Is a Raw Food Diet Right for Your Pet

Is a Raw Food Diet Right for Your Pet

What is a raw food diet?

Raw foods for dogs and cats are mostly made up of meats, organs, and bones, and sometimes fruits and vegetables. This is known as the BARF diet or, Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet. This type of raw food diet is known as “biologically appropriate” because it considers the natural, carnivorous needs of dogs and cats. Other variations of raw diets may include cooked vegetables, grains, or added vitamins and minerals. These fresher diets may contain more bio-available nutrients than dry kibble or wet food, because the less foods are processed, the more nutrients and enzymes are available to support your pet’s overall health.

What are some benefits to a raw diet?

  • Skin and coat support: raw food diets may contain a proper balance of omega fatty acids, amino acids, enzymes, and moisture that will help your pet’s skin and coat stay healthy
  • GI support: the bio-available digestive enzymes in raw food can settle a leaky gut, gassy tummy, and firm the stool
  • Dental support: raw food does not contain the starches and processed fats that some kibbles do, which helps prevent tartar and plaque build-up
  • UT Support: a common problem area for cats, especially, the high meat protein and moisture content of raw foods can support and prevent UT problems
  • Immune support: raw ingredients contain more fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that may boost the immune system

What are the cons to a raw diet?

While a raw diet could greatly benefit your pet, it may not be for every pet or for every household, so be sure you always consult your vet and consider your lifestyle before changing anything about your pet’s diet.

Raw food may not provide the most balanced diet for your pet, depending on their nutritional needs. A lot of dry kibbles and wet foods are curated to support certain health issues that can best be taken care of with food. Some pets need a wider variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains that some raw foods can’t offer. Also, pets with sensitive stomachs may have a more difficult time digesting raw foods than dry kibble or wet food.

Other common arguments about why raw food diets are not great stems from fear of inconvenience and health risk. Raw food is typically more expensive than traditional dry kibble or wet food, and frozen varieties take up room in your fridge and freezer. In addition, preparing raw foods for your pet includes the risk of spreading bacteria, much like preparing raw meats for yourself at home. Therefore, when preparing your pet’s raw food, you must use standard safety procedures like:

  • Always wash your hands/disinfect surfaces after handling raw food
  • Keep raw food frozen/refrigerated while not in use
  • Only thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, not in room temperatures
  • Do not microwave, as this will alter the nutritional composition, can cause bones to harden, as well as more easily spread bacteria

At Petwell Supply, we support our customers in their search to provide the best diet possible for their pets, whether that be raw food, kibble, or a combination. We carry several kibble and wet food brands, and can also place special raw food orders for our customers.

If you are interested in trying a raw food diet, we can order the following brands for you: Northwest Naturals, Primal, Small Batch, Stella & Chewy's, Steve's Real Food, and Answers. Interested in giving raw food a shot? Email us at for more information.

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    • Vanessa Rances