There are several dog food options available today including: wet, dry, home-cooked, dehydrated, and raw food. But how do we choose the best ones for our furry pal?

Weighing the pros and cons of the different forms of dog food and seeking our vet’s advice is important to help us make informed decisions when it comes to what to feed our dog.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on one form of dog food in particular - raw food. Come, and let’s take a closer look at what a raw diet for dogs is and how it may affect our canine companions and us too.

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  1. What Is a Raw Diet for Dogs
  2. What Raw Meat Can Dogs Eat
  3. How Much Raw Food to Feed Dog
  4. Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Gizzards, Hearts and Liver
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

What Is a Raw Diet for Dogs

Can we feed our dog with raw food? First things first, what is a raw diet for dogs? As it sounds, a raw diet for dogs involves feeding raw foods which may include meat, fruits, and vegetables. Normally, it consists of the following:

  • Raw muscle meat
  • Raw bones (whole or ground)
  • Raw organ meat (e.g. kidney, liver)
  • Eggs in their raw form
  • Vegetables & fruits
  • Yogurt (or some form of dairy)

Dog Raw Food Diet - Feeding Techniques

When did the idea of feeding dogs a raw diet come about anyway? Read on to know more about the founders and why they recommend raw food diets for dogs.

  • BARF

The idea of feeding our dog with a raw food diet that is close to what the canine’s ancestors ate before domestication was proposed by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, an Australian veterinary surgeon, in the year 1993. In fact, he coined this diet suggestion as the BARF diet, the acronym of which stands for: “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food” or “Bones and Raw Food”. According to him, commercial grain-based dog food is bad for a dog’s health.

  • Prey Model Raw (PMR) Diet

This feeding technique intends to mimic the natural diet of dogs in the wild (e.g. whole rabbits or ducks)

  • Raw Diet Controversy

While feeding dogs a raw diet is gaining popularity, dog owners and veterinarians have long debated as to whether it is good for dogs or not.

Billinghurst along with other proponents of feeding dogs with raw meat argue that a raw diet is the closest thing to what dogs’ ancestors ate in the wild, making it the better choice for digestion and proper absorption of nutrients for dogs to thrive.

On the other hand, there are those who do not recommend feeding dogs with a raw meat diet. For one thing, they argue that dogs have already been domesticated, so their nutritional needs are different from their ancestors. Mainstream veterinarians, along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) do not advise a raw diet for dogs because of the several risks to both animal and human health. Such risks involve possible cross-contamination, food-borne illnesses, as well as nutritional deficiencies. These issues have been documented in a number of studies in published veterinary journals.

What Raw Meat Can Dogs Eat

In deciding what to feed our dogs, a well-balanced diet that meets the nutritional needs of our canine pals is essential. This applies to raw diets as well.

When it comes to raw diets, we start with the foundation - Raw Meat. But being curious as we are, us dog owners may have a lot of questions on our minds such as — “Can dogs have raw beef”, “Can you feed dogs raw chicken?”, or “Can dogs eat raw turkey necks?” Let’s get to know more about this below.

Raw Meat For Dogs

A wide variety of meats can be used such as turkey, chicken, lamb, pork, beef, and game meats.

Meanwhile, there’s a common misconception that a raw diet is made up solely of meat. However, that’s nutritionally deficient. The same goes for meats being sold at supermarkets, which are assumed to be cooked for humans to consume.

Many raw feeders recommend a nutritionally-balanced combination of muscle meat (e.g. chicken, turkey, duck, beef) - which provides protein, organ meat (heart, kidneys, liver) - which provides essential vitamins and minerals, fish - which provides taurine, and raw meaty bones (RMBs) - which provides calcium and phosphorous. Adding a healthy array of dog-friendly vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, dairy, and supplements is essential in the mix as well.

Precautions in Feeding Raw Food

All forms of pet foods, including raw diets, can be susceptible to contamination and harmful bacteria. It is therefore important for food to be checked to make sure that they are clean and safe. However, meat being sold at supermarkets has a greater risk. According to Dr. Judy Jasek, a veterinarian at Animal Healing Arts in Colorado, it’s allowed for meat sold in supermarkets to have more bacteria with the assumption that it will be cooked for human consumption. So if you’re planning to buy meat for your pet, she advises that it’s better to go to a quality pet food supplier or trusted butcher who knows the source of the meat and the way it was handled.

Meats that are human-grade and without preservatives and additives are recommended. So are free-range, grass-fed, and hormone-free meats. Proper handling and following storage guidelines such as keeping the meat frozen or refrigerated until it is time for feeding is very important. Good hygiene and sanitation is also crucial when feeding your dog with a raw diet. Be sure to wash your hands as well as any utensils and surfaces that have been in contact with the raw meat to prevent contamination.

For a safer option when it comes to raw feeding, consider commercial raw meat diets that are specially formulated to be nutritionally balanced and complete.

While we hope our pets won’t get into an emergency related to anything they eat, or any emergency for that matter, such things may happen unexpectedly. We pet owners should therefore be prepared. One considerable option is having pet insurance or a good alternative to it such as Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund. In cases of pet emergencies their services go a long way in making sure that your pet gets the medical care needed while giving you peace of mind. An annual subscription provides $3000 for pet emergencies of upto 6 pets, regardless of age, breed, and medical history. Moreover, you also get access to a 24/7 online vet service that allows you to consult with certified vets anytime and anywhere you need it.

How Much Raw Food to Feed Dog

Upon deciding to feed your dog with raw food, the next question that may come to mind is — How much raw food should I feed my dog?

How much raw food to feed a dog depends on a number of factors such as your canine pal’s age, breed, level of activity, and overall health status. Below is a general guide:


A higher percentage of protein, vitamins, and nutrients are needed by puppies to aid in their growth and development. So how much raw food to feed your puppy? Generally, the recommendation for raw meat per day is 5-10% of your pup’s body weight, to be divided into several feedings.

Adult Dog

For adult dogs, a balanced diet is essential in maintaining their body weight and level of energy. The general recommendation of raw meat per day is around 2-3% of your dog’s body weight, to be divided into 2 feedings.

Senior Dog

Because senior dogs have a lower level of energy, a diet with less protein is ideal in supporting their kidneys. Like adult dog’s the raw meat percentage recommendation per day is 2-3% of their body weight, divided into 2 feedings.

Regularly check your dog’s weight, and if needed, adapt the percentage of raw food that you give your dog correspondingly.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Gizzards, Hearts and Liver

Not only are chicken gizzards, hearts, and liver good protein sources, they also contain essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. As a matter of fact, they contain a lot more nutrients than muscle meat. However, you might be wondering, can your dog eat it raw or does it have to be cooked?

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Gizzards?

Yes, they can. And it's beneficial for them since it is packed with cartilage, iron, zinc, and B12. In addition, it's a good glucosamine source for joint health.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Hearts?

Yes, they can. Containing CoQ10 (a great antioxidant that aids in cardiovascular health) and taurine (a good source of amino acids for heart function), raw chicken hearts provide a lot of benefits.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Chicken Liver?

Yes, they can. Raw chicken liver is a good source of Vitamin A, which aids in having good eye health, among other health benefits. It is also a good source of iron, B12, copper, folate, selenium, and Vitamin C


Can dogs eat raw ground beef?

Raw ground beef is a good source of protein, as well as healthy fats. However, note that there are risks such as bacterial contamination or salmonella.

How to feed raw chicken to dogs?

Here are some guidelines in feeding your dog raw chicken:

  • Keep the meat frozen until you’ll be thawing it for feeding
  • Only thaw it in the fridge if you’ll be feeding it within 3-5 days.
  • After one hour of feeding, discard the remaining food.
  • After every meal, clean their dog bowls thoroughly.
  • Don’t keep leftovers in the fridge for more than 24 hours.


The safety of feeding your dog raw food depends on several factors. Dogs have different needs, and all types of meat have their differences too. One pet might do well on a raw diet, while another might have a bad reaction to it. Therefore, it is important to consider the different factors involved when feeding your dog a raw diet. It is also important to ensure that the raw ingredients are from reputable sources. Proper handling, storage, and sanitation is equally important. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian first before deciding to feed your dog a raw diet.

In many cases, problems arise when owners start to feed their dogs raw without consulting with a vet. Among the risks are nutritional deficiency, salmonella, cross-contamination, and stomach upset are among the risks.

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