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Raw Dog Food Myths & The Science Behind Them

Raw dog food myths float around the internet and are discussed between concerned friends who aren’t sure what to believe. Our experts bust the biggest myths in this post.

Author: ProDog Raw

Raw Dog Food Myths & The Science Behind Them

There are many differences of opinion surrounding the topic of raw dog food. Raw is messy, it’s unsafe, raw meat make dogs aggressive, dogs evolved to eat kibble, the list goes on…

These opinions are understandable. There is a lot of misinformation and misconceptions surrounding the topic shared by those who are not fully informed about dog nutrition.

We bust the top raw dog food myths in more detail below. Don’t miss our raw dog food for beginners article too.

1) Raw dog food is more expensive

The upfront costs of raw feeding may seem a little higher for beginners that are used to the price of poor quality kibble, but there are ways to make the switch more affordable.

For instance, we offer various options to help you save, including:

The long-term savings of fewer vet visits and a healthier dog will be obvious, too.

Save money with a raw bundle

a pack shot of 9 ProDog meals in the mixed bundle for one of the Raw dog food myths that raw is expensive
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2) Vets don't agree with raw feeding

Unfortunately, many vets are not trained in canine nutrition unless they seek out the knowledge themselves [1].

This causes many to warn against the bacteria found in raw dog food and recommend processed, commercial diets, simply because this is what they have been taught.

We cover this in more detail in our article Why are vets against raw diets?

Thankfully, more vets are becoming aware of the benefits of raw feeding and recommending it to their clients. Dr. Nick Thompson is one such vet. His article, Bacteria in the Bowl, explains the concerns vets have, and why they’re not always valid.

3) Raw dog food is risky

The risks of feeding raw are minimal, and can usually be avoided by taking a little extra care.

For example, feeding fresh or recently defrosted raw food reduces the risk of bacterial overgrowth that may occur when food is left out.

someone washing their hands in a white sink after feeding raw dog food, the myth that raw dog food is not safe can be avoided if owners practice safe hygiene practices, as they would when handling their own raw meat

Cleaning surfaces and washing hands after serving raw food eliminates the bacteria risks to humans, and adjusting your dog’s diet gradually minimises the occurrence of digestive upset.

The only real risk of feeding raw is that your dog might like it too much, which isn’t a bad thing!

4) There is bacteria in raw dog food

The bacteria in raw food is not a threat to dogs, as they have evolved eating raw meat and are naturally designed to handle and tolerate it.

Dog owners concerned for their own safety can make easy concessions to ensure their safety around raw dog food, in the same way they would when storing and handling raw meat for their own consumption.

Washing hands, disinfecting surfaces, and storing raw meat properly to minimise bacterial overgrowth are all recommended safety measures.

Raw is safe!

Our expert cover raw safety in more detail in our guide. We give you ways to stay safe while feeding raw too.
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5) Raw is a risk to children

This is an understanding concern for parents, as the safety of their children is paramount above all. However, raw dog food can only present a risk to children if they are left unattended with your dog’s food bowl.

Even then, the situation would have to be extreme to pose any credible threat, such as food that has been left out long enough for bacterial overgrowth to occur.

Dogs should never be disturbed while eating no matter which diet they’re fed, so teaching children to leave them alone at meal times (or feeding dogs in a separate room) prevents any resource guarding issues from becoming a problem.

That said, your dog’s raw food will likely be finished before any of these potential issues can become a concern!

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6) Raw dog food recalls

Mistakes happen, and even the most careful manufacturers can issue recalls from time to time.

However, DEFRA approved, responsible raw food providers, like ourselves, work extra hard to ensure that their products are safe, tested for any bacteria that might cause illness, and frozen at temperatures that eliminate the risk of nasty bacteria becoming a problem.

It is also important to note that there have been plenty of recalls for kibble and dried food that have contained salmonella and E coli.

picture of a dog ditching the dry food, 2 bowls in front one with raw one with kibble, dog is eating the raw, one of the biggest raw dog food myths is that it's not as safe as kibble and is often recalled. This is false, raw is as safe as any other food and dogs prefer it.

7) Side effects of raw feeding

It’s rare to see any side effects from raw feeding. Of course, all dogs are different, and those with sensitive tummies or pre-existing health conditions may not adjust as quickly as others.

The real “side effects” of raw feeding are the benefits: reduced allergies, positive changes to gut health, fresher breath, shinier coat, and happier, healthier dogs overall. There are raw dog food research studies to back this up too!

Our nutrition experts can guide you through any issues your dog may experience in switching to a raw food diet, contact us today for tailored support.

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8) Raw dog food is messy

Raw meat can indeed be messy, especially if you’re preparing your own raw food diet for your dogs. Chopping, weighing, and storing raw meat is time consuming, and requires significant clean up if you’re not extra careful.

Thankfully, these days there are plentiful options of pre-packaged raw dog food at your disposal, ready for you to defrost and serve conveniently and without any extra clean up needed.

Our food offers this convenience to you in every meal your dog eats, and delivery is free when you select one of our best value bundles!

Raw is simple with ProDog

We do all the hard work for you, order a sample pack from just £19.95.

5kg box + 2 healthy treats + free delivery
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9) Does raw meat make a dog aggressive?

Contrary to common perception, feeding dogs raw meat will not make them more aggressive.

Raw feeding serves to balance dogs’ digestion and would likely have more of a positive effect on their behaviour than a negative one. The condition of a dog’s gut biome can affect their behaviour either positively or negatively [2].

Raw meat is the most natural thing for dogs to eat, and they have done so for thousands of years without turning on their owners. Read our article Raw food and dog aggression by Dr. Nick Thompson for further information on this myth.

Raw food diet and dog behaviour

Whilst there may be some theories circling about raw food having a negative impact on dog behaviour, we think you’ll find the opposite is actually true.

Raw feeding makes dogs feel better, thanks to the many nutrients that they’re receiving through the diet nature intended for them.

They don’t experience insulin spikes from high carbohydrate diets, thus their behaviour is more balanced.

They feel more satisfied, experience less digestive upset, and are often calmer without the added preservatives in their diet.

10) Too old or young

Dogs of any age can eat raw food, as they have for millenia quite successfully.

Senior dogs are never too old to start eating raw, and they can still reap the benefits of this natural diet; even after years of eating kibble.

Puppies can eat raw, too, as soon as they’re ready to start eating solid foods. In fact, the earlier a dog starts eating raw, the better chance they’ll have at a longer, healthier life!

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11) Only wolf-like dogs can eat raw

All dogs are descendants of wolves, no matter how fancy their breed may appear.

The fact that their appearances and behavioural habits have changed has nothing to do with their nutritional needs or their instinctual eating habits [3].

All dogs, no matter their breed, can (and do) benefit from eating a species-appropriate, raw diet. Their biological makeup, digestion, and need for real meat has not changed simply because they’ve been domesticated.

Learn more about the history of raw in our beginner’s guide.

12) Dogs have evolved to eat kibble

This is common myth that could not be further from the truth.

Whilst dogs are indeed opportunistic eaters, they’re actually facultative carnivores and would choose raw food over kibble if given the chance.

Though they may very well enjoy their commercial kibble diet, this is likely due to the addictive nature of the sugars and preservatives included to keep the product shelf stable.

Sadly, these same ingredients quietly cause damage to dogs’ health, unbeknownst to their well-meaning owners.

Common questions answered

Will I get ill from raw dog food?

It’s incredibly rare for bacterial transmission to occur when raw feeding [4]. However, simple measures can alleviate this concern entirely. As long as you’re using dedicated dog dishes for your dog’s raw food, washing hands and cleaning surfaces after feeding your dog, there’s really no cause for concern as far as your health goes. With frozen, pre-portioned raw meals like ours, the mess is minimal if any at all. Simply defrost, open and serve, at no risk to your health whatsoever!

Does raw dog food smell?

Raw dog food that’s fresh shouldn’t smell bad. This is especially true if the meals you serve your dog are frozen, such as those ProDog offer. Simply defrosting them right before feeding ensures that meat isn’t left to sit out and acquire a stench.

Making raw meals from scratch at home should be the same, as long as meat is stored properly before feeding. Certain foods, such as green tripe, might smell a little strong, but these will likely disappear too quickly to become a problem!

Can dogs get food poisoning?

Technically, yes, dogs can contract food poisoning. However, their digestive systems are highly acidic and shorter than humans, meaning bacteria like salmonella can’t survive and are removed from a dog’s body quickly.

Dogs don’t have the same reaction as humans when consuming certain bacteria. However, despite this, it is not recommended to feed spoiled meat, or raw meat that’s been left out in warm conditions. This can be avoided by storing, freezing and defrosting appropriately, and not leaving food out for too long.

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References

1. Becvarova, I., Prochazka, D., Chandler, M., Meyer, H. 2016. Nutrition education in European veterinary schools: are European veterinary graduates competent in nutrition? Journal of Veterinary Medical Education,; 43(4):349-358. Doi.org: 10.3138/jvme.0715-122R1

2. Kirchoff N., Udell, M., Sharpton, T. Jan 2019. The gut microbiome correlates with conspecific aggression in a small population of rescued dogs. Peer Journal of Zoological Science,; 7:e6103. Doi.org: 10.7717/peerj.6103

3. Bradshaw, J. Jul 2006. Evolutionary Basis for the Feeding Behavior of Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) and Cats (Felis catus). The Journal of Nutrition,; 36(7):1927S-1931S. Doi: 10.1093/jn.136.7.1927S

4. Anturaniemi, J., Barrouin-Melo, S., Zaldivar-Lopez, S., Sinkko, H., Hielm-Bjorkman, A. Nov 2019. Owners’ perception of acquiring infections through raw pet food: a comprehensive internet-based survey. Vet Record Journal,; 185(21):658. Doi.org: 10.1136/vr.105122

1 comment

Dee

I feed my whippet raw food which he may like to much eating sometimes 500g a day but is it ok that it makes his stools so hard that sometimes there’s little blood where he strains is this normal?

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