Vegetables in raw dog food – do they belong there or not? I’ve been asked that question a few times, and the answer is that it depends.
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If you feed a truly balanced, whole prey model diet, you don’t need to add veggies.
You Don’t Need Vegetables If You Feed Whole Prey
By truly balanced, I mean whole prey that includes everything. The whole animal including fur and feathers (and fins for fish), the head, eyes, brains, and the complete stomach as well as reproductive organs.
If you’re interested in feeding whole prey, check out Hare Today. They carry whole chicks, quails, guinea pigs, rabbits, and fish (sardines and Atlantic herring).
If You Don’t Feed Whole Prey, You Should Add 10% Of Vegetables: The BARF Diet
Vegetables are a great source of fiber and provide essential nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
When they’re added to raw dog food, this type of diet is referred to as the BARF diet. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, or Bones And Raw Food.
BARF diets consist of roughly 70% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bones, 10% secreting organs, and 10% plant matter.
How to Add Vegetables To Raw Dog Food
You can either make your own raw dog food and add veggies yourself, or you can buy pre-made raw dog food that comes with veggies.
How to prepare vegetables for dogs
Either way, dogs don’t have the enzyme that’s responsible for breaking down plant cell walls. That’s why we need to offer them plant matter either puréed or lightly steamed. That way they’re able to properly digest it and absorb all of its nutrients.
I added a list of raw dog food brands that sell raw meals with plant matter below.
If you make your own raw dog food, you can either puree or steam your own veggies and fruit.
Vegetables to add to raw dog food
For example, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, green and mung beans.
Also, fruit like apples and berries like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries.
These pre-mixes consist of dehydrated veggies and/or fruit, nuts, and seeds that are rehydrated with water. They’re easy to make and very convenient.
I personally feed a mix of my own plant matter and mostly Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm. I particularly like that one over other formulas because it’s low carb. Paradigm consists of veggies and herbs.
Raw Dog Food Brands That Add Vegetables To Their Food
The following raw dog food brands add veggies to their foods. I’m sure there’s more brands who do, but these are the ones I’m most familiar with. Feel free to add others you’re aware of in the comment section below this blog post!
Darwin’s Natural Pet
Darwin’s adds veggies to all of their raw dog food. That said, they have three different lines of raw dog food:
Natural Selections. They come in chicken, duck, turkey, beef, lamb.
BioLogics. They come in chicken, turkey, and beef.
Intelligent Design. These are formulas designed for dogs with specific health issues, and they’re available with a prescription from your vet only. They’re available as kidney support formula, liver support formula, cancer support formula, and joint & musculoskeletal support formula.
I personally started my raw feeding journey with raw dog food from Darwin’s and have fed all three lines.
My homeopathic vet Dr. Loops prescribed Darwin’s cancer support formula for end of life support of my pup Missy back in 2018.
Tip: Get your first 10 lbs of raw dog food from Darwin’s for only $14.95.
Raw Paws Pet Food Has A Few Select Products With Veggies
Tip: Save 15% off your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount link K9Savings at checkout.
Steve’s Real Food
Steve’s Real Food features veggies and fruit in all of their frozen dog products. They offer raw beef, chicken, turkey, turducken, pork, and lamu.
Turducken consists of a mix of turkey, duck, and chicken. Lamu is a mix of lamb and emu.
Their regular frozen rabbit, turkey, beef, chicken and duck formulas don’t come with any veggies or fruit.
Stella & Chewy’s
All of Stella & Chewy’s frozen raw dinners (morsels and patties) include organic veggies and fruit.
They come in rabbit, beef & salmon, chicken & salmon, chicken, lamb, duck & goose, turkey, and venison.
Nature’s Variety Instinct
All of Nature’s Variety Instinct raw formulas include veggies and fruit. They come in beef, chicken, and lamb.
Vegetables In Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line
Unless dogs eat a whole prey raw diet that really includes EVERYTHING, vegetables are a good addition to raw dog food because they can close nutritional holes.
They should make up around 10% of your dog’s overall daily food allowance.
The easiest way to add them is to feed pre-made raw meals that already include them, followed by using dehydrated veggie pre-mixes or puréeing your own.