Raw Dog Food vs Kibble: Which Should I Choose?

Filed in Dog Health on February 6, 2022

Raw Dog Food Vs Kibble

With so many options available, it can be tough to know what the right diet is for your dog.

Recently, the raw food diet has been gaining popularity, but what is a raw food diet, and should you be feeding it to your dog? Studies, veterinarians, and anecdotal evidence all conflict on the effectiveness of a raw diet.

This blog post will give an overview of raw dog food vs kibble to help you decide what is best for your dog.

What is a Raw Food Diet?

A raw food diet consists primarily of uncooked meat, supplemented by vegetables, grains, and other materials to complete the nutritional profile. A typical raw food diet consists of some combination of:

  • Organ meats like liver or kidneys
  • Muscle meats
  • Whole or ground bone
  • Raw eggs
  • Vegetables like broccoli or carrots
  • Fruits like apples
  • Dairy products like goat’s milk or yogurt

You can make homemade raw meals, or you can buy store-bought, freeze-dried, or dehydrated raw food for your dog.

How to Give Your Dog a Balanced Raw Food Diet

The most important thing is to speak with your vet, as well as a board-certified veterinary nutritionist to better understand your dog’s specific nutrient needs.

All dogs need amino acids from protein, fatty acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water as part of their daily nutritional intake. Your dog’s specific calorie needs will depend on factors like age, weight, activity level, allergies, and more.

If you prefer to make your food at home, all of these factors need to be taken into consideration. There are many recipes online, as well as professionals who will create a meal plan for you based on veterinary recommendations.

If you choose to buy store-bought raw food, always research the company to learn more about their manufacturing processes, and make sure the food meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards.

Pros of Feeding Raw Food

dog chewing raw bone

While there is limited research to support many of the beneficial claims of raw feeding, those who believe in a raw diet claim that it provides:

  • Better digestion (This has been backed by studies)
  • Shiny coat and healthy skin
  • Increased activity or energy levels
  • Dental benefits
  • Healthier, less frequent stool (This has also been backed by research)

It’s important to remember that many of the observed benefits of a raw diet come from anecdotal evidence, and not scientific, well-conducted research studies.

Cons of Feeding Raw Food

One of the biggest drawbacks of feeding your dog a raw diet is the risk of pathogens like salmonella and E. coli being spread, not just to your dog, but to you as well.

These pathogens can be spread to you while you prepare their meal, as well as when your dog licks you or when you clean up their stool. Always exercise precaution, and wash your hands thoroughly after any of these activities.

Other potential cons of raw feeding include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies in your dog’s diet
  • Potentially unsafe for dogs with compromised immune systems
  • Brittle bones are a choking risk
  • Not approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association

How Does a Raw Food Diet Differ from a Kibble Diet?

Kibble is dog food that’s been extruded and dried into convenient-to-eat pebbles that are nutritionally balanced and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dog kibble is required to have:

  • Protein source
  • Grains or cereals (if not a grain-free formula)
  • Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Preservatives to prevent rancid fat

Unlike a raw food diet, kibble is shelf stable and provides recommended portion information conveniently on the packaging.

How to Give Your Dog a Balanced Kibble Diet

Just like the raw diet and any diet that you’re considering for your dog, it’s always best to start with a consultation with your vet or a certified dog nutritionist to understand what your dog’s unique needs are.

Every dog is different, and depending on factors like age, breed, and lifestyle, they will have different nutritional requirements to keep them at their healthiest selves.

Always check that the kibble you’re buying meets the AAFCO standards of a complete, balanced meal for your dog. AAFCO is a voluntary organization that regulates the standards of your dog’s food to ensure their nutritional needs are being met.

You should also consider the background of the company, their manufacturing processes, and how they source their ingredients. It’s usually best to look for single-source proteins that are explicitly named, like chicken or lamb.

Pros of Feeding Kibble

dog with bowl of kibble

With kibble, there are regulations in place for its manufacturing. You know you’re giving your dog all of the key nutrients that they need without needing specialized recipes or meal plans from an outside source.

Other potential benefits cited by those who prefer to feed kibble include:

  • Convenience
  • Easy storage and a stable shelf life
  • Less risk of pathogens
  • Higher calorie density
  • More cost-effective

Cons of Feeding Kibble

One of the biggest cons often cited by kibble critics is that not all dry dog food is created with equal quality ingredients or manufacturing processes.

While all dried dog food needs some kind of preservative, many lower-cost pet foods are more heavily processed with added fillers.

Other potential cons of kibble include:

  • Less moisture means the food is less palatable for your dog
  • High carbohydrate content
  • Low quality ingredients in some brands
  • Potential for food allergies

Conclusion on Raw Dog Food vs Kibble: Which is Right for Your Dog?

There are pros and cons to every diet you choose for your dog, but there isn’t sufficient research done on raw food diets yet to determine their effectiveness.

For now, even though it’s growing in popularity, veterinarians still suggest proceeding with caution.

As with every decision you make for your dog, you should always consult with your vet to learn more.

Ultimately, which diet is right for your dog will depend on your lifestyle and your dog’s personal nutritional needs. The most important thing is that your dog eats a nutritionally balanced meal that is safe for your dog to consume.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.