I recently had a reader email me and ask my opinion about mixing kibble and raw dog food. Unfortunately I got a notification from the mail delivery software saying that my email reply couldn’t be delivered, so I decided to turn this topic into a blog post. It’s certainly an interesting topic, so thanks for asking the question, Jesus!
From “Raw Or Die” To Open-Minded Feeding
I will preface this topic by saying that had Jesus, the reader who emailed me, asked me the same question 2 years ago, I would have given him a different reply than today. Back then, I would have been a narrow-minded “raw or die” feeder and said something along the lines of “hell no, it has to be 100% raw”.
I have since then come to the conclusion that adding a little fresh, raw food to a dog’s regular, dry meals is better than no fresh food at all, so by all means, go ahead and mix kibble and raw if you can’t afford raw by itself.
How To Feed A Mixed Dry/Raw Food Diet
There are a few different options as far as feeding a mix of dry and raw dog food.
One approach would be to top of your dog’s dry food with a sample of some nourishing, tasty raw food such as green tripe. It’s super drool worthy and ridiculously healthy because it’s chock-full of digestive enzymes.
Tip 1: Dana Scott, editor-in-chief of Dog’s Naturally Magazine, suggests adding a tablespoon full of organic apple cider vinegar to a mixed meal of kibble and raw for easier digestibility.
Tip 2: Adding a few spoonfuls of homemade bone broth will also be soothing for your dog’s stomach. It also contains organic apple cider vinegar, and I’ve made several batches lately. Check out my bone broth recipe here.
If you’d like to learn more about green tripe, check out the following blog posts:
I will admit that green tripe is some pretty smelly stuff, so if you’re not up for dealing with the smell, you could add a raw egg to your pup’s dry dog food (eggs contain lots of minerals, vitamins, and omega-3s), or, as Steve Brown (founder of Steve’s Real Food) tells pet food blogger Rodney Habib, some canned sardines:
We've Also Fed Steve's Real Food - Here It's Mixed With Green Tripe From TEFCO
My pups Missy & Buzz LOVE canned sardines by the way. I share some with them several times per week.
You could also feed separate meals of dry and raw dog food, for example dry for breakfast and raw for dinner, or vice versa. Since dry and raw dog food digest at different rates and could cause an upset stomach when fed together, this might be a good option for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
Another way of incorporating both options would be to feed raw meals for breakfast and dinner, and then add dry food via means of nose games throughout the day. What I’ve been doing quite a bit this year is to throw a handful of dehydrated dog food onto the grass in the backyard and let the pups sniff it out.
We also use dehydrated food when playing inside on crappy days – we especially love our stair games. We’ll go upstairs and then I’ll throw a piece of dehydrated food down those stairs and let the pups retrieve it one by one. It’s a fab energy burner, a super fun game, and the pups are extremely willing to work for the food reward.
We’ve been using Alaskan Wild Salmon by Grizzly Superfoods a lot lately. I found it at an independently owned pet retail store not far from us, Naturally Unleashed in Fayetteville.
Whenever I use the dehydrated food in between breakfast and dinner, I feed a few ounces less of the pups’ daily raw food allowance to avoid packing on extra pounds.
A Word On Which Kibble (=Dry Food) To Feed Along With Raw
There are a gazillion different brands of dry dog food out there, and it’s of course up to everyone’s personal preference and budgets to choose the right one for their pups.
I would suggest steering clear of those containing the artificial preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ, & Ethoxyquin, as well as artificial colors such as reds, blues, yellows, & caramel color. All of them can cause neurological or cancerous issues and are typically contained in the cheap brands you’ll find on grocery store shelves and large retail stores like Walmart.
Independently owned pet retail stores typically carry a healthier selection of dry food. If you can afford to, I’d opt for dehydrated or freeze-dried dog food instead of kibble (= dry food) because its ingredient list is usually shorter and you should neither find harmful synthetic components nor cheap fillers such as corn and soy in it. I’ve fed Dr. Harvey’s, Sojos, Grandma Lucy’s, Stella & Chewy’s, and Grizzly Superfoods.
Even if you can’t afford to feed your pups raw dog food exclusively (it can definitely get pricey when you’re the proud owner of several large dogs), you can still add a nutritional booster by offering a little raw dog food once a day or even just a few times per week.
A little raw or fresh food can make a difference, so give it a shot! Canned sardines or organic eggs will do wonders for a dull, itchy coat. Thanks for your question, Jesus – would love to hear how you end up mixing kibble (or freeze-dried/dehydrated) and raw food!
What about you guys? Do you mix dry and raw dog food? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!