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3 Raw Dog Food Diets & How to Get Started

The proportions of fat to protein to carbs differ in these three raw diet plans for dogs: Prey Model Raw, Bones and Raw Food and the Keto Dog Diet.

Written by: Desiree Wood

Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

Natural dog food Hungry brown dog lying near its bowl full of meat food looking at camera, top view

3 Raw Dog Food Diets & How to Get Started

A raw diet for dogs centers around the concept of feeding dogs a similar diet to that of their ancestors and wolf cousins. As the name implies, you feed uncooked meats, bones, and organ meat, plus eggs, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy. Dogs have a higher stomach acidity and shorter intestinal tracts, which enable them to eat raw meat that may have food born bacteria. Even so, proper food preparation and handling procedures must be practiced, including cleaning and disinfecting work surfaces after each meal.

Some pet parents who feed their dogs a raw diet tout benefits such as improved health and digestion, better stools and more energy; even improvements in some medical conditions. But, a raw diet isn’t necessarily a good idea for dogs with certain medical conditions, young puppies or senior dogs. Do your research and talk a veterinarian nutritionist before making the switch.

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Raw dog food diet plans

There are three main types of raw diets for dogs:

  1. The Prey Model Raw diet follows the belief that dogs should eat as their wolf ancestors did by consuming bones, muscle, meat, skin, organs, fat, connective tissue and, sometimes, hide, hair and feathers.
  2. Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (B.A.R.F) or Bones and Raw Food focuses on raw muscle meat to provide essential nutrients to your dog. A B.A.R.F. diet looks like this: 70% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 7% vegetables, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ, 2% seeds or nuts and 1% fruit.
  3. Keto Dog Diet is high fat, low carb-based diet, similar to the human Keto diet. Keto diets for dogs are currently the subject of studies to see if this feeding pattern helps dogs diagnosed with cancer.

The diets can be either homemade, store-bought, freeze-dried or dehydrated. Each center around feeding your dog’s meals in raw form. Alternatively, gently cook your dog’s meal or subscribe to a meal delivery service where the food has been treated to prevent contaminations.

Natural raw organic dog food in bowl on black wooden floor and dog's paws on background
Dogs can eat raw meat like chicken and beef. Always follow proper food preparation recommendations for raw meat. ©Zontica/ Getty Image

How to make a raw diet for dogs

Before you give your dog a raw food diet, consult a veterinarian or canine nutritionist to help you create meals containing appropriate amounts of all the nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. They will test your dog for food allergies and guide you through starting your dog on a raw diet plan. Lissa Cannady, RVT, Hospital Manager for VCA, advises the feeding amount should be determined by the caloric content of the ingredients included in the diet. Aim for “balance over time,” she says, by rotating proteins with fruits, vegetables and grains in each meal to provide all the amino acids, vitamins and minerals your dog needs to stay healthy.

Featured Image Credit: Zontica/ Getty Images

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