Suggested Raw Dog Foods

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A raw dog food diet is designed to mimic a dog’s natural ancestral menu. The whole concept of raw feeding is based upon a dog’s instinctive carnivorous bias — a built-in desire to capture (or find) and eat another animal.
Wolf with Raw Food

As unsavory as it may seem, it is completely natural for a wolf to consume the entire animal.

Meat, bones, organs and all.

As direct descendants of wolves, dogs are simply not genetically optimized to consume the 50% carbohydrate content of today’s commercial kibbles.

So, how do these diets compare?

The Ancestral Diet
Compared to Dry Kibble

No one can argue the dry baked pellets we call dog food aren’t convenient. Yet the nutrient profile of a dry kibble is nowhere near the nutrient content of a dog’s ancestral diet.

Canine Ancestral Diet versus Dry Dog Food

Notice the higher carbohydrate content of the kibble compared to the dog’s natural ancestral diet. Or how about the dramatically lower protein and fat levels?

The Benefits of a Raw Diet

Feeding a raw dog food diet has many notable benefits

  • Firmer stools
  • Improved digestion
  • Healthier skin and coat
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Better weight management

There have been many reports of improved health when chronically ill pets were switched from a commercial product to a raw dog food.

The Downside
of a Raw Dog Food Diet

A raw dog food diet can’t touch the convenience of a kibble. Just measure and pour. It just doesn’t get any easier.

Yet besides the lack of convenience, there’s another critical issue. Bacterial contamination.

Salmonella and E. coli germs can always be a potential problem with raw meats. Yet the risk of food-borne disease is actually quite low.

That is, low risk for dogs. But not for humans.

That’s because a dog’s digestive system is shorter and more acidic.

Which makes canine infections like these fairly rare.

The real risk of food-borne disease is actually greater for a dog’s human caretakers — not the dog.

Yet with proper care and handling, this risk can be dramatically reduced.

How to Use Our List

Below you’ll find a list of the Advisor’s suggested raw dog foods. Of course, this list should not be considered a complete catalog of all the raw dog foods on the market.

For there are others. Many others.

We only provide this small group as a starting point.

As a matter of fact, if you know of a specific dog food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations in the Comments section below.

Or if you’re looking for some suggestions yourself, be sure to look through our readers’ Comments to find more good ideas.

Suggested Raw Dog Foods

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Thanks! I am currently feeding a mix of high-quality kibble and canned food, but I am thinking of trying THK dehydrated food. My main aversion to raw is that I’m sort of germophobic, so even though I know companies test for bacteria, and that dogs are unlikely to get sick anyway, I am still somewhat afraid of raw. Also the price, though there seem to be some reasonably priced freeze-dried options.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dog Obsessed,

    That’s a GREAT question!

    I would say that it will not be more difficult to make the change to raw from freeze-dried raw, than it will be to make the change from kibble to raw.

    But changing from kibble to a properly balanced freeze-dried raw as a first step WILL be a HUGE upgrade in quality!

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi BC,

    Please take another look!

    The meat graphs wind up at a lower pH than the cereal meals.

    But as I said in the post you are replying to, I don’t think it is wise to focus on ONE indicator to determine if raw fed dogs can handle more bacteria in their meals than kibble fed dogs. First of all different studies give different values and contradict each other regarding stomach pH and content of meals.

    Second of all I am sure that there are several chemical and biological differences in the guts of dogs depending on the content of their meals, that account for the ability of raw fed dogs to handle more dietary bacteria than kibble fed dogs.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Thanks! I’m not currently considering feeding raw frozen or raw prey model, but I am considering raw freeze-dried. I will keep your guidelines in mind if I ever want to try other kinds of raw or if I am talking to someone else who does. Would it also be an option to transition the dog to freeze-dried and then to raw?

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dog Obsessed,

    You’re right, during the transition you are mixing the 2.

    Switching a dog from a kibble to a raw diet can be a great leap in quality and a return to a diet that closely resembles that which a dog is designed to eat.

    So in my opinion it is worth it. Some dogs will never be able to make the transition successfully, but it is worth a try.

    If you are going to try the switch from kibble to raw this would be my suggestion:

    1st week) 90% kibble, 10% raw, fed in 2 separate meals.

    2nd week) 75% kibble, 25% raw, fed in 2 separate meals.

    3rd) week) 50% kibble, 50% raw fed in 2 separate meals.

    4th week) 75% raw, 25% kibble, fed in 2 separate meals.

    5th week) 100% raw.

    If everything goes well with no vomiting, diarrhea or other issues, then you have successfully switched your dog to a species appropriate raw diet!

    If you run into a problem at any stage then return to the previous stage and stay there until the problem resolves and then continue at a slower rate until you reach 100% raw.

    If you run into a problem in the first stage then return to 100% kibble until the problem clears up. Then start over at 5% raw instead of 10% raw and increase by 10% a week until you reach 100% raw.

    If switching to raw in this manner does not work you can do the stages with cooked meat until you reach 100% cooked meat and no kibble.

    Then you can attempt to reduce the amount the meat is cooked slowly over a month or two and see if that works.

    As I said before not all dogs will be able to transition to 100% raw from kibble. If your dog can’t then I would go with the cooked method because that is still a HUGE improvement over kibble.

    ALL homemade or commercial raw or cooked used should be nutritionally complete by adding supplements where necessary and nutritionally balanced by making sure the caloric distribution of the meals are close to:

    protein 49%
    fat 42%
    carbs 8%

    Sorry for the long post but it is not easy to convey how to make this switch without leaving anything out, and still I know that I left some things out anyhow!

  • Dog_Obsessed

    But if your transitioning a dog from kibble to raw, then aren’t you mixing the two?

  • theBCnut

    Hmm, this chart seems to say that the pH is higher with meat meals, not lower.

    I suppose my opinion will change if I see some of these kibble/raw fed dogs that have issues, but so far I know many who have no issues at all and only one who has issues, but it’s a dog that has issues with everything, not just raw, so I don’t even count it.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi BC,

    So true!

    Here is a chart that shows the pH of meat vs cereal meals in dogs at different times after eating.

  • Dori

    Jillybean. What grain free food are you feeding her and which shampoo are you using? I’d like to help if I can. If you are going to try one of the commercial raw diets that are complete and balanced then, in actuality, you don’t have to add any vitamin supplements to the food. They are complete and balanced. If you are going to attempt to feed raw yourself by buying the meat, etc. then I’ll have to let someone like HDM answer that part of your query because doing it yourself will need a lot of different supplements to make sure that it is complete and balanced. Also, you might try going to the Forums section of Dog Food Advisor and post your question their too so that it can get seen by more posters that may have more advice. I have three dogs all of which I feed and rotate their foods with commercial raw diet formulas that are all complete and balanced. I have never had the inclination to do it myself. Two or three times a week I split a can of sardines packed in water as a topper on their foods. Only the one meal of those days, not both. Other days I add a little squirt of Nature’s Logic Sardine Oil that needs to be kept in the refrigerator. Oils go rancid very quickly. If you are going to stick with kibble I would suggest that you give Nature’s Logic Sardine Formula a try. It is the only kibble that my one dog that has a ton of food and environmental allergies and intolerances to is perfectly fine with. Also, even though you are feeding a grain free food, please check ingredient list of any treats you and others may be feeding her. Most include grains. We usually forget to include treats when we think about what they are eating.

  • theBCnut

    The only problem I see with this logic is, we don’t know if a pH of 2 kills all the bacteria or all the bacteria that is killed by low pH. If that is the case, a pH of 1 has no additional benefits as far as bacterial destruction. Maybe a pH of 3 does the job, but if we don’t know, well, then we don’t know. We have no evidence that feeding a mixed meal is a problem for this reason. Of course we have no evidence that it isn’t a problem, except for a very small sample size, statistically insignificant.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi aimee,

    I found this reference and it will take me a while to read it and digest all the data. I think you will like it. It’s called:

    “Feeding Fido”

    “Development, validation and application of a dynamic, in vitro model of the gastrointestinal tract of the dog”

    http://edepot.wur.nl/198410

    As far as your original question:

    “what pH do you need to make raw food “safe” Is there one??

    I think a pH of 1 will kill more bacteria than a pH of 2 (duh) but I think we would have to say a pH of 1 is safer for the consumption of any bacteria laden food than a pH of 2, rather than look for a number that will make it unconditionally safe to eat “raw food”.

    Although I haven’t really researched it I’m sure there are also issues with having a stomach pH that is too low in dogs, and I’m sure that the value of what pH is too low varies from dog to dog.

    My original concern is because I subscribe to the position that the pH and enzymes (and lactic acid production?) are ALL affected by the content of a meal.

    I worry that the eating of a mixed meal of raw and kibble may raise the pH above what it would be if the meal was raw alone, and cause a state of stress, imbalance, infection, or inflammation that results in disease.

  • Bob K

    See a professional for a diagnosis of the condition, allergy, parasite or other. You can play the guessing game for months trying all sorts of supplements, shampoos, expensive foods etc…… There are medicated dog shampoos but you need a diagnosis first to use the right product. There are also dog dermatologists. Sometimes a poor diet is the cause of bad skin and things can heal over time.

  • Bobby dog

    That’s nice Bob…

  • Bob K

    There are several medicated dog shampoos, some are by prescription The key is determining which product is appropriate and a diagnosis needs to be done by a professional. See your vet for details. Virbac is one of the mfgs of these products.

  • aimee

    I can understand how you would see it that way. But we have to remember these are means that were plotted on a graph.

    Statistical analysis is used to determine if the data are different enough that it is unlikely that they were drawn from the same population vs seeing that variation just by “luck of the draw”.

    In this paper numbers were not different enough to conclude a significant difference existed. In other words the variation in the means that you are seeing is meaningless as the numbers that made up those means were likely drawn from the same population..

    How did you interpret the high lactic acid, purportedly reflective of fermentation, in the meat diet at 2 hours ? The high protein meal didn’t prevent microbial growth/the authors. What bearing do you think this has then on the original question of mixing raw with kibble?

    Is a pH of 1 which was found in the real time study of dogs after eating kibble not low enough? I think it would be. but ???

    This goes back to my original question “what pH do you need to make raw food “safe” Is there one??

    Hopefully there will be some more information in the other references.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dr Mike,

    Why was my reply to aimee removed?

    She is allowed to say this about Dr Karen Becker a respected Vet in the Holistic health field for dogs and cats whom you have used as a reference for several of your articles:

    “I think she means well, (Dr Karen Becker) but I find too many major flaws in her writing to place much stock in what she says..”

    Yet I am not allowed to voice my opinion that
    “One could say the same about aimee.”

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi aimee,

    “The average 2 hour post pH in the distal stomach looks to have been about 4.3 for meat and 4.7 for cereal. At 4 hours, meat group about 3 and cereal 3.5 and at 8 hours about 2.8 in the meat group and 2.6 in cereal. The authors did not report any of the differences as significant.”

    Each point on the pH scale is ten times the point before, so a pH of 1 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 2.

    At 2 hours after a meal the 4.3 pH value of the meat group is 4 times more acidic than the 4.7 pH value of the “cereal” group.

    At 4 hours the 3.0 pH of the meat group is 5 times more acidic than the 3.5 pH value of the cereal group.

    That is a significant difference in my opinion.

  • aimee

    If a “target” pH hasn’t been determined, than how can it be said with any basis that the gastric pH of a dog eating kibble isn’t sufficiently acidic?
    It wasn’t clear where you took that quote from but it provide me with some names to search on, so many thanks!
    Unfortunately I don’t have the time to commit to this topic right now but I did read the first reference paper.
    Interestingly enough the authors reported a longer transit time in the dogs eating a meat based diet vs cereal based and in regards to gastric pH did not report that there was a significant difference between the two groups.

  • theBCnut

    Wow! Really? I didn’t get out my calculator and dig up the conversion equation, but I really thought they would have to be much further apart than that. I never thought about what going that far into the negatives would do to the numbers.
    Sent from my iPod

  • Storm’s Mom

    “Why the difference in temp from C to F when freeze drying?” – are you referring to the sentence “In freeze drying the food is frozen very quickly to temps below -50 degrees C, or -58 degrees F”? If so, -50C is actually the same temp as -58F, they are equivalent temps using different measures.

    http://www.metric-conversions.org/temperature/celsius-to-fahrenheit.htm

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Jillybean:
    I am not a raw feeder; I feed some commercial raw with kibble in a rotation. Check out the DFA forums (top of the page, “forum” tab on red bar) for more info on raw/homemade diets and itchy dogs. There are several regular posters that will be able to help with your questions.

    Check out this website for more info on raw and homemade diets:
    http://dogaware.com/diet/homemade.html

    This page has info on dog food mixes; the second chart lists vitamin pre-mixes:
    http://dogaware.com/diet/dogfoodmixes.html

    Edit: These books are often recommended by regular posters “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet,” by Steve Brown and “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats,” by Dr. Karen Becker.

  • Bobby dog

    I agree bathing a healthy dog more than necessary can contribute to skin irritations. However, when a dog has a skin infection bathing therapy is necessary to help heal the skin and rid the dog of infection, bacterias, yeast, or any other microbe feeding from it.

  • Kathelin

    She may be missing something. Have you tried adding omega 3s (herring oil) to her food?

  • Kathelin

    First, you should not be bathing your canine that often, even bathing once a month is more than enough! If you want to do raw, try giving her fish (70% new, 30% old food) or herring oil mixed with her current food. You could also try a blend of turkey, salmon, lamb, and kelp.

  • theBCnut

    Thanks for the info. I have never heard that freeze drying kills bacteria, so I assumed that once moisture was added back, all the bacteria would start reproducing again.
    Why the difference in temp from C to F when freeze drying? Those are nowhere near equivalent. Are companies using F being penalized for living in the stone age, or was that a typo?
    I still feel completely safe mixing raw and kibble for dogs that are not immune compromised, and for that matter, for my dogs that are immune compromised, due to allergies, not severe immune issues.

  • USA Dog Treats

    “Like other articles she (Dr Karen Becker) has written,”

    Could you please share with us any articles that you have written on the subjects you so often critique?

    “I think she means well, (Dr Karen Becker) but I find too many major flaws in her writing to place much stock in what she says..”

    One could say the same about you.

  • USA Dog Treats

    “Please provide the reference for this statement:
    “When a dog eats a high protein minimal carb raw meal the pH of the stomach gets lower (more acidic) than when that same dog eats a kibble that is 30% carbohydrates or more.”
    ————————————-
    “Modern studies note how the canine gastric pH response will vary with the type of meal ingested, a meat based diet causing a noticeable drop in pH (Banta et al. 1979; Carrière et al. 1993).”This is because gastric secretion is also influenced by the amount of protein in as well as the volume of the meal itself (Carpentier et al. 1988).”

    “In this way when a dog has been “programmed” to expect their cereal based and extremely (unnaturally) high carbohydrate meal at 6pm, the stomach will begin to prepare, with stomach acidity adjusting upwards (more alkaline) to the required pH. The pancreas and liver in turn will produce the enzymes necessary for the job, each operating best at particular pH levels, depending on the animals requirement.”

    “If you now chose to include a lump of raw meat in the dogs food, it is theorised that the dog will neither have the appropriate enzymes nor the correct pH to digest the meat lump in the meal. The animal will find itself in the unfortunate position of having the wrong digestive machinery to hand.”

    “At any rate this is why you are advised to change your dog over to a fresh, raw food diet very, very slowly. 5% mince one day, 10% the next etc. This method works, reducing vomiting episodes to almost zero, which lends strong support to the above hypothesis. Start off with something very easy to digest, tuna fish for example. Pour the water / brine over their current food the first day, then introduce a teaspoon of the meat the next, table spoon the next, slowly building the dog’s system up to a more natural and robust state. Tinned tuna is a great starter for another reason. With dry fed dogs expected to have a stomach pH slightly more alkaline, nastier raw meat microbes could be expected to survive for passage into the intestines. These can result in diarrhoea or worse. So work on reducing the dogs stomach pH for a few days before the main event.”

    ————————————-
    “What pH is “needed” for a raw meal to be “safe” and how was that determined?”

    That’s a great question!

    Unfortunately I have no idea and I don’t know that it has ever been determined.

  • aimee

    Hi USA,
    Please provide the reference for this statement:
    “When a dog eats a high protein minimal carb raw meal the pH of the
    stomach gets lower (more acidic) than when that same dog eats a kibble
    that is 30% carbohydrates or more.”

    I haven’t come across a study that looked at that parameter.

    What level of protein was considered high protein and was that on a caloric or as fed basis?

    What is the average gastric pH when kibble that is 30% carb or more is fed vs a high protein minimal carb meal.

    Did the amount fed impact the pH?

    What pH is “needed” for a raw meal to be “safe” and how was that determined?

  • aimee

    I think Dr. Becker means well when she writes what she does, but I have to wonder, why didn’t she discuss the study that linked increased rates of mammary cancer in dogs to high red meat intake?

    Apparently a link between the carbohydrate content of the diet and mammary cancer wasn’t found, but dogs that consumed a lot of red meat had higher cancer rates.

    I found the findings of that study very interesting as red meat has been linked to increased cancer in people. Why leave this pertinent piece of information out of the discussion?

    Also I would have liked to see her mention the decreased rate of TCC in Scottish Terriers who regularly consumed green and yellow/orange vegetables instead of only recommending “a few fresh cut vegetables”

    It could be that she doesn’t think those studies are valid. But then to be complete she should include them and critique them for her reader, otherwise it looks like she is trying to hide the information from them because it doesn’t support her personal opinions.

    Like other articles she has written, I think she means well, but I find too many major flaws in her writing to place much stock in what she says.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dog Obsessed,

    Please see my reply to BC for the long answer.

    It would be a GREAT idea to add freeze-dried raw to a kibble. The freeze-dried raw will have even less bacteria than the kibble and it is a much higher quality food.

    The bacteria would start to grow on both the kibble AND the freeze-dried AFTER you added the water but that would only be a problem if you left the food out for several hours or overnight!

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi BC,

    I went over the moisture because no matter how the moisture is removed, once you go below 10% bacterial growth will slow or stop.

    So you have the raw scenario down perfectly!

    In freeze drying the food is frozen very quickly to temps below -50 degrees C, or -58 degrees F. This kills all (or most) of the bacteria so once the food is freeze-dried you have a bacteria-free food that will stay bacteria free until moisture is added.

    Freeze dried food is as good as it gets if you’re looking for a minimally processed, as close to raw as possible, bacteria -free food with a long shelf life!

    Dehydrated foods depend on the temps they are dehydrated at to determine if the existing bacteria are killed off. Once they are dried to a moisture level below 10% whatever bacteria is present will no longer multiply (in theory).

    If you dehydrate a food to an internal temp of 145 degrees F and a moisture level below 10% you will have a bacteria-free food that will stay that way until moisture is added.

    If you air-dry like Big Dog Naturals does over a 24 hour period at temps of 80 to 100 degrees F, even if you go below 10% moisture you will still have all the bacteria that was originally on the food PLUS all the bacteria that grew during the 24 hours at 80 to 100 degrees F.

    So to sum up:

    Once a food is below 10% moisture with NO FAT (fat goes rancid no matter what) whatever bacteria is on the food should cease to multiply.

    If you go below 10% moisture AND either freeze-dry, OR dehydrate at 145 degrees F or above you will have a bacteria-free food that will stay bacteria free.

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Thanks! Your answer makes sense. So I guess it would be a bad idea to feed freeze-dried raw mixed with water and kibble in the same meal?

  • Jillybean

    I have a 14 month old Boston terrier that I rescued about 4 months ago we were told that she had some skin issues and was missing some hair on her back. Now we have her on grain free food bath her with special shampoo at least twice week and now she is missing so much hair and is extremely itchy! Help I was thinking the raw diet but wanted to know what kind of vitamins I should supplement with?

  • theBCnut

    I totally agree! Knowledge is power and I love learning new things!

    Now bear with me and see if I’m understanding this or if I’m missing something.

    In raw food, bacteria is possibly growing from the time the animal is slaughtered through processing to the time the meat is frozen, and then at a much slower rate during defrosting and through digestion.

    In freeze dried food, bacteria is possibly growing from the time the animal is slaughtered through processing to the time the meat is freeze dried, at a much, much slower rate or not at all when dry, and then begins to grow again when reconstituted and through digestion.

    So, to my way of thinking, the problem is still the same, but maybe, maybe not, to different degrees.

  • Dori

    Of course you can. I’ve been feeding my three toy dogs raw every day for approx. the last three years.

  • Bobby dog

    I use it regularly for my dog and cats. Here’s some info and dosage recommendations for organic unrefined coconut oil for dogs and cats:

    http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/coconut-oil-is-good-for-your-dogs.html

  • Gilda Politzer

    How much coconut oil do u give a day 70 lbs

  • ddseelbach

    can you feed your dog raw dog food every day?

  • Susan

    What are you bathing her in, I use the “Malaseb” medicated shampoo its excellent for yeasty skin problems,its an anti-fungal shampoo, it kills the bacteria on their skin & doesnt dry out their skin.. I have to bath Patch every 5-7 days as soon as I see him rubbing & rolling on the rug… as soon as he has his bath in the Malaseb he stops his scratching & feels good again,,also stop any foods with Potatoes any high carb starchy foods as yeast lives off carbs when they are converted to sugar.. you have to starve the yeast…
    Google “itchy smelly dog, yeast may be the problem ” you’ll see “Eating these foods can cause dog yeast infection” Mercola- Karen Becker click on that…Karen explains everything in a video how to go sugar free & change diet…you need to start an elimintion diet {no potatoes, carots, bananas}, also sardines in spring water are good… stop feeding any kibbles as they all have starch in them…no starchy foods.. once you change her diet, no kibbles & bath her weekly in Malaseb you’ll start to see a difference…make sure u disinfect her sweat shirt… I wouldnt put any shirts jumpers on her, let her skin breath..once you bath in Malaseb the itch will slowey stop…also I give Patch a good Dog Probiotic.. Karen explains this all in her video…Good Luck…

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Dog Obsessed,

    NV Instinct Raw Boost mixes freeze-dried raw with kibble. Please read my post to BC below for the long answer.
    The short answer is all the foods (freeze dried and kibble) in the raw boost are 8% or below in moisture, and bacteria won’t flourish with a moisture level that low.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi BC,

    Simply put, water (moisture) helps bacteria to multiply. Freeze drying is a very effective way of removing moisture from food. Freeze drying removes moisture more effectively than dehydrating.

    Science uses a scale that measures “water activity”. This measures the “freely available water in a material”. The scale goes from 0 to 1. Bacteria are said to need a water activity level of at least 0.85 to multiply.

    I don’t know how accurate that is but I do know that at 15% moisture a food is roughly at 0.70 water activity. There is no direct conversion so this example does not hold true for all foods.

    But I do know that once you go below 10% moisture (dehydrated can go down to 5% and freeze-dried even lower) you are WAY below the moisture level needed by bacteria to flourish.

    This does NOT guarantee a food that is bacteria free, but it is the reason that a properly dried piece of fat free all meat jerky will last more than 6 months without becoming rancid (no preservatives needed).

    I’m happy that a lot of dogs don’t have a problem with meals where kibble and raw are mixed and in your case it was a definite boost in palatability AND quality.

    My goal in posting this is just to let people know there could be a problem and the reasons why I think there could be a problem with mixing kibble and raw in the same meal.

    I know that we both agree that knowledge is power and the more we know the better we can take care of our furry friends!

  • Dog_Obsessed

    Also interested in why you say freeze-dried is okay but other raw is not. I know NV Instinct Raw Boost mixes raw and freeze dried.

  • theBCnut

    Hi USA
    You are the only one I have heard bring up that argument. Aimee once posted a study that didn’t show much of a difference in pH at all in kibble fed dogs. And if you are mixing raw with a 30% carb kibble, it’s no longer 30% of the diet, so if there was a pH difference, it would be even less.

    You may be on to something and aimee may be wrong, I don’t know. I just know that all the raw feeders I know, except for 1, don’t have issues with this, and I don’t have issues with mixing either.

    I started mixing because my picky dog had to have something on his kibble to eat it, so feeding it as separate meals didn’t really work for us. This was when Micah was a pup and having major issues digesting food. Once I started mixing raw into his food, all his digestion issues, except for food hypersensitivity, went away, so for him, it has been quite a relief to find something that helped him digest kibble better. I wish I could retrain my husband, so I could go completely to raw, but that isn’t likely to happen.

    According to your theory, why is freeze dried OK? It can still have bacteria in it. Or at least, that’s what I was told.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi theBCnut,

    The reason I recommend you don’t feed raw (freeze-dried is OK) and kibble in the same meal is not because they may digest at different rates.

    The pH of the stomach in dogs is affected by what they eat. When a dog eats a high protein minimal carb raw meal the pH of the stomach gets lower (more acidic) than when that same dog eats a kibble that is 30% carbohydrates or more.

    So when you mix raw and kibble in the same meal I believe the stomach pH winds up somewhere between the lower (more acidic) pH of a raw meal and the higher (less acidic) pH of a dry kibble meal.

    This could be a problem because who really knows if the pH being raised due to kibble is enough to cause the bacteria from the raw to be properly dealt with.

    And I don’t see any added benefit that feeding raw and kibble together might provide to the dog (not the owner) so I recommend people feed raw and kibble separately, if they must feed kibble at all.

    Mixing canned or any other cooked food with kibble in the same meal is a different story because they have both already been cooked and the danger of bacteria is removed by the cooking.

  • USA Dog Treats

    Amen!

  • handsome bob

    To wit: A nice summary of what I was trying to explain with the primary problem with kibble, even if it’s the best kibble… from a cancer-prevention guide for pets…

    “Feed an anti-inflammatory diet.
    Anything that creates or promotes inflammation in the body increases
    the risk for cancer. Current research suggests cancer is actually a
    chronic inflammatory disease. The inflammatory process creates an
    environment in which abnormal cells proliferate.

    Cancer cells require the glucose in carbohydrates to grow and
    multiply, so you want to limit or eliminate that cancer energy source.
    Carbs to remove from your pet’s diet include processed grains, fruits
    with fructose, and starchy vegetables like potatoes. Keep in mind that
    all dry pet food contains some form of starch. It may be grain-free, but
    it can’t be starch-free because it’s not possible to manufacture kibble
    without using some type of starch.

    Cancer cells generally can’t use dietary fats for energy, so
    appropriate amounts of good-quality fats are nutritionally healthy.

    Another major contributor to inflammatory conditions is a diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3s.
    Omega-6s increase inflammation while the omega-3s do the reverse.
    Processed pet food is typically loaded with omega-6 fatty acids and
    deficient in omega-3s.

    A healthy diet for your pet – one that is anti-inflammatory and
    anti-cancer – consists of real, whole foods, preferably raw. It should
    be high in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs, and
    bone. It should include moderate amounts of animal fat and high levels
    of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids, such as krill oil), a few fresh cut
    veggies and a bit of fruit.

    This species-appropriate diet is high in moisture content and
    contains no grains or starches. I also recommend adding a
    vitamin/mineral supplement and a few beneficial supplements like
    probiotics, digestive enzymes, and super green foods.”

    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2014/11/19/common-types-pet-cancer.aspx?x_cid=20141119_lead_common-types-pet-cancer_facebookpets

  • handsome bob

    The most important difference between feeding a dog kibble, even “five star kibble” with whole ingredients and no recalls is that kibble needs a binder to be able to be processed into the tiny niblets that we recognize. This binder has to be a starch. Additionally–the food must be cooked at a high temperature in order to fully render and then bind the ingredients. I won’t go too far into details here, but it’s becoming widely accepted that cooking food at high temperatures generates carcinogens and mutagenic changes that contribute to cancer. This isn’t some hippy-dippy paranoia, this is researched and reported at cancer.gov, The National Cancer Institute.

    So basically–feeding your dog ground meat is absolutely fine, provided you know what goes into that meat. If you are getting it from a raw dog food supplier, they typically source their meat from humanely-raised and organic sources, and if they don’t, you shouldn’t feed it to your dog. That’s the first major benefit to being able to select the meat that you feed to your dog.

    As you guys have already discussed, there is a difference between trying to feed your dog like a wolf, and feeding your dog a whole food diet. Perhaps ‘raw’ isn’t the best way to describe this. You can cook the meat at a low temp if you have concerns about bacteria or an immune-compromised dog.

    If you are utilizing a base mix (some excellent ones were already listed) there’s no need to go crazy feeding tripe, bone meal, etc. Though you can still add those things, and any number of excellent other ingredients into your dog’s diet, the base mix makes it easy to provide (here in the US, at least) FDA-inspected human-grade fruits and vegetables. No, wolves, typically don’t eat veggies, or the stomachs of their prey, as previously thought (not if they don’t have to, anyway), but our dogs are not wolves, and as the difference between ourselves and chimps and pigs shows, very small differences in DNA make major differences.

    Our dogs benefit from eating ‘whole raw’ in the sense that they have to chew, and their bodies prepare for the nutrition ahead of time, so they digest it better when it finally arrives. They also get cleaner teeth, etc. But you don’t have to feed this way every day, or go ‘whole hog,’ if you will…

    Kibble is convenient- no doubt about that. And many kibbles really do have top quality ingredients, but overall, the percentage of starch will ultimately have negative effects on our dog’s health. The female dog that I mentioned who was recently diagnosed with a mast-cell tumor has been a lifelong exercise in finding the best quality kibble, thanks to her food intolerances, but it turns out that even the best kibble made her itchy. This systemic inflammation results in diseases like lipomas, and mast cell tumors, etc. What goes in, must come out, and not always in the most direct way. This would be like a lactose-intolerant person drinking milk every day of their life. Eventually, they wouldn’t feel very well, in a myriad of ways.

    See my other comment, but you can also add coconut oil and coconut water for excellent health benefits.

  • handsome bob

    I should also add that coconut oil is excellent for dogs with skin issues, bad breath, and a host of other things. Coconut water also has anti-cancer properties. I personally *hate* the taste of anything that comes from coconut, but I’ve had great results mixing it in to my dogs’ food. Coconut water as well. Fish oil never did quite as much for them. My senior pit-boxer mix had constantly itchy skin and gunky ears, so far, he’s doing very well on the dehydrated raw mix with some real meat… no one can believe he’s almost 14! He looks amazing. Excellent muscle tone, no fat, no arthritis, shiny coat and now- not itchy!

  • handsome bob

    I have a female pit bull who had lifelong food allergy issues. I tried literally everything. Every single kind of kibble, even the hypoallergenic formulas (which actually have preservatives in them that most dogs are allergic to, ironically). She was recently diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are a result of chronic inflammation. Long story short–it took a cancer diagnosis for me to acknowledge what I already knew: kibble was no good for my dog. I switched all three dogs to a whole food diet (not totally raw). I use Honest Kitchen’s base mix, which you just add water to, and then you add a meat of your choice. This gives you a little more control over the source of the meat and allows you to feed more specifically to your dog’s needs. I found that my dogs got a little too lean when eating just the dehydrated raw formulas. I cook the meat at a low temperature (no higher than 160-165) for ease of digestion, and since the dog with mast cell disease is immune-compromised.

    Since I switched my dogs to the base mix with meat added, their itchiness has disappeared (my female was ALWAYS itchy. Always licking her paws, etc). The insides of their ears are a nice cool pink, rather than the hot pink that kibble diets always created (with brown gunk, ew). It’s been a few weeks now, but the difference has been huge. It’s definitely worth trying for your dog. And if you don’t want to worry about proper nutrition and vitamins, etc, I do recommend using a base mix that takes care of that part for you. I definitely don’t want to have to worry about trying to find the right vegetables, etc.

  • Bob K

    Samantha – See a vet for starters to make sure there are no skin parasites. What are you using for dog baths? How often do you bathe your dog? Where does your dog, play, eat ans sleep? Any herbicides or pesticides being used in the area? Are you sure? ANy lake, swamp or stagnant water? Vets can prescribe special shampoos for your loved one. Perhaps its time to visit a dog allergist/dermatologist. http://www.acvd.com Your dog must be miserable in that condition.

  • theBCnut

    I don’t frown on it at all. Some people say that you can’t feed raw and kibble in the same meal because dogs digest them at different rates and it might cause the raw to sit in their gut and the bacteria would grow, blah, blah blah and cause upset stomach. But dogs digest canned and kibble at different rates and nobody is saying you shouldn’t do that. If your dog doesn’t have a problem with different types of food mixed together then I’m all for it.
    Where I don’t like mixing is with same types of food, other than transitioning to a new food. Some people buy a few different bags of food and mix them all together so their dog will get variety, but if you do that and they react to one ingredient, you have no way of knowing what they are reacting to and you can’t sort out all those kibbles again. Even if they looked vastly different, the crumbs of each have contaminated the others. Also, for dogs with food intolerance issues, I like them to have a break from each ingredient, hoping that if I’m not overexposing them to one particular thing, they won’t develop another food issue.

  • theBCnut

    Gather the ingredient lists of foods you have tried on her and start comparing them. If she did bad one 3 foods and they all had chicken but nothing else in common, she may be reacting to chicken. If they had chicken and grains, she may be reacting to both, or one or the other. Take ingredient lists with you to the store and try a small bag of something that is as different as can be from what you have fed in the past.
    Yeast is almost always a sign of a food hypersensitivity, so first you have to get your dog on a food that doesn’t aggrevate her, then to combat the yeast, you need to give probioyics and cut carbs as much as possible. The gunk left on the skin due to yeast is itchy so you need to bathe once a week. Do not use oatmeal shampoos, just in case the yeast can feed off the oatmeal. I don’t know if they really do, but it is one thing I was cautioned about when my dog had these issues.

  • Samantha

    I was just reading everything u feed, and I noticed you wrote it’s good to have a variety, the more the better. If you don’t mind me asking why is it so frowned upon to mix foods if you feeding a 5

  • Samantha

    I also have the same problem, but my dog is very tiny she can fit in the palm of my hand. She’s my smallest chiweenie. I tried the raw diet and it is very time consuming and can be very costly. I finally switched to a kibble and mixed in a freeze dried meal, where it didn’t help my little dog, it helped my bigger one and he no longer has inflamed irritated skin patches and his fur is so thick, shiny and beautiful. I know how u feel watching your dog tear away at itself, my dog is in a bad right now and she gets benadryl every night so she will sleep. I can’t watch her 247 and if I didn’t give her the benadryl at night she would have her whole top layer of skin itched off. I too am desperate for some advice, I’m willing to try just about anything

  • Samantha

    Could the yeast be why my dog is always scratching and her poor skin is always so red and irritated? I have to keep a sweat shirt on her at all times just to stop her from tearing her skin off. I started a month ago the nutrisca dry kibble and the freeze dried primal she loves it, my other dogs really love love it, but it just doesn’t seem to be helping. I so wanted it to help her I know she is miserable and I feel so bad for her. I’m open to Any suggestions from anyone please I’ll try anything of there’s a chance she can get better.

  • theBCnut

    Make that almost always.

  • DogFoodie

    Yeast is often the by-product of food intolerance / allergen exposure.

  • Alex

    one thing we should consider when a dog seems to be very “allergic” or have food sensitivities is that the problem might actually be yeast overgrowth. Underlying allergies can be there, but they will reduce the skin’s resistance to the overgrowth, and if you don’t treat the yeast, you won’t see much improvement in the so-called allergic symptoms. Take a look at these pages for more guidance: http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/yeast-dermatitis-in-dogs/897

    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/05/03/eating-these-foods-can-make-your-dog-itch-like-crazy.aspx

    http://www.greatdanelady.com/articles/systemic_yeast_mini_course.htm

  • Chandler

    Chicken was not listed on there for his allergies so I would say that’s the best choice, it’s also the cheapest/ leanest meat. You still have to include veggies, fruits, bone, and some other various organs, so don’t forget.

  • Chandler

    I have a bluenose pitbull with the same issues. My recommendation is to most certainly try raw food, but that may not take care of the issue. From my experience, the raw food keeps my dog active, strong, and lean. It does improve skin and coat, but the insides are what matter most. Now the bad news; Bluenose pitbulls have a mutated gene that can cause them to be more susceptible to catching things or getting skin allergies. Our pitbull still has her skin allergies and we have tried everything you can think of. I mean hours after hours of research, along with many different health products made for these these issues. The one thing I have yet to try, it’s a full panel blood test to determine what her allergies are specifically caused from. Most common allergies are from Flea bites Mosquitos bites, Pollen, Carpet, Grass, and so fourth. The full panel will determine the dogs allergies to save you more time and worries. It’s costly, but worth it.
    Good luck with everything.

    Sincerely, Chandler

  • Amber Gilpin

    I have a 2 year old pure bread blue nose pit bull(Razors Edge&Guatti) she has really bad skin allergies but we can’t figure out to what. The vet said it was to food, but we’ve tried everything and every different type of grain-free dog food and she still is miserable. Could a raw dog food diet help my baby? I just want her to stop itching and biting herself. She’s so pretty without these skin issues. Help please anyone??

  • Gwen Sweeney

    Raw would definitely help your pup. Here’s a good site for you! http://preymodelraw.com/

  • LESLIE R

    I just found out my ShihTzu. Is allergic to beef, liver, lamb, venison and milk. He’s been looking hair in a couple spots as a result. Can you recommend a raw diet?

  • theBCnut

    Frankenprey is kind of a jokish way of saying that you try to feed what they would get if they were eating a whole animal, but you put the pieces together and it may be multiple species before you get a whole animal. The most basic raw diet is 10-15% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, and 75-80% meat. My preference is to add a variety of low carb veggies, high antioxidant fruits, and super green foods making up about 20-25% of the diet. This diet still needs a source of vit D, vit E, omega 3s, zinc, selenium, manganese, so I add ocassional sardines or herring,canned oysters, ground nuts or seeds, vit E and vit D capsules.
    There are websites, like dogaware dot com, that have recipes for raw that are easy to follow. Also, Steve Brown has a great book called “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” that is great for helping to learn how to balance raw. Dr Karen Becker’s book “Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” has more recipes. Basically, the more different recipes you have, the more variety you use, the better off your dogs will be. And you’re right to worry about how much calcium your puppy is getting. It will affect him for life.
    The enzymes in meat help to keep teeth from getting nasty, but they can’t do the whole job, so feeding something like a beef rib that still has the meat on it, so they have to pull the meat off and they can gnaw on the bone, really helps keep the teeth clean.

  • Gilda Politzer

    thank you for helping.
    I didn’t realize that there are different raw avenues. I am definitely not prey model. I just wanted something better than kibble and my dog wasn’t doing well. It seems on raw she is better with the itching. But the puppy I worry about. Is he getting enough calcium? Vitamins? Basically I am just giving different kinds of ground up meat from this place where they sell human grade for dogs, and some comes with bone and some without. But in order for their teeth to be cleaned, I understand they must tear and shred meat? Cleaning their teeth isn’t enough with doggie toothpaste and not letting them shred or tear food is defeating the raw diet? I am not sure what I am on …BARF don’t think it is Frankenprey but I do do offal as in organ meat. I am not a die hard raw food person, throwing them whole rabbits etc.

  • theBCnut

    Some premixes are See Spot Live Longer Dinner Mix, The Honest Kitchen Preference, Dr Harvey’s Veg to Bowl. They have everything that the dog needs except the meat, in the right preportions. Yes, premixes have veggies. Plants have micronutrients and antioxidants that dogs may live without, but IMO they do better with, because they help your dog deal with enviromental toxin and such things.. The best premixes have low carb nutrient dense veggies in them.
    If you want to feed prey model raw, then you HAVE to make sure your dog is getting the right amount of everything, including bone, and it really is best to feed whole animals so your dog is getting the nutrients that are specific to specific organs, like brains and eyeballs and hearts. If you are going to feed Frankenprey, you need to get as wide a variety of organs as you can find and feed the right proportions. Don’t forget to feed fish once a week or give fish oil.
    Weight bearing bones of large animals are definitely hard on teeth, but smaller bones are usually not a problem.
    I feed grinds too sometimes, and they are fine as long as they have in them what is needed or you add what is needed. I get grinds from Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore. I don’t believe either of those will ship to Canada, but you can go to their website and see what is in their “whole animal” grinds and see how it compares to what you are feeding.

  • Gilda Politzer

    also aren’t the premixes vegetable
    I thought we were not to use vegetables

  • Gilda Politzer

    Yes I am giving different types of meat. What would you consider a premix?
    Where I buy my meat – it is with bone or without, and I also give them offal. I don’t know if the raw turkey neck is considered raw meaty bone for their teeth, but I watch them with that. They also have brisket but too nervous, i watch. I also use a product called feedsentials, powder food supplement and fish oil – I haven’t raw chicken breast yet, still nervous about choking, but notice everyone does it. Now I am doubting myself thinking I should go back to orijen or some other quality dog food?

  • theBCnut

    A badly balanced raw diets is worse than a good kibble. You may want to look at premixes as a way to balance your dogs diet. With most premixes all you have to add is boneless meat, as long as you are varying the types of meat that you use.

  • Gilda Politzer

    My 6 year old golden has allergies so about 4 months ago, I switched her to “raw” – I was going to this place where most people go here in Toronto as a raw dog distributor. Mainly I am giving her a variety of different ground meats they have.After reading forums of the prey diets, I am realizing that giving my dog the minced or ground up raw foods are no better than kibble. In order to have any benefits, she must be fed “raw” in the true sense. Is this true? The raw newsgroups are giving, road kill, hunters prey, rodents, and supermarket or asian food market food. Being somewhat squeamish, the raw ground meats are the best I can do. I was told to give a raw chicken breast or raw chicken with bones, but still worried if dog would choke with bone. Basically I was giving a meal (minced meat) with bone and some without, plus some offal, and some tripe. Sometimes I try turkey neck, but watch so carefully. I have fish oils etc. The other problem is I also have a puppy 6 month old golden. Worried he is not getting all that he should in his first year of life being on “raw” I tried the kibble, but he seemed to always have stomach issues. I have also tried ready made “patties” of raw which I do not see reviewed here as they are Canadian. They seem to have good reviews in Canada. I heard raw meaty bones were good and yet other sources said no as they can be teeth wreckers. If anyone can offer advice …please. Is using ground up meats better than going back to kibble?

  • Milo

    HAHAHAHA, Raw Dog!!

  • Jude

    Thanks guys! :)

  • Dori

    The really are adorable!

  • theBCnut

    They are still the cutest!!

  • Crazy4cats

    Their ears are so cute!

  • Bobby dog

    They are precious!!

  • Jude

    Here are my puppies, but awake this time lol
    Opie is the all Brown, and Jaxx is the white with brown spots :)

  • Dori

    Hey, it’s a different culture. My husband and I, at the time, thought it bizarre at some of the things that they thought was hysterically funny. In turn we scratched our head trying to figure out what we had said that made them laugh so much. Misinterpretations I think was at fault some times. As I’ve said. Very lovely people.

  • Dori

    Hey! Technology. Part of it’s mystic to us non techie people is that it’s a mystery. Gotta love the good part and put up with the mysteries of it all.

  • theBCnut

    I have a friend that was a pro golfer, and he went to Japan as a missionary because they love golf so much. He had the funniest stories to tell about their sense of humor and how appalled they were with his sense of humor.

  • Cyndi

    I’ll sell it to my half sister, lol! She’s planning on going back, then she’ll already have her Yen! See, I can’t even make that symbol if I try, lol! I don’t know how the heck I did that before, lol!

  • Dori

    Japan is actually a very interesting place to visit. Really lovely people.

  • Dori

    Unless you are actually going to Japan and then you’d better save all your yen!

  • Cyndi

    Yeah, I’ll just stay home. I have no interest in going to Japan anyways. Although my half sister went there over the summer for a while and wants to go back badly! Not me though. I’ll keep my feet firmly planted in good old Northeast Snowhio! Yuck!

  • Cyndi

    Lol! Thanks Dori, that sure would be nice!

  • theBCnut

    Yes, it’s the Japanese dollar, which one would normally get in Japan, but peopel do use it to denote money in general, not just Japanese money. I suppose you can just stay home, if that;s really what you want.

  • Dori

    Love your sense of humor BC.

  • Dori

    Keep your fingers, toes and eyes crossed Cyndi, the yen may be coming your way.

  • Leroy Williams

    After her presentation at this years IACP convention I thought I would see Wendy Volhards Raw food diet on here.