Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Amy Thompson

Can dogs eat raw meat? And are the benefits real, or all hype?

Feeding dogs a raw food diet has been a topic of debate for years among dog owners and veterinarians. Many dog owners are curious about the benefits and risks associated with a raw meat diet ... but there's a lot of conflicting information out there about giving your dog raw meat.

Some believe raw meat is the most natural and beneficial diet for dogs, while others worry about potential health risks of a raw meat-based diet.

Below, we'll address some of the common questions, myths, and concerns when it comes to feeding raw meat and raw food diets. That way, you'll be able to make the best decision for your own dog's nutrition.

Is Raw Meat Good For Dogs?

Yes, raw meat is beneficial for dogs. Dogs are carnivores by nature, and their bodies are designed to thrive on a diet primarily composed of raw meat.

Feeding raw pet foods and raw meat aligns closely with what their wild ancestors, such as wolves, would eat. Raw meat is easy for dogs to digest and provides essential nutrients that support overall health, including protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Dogs eating a raw meat diet often have shinier coats, healthier skin, cleaner teeth, and higher energy levels. Holistic veterinarians, like Dr. Marty Goldstein, advocate for raw dog food and meat-based diets due to these health benefits.

Isn’t It Complicated To Feed A Raw Meat Diet?

Some dog owners also wonder: "so do I have to prepare meat all day long?" The reality is that feeding your dog a raw meat diet can be simple and convenient.

Pre-made frozen or freeze-dried raw diet dog foods are available on the market, making it easy to serve raw meals. These products are designed to be nutritionally balanced and just require thawing or rehydration before feeding.

For those who prefer a DIY approach, preparing raw meals at home involves sourcing quality ingredients and following recipes to ensure balanced nutrition. It can be as simple as shopping for your dog's food alongside your own groceries.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a degree in canine nutrition to feed your dog a raw diet successfully!

Is A Raw Meat Diet A Balanced Diet?

A raw meat diet can be balanced to meet all of your dog's nutritional needs when properly planned. The myth that raw meat diets are not balanced is often perpetuated by commercial pet food companies.

However, feeding your dog only raw meat, such as a juicy steak, will not provide all the necessary nutrients for a complete and balanced dog's diet.

A balanced raw diet should include a variety of components:

  • Muscle meat
  • Bones
  • Organ meats
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Whole foods like fruits and vegetables

These ingredients work together to supply the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that keep your dog healthy. Commercially prepared raw diets and well-formulated homemade diets can provide complete nutrition for your dog.

Can A Dog Get Sick From Eating Raw Meat?

Dogs are not more likely to get sick from eating raw meat than from eating kibble. Concerns about bacteria like salmonella and other pathogens are often cited as reasons to avoid raw meat.

However, dogs have evolved to handle bacteria and digest raw meat in their diet. Their stomachs are highly acidic, and they have strong digestive enzymes and bile that neutralize harmful bacteria, even from uncooked meat.

This natural defense system allows dogs to process raw meat safely while also absorbing all the nutrients that make raw foods good for dogs.

That said, it's still important to maintain good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands, cleaning utensils and surfaces, and sourcing meat from reputable suppliers, to minimize any risks of bacterial contamination to humans. Opting for the best meat quality you can afford also helps!

Is It Expensive To Feed A Raw Meat Diet For Dogs?

Feeding a raw meat diet doesn't have to be expensive. While commercial raw diets can be pricier than kibble, preparing your dog's raw meals at home can be cost-effective. Dogs can thrive on cheaper cuts of uncooked muscle meat, bones, and organs that provide the same nutritional benefits as more expensive options.

Purchasing meat in bulk from local butchers, abattoirs, or farms can also reduce costs. Additionally, feeding a raw diet can lead to better health for your dog, potentially saving you money on vet bills in the long run. Healthier dogs require fewer visits to the vet, offsetting the initial cost of raw feeding.

Does Raw Meat Make Dogs Aggressive?

The idea that feeding dogs raw meat makes them aggressive is a common myth. Feeding your dog a raw meat diet will not turn them into an aggressive animal. In fact, raw diets can improve your dog's overall behavior and mood.

Dogs may become protective of their food, especially if they enjoy it, but this is true for any diet. Proper training and socialization are essential to prevent food aggression. A balanced raw meat diet provides the nutrients your dog needs without causing behavioral problems.

Research actually indicates that dogs on raw diets often show improved temperaments and are less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors.

Is It Dangerous To Give Bones To Your Dog?

When fed correctly, bones are safe and beneficial for dogs.

However, not all bones are suitable. Cooked bones can splinter and cause choking or intestinal blockages, so they should be avoided. Raw bones, especially those from non-weight-bearing parts like necks, tails, and ribs, are ideal for dogs.

Raw bones are softer and can be chewed and digested safely. Raw meaty bones also provide essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus and help maintain dental health by cleaning teeth and gums.

If you prefer not to feed whole bones, bone powder or bonemeal can be used as a supplement to ensure your dog receives the necessary minerals.

Can Toy And Small Dog Breeds Eat Raw Meat?

Yes, toy and small dog breeds can safely eat raw meat. The key is to choose appropriately sized bones and cuts of meat. Small dogs can enjoy raw diets just as much as larger breeds.

Suitable bones for small dogs include chicken or duck necks and wings, and lamb riblets. These bones are small enough for them to handle and provide essential nutrients.

If you're concerned about choking hazards, you can use bone powder as an alternative.

Small and toy breeds can benefit from the same nutritional advantages of a raw meat diet, such as improved digestion, healthier skin, and increased energy levels.

Why Feed Dogs Raw Meat?

Ok, so dogs can eat raw meat safely. But why should they?

Choosing a raw meat diet for your dog offers numerous benefits. Commercial kibbles often contain high levels of carbohydrates, plant-based proteins, and synthetic additives that are not beneficial for dogs.

Raw feeding provides a diet that's closer to what dogs would eat in the wild, supporting their digestive health, immune system, and overall well-being. Fresh, whole foods in a raw diet are free from harmful additives and provide natural sources of vitamins and minerals.

Raw feeding can also lead to healthier teeth, skin, and coat, as well as improved energy levels and fewer health issues. By choosing raw, you're giving your dog the best chance at a healthy, happy life.

Final Thoughts

By now, you hopefully have a better grasp of the myths and facts of feeding dogs raw meat.

Feeding your dog a raw meat diet can provide many health benefits, from better digestion and improved immunity to healthier skin and coat. And it doesn't have to be overly complicated, time consuming, or expensive, despite what some people on the internet would have you believe.

By understanding the facts and addressing common concerns, you can confidently make the switch to feeding your dog a raw diet and enjoying all the benefits that follow.

With proper planning and quality ingredients, raw feeding can be a simple and cost-effective way to ensure your dog's optimal health.


Is it safe for dogs to eat raw meat? Yes, it is safe for dogs to eat raw meat as it aligns with their natural diet, similar to what wild dogs consume, providing essential nutrients that keep your pet healthy and thriving.

Do dogs prefer raw or cooked meat? Dogs typically prefer raw meat over cooked meat because a raw diet aligns more closely with what wild dogs would eat, offering a more natural and nutrient-rich option.

What raw food can dogs eat? Dogs can eat a variety of raw foods, including muscle meat, organ meats, raw bones, and other raw foods like fruits and vegetables to ensure a balanced diet.

What three meats should dogs avoid? Dogs should avoid processed meats like sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats, as these can contain harmful additives and preservatives that are not suitable for pet dogs and can lead to food allergies and other health issues.