K9sOverCoffee | Are raw fed dogs aggressive? Raw dog food myths 1:5

Raw Dog Food Myths 1/5: Raw-Fed Dogs Are Aggressive

Are raw-fed dogs aggressive? Short answer: No!

Update 2022: I’ve been feeding raw dog food since 2015 and have never had any issues with food aggression in my dogs.

When I first wrote this article, I was 5 months into raw feeding and still learning about it. After all, there are a decent amount of technicalities to figure out. For example, how much to feed every day and where to buy secreting organs!

But there are also moments when people will throw some unexpected comments or questions your way. They’ll ask things like “are raw-fed dogs aggressive?” and “won’t my dogs get sick from eating raw meat?”.

It’s these questions and comments that inspired me to create this mini-series of raw dog food related myth busters. I’m linking to the remaining 4 in the Related Reading section at the end of this article.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Raw Dog Food Myths: Are Raw-Fed Dogs Aggressive? | Part 1/5
My dog Wally about to eat a raw rabbit head

Disclaimer: Some links in this blog post are affiliate links.

Are Raw-Fed Dogs Aggressive?

Let’s start with the question about aggression in raw-fed dogs.

I was first asked this question when I had a vacuum sales rep in my living room who did his best to convince me to buy a $3,000 vacuum wonder. Spoiler alert: Nope, I didn’t buy it.

Either way, since my pups Missy & Buzz were hanging out in the living room with us, we got to talking about their raw food.

As soon as I mentioned “raw”, he froze and asked “As in raw meat? With blood and everything? Doesn’t that make them aggressive?” 

What Causes Food Aggression In Dogs?

Most dogs consider food a valuable resource, regardless of whether it’s cooked, raw, or dry food.

That said, food aggression has nothing to do with the particular food a dog is eating, but it’s the outcome of how he was raised, socialized, and trained to behave around it.

There are kibble-fed dogs who will take your hand off if you get too close to their food. Been there, experienced that in my capacity as a former professional dog walker and pet sitter!

Likewise, there are also raw-fed dogs who will growl and bite if you step into their feeding space.

One thing these dogs have in common is certainly poor training, but it’s also a lack of structure.

Dogs who don’t go on regular walks and who don’t have to follow any rules around the house will quickly make their own rules. Food aggression and possessive behavior around furniture, toys, and even their humans are usually it!

It’s Important To Teach Dogs Polite Behavior Around Food In General

I raised my first pups Missy & Buzz from 8 weeks of age and made sure to teach them polite behavior around food, especially when human hands are involved!

My First 2 Dogs Missy & Buzz

Check out the video below where my pups Missy & Buzz are calmly eating their raw dog food without showing the slightest bit of aggression. Even when I put my hand into each of their bowl and touched their raw meaty bone, a duck neck.

FYI, in case you’re wondering where I get duck necks, I buy them from Raw Paws Pet Food and Raw Feeding Miami.

Tip: Get 15% off your Raw Paws Pet Food order with my affiliate discount code K9Savings. You can also save 10% at Raw Feeding Miami with my referral discount link.

My Third Pup Wally West

I adopted my third pup Wally when he was 1.5 years old and not used to eating raw dog food. Of course I went ahead and switched him from kibble to raw, and I also taught him to accept my hand on his raw food.

As you can see in the video above, Wally doesn’t growl or bite me when I touch or hold his food. On the contrary, he’s gentle and good at respecting my hand on his bone!

I also make him sit and wait for my release before he’s allowed to eat his food, just like I did with Missy & Buzz. That goes to show you can teach a dog a new behavior. You just need to be consistent and patient in your approach.

K9sOverCoffee | Wally patiently waiting for his release to eat his raw dog food
I taught Wally to sit politely before he’s allowed to eat his raw dog food.

Are Raw-Fed Dogs Aggressive? Bottom Line

Neither Missy & Buzz, nor Wally are food aggressive. That’s because I taught them that feeding time only happens when they’re calm & relaxed, regardless of the type of food that’s in their bowls.

All pups learned to eat with my hand in their bowl. Consequently, they never growled at me or bit me.  

Side Note: When I taught Missy & Buzz to accept my hand in their bowls, they were on a kibble & wet food diet. When we made the switch from kibble to raw via homemade dog food in early 2015, I just continued putting my hands into their bowls, and that was that.

Were you familiar with this myth? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!

Related Reading:

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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.


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16 responses to “Raw Dog Food Myths 1/5: Raw-Fed Dogs Are Aggressive”

  1. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

    We took them off raw food for awhile. They kept having runny poo!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      What kind of raw did you feed your pug-pups and did you follow the 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ rule? I’ve learned that’s really important to keep their meals balanced. I’ve also learned not to use any non-organic raw meat from the supermarket because it has been treated with too many chemicals and contains sodium, which can definitely lead to runny poop 🙁

      1. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

        Yeah I did but you know, I did use some non organic meat. Damn this crappy city I live in for not having Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Our pcs can’t come fast enough!!!
        BabyBelle is on a new kick where she tries to eat earthworms. And geckos. Good times. Lol

        1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

          I hear ya….I miss having Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Fresh Market close by now that we’re in rural NC. …oh BabyBelle, yucky….;-)
          P.S. Any news on your hubby’s health?

          1. MilitaryWifeandPugLife Avatar

            Nope. But he’s getting his appendix out today. Oh joy. Maybe this will help….

          2. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

            Oh boy. One of my friend’s had to get hers out earlier this year. She felt so much better after though. Hope it’ll help him!!

  2. Julie Smith Avatar
    Julie Smith

    This is very interesting, the raw food diet. I think I told you I was thinking of it for Cocoa because of her sensitive tummy but I worried I would not give her the right combination but when it is all prepared it is awesome. And exactly, you let them know they are getting fed when they are calm and relaxed. I watched the video and Cocoa was watching 🙂 They look like they love their food. As it should be!!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Hi Julie, thank you for watching the video with your sidekick Cocoa 😉 Oh yes, the pups sure love it!! I’ll have to tape their drooling while waiting for me to release them from their “down-stay” before mealtime…I’d suggest getting some green tripe for Miss Cocoa, and adding a heaping tablespoon of it to her current diet. That alone should make a difference in her tummy issues!

  3. Earl Lover Avatar

    I have never heard this myth! However, I don’t feed raw food personally to my own dogs.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Thank you for stopping by today 🙂 I had heard the version where tasting blood would turn the most gentle of dogs into a bloodthirsty monster. What a bunch of BS!

  4. Kate Obrien Avatar
    Kate Obrien

    Haven’t heard that myth, but we don’t feed raw, so maybe just haven’t come across it. Not very logical to me…what do people think dogs ate before the industrial era when they started manufacturing kibble???

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Exactly my thoughts, Kate – every species has their own way of eating, and since dogs didn’t have thumbs to start a fire under their prey, raw was obviously their way to eat, but that didn’t mean that they turned into bloodthirsty vampires.

  5. JoAnn Stancer Avatar
    JoAnn Stancer

    makes them aggressive, now that is a new one. I would of said yes yes it does now get out before they come after you and that vacuum.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Haha, yep, agreed, should have said something like that but was too surprised at the question for a smart reply 😉

  6. Lindsay Stordahl Avatar
    Lindsay Stordahl

    I’ve heard that one too. I’ve also heard it increases prey drive, like making them more likely to go after a cat or rabbit.

    What I see is that if the dog already has some resource-guarding issues, the dog might be more likely to guard the raw food only because the dog sees it as more valuable than kibble. So, you could say the same about certain bones, Kong toys stuffed with goodies, etc.

    One of my cats, Beamer, is pretty food-obsessed and he went kind of nutso on me one time when I tried to take away a turkey neck from him because he was eating it too fast and I was worried he’s choke. He’s normally food obsessed, but the raw food brought him to a whole new level!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      I’ve heard of the increased prey drive, too – Missy’s prey drive has always been strong, and she actually caught a rabbit at one point, but that was when she was still on a kibble & wet food diet. She didn’t kill the poor thing, but held it in between her paws and nudged at it as if to see if it would squeak or move, I suppose. That bunny must have suffered several heart attacks, without a doubt…

      It would make sense that a dog with resource-guarding issues would consider his raw food more valuable than dry food and guard it.

      I’m excited to hear that Beamer gets raw food – how awesome! Sorry he went nutso on you though..

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