Kibble vs raw dog food: An Experiment

Kibble vs Raw Dog Food: An Experiment

Kibble vs raw dog food: Which food wins in my little experiment?

raw dog food or kibble?

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Here’s the background info. I transitioned my Boxer mixes Missy & Buzz from kibble to raw dog food back in 2015, and I honestly couldn’t be happier with the pups’ new diet.

That’s because their coats look amazing, their teeth and ears are clean, and their poop volume has decreased tremendously. I also love that I no longer have to brush their teeth – raw meaty bones take care of that chore now!

Dog eating a raw chicken leg quarter
Missy brushing her teeth with a raw chicken leg quarter

One thing I’ve been extremely curious about lately is this: Which type of food would the pups go for first when given the option between kibble and raw?

Since I no longer feed kibble, I ventured into the dog food aisle of our local grocery store to buy a small bag of the cheapest, poorest quality kibble I could find.

Kibble vs Raw Dog Food: The Experiment Footage

Raw vs Kibble
I gave my pups Missy & Buzz the choice between kibble and raw dog food

Raw Trumps Kibble

Here’ how it went. I placed a small bowl of the cheap grocery store kibble next to the pups’ raw meals from Raw Paws Pet Food.

Next, I let the pups decide which food they wanted to dig in first.

Next, I let the pups decide which food they wanted to dig in first.

It didn’t really come as too much of a surprise that both pups ate the fresh raw food first, especially since each bowl also included a duck neck. That’s a raw meaty bone, an integral part of a balanced raw meat diet. And honestly, which dog would turn down a bone?!

However, Missy’s & Buzz’s opportunistic doggie genes did show when they were both ready to eat the kibble after they were done with their raw meals.

Mommy Was a Kibble Party Pooper

Yep, I’ll admit it, I ended up being a kibble party pooper. How? Well, I didn’t let Missy or Buzz have any of it. 

As mentioned in the video, that particular brand of kibble included all of the NoNo’s of processed dog food: 

• BHA. That’s a chemical preservative which is a suspected cancer-causing agent. 

• Propylene Glycol. That’s a controversial food moisturizer. Interestingly enough, the FDA no longer allows it in cat food..

• 5 artificial colors. Red 40, Yellow 5 & 6, Titanium Dioxide, and Caramel Coloring. The latter has been linked to causing cancer in laboratory animals according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

• 2 empty/cheap fillers at the top of the ingredient list. Corn & soybean meal as opposed to meat protein sources. Hmm..have you ever heard of a dog raiding a corn or soybean field? No? Neither have I. 

If You’re Not Ready For Raw Dog Food Yet, There’s a Middle Ground Between Kibble & Raw!

I know that there’s a learning curve that comes with feeding raw dog food – been there, done that.

I’ll be honest and say that raw feeding isn’t as convenient as pouring kibble out of a bag, and it does take some getting used to.

While you’re thinking about whether or not raw dog food may be the right diet for your pup(s), you can ease yourself into fresher dog food options with home cooked meals.

Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Food

That’s how I personally made the transition by the way. I fed freeze-dried raw dog food from brands like Grandma Lucy’s and The Honest Kitchen first.

All you have to do is add warm water to the dehydrated food, wait a few minutes for it to rehydrate, and then feed.

Super easy and almost as easy as pouring kibble from a bag.

The Honest Kitchen Chicken Recipe
Missy and The Honest Kitchen Chicken Dog Food
Grandma Lucy's Chicken & Rabbit Freeze-Dried Dog Food
Grandma Lucy’s Chicken and Rabbit Freeze-Dried Dog Food

Mixing Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated Base-Mixes With Raw Meat

The next step after that one was to mix dehydrated, so-called base-mixes to raw meat.

There’s several dog food brands who offer this option, and my personal favorites are Dr. Harvey’s, The Honest Kitchen, and Sojos. | Dr. Harvey's Veg-to-Bowl and Health & Shine Fish Oil Capsules
Dr. Harvey’s Dehydrated Veg-To-Bowl Dog Food
The Honest Kitchen Base Mix
The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Dog Food Base-Mix
Sojos Pre-Mix for Raw Meals
Sojos Dehydrated Dog Food Base Mix

Update 2020: I still like to use some of Dr. Harvey’s dehydrated foods, especially their Paradigm dog food. That’s a dehydrated mix of veggies and herbs.

I add water to rehydrate it, and then I mix it into my homemade raw dog food. Super easy and much more convenient than chopping, steaming and puréeing my own veggies and herbs. | I use Dr. Harvey's Green Superfood Pre-Mix Paradigm for my raw dog food
Dr. Harvey’s Dehydrated Paradigm Dog Food | Raw dog food recipe featuring Dr. Harvey's Paradigm, rabbit, and rainbow trout
Raw dog food recipe with Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm

Kibble vs Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line

My kibble vs raw experiment was an overall successful one in my book (or blog!). I’m glad that the pups went for their raw food first, although in a perfect world, I would have loved for them to turn up their noses at the kibble.

Update 2020: Over the years, I’ve learned a few more things about raw dog food and kibble.

For instance, the commercial dog food industry coats their kibble products with so-called palatans.

Those are components like sugar, salt, and chemical nutrients that are designed to entice dogs to be attracted to kibble.

Some dogs who eat nothing but kibble for years even get addicted to it!

Which option do you think your pups would have chosen? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






10 responses to “Kibble vs Raw Dog Food: An Experiment”

  1. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

    My pugs would choose the human food. Lol. Hahaha. But yes, they both enjoy raw food a lot!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Lol ~ your pugs know what’s good!!

  2. Rebekah Ward Avatar

    That’s brilliant! My Bruce would choose whatever was nearest!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      BOL – fair enough 😉

  3. joann stancer Avatar
    joann stancer

    They love their raw! I wouldn’t eat that grocery food food either.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      They sure do 😉
      Yes, that grocery food stuff is just Nasty with a capital N.

  4. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    Yuck to all those ingredients that are not even edible!! Missy and Buzz eat good stuff!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Haha, yes, sometimes they eat even better than I do – although I try to eat equally as healthy 😉

  5. Kate Obrien Avatar
    Kate Obrien

    Ha – i bet most dogs would go for the raw first…but I know Jack wouldn’t turn down the kibble.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      I have the same feeling. I wonder if any dog would turn down the kibble? Maybe only those who’ve been raw fed their entire lives wouldn’t touch the kibble.

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