Raw Diet For Dogs and Recipes Ready To Use

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 09/01/20 •  16 min read
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Are Raw Diet For Dogs Healthy?

We all want our pets to be happy and healthy. The most important factor in this is a balanced and healthy diet, and obviously plenty of exercise. Most modern dry dog food is wheat-based and contains a range of meat, fish, and dietary supplements. This should be combined with a small amount of wet food to keep your dog interested. Some people feed their dog once a day, some twice. Find whatever works best for you and your dog based on how much they should eat.

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While most dogs are happy to eat dry dog food, in some cases you might need to opt for an alternative diet. Dogs, like humans, can have wheat and gluten intolerances, or may be allergic to ingredients commonly found in dry dog food. A good alternative to dry dog food is the raw food diet.

What are raw dog food recipes?

The raw food diet is not a particularly new idea. It’s based on the idea that your dog will be healthiest eating a diet similar to that which dogs ate before they were domesticated. But with the invention of modern dry dog food, the idea of dogs eating raw food slowly died out. It was revived in 1993 by an Australian vet named Ian Billinghurst. He proposed that dogs should eat a diet of raw meat, bones, and raw vegetables. He believed this would give them healthier coats, better bones and muscles, and cleaner teeth.

What are the benefits of a raw dog food diet?

One of the main benefits of the raw food diet is that it removes most of the extra carbohydrates from a dog’s diet, and so can help your dog lose weight. It will be easier to control their overall calorie intake with a raw diet too, because the food is more balanced to a dog’s recommended intake of carbohydrates. Also, by removing the wheat, two of the most common allergens are taken out of the dog’s diet.

Many people who feed their dogs the raw diet claim it improves their pet’s overall energy levels, and improves the quality of their fur, skin, and teeth. Because the raw diet doesn’t contain much carbohydrate this will improve your dog’s dental hygiene, although it is still recommended to brush their teeth regularly.

Owners also say their dog’s digestion improves, mainly because dog’s are not designed to naturally process the amount of carbohydrates that are in dry dog food

How to make a raw dog food recipes?

The traditional way to prepare the raw diet for your dog is to assemble it yourself. This requires sourcing and processing uncooked bones and raw meat. While this is possible, it can be very expensive and time consuming. Also, because it will probably not be possible for you to break the bones down small enough, they could damage your dog’s mouth and stomach. This is not particularly common with raw bones, but it is a risk best avoided anyway. If you do decide to assemble the raw diet yourself, never use cooked bones, because these shatter much easier and can cause significant damage to your dog.

Assembling the diet yourself also risks coming into contact with bacteria from the raw meat and bones. While this will be less of a risk to your dog, it is not worth the risk of making yourself ill. Dogs are more resilient to harmful bacteria than we are, which is why they can be fed raw food. Even so, your dog may also become ill if the raw meat is poorer quality. If it is meat you have purchased yourself, only feed it to your dog if you are confident it is safe.

A convenient alternative to assembling the diet yourself is to buy it freeze-dried. Freeze dried raw dog foods are becoming more popular as research about the benefits of the diet increase, and they are widely available online. They also contain a better range of necessary dietary supplements, and they are quick and easy to prepare. Below is a list of the best raw food diets available online. Please always consult your vet before changing your dog onto the raw food diet.

Vets will be able to provide you with all the relevant benefits and risks of changing over

Best raw diet for dogs:

1. Instinct Raw Boost Natural Dry Dog Food

This dry dog food from Instinct is a grain-free kibble that contains pieces of raw meat. The kibble is made from a good variety of plant and meat sources, and is completely free of unnecessary carbohydrates such as wheat, soy and potato. It is also high in protein, which is great for your dog’s muscles and coat.

The ingredients are freeze dried raw and minimally processed to form the kibble. Instinct then add all the necessary vitamins and minerals your dog needs to stay healthy, such as Omega 3, zinc, and iron. They also pack it with probiotics and antioxidants so it’s great for your dog.

2. Honest Kitchen Limited Ingredient Dog Food

This great dog food from Honest Kitchen is freeze-dried and dehydrated, and contains very few ingredients. This means it would be best for dogs with very sensitive stomachs and allergies, or would be ideal if you were trying to help your dog lose weight. The food is made without any by-products or preservatives, and is low on carbohydrates and high in protein.

Because this dog food is dehydrated you will need to add water to it when preparing. This means the food will be quite wet, so it would be suitable for your dogs to have toys to chew on so that they can clean their teeth. Honest Kitchen do a great range of flavors and each box will last you ages.

3. Stella & Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Dog Food

This freeze-dried dog food is different from the others on the list because it is not cooked before drying, and so retains all the benefits of having raw food. Also, because it is not dehydrated it doesn’t require any preparation and can just be served when ready. It contains no added grains or fillers, and is made from quality meat and bones. This means it’s light on the carbohydrates and high in protein.

Stella & Chewy’s is made in small batches using only good quality ingredients, and contains organic fruit and vegetables. It comes in a wide variety of flavors and will be food your dog will love. It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals to give your dog loads of energy and a healthy, shiny coat.

4. Wellness Core RawRev Dry Dog Food

Wellness have developed a brilliant grain-free kibble that is high in protein and made with only raw ingredients. It is freeze dried into kibble and so can be fed straight away without any further preparation. They use only good quality protein and no fillers, so it will be good for maintaining your dog’s weight.

The kibble is packed with all the required nutrients to keep your dog looking healthy, and all the natural benefits of the protein are left intact because the food is freeze dried. The kibble is minimally processed to help maintain all of the natural goodness in the ingredients, and the raw pieces of meat provide a nice treat for your dog.

5. Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Nuggets

This raw food from Northwest Naturals is made in small nuggets and so is ideal either for food while travelling, or as treats and for training. It’s made with real chicken and salmon. Because it is freeze dried, it stores easily and is good for transportation. It doesn’t even need any further preparation and so is always good to go.

It is completely grain free and contains no extra fillers or carbohydrates. It is high in protein and contains important supplements, such as Omega 3 and zinc. It is made without any extra preservatives or antibiotics, and so is a good quality raw food for your dog. Also, it would make a good alternative to canned food for senior dogs or dogs with dental issues.

6. Sojos Complete Raw Dog Food

This is another dehydrated raw food, and simply requires soaking in water before feeding. It is grain-free and contains no extra fillers. Unlike other dehydrated foods on this list, Sojos is made of small pieces of ingredients and so looks closer to fresh food than others. This might be of benefit to people who prefer to feed their dog nice looking food.

This food is made with minimal ingredients and processing, and so will be ideal for dog’s that have sensitive stomachs or dietary requirements. It is made with good quality meat, and quality fruits and vegetables. It contains all the necessary supplements your dog needs, and comes in a wide variety of flavors. Each 2lb bag rehydrates into 10lbs of wet food!

7. Primal Freeze Dried Nuggets

Primal make their nuggets from high quality meat that is reared without hormones or antibiotics, so there’s no nasty stuff passed on to your dog. Their food is gran free and made without any other fillers, such as soy or potato. It is suitable for dogs of all ages and is completely balanced for a dog’s diet.

Primal’s food is dehydrated and so requires a bit of preparation before serving, but the nuggets can also be used as treats. It contains all the right vitamins and minerals your dog needs, and comes in a great choice of flavors. All of the fruit and vegetables in it are organic too. All of its ingredients are dried when raw so they maintain all of their benefits, such as fatty acids and natural enzymes that help your dog’s diet.

8. Honest Kitchen Base Mix for Dogs

This one is different from the others on the list because it doesn’t contain any protein. This is because it is a base for meals, and you need to add your own protein. This could work for a lot of people who want to control the quality and quantity of meat their dog eats. The base mix is grain free and made with vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

This base mix is suitable for dogs of all ages and contains no added carbohydrates or fillers, so will be good for keeping your dog at a healthy weight. It has a good range of oils, vitamins, and minerals from the seeds and vegetables, and is actually made with human grade ingredients. It is dehydrated and so needs soaking before serving, and because it is a wet mix it would be a good idea to provide your dog with plenty of chews to clean their teeth.

9. Nature’s Variety Raw Dog Food Topper

This raw mix from Nature’s Variety isn’t a complete dog food, but is an extra boost of nutrition for your dog. It is designed to put on top of their dry food or raw diet if they need a dietary supplement. It is made with completely natural ingredients, it’s grain free, and doesn’t contain any extra carbohydrates or filler.

It is freeze dried and adds a nice texture to your dog’s dinner. It is high in protein and made with organic, non-GMO fruit and vegetables. All of the ingredients are dried raw to retain their nutrients, and there are no preservatives to keep it fresh. It is recommended to only use this if your normal dog food does not cover all of the required nutrients, or if your vet has recommended your dog needs a boost.

10. Only Natural Pet EasyRaw Dog Food

This food is made from completely raw and nutritious ingredients, and looks a lot nicer than other dehydrated foods. It is minimally processed to make sure as little nutrition is lost, and is ideal for dogs will allergies and sensitive stomachs. It is completely grain and filler free, and the only carbohydrates are either sweet potato or oats. Both of these offer health benefits over traditional fillers, and make a good edition to the mix.

Only Natural Pet have designed this food to cover a wide variety of health conditions, and it is suitable for low glycemic and paleo diets. All of the ingredients are human quality and all meat is free range. It comes in a good selection of flavors and because it is dehydrated it will last for ages!

11. Merrick Backcountry Raw Dog Food

This raw dog food is modelled as an ancestral recipe that contains lots of protein and bone. It is free from grain and filler so is good for keeping your dog’s weight down. It is a mix of kibble and freeze-dried chunks of meat, and is suitably balanced to make up your dog’s complete diet.

It is made of completely natural ingredients, and is packed with all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs to maintain a shiny coat and healthy skin. It contains a range of different meat sources so there is a good mix of flavor and nutrients. Meat is the main ingredient in all of Merrick’s food so you know your dog will love it!

12. Stewart Raw Fresh to Home Dog Food

Stewart’s have designed a food that is perfect for picky eaters, and a good alternative to dogs that don’t like kibble. It is a nutritionally balanced complete dog food, so your pet won’t need any extra supplements with this one. It is grain and gluten free, and doesn’t contain any additives or preservatives. It is also low in carbohydrates so your dog will stay nice and lean.

The ingredients are all minimally processed, which is brilliant because then they retain all of their beneficial nutrients and enzymes. It also contains all of the essential oils needed to keep your dog fit and healthy. Stewart make the food in a wide range of flavors so you’ll be sure to find one your dog will love.

13. ZiwiPeak Air-Dried Dog Cuisine

This dog food is made from lamb and is air-dried rather than freeze dried. This means it will have a different texture but will still keep, and it still works as a complete dog food. It doesn’t contain any grain, soy, potato, or any other fillers. The food is really easy for your dog to digest, so it will be an ideal choice for dogs with sensitive stomachs or dietary issues. Also, because the food is air-dried, it retains more of its nutritional content than freeze dried food.

The food also contains mussels for extra protein and nutrition, and is made from high quality meat and vegetables. Because it retains more of its nutritional value, you need to feed your dog less of it in a day. This means it would be a great choice if you need to control your dog’s weight. All of their products are made from top of the range New Zealand meat, and their food comes in a wide range and varieties.

14. Stella & Chewy’s Dried Meal Mixer

This product from Stella & Chewy is designed as an extra supplement to your dog’s kibble, and not as a complete meal. It contains a big boost of nutrition from its free-range meat and super foods. It is freeze dried and comes in the form of a powder, so you just sprinkle it over the top of your dog’s dinner. It is designed to aid digestion, improve their coat and skin, and help clean their teeth.

The mixer is grain, wheat, and gluten free, so will be fine for dogs with sensitive tummies. It is also free from preservatives and additives, so you can be sure your dog is eating only good quality food. The food contains freeze-dried fruit for a vitamin boost, but they also make a nice little treat for your dog.

It is also packed full of meat, bones, and organs, so your dog will be getting all the protein it needs

15. Harvey’s Canine Health Dog Food

This brilliant dog food is made with very few ingredients, and is designed to be rehydrated before meals. It is packed with protein and loads of dehydrated vegetables. Because it has so few ingredients it’ll be good for dogs with sensitive tummies, but it does contain several kinds of grain, so avoid it if your dog has a gluten allergy.

All of the ingredients are organic and natural, and there are even plenty of herbs for taste and to aid your dog’s digestion. There are no dyes or harmful chemicals, and there are plenty of added vitamins and minerals. You can be in complete control of the quantity and quality of your dog’s diet with this food because it is complete and balanced. Dr. Harvey’s sell it in big bags too so it’ll last you for ages!

16. Real Meat Air-Dried Dog Food

This great dog food from Real Meat is completely air-dried and so has a good chewy texture your dog will love. This also means it retains more nutritional benefit than freeze-dried food. It is made of 90% meat, and the rest is all natural bone, organs, and vegetables. There are no added grains or fillers, and the recipe is completely gluten free, so this will be a good choice for dogs with dietary issues. It can be fed on its own, or with kibble or wet food.

The food is made from quality ingredients, including organic vegetables and free-range meat. It is a good food to give your dog if you are travelling because it doesn’t require any preparation before meal times, and it makes for good treats. The chewy texture is better for your dog’s teeth than rehydrated foods, but it is still recommended to give your dog chew toys and to brush their teeth regularly.

We hope this information has helped you determine if a raw diet is best for your dog. If you have a feline companion, then check out this article on a cat raw food diet. Or you can learn more about healthy kibble for cats.

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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