Should I Switch To Raw Dog Food? How To Do It Properly?

In the quest to provide the best possible care for your beloved canine companion, whether to switch to a raw meal looms large. Should I switch to raw dog food? Many wonder.

The debate over this dietary choice continues to divide pet owners, with passionate advocates on both sides.

In this article, we’ll embark on a journey through the world of raw dog food, shedding light on the potential benefits and risks and equipping you with the knowledge needed to determine if this dietary switch is the right choice for your furry friend.

What Is Raw Dog Food?

should i switch to raw dog food

Raw dog food is a dietary regimen for canines that primarily consists of uncooked ingredients.

This natural diet typically includes fresh meat, comprising muscle meat, connective fat, and tissue.

Additionally, raw, fresh food often incorporates organ meats and bone content as essential components.

Is raw food actually better for dogs?

What sets raw food diets apart from human dietary practices is that while humans need to cook raw meat to eliminate pathogens and facilitate digestion, dogs are naturally equipped to safely consume and digest it.

This biological adaptation harkens back to their wild ancestors, like wolves, who relied on a diet of raw animal flesh.

In addition, some pet parents choose to augment this diet with fruits and vegetables.

However, these additions are not considered necessary since dogs are biologically adapted to thrive on animal-based nutrition alone.

Unlike humans, canines possess powerful stomach acid, bile, and digestive enzymes specifically designed to neutralize harmful pathogens and efficiently break down fresh meat, making it a suitable and nutritionally rich choice for their diet.

Should I Switch To Raw Dog Food?

Switching to raw dog food can be a beneficial dietary choice for some dogs, particularly those facing specific health issues like allergies, weight problems, digestive disturbances, sensitive stomachs, or other common conditions that affect canines.

Many dog owners who have made the shift to raw meat diets have reported remarkable results.

This is because raw feeding allows puppies to derive nutrients from sources that their bodies can digest by nature.

However, it’s essential to approach this transition with caution and under the guidance of a veterinarian.

Always remember that what works best for one dog may not necessarily be suitable for another, so tailored care and monitoring are key when making this healthy diet switch.

How To Switch To Raw Food Appropriately For Your Dogs?

How To Switch To Raw Food Appropriately For Your Dogs

Transitioning your pup to a raw food diet can be a positive change for their health conditions, but it should be done carefully and thoughtfully.

Understand Your Dog

When can I switch my dog to raw food? Taking the time to understand your pet is essential before switching it from their current diet.

Begin by assessing your dog’s health status, considering factors like age, breed, weight, and any existing medical issues.

This information will help you tailor the balanced diet to their requirements.

Additionally, observe your dog’s dietary preferences and dislikes, which will guide you in selecting the right ingredients and flavors.

Research and Plan

I start by delving into the principles of raw feeding, comprehending the types of ingredients involved (such as meat, organs, and bone percentages), and grasping the nutritional benefits they offer.

It’s crucial to identify trusted sources of information, including books, articles, and websites authored by experienced veterinarians and canine nutritionists.

Once you’ve acquired knowledge, create a thorough feeding plan for your puppy.

This should consider the balance of essential nutrients like the variety of protein sources, fats, and carbohydrates specified to your dog’s life stage (puppy, adult, senior), and any specific health demands they may have.

Mix Raw Food Into Kibble Gradually

When switching your dog to a raw meal plan from its current kibble diet, you’d better do so gradually. Start by incorporating a small amount of raw food into their previous food.

Over the course of several weeks, gradually increase the proportion while decreasing the dry food.

This slow transition allows your dog’s digestive tract to adapt to the new meal, reducing the risk of digestive upset and making the change more comfortable for them.

Introduce Raw Treats First

Before implementing a full raw food diet, introduce your dog to natural treats. These can be small portions of raw meat or other raw ingredients.

Offering a slow introduction of treats allows your pet to gradually become accustomed to the taste and texture of raw food.

It creates positive associations with natural ingredients, making the eventual transition period to a healthier diet more appealing to your furry friend.

I also usually mix raw food with other ingredients to delight my lovely pooch.

Control The Food Portion

Controlling your dog’s raw food portion is vital to ensure they receive the right amount of nutrition without overeating.

For the best result, I always calculate my dog’s daily caloric needs based on factors such as age, weight, activity level, food allergy, and any specific dietary requirements.

Consistently measure the food intake to prevent underfeeding or overfeeding, which can lead to weight or digestive issues.

Choose High-Quality Ingredients

  • Selecting high-quality ingredients is the foundation of a nutritious and quality raw diet.
  • Opt for human-grade ingredients from reputable raw dog food brands. Also, consider introducing some raw dog food supplements to your pet’s diet.
  • Look for fresh, locally sourced, or organic options when possible. These choices provide essential nutrients and reduce the risk of contaminants.

Hygiene and Food Safety

Maintaining strict hygiene and food safety practices is paramount when handling raw dog food.

This includes proper handwashing, sanitizing surfaces and utensils, and preventing cross-contamination with other foods.

Be careful to store raw ingredients safely, and adhere to recommended storage temperatures.

These precautions minimize the risk of bacterial contamination, ensuring your dog’s and your family’s safety when preparing and serving healthy food.

Consult with a Veterinarian

Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial before embarking on a raw dog food diet.

Veterinarians have the expertise to assess your dog’s individual health, dietary needs, and any specific conditions that may impact their protein diet.

They can offer guidance on creating a balanced raw food plan tailored to your dog’s health concerns.

What To Expect When Switching Dog To Raw Food?

What To Expect When Switching Dog To Raw Food

When switching your canine to an uncooked diet, here’s what you can expect:

  • Decreased Water Consumption: Raw food contains significant moisture, which can make your dog drink less.

This is because they are getting good hydration from the food itself.

However, continue providing fresh water to ensure your dog stays adequately hydrated.

  • Changes in Stool: You will likely notice immediate changes in your dog’s stool.

The higher water content can result in softer stools compared to what you may be accustomed to with a commercial diet of kibble.

Additionally, a raw diet often entails smaller and less frequent bowel movements.

It’s important to note that when your puppy consumes meaty bones, such as chicken backs or necks, their stool may become very firm in consistency.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of The Raw Diet?

Remember to carefully weigh the upsides and downsides before introducing raw meals for your canine’s optimal health.


Controlled Ingredients

Unlike commercial dog food, where the ingredient list can be lengthy and contain artificial additives, preservatives, and fillers, a raw diet allows you to select each component carefully.

This control ensures that your dog’s meals consist of high-quality, fresh, and wholesome ingredients, promoting their overall health and well-being.


With a raw diet, pet parents can tailor their dog’s meals to meet these individual requirements.

Whether it’s adjusting the protein sources, adding supplements, or accommodating food allergies, customization allows you to provide your puppy with a diet that suits its unique demands, potentially contributing to improved health and vitality.

Allergy and Sensitivity Management

A raw meal plan can be a powerful tool for managing animal food allergies and sensitivities.

The ability to carefully select and control the ingredients makes it easier to eliminate potential allergens.

You can effectively manage and alleviate allergic reactions by customizing your dog’s meals and avoiding known problem ingredients.

Improved Coat and Skin

Many dogs on a raw feeder experience significant improvements in their coat and skin condition.

This is largely attributed to natural ingredients’ high-quality proteins and essential fatty acids.

These nutrients promote a shinier coat, reduced shedding, and healthier skin, ultimately enhancing your canine’s overall appearance and comfort.

Dental Health

A raw diet is better than cooked food in that it can have positive effects on your dog’s dental health.

The natural act of chewing on raw bones and ground meat helps remove plaque and tartar buildup from their teeth.

This can boost oral hygiene and fresher breath, as well as lessen the risk of dental problems down the road.

Better dental health contributes to your dog’s overall well-being and quality of life.



One of the notable drawbacks of a raw diet for dogs is the potential for higher costs compared to commercial dog food.

High-quality, human-grade natural ingredients can be expensive, especially if you choose organic or locally sourced options.

Hence, it’s essential to budget carefully and consider the financial implications of a raw diet to ensure it aligns with your resources.

Risk Of Contagion

Feeding raw meat to your dog carries a bacterial contamination risk, which can be a severe concern.

Uncooked meat can harbor harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which pose potential health risks to both your dog and your family.

Nutritional Imbalance

Achieving a well-balanced raw diet for your pups can be challenging and is one of the significant drawbacks.

Provide a diet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs, including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Failure to do so can give rise to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, followed by health issues over time.


Preparing raw meals for your dog is undeniably time-consuming.

Unlike commercial food, which is convenient and ready to serve, raw diets demand careful sourcing of ingredients, portioning, and safe food handling practices.

It can be especially challenging for those with busy lifestyles. Additionally, transitioning to a raw diet often involves frequent shopping trips and meal preparation.

Fresh vs. Raw vs. Kibble: What Should You Feed Your Dog

Is raw meat better for dogs than dry food? Deciding what to feed your dog—fresh, natural, or kibble—calls for careful consideration.

Fresh dog food offers high-quality, nutrient-rich ingredients with minimal processing but can be costly and have a short shelf life.

Raw diets, while customizable and potentially beneficial for some dogs, demand careful planning, come with contamination risks, and are time-consuming to prepare.

On the other hand, kibble is convenient, cost-effective, and offers dental benefits, but it may contain fillers and undergo more processing.

Thus, the final decision should be in line with your pup’s needs, budget, and lifestyle, and consulting with a veterinarian can help you make the best selection for your furry friend.


Should I switch to raw dog food? The decision is not one to be taken lightly. It comes with its fair share of advantages and disadvantages.

Before making the shift, consider your dog’s specific needs, your ability to provide balanced raw dog food recipes, and the potential health risks associated with pet food.

Ultimately, the decision should suit your furry friend’s unique dietary requirements and your lifestyle.


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Hi I am Mitchell. Dog Growth is a blog about dog caring and training where I share my experiences to my community. Hope you enjoy it!

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