Should Your Dog Eat a Raw Meat Diet?

A ridgeback lies next to a bowl full of raw meat.

One of the many things that people have in common with dogs is a shared love of food. Sometimes, we can enjoy the same things, such as cheese, white meat turkey, or lightly steamed carrots. But often what satisfies a dog’s hunger isn’t palatable for us, and it may not even be safe for them. It’s not always clear which path to canine nutrition is the right one. A common question for owners is: can my dog eat a raw meat diet?

Building Blocks

It is essential to provide your dog with a balanced, age-appropriate diet. We take extra care to help dog owners recognize nutritional needs and provide the right products for their dog’s age, lifestyle, and medical history. We offer nutritional counseling services to hone in on what a dog needs to thrive.

Raw Meat Diet

While dogs can eat raw meat, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. Certainly, dogs may enjoy a diet that resembles what their wild ancestors ate. But we now know so much more about complex canine nutritional needs that simply cannot be met with a primarily raw meat diet. 

Puppies and senior dogs require certain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in a balanced diet of complex carbohydrates and proteins. To help them build and maintain muscle mass, and support their immune system, owners are tasked to find the right product(s) that meet their dog’s changing needs. 

Dangers of Raw Meat

While proponents of raw meat diets for dogs argue that raw meat is connected with vitality, research continues to validate the accuracy of this claim. 

What we do for sure, though, is that raw meat can introduce harmful bacteria to the home and the recipient of this diet. Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and other bacteria can cause dangerous diseases, like food-borne illness or bacterial infection, to you and/or your dog. The good news is that cooking raw meat to the right temperature kills bacteria and increases food safety. 

To reduce cross-contamination, always clean your work surfaces, and do not allow your dog to lick your hands after handling raw meat. 

What You Cannot See

It’s also worth mentioning that in addition to the bacterial infections potentially caused by eating raw meat, there are also tapeworms, nematodes, and other parasites that can cause major problems for pets and people alike. 

Can My Dog Eat a Raw Meat Diet?

Until we know more about how raw meat affects the growth and development of dogs, perhaps it’s best to consider that the risks outweigh the possible benefits. If you remain dedicated to the concept of a raw meat diet, we recommend only doing so under the guidance of a qualified canine nutritional counselor. 

Let Us Help!

Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates know that it can be challenging to address a dog’s nutritional needs. There are so many options to choose from at pet stores and grocery chains, and it’s overwhelming and confusing to pick the “right one.” We are here to help you find the best food products for your pet’s age, breed, lifestyle, and medical history. 

Please call us at (248) 646–5655 with any questions or concerns.