The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs

We imagine many of our readers are strict adherents to the Primal Blueprint. You?re downing almonds by the bushel, guzzling fish oil, and avoiding grains like the plague, but what are you feeding Fido? Our bodies have had over ten thousand years to get used to agrarianism ? and the stuff is still killing us! Commercial kibble has only been around for fifty years. Imagine how dogs feel.

Consider the wolf, a dog?s closest relative. Wolves are hunters and scavengers, relying primarily on animal protein. They are not, however, accomplished chefs. Check out a wolf?s den. No pots, no pans, no range stove. Not even a salt shaker. They were on the raw diet before it became hip. You won?t see wolves feasting on Purina; they eat raw meat, and lots of it.

Genetically, dogs are virtually still wolves. They weren?t even domesticated until 15,000 years ago. So, for some 5,000 years the furry guys were tagging along with hunter-gatherers, munching on the leftovers: meaty bones, organ meat, maybe a bit of mammoth rib-eye (if they were lucky). They were scavengers ? like their wolf ancestors ? and they flourished as our utilitarian companions. Why else did we keep ?em around for so long? Sure, eating our leftovers may not have been the optimum doggy diet, but it was certainly better than the dry, over-processed sawdust that passes for dog food today. Modern dogs are pampered softies. Store-bought dog ?food? works for them because they don?t do much more than sit around and sleep.

And does commercial dog food really work? Well, it certainly keeps them fat and alive. On the same token, the Western grain-based diet keeps us fat and alive, too, but we all know how we feel about that. Just as Big Pharma?s tendency to prescribe expensive band-aids masks the insidious nature of modern nutrition, so too does the veterinary community give the impression that cancer, bone disorders, and other canine illnesses just happen to man?s best friend. Nutrition, according to them, has little to do with it. But just in case it does, they just so happen to sell an expensive kibble ? Science Diet, Nutra-Max, or whatever garbage their corporate sponsors have paid them to promote ? that will fulfill all of your dog?s dietary needs. What luck!

Before you listen to the vet, check out the ingredients on the package. For you Primal Blueprinters, the results will shock you. You?ll see stuff like lamb meal, ground rice, wheat, corn, sorghum ? and that?s for the premium brands! Why would you feed a carnivore grains? Somehow, we doubt wolves were out there shucking corn and harvesting rice. And just what is lamb meal? From Wikipedia, it is ?the dry rendered part from mammal tissues, prepared for feeding purposes by tanking under live steam or dry rendering.? After all that processing, what little remaining nutritional value of the ?meat? cannot possibly counterbalance the filler ingredients. The dog gets full, and even happy (hey, we all know that dogs will eat anything with a stupid smile on their faces), but the nutritional deficit adds up. You can stick with the kibble, but prepare yourself for a lifetime of vet bills, doggie dental bills (the most preventable expense ever), and vast amounts of smelly stool.

The truth is following a Primal Blueprint for dogs is the best way to ensure happy, healthy dogs. Best of all, you?re already used to preparing your own Primal-friendly meals, so the transition to a specialized dog diet shouldn?t be a huge leap. It?s easy, too: no cooking, no seasoning, no prepping. Just look at what wolves eat (read: any meat they can get their paws on) and go from there.

The Chow

A Primal eating plan for dogs should consist mainly of organ meat, raw meaty bones (like chicken carcasses or turkey necks), and muscle meat, naturally and humanely-raised if you can swing it ? just like us! Really, any animal product is acceptable. Wolves ate a wide range of animals, but it?s probably unrealistic to feed your dog antelope, elk, and deer on a regular basis. Some pretty affordable options include:

? Turkey: necks, backs, wings, drumsticks, gizzards, hearts
? Chicken: carcasses, backs, necks, legs, wings, organs, eggs
? Whole, oily fish: sardines, herring, anchovies, mackerel
? Beef: stew meat, ground chuck, organs, marrow bones

Dogs don?t need filet mignon to lead happy, healthy lives. The first things wolves go for are the organs of a fresh kill. They prefer the cheaper, fattier, more nutrient-dense meats, and sticking to them makes it possible to feed your dogs grass and range-fed animal products.

The Transition

Going from traditional kibble to raw feed can be a little unnerving for newbies. Try to resist the impulse to do a half-kibble/half-raw dietary transition. This will only confuse the dog?s digestive system and lead to explosive diarrhea. Remember ? you?re not switching kibble, you?re replacing poison with real food! Go cold turkey (pun intended). Puppies are blank slates and will take to the diet immediately, but older dogs may need a couple days to get used to the new food. Prepare for detox if your dog?s been on kibble for awhile. Vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, and itchy skin are all par for the course. Don?t worry? ride it out!

Stick to fairly basic foods at first, like turkey and chicken necks. Dogs love to gnaw and chew bones, so this will come natural to them. If your dog?s a gulper (and most reformed kibble eaters are), hold the bones for them while they eat to promote proper chewing. Once they?ve figured out how to chew, you can start adding different meats.

The Benefits

To truly see the benefits, you have to try the diet out for yourself. Results tell the tale, but some common benefits include:

? Shiny, soft coats: the Primal eating plan for dogs will imbue your pal with a beautiful luster. Heads will turn at the dog park; you better get yours spayed unless you want a promiscuous, irresponsible single mother on your hands. Fish oil supplementation makes this even more noticeable.

? Pearly whites: eating clean food and chewing raw bones will clear up any plaque deposits and leave your dog?s teeth gleaming.

? Lower vet bills: eating food the dog is evolutionarily designed to eat will take care of the allergies and minor illnesses that account for most vet visits.

? Lower costs: buying wholesale and shopping for bones and organ meats are actually considerably less expensive than purchasing ?premium? commercial dog food.

? A happy, long-living best friend: the oldest dog on record was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey who dined exclusively on kangaroo and emu. Your dog will live a healthier, fuller life on a Primal eating plan.

? Firm, odorless poop: on a raw, Primal eating plan, dogs waste little of what they eat. That means stool is small, hard, and without much odor. It also turns into white powder after a day or so, making cleanup effortless. Also, the added strain of passing hard stool will naturally express your dog?s anal glands, rendering another expensive vet trip obsolete.

Common Concerns

Don?t dogs choke on bones?
Not on raw ones. Cooked bones splinter, and they can get lodged in a dog?s throat. Raw bones are pliable, and the calcium content is absolutely integral to a dog?s health. Plus, chewing bones keeps the teeth clean. No more astronomical dental bills!

What about food-borne bacteria? Isn?t raw meat dangerous?
Wolves seem to do just fine eating days-old carrion. Dogs? stomachs are equipped to handle bacteria in much the same fashion, so don?t worry about contamination. Still, humans are vulnerable, so wash up!

What if my dog is constipated?
Again, the straining is actually good for your dog. But if it absolutely refuses to come out, a little raw canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) will do the trick. Raw pumpkin also firms loose stools.

How much should I feed?
Let?s use a sixty-pound retriever mix as an example. Assuming it gets plenty of exercise, feeding about a pound and a half to two pounds of assorted meats and bones is plenty. Everything varies from dog to dog, of course. If you can?t feel its ribs, reduce the food. If its ribs are a little too prominent, feed more.

Just meat?
Vegetables can be added to your dog?s diet. In fact it is recommended. Carrots are fun to crunch, and broccoli, spinach, and celery can be ground up and added to a mixture of ground meat. Supplementing with fish oil is also recommended for a shiny, healthy coat.

Have Fun

Have fun with it. Your dog is an incredibly eager eater, and watching the transformation is a true joy to behold. Go slowly and listen to your instincts as a Primal eater yourself.

Do you have dogs you feed Primal food? If not, are you thinking about making the switch? Hit us up with a comment and share your stories!

Kamia The Wolf, storm gal, This Year’s Love, Crocodillicus, tanakawho, NiteLynx Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

What is the Primal Blueprint?

The Definitive Guide to Primal Eating (for Humans)

Raw Meat (for Humans)

The Primal Eating Plan for Cats

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238 thoughts on “The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs”

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    1. Hello,started my pitbull pup on raw food when he was about 5 months old.He started by eating everything I put down,5 weeks in hes goten pickey and eats very little.Any ideas? THANKS

      1. My boxer-pit doesn’t like raw chicken (I spoiled her by putting pieces of cooked chicken in her kibble) so I found an excellent starch-free (don’t be fooled by the companies who claim to be “grain-free”…potato is still a starch just like rice or corn!) kibble that I can add sardines, soup bones, organ meat and turkey necks etc to. It’s by Wysong and called Epigen.

        Wysong completely embraces a primal lifestyle for pets. Check them out:

        1. Wyson has rice and corn. Why are you saying this is starch and grain free?

          Chicken, Water Sufficient For Processing, Ground Brown Rice, Ground Corn,
          Ground Extruded Whole Soybeans, Carrots, Barley, Bone Meal, Dicalcium Phosphate,
          Whole Egg, Yeast Culture, Ground Flax Seeds, Dried Kelp, Dried Wheat Grass
          Powder, Dried Barley Grass Powder, Sage Extract, Rosemary Extract, Garlic, Black
          Pepper, Artichoke, Ascorbic Acid, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E
          Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Pantothenate,
          Thiamine Mononitrate, Copper Proteinate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin
          Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement,
          Vitamin D3 Supplement.

        2. To the person thinking Wysong only has the grains and starches in their food:
          The Wysong brand carries grain-free and starch-free food for dogs. This line is called “Epigen”. You have to look for that specific line in their products.

    2. Hi,
      I have a little dog also. An 8 lb brussels griffon. He is always sick. I want to start him on a raw diet. Can you elaborate on what you feed your smaller dog?

      Thank you


      1. Did you try switching? I too have a brussels griffon and am wondering how it went?

        1. Dunno if anyone’s reading this post anymore, but i’m gonna answer anyway 😀 I have a 5 kg Brussels griffon bitch, and i’m feeding her raw. I feed her bones ONLY 1 g of bones / kg of weight. That’s all they need, not more than that! Then I feed her meat or meat and eggs for a total of 200grams a day, and 1,5g – 3 grams of liver per kg once a week. I also give her extra magnesium and zinc, as well as salmon oil and an oil for e vitamin. I also give her maybe 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon extra fiber.

          If you guys are considering raw, please DON’t feed too much bones (possible bowel problems), too much fiber (impacts vitamin & mineral absorption), too much low quality meats which contains loads of non-meat particles.

          Raw feeding, when done right, can be great for your dog! For us, we have been able to add more weight onto her, her appetite has increased, and after switching her to a human quality meat from dog meat, we were able to drastically reduce her acid reflux!

        2. oh, and I meant 1 g of bone per kilogram of dog’s weight PER DAY

          1. My Brussels Griffón is as cute as a button but itches and scratches constantly and has smelly poop and lotsa stinky gas and bad breath! He is 6. I think he may be allergic to something but don’t have vet money for allergy testing. He also seems to have an infection (staph) on his underbelly. Will feeding raw help to cure him? He doesn’t like chewing things much as he has a few missing key teeth. Advice please!

    3. What about lamb or goat bones anyone know where I can find

    4. feeding raw has proven to me to be the best program for my makes alot of since to give fresh meat rather than dried is true by feeding raw there stool is much smaller and less loss of food intake,coats are shiny and breath is dogs and pups are full of energy now.

    5. I started my 8 week old puppy on the diet. I started with turkey, then moved to chicken. He is doing great! Firm poop, full of energy, and all. But I am very concerned if I’m feeding him all of the vitamins he needs for his growth. I s it too many vitamins, or not enough vitamins?

  1. for an excellent – science based discussion about myths and truths about feeding you dog (same applies to cats too) this is the best site so far:
    my old dog was put on a carnivorous raw meat and bone diet 5 years ago – she never looked back – at 14 and still going strong
    our new pup took to it no problem – we look forward to a long vet-bill-free life


  2. This doesn’t apply just to dogs, the same thing goes for cats. I had a cat who was having bladder issues (which can get quite costly and quickly be life threatening) and the research I did on line all pointed to a raw meat diet with certain supplements being the best answer, the commercial “urinary tract health” diets not being as helpful as claimed by the manufacturer and veterinarians. I never did get a chance to go 100% raw with him as we no longer have the kitty, stress seemed to be a trigger and I figured moving to Europe from Texas would be stressful, and force him to have to hold his urine (another no-no). Hopefully his new owners are at least keeping him on wet food if they haven’t gone raw. Anyway, here is a link with more info:

    1. I feed both my dog and 4 cats raw. But my cats don’t do bones so I use bone meal, I use a digestive enzyme,coconut oil,flaxseed oil, chicken, cow hearts, liver, chicken gizzards. I am a student and living on aid and can’t work do to an injury, might surgery again, this got really expensive. But I saw a great result in their coats and energy, not to mention weight loss. I don’t have alot of money, but I would feed my animals before I fed myself. I run out of money till the 5 th of December, they are on the dog and cat food that I do not wish to give them . I put enzyme in it and flaxseed oil.I live in Montana, where there’s alot of cattle and game. I go to stores and the butcher shops here. I started this by watching a vet video on Youtube about raw. Is there any ideas on how I can cut cost down for my fury kids?

  3. I am curious about where people feed their dogs raw chicken. I know my dog would leave chicken residue all over the house.

    1. in answer to a mess around the house from raw bones/meat, it is a good idea to either have one spot on a ceramic floor (easy to clean and not porous) or in a kennel, crate. you can easily clean that area with an antibacterial soap.

      or, if you have a yard, your dog will love the benefit of having their own space to chew on their bone.

      also, cleaning the dogs mouth and paws with a white vinegar/water solution is recommended. this kills bacteria just as well as bleach does and is not harmful to your pet.

      keep this solution handy in a bottle along with paper towels after each feeding.

      this diet becomes easier as time passes.

      it is so worth the time put in!

      1. Hey Florence, just FYI, a white vinegar/water solution of any strength will not kill bacteria.

        While white vinegar is great for removing odours, the concentration of acetic acid in vinegar is nowhere near enough to be an effective sanitizer.

        Great idea on the ceramic area, I hadn’t thought of that. Perhaps it should be a meat tile rather than a kibble bowl?

      2. My name is Lisa Smedy and I have 7 yr old American Eskimo Dog.. His name is Blake.. We have recently started feeding him the raw chicken diet and so far it has worked for him.. The only problem we have been having is that everyone that has been saying it’s bad..

    2. I feed my dogs one at a time in a metal crate/kennel to keep from messing up my house. They run into that crate so eagerly!

    3. We feed our dogs twice daily, morning yogurt, pumpkin, raw eggs and whatever other veg I can con them into eating. They eat in the kitchen on the linoleum. In the evening, they have raw chicken legs, sometimes turkey, OUTSIDE on the back patio. Both dogs always take the legs out in the yard to chew on them, and one is an inveterate “hider”. I definitely don’t want to find 3-day old chicken “buried” under the guest room bed!
      Best of luck!

    4. My dog will eat the bones where I put her bowl down just like eating dry dog food and I mince the meat up in the blender so she eats that like she would when I used to feed her commercial wet dog food

    5. To feed raw poultry necks or other meaty bones, I put down an old towel on the tile, and I clip a light rope to the dog and attach the other end to a chair or table leg. The dogs like lying on the towel to chew and the towel collects any blood and can be laundered.

  4. I feed my dog anything ‘gross’ outside; oxtails, tongue, bones, whatever all goes out the back door for him.

  5. Thank you for this post, I hate that so many people feed their pets this garbage and genuinely don’t know the harm they’re doing. Why do people not stop to ask, “Why would a dog need medication?” or “Why would a cat be obese?”

  6. Another excellent post! The most amazing thing is I myself just made this realization on my own about 3 weeks ago. I thought about how they say you should never, Never, EVER give your dog table scraps because it’s bad for them. Well, I realized that it depends what exactly you’re giving them. If you are giving them donuts, pizza crust and cake, then they are going to get fat and require some medication. Hmmmmm…… isn’t that EXACTLY what happens to humans too if you eat like that?

    There are arguments as to whether a human diet is supposed to be animal based or a diet that is varied with less emphasis on meat. I happen to believe that a human diet is definitely supposed to be animal based, but the point is that there can be no argument about the fact that a canine diet is supposed to be animal based. I’ve since started giving my buddy any meat and fat scraps we have and he gobbles them down like you wouldn’t believe!

    Thanks again for another great post!

    1. Great point ega; Guess what two inventions marked the 1950’s?

      The refrigerator and commercial dog food. coincidence? I think not.

  7. Great post! Also, is a good resource for dog food critiques. All of their highest rated foods are high in quality protein and grain free. My basenji (African hound) does very well on Evo by Natura Pet. It’s not raw but it’s the next best thing.

    1. Any 90 – 100 year olds living now did NOT eat what ppl eat today. They were raised when food was either what you grew on your farm, or what your mother made you. There is a serious problem with what we eat today. Do your research, or what the documentary “FoodMatters” then comment.

  8. “Our bodies have had over ten thousand years to get used to agrarianism – and the stuff is still killing us!”

    Are you flipping kidding me? I guess that’s why people regularly live into their 90s and 100s–because our food is killing us…

    1. Yeah, but how many old people have you seen at the hospital all drugged up and on respirators? It’s mostly medicine and machines keeping us alive after we hit 60

      1. Not true at all. My Grandfather passed away at 92, mostly because he chose to let death come rather than fight it with medicine and hospitals. He had never been sick in his life, ate an incredibly healthy diet (aside from his whiskey consumption), played golf and took long walks daily and believed in alternative medicine. His brother lived to be 96- similar circumstances, very healthy and active. He simply died in his sleep. My grandmother is 89 and aside from breaking her hip hasnt been sick much. She has stayed active and eats all unprocessed food. Lifestyle has much more to do with it than medicine when people reach these higher ages.

  9. I want to thank Nancy for the cat food link. I have a siamese that became allergic to many things a year ago. After all the testing and predinose pills I am looking for a better way. I don’t like her being on the drug, but everything in the stores and special diets by vets have things in them that bother her. Thanks again Nancy.

  10. Even if your dog is doing “okay” on regular dog food, switching to feeding them a diet better suited to their system is going to show a tremendous improvement.
    (Except that now I’ve got a dog who’s hooked on yams. Something about them really satisfies her sweet tooth!)

  11. Great post! I’ve been feeding my 5 month old Rotti a raw diet since we got him at 6 weeks old and he is triving. But I do have a question, other then fish oil you don’t suggest any other vitamins or minerals. I’ve been adding the “healthy powder” that I make according to Dr Pitcarins recipe found in his book. My concern is the quality of meats found today and I can’t aways afford the organic meats. Any further information will be greatly appreciated.

  12. My two little dogs have been on grass-fed raw pet food (from US Wellness meats in Mo.) for about a year now and they love it. Since one is old and one has been injured, I add shark cartlidge to it and they gobble!! They also get Seagate’s shark liver oil once a day which they also gobble! Dogs are much smarter than people!

    I did not know about raw chicken, but will surely try it now that I do. My littlest one loves to chew on bones, but has had to rely on the grass-fed steaks I could afford to buy for myself in order to get any bones for her! I will not buy them from the local grocery stores.

  13. Humans aren’t living longer because of their current diet, but in spite of it. We have managed to eliminate or control most of the diseases that use to kill hundred/thousands of people at a time. The asian diet consists of a lot of raw foods (including raw fish), and they are traditionally longer lived & in better health than we are. Our children are obese–children!…no, our current diet isn’t why we are living longer. Like the old saying goes: if I’d known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. Start now, not later

  14. This diet is for fools. Raw chicken bones will kill your dog. Dogs are NOT carnivores. Dogs ARE in fact, omnivores. Therefore to have a healthy and balanced dog, you MUST include vegetables, and grains in your dogs diet.In fact, with many dogs, food allergies are often present. Many dogs actually require low protein diets. High protein diets can cause your dog to not recieve enough nutrition from its food, and this can cause the dog to eat its own feces, in an attempt to acquire enough.

    If you love your dog, do NOT take any of this advice on this site, and consult your vet before altering your dogs diet.

    The author of this article didnt do his/her homework, and should NOT be reccomending any sort of advice on canine diet.

    1. As mentioned earlier, there are some great sites out there about the fact that a. Dogs are in fact carnivores (opportunistic, admittedly, but just look at their teeth) and b. benefit from the raw diet. If you feed a dog a carrot, look at what comes out in his poop – the same carrot, with minimal changes. Dogs’ digestive systems have not changed since they became domesticated – they are still less than .2% different in their mitochondrial DNA from their wolf ancestor, and in fact when people want to know more about the wolves’ physiology, they will often use dogs for their studies. A raw meat diet (I personally feed a whole-prey model) is lower in protein than dog food – in fact, other than adding fish oil (to counteract the lack of Omega 3’s in store-bought meat), my dogs don’t get anything else…and are thriving. Their fur is shiny and soft, they don’t have bad teeth, they have much smaller poops (because their body actually uses what it ingests), and they are very happy.

      So please do your homework – try, or; join a rawfeeding group on Yahoo, or in general look at the possibility you might be mistaken and dogs are really carnivores who benefit as much from a good diet as we will.

      1. Thank you Kerstin, for your well stated, informative response. I am happy that there are people in-the-know on this subject and that your reply was both kind and factual.

    2. Dogs cannot digest grains. They are an unnatural food source to them.

      Kibble can legally contain euthanized dogs and cats, roadkill, leather shoes, etc. I’d rather try a homemade diet because I KNOW WHAT MY DOG IS EATING. Pick up a little book called “Scared Poopless: The straight Scoop on Dog Care” it has won to awards and comes with award winning nutrition CD’s that discuss the myths of low protein diets with experts on dog nutrition.

      1. This info is totally true! I read this book and it was very disturbing that they rendering dead animals that have been euthanized and animals that died of disease and also dogs and cats that still have their flea collar on. They grind up all these pets and etc and make meat meal and sell it to the dog and cat food companies ! Even some of the well known big companies use this meat meal because it’s cheap! Disgusting! Know wonder I pets get poisoned , food allergies and cancer
        , we feed are kitten raw and are switching our pup from holistic grain free kibble to raw also!

    3. Bwahahahahhahhahahahhabwhhhahahahahah!!!!!

      Wow, do you actually THINK for yourself?

      1. You have made nothing but rue comments towards everyone. If you disagree so wholeheartedly with the home made diet discussion then WHY do you keep coming back? Rudeness does nothing to make your point valid or clear.

        Then again, maybe the idea of realizing that heavily processed food is bad for everyone is hard to swallow. Regardless of whether or not you feed the omnivore way or the carnivore way, it is downright idiotic to trust anyone who profits off of your dietary decision. Research it for yourself, make up your own mind. I have seen footage of a dog being processed in a rendering plant. “Foods Pets Die For” another book, yes I READ, tested commercial kibble and found euthanasia agent is some lines. Why? When any animal is humanely euthanized the agent stays in their body for months and can easily survive the rendering process. Don’t believe me? Good, never a bad idea to question things, but instead of just dismissing it, why not actually research things for yourself?

    4. Really? because the merck veterinary manual state that dog have not dietary need for carbs of any kind.
      Inferior protein like the kind found in dry overcooked, previously rotted and or euthanized animals is not a good quality protein. Tell me why my dog stopped aging once I got him off of kibble?
      Why he stopped chewing himself raw and why he has sweet smelling breath and a full shiny coat? because I am killing him with good health.
      You on the other hand are ok with mediocre health and a dog that just lives. I believe you have never seen a dog that thrives.

    5. Hahaha right.. soo the people up the road from me who have a meat farm have been feeding their dogs chicken backs for decades. Their last dog lived to be 19, and their dog now is 17 and still running around. Oh, must be all the chicken bones inside him killing him, eh? Breeders everywhere of show and working dogs are feeding raw to maximize their dogs and puppies health and potential. It works. Of course vets will tell you there is no point, because they want to sell you their crap. But how many vets have now converted to raw? Just look it up. Hundreds of vets are changing their minds and recommending raw diets. Veggies are necessary for vitamins, and they benefit from them, but grains and fruits are definitely not needed. Apples are the only fruit they could benefit from. High protein KIBBLE can cause what you said, because kibble can cause virtually any problem, but a raw natural balanced diet will not lack anything and there is everything to gain from it. People need to do their research and feed many variety of foods to make sure their dog gets vitamins and minerals needed. I feed my dogs one chicken back in the morning, and at night they get mixed veggie pulp with raw ground meat, Apple Cidar Vinegar, Vegetable Oil, Coconut oil, and eggs. They love it, and have been absolutely amazing since the switch. My rottie, who has dysplasia and arthritis and could hardly get around, can’t stop running now and our 12 year old Retriever is just as much. We also supplement Omega-3s. RAW IS THE WAY TO GO!!!

    6. Unfortunately you are the one who hasn’t done your homework. Dogs are carnivores and raw chicken bones won’t kill them. Cooked bones will. You should spend time researching the concept of raw food both for humans and animals. There are incredible health benefits. Dogs in the wild don’t eat cooked food so why should domesticated animals? We are killing our pets with processed food just like we are killing ourselves with food full of chemicals out of boxes and cans. It’s unfortunate more people don’t do the time to do their own research and trust government organizations like the FDA have our best interest in mind. They don’t.

    7. You obviously have little to no educated knowlege of dog nutrition. From your name I assume you are a dog trainer, and from your attitude I assume you are not a very good one. Although it is RECOMMENDED that you feed vegetables, there is no need for grain. There are so many grain free diets out there (even kibble now) because so many dog’s systems can not tolerate them. I love my dog, and that is why I feed her a natural diet, with everything she needs to be happy and healthy, which does NOT include kibble! Also, many small animal vets do not have a great deal of knowlege of advanced Canine nutrition. I know this for a fact, but even if I did not; If they knew all you seem to think about dog nutrition, why would they highly reccomend kibble with corn as the first ingredient?

    8. this guy is so full of it.. he knows nothing about dog nutrition.. I was lucky I learned about raw meat diet for dogs in 1975, when I worked for a breeder Trainer who fed RAW and I fed 120 dogs a day at her kennels for 2 yrs I saw what different diets and foods did for dogs and there is nothing wrong with high protein it is the carbs that make them sick and nuts!

    9. a friend of mine who has trained Schutzen dogs for decades feeds raw chicken thighs to his dogs.

      How many foxes do you find dead from bone splinters near the chicken coop. Ya, that’s what I thought.

    10. Contrary, a raw meat diet is not a high protein diet. Most raw meat has ca. 20% protein, a lot less than many commercial feeds. Most wild dogs eat a small amount of berries and vegetable matter. No wild canine or vulpine eats grain unless it is a small amount, predigested, in the gut of a small mammal or bird. Raw bones from small prey rarly cause a problem. your dog is more likley to die from choking on kibble or swallowing a toy.

  15. ear anon:dog trainer.

    I can see why you want to stay “anon”. The only fool in this group my friend is you! I do include veggies & grains in my dogs ALL RAW diet and they are doing just GREAT!

    Time for you to find a blog that agrees with you.

  16. anon dog trainer,

    Wow, thanks for pointing us in the right direction! I had no idea that my dogs ancestors had mastered the art of growing, harvesting and preparing grains for use as food. Could you please, Please, PLEASE give us a link that shows where you got your information from so that we can all become enlightened.

  17. You’ve never heard of sprouted grains? I grow them on my kitchen counter and they are much the same as the greens wild animals tear from trees and shrubs where they live.

    You’ve become obnoxious and I will reply no more!

  18. There is a lot of confusion about a species appropriate diet for dogs.
    The “why” is that we have crossed the line between science and prolific
    industry propaganda. Since the 1950s vast sums of money have been
    poured into shaping public perception because the profits are enormous.
    Not to mention that “we the people” have a tendency towards
    anthropomorphism, and convenience is a driving force.

    For unbiased scientific information see the “Ol’ Shep’s Plight: Diet”
    article at:

    There is also a “lighter” fabricated “Dr. P. Kibble Interview.”

    My best to you and yours,
    Lee C

  19. I have just started my labradoodle on the raw diet. My concern is his beard and ears in the raw meat. Should I worry?

  20. Hi Joy,
    A clothepin on the fur (not the flesh) of my cocker spaniels ears held them up while she ate and a wet paper towel cleaned the beard of my brussels griffon after she ate. Probably no need, but I worried about “rotten” meat too, so I soothed my worried mind with these extra measures.

    Hope your labrodoodle does as well on this diet as mine are doing!

  21. Thanks so much! I will do just as you suggested! So far so good, except Maxx plays with the chicken bones and roles in them:) But he sure seems happy so we will keep moving forward with the new way of feeding. Thanks for the reply

  22. I haven’t went raw because of the difficulty traveling while feeding it however I have switched to high protein, grain free Orijen and my dogs are doing great on it!

  23. We have a Dal. Dalmatians are prone to bladder infections, it turns out. What do you think about adding raw cranberries in with the meat? Or will switching her to a raw diet eliminate the need for cranberry “supplementation”?

    1. If you want to raw feed a Dal then look into low purine raw diets. Also, BARF feeders have a special section on raw feeding dals, though I’m not a BARF person I still think it would help you. I hope that it helps!

  24. I put raw pumpkin in my dogs “mix” to prevent diahrrea and/or constipation and it is working really well, so I bet cranberries would do just fine for your Dal! I would puree them so your dog won’t get a full “blast” of the sourness!

  25. My mim pin started on a raw diet at 12 weeks old. I got nervous of the chicken necks because she’s only 5lbs, so I just feed the pre-pared raw foods at my local raw food dog store. They’re frozen in individual trays by the day, so it’s super easy. I add in salmon rolls as a chew toy, instead of the chicken necks, as well as Tripe once a day.

    This dog eats better than I do!

    After our last dog developped allergies and licked off all his fur and had to be put down, I no longer feed SAWDUST! I wanted to be sure my newe puppy didn’t develop allergies eitehr! Most dogs are ALLERGIC to wheat and corn!

    People are so brainwashed by marketing!

  26. “I haven’t went raw because of the difficulty traveling while feeding it however I have switched to high protein, grain free Orijen and my dogs are doing great on it!”

    I had mine on Orijen for a few weeks while I was away to make it easier on the dogsitter… her poop STINKED and she was thirsty all the time, peed all the time!

    So happy to have her back on raw!

  27. I made the switch to feeding my dog a completely raw diet about 6 years ago, after reading the compelling evidence.

    She’s a bit sensitive to lamb and salmon, but she does fine with chicken, turkey, bison, venison, rabbit. Loves it mixed with kale, spinach, apples, carrots, berries – all mixed together in the food processor. Oh and she loves tripe. It’s a ‘treat’ about once a week. I still gag everytime I open the package, the smell is so bad!

    I used to prepare everything myself, but now have an excellent pet food store in the neighbourhood that specializes in 100% organic raw food and the farm it comes from is less than 50 miles from home.

  28. Hi, i have a 10 month old APBT, and his stools are HORRENDOUS!! Even the gas he passes is deadly. I feed him Nature’s Choice puppy food and i dont like the soft feces he passes. Its also very light colored. He about 70 lbs and i am extremely anxious to start him on a raw diet. I just need a few tips on how to start him on it!

  29. my shih-tzu pup is on raw diet and loving it! question: grains or no grains.What do you suggest for morning meal? she gets turkey, beef, chicken for dinner and we are going to try bison, buffalo and veal. We have very good supplier in our area.
    Another web site suggested oatmeal with either banana, raw honey and bee pollen, kelp. She doesn’t like the oatmeal Coco loves blueberries, carrots, non fat yogurt. Will try broccoli and just purchased beef bones as snack. I want the best for her and would like to know if you recommend supplements and if so which ones. The confusing aspect is Coco is only 19 lbs and the amoumt to feed her is hard for me to figure.
    Thanks for any help you can give.

  30. Your shih-tzu has no need for grains. Despite what the blowhard above said, dogs are carnivores and not omnivores. They also don’t need fruits and vegetables, but you’re not going to hurt them by giving them some produce. The grains however are a complete waste of time and counter-productive. If you’re going to feed grains then you could just use the junk kibble.

    As far as figuring out how much to feed you can generally go by feel as the article says. If your dog starts to lose weight, feed a little more. If he starts to get heavy, feed less. If you’d like something a bit more scientific though feed him 2-3% of his ideal body weight every day. So if 19 pounds is what he should be at then you’re looking at a third to a bit more than a half pound of food per day.

    Good luck and keep it up! Your dog will thank you even if a few humans won’t get it.

  31. Hi I have done sooooooo much research on the raw food diet sussed out the pro’s and cons and realise all the con’s come from miss-informed individuals who have tried this diet. ALL the pro’s have been made by well informed people who have fist hand experience in the fantastic effects of this diet,many of these are veterinarians and dog trainers who recommend this diet over any other. Some reading that I have had the pleasure of are the books from Dr Ian Billinghurst, there are also tons of websites!

  32. Hello everyone, could someone please tell me why the first sustenance wolves and lions eat from their kills are partially digested vegetation contained in the stomachs’ of their kills, and then of course they eat the meat. Is it also true that wolfs and lions don’t produce enough digestive enzymes naturally to break down vegetation. Perhaps this could be why dogs don’t digest vegetables well and by lightly cooking them we help the dog digest it better. I noticed my dogs will eat grass and its roots, and they will also eat clay from time to time.

    1. ” Is it also true that wolfs and lions don’t produce enough digestive enzymes naturally to break down vegetation”

      Um, I think you’ve answered your own question!

    2. I bring home whole geese (with feathers and everything) and they dig the stomach out and toss it aside.
      Even after they eat the bits and pieces off skin off the feathers they still ignore the stomach completely.

      All 4 of my dogs ignore stomachs.

      The head is always the first thing to go.

  33. To answer Susan:

    Sounds like you’ve been reading more of industry initiated misinformation :o) I’m currently trying to write a book about canine natural care, so I’ve accumulated loads of research. Too much to include here, but as to your initial mistaken point you might try reading “Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation” by L. David Mech et al. In chapter 4 “The Wolf as a Carnivore” on pages 123 and 124 you will find the following quotes (along with many many unbiased scientific references):

    “Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and…consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen [, which is one of the main stomach chambers in large ruminant herbivores,]…is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilled. The vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site.”

    “To grow and maintain their own bodies, wolves need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system.”

    The mucus membranes in the stomach lining are important sources of fatty acids in the wolf diet. The stomach lining, known as “green” tripe is an item that natural feeders try to get a little of into their domestic wolves’ diet.

    Hope this answers your question,
    Lee C

  34. I completely agree with this post, Mark! You’ve got it.
    An interesting story, though; my mother has problems keeping her Golden Retriever out of the garden. She picks Mom’s sweet corn, shucks it and eats the corn right off the cob. She loves it! She should still have raw meat only, but because she’s kept outside, where she belongs, she can get her own veggie intake if she wants it.

  35. I have a toy poodle that loves tomatoes. She will test the ripeness by smell and by bumping it with her nose. She will wait to eat them until they are ripe. She guards the plants and will chase the other dogs away when they get near.

  36. Does anyone have any experience with their dogs urine concentration on a raw diet? I have quite a few dogs and most have low sediment/concentration of their urine. Some vets have told me that it is NOT normal for a dog to have low concentration but Im wondering if thats cuz they have very little experience with Raw diet.

    Any info on this topic?

  37. I noted some time back that a book was in the works. That book is now published as “Ol’ Shep’s Well-being: A Natural Perspective” :o)

    The author Euan Fingal has offered up a free ebook (pdf) to try to help us understand how we might improve our well-being and that of our domestic animals in general, but especially that of our canine companions. The book brings together ample unbiased natural sciences evidence, and the experiences of many naturally oriented caregivers, to clear a convincing swath through the propaganda surrounding well-being, and the misguided understandings it fosters.

    To learn more about the book, and to download it, see the journal entry:

    Incidentally, the previous Ol’ Shep articles have been superseded by the book, which is much more comprehensive, and more thoroughly researched, referenced, and reviewed.

    Relative to the topic of this blog (diet, which is only part of all the book addresses): What it all comes down to is that to deny that a natural species appropriate diet is a necessary component for natural, optimal well-being, is to deny nature—i.e. the evolution of a species, and its optimal, natural diet [in the true scientific sense].

    My best to you and yours,
    Lee C

    1. Lee, this is a great link, and I’m so happy to have found it (and thank you for posting!). I read extensively as a ‘hobbyist’ about the topics covered in this document, and it’s great to find such a condensed piece covering all it does.

  38. Thanks for this, Mark (I know I’m coming in really late!)…I’ve fed a carnivore-appropriate diet to my five dogs and one cat for nearly 9 years now.

    FWIW, chicken is not one of the better protein sources for dogs….low in a lot of essential nutrients. Turkey is a much better choice in the fowl department, and overall red meats (beef, pork, deer, moose, elk, some lamb) are much better choices for dogs.

    All my puppy buyers are required to feed a raw diet, and they all do so with interest, understanding and enthusiasm!

  39. Great article. I am feeding our 2 dogs a species appropriate raw food diet. They love it and so do we. It does seem strange at first- seeing them cruch bones, but it does work. TexasOrganicHome is my GREEN blog.

  40. Great article. I began researching raw when the pet food recalls started a few years back. Both my 15lb minpin as well as my 110lb presa canario are thriving on raw. On a typical day at my house they eat raw chicken necks, some organ meat, a little yogurt or cottage cheese, a small amount of veggies (usually carrots, broccolli, kale, or green beans) as well as fish oil and solid gold seameal. They LOVE bananas as a treat. My favorite thing about this diet is that I can feed them something different daily if I choose and they NEVER have bowel issues. One day I can feed beef, the next, turkey, the next fish, and so on. Variety is certainly not something you can get away with when feeding dry dog food without some serious tummy upset. The health aspect is priceless. Their teeth are cleaner than ever, no more tarter or bad breath, shiny coats, solid stools, not to mention I no longer use any flea or tick preventative and I strongly beleive that their immune systems are stronger than ever which is why they stay parasite free. A raw diet is absolutly the most healthy thing you can do for your dog. The benefits are endless. I will NEVER feed my animals anything sold in the pet isle of the supermarket ever again. I wish more people would educate themselves and give thier pets a longer, happier, healthier life with a raw diet.

  41. I have a 20lb chihuahua terrier mix who suffers from seizures, her vet did find she has low thyroid function. Ive never put her on meds and am really looking into transitioning her to a raw diet as a way to control/prevent these seizures. Im hoping this will be a better way for to get the vitamins and minerals that she might not be getting from her current diet, any suggestions or info on raw diets for dogs with seizures?

    1. Is your dog on a raw foo diet now? My 20 lb Boston terrier has been having seizures for a few months. He’s 9. Has been on medication that is not working so I threw it in the trash last night. Starting the transition into real food today.

  42. I have a 13 year old cattle dog mix. He developed seizures at age 3 1/2 (when my first child was born). I believe the seizures are emotional but also related to rawhide chews. We had him on phenobarbitol but I took him off it a few year later when read it would damage his liver. I switched him to a raw meat diet over 6 years ago. I purchase an oat mix from Sojourner’s dog food. We buy hamburger in bulk from the warehouse store and freeze it in serving-size lumps. The meat and oats get mixed with water. He immediately had better breath. Now he only gets seizures during thunderstorms and July 4th. His health isn’t perfect. I have considered easing back on the oats and upping the meat percentages.
    My vet didn’t understand why I feed him raw meat. I tried to enlighten her and she was polite, at least. Whenever anyone asks, I always answer: “dogs don’t cook in the wild”.

    There is a dog nutrition guideline called BARF, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. When I read about it many years ago, you had to do all the shopping and preparation. Now it seems there are companies willing to sell you BARF packages.

  43. Just wondering if someone could give me a good example of a starter meal for a puppy and adult cats on the raw diet. My husband and I are considering putting our newly adopted Goldendoodle and 2 cats on the diet, since we follow the Blueprint already, but honestly don’t know where to start. Thanks again for any info!

  44. Erin,
    We just started transitioning our new puppy to raw food. I want it to be a relatively slow transition for both of us. She’s 7 mos old. We got her at 5 mos and she was on dry food already, so we kept her on that for the time being. Just this week I started by mixing an egg into her breakfast and giving her some meat trimmings at night. For example, last night I gave her the tips off the chicken wings I was making. She also got some dry food at that time, too. I have also given her a cup of hamburger or an extra raw pork chop.
    And she has a real bone that she chews on all the time.
    I didn’t research transitioning at all, I just started including in her diet a raw version of the proteins we were eating at the time (eggs for breakfast every morning). I plan to do more research on exactly how much meat she needs and how much variety she needs and have her switched over fully in the next month.
    I’ve already noticed a difference in her behavior. She’s very excited all night when she gets some raw meat for dinner, and she behaves better during the day. Less sniffing around looking for food, too (even though she rarely eats all her dry food this is something she’s done from the start).
    Let us know how it goes!

  45. I switched my 10 yr old golden retriever to a raw diet (mainly chicken w/bones, turkey necks, Raw Meaty Bones, and organs) and in 6 days she ended up so sick she was in pain and distress, refused all food, had pale gums, and had to stay at the vet’s for a day to receive subQ fluids, pain meds, and GI meds to try and turn things around. I was beside myself with worry and grief.

    My vet told me she sees lots of problems from feeding raw meat and bones in her practice and those ‘soft’ bones that people say can’t splinter…CAN splinter, CAN perforate the intestines, and bacteria in the raw meats CAN cause issues for dogs.

    While there are lots of stories about dogs doing well on raw diets, MY dog was in distress and pain from switching (cold turkey, no less) to a raw food/raw meaty bone diet.

    I feel it’s important to present all info, including the fact that a raw diet may NOT be the right thing for one’s dog.

    1. Many dogs are very sensitive to changes in diet and will get diarrhea very easily.

      The ideal way to transition a dog into raw is to introduce one new food at a time. So start with bland chicken legs or wings, then a couple of weeks later add some chicken liver, wait a couple more weeks and feed some ground beef, etc.

      This way you will find definitively what bothers your dog. Mine finds liver to be bothersome, and too much beef is too rich for him, so I adjusted accordingly.

  46. You are right. the raw diet is not for all dogs. Mine have been on it for 3 years now and are doing just GREAT!

    You did make SEVERAL mistakes however, so don’t blame the diet completely.
    1-Cold Turkey is Not a good idea. Any change in food should be done in stages.
    2-your dog is probably too old to change -especially cold turkey.
    3-you probably bought her raw meat and bones at the local grocery – not Organic Grass Fed. You bought bacteria.
    4-Too many bones!!! How about some plain old ground beef? Organic Grass Fed of Course! Bones are treats – to be fed once in a while – not every day. Mine are still chewing on the ones I gave them last month!

    I pray that your Golden will live many more years on whatever food you choose to feed. Goldens are a beautiful breed and I’m sure yours is VERY special.

    1. Then why does the blog say above,

      “Remember – you’re not switching kibble, you’re replacing poison with real food! Go cold turkey (pun intended).”

      “Stick to fairly basic foods at first, like turkey and chicken necks.” (–> yes, that’s what I fed, in addition to chicken thighs).

      You said, “you probably bought her raw meat and bones at the local grocery”

      –> and you would be incorrect in your assumption. I purchased from a new local butcher shop with fresh, high quality meats, fowl, and fish.

      You said, “your dog is probably too old to change -especially cold turkey.”

      —> How would you advise one to transition to this type of diet? If a 10 yr old golden retriever is ‘too old’ for this diet, then what would you feed such a dog?

      BTW, my golden’s diet consists of non-grain kibble, fresh broccoli, fresh carrots, fresh cauliflower. NO wheat, corn, soy, or other fillers. No grain, no dog treats. Her ‘treats’ are fresh veggies and occasional fresh fruit like strawberries.

      What you write contradicts what’s posted in this and other raw food blogs. No wonder I (and I’m sure many others) are confused.

    2. Bones are a very important part of raw-feeding a dog. Feed the type of bones depending on the size of the dog and his/her teeth. You want the dog to be able to break the bone into swallow-able pieces. Bones too large or hard for the individual dog to eat are good for “recreational chewing/chawing” – these recreational bones are the ones that will keep your dogs’ teeth clean.

      Throw recreational bones away after a few days – they get harder and harder and your dog may chip a tooth.

  47. Sorry if I offended you! That was NOT my intent.

    Where does your new local butcher buy his meat??? From the Cattle Farms or from an Organic Range Fed Farm? There’s a HUGE difference.

    I transitioned my Pom at age 8 gradually. At first just snacks of the new food, then combined old & new and finally in about a week just organic range fed. Worked for my dog.

    Your dogs diet sounds extremely good. Where do you find non-grain kibble? I’ve looked all over for it and cannot find any. What brand do you use?

    Every individual will have contradicting ideas. We are, after all, individuals! Every person is different and every animal is different. What is great for one may not work for another. We all have to find our “thumb print”.

    Please don’t take offense – I don’t when you slam me.

  48. You didn’t offend me as much as confuse me. And I didn’t ‘slam’ you! I asked for clarification on your advice.

    What you wrote makes sense, but it also differs from what is written in Mark’s blog (above) as well as what is proposed by other raw food advocates (who say to not feed ground meats and bone). I’m trying to figure out what will work with my dog to give her the best nutrition but not cause her any stomach/GI distress, which is what happened last week.

    BTW, the dry grain-free food I speak of is “Taste of the Wild.” There are other non-grain foods out there as well. These are premium foods made of human quality meats and protein sources, NO by products, NO soy, NO wheat, NO corn, NO grains. Some holistic vets recommend that food as one part of a diet (note I said ‘one part’, not the entire diet). I’ve been supplementing with fresh chopped broccoli, raw carrots, plain boiled chicken, and vitamins/supplements like Omega 3s, etc. Meat/protein comprises the highest % of my dog’s diet.

  49. Your dog’s diet sounds pretty good to me! I wouldn’t change anything except maybe boiling that chicken.

    I will look for your brand of kibble here in AZ.

    Currently I am using Buffalo Blue. It’s supposed to be all natural human grade as well. I hope we can trust the companies that write these labels!!

  50. Virginia – Grain Free kibbles are now found in abundance but you will (usually) have to find an independent retailer to source appropriately high quality diets. Some of the many brands available include EVO, Wellness Core, Orijen, the above mentioned Taste of the Wild, Canidae, Nature’s Variety “Instinct” I think Blue Buffalo may have one now too? There are several others available as well and some are still better products than others and certain dogs will do better on a one grain free kibble than another and it can be a matter of testing for your individual dog. I would recommend going to the websites for the listed brands and doing a store search for your area, you should be able to find something close, I hope.

    Nat – that’s really unfortunate that your poor golden had such a poor response to the raw food. It’s very true that some dogs will do better on it than others and certain formats of raw will work better for some dogs than others. As a long time raw feeder with a degree in animal nutrition I have had to switch my youngest dog to a home cooked diet (far more labour intensive for me and heavily researched to be a perfectly balanced diet including supplementation with individual vitamins and minerals) due to a copper/zinc deficiency that manifested on the raw diet she was eating. That said, I will continue this until she has returned to an ideal state of health and then carefully return her to a more balanced raw food diet. Quite frankly, I spend more time prepping her food for a week than I do for myself, yes, she is spoiled. Personally I have a problem with bone heavy diets being considered a raw food diet as it can very easily lead to similar imbalances in many dogs, this was the actual problem with my dog as I found out the ground chicken I was using was actually ground chicken backs, so much lower in meat content than I had originally understood. Knowing that now I would feed a more meat heavy product along with the ground backs or eliminate the backs and stick with whole backs and necks in the future for the chewing benefits. Its a live and learn item.

    One question for you, you said you were using whole chicken thighs, were you using the drumstick as well? I have found that bones of that size are a high risk item because they can be broken and swallowed in large chunks vs necks which are much small, softer bones pieces to begin with.

    As for confusion, no kidding! I get people every day asking me to clear the air between what they’ve seen on tv, read on the web, been told at other pet stores and by their vets and sometimes it is the craziest, nuttiest, most nonsensical things imaginable. My personal favorite is dental kibble, the carbs cause build-up in the first place! I’m just waiting for cracker companies to come out with things like “dental triscuits”

  51. Yes, I *was* including the drumstick on those chicken thighs, though I was cutting everything with a cleaver.

    There’s another important piece to the puzzle here. My dog was just diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma and had her spleen removed almost 3 weeks ago. I have my 1st oncology consult tomorrow morning. I was switching her to a raw diet because I’m (of course) desperate to do anything to help her. Even though she was on a healthy diet already, considering, I wanted to do more.

    I also have her on lots of supplements…some, like Omega 3s and Glucosamine and Cranberry she’s been on a very long time. Others, like Milk Thistle, CoQ10, Turmeric, Cat’s Claw, etc. I just started this week.

    Our time is thus limited together and of course I’m heartbroken. My goal is to give her the best quality of life for as long as possible. My plan is to use a combo of whatever I can (chemo + healthy food + supplements & herbs) and prayer.

  52. I’ve been where you are several times in my 72 years and my prayers are most certainly with you. May she live a long and healthy life!!! My Pom is 11 now and we are doing the supplements too. I am hoping she will stay as healthy as she is now for another 10 years!!! Not asking much, am I??

  53. We had a wonderful cocker spaniel. I KNEW kibble wasn’t quite right, but we fed him kibble and as he reached his elder years he stank horrifically all over; breath, skin, fur, poop, everything. He also developed subcutaneous lumps, fortunately not cancer, but lumps nonetheless, ranging in size from a flat quarter to round golf balls. We paid the vet $400 to remove one that was the size of a baseball. We had him put down at age 13.5 human years; old for a cocker, I know, but his last 18 months of life were not quality in any sense of the word. I am still filled with remorse and guilt, even after 3 years. I will NEVER again feed an animal, dog or cat, that aweful stuff. I believe it is the cruelest thing a human can do. It is tantamount to feeding your child nothing but white bread for its entire life.

    Years and years ago a neighbor got a puppy and when I gave her bones for her, she said she wouldn’t give them to her because her vet had her watch a video about making sure to not give bones (nor table scraps), because they were harmful and to give milkbones instead. Of course the video was produced by milkbones. Why didn’t I insist on properly feeding our sweet gentleman? Pure stupidity.

    1. We had a Cocker Spaniel Mix for 14 years and he stunk horribly too.
      His eyes looked horrible, the skin was dull, the teeth almost nonexistant…black to the gumline and gums infected so badly you couldn’t tell it was flesh.
      Our Mastiff died of renal failure at the age of 4.5 yrs old. It crushed me…I couldn’t even hold his ashes after he was cremated. I went into a deep depression for 4 years and didn’t want another dog to replace him.

      Then I started my research. Come to find out what killed my beloved dogs and made them suffer so horribly was kibble…DUH, right? How could I be so darn stupid, really…

      I blame it on being in my 20’s and listening to stupid ‘breeders’.
      Now I have rescued 4 dogs, 1 large Pitbull, 1 English Mastiff and 2 tiny Dachshunds and they’re doing wonderfully on their raw diet.
      The Pitbull is going on 5 years and has the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen on an adult dog. They’re also very calm and I’ve never had a dog fight in my house EVER.

  54. I recently switch my dogs diet to RAW. We had a Great Dane sent to a trainer and thats how I heard about. Greg Needham of suggested it to me b/c thats how they feed thier own dogs. Ive really been able to notice the difference in health since switching.

  55. A full two years after the posting and it’s still useful! Thanks so much for it! I ran across it while searching for puppy weight loss on a raw diet.

    About 3 months ago, we switched our 4 year old Spaniel to a raw food diet. We’ve tried various combinations, but she loves two chicken legs in the morning and at night (just about 1 pound) the best. I went mostly “primal” myself, and it just seemed right to do for her, too.

    Her eyes are brighter and the note about teeth is so true! Last vet visit, her teeth were a messy abomination. Since going raw, they’ve whitened up dramatically.

    My only concern is her weight loss. She’s active and happy, but she’s lost a good 5 pounds since we started. Maybe I’m just too used to the bloat caused by kibble?

  56. We just recently (about a month ago) switched our two mixed breed dogs to the raw diet. So far we like it, but its proven to be a bit more expensive than we were expecting. I understand its a much better, healthier diet for them, and I don’t mind spending more money for them to live better, but it just seems like I’m spending more on raw food for them for the month than I am for myself. Our options seem pretty limited in our area, and I am mostly relying on the local grocery (for now).

    Where are the best places to buy in bulk? Should I try direct from a butcher instead?

    What are the most nutritious parts I can feed my dogs (i.e. turkey necks, stew meat, ground chuck??).

    Currently I’m feeding chicken wings, gizzards, and hearts, beef stew meat, occasional ground chuck, occasional chicken liver, along with chopped carrots and green beans, with a piece of banana about once a week for a treat.

    Any suggestions for me? I know we’re just beginners, but we want to do the best for our dogs and we’ve been having a hard time finding information!

  57. I’m getting my first puppy today. i follow the raw diet myself, so i know all about how good it is. i was just wondering what would be best for a small husky mutt, and how much to feed it.
    thanks 🙂

  58. We switched our Boxer over to raw food this spring. We joined the Yahoo Raw Dog food group and followed all of the recomendations to the letter. We started out feeding meaty drumsticks, but she was still hungry, so we added in some boneless thigh to increase the meat content. She was still hungry, so we added in organ meat. She was still hungry and after all this time was begining to lose weight, so we doubled the recomended amount of food. We kept her there for a week thinking it might take some time for the weight to come back on, but she was still hungry all the time and starting to look VERY boney. Finally, we just couldn’t watch her get any thinner or be hungry any longer, so we switched her back to dry dog food. After just a week on dry dog food the weight all came back on, she stopped being hungry all the time and she finally came into heat (she was 9 mos at the time).
    We still give her some raw meat a couple times a week, but we will not be putting her back on a raw diet ever again. I feel very bad for having put her through this. It most definitely did not work for us.

  59. Connor- I have also had problems trying to find local sources of raw meat and bones for my animals. Right now I am feeding about half raw, half kibble, only because my only source for now is the grocery store. The cheapest I have been able to find is chicken legs & thighs for $.77 to $.99 cents per pound on sale weeks. That doesn’t seem too bad, but I have 2 big dogs, one small dog and 2 cats. If anyone has any information on wholesale meat sources, please share! Mark mentions saving money by buying wholesale, but I just have not been able to find that type of source where I live.

  60. Johnnie,

    Wow! I wish I could find meat at $.99 per pound, the best I can find is if I buy in bulk at Sam’s Club, it’s still about $1,69-$1.79 per pound!

    We just recently decided to do a mix of raw and kibble as well. Its gotten too expensive for us to feed them just raw all the time. Unfortunately this city isn’t very good pricewise on meat, unless its pork :/.

  61. I have two aging poodles and a young labradoodle. I have been feeding raw for a long time. Recently one of the old poodles had to have his spleen removed due to a very large 12.5 lb tumor. Biopsy results not back yet.
    But the discharging Vet told me to
    NEVER give this dog raw again due to the
    fact his spleen is now removed and he
    has no ability to filter unwanted bacteria and infections. Anyone had an experience with this situation.

  62. One of my dogs was born with a liver problem and doesn’t do well on raw food.

    They eat cooked grassfed ground beef, turkey, chicken, and fish, along with pureed steamed veggies and an occasional pureed baked sweet potato. I supplement their food with an herbal vitamin/mineral blend from Animal Essentials, bone meal, and a probiotic.

    The are happy and healthy, no skin issues, no health or behavioral problems.

    One piece of advice: No matter what you feed your dog, don’t over vaccinate or over medicate if you want them to live long, healthy, happy lives.

  63. My boys did some dog sledding last winter at the Boy Scout Northern Tier High Adventure Camp in northern Minnisota. What do the outfitters feed their sled dogs who they depend on for their livlyhood? Raw chicken. Period. They get it from local butchers who take raw chicken meat, bones, skin, and organs and grind it up and freeze it into big blocks. The Scouts take the blocks with them on their treks, and at dog feeding time, hack off chunks, melt them (but don’t cook), and feed it to the dogs who love it! They had several sled dogs who where still enthusiastically pulling sleds in their late teens.

  64. I had no idea, never really thought about it either.

    By the way, the pictures of the dogs are adorable

  65. my friend raises neopolitan mastiffs and raw feeds them, now that he has 3 of them, bags of chicken from walmart are getting expensive. he would like to purchase in bulk of 50 pounds or more, but we cant find anywhere to get this much meat, chicken or pieces and parts. any ideas for southern california, phoenix or las vegas area? any help is greatly appreciated

  66. My 11 year old american cocker was on a partly healthy but cooked food diet. Cooked organic grains, meats, veggies, bones, and some Wendy’s here and there. She developed arthrithis to the point where she had to drag herself to the food bowl. She did not want to walk either (she was about 15 pounds overweight). I have put her on a raw food diet, and she does really well. Her eyes cleared up, (she had all that gank in her eyes), ears are better, she lost some weight,and now the beauty of it: her arthritis is gone! She not only walks normal again but can even run a little and she is very happy (you can definitely tell). Also, I had given her Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar when she had a bladder infection. For the record, it healed it all up without a vet involved. I gave her one Tablespoon in her dry food every day for month and then reduced it to 1/2 Tablespoon. She also detoxed and had that black rope coming out of her bud. So, ACV has taken care of that also. However, since I have been feeding her raw in the evening and some organic dry food in the morning her stool clings to her bud and sticks to her fur in a smeary mess. I don’t know why. I don’t want to give up raw food feeding. Any suggestions?? Hope someone has a solution. Thanks in advance.

  67. Add some raw pumpkin to her wet food. It helps to dry up runny poop and softens hard poop! Can’t beat it! ONLY RAW PUMPKIN – NO pumpkin pie filling! Big difference there!

  68. I have a Caviler King Charles Spaniel that devours chicken wings and organ meat like nobodies business.

  69. I have just started a raw diet (meat ONLY) with my two dogs, and so far so great (2 weeks in). They honestly seem so excited and happy to eat! I am a little confused though… I have read more info that references dogs as carnivores, yet many people are feeding fruits and veggies and even grains! I don’t see why the dogs “need” these at all? The fruits and veggies maybe won’t hurt, but I’d think they would be better as treats or occasional roughage. I think feeding grains is counterproductive though. Also, if your dog is eating enough meat to bone and organs, shouldn’t supplements and oils be unnecessary? Too much supplementation and oils can cause digestive issues and/or stress on organs. I have stuck to chicken thighs and carcasses for these first introductory weeks, but will add whole fish and other meats slowly, one at a time. The dogs should get enough omegas with the fish shouldn’t they?

    Also, I’ve read many sites that suggest chicken necks and wings aren’t the best choices for dogs because there isn’t enough meat to bone ratio (80-20-ISH), and that they are more of a choking hazard. I haven’t experienced this myself, and I have a friend who feeds her dog ONLY chicken necks and organs with no problems. I wanted to bring it up for discussion though as the chicken necks are so inexpensive (here).

    I have found so far the raw feeding is easier… I don’t even need food dishes. I have taught my dogs to stay on their own towels, and they will lay there and chew, bones and all. I had to feed my bigger dog the chicken carcass (half at a time) so that he would “chew” more and not just chomp and gulp/swallow. He literally had to learn to chew. He never used to finish his kibble (just gulp some down), even though we mixed it with canned “meaty” food (which still contains wheat fillers!). He eats every last bit of his raw meat now, and is so energetic and playful. Our other dog (puppy) is almost 4 months, and he can devour a chicken leg or quarter easily – he chews and bites at it well. Their poops are firm, darker, and less stinky. Our older dog always passed gas (STINKY bad!), and that’s gone away! I think their coats are already shinier too.

    I’m living in Africa at the moment, so finding sale chicken and so forth isn’t really an option, but the butcher has been great selling me whole chicken with organs in bulk at a much reduced rate. I had to negotiate with him, but it’s well worth it. Try local small butchers where you live, or go right to the sources… organic farms, even hunters (wild game is a nice meal too). Some friends of ours feed whole rabbit, squirrel and such to his dogs, but they live very rurally also. I think there are certain game to freeze first to make sure there are no parasites, but you can get that info online. There are a lot of whole fish and other interesting meat pieces around here, so it will be an experiment in what my dogs like and can handle. Every dog is different, but I do think they’re all meat eaters! Anyone want to share what meats their dogs particularly enjoy?

    What a nice discussion site – I look forward to reading more.

    1. The pacific ocean salmon carries a parasite that kills dogs.

      Always cook fish that comes from oceans.

  70. I’ve just registered here at MDA to start the paleo lifestyle, and was delighted to see Mark has not forgotten our four-legged friends!

    I’ve been feeding raw meat to my dog for over eight years – he is the best looking wiener dog I’ve ever seen – shiny hair, white teeth, muscular – so healthy.

    I will read thru the other comments and see if I can add any helpful suggestions.

  71. I agree that the Yahoo raw-feeding group is the best source of info and knowledgeable people willing to answer questions. They were there over eight years ago when I started.

    I use a vinyl picnic cloth under my dog’s bowls and he knows he is not allowed to drag bones off the mat. Recreational bones I feed outside.

    A good, cheap find – Target baby wipes – they are great to have at home and the car for your doggy messes.

    A great treat find – dried anchovies at the Asian markets – the ones that are used for boiling for stock.

    Stay away from rawhides, yes it sounds like a natural food but it isn’t – they’re highly processed with chemicals.

    It does get expensive feeding multiple dog or large dogs raw meat. Try your local hunter’s co-ops for all kinds of game, and small butchers’ for chicken frames.

    Portion example – my 20-lb dachshund’s regular meal portion is two chicken legs and about a half cup of whatever veggie we are having. He hasn’t wanted to eat breakfast in many years.

    For those who have tried and did not like to raw feed for whatever reason – don’t despair. I believe that even cooked whole foods and table scraps from a healthy human diet is still 100% better than feeding commercial dog food. If you are worried, you can supplement with a daily vitamin.

  72. Why are most Vets so opposed to the raw diet? I had been feeding my dogs raw for several years. One of my dogs had to have his spleen removed due to a tumor that grew from an injury. When I talked to the Vet at the Emergency Care facility where he had the surgery, she said he wouldn’t eat anything they tried to feed him. I told her that it wasn’t surprising to me since he eats a raw diet. She about ripped my throat out…telling me all the errors of my ways and that he would get NO raw from their hospital! She also told me that since he doesn’t have his spleen, I must stop the raw diet. I have moved to cooking foods for my 3 dogs since I can’t feed raw. They all eat together and this one boy that had spleen removed was raised from weening time on raw chicken wings, I don’t feel I can offer the other two raw in front of him…he would go bonkers since he loves raw so much. I wonder if anyone knows if indeed I would be putting him in danger since he doesn’t have his spleen to filter bacteria? Thanks!

  73. I’m sorry that your dog had to have his spleen removed. I don’t know much about the spleen – I think it keeps a supply of blood stored in case of a bleeding injury, and it has something to do with the immune system but I’m not sure how it works.

    As to why vets aren’t on board with feeding raw – why aren’t our human doctors on board with Atkins or Paleo?

    Because they are only allowed to stay within the bounds of their “playbooks” and not give you any information outside that playbook, which is set down by the establishment.

  74. Hi there’s lots of good reading out there and lots of great websites that are all for raw that also have vets on that will answer questions for you. When we lived on Canada with my b/c the vets went mad when o explained she was on raw food, even though 5 seconds before they told me how great she looked, how clean her teeth are, how shiney her coat is and many other good things. Since moving back to the UK I have a fantastic vet who loves the fact that my b/c is on raw she is an advocate to the diet and everytime we go in asks me questions on how we feed so she can gather more information to pass on to other raw feeders. My b/c loves raw and looks amazing on it I will never change her from it 🙂

  75. My family has two 180-200 lbs Great Danes and I have my own pit/boxer mix. They all used to be fed dog kibble until one of the Danes, Theo, consistently was taking trips to the vet as a result of bladder stones, kidney stones, at one point they thought he had valley fever. Then one day (two vets and a whole lotta dough later), our new vet instructed us to ditch the chow and put the all the dogs on a raw diet; ie- raw meat (not pork!), some veggies (like peas and carrots), and egg (shell and all), and we do use a little brown rice for a filler (…kind of have to with a 200lb dog). That was about 2 years ago now, and Theo has not had to go to the vet once since that day. As for the other two dogs…they LOVE IT! My dog won’t even take a mouthful of kibble anymore. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS to all dog owners for happy pups!

  76. Does anybody have recommendations as to where to purchase raw meat for a dog? I called a local grocery store, and they said they could order raw chicken necks for me at $1.39/lb. This sounded like a decent price, but I decided to keep searching. I called a few pet stores, and they seem to have the worst prices by far. A 6 lb bag would cost about $25. I found a few websites that seem to offer great prices (e.g., 40 lb bag for a little over $25), but I’m not sure how trustworthy they are, where they get their meat, etc.

    I’d love to hear from people who have more experience with this. Thanks!

  77. i argued with my vet because she was telling me about how harmful bacteria can be. but i told her that dogs have a lot of stomach acids that kills e-coli and salmonella and they have a shorter digestive tract to pass things quickly. i told her that i respect her profession and she’s most likely an expert in taking care of an animal with medication and fixing them if they have cuts or anything, but she is NOT an expert in dog nutrition.

    check out my website:

    it explains the benefits of feeding raw meat/bones to a dog, the vitamins and nutrients you get from various animals and organs they can eat, and also different supplements you can give them.

    people DOGS DID COME FROM WOLVES!!! commercial dog food companies are somewhat new (started 100 years ago) from today. and dogs have been around since 100,000 years ago. WHAT DO YOU THINK DOGS ATE BEFORE ALL THE COMMERCIAL DOG FOOD COMPANIES!?!?

    1. There are some scientists who believe dogs evolved from jakals. No matter what animal they evolved from, and despite genetic similarities, the domesticated dog is different from their wild predescesors. Human GI tracts are identical, anatomically, but functionally they are different (e.g., lactose intolerance, etc.). We are 98% genetically the same as chimps, but we wouldn’t want to share the same diet.

      I personally believe feeding homemade diet is better not necessarily because I can say commercial pet food is nutritionally inferior, but because I have control..

  78. As an indication of how bad dog food can be for dogs, when I lived on the coast of Maine I found a surprising number of people who fed their dogs McDonald’s EVERY DAY. To my surprise, the dogs were living upwards of 20 years!

    The man who owns the Kennebunk Surf/Skate shop has two dogs. He was telling me that the one was deathly ill when she was about 13 years old (some organ failure. Liver or kidneys I think) and he figured that since she was dying anyway, he would just give in to her when she wanted McDonald’s. Long story short, after a little while of eating McDonald’s every day she made a full recovery and when I saw her in 2008 was a healthy 19 year old dog!

    How bad must commercial dog foods be if McDonald’s is a better option!

  79. I also have a Dalmatian. I have not had a dog before and I did a lot of research before deciding what breed to get. Sadly Shadow has all of the food intolerances you can think of. Beef, Lactose, Pork, Venison, Turkey, Lamb, Duck, Wheat. Needless to say that it leaves me with chicken ONLY!!

    I bought Shadow from gypsies. I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW, I shouldn’t have, but I had him on my lap, he seemed quiet and sleepy and I could NOT leave him behind. He weighed 2lbs 2oz. They told me he was 8 weeks old, but my homeopathic/holistic vet told me he was 4 weeks, 5 weeks at the most. He was smaller than a kitten and he slept in my jacket sleeveand of course cuddles up to me in mybed at night as he was shivering and whining. He was VERY pink still!!!

    He passed blood after having him 10 days. Than again last year in July. Since I am struggling with his digestion, diarrhea, passing of water (sticky). His stool is curry colour and it seems to ferment. It shows bubbling, and he keeps having a pussy willie and and very red testicles (yes, he is still a ‘man’ ;-)(sorry for being so blunt).

    I have talked to LOADS AND LOADS of vets, forums, food companies, but NOTHING makes ANY change. My vet says he has IBD and the equiv of Crohns disease??? I am not sure what to believe?

    Shadow is back on the RAW food diet for 8 weeks now, but the diarrhea, water (sticky) is going on, so is the sticky, pussy willie and the red testicles. NO food or homeopathics and herbs make ANY change!!! I am at a loss!!!

    I have his food made by At the moment it cost me £108 every 2 weeks.

    1. No matter where he got his start, he is your baby now and I know you love him or you would not be working so hard to help him. If that sweet little Dalmation (Shadow)were mine, I would go to the health food store and buy a package of Dr. O’Hhira’s Probiotics. I would snip one capsule into every meal he ate and I would keep it up until his IBD and Crohns were GONE!! You may even find that his food “intolerances” may disappear as well.

      Good Luck.

      1. Hi Virginia – thanks for your reply.

        It is very very frustrating to see Shadow have such irritation/diarrhea/water. Dare I say, I wish it was that simple. I have done the probiotics (HIGH potency)for ages, also digestive enzymes, herbs, homeopathics etc. NO change, not even the slightest. I just cannot believe that there isn’t anything else I can do?

        The first 3 stools in the morning are normal, than they get thinner, are of curry colour and I see little bubbles (like fermenting?) and than it is JUST sticky clear water. ;-(

        1. I forgot to say, Shadow is the fittest, healthiest, most muscley, gorgeous dog I have ever seen in my life, regardless of his condition. It is unbelievable really that he has what he has where he looks so so healthy. He is the most ‘sexy’ looking DAlmatian I have ever seen 😉

        2. I’m sorry probiotics didn’t work for Shadow. I’ve had such good results with them. They do take a long time, but then, the problem took a long time asserting itself too!

          3 stools in the morning and more during the day seems a little overboard too. Mine have always gone once in the morning and once in the evening. I’d hate to have to pick up your yard!!!LOL

          Since I don’t know of any other help, I will just pray for Shadow and you and a long, happy life together. 🙂

  80. Hi Virginia – thanks for replying again. Shadow does not like to go in the garden, so I am lucky. 😉 I do pick EVERY single one up though when we go walking. He does 3 stools that are normal as I said and then its diarrhea and than water. He strains at the end. Shadow is quite a unsettled dog. He is stressed easily. And he does not like being touched by people when I go walking. Which of course, at times that is handy. He is also not castrated and he won’t. He is qite a scared, jumpy dog. He is so so so gorgeous and beautiful… 😉

  81. For those of you using a Raw diet for your dogs, what do you do when you board them at a Kennel for vacation? Do most kennels handle feeding a raw diet OK?

    1. My 2 Irish Wolfhounds just came off this food. They both loved it and did well. But I want to give raw a fair go.

  82. I love all the comments and interest in this article! I know there are tons of different opinions and experiences, but just seeing so many people care about their dogs is awesome.

    I run dogs, both for fun and for money. I’m pretty in-tune with the health of the dogs I run. There are so many different factors that effect health, and diet is a big one. But there’s one thing I’d like to add to this discussion, and it applies whether you love or hate raw food.

    Please, please, please make sure your dogs have plenty of water. It helps with so many digestion, food and health problems.

    Most people just throw a bowl full of water down once a day, but that’s nowhere near enough. Go to your local kitchen-goods store and buy the biggest bowl you can find. Fill it to the top and watch your dogs go crazy. Some dogs will conserve the water in their bowl to make sure it never runs dry, and the dog will end up dehydrated. But when water is plentiful, they’ll drink up.

    When dogs are sick or lagging on runs, almost 90 percent of the time the problem is a lack of water. So fill up big bowls and let your dogs go nuts!

  83. I feed 4 dogs raw.
    Can’t afford grass-finished for them so I buy the ‘shitty’ food at Winco, Fred Meyer, etc…
    But, I try and mix it up by buyi9ng lots of liver of all kinds, giblets, sometimes duck, hen, chicken, pork, marked down beef, lamb, etc…
    They get grassfed liver, knuckle bones and bone marrow once in awhile.
    I even check roadkill =P
    If it feels and smells like a fresh kill I take it home. Also, I take the ‘garbage’ off people that go hunting and throw away entire legs and heads off elk, deer and geese.

  84. I have just put my 2 Irish Wolfhounds on a raw diet. My female seems to be having a hard time having a poop. She is poop’n more like a rabitt is this normal?

  85. We are going to start our 2yo cavalier king charles spaniel on this tomorrow.

  86. This is the first article I’ve read that relates a grain-free human diet to taking the same care when feeding our dog friends. I’m surprised that this isn’t mentioned more. My family is gluten free and when my youngest child decided to eat one of our dog’s wheat based treats, not only did I want it out of our house, but I realized that our dog wasn’t biologically meant to eat grains either. I wondered how it might be comprimising her emotional and physical health (as I had witnessed in my children before going gluten-free) and decided to make a big change for her. After only a week, I noticed a big change. She was already so much more calm and content, her eyes were brighter and most importantly, her sensitive belly (probably also partially so from anxiety since she was once a stray) didn’t seem bothered anymore…unless I gave her too much liver…but that’s another story!

  87. Dogs are not omnivores. Jeez, even my 9 year old’s Biology for Kids book states “carnivore”. The pet food industry wants you to believe they are omnivores so they can load their kibble with cheap, readily available, easily preservable crap. They’ll also tout the benefits of “whole grains and vegetables”. Excuse me? We’re talking carnivores here!

    Dogs have no nutritional requirement for vegetables. As much as we human omnivores (and particularly us Primal types) embrace the valuable veggie, to a carnivore it is completely unnecessary. It is the dog version of the Primal attitude towards rice: yeah, you could eat it, but why bother when you can get the Real Thing from meat?

  88. I have been feeding my dog raw exclusively for a year and a half. She had SO many problems on kibble and it just got worse and worse. She got fat from it and then she started losing weight as the constant bouts of diarrhea depleted her system. It was awful! And I fed a fairly expensive, “no-fillers” dog food. I put her on raw during deer hunting season and I haven’t looked back. Sammie is now healthier than ever. Everything that Mark says about raw feeding is absolutely true! Her teeth are cleaner, her coat is shiny, she doesn’t smell unless she’s wet even after not having a bath all winter long, and her poop does not smell at all. And it’s just as cheap if not cheaper than the dog food I was feeding her. I will NEVER feed any of my animals kibble again!

  89. What is the best method to wash up after you’ve served your dog raw meat? We started feeding this to him twice, daily, and are concerned we are contaminating our kitchen by doing it so often.

    Also, my dog is an Italian Greyhound. Having him eat the raw mean outside is fine in the summer, but cruel to have him do in the winter.

    Thanks for your suggestions.


  90. Hello,

    I’m fascinated by the raw diet for dogs. I have never understood why we cook their food for them, they never did it themselves. I’m concerned however about salmonella and campylobacter and other nasties. Having read loads, books included, in order to make an informed choice for my puppy, to be collected at the weekend, most people say it is fine and they won’t affect her. Would it be better to start gently? I have found a totally meat based canned food, no grains, shall I mix it with raw? How about fish? I’m worried I will do her more harm than good even though I can see the sense in it all. She was weaned on kibble – yuk. Your help would be much appreciated

    1. Just make the switch. It’s not hard to do. The yahoogroup RawFeeding is a great resource. Dogs are carnivores and should be fed biologically appropriate food! Daily intake should equal about 2-3% of their ideal body weight. Broken down into about 80% meat, 10% bone (covered in meat – never bare), 5% liver, 5% other organ. If you must, rawfeddogs . net has really good recipes, if you have a sense of humor. 🙂 We’ve been raw feeding for almost two years and will never feed anything else.

  91. I believe that the making the choice to put your animal on a raw diet is one that deserves very careful consideration and more information than this BLOG shows.
    It is widely accepted by scientists all over the world that dogs are not true obligate carnivores. They are in fact omnivores. The difference between carnivores and omnivores scientifically is more than whether or not they munch on vegetables. It has to do with protein requirements and the animal’s ability to synthesize their own amino acids and to excrete excess protein. Cats are obligate carnivores and perform better on a higher protein diet. This is because they are unable to synthesize all of their amino acid requirements on their own. They also have a better ability to excrete excess protein from their body. Dogs have lower nutritional protein requirements and can synthesize their some of their own amino acids.
    The risks from raw food diet include nutritional deficiencies and excess as well as public health hazards.
    Yes, dogs can get salmonellosis, E. coli, etc. It can make them very sick. Dogs can also act as asymptomatic shedders of salmonella and toxoplasma spp. This is a health consideration for your animal as well as your family. USE CAUTION!
    Puppies fed raw diets have been shown to get nutritional osteodystrophy.
    By the way, just because the bones don’t splinter it doesn’t mean they can’t cause an intestinal obstruction.
    The choice to put your animal on a raw food diet should be made with the understanding that there is no scientific proof. Instead of reading blogs and websites like “raw learning” go to pubmed or science direct and make your own conclusions based off of experimental studies. If you still believe after doing so that raw is better, then at least you understand all of the risks. This blog is just anecdotal and I can do the same when talking about how amazing my dog is performing on a formulated diet (which he is) and how beautiful his coat is (which it is). But I can also back up using a formulated diet with the hundreds of studies on nutrition and performance that have been performed over the years.
    Please use caution and be safe…keep your animals and your kids healthy and maybe consider doing cooked diets instead of raw.

  92. Hi there,
    We’ve recently made the switch for our bichon and Cavalier King Charles spaniel…We buy bulk ground chicken carcass in big bricks, and I’m wishing I could just make up lots of individual patties with vegies already in them and refreeze, but I’ve always assumed that re-freezing is a no no. And advice about this?

  93. My dogs have been partial paleo for 2 months now. After their last vet visit, where both had lots of plaque on their teeth, my 2 little dogs, aged 6 and 7 years,have been getting chuck steak or chicken wings for dinner (replacing canned dog food). They are still getting dry food for their breakfast(spousal compromise). One of the dogs, Saffie who has had a bald dorsal stip along her back and the top of her head for years, is now growing hair in her bald spots!! And the teeth of both dogs have improved out of sight.

  94. No use in criticizing raw unless you’ve tried it with your own dog, then draw a conclusion. Since kibble is only about 50 years old, what did dogs eat before?

    We recently acquired a rescue corgi and the first day in our home we switched him to raw. He almost dances at the sight of the meat in his bowl. His teeth are cleaning up, and his fur shimmers with a silky gloss.

    Many of the kibble foods are produced by companies like Colgate, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble and we know the profit line is what motivates them. There’s no money in feeding raw so of course they’re not going to encourage it. Why should we line their pockets instead of what’s holistically best for our dogs?

  95. I have a 9 week old cocker spaniel. On our first vet visit last week, the vet told me to feed him Science Diet kibble and cooked pasta. When I mentioned other foods like fresh meat, bones and sardines,he replied, that no other food would be nessesary, and that most of the foods I suggested was far to fatty for a dog and would cause pancreatitis.

    I was shocked, and came home feeling confused as every dog I have ever owned I had fed a mixed diet to. I felt it was cruel to condem a dog to a life of bland dehydrated biscuits. Besides the question of quality of commercial foods in general, I certainly wouldn’t like to eat a boring monotonal diet of biscuits my entire life, no matter how many synthetic vitamins and minerals they contained!

    SO I came online to do my own research. Raw diets make sense. I started giving him fresh meat and chicken wings, goats milk with a few fresh vegies and herbs out of the garden in the processor. Also found K9 Natural, which has raw green tripe in it, which is near impossible to find anywhere here in Australia. It’s been a week and his poos have changed from runny very smelly, to firm and tolerable. Only time will tell if I am doing the right thing. But in my heart it feels better to feed a natural diet than a processed one.

  96. Can I also add. My cocker had only ever eaten processed dog food from the breeder. When I gave him fresh chicken for the first time it was amazing, I watched him come alive!

    Compare a dogs reaction to a bowl of kibble to a serving of fresh meat or a bone. If that isn’t evidence enough, than I don’t knwo what is.

  97. I think it’s important to remember that it’s vital for your dogs to also get a lot of raw vegetables in as well.

    Wild dogs are omnivores with a high opportunistic meat diet- I know when I’m just hanging outside with my dogs they’ll nibble on grass and leaves all the time.

    Also the stomach is generally one of the first things wolves eat in the wild which will have tons of vegetables in it unlike a lot of the meat you buy in stores.

    Also you should still take into consideration the quality of the meat you get because meat loaded with hormones and riddled with disease might be better raw than cooked for your pups, but could still cause tons of problems. Wolves that eat meat in the wild are getting a lot of nutrients from the vegetables that the animals eat that our US factory farmed animals can’t compare with. Go organic grass fed only and add tons of veggies to your dogs diet!

  98. I have my dog on the Raw diet and my vet seems to think it is crap. He told me the green tripe is terrible and that this diet does not provide calcium.
    He eats turkey necks, chicken backs and feet and raw chicken and beef with the bone int from our local butcher.
    What are your thoughts. Does he need a supplement with this diet?

  99. Mark, I’m impressed! I started following your site fairly recently, and stumbled upon this post in the archives. So many people look at me like I’m crazy when I say the majority of what I feed my dog is fresh animal products. The only thing I can think of is that you forgot eggs! So many people preach their benefits for people, and they can be arguably even better for dogs! Talk about healthy fats and just plain good 🙂 My mini foxie loves them.

  100. I’ve read a lot of websites and posts debating the merits of a raw diet over commercial pet foods.. and the criticisms of commercial pet food. I sure don’t have a scientific/nutritional background to be able to adequately analyze which is better. For that matter, there are no scientific (long term, unbiased, double-blind) studies examining either one. What is published is biased and not credible.

    Health effects from diet, especially in dogs, take time (sometimes years) to manifest. Then there are genetic and individual characteristics, all of which means some animals tolerate bad nutrition better than others and Fido’s shiny coat may not be entirely attributable to his diet.

    Proponents of a raw diet for dogs base it, in large part, on the fact that dogs evolved from wolves. But there are scientists who claim dogs actually evolved from jakals. Even though dogs share a large percentage of genetic material with wolves, their domestication over thousands of years has led to differences in GI tract and more. Humans are 98% genetically related to chimps, but a similar diet obviously doesn’t make sense. Even if dogs and wolves were anatomically identical (they aren’t), it doesn’t mean they are functionally the same. Human GI tracts are anatomically identical, but functionality is different (e.g., lactose intolerance, etc.). All of which is to say, the idea of feeding our Golden Retriever – who wouldn’t know the first thing about ripping apart an elk – the same diet as a wolf, may not be exactly sound.

    We assume raw food is nutritionally superior to commercial pet food because, as humans, we’ve heard consistently that raw food has more nutrition than cooked food. And, it makes sense to assume raw food is better than commercial kibble which is extruded and subjected to temperatures known to destroy nutritional values. But does anyone know what nutritional levels animals need? Even the organization responsible for overseeing the pet food industry says the science is inexact and there is a lack of knowledge.

    To begin with, dogs have hinged jaws, unlike cows, for instance, who can ‘masticate’ veggies. This means dogs’ jaws are not designed to slide side to side to help digest veggies. If you feed your dog veggies, at least cook them to help with their digestion..

    At the end of the day, we plop the bowl down on the floor filled with whatever we assume is best for our animal. If they are healthy, we know we’ve made the right choice. Again, health problems can take years to show up, so maybe we’ve fed them well, or maybe the effects just haven’t shown up yet. Or maybe we got lucky with their genetics.

    I personally feed my dog a raw diet, but that doesn’t mean that I believe ALL commercial pet food is bad, or nutritionally unsound because I don’t know. I choose a raw diet because I have more control. That said, I am concerned about subjecting my dog to salmonella and no one knows for sure what that means over the long term. Within a few weeks I plan to cook her meat to eliminate the risk.

  101. Salmonella is not an issue with dogs fed raw for a while. Dogs who have been fed raw will have a ridiculously acidic stomach to deal with bacteria-laden raw meats and to liquify bones. This is why dogs have been seen to busy bones with meat attached. Once bacteria rots the meat they’ll go back for the meat which is sweeter in taste. They can handle it. Raw fed dogs have stronger immune systems so they can deal with any bacteria that makes it through. They also start killing bacteria as they chew, dog salive is antibacterial while humans don’t have that particular antibacterial component in our saliva (forget what it’s called). Dogs fed cooked meats or carbohydrates have compromized immune systems AND less acidic stomachs, more bacteria survives and overwhelmes the dog making him sick. Does not happen with raw fed dogs. Some salmonella bacteria and e coli can pass through the dog’s digestive system and come out in the stool, you can say that the dog will be an asymptomatic “carrier” of e coli and salmonella. Well, surprise surprise, please wash your hands when washing up after dog stools! Besides, if YOU are healthy with a strong immune system (see primal blueprint) you will also be able to deal with a smidgen of salmonella or e coli making it into your mouth somehow. Anyway, don’t forget to provide our furkids with rich organs and small fatty fish too!

  102. IMO, no need for vegetables for dogs. Meat rots in acidic environment over time. This is not good for the dog. Hence their digestive system is short. It’s meant to take in meat and bones and organs, break it down, push it out quickly. There’s no time nor the proper enzymes to crack that tough cell wall (not cell membrane) to get at the goodness. I tried giving my dogs raw, grated carrots and corn when my education was still a bit lacking. Went in raw, grated carrots and came out raw, grated carrots. Also, went it corn on the cob and came out corn on the (different) cob. 🙂 Meat, bones, organs on the other hand, they eat a chunk as big as their head. Their stool is barely the size of one of their paws. They use it.

  103. This is a great info source. we just started on raw for our goldendoodle. She had a bout of gastro prior to this and we wanted to do the best we could by her. We’ve been researching like mad while the dog yips for more of the good stuff. Just wondering if anyone has heard of nutrigenomics-a more specific way of zeroing in on what a dog might need based on its biogenetic make-up. Would this explain why some have an iron stomach and others are sooo sensitive to certain foods?

    1. Back when feeding commercial my elder one was sensitive (many vet visits) and the younger one had an iron stomach. After cold turkey to raw, the elder one had violet diahrrea for a week and the younger one took it in stride. Now sometimes my elder one still had diahrrea but only once in a blue moon (three/four times a year) while the younger one, I can’t remember, maybe once or twice over the last two years feeding raw. I guess individual differences play a part. Never heard of nutrigenomics, sorry, but as long as you give the vital macronutrients and remove the poisons (grains/carbs) they will adapt. But if you’re new to raw feeding there is a transition time unless you’re lucky. Stomach acids were weak because carbs don’t need such strong stomach acids. Once you give them raw, stomach needs time sometimes to go back to what they;re meant to do, pump out acid do dissolve RAW, uncooked bones which are soft and pliable as opposed to cooked bones which are brittle and will generate shards. Also will happen when you introduce rich rich organs like liver. Start with heart, that’s always required, introduce liver later on. Both my dogs will have a bout of soft stool when given too much liver but it clears up next stool session. Watch the poo, best indicator. Too white and too dry and too hard to push out = too much bones. Too watery = too little bones. They also take the same fish oil that our family does, just twice a week for them since it’s formulated for 100KG humans rather than 8KG Shih Tzu’s. I wouldn’t worry too much with specifics, get over the hump and you’ll see great benefits. If you’re paranoid like I was about no veggies at all then try giving them some, won’t hurt really. But if you start seeing them in the stool the same color and consistency as they went in then you know for sure feeding it to them was completely useless. Good that you’re researching, very responsible dog owner! This IS a great info source, there’s better out there for dog nutrition. Funny thign is that I love my dogs, got them started on raw feeding after reseach two years ago. Myself, Primal Blueprint only two weeks ago. :S Oops.

    1. Watch the sales at the grocery store, stock up whenever meat is under $1.00 or $1.50 per pound. (Make sure it’s not “x% solution added”, the salt can give dogs the runs.)

      Make it known to family and friends that you’ll take any expired meat off their hands. Craigslist is helpful too. Also if you know any hunters, tell them you’ll take any scraps off their hands.

      See if there are any raw-feeding co-ops in your area:

      Some people have success talking to the meat department manager at their grocery store and getting meat past the sell-by date. Some people have been told no. (I’ve never tried it, I have 3 small dogs, I’d be overwhelmed with meat if I used this method.)

      My dogs have their own chest freezer, it’s helpful to have a lot of room when you find good deals.

  104. I know this post is quite old but I just came across it and read with interest. My dogs have been fed a primal diet since they were puppies, they’re now almost 4. They eat much better than we adults do. Our holistic vet recommended the diet since one of our girls has hip displaysia so we needed to keep her nice and lean to not put any unnecessary pressure on her hips. The other, it turns out, is actually allergic to beef (common in poodles), corn syrup and soy! So many commercial dog foods contain these ingredients, it was almost impossible to find a dry food that didn’t (there is one, a brand called ARTEMIS) So, fresh chicken wings and necks, organ meat and vegetables is what they eat. They also have fish oil, flaxseed oil (good for their coat) and one has a glucosamine formula to help manage any joint pain. Their stools are exactly as described above – small, odourless and turn white and crumbly in a day. We are often told our girls are too thin, but I think society is so used to seeing overweight, unhealthy dogs, that a slim, healthy energetic dog is unusual. Our girls weigh around 11kgs. When we got them from the breeder, we were advised that full size should be between 10-15kgs. On the weekend, we will meet for the first time one of their litter mates…he is the same height, but 23kgs…it will be very interesting to see the difference.

  105. My dog has epilepsy and is going on for 5 years. He has been fed on meat fish and bones, with selected veg for about 2 years now. He is on full human medication for epilepsy and Epilease for dogs. He has bad itching and scratching problems, which we are treating. Any tips on addition to diet? we do put olive oil on his food and give him multivitamins. He is not a very happy doggie!

  106. Hello,
    my puppy is 10 weeks old now and I had him on the raw diet for about a week now (he loves it!). But my only concern is that now I notice his pee is a dark yellow almost orange. Not just in the morning all day. I did use febreze to get the smell of pee out of my house, but I haven’t used it days thinking it was that. Is that normal on raw food?

  107. I have a 4 pound yorkie that is the pickiest eater in the world. He won’t touch kibble or canned dog food. After research and experimenting with his food interest I fees him cooked chicken breast and sometimes beef if he will eat it. I’ve tried raw and soft cooked eggs (he won’t touch it). Now he eats a mix of gently cooked chicken breast, raw chicken wings and chews on raw cow bones. He won’t eat veggies or fish or fruit at all. Even if I mix it with ground meat he is not interested. He is overall very healthy but has bad rank gas and white dry sandy looking stool. He has been eating this way for several months and the poop has been like this since. He is only 2 years old. Is this normal and should I try to feed him anything else?

  108. this is a cool article. Feeding raw to dogs makes total sense. I switched my dog over to a raw diet a few months ago and he is doing great! I feed him a brand called OC Raw Dog. It is a complete diet and made from human grade ingredients! I am glad my dog is a “raw” dog now!

  109. I have a 3 year old BUGG. Lots of ‘environmental allergies” (tested tested and re-tested) and I have been buying the Raw Food diet consisting of raw beef/bones; fish; veggies BUT she is always hungry. Constantly and has put weight on. The other day I tried her on kibble from Natural Balance and she left her plate and I didn’t hear from her the rest of the day she was full and content.

    Mixing both slowly to introduce this new food and she doesn’t touch the raw. I would continue with it but she is clearly not getting enough and she is putting weight on however I do buy her the dried Oxtail and the dried pig ears from my supplier.

    I would have thought the other way around would be the answer because it is heavy on the meat and veggies but she doesn’t get full and is always tapping for more.

    What do u think?

  110. I tried the raw diet with my super sensitive Staffie. EVERY time I tried, he immediately vomited up whatever he ate. Profusely. Repeatedly. It was horrible. The poor baby got so sick each and every time (tried when I first brought him home at 9 weeks and again when he got older around 6 months and 10 months). The whole “ride it out” thing doesn’t reflect the fact that the dog’s body is rejecting the food because it cannot digest it properly. NOT a good idea to put your pup through that hoping that he will eventually “ride it out” -gave me SERIOUS concerns about his health after just one day. Try letting a 75 lb dog vomit for three days straight each and every time you feed him (because you don’t want to mix processed kibble and raw meat diet). At that point, he’s both starving and exhausted from being sick. Day three, I had to give up -worries about physical toll and dehydration. I tried chicken (he is allergic), then beef RMB (vomiting was WAY worse). The only “raw” food he can handle is carrots, and they don’t digest!! lol. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi my bc girl will sometimes vomit after rmb she has raw marrow bones as a treat a few times a week, her meals consist of raw meat that has bones ground up, pulped veggies, fish oil, probiotics/ prebiotics( she has a sensitive belly too) kelp and alfalfa. Try really small amounts of ground raw mince and bone with a little pumpkin to start maybe 4 times a day tk start with and sew how he goes and gradually build it up. I would feel awful if my girl was eating it all then throwing it all up again. Also give him a little time to calm down after exercise and before make sure you give him at least an hour after a rmb to digest it otherwise he will throw it up. Hope this helps let me know how you get on 🙂

  111. i have learned a lot today – reading here. i have a 2 1/2 year old 11 pound yorkie and we started today transitioning him to raw. we are transitioning with with “instinct raw” (natures variety) we bought from from the freezer at a local pet store. however-we have a freezer full 0f ground elk and deer (hubby’s a hunter) mixed with a little beef suet. is this sound? when i cook wild game for us you can tell he is just praying i will drop some.;o) i feel leery about the bones… are they necessary? is fish oil all (a few veggies) all i need to add? we have been giving him glucosamine for his hips…what do you think? appreciate any response when you get a chance, thx for all this info. cp

  112. Cathy – Uncooked bones are safe, good for his teeth and contain glucosamine. You can add some organs from those deer carcasses, even (ick) brain, tendons, stomach lining, etc. Hope it helps 🙂 Though keep in mind, I’m no vet.

    We just got a three-month old puppy and are agonizing over what to feed him. The raw animal parts diet has me convinced but about everyone I know has been yelling at me that I’ll be killing my dog on this unbalanced diet they are not made to eat, as they have evolved (as have we, apparently) since hunter-gatherer times.

    The only argument raised that truly has me concerned is what to do when travelling. He’ll end up eating 700g-1kg of meat every day. Does anyone have an idea as to how (or what) do I transport all of it (say, if we’re travelling in the desert or an otherwise relatively meat-free environnement) ?

    Thanks, I’m really at a loss here…

    1. Hi Val, I go camping a lot with my bc, I had the same problem in my head. A good quality cool box that has hook up to charge from your cigarette lighter in a car. The other thing I did was find a good quality steam cooked food that doesn’t need to be kept cool. If its going to be warm and I don’t have the car, I keep her food in a cool box with plenty of ice packs enough for 2 days then for the rest of the time or until I can get to some raw food supplier I use the steam cooked stuff which doesn’t effect her digestion. As long as you use something that is similar to what your dog eats normally then you should be fine for a week or so. The one i found works best is this :
      Hope this helps let me know how you get on.

  113. Max is my 4-year old rescue. He has been on raw for at least 8 months. He has been scratching his ears for about 3 months but not sure why. Vet couldn’t find anything. Everything I have read says it is too much protein.

    My other rescue is great on it. She scratches and was shaking her head but not like Max.

    I’m not sure what to do now. I have Max on only beef mix but he is still scratching/head shaking constantly. Would cooking the meat help?

    Any ideas? Thank you.

    1. Hi Donna,
      What other meat have you tried Max on ? Beef and chicken are apparently the worst ones if your dog has allergies. Also try cleaning his ears with a little vitamin E oil do it on a daily basis for a couple weeks and see how that helps.

      Good luck 🙂

  114. Is there any site or any advice for breed specific raw diets??? I have an American bluenose pit bull… She is 5 months and I want to start her on a raw diet but mdont want to give her the wrong meats any advice??

  115. Wow!! I am in complete agreement with feeding dogs raw meat! I have just recently started making Molly*s food, I was cooking chicken liver and giblets, but the raw diet makes more sense (Molly is 4 months old), I made some dry food with flower and oil and added turmeric spice(for joints), now I am not so sure if that is alright for here, could you possibly get back to with an idea of how often to feed her raw meat, I feed her 3 meals a day, I give her the liver mixture in the am and the dry food at lunch and supper, now I am wondering if that is too much, she is quite active, anyway I would appreciate any advice you can give. I certainly cannot afford the vet, so I want her as healthy as possible.

    Keep up the great website! I am going to refer it to everyone I know with a dog!

    Kelly and Molly

  116. My vet says that dogs are susceptible to e-coli contaminants and salmonella as we are. It all depends on the butchering of the animal and the processing. She still advises to cook the meat to avoid illness.

    1. Hi javier, I’ve had a look all I can say is try it for a few weeks and note how your dog is getting on with it. Any reason you don’t want to just feed raw?


      1. It’s mostly a timing thing. I spend so much time cooking for myself and my wife (which she’s not paleo so it makes it harder) that to make something else on top of that would be rough. I was thinking of maybe adding some chicken from time to time. Mostly bad excuses to be honest.

  117. I understand but why not try raw for 2 weeks and see how you get on fitting in to your routine. It really isn’t complicated at all you just need yo remember to get your dogs meat for the day out the night before and set it in a tub/bowl to defrost over night. I personally feed twice a day but do what ever works best fr you and your dog. On the evening meal especially if your cooking veg just cut a bit extra and chuck it in with your dogs meal ( you can feed cooked too from time to time, get them left overs used up) once you get into the routine I’m sure you will find it really simple to do.

  118. I’m concerned about the quality of the meat. Would I have to buy organic grass fed raw meat and organs?

  119. I have an English Mastiff and an American Bulldog. The mastiff was raised on the raw meat and when we got him earlier this year, we switched our bulldog and she LOVED it.

    I have one problem. The mastiff is a male and his piss is putrid. The smell is just like rotten meat. Is there anything we can add to his diet to help remedy the matter?

    Also as a chime in here – we get all our dog food from the local butcher house. They sell the scraps, bone paste (sawdust from bone saws) and beef hearts. They only charge $0.25 per pound… way cheaper than prepacked dry garbage.

  120. Awesome post! I am going to try and get my parents to switch our dog to raw food- I KNOW she will benefit from it! Do any of you notice a difference in your dog’s energy levels? Are higher energy dogs more mellow on raw food?

  121. I have been feeding my dog, a medium-large yoorkie, since he was a puppy. It just didn’t make sense to me to feed him corn!

    But I have been concerned about whether he was getting proper nutrition. I felt that since wolfs ate like that then his gut was probably designed to eat meat as his primary source of nutrition. I feed him chicken, turkey necks and various type of red meat including some liver and kidneys. I did this just following my one intuition.

    I recently decided to check the internet to see if anyone else was doing the same thing.

    I am glad that I am not alone, and that others agree with me. I am certain we are right. It is so logical. And these purveyors of corn are so full of crap! I hear of dogs that seem to be almost always sick and the incredible fees these vets charge. My dog is five years old and has never been sick, period.

    I think the vets are in with the corn scam. Sick dogs make them rich!

  122. I am going to start feeding raw tomorrow….to my 5 dogs…nervous though….been reading a lot about it….learned a lot from Pat McKay….

  123. Our beagle Thomas has allergy dermatitis. The infection was so bad, he scratched himself unceasingly, licking his butt, scratching and then infection set in the sores that he developed. The vet gave him an antibiotic. He turned out to be allergic to the antibiotic. He broke out in little bumps all over. His entire body was covered like a gourd with these hard red bumps, that have become very crusted. He is very sad. So a friend of mine suggested this site and diet plan. It makes SOOOOO much sense. I am going to try it. I pulled the kibble, and fed him a few left over fish I thawed from my freezer. He chowed them quickly. We will see how it goes. Tomorrow he will get some chicken legs, carrots, and brussle sprouts (stuff I have left over in fridge) and see how he does. Please pray for my boy! He is such an awesome dog.

  124. my westie eats turkey mince [ cooked ] mxed with earthborn holistic grain free kibble also chicken mince and kangaroo mince she will eat the fowl raw but backs away from the roo its considered game and maybe too rich she does like her food wet. doesnt drink much at all ritax

  125. I don’t have any dogs and I’m not much of a dog person, but if I did, I would definitely feed them raw primal

  126. I have a 2 year old lab that has had 2 seizures that I have witnessed in the last month. Vet says his blood and everything looks normal, probably epileptic seizures, and that it just happens. Prescribed meds. I am starting a raw diet tomorrow, and have installed a camera in my living room to monitor him when I’m away. I believe paleo can fix something like this with an otherwise healthy dog. We shall see. The overweight puggle is getting in on the action too. So here we go…

  127. I have had my dogs on Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Chicken Recipe and I could not be happier.

    I completely agree that a raw diet would be best but this is by far the best alternative. No grains, tons of protein, and easy to feed the dogs.

    Since my older dog has been on this food is gastro problems have gone away, he is no longer taking allergy medicine and both of my dogs are solid muscle. I have 2 rat terriers and they get 1-2 hours of exercise per day. They look amazing and everytime I take them to the vet the vet tells me how healthy they are.

    ANother option for those looking.

  128. I’m considering the switch with my pit rescue pup. she seems to hate everything except for the ‘slop’ I’ve made out of pureed boiled chicken [bones n all] to put in her kibble, but think a raw diet is the way to go with any animal. It’s what their body is built for. I went on craig’s list and looked up beef for sale. Many sell for cheap and even just GIVE away fresh organ meat from their grass fed organic humanely slaughtered cows. I’m waiting on my first purchase. Butcher day is next week. This post has put my trembling soul to rest about switching out her Kirkland puppy chow lol. Only sad that I just bought a whole bag.

    A couple questions though, do I grind it up and freeze it in weekly portions, or do I chop it into cubes? Is it a preference or do they get more nutrients if its ground up or what? Also, what veggies can be added, anything you should steer clear from? Probiotic was mentioned. Do I just buy the powder (which I did for my kids, but its a bit pricey) or can I throw in a tbspn of greek non fat plain yogurt to the mix every meal?

  129. Hi guys!

    So I’m a wannabe Grokster, and my dog is a bit more of a real one. I’ve had him for over a year now (he is about 1.5 years old) and have always fed him grain free food and treats. Despite the hefty price-tag ($60 to $90 for about a month’s worth of dry food), I am disappointed by the quality of even the highest quality food I can find. The Omega 3 to 6 ratio is ridiculous, often 10:1 in favor of Omega 6. I care a great deal about my dog and want him to be as healthy as he can be, but I also don’t have unlimited money. I am wondering about how much I could expect to spend if I go to a raw, mostly-meat diet. Ideally an organic one at that. He’s about a 70 lb Belgian Malinois, and is very active. I take him to the dog park almost every day for an hour (and he’s wearing a backpack with about 8 lb in it these days–was 6 lb until recently) and I know he could exercise even more if given the opportunity. Any thoughts? Any tips on reducing cost while staying organic and whole-food?

    1. Hi Kay. I write about raw dog food on my web site and have some articles on how to save money on raw dog food. For me, getting a Costco membership helped. Chicken there is about $1 per pound (although he organic is of course a bit more).

      I mostly feed chicken thighs and I also get chicken liver and pork at regular grocery stores since it is cheap. The hardest part is finding a variety of organ meat.

      Anyway without trying too hard to find deals I feed my 70 pound dog raw for $120 per month. He eats about 1.3 pounds per day.

  130. I have a four year old chocolate lab who has been plagued by allergies since she was 3 months old. She’s had the allergy test done, and has been getting shots for the last 8 months, with minimal (if any) improvement. She is currently on prednisone, zyrtec, and an antibiotic for her staph infections on her skin. My dog and I are both frustrated with her lack of improvement, and have begun taking the steps to put her on a raw diet. My only question is, because of the medication she has been taking for such a LONG period of time, is it safe to just stop it all cold turkey, and start her on the raw diet? Or should I use the Nyzmes product to flush it from her system?

    1. Hi Marie. Sorry to hear of your dog’s issues and I hope she’s feeling better by now. I’m sure you’ve talked with your vet before stopping your dog’s medications cold turkey, but just in case you haven’t, one thing to be careful of is the prednisone. That is a drug that dogs (and humans too) need to be weaned off of.

      Have you switched her to raw? Hoping it’s made a difference. My black Lab mix does well with it.

  131. I have a 16yo full Maltese and now 2 6months old Maltese/shitzu. I’ve been worried that the puppies will only eat chicken necks. But you’ve just made me a very happy woman. I had tried a special mince I get from my butcher, but presumed I had to cook it with mixed blended vegies. And they ate it once and never since. But will now try it raw.. I do give them raw carrots but they just seem to play with that at the moment. I do leave a bowl of dry food out for them, which they every rarely touch. But feel if I’m out and about at least they have something if I’m late home, Great to have found this page. Thanks everyone concerned.

  132. My dog was 4 when I adopted him, he’d spent his life on mostly kibble with some chicken mince. When I took him for his first vet check up she recommended BARF which is a dog food brand sold here in Australia named after the biologically appropriate raw food diet concept.

    It’s made of frozen raw mince patties with minced up bone, a small amount of partially cooked vegetables, mega 3 and probiotics added. No preservatives, chemicals or grains at all and comes in beef, lamb, chicken and kangaroo mince.

    My dog is sensitive to the lamb but loves the chicken and beef, he also gets big, raw, meaty bones a few times a week. When I first got him he was white and dark brown with a few dry patches and terrible teeth (he had to have eight, EIGHT removed despite his young age) his fur is now so soft and shiny and most amazingly he has turned black and white, no longer brown!

    We travelled a couple of weeks ago requiring a few days in the car so he went onto kibble, not long after he developed horrible diarrhoea and vomiting and which has gone now he’s back on his raw diet. He’s a greyhound so is naturally lean but now has good muscle mass and is not stick figureish like other greyhounds I’ve seen.

  133. Mark…You had me a “What are you feeding Fido?” Then you got all sloppy when you started in on how it’s recommended to feed your dog veggies. Your article is riddled with contradictions, no wonder some of your readers are confused. Dogs/Wolves don’t eat vegetables in their natural environment, except by curiosity mostly. They eat whole prey, except stomach/intestinal contents. Dogs/Wolves are carnivores, not omnivores as some misinformation suggests. Just because they have been domesticated, doesn’t mean their innards have changed. They’re still the same inside as they’ve always been. No, their stomachs do not contain the digestive ability to break down the hard outer shells of most veggies and grains so that should be the first clue they’re not intended to be ingested by them! Cooking veggies and giving to the critters is just bad form. Dogs are opportunists/scavengers and they’ll eat just about anything, including their own filth, and sadly, kibble. However, that doesn’t mean they are ‘meant’ to eat that. In order for a dog/wolf to thrive, it needs to eat organs (eyes, brains, hearts, skin, etc.), non-organs (feathers, claws, testicles, tongue, eggs, etc.), muscle meat, tendons/soft tissue and bones of their prey. They get their complete nutritional needs met, over a period of time (we all know they don’t have regular kills nor do they get to sample a bit of every part of their kill when in a pack–it’s usually a free-for-all and they take what they can get). Lastly, humans have a tendency to think what’s good for them, is good for their dog/cat. Not true! Again, just because they eat it, doesn’t mean it’s good or necessary for them. They are dogs…not babies. They are carnivores, not omnivores. Treat them as such. Vegetables and dairy products have no place in their daily diet. A treat once in awhile, maybe, but certainly not as part of their daily food intake. They need vegetables about as much as they need kibble. That is–None. Period. For the best information, check out this FB page:, and then explore their Yahoo group using the link on the FB page. It’s a really great resource. 🙂 Thanks for all your research and information as relates to humans and our digestive system. My eyes have been opened wide!

  134. Hi I thought you’d like to know that chewing bones is extremely calming for dogs as they have special glands underneath their lower jaw that secrete huge amounts of seratonin when the chew vigorously. Why on earth would we deny them that 🙂

  135. I raise cows and chickens.. A bit concerned about feeding my dog raw chicken, would like her to not help herself to the flock. She has accidentally killed two young chicks but did not eat them. Cows can deal with her and avoid her because she is a pest (heeler type dog, she bosses them around)

  136. I hate to be a buzz kill to your raw diet, but it is not all sunshine and roses for every dog. I started my 9 1/2 year old pit bull on a raw diet consisting of Honest Kitchen,(which is good food) mixed with either store bought raw chicken or hamburger On 12/1/13. My dog died of complications from e-coli poisoning on 2/8/2014, barely 8 weeks later. ER vets diagnosis: septic peritonitis.

    E-coli can harm a dog with a weakened immune system, which is hard to know if your dog has until it’s too late. My dog seemed very very healthy before this diet, no issues at all. E-coli is especially harmful to puppies and elderly dogs. And, my vet did not catch it, actually didn’t even look for e-coli, even though I told him she had been on a raw diet. So it’s like a bad thing gone even worse with an incompetent vet. So, now I live with the fact that I killed my dog thinking I was giving her food that would make her healthier and live longer.

    If only I had cooked the food a little, or just not fed raw at all, my dog would still be here. SO, let this be a warning, because when I researched the raw diet, I saw very few bad comments about it. Our domesticated dogs are not wild animals. Wild animals eat their food as soon as they kill it. It does not sit in the grocery store for god knows how long and then they eat it with all sorts of bacteria on it. Plus, who really knows how long these wild animals really live? maybe they have short life spans!
    Long story short, feed raw at your own and your dogs risk. I absolutely would not recommend it to anyone.

  137. Hi! My wife and I have started our 9weekpup with raw diet, Wall-E is a 5 lb. Doxiepoo that is amazing! He has been the hardest little guy to find a “food” that he likes. He wouldn’t eat kibble of any kind so we went with many different kinds of soft packaged and canned food all the better brands but nothing seemed to catch his attention. We tried raw beef and he absolutely loves it! We are average folks that make a very modest living and can’t afford the “best” food but we want our baby happy and healthy. We would love any and all positive feedback and recipes to
    Help us with our venture. Thank you!!

    1. I would strongly suggest discussing your raw diet plans with a good vet. I know most people on this thread are pro-raw. However, be aware that e-coli can kill your dog and puppies and elderly dogs are most susceptible to it. My 9 1/2 year old staffordshire terrier died 8 weeks after feeding her a raw diet. (story above)
      please research thoroughly before feeding your puppy raw food. start here:

      1. Thank you I have not fed him any raw chicken yet because of my fears of this. We are very cautious using only quality meats and bone but no raw chicken yet, too scared. I am and have been actively researching this and my vet has (without directly saying it) supports this but I do feel as though I am depriving him of the wonder bird. 🙂

  138. Hey we have a 5 month old Shar pei/Lab mix and I am interested in starting him on a raw food diet. I read the complete post at the top. I was wondering how much he would have to eat for his age and how often? Thanks 🙂

  139. I’ve tried switching mine over to a raw meat diet a few times and she consistently had issues. Extremely painful constipation and vomiting that literally won’t stop until I switch her back to a dry kibble. I mean, I feed her a combination of Blue Buffalo Wilderness and Nature’s Domain (both grain-free diets) mixed with bone broth (and sometimes semi-cooked meat bits) and give her beef/venison bones 1-2X/month, which appears to be the next best thing?

    I’m more concerned about the fact that she recently had a large bladder stone removed and my vet seems to think that it “could only be caused by diet-related factors and nothing else” (without the stone analysis back yet), even though I feed her pretty high quality food. I already know my vet will prescribe some high carb/high fat crap that’s supposed to prevent kidney stone formation… I’m curious if anyone else has had this issue of bladder stones and what they did to rectify them? Maybe switching to a totally wet diet with some cooked/raw meat mixed in?

  140. Raw feeders are in my opinion the smarter dog keepers,why i say this?

    1. kibble companies claim to put real meat in the kibbles
    2. bags stay of shelf for months at a time,meat would spoil and the food would stink and be harmfull to the dog.
    3. protein is found highly in meats
    4. kibbles,even the best kibbles you can purchase passes thru your dog like castor oil,leaving piles of smelly stool in every pen kept dog,on the other hand raw fed dogs leave 2 to 3 hard small firm turds.very little waste.
    5. over all health condition is unmatched by kibbles,energy and blood count is great by feeding raw.
    6. most quality kibbles cost $35-$40 per 40lb bag and yet its still a grain! Raw chicken only cost $17.99 per 40 lb case no grains all protein! $36 for 80 who wouldnt give there dog the better for less expense?


    1. Add cold pressed organic coconut oil to her diet and coat . add .5 water .25 acv Braggs and .25 lemon juice to spray bottle. Spray dry spots until moist and then rub moist spots with organic coconut oil

  142. We got our red heeler when she was 11 weeks old, and immediately started her on a raw meat diet (despite all of our friends and family ensuring us that this would indeed kill her). She just had her first birthday, and is one of the most alert, bright-eyed, and energetic dogs I’ve ever met. Her coat is shiny, her bowel movements are regular, and she has TONS of energy.

    Her diet is 100% raw. She eats mainly chicken (giblets included) as well as plenty of beef marrow bones. She also loves beef organs and meat. She occasionally gets some lamb when its on sale or I’m feeling particularly affectionate. She also eats eggs and fish. For treats, she gets freeze-dried liver or fish.

    I give her a ‘smoothie’ of greens, carrots, fish oil, and liver on a regular basis. If I have yogurt (from grassfed cows), she’ll get a lick. Her diet is pretty random and she self-regulates. She gets offered her food 1 – 2 times per day; sometimes she eats A LOT, sometimes she doesn’t want to eat at all. We feed her in her crate – she cleans up all the mess herself.

    I HIGHLY recommend a raw diet. It has worked fabulously for her.

  143. I’ve got one of my dogs on a half kibble/half raw food diet (I know it’s not recommended) because his teeth were in deplorable shape when I adopted him and raw bones was the way that kept coming up to clean them.

    I keep seeing the “raw food is cheaper” argument. A 33 pound bag of Eukanuba lasts my 2 dogs a month, the last bag I bought was $29, let’s round it to 30. That’s a dollar a day, my spaniel mix eats about 2/5 of that daily allotment. Forty cents for one day, 20 cents for one meal.

    His raw meal portion is 8oz, a typical meal is one chicken drumstick or thigh and one oxtail. Eighteen dollars for 8 pounds of chicken legs, that’s $1.13 per part. Twelve bucks for around 8 oxtail pieces, that’s a buck fifty a piece, so $2.63 for one meal more than 13 times what kibble costs.

    Pork chops at $6 to 7 a pound is comparable to the oxtail. Beef ribs at $8 to 9 is a little more. Lamb chops at $20/lb is quite a bit more. All but the oxtail is bought from Whole Foods.

    I’ve started experimenting with chicken feet, gizzards, liver and hearts which of course is cheaper but is also a much smaller percentage overall of the menu (like 5%). I’m not counting the occasional raw egg (perhaps 2 a month).

    So no, don’t believe the hype it’s cheaper to feed raw meat and bones.

  144. My concern with raw meat is our dog eats most of his food inside the house and in the case of a bone carries it around. So I limit his meat bones to outdoors–I really don’t want the staining and bacteria drags all over the living room rug and couch. Come winter or rain, he dislikes going outdoors and frankly prefers eating inside with us.

  145. I used to feed my dog kibble but his teeth were manky and he was suffering from constant itchiness. After the vet changed his diet from one kibble to another with no signs of improvement I finally made the switch to raw. Wow is all I can say! Since changing over he has absolutely thrived. His itchiness is gone and his teeth are now clean (I used raw bones and Canident from to help in the intital stages, made a massive improvement).
    Now I feed him muscle meat, mixed with organs (I buy these in Chubs from a local raw feed supplier) and I mix in some seaweed aswell for that extra boost. Does anyone know if there is anything else I should be using? Oh yeah I also gibve him bones from my local butchers, which he loves!

  146. Although my beagle loves primal raw dog food her coat doesn’t. She has been on it for about a year. The primal company has excellent customer service. Their small amount of fruits and veggies added to their different animal proteins are organic. Only company to have had almost no recalls. My dog has no allergies from testing except turkey so avoid that. So the problem is her extremely dandruff flaky skin everywhere. Wild fish oil added as well. Vet wants to take her off raw and put her on kibble. Don’t want to but also don’t want her flaky skin to be like this. At a loss of what to do. No shampoo helps more than a few days and then massive amount of flakes back again. Have tried also natural instinct raw on occasion but think primal best quality. Even though I believe this is the healthiest way to fee a dog the proof is not in the pudding.

    1. Hi Jen there was a lady in the audience today who had a rescue retriever or labrador with skin issues. Dr. Billinghurst advised that pork is great for allergies, and to try a protein eliminating diet to see which protein may be causing the issue.

  147. hi
    I just wanted to tell you a little bit about my Shiba Inu dog – she is 12 years old and has been raised on commercial dry dog ‘food’ and some ‘loaf’ along with meat and bones thrown in every now and again. She has also had bladder incontinence problems for the last couple of years and has been on medication for it (expensive medication). I decided only a couple of weeks ago to stop the medication as it seemed to be not working as well. I changed her diet and that of her mother who is almost 15 years old to that of a more natural diet of meat and meaty bones. I haven’t ventured into the offal side of things yet though. In just a little over a week on this new diet (which they both absolutely LOVE) her incontinence diminished to practically no leakage, only the occasional little spots compared to the puddles previously experienced. And the last couple of days she has had no leakage at all! all due to the change in her diet.
    I now hate to think what is in commercial pet food and processed human food and as such am also looking at my own diet.
    It is a very powerful experience for her and for me to witness. She is much happier as she was so embarrassed about ‘leaking’ everywhere and always licking to clean herself.
    I would recommend this diet for all our domestic wolves and change our own ways as well.
    Happy Days from one converted and happy Shiba Mum

  148. Wondering if anyone has any personal paleo recipes for dog food? I have been searching everywhere and have not turned up anything useful. Thanks!

  149. Dry food is very beneficial for your pet’s health. It is easy to digest and provide protection to the digestive tract. Try our best dry dog food rich in protein, vitamin, mineral and other essential nutrients.

  150. Hi everyone, I hope this topic never goes out of style and will only get updated. I’m a follower and based in South Australia. Today I attended a talk about RAW Matters for Dogs by a very very well informed person called Dr. Ian Billinghurst who created the food raw food called BARF (biologically appropriate real food, or when this first started Born Again Raw Feeders! LOL). Lots of great and advice and tips, he just finished a book and wrote one a few years ago as well, all still relevant advice which Mark did a great job sharing. Dr Ian does go into more detail for type specific dogs, cats and any ailments they have (cure it with the correct whole real food). In general he found that those who went on to BARF/ paleo/ wholefood for their furry friends had much more robust pets,

    His raw matters talk is going global for those who are keen to hear him speak about the nutrition as medicine and the link it has to either exascerbating or destroying cancer. Great stuff.

  151. I know raw salmon can make dogs very sick… is this the case for all fish/seafood? Also, when feeding dogs eggs – are they raw or cooked? Just looking for a little clarification. Thanks!

  152. Hello,

    My 8 month old bulldog is new to the primal eating plan for dogs. I switched her about two weeks ago and things were going good, until yesterday when she started choking on a piece of meat and got to the point that she was falling over due to lack of oxygen. Luckily, she was able to throw it up and start breathing again.

    The incident scared me and made me re-evaluate how I am feeding her. Since she is a bulldog, I guess you could classify her as a “gulper.” My previous strategy was to just feed her a hunk of raw meat, along with a raw egg and maybe some carrots. But now I am thinking I need to cut up the meat, or possibly grind it in the Vitamix.

    Additionally, I did some more research and read a bunch about how if you are going to feed your dog raw, you really need to “know what you’re doing” because it can result in nutrient deficiencies. I’m not sure how much merit this has, but because my dog is still a pup I am concerned she is getting all of her nutrients.

    Does anyone have any advice for my situation to 1) Prevent the choking and 2) Ensure she is eating a balanced diet and getting all of the nutrients she needs?

  153. Question about the actual meal…. how do you keep the raw germs from going everywhere?!? I have an 11 month old and the thought of having a dog chew on a raw bone and then run around the house makes me want to vomit. I would love to try this but this mom doesn’t have time to sanitize him after every meal.