Can a dog eat raw meat?

Feeding raw meat to dogs has become increasingly popular in recent years. This would support your four-legged friend’s natural needs. But where there are proponents, there are also opponents.

Therefore, this article will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of a raw meat diet. Is it really as dangerous as some vets claim? Does our dog’s gastrointestinal system benefit from this?

And not unimportant: what about our own safety and hygiene?

Content of this article

Feeding raw meat

Feeding raw meat to the dog has made headway in recent decades. It is a source of much discussion. One side says it sees vital benefits, the other contradicts this with life-threatening risks.

Dog lovers and experts increasingly ask themselves the question: What should a dog actually eat? And are we actually doing well?

The dog used to get leftovers from the table. A few decades later, there is suddenly a multimillion dollar industry, which is committed to making the best food for our beloved pet. Food is available for every age group, medical exception and even every breed.

Often in the form of chunks or wet food. These are balanced in composition, easy to dose and convenient to use. For the owner.

Fierce discussions have raged for years about the composition of dog food. Additives such as grains, preservatives and colors, aromas and flavors are identified as the cause of all kinds of health problems for our four-legged friends.

The question repeatedly arose: What does a dog eat from its own nature?

Is fresh meat natural for my dog?

To answer this question, they went back to the ancestor of our modern house dog. The wolf, or Canis Lupus.

This doggy is known as a true carnivore, or a ‘real carnivore’. This means that the gastrointestinal tract and digestion were entirely focused on processing and digesting meat.

Now our modern Chihuahua no longer looks like a wolf. But research has shown that the digestive system is identical. Except for one point.

In 2013, researchers at Uppsala University found that the dog had more gene activity around the production and function of the enzyme amylase than the wolf. This enzyme ensures that dogs can digest starch a little better than their wild ancestors.

But does this mean that your dog can also start the day with a peanut butter sandwich? Not in the least. In fact, there are many health problems related to carbohydrate and starch intake.

From this conviction, various movements arose that advocated the feeding of raw meat. So you have:

They perform in different ways, but all based on the fresh meat principle. The dog gets (possibly ground) meat bones, organ meat, meat (muscle tissue), pureed or steamed vegetables & fruit and extras such as dairy and raw eggs.

But isn’t there a risk to raw products? Is this food safe?

Is feeding raw meat dangerous?

The point where raw meat proponents and opponents disagree is safety. Many enthusiasts, veterinarians, nutritionists or food manufacturers throw their opinion at this.

To save you this discussion, we have listed here the arguments for and against raw meat.

The advantages and disadvantages of fresh meat

Just as proponents have many arguments for raw meat, opponents have an arsenal of counter-claims. To get wiser on this topic, we’ll cover the pros and cons here.

Benefits of raw meat

Raw meat is often suggested as the solution for dogs with gastrointestinal complaints and allergies. Many success stories are known about remedying complaints such as diarrhea and rash, by transferring the dog to BARF or KVV.

In addition, the dog gets less and less smelly stool, which can indicate that the majority of the food is digested and used. An increase in energy, improvement of the coat condition and dental health also support this.

Disadvantages of raw meat

The disadvantages of feeding raw meat to the dog are mainly in hygiene and safety. The risks of contaminated meat, such as the brains of cows with BSE, are pointed out.

However, there are many meat products that are so well controlled that it is even suitable for humans to eat. After heating of course. But this makes it a lot safer for your animal.

In 2016, there was a case of contaminated hare meat from South America, where the bacterium Brucella Suis present caused one known death. The NVWA immediately took this up and had the remaining cargo of meat destroyed. There have been no related reports since then.

Raw meat did, however, get negative in the news, and the bacteria discussion flared up again. Because salmonella, E. coli and campylobacter bacteria can cause serious gastrointestinal complaints in dogs. What if this creates unnecessary danger?

These bacteria can also pose risks for the boss. They can also make us sick.

In addition, a dog can injure itself on raw food such as bones. Splinters can damage the gastrointestinal system and create life-threatening situations.

In addition, the correct feeding of raw meat is quite an activity. The owner must study the needs of their dog very carefully. Which nutrients does he need? And how much of this? What nutrition does this provide?

This entails a risk of malnutrition and overfeeding.


From these points we get the wisdom that the feeding of raw meat has important considerations. Every point raised contains a grain of truth. You want to feed your dog as well as possible, but with an eye for his health and safety.

Are you switching to raw meat? Then let your dog get used to this. This allows the stomach to slowly but surely raise the pH, making it easier to digest raw food and destroy bacteria.

The dog will also have to get used to the food style and the processing of sturdy products such as bone. Start with soft bones such as duck necks and chicken carcasses before moving on to herbivores such as lambs, roe deer and cattle.

Never boil poultry or rabbit bones, as they can shatter into dangerous shards. In addition, load-bearing bones (such as legs) are too hard for the dog’s teeth.

Choose a supplier or brand that has a good reputation and check which requirements the meat has to meet before use.

Hygiene is of paramount importance. Both during preparation, storage of the food and handling your dog. Preferably freeze the meat at a temperature of at least -18 ° C for at least three weeks before use.

Be careful with pregnancy and young children in combination with raw meat food. The bacteria present here can pose health risks.

Immerse yourself in your dog’s needs. Think of activity level, age and any health points. With a raw meat diet we often see shortages in calcium, phosphorus and other minerals. But also vitamins D and E. Always consult your nutrition plan with a specialized nutritionist.

Can every dog ​​get fresh meat?

We can be brief about this. No, that’s not it. But isn’t it what animals eat naturally?

We assume that with a dog, indeed. But in nature, certain weaknesses or conditions are life-threatening for a dog, while they can be treated in our human society.

When a dog has a diminished functional immune system, the bacteria in fresh meat can be potentially dangerous. But too low a pH in the stomach can also prevent the food from being digested properly. Or does not make enough work of bacterial populations in the meat …

That is why it is always not recommended to combine raw meat with chunks. Due to the lumps, the pH in the stomach does not become low enough, resulting in a higher risk of infection for your animal.

And how about feeding young puppies, pregnant bitches, seniors and individuals with, for example, diabetes or thyroid problems? These dogs have strict requirements on their diet to ensure their development, energy and health.

If you are feeding fresh meat, you will have to take this into account intensively. That can be quite a challenge. Always discuss the diet with a specialized nutritionist.

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