Ultimate Guide To Raw Dog Food

Welcome to the ultimate guide to raw dog food. Our aim is to give you all the information you need to know on raw dog food and raw dog food recipes.
And to see our pet nutritionist created raw dog food recipes go here.

What is raw dog food?

In recent years, raw dog food has gained popularity as an alternative diet for our canine companions. A raw dog food diet aligns with a dog's natural dietary needs, providing numerous health benefits.

In this article, we will explore what raw dog food is, its potential advantages, and important considerations to keep in mind.

  1. What is Raw Dog Food?

Raw dog food refers to a diet comprised of uncooked and unprocessed ingredients, mirroring the diet of dogs' wild ancestors.

This diet typically includes raw meat, bones, fruits, vegetables, and sometimes supplements. Advocates believe that this natural approach better aligns with a dog's biological makeup.

Please note that if you are going to try feeding your dog a raw dog food diet, it is imperative that you follow raw dog food recipes created by a pet nutritionist and meeting AAFCO standards. If you don't do this, your dog could end up malnourished. To see pet nutritionist created raw dog food recipes go here.

raw dog food

  1. Benefits of Raw Dog Food

2.1 Improved Digestion: The natural enzymes present in raw dog food and the raw ingredients aid digestion, potentially reducing gastrointestinal issues and promoting better nutrient absorption.

2.2 Enhanced Coat and Skin Health: A raw dog food diet can contribute to healthier skin, shinier coats, and a reduction in common skin conditions, such as itching and allergies.

2.3 Increased Energy Levels: Raw dog food feeders report that their dogs exhibit increased energy and vitality, which they attribute to the higher quality and bioavailability of nutrients in raw ingredients.

2.4 Dental Health: The consumption of raw meaty bones in a dog's diet can provide natural teeth cleaning benefits, helping to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. You can also read more on raw bones here

2.5 Potential Weight Management: A raw dog food diet can help address obesity issues by providing a balanced and nutrient-dense meal while eliminating excessive carbohydrates found in commercial dog foods.

  1. Considerations for Raw Dog Food Diets

3.1 Nutritional Balance: Raw dog food diets require careful formulation to ensure dogs receive all necessary nutrients.

Please note that if you are going to try feeding your dog a raw dog food diet, it is imperative that you follow raw dog food recipes created by a pet nutritionist and meeting AAFCO standards. If you don't do this, your dog could end up malnourished. To see pet nutritionist created raw dog food recipes go here.

3.2 Bacterial Contamination: Raw meat can carry harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella or E. coli, posing risks to both dogs and their human handlers. Proper food handling, storage, and hygiene practices are crucial to minimise these risks. See safe food preparation guides here

3.3 Individual Considerations: Not all dogs are suitable candidates for a raw diet. Dogs with compromised immune systems, or those with specific health conditions may require alternative feeding options. It is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the best diet for your dog's individual needs.

Raw dog food is a diet that seeks to mimic the natural diet of dogs, emphasising uncooked and unprocessed ingredients.

While proponents argue that it offers various benefits such as improved 

Is a raw dog food diet good for dogs

There is lots of misinformation out in the world about if a raw feeding diet is good for dogs - but we are here to tell you that a raw feeding diet for dogs is amazing and that it can actually help them live longer and healthier lives.

raw dog food

Feeding any living being a highly processed diet is not good for them and just like we know that a processed diet is not good for humans - it is the same for dogs.

If you can feed your dog a raw food diet it will really help their health and weight considerably and at Healthy Active Pet, our pet nutritionists have created a huge amount of recipes and meal plans to make raw feeding dogs easy and healthy.

And you can see some of our raw feeding dog recipes here too.

But why is there so much misinformation out there on raw feeding?

Well it probably comes from a number of places and a lot of people are confused by it. Also the big pet food industry is big and they make a lot of money from selling kibble so it is not in their financial interests to promote raw feeding recipes for dogs.

We have also outlines below some of the common myths around raw feeding dogs and we hope that this clears up some of the confusion

We also have a collection of raw feeding recipe books for dogs but all recipes can be lightly cooked (and we say this on the recipes too) if your dog prefers this.

But as there has been a rise in the awareness of raw feeding for dogs and cats as education around the subject grows, there are also lots of myths around raw feeding that we wanted to BUST today!

5 myths about raw dog food

1) Myth: Harmful bacteria - My pet will get salmonella from raw meat.


You may hear scary statistics about dogs shedding salmonella, but it’s important to look at these in context.

While it’s true that around 15% of household pets shed salmonella, this is regardless of what they are fed.

It’s also important to remember that not all salmonella is pathogenic, salmonella lives in the gut of dogs and cats and those 15% of pets that shed salmonella are clinically healthy.

And when we say they “shed” salmonella, this means that it’s in their waste.

We highly recommend that you avoid getting up close and personal with your pet’s poo for any reason!

Salmonella can only survive in higher pH conditions (4-8+) and requires at least 12 hours to incubate. The hydrochloric acid in a carnivore’s stomach is a protective component against pathogens.

Their stomach is highly acidic (about a pH 1) and their digestive system is short and lacks complexity. Bacteria is typically killed when ingested and passed within 4-6 hours as waste.

Since the time to complete digestion is very short, the bacteria does not stay in the body for long.

 When we look at salmonella in food, the top 3 causes of salmonella outbreaks in Australia in 2016 were mung beans, bagged salad and bakery products, meanwhile salmonella is the leading cause of recalls for dry dog food!

In reality, Australia has very strict regulations in place for the human supply chain, especially when it comes to meat (and rightly so), whereas the pet food industry and the pet meat supply chain is regulated independently and at a lower standard or, in some cases, not at all . You can see the raw food safety guidelines here too

2) Myth: Cooked versus raw - Feeding cooked meat is better than raw.

Cooking meat will destroy or alter some proteins, vitamins, fats, and minerals. In contrast, other nutrients are liberated via cooking as they are not bioavailable in their raw form. Therefore, cooking food makes some nutrients less available and other nutrients more available.

If you do fall into one of the higher risk categories or you’re still just not comfortable feeding raw, you can lightly cook your dog’s food, which will kill off any pathogens and retain almost all of the nutrients.

Just don’t overcook it as this may begin to deplete some heat sensitive nutrients, and remember that cooked food weighs less because water evaporates through heating, so always base your portions on the raw weights.

3) Myth: Raw bones are dangerous because they splinter.

A very common misconception about feeding bones is that all bones are dangerous.

In reality, many raw bones are great for pets and are totally safe.

Raw bones are softer and easier to digest in comparison to cooked or dehydrated bones. Cooking or dehydrating bones removes the moisture from the bones which makes them hard and brittle.

They can splinter when eaten and be difficult to digest, which can result in harmful intestinal perforations or blockages. This is where the idea originates that bones are dangerous. 

raw feeding myths

4) Myth: Puppies and kittens are too young and small to have raw bones.

The same rules for feeding raw bones to adult pets apply to puppies and kittens as well. Giving raw bones to puppies and kittens is totally safe when providing the appropriate size meaty bones for the size and age of the pet.

Additionally, meaty bones are a source of calcium and phosphorus which are essential nutrients for growing pets. 

Smaller bones are recommended to start with and work up to larger bones as the pet grows. If the puppy or kitten is weaning from the mother, raw grinds with bone ground in is ideal in the very beginning until they can begin chewing whole foods.

5) Myth: Large and giant breed puppies should not be fed raw because it will affect their growth.

Large and giant breed puppies are no different than any other puppy in their nutritional requirements. Like all other breeds, large and giant puppies need to grow very slowly to avoid developing joint and bone issues.

They do have specific recommendations to maintain a balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio closer to 1.2:1, whereas small breeds have a bit more flexibility here. However, this does not mean that large or giant breed puppies cannot eat a raw diet during their developmental periods.

Remember, each dog (and puppy) is an individual – the guidelines provided are just starting points. The diet should be adjusted to provide sufficient calcium and phosphorus as well as a balanced Ca:P ratio. You can also see our Puppy Raw Feeding Recipe Book and Plan here


As long as pet parents are following the correct feeding guidelines and using safe food handling practices, raw feeding should pose no risk to pets.

It is important  not only to do research before starting a raw diet, but also to verify that the information used is from a reputable, knowledgeable, and reliable source.

If you are looking to start your dogs on a raw dog food diet try our raw dog food recipes and programs which also have full guidelines and information on raw feeding so you learn about the best solution for your dog PLUS all our raw dog food recipes have been formulated to meet the AAFCO standards

How to start on a raw dog food diet

Transitioning your dog to a raw dog food diet will be a breeze for some and a little unpredictable for others. (and if you need guidance on recipes and meal plans check out our pet nutritionist program here)

Some dogs will jump right into fresh food with no hesitation or digestive upset, while others will require some coaxing and some may experience an upset tummy.

Both of these situations are completely normal and generally no cause for concern.

Fortunately the solution to both is usually simple: introduce news things slowly, giving your dog the opportunity to adjust, both behaviourally and digestively.

If you are confident that your dog is resilient, shows a keen interest in eating fresh food, or is already eating some fresh foods, you may be comfortable making the switch cold turkey and diving right in. If this works for you, go for it.

If your dog is shifting from a processed diet, their gut microbiome – which is all of the microorganisms and populations of bacteria that assist with digestion and nutrient absorption – may need some time to adapt.

This is because dogs fed a processed diet do not have the same microbiome diversity as fresh fed dogs.

The good news is that the gut microbiome adapts very quickly, and there are things we can do to help this process along, as well as tricks to avoid any major digestive upsets.

Some dogs do also just have more sensitive stomachs than others, so in these cases this can take longer and require a bit more persistence and patience.

The main way to combat potential fallout from dietary changes is to make them gradually.

This may mean you don’t begin the full meal plan immediately, and instead just feed plain muscle meat to begin with – for example, either the chicken thigh or kangaroo featured as the main ingredient in week one of the Healthy Active Pet recipes and healthy dog program.

If they tolerate this well, you can add other foods and build up to the full recipes over a week or so, then begin the plan in its entirety.

Always wait to add organ meats until they have adjusted to eating fresh food, and start with small amounts.

If your dog is fussy or sensitive, you may find it preferable to add small amounts of the new food, mixed in with their old food.

Start with up to 1/4 of a week one recipe and gradually increase it as they get used to it, decreasing their old food until you are feeding only fresh food.

Don't worry if this takes a bit of time, repeat each week as many times as you need until your dog is happy and enjoying their new food comfortably. Once this is complete you can start the 4 week program for real!

You may also utilise a few other tricks to help ease the transition.

These include adding a homemade bone broth, starting a course of probiotics or including probiotic rich foods, offering some digestive enzymes, adding cooked pumpkin to each meal or even lightly searing the fresh food to begin with, then gradually reducing the cooking time.

And if you want to try the Healthy Active Pet recipe program you can take a look at it here

Roo & Beef Raw Dog Food Recipe

Kangaroo is an incredibly nutritious meat for dogs, rich in protein and very low in fat, it contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids, which are also abundant in mackerel.

Sunflower oil and pumpkin seeds are rich in vitamin E and zinc for skin health and wound healing, while nutritional yeast adds a boost of B vitamins for brain health.



• 600gm kangaroo, mince or chunks
• 100gm grated carrot
• 50gm grated apple
• 50gm beef liver, diced
• 100gm mackerel, tinned coffee grinder or in a mortar
• 55gm peas, frozen
• 25gm spinach, diced or frozen
• 6gm eggshell/calcium
• 5gm pumpkin seeds
• 5gm sunflower oil
• 1gm nutrition
• 1gm kelp powder


  • Steam the peas until tender
  • Grind the pumpkin seeds in a coffee grinder or in a mortal and pestle
  • If cooking the meat, broil kangaroo and beef liver with a little water until just cooked
  • Drain the mackerel and break it up with a fork in a large bowl
  • Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and mix to combine
  • Portion and freeze or store in the fridge for a few days

Plus you can see this recipe in our Ultimate Raw & Homemade recipe book here

And we have HEAPS of raw dog food recipe books to to help you and below is a dog food recipe from one of them. We hope you love it.

Frequently Asked Questions On Raw Dog Food

Making the switch to a fresh diet is a big change for your dog and hopefully everything goes smoothly.

Sometimes you will encounter hiccups along the way but don’t worry, it’s fairly normal and there are almost always ways to overcome them.

raw dog food

1) Upset tummy or runny poos

If your dog has been digesting one kind

of food for a long time and we suddenly switch to a completely new food, it can be a bit of a shock to the system . The best way to combat or avoid this

is to introduce new foods slowly, and transition across to their new meal plan over a week or so, reducing the old food and gradually increasing the portion of new food . Adding organ meats last is a good idea, as they can trigger an upset tum .

Fortunately, the gut microbiome adapts very quickly and this should resolve itself in no time . You can also try a course of probiotics, as well as digestive enzymes to help with the transition period .

2) They’re not losing weight

If your dog has made the transition to a fresh diet, but the pounds aren’t budging, give it time . If they haven’t lost any weight in 3-4 weeks, you probably need to reduce their portions . Reduce by 10% and wait another 2-3 weeks . You can also increase their exercise if appropriate, and make

sure you’re not accidentally overfeeding treats or snacks . If you are feeding more than 10% of the diet at treats, wind it back.

And don’t just go by the scale; if they are gaining muscle mass and losing fat, their “weight” may not change.

Use a body condition chart and monitor their physique rather than the number on the scale.

If you have done all of this and they’re still not losing weight, a vet check may be in order to make sure there isn’t an underlying health issue

3) They don’t like their new food

This can be confusing, but again it’s important to remember this is a major change from what your dog is used to . Most dogs will absolutely love the switch to fresh foods but if you find yours is a little hesitant, you can try a few of the following tricks:

  • Limit the feeding window . If your dog doesn’t eat their food, take it away and try again in a few hours or at their next mealtime . Most dogs will eat when they get hungry and realise no other food is coming .

  • Try lightly cooking the meat to begin with as this will

    release aromas and make the food more appealing . If you plan to feed raw, gradually reduce the cooking time until you are no longer cooking it and just serve the food warm instead .

  • Try offering new foods by hand . This is a delicate balance because you don’t want to create a monster that will only eat from your hand, but in the very early days it can help your dog to trust that this strange new food is safe to eat .

  • Try to find a food your dog does like and get them started with this, then gradually add small amounts of new foods . This can also be done by adding something yummy to their meat, like bone broth or even a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

4) They’re always hungry

If your dog always seems very hungry, increase their food . We want them to lose weight slow and steadily, while also meeting all of their nutritional needs and maintaining their quality of life . This meal plan is naturally low in calories, so if your dog is not gaining weight and is always hungry, you can more than likely feed more food without overdoing it . This is especially the case if your dog is very active or young .

5) They have the “hunger spews”

If you’re new to the world of fresh food for dogs, you may be lucky enough to have never heard the expression “hunger spews .” This is when your dog vomits foamy liquid that is usually yellow, after a long break between meals (often very early in the morning) . This happens when bile leaks into the stomach from the small intestine after a period of not eating . The best way to avoid this is to feed the evening meal closer to bedtime or offer a snack before bed .

The snack can be in addition to the main meal, or you can reserve part of dinner. If you find it is still happening and your dog is not gaining weight, you may need to increase their portions, or feed the day’s food spread over more frequent meals.

6) They’re constipated

Switching your dog from a very high fibre, carbohydrate- based food to a very low carb, protein-based food can take some adapting and may result in constipation.

Hopefully the increased water content in their new food will help, but you may also need to troubleshoot some other methods. Adding some extra cooked pumpkin to each meal often helps with this, as it contains a good blend of both soluble and insoluble fibre.

Psyllium husk powder can also
be sprinkled over meals to add bulk and keep things moving .

One common cause of constipation is feeding too much bone in one sitting . If you are new to feeding bones, feed small amounts to begin with and always alternate with boneless meals.

7) They don’t like bones or eat them too fast

If you’re finding it difficult to get your dog interested in bones, try hand feeding them and offering the bone portion before any other food so they are hungry .

Similarly, if they’re a bit too enthusiastic and want to swallow it whole, hold the bone and force them to gnaw on it.

They will eventually learn to do this on their own with some patience.

Choosing larger bones will assist here so they are less tempted to gulp the whole thing down (you can always take it off them when they’ve had enough) .

8) Organ meat upsets their tummy

Organ meat is quite “rich,” and some dogs don’t tolerate it very well, especially in the case of liver.

The best approach here is to spread any organ portion over multiple meals so they only get a little bit in any one sitting.

If they don’t like eating it, sometimes it’s actually the texture, rather than the taste . Try dicing it very finely and mixing it through other, yummier ingredients . If this doesn’t work, you can feed the organ portion as treats, either by purchasing liver treats or drying your own.

Similarly, if they’re a bit too enthusiastic and want to swallow it whole, hold the bone and force them to gnaw on it. They will eventually learn to do this on their own with some patience.

Choosing larger bones will assist here so they are less tempted to gulp the whole thing down (you can always take it off them when they’ve had enough) .

And check out our raw dog food recipes and program here that will put your dog on the right track 

You can see our raw air and freeze dried dog foods here

raw dog food