Raw dog food with vegetables - yes or no?

Raw Dog Food with Vegetables: Yes Or No?

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
Raw dog food with vegetables - yes or no?

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.

That includes:

  • Fur and feathers (and fins for fish)
  • The head, eyes and brains
  • The stomach lining
  • Reproductive organs

Yep, it’s a tad gross and not for the faint-hearted!

A bag of raw beef eyeballs from Raw Feeding Miami
Beef eyeballs from Raw Feeding Miami

If you’re interested in feeding whole prey, check out Hare Today.

They carry whole:

  • Chicks
  • Quails
  • Rabbits
  • 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 (2024) have whole prey:

  • Chicks
  • Rabbit
  • Fuzzy mice
  • Quail grind
  • Goode chicks
  • 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.

My Tip Of The Week: Pureeing Veggies/Fruit For Ultimate Nutrient Absorption

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 using a food processor.

What Vegetables to Add to Raw Dog Food

For example:

  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Mung beans
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Shiitake mushrooms

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 😉

Which vegetables can be sprouted for dogs?

Now, according to Dogs Naturally Magazine, the following vegetables can be sprouted for dogs:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Wheatgrass
  • 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:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkin (yep, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable!)
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

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:

  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Ginger
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Horsetail
  • Dandelion
  • Red clover
  • Peppermint
  • Chamomile
  • Nettle leaves

Bonus: What Nuts & Seeds to Add to Raw Dog Food

Examples of nuts and seeds you can add are:

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower 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!

K9sOverCoffee | Pureeing low carb veggies in my food processor for Missy's dog cancer die
Pureeing steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, and shiitake mushrooms for my homemade raw dog food

Anti-Itch Plan Matter Recipe for Raw Dog Food

DIY Veggie Pulp for raw-fed dogs

For this recipe, I mixed the following plant matter:

  • Kelp: Great for itching dogs
  • Parsley: Great for fresh breath
  • Berries (Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries): Great antioxidants
  • Dried Olewo red beets: Anti-inflammatories and great for itching dogs
  • Shiitake mushrooms (lightly steamed): Cooling and great for immunity support

So if you’ve ever wondered “can dogs eat shiitake mushrooms?”, wonder no more – the answer is yes.

I puréed all of the ingredients along with some filtered water in my food processor for ultimate nutrient absorption and digestibility.

You can also use a blender.

You can and should use any veggies and berries you have readily available, please don’t just stick with a specific type of plant matter.

The more variety, the better!

Pre-Mixes with Veggies and/or Herbs

If you don’t feel like making your own veggie/fruit smorgasbord, you can use a plant matter pre-mix from brands such as these.

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.

Paradigm ingredients:

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

I use Dr. Harvey's Green Superfood Pre-Mix Paradigm to put vegetables in raw dog food
Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm
Vegetables in Raw dog food: Recipe featuring Dr. Harvey's Paradigm, rabbit, and rainbow trout
Raw dog food recipe consisting of rabbit and dehydrated veggies & herbs (Paradigm)

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 barbara@k9sovercoffee.com, 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.

What's the cost of raw dog food? Darwin's raw lamb
Darwin’s raw lamb
K9sOverCoffee | Darwin's Natural Selections Raw Turkey for Dogs & Raw Duck For Dogs with Organic Vegetables
Darwin’s raw turkey and duck (old packaging)

My homeopathic vet Dr. Loops prescribed Darwin’s cancer support formula for end of life support for my pup Missy back in 2018.

Darwin's Cancer Support Formula Is A Great Raw Meat Diet for Dogs With Cancer
Darwin’s Cancer Support Formula

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:

Chicken with veggies and Beef with veggies.

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.

Complete raw dog food with veg

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.

vegetables in raw dog food are included in Steve's Real Food

Vital Essentials

Only Vital Essentials’ FUSION line of raw dog food features veggies and fruit. That line is available in beef and chicken.

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.

K9sOverCoffee.com | Vegetables In Raw Dog Food: Yes Or No?

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.

(Visited 7,495 times, 1 visits today)

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.







Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *