Home > The ProDog Blog > Nutrition > Raw vs Kibble Dog Food


Raw vs Kibble Dog Food

Dog owners want what’s best for their canine friends, leading them to question which is better in the raw vs kibble dog food debate.

Since dogs have been eating kibble for years, it should be safe, right? Actually, not so much. This article will help you understand how and why a raw food diet is far better for your dog.

Author: ProDog Raw

Raw vs Kibble Dog Food

It’s widely known that dogs would naturally catch prey and eat raw meat based diets in the wild.

Unnatural, intensively processed and cooked form that kibble takes raises questions about whether it’s good for our dogs. Let’s start with comparing the ingredients in raw dog food and kibble.

Want to switch to raw?

Order a sample pack from just £19.95.

5kg box + 2 healthy treats + free delivery
ProDog's sample pack of delicious raw food and natural treats
Buy now

The ingredients in raw vs kibble dog food

Consider the ingredients in raw vs kibble dog food for a moment.

Most kibbles contain a very low percentage of meat (usually in the form of poor-quality meat ‘meals and by-products’), fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy (common canine allergens), and preservatives.

Humans are the only species on the planet that cook their food, and so have replicated this for their pets.

In contrast, a quality raw, meat based dog food contains uncooked, lean proteins, healthy fats, bone, and plant fibre. In other words, the simple, unprocessed ingredients that dogs eat naturally.

It is true that not all kibbles are made equally, and there is a spectrum of quality to be considered.

The cheaper, intensively processed forms of kibble are the ones that provide the least nutritional value (and more health risks) to dogs.

They often contain colourings and chemical preservatives and essentially provide calories rather than nutritional sustenance. Much of the protein in these budget brands is also plant based, not from meat.

There are, however, kibble brands that do provide better options for dogs. These are the naturally dehydrated, meat protein-based foods that limit unnecessary ingredients.

Natural dehydration processing, such as freeze-drying or air-drying, minimises the damage to nutrients in comparison to the kibbles manufactured at extreme heat temperatures.

Though still not an equal substitute for fresh, raw, minimally processed meals, if you do have to feed a kibble, these are the better option to choose.

New to raw?

Read our beginner's guide
beef boneless raw dog food meal pack shot
Learn more

Why is raw dog food better than kibble?

There are numerous reasons why raw dog food is better than kibble. We cover 4 of them in this article.

1) Gut health/digestion

Gut microbiomes are much different in raw vs kibble fed dogs. A raw, meat based diet is easily digested and provides the fuel necessary for a healthy gut environment, resulting in improved overall health.

The lifeless, highly processed ingredients in most kibble promote an inhospitable environment for good bacteria. This is due to the lack of natural enzymes and the inclusion of denatured proteins, which don’t fuel the microbiome effectively.

The result of this is a sterile and imbalanced gut, which affects digestion, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients. These conditions can cause allergies, digestive complaints and auto-immune problems.

2) Skin health

Dogs’ gut health is directly related to their immune response and skin health [1]. Skin irritation is a common result of gut/immune issues due to a low-quality diet.

Without a strong and balanced gut, inflammation and overactive histamine production can occur, leading to increased instances of allergies and thus, irritation of the skin. This causes dogs to itch, develop hot spots, and generally feel uncomfortable.

Raw meat dog food is easily digested and nutrient-rich, encouraging healthy digestion, immunity, and skin.

3) Obesity/weight management

The high carbohydrate content (starches and sugars) in most kibbles encourages overeating and weight gain. This often leads to health concerns such as diabetes and joint pain, among others [2].

Raw dog food is better than kibble for weight management.

It’s higher in protein and healthy natural fats, low in carbohydrates, which makes it more satisfying and nutritious, and it provides dogs with energy and stamina for regular exercise and healthy weight maintenance.

Read our overweight dog guide for more info on how to help a dog lose weight.

4) Joint problems

Joint health can be related to the body’s inflammatory response, which is better balanced and regulated by feeding a natural, raw meat diet.

The processed carbohydrates found in many kibbles fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products, which can cause inflammation and increased degeneration of the joints.

Consequently, this can lead to stiffness in some dogs. For dogs with joint issues, feeding raw vs kibble dog food can provide dietary support to minimise (or prevent) such mobility restrictions.

Busting raw dog food myths

Considering raw but have heard it isn't safe and it's messy?
We bust these myths here

Instances of illness in raw vs dry dog food

Canine health has steadily declined since dogs began eating less natural, more processed foods. Diabetes is directly related to feeding dogs carbohydrate-rich diets, as they’re more prone to excessive weight gain and less stable blood sugar levels [3].

Meanwhile, pancreatitis correlates with eating a high carbohydrate diet, especially one which is intensively processed, due to the heated, oxidised fat content. Cancer rates are also more prevalent since the commercialisation of dog food.

Raw meat dog food is natural and unprocessed. As such, this type of diet minimises the risk of health issues, as dogs’ natural processes are allowed to resume as normal, building their immunity and promoting more balanced health.

Some dogs may adapt more slowly when switching to a raw diet, and dietary tweaks may be needed to find the perfect meal combinations, but, the benefits of raw feeding far outweigh any potential risks, like those associated with highly processed kibble.

Discover the benefits

Our guide on the benefits of raw dog food will help you make the best decision for your dog.
Find out more

The quality of raw vs kibble dog food

The quality of a raw diet vs kibble directly pertains to the ingredients of each diet, as well as the way they are processed.

Whilst kibble may include some similar ingredients, the added fillers, chemicals, and the cooking process deplete nutritional value, and can even be harmful.

As a result, synthetic vitamins and minerals have to be added to highly processed foods to provide some nutritional value.

Unfortunately, vitamins and minerals delivered in man-made, synthetic form are not recognised or utilised as effectively by dogs as they are when obtained from natural, wholefood ingredients.

Why the raw dog food process is better than kibble

In many instances, kibble is created using high temperature cooking, preservatives, and fillers, which add bulk and make it shelf stable.

This essentially is ‘ Dead ‘ food. Raw food is minimally processed with no fillers, preservatives, or chemicals.

All nutrients are preserved through freezing, which maintains freshness and deters bacterial growth, allowing dogs to reap the many natural, nutritional benefits.

Reviewing the cost differences

Kibble is generally cheaper due to the inexpensive ingredients and long shelf life, which provide little benefits to dogs.

“Premium” kibbles may begin with better ingredients, but many include high starches, fillers, preservatives, and are still heated and processed, despite their increased price.

There are several ways to make raw feeding more affordable, such as our:

You’ll generally spend less on vet bills, too, thanks to your dog’s improved health!

Save money with a bundle

a pack shot of 9 ProDog meals in the mixed bundle for one of the Raw dog food myths that raw is expensive
Buy a bundle today

The benefits of raw vs kibble

Raw meat fed dogs experience improved gut, skin, coat, and dental health, as well as more balanced energy. They’re less prone to diabetes, cancer, pancreatitis, joint issues, and even anxiety.

Whilst kibble fed dogs may seem satisfied, their risk of health problems is substantially greater [4]. Raw feeding allows dogs to maintain balanced health, pure and simple. They’d choose it if they had the chance.

Healthy Dogs’ stomachs are naturally very acidic, which helps them to process and digest the components of a raw food diet effectively.

This acidic environment was given to them for a reason: it promotes the destruction of harmful bacteria and allows dogs to effectively digest raw meat, bone, muscle and offal.

In contrast, kibble fed dogs have a more alkaline gut, they’re without their natural defences against bacteria.

Despite the benefits of raw feeding dogs, we understand that not everyone can feed their dogs a purely raw diet. Some common concerns centre on cost, convenience, as well as travel and lifestyle.

Whilst it is preferable to not mix raw dog food with dried food, ultimately, feeding some raw and fresh food is better than none.

Read more on how to combine the two diets effectively in our switching to raw food guide.

Dogs were to designed to eat raw food

Throughout their evolution, dogs have thrived on a raw meat based diet in the wild. Humans’ decision to commercialise and cook their food has only led to increased risks to their health, but it’s never too late to change this.

Our raw dog food and raw puppy food options are formulated with ingredients of the highest quality, always species-appropriate, and packed with health-promoting nutrients that dogs love.

Let your dog experience the raw food effect. They’ll love you even more for it! Explore our full grain free dog food range.

Try a sample pack

Buy a sample from just £19.95 and get a 5kg box + 2 healthy treats + free delivery
ProDog's sample pack of delicious raw food and natural treats
Buy now


1. Craig, J, BVSc, MRCVS. Feb 2016. Atopic dermatitis and the intestinal microbiota in humans and dogs. Veterinary Medicine and Science,; 2(2):95-105. 10.1002/vms3.24

2. German, A. Jul 2006. The Growing Problem of Obesity in Dogs and Cats. The Journal of Nutrition,; 136(7):1940S-1946S. 10.1093/jn/136.7.1940S

3. Nguyen, P., Dumon, H., Biourge, V., Pouteau, E. Dec 1998. Glycemic and Insulinemic Responses after Ingestion of Commercial Foods in Healthy Dogs: Influence of Food Composition. The Journal of Nutrition,; 128(12):2654S-2658S. Doi: 10.1093/jn/128.12.2654S

4. Knize, M., Salmon, C., Felton, J. Aug 2003. Mutagenic activity and heterocyclic amine carcinogens in commercial pet foods. Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis,; 539(1-2):195-201. Doi: 10.1016/S1383-5718(03)00164-5


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *