Discuss ways to improve the quality of your dog's life and longevity through proper nutrition; a place for all of your questions and answers about feeding your pooch!

Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times. Non-informative posts criticizing a particular brand or another poster’s choice of food are not allowed in this Forum. References to any brand of food as "junk," "garbage," or other harsh names will be removed.

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Barked: Sun Feb 24, '13 11:12pm PST 
I can think of a lot of negatives, which is why after feeding raw for 20 years, I no longer do. But I'm not going there, because as soon as you say something went wrong, the experts vilify you for being incompetent, stupid, and tell you why you should have never been qualified to feed raw in the first place. So I don't. Not going there again.

Edited by author Mon Feb 25, '13 10:15am PST


Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 25, '13 8:57am PST 
Here's an honest-to-goodness NEGATIVE to raw feeding.

1.) It is messy. Having dry kibble roll on the kitchen floor is tidier than have a piece of raw chicken roll on the kitchen floor. And dogs don't "hold" their kibbles whereas they may hold on to a meaty bone with their paws while they tear chunks out of it. And, of course, scooping up dry kibble and pouring it into their bowls is tidier than prepping meat.

2.) It requires an attentive and knowledgeable paw-rent. With kibble, you can give the dog food company the job of figuring out how to balance protein, fat, carbs, vitamins and minerals, etc. In raw feeding, you have to do that all on your own. For us raw feeders, we count this as a positive as we trust our own judgement on how much of what to feed the dog instead of trusting the kibble company not knowing what goes into the food. But, if you are clueless about dog nutrition, you are better off getting Blue Wilderness dry kibble than going raw because you could end up killing your dog.

3.) It is time-consuming. Kibble - go to the store, pick up a bag of kibble, scoop and feed, clean up the bowls. Done. Raw - go to the store (may be multiple stores for the protein variety necessary), prep the meat, clean-up prep area, store it in the freezer, defrost, put in the bowl/towel/floor, clean up. It is time-consuming.

4.) Bacteria. I don't see a difference in the bacteria-risk for dogs in kibble versus raw. But, handling raw meat exposes the human to the bacteria more than scooping kibble that doesn't even touch prep tables. So, attention to good cleanliness practice is required.

5.) Poopology. In kibble-fed dogs, you can get away with only knowing wet poop or dry poop. In raw-fed dogs, you kinda need to be somewhat of an expert in poopology because you adjust the food ingredients yourself and poop is the main indicator of what adjustments you need to do with the dog food.

6.) Dogs get hungry faster. This only matters when first transitioning out of kibble into raw as dogs are used to the longer digestion rates of kibble going into raw makes it seem like your dog is always starving and they beg and beg and beg and beg for food... Once they're well transitioned, this problem is alleviated.

If I think of some more, I'll post it here.

If you notice, I did not put cost as a negative. If you're spending less on kibble than what raw feeders spend on their raw-fed dog, you are giving your dog a poor quality kibble and should quit giving that to your dog. Or if you are spending more on raw feeding than on a quality kibble, then you can research more meat sources.

Of course, as I still feed raw, all these negatives is not enough to overshadow the positives.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Mon Feb 25, '13 9:13am PST 
My dogs only get raw 2-3 times a week. As with Mulder one is a patrol/protection dog(retired). Zero issues with any aggression. Any of my dogs will happily allow me to take food from them, and both my females will leave it on command. The closest thing I have seen to any type of aggression is them picking up their chicken and moving to another spot.

It can get a bit messy, in this area it is hugely expensive(about $5/day per dog) and I do find they get hungry faster. I did have issues with my one dog and the bones but it was resolved by grinding everything and making her patties.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 25, '13 9:25am PST 
In addition to my post (2 posts above that lists negatives):

On the time-consuming section - kibble-fed dogs can finish their food a lot faster than a dog crunching up bone and tearing up meat. When I give my dogs a whole rabbit, it could take them over an hour to finish.

And, I didn't talk about aggression - the only time you would experience aggression is if you have a resource guarder. This is not only food that the dog would be resource guarding - this would be anything he would deem as a valuable resource so this really doesn't count as a negative to raw food because all dogs should be trained properly for resource guarding aggression whether it be food, toys, space, or pack hierarchy.
Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
Barked: Mon Feb 25, '13 10:37am PST 
I think Guest's post is a good list of perceived negatives, but I would offer a different perspective on a few points.

On #4, given all the bacteria-related recalls of various kibbles and treats, I feel much better about handling USDA inspected, human-grade raw meat than I do about handling "dog food." The risk is no greater than when you marinate and cook steaks for yourself. I'm currently feeding raw with a chemo patient in the house, I feel completely comfortable doing so and have had no problems whatsoever (although he does not handle any of the food prep - for dogs or humans).

So I would also add #1 to this... It's messier than kibble, but it's a mess I'd much rather deal with and taking steps to contain it are pretty simple.

On #5, I would lump this as a transition problem with #6. Once you know what your dog can handle, it's pretty consistent. It's always good to pay attention when you feed something new, in case you mis-estimate the bonemeditateeat ratio, but IMO not a big issue at all.

To the OP, there are usually changes that take place when you go from kibble to raw. Most significant is energy level. Kibble often causes either hyperactivity (sugar rush) from carbs, or sluggishness from empty calories and difficulty processing the nutrients (how you would feel if you ate only Big Macs for a week). In any case, raw provides a good, steady source of energy.

For the people who had fat, sluggish dogs, this can be perceived as a problem. A fat, lazy dog isn't going to get in much trouble, because they just don't have the motivation or energy. It masks many behavioral issues, and unless the owner comes up to par with exercise and mental stimulation, their dog, suddenly feeling wonderful and now extremely bored, can get in a lot of trouble.

This isn't the fault of raw, it's the fault of owners who don't want to deal with their dog's needs. Similar is resource guarding - raw doesn't cause resource guarding. It's just that the dog has never had something it felt the need to guard before. But, I believe that's where these stories of terrible behavioral problems on raw come from.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Feb 25, '13 11:05am PST 
Ember, it is not perception... it's reality.

Bacteria contact is minimal when all you have to do is scoop kibble into a dog bowl. Bacteria contact is highly elevated when you prep raw meat - either for human consumption or dog consumption. Yes, of course, you alleviate the risk by proper clean practices just like you would when preparing your own food. But, it doesn't change the fact that scooping kibble is not as risky as handling raw meat.

And poopology is not just during the transition phase. When you're on raw food you are more than likely changing up food sources and amounts often... bony meal today, no bones tomorrow, liver the next day, eggs after that, a hunk of bison from the hunt club the next month, all turkey for days as the Thanksgiving sales get here... etc. etc. Proper attention to poop throughout the life of the dog is recommended.

I didn't say you can't alleviate these issues... just giving you things that a kibbler won't have to worry as much about.

It's better for somebody who is contemplating a switch to raw food to know what to expect than have us raw-feeders brush it off as a no big deal. Let's have the person researching decide whether it is a bid deal for him or not.

Edited by author Mon Feb 25, '13 11:07am PST

Bam-Bam, CGC

Lil' Rubble
Barked: Tue Feb 26, '13 10:35am PST 
Guest, I disagree with you on the cost issue.
I have two Mastiffs. Thats A LOT of raw. And I did it for 4 years, but financially it no longer became feasible. I wracked my brain trying to make it financially feasible, but going from an average of $140/month to almost $400/month (my supplier disappeared) is going to be painful for any family (and this after I went through a divorce, no less.) No amount of research has yielded anything cheaper, although I'm pursuing a few leads. Leads that would require me to travel 5 hours away regularly, but may help with the raw aspect.
That being said, I feed Orijen. To two Mastiffs. For cheaper than raw cost.
So I challenge you to reconsider your statements about "feeding a low quality kibble" if you are able to feed kibble for cheaper than raw, and about researching other meat sources. Sometimes, they just aren't there. Or at least easily found.

So, to the OP, my response is: cost. There came a point where I simply couldn't afford a healthy variety and my dogs were clearly suffering because of it. I attempted to do half/half for a while, but often had upset tummies. While they aren't as great on kibble as they were on a quality raw diet, they are better than they were on the lack of variety.

Barked: Tue Feb 26, '13 10:52am PST 
My vet would argue there's a huge negative to feeding raw - us spending less time in her office.

When we do go there is nothing for her to do.

Which means less moola in her pocket.

HUGE bummer!

(for her big grin)

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Tue Feb 26, '13 11:34pm PST 
Guest, I would argue the cost as well. It would cost me 350 a month to feed my dogs raw everyday. And that's just my not the fosters. I do get some meat free which is why they get it. I spend 150 a month on kibble for my dogs, hardly cheap. We aren't all independantly wealthy you know. And cheap meat just ain't happening in these parts.

Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Wed Feb 27, '13 2:54pm PST 
No negatives to say based on my personal experience of feeding Farley PMR/whole prey for over 4 years now, but every dog is different and everyone's situation is different.

Edited by author Wed Feb 27, '13 2:54pm PST

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