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Should I feed my dog raw dog food?

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Author: Emma Chandley

A practising vet with over ten years of experience.

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Feeding a dog raw dog food has long been contentious, yet it’s a topic of interest and debate among pet owners that is not going away.

Advocates of the raw food diet are often quick to highlight its potential benefits, claiming that it aligns with a dog’s natural dietary preferences and can lead to improved overall health.

On the other hand, sceptics express concerns regarding the risks of bacterial contamination, nutrient imbalances, and potential harm to pets and their human caregivers.

Understanding the pros and cons of raw dog food is crucial for responsible pet owners seeking the best nutrition for their canine companions. With this in mind, we asked experienced vet Emma her thoughts.

What are the benefits?

The main benefits of raw diets include healthier skin and a glossier coat, cleaner teeth, higher energy levels, and smaller amounts of faeces produced.

Why might a raw food diet improve canine behaviour?

If your dog isn’t receiving the correct nutrients from a balanced diet they may have less energy.

If this is the case they will be more agitated and harder to train. People claim that raw food diets give dogs more stamina for their daily activities, thus improving their behaviour. Some people believe that behavioural issues in dogs can be linked to processed dog foods containing artificial additives although this hasn’t been proven.

What considerations might you need to take into account if feeding a raw food diet?

Feeding your dog a raw diet could potentially expose them and your family to harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can cause serious diseases such as Campylobacter, salmonella, and E. Coli.

If your dog or anyone in your house has a compromised immune system, it is best to avoid raw diets altogether.

It is difficult to get the correct balance of nutrients when feeding raw diets and this may lead to chronic health issues.

Bones in raw diets can also cause injuries in the mouth or further down the digestive tract, causing obstruction or perforation which is life-threatening.


The challenge of ensuring a balanced and complete diet for the dog, considering the potential nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, remains a matter of concern. As with any dietary decision for pets, it is essential for pet parents to thoroughly research and consult with veterinarians to make informed choices that suit their dog’s specific needs and health conditions.

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