The Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet For Dogs | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

The Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet For Dogs

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 year ago

National Raw Feeding Week is April 1st through the 7th, and in honor of this week-long focus, today we’re discussing the pros and cons of a raw diet. A raw diet can be a great choice for some dogs, but it’s not right for every pet.

Keep reading to learn some of the pros and cons of a raw diet so you can talk to your vet and make an informed decision for your pets. 

What Is A Raw Diet?

Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s cover what exactly a raw diet is.

This diet for dogs originated in 1993 and was termed the BARF diet or “Bones and Raw Food” diet. The diet involves feeding your dogs raw meat, bones, fruits, vegetables, raw eggs, and dairy instead of traditional dog food. It’s somewhat controversial among veterinarians and dog experts.

However, a raw diet can have potential benefits for your furry friend.

Pros of a Raw Diet

Weight Management

If your dog tends to gain weight easily, a raw diet can help keep its weight in check. It’s also easy to tweak your dog’s diet and control exactly what your pet is eating for weight loss or weight gain — whichever is needed and recommended by your veterinarian. 

Health Benefits

A raw diet can help your dog have more energy, healthier skin, and cleaner teeth. Meat on the bone can reduce bad breath and improve dental hygiene in dogs. The high protein content of a raw diet can also help your dog’s muscles get stronger. 

Shinier Coat

Your dog’s coat can become shiny and healthy by following a raw diet. A high-protein diet fuels your dog’s coat, so through following a raw diet that’s heavy in meat, you may see improvements in the quality of your dog’s coat.

Cons of a Raw Diet

Time and Money

Preparing a 100% raw diet at home for your dog can take up a lot of time. It’s also more expensive than buying kibble at the store. According to WebMD’s pet section, commercial dry dog food costs around $1 per day, while a one-day supply of raw chicken can cost anywhere from $2.50 to $5. If your family has budget constraints or doesn’t have much time to cook, a raw diet might not be the best choice.

Dangers of Bones

With a raw diet, there’s the potential that your dog might be injured by bones in the meat. Bones can pose a choking hazard, break your dog’s teeth, or cause an internal puncture. Cooked bones are especially susceptible to splintering and should only be fed to your dog under supervision. 


Some raw meat contains bacteria and parasites that might lead to infections in your dog. This is especially dangerous for dogs who have cancer or other serious health issues, as they’re more vulnerable to being affected by this bacteria.

Even if your dog seems healthy, bacteria might bring an underlying health issue to the surface by making it worse. And these types of bacteria aren’t safe for humans either.

Is A Raw Diet Right For My Dog?

In the end, this is a question for you and your vet to discuss and answer together. Use the information outlined in this article to present to your vet so the two of you can have a conversation about the best choice of diet for your dog.

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

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