We Asked Veterinarians If Raw Dog Food Is Really Better for Your Pup

table of contents

  • The verdict: raw dog food can be dangerous

  • What is raw dog food?

  • How to choose the right dog food

  • The best fresh and natural dog food

We love our dogs and many of us treat them like family – but that doesn’t mean we should feed them the same way! When feeding your fur baby, it is crucial to make sure that what he is eating meets his nutritional needs. With so many options to buy, how can you be sure that you are buying the best dog food for your pup?

In addition to the nibbles you can find at any grocery or pet store, there are tons of new options like The Farmer’s Dog. We have also noticed a growing interest in raw dog food in recent years. As people’s interest in paleo and raw food diets grows, many pet owners are wondering whether raw dog food is better and more natural for dogs. If you go to popular pet dealers like Chewy, you will find a variety of so-called “raw” dog food brands.

But what exactly is raw dog food and is it really a good choice for our pets? We consulted some vets to find out.

The verdict: raw dog food can be dangerous

Because of this increased risk, pet owners should stick to fresh, healthy dog ​​foods but avoid products with raw ingredients.

Raw dog food diets contain foods that have not been cooked but can still be processed, ”says Dr. Jo Myers, DVM, Just answer Expert. “Some are freeze-dried or dehydrated, and while there are store-bought varieties, there are, and recipes for homemade raw food are popular online,” she says.

These foods can contain various ingredients such as muscle meat, organs, bones, bone meal, by-products, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables. While they appear natural and healthy, they can be potentially dangerous to pets. “I don’t recommend raw dog food for dogs or cats. Just like with humans, we cook food to make the diet safer, ”says Myers.

The story goes on

“We’re seeing a large number of dogs getting sick from a raw food diet,” Myers says. You may notice vomiting and diarrhea from food poisoning, gastroenteritis from abnormally rich food, or unusual pancreatitis from food that is too fatty. “It can even lead to kidney failure if the food contains grapes or raisins,” warns Dr. Myers.

The US Food & Drug Administration also warns against feeding raw dog food to your pet. In 2012, the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) tested more than 1,000 pet food samples for bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Not only did the FDA find that “a fairly large percentage of the raw pet foods we tested were positive for the pathogen Listeria,” but the only dog ​​foods that contained salmonella and listeria were raw dog foods.

What is raw dog food?

Raw dog food is any type of treat or meal that contains raw, undercooked ingredients. Just as many people prefer raw foods, many pet owners believe that these foods are better suited to historical human feeding, interested in putting their puppy on a raw dog food diet. This can mean buying raw dog food from retailers like Chewy or making your own DIY dog food at home.

Many raw dog food products are designed to be eaten as treats or mixed with croquettes. The popular raw food brand Stella & Chewy’s, for example, makes a variety of treats and croquette mixers from raw beef and chicken. On Chewy, the Chicken Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food Topper has 700+ reviews. The overwhelming majority of reviews are positive, and pet owners have given this dog food an overall rating of 4.7 stars, praising its ability to induce dogs to eat dry food that they previously ignored.

Chicken Meal Mixer Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper

Chicken Meal Mixer Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper

Buy: Chicken Meal Mixer Freeze Dried Raw Dog Food Topper $ 40.99

How to choose the right dog food

To verify that your pet’s food is safe and healthy, look out for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) label for the Animal Humane Society. There is usually a “nutritional declaration” below the list of ingredients.

AAFCO label on dog food

AAFCO label on dog food

“AAFCO provides the pet food industry with a standard for defining ingredients and provides guidance to pet food regulators on how those ingredients should be listed (from most to least, by weight) on pet food packaging,” says Victoria Carmella. DVM, Director of Veterinary Scientific Affairs at Blue Buffalo, one of our favorite healthy dog ​​food manufacturers. “In addition to looking at the name of a product to see what’s in their pet’s food, pet parents should also read the ingredients list on the side or back of the package,” she says.

While wet or dry food can be a personal choice, you should also consider your pet’s unique needs. “Canned food, for example, may be more suitable for animals with certain types of urinary tract disease or for animals that are a little more picky because they come in many textures, proteins and flavors,” says Carmella. “Dry diets also offer many benefits, such as dental health, as they encourage chewing, which can help keep teeth clean,” she says.

The best fresh and natural dog food

If you are still considering a raw dog food diet for your pup we highly recommend consulting your veterinarian first, and the experts we spoke to agreed. “I encourage pet parents to discuss their pet’s diet each time they visit the spa to make sure they adjust the amount or type of food they are feeding,” says Carmella.

Personally, we would avoid raw dog foods and recommend sticking with one of the following healthy dog ​​food options instead. Just as raw foods can be dangerous for human consumption, even the best raw dog food carries risks.

1. Farmer’s subscription service for dog food

If you’ve seen The Farmer’s Dog dog food at a friend’s house, you may have mistaken it for raw dog food. While The Farmer’s Dog specializes in fresh, natural meals for dogs, the food does not contain any raw ingredients. Rather, the company makes tasty meals for dogs made with human meat and vegetables that are then delivered straight to your home. Your puppy’s new dog food will be tailored to meet their specific nutritional needs. While it’s not raw dog food, it’s actually even better.

the Farmer's Dog subscription dog food bags

the Farmer’s Dog subscription dog food bags

Buy: Check The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Pricing

2. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

This special dry formula contains boned chicken, whole grains, garden vegetables and fruits. Blue Buffalo recommends this Life Protection Formula for all breeds and sizes. It is not done with Corn, wheat, soy, or by-product meals.

    Click to open the enlarged view Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food, Slide 1 of 10 Slide 2 of 10 Slide 3 of 10 Slide 4 of 10 Slide 5 of 10 Slide 6 of 10 Slide 7 of 10 Slide 8 of 10 Slide 9 of 10 Video, Slide 10 of 10 Video PrevNext Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Click to open the enlarged view Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food, Slide 1 of 10 Slide 2 of 10 Slide 3 of 10 Slide 4 of 10 Slide 5 of 10 Slide 6 of 10 Slide 7 of 10 Slide 8 of 10 Slide 9 of 10 Video, Slide 10 of 10 Video PrevNext Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

Buy: Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula € 51.98

3. Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach

If your dog is food sensitive, it is a good idea to speak to your veterinarian about ingredients that you should be aware of. There are foods that are made that can meet some of these needs, such as: Purina Pro Plan Adults Sensitive Skin & Stomach Formula. It’s available in dry and wet flavors like salmon and rice; shredded mix of chicken and rice; and turkey and oatmeal.

Purina Pro Plan Adults Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Purina Pro Plan Adults Sensitive Skin & Stomach

Buy: Purina Pro Plan Adult Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon Rice Formula Dry Dog Food $ 67.98

4. Wellness Complete Health Puppy

You will also want to choose dog foods based on your pet’s age as they can have different needs in different life cycles. According to the ASPCA, your puppy can start consuming puppy food around three to four weeks of age. “In general, puppies and kittens should be switched to full-blown infant formula around a year old,” says Carmella. Wellness Complete Health Puppy is available in boned chicken or oatmeal & salmon.

Dog food for puppies

Dog food for puppies

Buy: Wellness Complete Health Puppy Boned Chicken, Oatmeal & Salmon Recipe Dry Dog Food $ 56.98

5. Iams ProActive Health Dry Adult Dog Food

Understanding your older dog’s nutritional needs is not a one-size-fits-all situation. According to ASCPA, these are the basics of knowing when your dog is ready for a senior diet:

  • Small breeds and dogs weighing less than 20 pounds – 7 years old

  • Medium breeds and dogs weighing 21 to 50 pounds – 7 years old

  • Large breeds and dogs weighing 51 to 90 pounds – 6 years old

  • Giant breeds and dogs weighing 91 pounds or more – 5 years old

Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog Food is made with farm chicken as the first ingredient, a blend of prebiotics and fiber, vitamins and minerals and complies with the established AAFCO nutritional guidelines for adult dogs.

Iams ProActive Health Dry Adult Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Dry Adult Dog Food

Buy: Iams ProActive Health Mature Adult Dry Dog Food $ 31.64

6. Rachael Ray nutritious foods for dogs

Sometimes dogs can be picky and prefer a wet dog food formula. Celebrity chef Rachael Ray created a line of dog and cat foods called Nutrish. The wet food line offers a variety of flavors that dogs will love, all made with natural ingredients that dog lovers will appreciate.

rachel ray nutritious dog food

rachel ray nutritious dog food

Buy: Rachael Ray Nutrish Foods for Cats € 13.29

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