Do dogs get sick from raw dog food?
Back in 2015 when I made the switch from kibble to raw, I asked myself that very question.
Before we dive into the topic, let’s define sickness. Dogs who are sick can have many different symptoms.
The most common ones are probably:
- bloody poop
- lethargy, and
- lack of appetite.
These symptoms can definitely be caused by the type of food they’re eating. However, it really doesn’t matter if this food is kibble, wet dog food, cooked food, or raw dog food.
That said, none of my three dogs ever got sick from their raw dog food!
Dogs Don’t Get Sick From Raw Meat Because They’re Designed To Eat It
Dogs don’t get sick from raw meat unless they:
- weren’t properly introduced to it
- are suffering from a compromised immune system, or
- are offered too much fatty meat!
After all, their digestive systems are made to digest raw meat. As a matter of fact, it digests raw meat much better than it digests any other type of dog food, including highly processed kibble.
Genetically, The Dog Is Still A Wolf
That’s because genetically, the dog is still a wolf.
Did you know that dogs and wolves share almost exactly the same DNA? As a matter of fact, it only differs by 0.2%!
And no one would argue that wolves can’t eat raw meat, right? By the way, what did dogs eat before kibble was created in the 20th century?!
Teeth & Skull
What do you see when you look into a dog’s (and wolf’s) mouth and at their heads in general?
You see mostly sharp premolars and long canine teeth that are made for:
- tearing off flesh, and
- crushing bone.
You’ll only see a few molars in the back for grinding.
Their heads consist of a wide skull that gives them ultimate bite strength and pressure. Unlike herbivores, their eyes are set forward in the skull instead of on their sides.
Herbivores have their eyes on their sides in order to better see predators coming!
Acidic Stomach Environment
Dogs and wolves both have a much more acidic stomach environment than we do. That means that it can kill bacteria.
So even if raw meat contains bacteria, it won’t survive the acidic environment of a healthy dog’s stomach.
It’s also made to easily break down and absorb the prey dogs and wolves would find in the wild. That includes bones, feet, organs, and even eyeballs, feathers and hair.
Short Digestive Tract
The canine digestive system is not only more acidic than ours, it’s also much shorter.
Bacteria “don’t hang out” in there, as Dr. Dee Blanco, DVM at Marty’s Meals in Santa Fe, NM, puts it!
Raw Meat Is Easier To Digest Than Kibble
It’s because of the short digestive tract and acidic environment that MUCH MORE of the nutrients in raw meat is absorbed than is the case with kibble.
Raw-Fed Dogs Have Smaller Poops
I actually see daily proof that raw meat is much better absorbed by dogs than highly processed kibble.
Missy & Buzz’s poop volume has drastically decreased since feeding them raw dog food.
Update 2019: The same is true for my newly adopted pup Wally. I immediately switched him from kibble to raw when I adopted him, and he’s so much healthier than he was before.
It becomes really evident whenever I feed the pups a dehydrated or freeze-dried meal in between.
Once the undigested dehydrated/freeze-dried food comes out, its volume is 2-3 times the size of what it’s like on a raw diet. Pretty amazing!
A Raw Powerhouse Of Digestive Enzymes: Green Tripe
Green tripe is the stomach lining of ruminant animals. That said, it’s a natural, nutritional powerhouse that promotes healthy digestion.
Dogs go bonkers for it, and neither Missy nor Buzz or Wally are an exception!
It can treat both diarrhea as well as constipation because it contains high amounts of digestive enzymes. They’re essentially the good intestinal bacteria.
So if your pup has a bad case of diarrhea, try offering him some green tripe instead of the boiled rice and synthetic probiotics that are so often recommended by traditional vets!
Do Dogs Get Sick From Raw Dog Food? Bottom Line
Neither Missy & Buzz, nor Wally ever got sick from eating their raw dog food. On the contrary, they’ve been thriving and sport gloriously glowing coats!
Have you thought about feeding your pup a raw diet but were scared of taking the first step? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!