Homemade diets

Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog?

Graham Harper
By Graham Harper, Journalist specialized in animal welfare. Updated: February 1, 2018
Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog?

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You won't remember this, but it wasn't until the mid-1800s that dog food was created and available to buy. So what did dogs eat before the invention of canned and dry feed? Without a doubt, they had no choice but to follow a homemade diet.

Many people are starting to bet on natural recipes, hence the great boom of the BARF diet for dogs, which defends part of what we will explain below. If you are still wondering "can raw meat hurt a dog?" Clear all your doubts with this AnimalWised article.

You may also be interested in: Can Cats Eat Raw Fish?

Raw meat for dogs?

In the world of canine nutrition we can find countless studies and opinions. Some reject raw food for the possible presence of parasites and pathogens, while others reject cooking for the loss of enzymes, natural probiotics and vitamins. What is true in all this? Which is the best option?

The process of domestication that dogs have undergone has changed some aspects of their digestive physiology, as well as other structures, hence why the differences between dogs and wolves, their close relatives, are so obvious.

However, the domestication of the dog has not changed the essence of the dog nor the essence of their food, carnivorous food in which dogs can consume without problems. In the wild they would preferably eat raw meat. Raw meat can be given to dogs because of their body structure:

  • Their teeth have enough force to tear the flesh.
  • Their stomach is small and muscular, and prepared to digest it.
  • Their intestine is short which prevents the rotting of meat during digestion.
  • Their digestive juices as well as saliva are perfect to be able to assimilate the meat protein.

The digestive system of the dog is prepared to digest meat without problem, preferably raw, which is how it would be consumed in a natural environment. We should also note that some legends, such as "raw meat makes a dog more aggressive" is totally false.

However, as we have discussed at the outset, there are possible parasites and pathogens that can be found in raw meat, so it will be fundamental to look for foods that certify its quality. Also, to fully ensure that our dog cannot get infections from salmonella, E. coli or trichinosis[1], for example, we can freeze the meat or lightly cook it before offering it. It is up to the owner whether to offer it raw, for a better nutritional contribution, or slightly cooked, to avoid health problems. It is a personal choice.

Finally we must point out that, in the end, it will be the same dog who will choose to eat one product or another. While some dogs may sneeze at the sight of a piece of raw meat, others will reject it with obvious disgust. This is something that usually occurs in small breeds, in old dogs, or in those that have not been accustomed from puppyhood.

Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog? - Raw meat for dogs?

If you have decided to give your dog raw meat, now you will be wondering "how much raw food to feed my dog per day?". Although your dog should not only feed on meat, the truth is that it should be the food with greater presence in their diet. As we mentioned in the previous section, dogs have a small stomach. Therefore, portions should not be large and should be repeated two to three times a day.

In a dog's diet the proportion of meat should be around 75% of the total ration, and contrary to popular belief, the viscera are not good because they are generally very intoxicated. For example, all drugs given to a cow are metabolized in the liver, which causes this organ to accumulate residues that are not beneficial to a dog.

It is advisable to give your dog leftover lean meat, preferably goat or beef. However, when referring to small dogs, the meat that is recommended is rabbit and poultry.

We know that giving raw meat daily to a dog can have a significant economic impact on some families, but we have talked about lean meat leftovers. These are very affordable in the butchers.

How to make raw meat dog food

It will always be preferable that the meat is fresh, however, it is not essential, we can also opt for frozen meat, a much cheaper option. However, if we choose this method, we must let the meat thaw completely and at room temperature, otherwise its properties would be affected.

It is not necessary to grind the meat, just chop it, remember that your dog is prepared to eat it like that.

Also remember that dogs digest raw meat and bones without problems, however, are not able to assimilate the nutrients of vegetables that have not gone through a cooking process or predigestion.

With all this said, it is of course up to the owner to decide whether or not you want to provide your pet with raw meat in their diet. It is not necessary, but it can be good for them. If you are vegetarian or vegan yourself or want to feed your dog organic food, there are plenty other recipes they will love.

Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog? - How to make raw meat dog food

If you want to read similar articles to Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog?, we recommend you visit our Homemade diets category.

  1. Knight, A. and Leitsberger, M. (2016). Vegetarian versus Meat-Based Diets for Companion Animals. Animals, 6(9), p.57.

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Can Raw Meat Hurt a Dog?