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Should Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Before dogs were domesticated their diet was mainly made up of raw meat, everything from moose or bison to mice and earthworms. A lot of people consider this kind of diet to be the healthiest one for dogs (raw meat, that is, not specifically moose and mice!) Many people are switching over to this from a dry food diet.

The main reason for this is because it is the easiest and most cost-effective way of providing 80% meat. To get the equivalent amount of protein in a dry dog food diet you would have to spend a lot of money on the most expensive varieties.

Puppy eating a bone
Natural food - dogs should be getting at least 80% meat in their diets, and good quality raw meat is as good as it gets

If you do decide to switch to feeding your dog a raw meat diet, make sure you remove all bones. Supervise him when he is eating, if possible – there is always a chance that you might have missed a bone which could cause your dog to choke or cut his tongue.

Offally Good Or Offally Bad?

Many people think that offal is not worth eating, or even unsafe to eat, but in fact the animal organs that make up offal contain more nutrients than the cuts of meat we eat. A lot of manufactured dog foods contain offal, but it is often low quality meat that is simply used to increase the meat percentage on the label. If you do decide to switch to a raw meat diet, always buy the highest quality meat that you can afford and make sure that it is fresh so that it is free of harmful bacteria.

Offal from your local butchers is often very cheap and contains many valuable nutrients. To get all of the nutrients that a dog requires you should feed your dog most parts of the animal. Here is a list of animal parts that you can source from your butcher:


As well as being an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc and folate, liver is also a good source of vitamin A, C, D, E and K, as well as B6 and B12. It is by far the most nutritional organ, which is why it should never be left out of your dog’s raw meat diet. It should make up 5% of your dog’s raw meat diet.


Kidney is a great source of protein, iron, zinc and folate too. It also provides your dog with essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as all of the B vitamins.


Heart is one of the most nutritional muscle meats. It is rich in iron and zinc, and is a great source of thiamin, vitamin B6 and B12, phosphorus, copper and selenium. However, heart is quite high in cholesterol, so don’t feed it to your dog too often.


Tripe is a good source of protein, and is low in fat. It is also a good source of vitamin A, B, C, D and E, as well as omega-3, essential fatty acids, calcium and phosphorous. It contains lots of digestive enzymes and bacteria which help with digestion. It’s a kind of dog superfood, in fact. If you are considering changing your dog’s diet to a raw meat based diet begin by feeding him tripe.

It is best to choose the unwashed tripe rather than the bleached white sort otherwise your dog won’t receive all of those helpful digestive enzymes and bacteria. Tripe is also considered a probiotic due to the high amounts of good lactic acid bacteria that it contains. It can make up to 80% of your dog’s raw meat diet if availability is no problem.


Brain is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but is not a good source of vitamins or mineral, and so it should be included as an extra rather than a staple.

Puppy eating a bone
Natural food - dogs should be getting at least 80% meat in their diets, and good quality raw meat is as good as it gets

Try Feeding Your Dog Different Parts To See Which Is His Favorite

Don’t limit your dog’s raw meat diet to only these five ingredients – take whatever your butcher has to offer. You can try all sorts of strange parts of the animal like lungs, chicken feet, beef trachea, pig guts and trotters, and even pizzles (you might have to google that one!) Disgusting as it may sound to you, dogs love it all.

A Wolf Diet - What Did Dogs Eat Before Dog Food?

Before packaged dog food and before domestication, dogs ate muscle meat, organs and bones, as well as raw eggs, fruit and vegetables. A lot of breeders and trainers believe that a diet that emulates this as closely as possible is the best diet for a dog. It is the most natural diet for dogs as it closely resembles the diet of a non-domesticated wolf.

Dog food Jack Russell with bowl of dry food
He may be a Russell Terrier to you, but inside he's all wolf!

If you switch your dog’s diet to one based on raw meat, buy lean muscle meat, internal organs and bones from beef, lamb, pork, chicken and rabbit. It is also very healthy to include food like oily fish and eggs. Sometimes vets may recommend feeding your dog yoghurt containing probiotic bacteria but it is a wise idea to keep an eye on your dog when feeding him dairy products because some dogs can be lactose intolerant and will suffer from intestinal distress such as bloating, vomiting or diarrhea.

Always Buy Fresh Meat - Risk Of Salmonella

There is a slight risk to both you and your dog when choosing to feed a raw meat diet (although most don’t believe it’s a big enough risk to worry about). All raw meat has the potential of containing microbes and parasites which can be very harmful and potentially life threatening. But this applies to meat you buy for your family, too, so it’s not a danger that should be exaggerated.

The key is to always buy good quality fresh meat from a known, reputable source, and ensure that you keep it refrigerated at all times. Raw meat goes off very quickly out of the fridge and, once it has started to rot, it can be harmful to your dog.

Quality raw meat from the local butcher - your dog will love you for it!

Raw Meat Diet Feeding Guidelines

The key to feeding your dog a raw meat diet is to give him a balanced diet over time. One type of meat on one day, another type on another day. The concept of a balanced meal is something that humans have developed, but a dog in its natural, wolfish environment would eat different things on different days.

One day you could feed your dog more organ content, and then the next day you could feed your dog more meat or bone content. Over the course of a month, aim to feed your dog 5% liver, 5% other organs, 10% edible bone and 80% meat (including tripe), fat and ligaments.

It is also possible to buy pre-prepared frozen raw food from many pet shops (and garden centres), which makes feeding a raw food diet much more convenient. It comes pre-chopped, which means no time-consuming preparation is needed.

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Comments Leave a comment

Ash, 13 September 2020

Insanely comprehensive :) Thank you so much, Now I have something to read during the holidays. This will take a while but well worth it like always You can read another one here

Daril, 12 May 2019

Diet for a whippet