Raw dog food with vegetables – do they belong in there or not? I’ve been asked that question a few times, and the answer is – it depends!
If you feed a truly balanced, whole prey model diet, you don’t need to add veggies.
That said, here’s what you’ll learn in this blog post:
- Why you don’t need vegetables if you feed whole prey
- How to add vegetables to raw dog food
- What vegetables to add to raw dog food
- DIY veggie/fruit/herb recipe for raw dog food
- Which vegetables can be sprouted for dogs
- Bonus: What fruits, nuts and seeds to add to raw dog food
- Raw dog food pre-mixes with veggies and herbs
- Raw dog food brands that sell raw dog food with vegetables
Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated in 2022. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.
Why You Don’t Need Vegetables If You Feed Whole Prey
By truly balanced raw dog food, I mean whole prey that includes everything.
As in, the whole animal, or the “Frankenprey” replica of a whole animal.
- fur and feathers (and fins for fish)
- the head, eyes and brains
- the complete stomach
- reproductive organs
Yep, it’s a tad gross and not for the faint-hearted!
If you’re interested in feeding whole prey, check out Hare Today.
They carry whole:
- guinea pigs
- fish (sardines and Atlantic herring)
Raw Feeding Miami, one of my favorite US raw dog food retailers, also started carrying whole prey.
They currently (2022) have whole:
- prey gooslings
- fuzzy mice
- rabbit pinkies
- quail (chicks)
- pheasant chicks
If You Don’t Feed Whole Prey, You Should Add 10% of Vegetables: The BARF Diet
Vegetables as well as seeds and nuts 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 (of that, 2% seeds and nuts).
How to Add Vegetables To Raw Dog Food
You can either make your own raw dog food with vegetables, or you can buy pre-made raw dog food with vegetables. I’ll point out several brands that offer raw dog food with vegetables here in a sec.
But first, 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.
Essentially “predigested”, the way a wolf would eat them inside their prey’s stomach!
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 purée or steam your own veggies and fruit.
What Vegetables to Add to Raw Dog Food
- brussels sprouts
- shiitake mushrooms
- sweet potatoes
- green beans
- mung beans
Which Vegetables Can Be Sprouted for Dogs?
Give vegetable sprouts a few days to grow their first leaves and feed them then!
They’re known as micro greens in that stage, which is when they’re jam packed with nutrients. For example, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
That said, they can make a great addition to your pup’s raw meals. They’re ready to be harvested/fed when they’re about 2-3 inches tall.
Full disclosure, I haven’t fed them yet but have read about them. I’m usually too busy (read: lazy!) to grow any plants, but maybe I’ll dabble with that next time I’m at my parents’.
They’re both big into gardening, so they’ll probably think it’s a fun project for their grand dog 😉
Now, according to Dogs Naturally Magazine, the following vegetables can be sprouted for dogs:
- Red cabbage
- Leafy greens (e.g. spinach)
You’ll want to harvest the microgreen version without the root and then purée them as you would “adult” vegetables for ultimate digestibility.
Bonus: What Fruit to Add to Raw Dog Food
For example, fruits like:
- pumpkin (yep, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable!)
Tip: Grab a few bags of frozen berries (no sugar added) at your local grocery store when they’re on sale and keep them in your freezer for raw meal prep time.
Bonus: What Herbs to Add to Raw Dog Food
Examples of herbs you can add are:
- red clover
- nettle leaves
Bonus: What Nuts & Seeds to Add to Raw Dog Food
Examples of nuts and seeds you can add are:
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
Click for a complete list of nuts and seeds for dogs that are safe to feed. You’ll also learn how to properly prepare the nuts and seeds before feeding them – that’s super important!
DIY Veggie/Fruit/Herb Recipe for Raw Dog Food
For this recipe, I mixed blackberries, blueberries and raspberries with a veggie/herb mix and shiitake mushrooms.
You can and should use any veggies and berries you have readily available, please don’t just stick with a set amount of plant matter. The more variety, the better!
Pre-Mixes with Veggies and/or Herbs
These pre-mixes consist of dehydrated veggies and/or fruit 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.
Green Beans, Broccoli, Bone Broth, Red and Green Bell Pepper, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Celery, Kelp, Alfalfa, Turmeric, Ginger, Red Clover, Dandelion, Cinnamon, Crushed Eggshell, Tricalcium Phosphate, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Taurine, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Nicotinic Acid, Manganese Proteinate, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Calcium Iodate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid
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! You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, then I’ll add them to this blog post along with a shoutout your way.
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 with vegetables:
- 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 back in 2015 and have fed all three lines.
My homeopathic vet Dr. Loops prescribed Darwin’s cancer support formula for end of life support for my pup Missy back in 2018.
Tip: Get your first 10lbs of raw dog food from Darwin’s for only $14.95.
Raw Paws Pet Food Has A Few Select Products With Veggies
Raw Paws Pet Food mainly sells raw dog food without veggies, but they carry two options of complete raw dog food with veg:
Ingredients chicken with veggies:
Chicken Breast, Chicken Leg Quarters, Chicken Heart, Chicken Backs, Chicken Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Green Beans, Organic Broccoli, Organic Spinach, Chicken Gizzard.
Ingredients beef with veggies:
Beef Round, Beef Meat, Beef Bone, Beef Heart, Beef Tongue, Beef Liver, Organic Carrots, Organic Green Beans, Organic Broccoli, Organic Spinach, Beef Kidney, Beef Spleen, Beef Suet.
Tip: Save 15% OFF your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount code 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.
Raw Dog Food with Vegetables: Bottom Line
So, should you add vegetables to raw dog food?
Unless your dog eats a whole prey raw diet that really includes EVERYTHING including the stomach contents, vegetables are a valuable addition to raw dog food because they can close nutritional holes.
They should make up around 10% of your adult dog’s overall daily food allowance. Learn how much raw dog food to feed here.
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.
Content Related to Raw Dog Food with Vegetables:
- Seeds and Nuts for Dogs: Benefits & How to Feed
- Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm Dog Food: How To Feed
- Dr. Harvey’s Veg-To-Bowl: Raw Dog Food Made Easy
- What Does Balanced Raw Dog Food Consist Of?
- Turmeric Paste for Dogs: 5 Key Benefits & How to DIY
- Can Dogs Eat Raw Pumpkin?