurt

As a part of the raw pet food diet, yogurt can offer some benefits. It contains high amounts of calcium, protein, and probiotics essential for good gut health. 

Generally, yogurt isn’t toxic. But it contains lactose, which can cause gas, diarrhea, and vomiting in high amounts. Sometimes yogurt can also be high in fat, leading to stomach upset. Lastly, many commercial brands contain xylitol. It’s an artificial sweetener that’s toxic to your dog, so always look for plain Greek-style yogurt.

Types of Raw Feeding

When talking about raw meat for dogs, we should discuss the two main diets:

BARF — Bones & Raw Food Diet

Invented by the Australian veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurt, this is the most popular raw food diet you can prepare at home by following specific directions. Its principles lie in the idea that adult dogs can thrive on the diet of their ancestors became domestication.

The recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consist of:

  • 70% muscle meat
  • 10% raw edible bone
  • 7% vegetables
  • 5% liver
  • 5% other secreting organs
  • 2% seeds or nuts
  • 1% fruit

Many veterinarians and the FDA disagree with this diet. Although its risks and effects have been researched, people still have mixed opinions. Before starting this or any other raw diet, investigate what raw meat dogs can eat and how to prepare it to avoid dangers or unwanted effects.

Prey Model Diet 

The Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet eliminates processed foods and includes food that mimics the natural diet of dogs’ ancestors. It mostly focuses on raw meats and doesn’t include plant ingredients. It can be split into the Whole prey and the Franken prey concept.

The Whole prey concept involves using actual whole animals with fur or feathers, organs, glands, blood, and intestinal tract intact. The most common prey used is rabbits, ducks, and quail.

The Franken prey concept follows a specific guideline:

  • 75%–80% muscle meat
  • 10% raw edible bone
  • 5% liver
  • 5% other secreting organs
  • 0-5% animal-based fiber

The downside to eating raw meat diets for dogs is that these meals don’t include any plants or dairy products. That means a lack of essential nutrients.

Raw Meat Superpowers

Raw meat, organs, and bones provide lots of nutrients for your dog. They can:

  • Improve bone and dental health by providing calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and marrow to strengthen the joints.
  • Provide healthy skin and a shiny coat, by including omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of vitamin E and zinc, and eliminating carbohydrate fillers.
  • Increase protein absorption by having ready proteins that are highly digestible. As a result, your dog will have an easier time with pooping. Plus, that will decrease the feces odor.
  • Ensure an optimal body weight by balancing the dog’s systems, helping it lose or gain weight as needed.

The Raw Meat Kryptonite

Is raw meat bad for dogs? Here are some reasons why the answer might be yes:

  • Risk of pathogen contamination. Cooking dog food can get rid of bacteria. Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli, and Campylobacter are just a few of the dangerous microbes living in raw meat that are a potential threat to you and your dog’s health.
  • Not nutritionally balanced. Raw meat isn’t well-regulated and may contain too little or too many vitamins and minerals.
  • It can be a choking hazard. That’s mostly true for the bones as they can break and damage the gastrointestinal system.

Finally Revealed — Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

If you read everything above, you can already guess the answer to this question.

Yes — Here Are All the Reasons Why

  • Raw meat isn’t a balanced meal, but you can adjust it. Combine it with other foods from the BARF diet or use commercial dog food with some raw meat.
  • Plant-based protein isn’t as nutritional. Raw meat proteins contain all essential fatty acids that plant-based foods lack.
  • Dog’s digestive systems can handle Salmonella and other bacteria. Their stomachs are very acidic and filled with natural digestive enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria.
  • Kibble is rich in carbs yet poor in essential enzymes. Most carbohydrates in it are fillers and have no nutritional value for your dog. In contrast, dogs can eat raw beef or other meat with essential enzymes for good digestion.
  • Kibble contains synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet the AAFCO standards. The nutrients it contained as raw food are lost after cooking.
  • Kibble has mycotoxins. These are toxic substances from fungi that can cause problems ranging from allergies to cancer.
raw rib placed on a wooden plate with a butchers knife stuck in it

Tips for Raw Meat Feeding 

  • Keep the raw meat frozen. That will ensure its safety and prevent bacterial contamination from Salmonella or other nasty bacteria.
  • Separate the raw meat from other foods. It’s especially crucial for cooked food as the risk of bacterial contamination is much higher.
  • Thoroughly clean the bowl after feeding time. Use soap and water and carefully wash the whole surface.
  • Avoid cooked bones. They can break and get stuck in your dog’s throat or puncture the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Older dogs have sensitive digestion systems and more nutritional needs. They also have a weaker immune system, so you might consider using a special diet for your senior dog. Also, it’s a good idea to add some much-needed supplements, like Senior Dog Health Booster.

Our Pawsome Advice for a Tasty Raw Meal

Now that you know why animals can eat raw meat, let’s see how you can prepare it for your pet. Following the previously mentioned diet guidelines, you can quickly conjure up a fine meal for your puppy. 

You’ll need 70% raw meat (chicken, beef, or steak) and 5% of liver. Then, add some veggies (7%), like pumpkin, carrots, squash, and fruits (1%), like cranberries and apples. Also, include cereal (2%) like barley. Combine this with a liquid like milk, water, or soup to help digestion and prevent dehydration.

Note that these diets aren’t fully researched and may lack some much-needed nutrients. So be sure to add supplements like zinc, fish oil, and vitamin E. You can find these nutrients in commercial products like the 10-for-1 Multivitamin and Omega-3 Fish Oil.

If you’re wondering how much raw pet food you should prepare, use the bodyweight percentage method as it’s the easiest way. That means you should give around 2%–4% of your dog’s body weight in food. When you calculate the quantity, split it into two separate meals for each day.

If all this seems a bit complicated, you can try some delivery services for raw dog food. They offer the right amount for your dog, and you’ll know exactly how to prepare and serve it.

So, Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Of course, they can. Raw meat is generally safe and can benefit a dog’s diet. Fresh fruits and veggies are also a great snack, especially during summer. Also, raw meaty bones can become tasty chew toys and provide your dog with some calcium.

Keep in mind that it’s crucial to know how you prepare and store the food to eliminate infection or other hazards. So don’t be afraid to try this option for your dogs. Prepare or order a meal that will bring them back to their roots and make them happy.

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