What You Should Know Before Feeding Raw Meat to Your Dog

Dog sniffing carrot in woman's hand.

More and more adults are adopting healthy diets featuring organic and natural foods. Many also want to feed natural, raw foods to their dogs to keep them healthy. But veterinarians urge owners to be aware of the risks and benefits. Here’s what you should know before feeding raw meat to your dog.

Nutrition is key

Simply putting a chunk of raw meat in your dog’s food dish will not provide the nutrition needed to keep your four-legged friend healthy. Veterinarians say that raw meat should be supplemented with additives that provide important minerals and vitamins. Several good choices are ground-up bone, organ meat, vegetables and cooked grains.

Owners also can enhance their dog’s health by feeding them fruits loaded with fiber and antioxidants, such as chunks of apple or watermelon. However, don’t feed dogs grapes and raisins because they can cause kidney damage. In addition, avoid canned fruits high in sugar.

It’s important to provide pets with calcium to keep their bones strong. Calcium sources can include cheese, raw eggs, ground egg or oyster shells and bones, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or flaxseed oil. Pet nutritionists also recommend adding kelp and seaweed, which are high in trace minerals.

One other thing you should know before feeding raw meat to your dog is that the process is more time consuming than simply opening a bag of kibble.  You’ll need to shop for the right raw meat and additives and then mix the ingredients to make nutritious meals for your dog.

Prevent health risks

Many pet owners worry that their dog could get food poisoning from raw meat contaminated with E. coli, listeria or salmonella. But veterinarian experts report that a dog’s stomach acid should neutralize the bacteria to prevent sickness.

Instead, owners should focus on overall food safety to ensure their pet does not pass harmful bacteria to their human family members.

Practice safety

Veterinarians encourage owners to handle raw pet meat the same way as they do when fixing meat for their meals:

  1. Purchase meat from a reliable store and check the sell by date.
  2. Wear disposable food-safety gloves when handling raw meat.
  3. Wash hands frequently.
  4. Thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator and use within three days.
  5. Don’t touch face or mouth while handling raw meat.
  6. Disinfect counter surfaces with a solution of one tablespoon bleach to one quart water.
  7. Use soap and water to clean dishes and utensils.
  8. After feeding your dog, refrigerate leftover food.
  9. Don’t kiss your dog or accept face licks.
  10. Wash your hands after handling or being licked by your dog.

Recognize health benefits

When feeding raw meat to your dog as part of a balanced diet, you should notice significant health improvements. Your furry friend will have a shinier coat, healthier skin, improved dental health, energy and smaller stools.

In addition to providing dogs with nutritious foods, owners should protect the health of their dogs’ heart and teeth.

Dog chewing on meat in bowl.


Hill’s Pet Nutrition