Raw Dog Food – Pros And Cons

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
The debate around raw food and dogs never ends... In this article we've decided to focus on both sides and let you make up your mind!

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve thought about this matter.

Should you or shouldn’t you feed your dog raw food?

So, let’s discover both sides of the coin!

Being a dog owner, it’s only natural that you want nothing but the best for your pet. Choosing the right nutrition is only one of many aspects to consider, as you don’t want to give your pet something that’s bad for dogs. So is raw food good or bad? Before we answer that question, let’s clarify one thing:

What Does Raw Food Involve?

Raw dog food includes everything that’s raw, as opposed to dry kibble. It’s most often bones, fruit, eggs and vegetables, such as parsnips and turnips, or fresh carrots with cooked brocolli. that are included in this type of dog diet. This kind of nutrition also goes under the names BARF – Bones and Raw Food and Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Now – let’s take a look at why this kind of diet can be good for your dog.

Raw Food Pros

The main arguments of raw food advocates are that it’s healthier than commercial dog food and because dogs’ ancestors ate only raw food back in the days, so why shouldn’t dogs nowadays do the same? This is the basic idea, but let’s get into more detail and more pros!

  • When feeding raw food, you’re completely aware of what your dog is eating and you’re the one in control of its diet. This sometimes isn’t the case with commercial dog food.
  • Dog owners who feed this kind of food claim that their dogs’skin is healthier, coat shinier, teeth cleaner and that they have more energy than dogs on a dry diet.
  • Chewing on raw products helps in maintaining the dog’s oral hygiene, by keeping teeth and gums healthy.
  • More variety. If you incorporate different kinds of food, for instance carrots and broccoli, you can mix it up a lot and be creative when it comes to your dog’s nutrition. Dry food every day can get boring.
  • When you’re feeding raw food, you can control your dog’s weight more as you know what’s low in calories and what’s not. This is especially important if your dog is overweight or has gained a couple too many pounds.

Now, let’s take a look at the downsides!

Raw Food Cons

The main arguments of people who are against raw dog food is the risk of dogs getting ill from bacteria this way and the risk of feeding bones. Let’s get a closer look.

  • Some nutritional deficiencies can occur after switching to raw food, such as lack in potassium or phosphorous. The problem is that they can occur even months later, so you’re not aware of the problem at all. Some vegetables are not easy to digest raw, so some experts suggest cooking or steaming them for best nutritional values – which kind of kills the concept or raw food, right?
  • Feeding a raw diet requires both more money and time than feeding your dog kibble. You have to provide all the nutrients necessary, which can be a challenge at times.
  • Raw dog food can be messy sometimes, and is definitely messier than dry food. A lot more attention is required, as you have to clean the bowls much more and your hands as well. On top of that, raw food is difficult when traveling as it’s not so practical.
  • The fear of bacteria. Advocates of a dry dog food list this as their strongest argument, as raw food can contain salmonella and E. coli. Both are very harmful to dogs and humans. However, the opponent say that this is overblown and that the chances of this happening are very small, especially if you care about the sanitation and hygiene. Bacteria is definitely more dangerous to us, than it is to our dogs.
  • The risk of eating bones, as dogs could chip or break their teeth. They could also choke on a bone or it could cause intestinal blockage if it gets stuck inside the dog’s body.
  • Check out this video for more information on both sides!

    Raw VS Dry Food

    As you can see, both of these diets have their good and bad sides! Now that you know, it’s up to you to weight the pros and cons and see what works best for you and your dog. But before you do that, here are a couple things to think about before you make up your mind.

    • Raw food isn’t for everyone. Most vets agree that a raw diet can do more harm than good if your dog has a late/stage kidney disease or a liver failure, due to the high protein levels. It’s also not recommended for dog with cancer and weakened immune systems, as they’re more likely to catch a bacteria.
    • Do your research before switching to raw food. You have to know what’s appropriate to feed your dog and what’s not.
    • Always consult your vet before switching to any new kind of diet and do it slowly, not overnight.
    • See how your dog reacts. Not all dogs will enjoy a raw diet and vice versa. Even if you’re convinced that some benefits outweigh the other, it’s not a universal rule. Observe your dog and see what’s best for him or her.
    • If you decide to stick with dog food, always invest in a quality dry dog food with all the important qualities. It shouldn’t contain any flavoring, colors or preservatives as well as contain the important nutrients, like natural fats, protein and the vital minerals and vitamins.

    If you decide to give your dog a commercial dog food, be sure to read our articles where we compare dog foods.


    Ultimately, it’s up to you! Every dog and dog owner is different and what fits some, doesn’t fit others. So, do your research on both the pros and the cons and weigh them.

    Some of the most common pros of feeding raw food are that it’s healthier than commercial food and that you know exactly what your dog is eating. It’s also believed to lead to a lot of health benefits as raw food is rich in important nutrients.

    On the other hand, some negative sides could be the risk of bacteria and the risk of choking on a bone or breaking a tooth when chewing on it. It’s also more expensive, impractical and time-consuming.

    We leave you to decide…What’s more important to you?