A selection of raw meats.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Have you ever thought about whether your dog can eat raw meat and if it does if the meat has to be prepared? Or maybe you have heard the idea that if you feed your dog raw meat, it will turn into a killing mother and bite you till death (this is something that I have actually heard, no kidding!)? Basically, we want to clear up whether or not dogs can eat raw meat. Here’s our answer. 

Dogs can eat raw meat. However, it should always be combined with other ingredients so your pooch will have a balanced meal, just like when you have chips and chicken wings! Well, kind of balanced. Also, even though dogs can eat raw meat, it’s better to cook it, so the risk of bacteria is lower. Remember to always consult with your veterinarian prior to making any changes to your dog’s diet.

Have You Heard About BARF?

Many owners already feeding their dogs raw meat usually use a guide on how to create a balanced meal, pretty much like what dry foods offer. This is known as the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, meaning that your dog gets all of the nutrients it needs according to its age and activity. However, there are studies that say dogs may not do very well on this type of diet. On the other hand, there are studies that say grain-free dry food diets are also harmful to your dog. So, what to choose, really? 

What Are The Benefits Of Dogs Eating Raw Meat?

As dog owners, we always want our dogs to be happy and healthy, and each owner does that in a way that they think is good for their pet. The physiology and anatomy of the dogs’ digestive system say they were designed to eat raw meat, just like their ancestor, the wolf. However, we must remember that dogs have been domesticated for quite some time now and that things have changed for them as a result. 

Still, eating raw meat can have some benefits for dogs. Here’s what those benefits are.

Better Looking Coat And Healthier Skin

The reason behind this might be because the protein and fat in the raw meat are not added, but it is readily available for the body to utilize it. Meat also contains zinc and vitamin E, which improves the quality of the coat. 

Better Digestion 

Dry kibble can stay in your dog’s stomach for up to nine hours after the dog eats it. Compared to that, raw meat usually stays there for an hour to two hours, making it more beneficial for your dog. This is the reason why vets recommend not taking your dog for a run after it has had its kibble. 

Shinier Teeth And Healthier Breath

Whenever your dog eats softer canned food, it will be prone to having some plaque formation on its teeth. Even though some owners wash their dogs’ teeth, it would be nice if you could give your dog a huge raw bone that it can chew every now and then. Doing so lets you enjoy some peace and quiet while the dog is occupied, and it is also nature’s best toothbrush

Maintains Body Weight

As long as the dog’s owner knows how to balance their dog’s diet and give them sufficient exercise, then dogs that eat raw meat won’t be as prone to gaining weight as others might.

What Are The Risks Of Dogs Eating Raw Meat?

There are, unfortunately, more than a few risks when it comes to feeding your dog raw meat. Here’s some of what they are.

The Meat Can Expire

This is just as true when feeding the meat to your dog as to a human. If the meat is left out too long or, if it’s in the fridge and isn’t used in time, it will expire. 

If you suspect your meat has expired, we recommend not chancing it. Throw it away instead of giving it to your dog. The last thing you want to do to your dog is making them sick.

It Can Be Bad Quality

Like the previous reason, this one can be avoided with a little due diligence. Make sure the meat you buy is from a good-quality brand with good-quality meat and ingredients.

It Can Have Bacteria

This is the most important reason to reconsider feeding your dog raw meat is that raw meat can have bacteria such as listeria, E.coli, campylobacter, and clostridium, as well as a parasite called trichinella.

Dogs Still Need Other Nutrients

While not a risk, it’s still important to know that dogs shouldn’t be fed raw meat alone. They need lots of different nutrients from many different sources, so they still need a balanced diet supplied with a variety of food.

Should You Feed Dogs Raw Meat?

A pile of raw meat and vegetables.
It looks good, but dogs shouldn’t eat raw meat unless cooked.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. We recommend, as always, talking to your veterinarian about this first. We also recommend never taking a chance when it comes to your dog, so unless your vet gives the okay, you’ll want to stay away from feeding your dog raw meat. Also, the American Veterinary Medical Association frowns on it anyway.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

So, whenever you are preparing meat for yourself, and your pooch is sitting right next to you, drooling all over the floor, as long as you’ve talked to your veterinarian about it and they’ve okayed it, then your dog can have some. Otherwise, hold off. 

So, have you ever fed your dog raw meat before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva
Dr. Nade Georgieva, DVM, PG Dipp (Anesthesia and Analgesia) Nade is a young veterinarian from North Macedonia, with five years of experience in small animal clinical practice. She graduated from the Veterinary Faculty in Skopje, after which she got employed in her hometown. She has shown great interest in the field of pain management and anesthesia, and was the first vet in the country to continue education in the field. In 2021 she graduated with Distinction at the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh, obtaining the title Postgraduate Diploma-Anesthesia and Analgesia. Nade is owned by a year old black Labrador retriever named Fred and she loves spending her time outdoors with her dog and friends. In her spare time, she also loves to learn to play the guitar and take photos of nature and animals.