Raw Dog Food—is it right for Your Dog?

Let your dog decide

Feeding your dog raw food is a fairly new concept based on what dogs ate naturally in the wild. Modern technology changes much faster than anatomy, which may take many hundreds of years to adapt to dietary changes. Dog eating

This trend to feed natural foods based on a dogs ancestral diet is similar to people going back to natural foods after more than a half century of eating a processed diet that contributed to many illnesses.

If you are like me, you grew up with your parents feeding the family dog dry kibble purchased at the grocery store. My dog gobbled it up, but years later developed skin allergies and cancer.

When my mom grew up in the 1940s, she fed her dog table scraps. Most of her dogs didn’t survive even a decade, possibly from their diet or the lack of veterinary care back in those days.

What is a raw dog food diet?

We can’t let our dogs kill the neighborhood squirrels and rabbits, so what should we feed them—uncooked meat? No. Although dogs are carnivores they won’t get enough nutrition from eating just meat. Carnivores, like wolves and coyotes usually eat their kill’s organs first to get the nutrients they need to survive.

It’s critical to offer a balanced diet when feeding raw food. The right balance of meat, nutrients, and yes, even vegetables. Grains however, are not part of the ancestral dog’s diet.

Types of raw dog foods include frozen, freeze-dried or dehydrated. These allow for easy storage and prolong their shelf life.

Benefits of a raw food diet

Many people report the following benefits from feeding a raw food diet.

  • Shinier coat
  • Fewer trips to the vet and better overall health
  • More energy
  • Fresher breath
  • Firmer and fewer stools
  • Healthier weight

Is it safe?

One of the biggest concerns with a raw food diet is bacteria. Raw food can contain Salmonella, E. coli, and other bacteria that we frequently hear about in recalls. Cooking destroys these pathogens, but also reduces the nutrients.

So does raw food contain bacteria? It can. Since food preparation should be in a sanitary environment with fresh meat, it’s best to leave this to the professionals. That’s one reason it is best to buy a name brand raw dog food.

Now you can buy freeze-dried or dehydrated forms of raw dog food that are convenient and have a stable shelf life. Just add water.

Did I try it?

I received a few free packets of Welly Chef Premium Raw Dog Food at the recent BlogPaws Conference. My two cocker spaniels ate them up when I used the dehydrated food as a topper  over their regular food.

Welly Chef package

Welly Chef ingredients



Pleased with how my dogs loved their food, I contacted Welly Chef and asked about their affiliate program. I received a box of the Turkey Recipe, and will receive some compensation if you order using the link to Welly Tails below or to the right.

Welly Chef Premium Raw Dog Food uses low temperature dehydration to provide maximum nutrients. It also…

  • uses USDA inspected US farm raised turkeys
  • contains all natural ingredients, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, green cabbage, lentils, tomatoes, and the list goes on. The ingredients are real foods, not chemicals.
  • contains the superfood chia seed
  • contains kale, kelp, pumpkin, blueberries and more.
  • it has added vitamins and minerals
  • it has higher protein concentrations and lower carbohydrate

It’s easy to make, just add warm water, stir, and wait 5 – 10 minutes to rehydrate.

raw dog food as a topper
Welly Chef raw dog food added as a topper

It’s best to gradually transition your dog’s food to a raw diet, since some dogs may get an upset stomach. Use it as a topper over their regular food for a few weeks as you increase the amount.

Buffy, my 8-year-old cocker loves it and gobbled it up as a topper to her regular food.

Chipper, my twelve-year-old cocker has a more sensitive digestive tract. After introducing the raw dog food to him, he was fine for several days, but then got the runs, so I stopped giving it to him. A few weeks later, I tried again, thinking maybe he’d gotten sick from something he ate outside. But again, after a few days of only having a half teaspoon full of raw dog food on top of his regular food, he became ill. After twelve years of eating commercial kibble, I think his digestive tract cannot adjust to raw food.

This may happen. Raw food is healthier for your dog, but it may not be appropriate for all dogs or at all stages of their lives.

I recommend starting out with a small amount and trying it for a few weeks. See if your dog tolerates it and, over time, increase the amount.

This post contains my own opinion and experience using the Welly Chef Turkey Recipe.

For more information about a raw food diet, I recommend reading the articles below.

Have you tried raw dog food? What was your experience?





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24 thoughts on “Raw Dog Food—is it right for Your Dog?

  1. Purina One SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Dry Dog Food with a Blend of Real Turkey & Venison. It’s turkey and venison flavored protein rich food for your pet with so many good, wholesome ingredients.

    So this natural recipe plus vitamins and minerals features a blend of real turkey, venison and other high-quality ingredients to provide the protein active adult dogs need and the nutrient-dense nutrition dogs cravenness which committed to delivering whole body health for your dog today and tomorrow.

    As a result 30% protein in every serving, this natural dog food provides a natural source of glucosamine to help support your dog’s healthy joints for his active lifestyle. It’s provides 100% complete and balanced nutrition to no poultry by-product meal, artificial flavors or preservatives .

    Reason To Like It:
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  2. I think it is wonderful that you have switched at least one of your dogs to a raw diet, because, I agree with you, it is definitely better for them than dry kibble. I had not heard of this product, but it looks very interesting and would be a great first start for someone wanting to slowly transition their dog to raw. I wish your experience had been different with your older dog. So hard to diagnose sometimes when your dog has diarrhea or other digestive issues. The only thing I would respectfully disagree with is the comment about bacteria and food preparation being left to the professionals. Dogs have the ability through their digestive system and saliva to destroy any bacteria that is in their food. I have been feeding whole raw (meat, bone, organs) for many years and have never had an issue, nor has anyone I have ever met that’s fed raw. This is a common myth about raw feeding that just isn’t true. I practice the same sanitation techniques that I do when preparing meat for my family and that comes from my BS in Microbiology more than anything.

  3. Yes, the dog should decide what they want. Cookie indeed did decide for herself when she started supplementing her home-cooked diet with freshly-caught small rodents 🙂

  4. I’ve never tried raw food however when I adopt again I definitely will. I think I’ll try the freeze dried raw food you add water too to start. I’m happy that Buffy adjusted well to the food. Sorry to hear Chipper ‘s system just didn’t agree with it. That’s a bummer.

  5. I’ve read about so many benefits of feeding a raw diet to both dogs and cats. I have several cat owners who are doing it with their cats. I am not feeding raw at this time, but read the information with interest.

  6. Raw dog food seems like a great idea, but I’ve never had luck with dog foods that rehydrate when water is added. Yours looks like it really worked though so maybe we’ll try it!

  7. Wonderful product for our pets! The raw diet debate is such a big topic, but traditional raw diet is hard to maintain nutrients, portions, and bacteria safety/ cleanliness. I love the option to use freeze dried or dehydrated raw!

  8. Thank you for your honesty. Not everything will work for every dog and it is important to recognize that. My dogs are all on raw. We purchase the food from a local company who has thoroughly researched their product and has the dogs’ best interest in mind. After all, he started the company after researching nutrition for his own, ailing dog. This diet works well for all three of my pups but we did have to switch the protein type for Henry as any type of poultry seemed to aggravate his allergies.

  9. My dog had eaten kibble for years, but now has to eat a combination of dry food made from lamb and rice mixed with ground turkey. A bout with pancreatitis several years back taught me that giving him table scraps was a bad idea. I’ve been wanting to try raw food, but have been hesitant because of his age (18). Perhaps I’ll wait and try a raw food diet with my next dog.

  10. All 4 of our dogs have been raw fed for years and have never been healthier. Buying raw in a pre-packaged form can be an easy and convenient way to get into raw feeding. I generally make my dogs’ raw meals on my own, but I do love dehydrated raw for camping trips and also occasionally add some to their meals for variety. I always make sure to add muscle meat and bone though, as the chewing is great for their teeth!

  11. I make homemade raw for my dogs – it’s not easy or cheap, but after my childhood dog also got cancer and possible allergies/intolerances/itchiness from grocery store kibbles, and I started to see one of my dogs suffering that familiar persistent itch, I decided to give it a try. I get organs from my local Chinese grocery store. But my favorite thing is watching them eat raw bones, they’re great for their teeth too.
    I haven’t tried dehydrated food, but it would be great for travel.

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