No one can argue the dry baked pellets we call dog food aren’t convenient. Yet the nutrient profile of a dry kibble is nowhere near the nutrient content of a dog’s ancestral diet.

Raw/Ancestral Diet
Dried Kibble

Notice the higher carbohydrate content of the kibble compared to the dog’s natural ancestral diet. Or how about the dramatically lower protein and fat levels?

The Benefits of a Raw Diet

Feeding a raw dog food diet has many notable benefits…

  • Firmer stools
  • Improved digestion
  • Healthier skin and coat
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Better weight management

There have been many reports of improved health when chronically ill pets were switched from a commercial product to a raw dog food.

The Downside
of a Raw Dog Food Diet

A raw dog food diet can’t touch the convenience of a kibble. Just measure and pour. It just doesn’t get any easier.

Yet besides the lack of convenience, there’s another critical issue. Bacterial contamination.

Salmonella and E. coli germs can always be a potential problem with raw meats. Yet the risk of food-borne disease is actually quite low.

That is, low risk for dogs. But not for humans.

That’s because a dog’s digestive system is shorter and more acidic.

Which makes canine infections like these fairly rare.

The real risk of food-borne disease is actually greater for a dog’s human caretakers — not the dog.

Yet with proper care and handling, this risk can be dramatically reduced.

Below you’ll find a list of some suggested raw dog foods.
Of course, this list should not be considered a complete cataloge of all the raw dog foods on the market.

For there are others. Many others.

This is just a starting point and if you believe a specific dog food should be included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations with us (email

As a matter of fact, if you know of a specific dog food you believe we should have included on this list, please feel free to share your recommendations in the Comments section below.

Be wary of buying from local suppliers who make their own dog food as I have had a bad experience of food being delivered to my by a local shop who sell their own dog food and it not being frozen.


Middleton Raw Dog Foods

They Love It

Vince The Vet

Wolf Tucker

Paleo Ridge

Primal Raw

If you want to feed a natural diet, but don't want to feed raw
Butternut box is an excellent food, in my opinion, especially for fussy eaters or our oldies,
and customer service is second to none

Some of the benefits of feeding Raw

Cleaner teeth and fresh breath.
Better weight control.
Improved digestion.
Shinier, healthier skin and coat.
Reduction of allergy symptoms.
Harder, smaller, less smelly stools.
Increased mobility in older animals.
More energy and stamina.




A personal view

For years I had fed my dogs a good quality kibble (younger dogs had Acana/Orijen, the older ones Arden Grange Senior), together with added fresh meat (sometimes raw, sometimes cooked), and vegetables with the occasional bit of fruit, egg, sardines and pasta.

I have often dabbled with giving the dogs raw meat, but have mostly just added it to their kibble, which some people will say you should not do, as they don't digest raw and processed food at the same rate. Many many breeders have fed this method of raw and kibble together for decades, and although yes they do process them differently, it doesn't do them any harm, although some prefer to split the meals and give raw at one meal and kibble for the other.

Think about it.....Mixing raw and kibble does no harm, short-term or long-term beyond the effects of the kibble itself.   Humans have many foods mix all the time: think eating croutons on a fresh salad or a sushi roll that has raw fish and cooked rice.

The arguments from the extreme anti-kibble people spread questionable information for the right reasons.  One of their claims is kibble messes with the pH of the stomach, throwing it off, making it difficult to digest raw.  The other is kibble digests so slowly that harmful, toxic bacteria grow in the gut.  Then there’s the one that kibble and raw digest at different rates, which throws the whole digestive system into chaos.  There are probably some more that are on the interwebs somewhere.  All not true and certainly not backed up by science.

Not true because that’s not how the digestion system works.  Dogs, cats, and humans have a similar process.  There isn’t a selector switch in the stomach that detects kibble (or raw) significantly altering the strength of the acid or amount of enzymes released.  If you ate the best salad ever produced with the best ingredients, perfectly designed for your genome, and a Big Mac at the same time, your digestive system would handle it fine.  The same with raw food and the highly processed kibble.  If you’re not use to kibble, or Big Macs, you could feel a little funny (dyspepsia) but your digestive system won’t be crippled.

The science bit..........There was an experiment focused on seeing what speed raw and kibble were both digested.  Using X-rays and barium (a radiopaque liquid mixed with the food), the researchers were able to follow kibble and raw meals, each fed a couple of weeks apart, through the gastrointestinal tract.  It showed raw digested slower than kibble.  The experiment pretty much laid waste to the blanket statement that “raw digests faster than kibble”. It follows the common knowledge that liquids tend to empty from the stomach faster than solids and carbohydrates pass faster than proteins and fat. (Kibble contains significant carbohydrates.) You can also read more here in an article written by a herbalist.

When food hits the stomach, it drops into waiting digestive juices.  Then, depending on how much distention, the stomach releases an appropriate amount of juices to manage dilution, so the pH can stay at a high acid level initially.  Dilution (increasing pH) is part of the digestive process.

Looking at the ingredients in some of the well known kibbles they contain Brewers rice, chicken by-product meal, oat groats, wheat, corn gluten meal, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, salt, monocalcium phosphate, choline chloride, hydrolyzed yeast..............dogs are carnivores, I don't believe my dogs need any rice, pulp etc....(Chicken by product - The difference between chicken by-product and chicken on a label is that by-product meal can contain chicken feet, undeveloped eggs, intestines and organs as opposed to what you would think of as chicken.)

I had been feeding bones, purely for dental reasons, for a few years, but good marrow bones with some red meat on and not covered in fat, were hard to come by. Roasted cooked bones were readily available, and the dogs did like them, however, they gave some very unpleasant results the following day.

I was then told that large, weight-bearing bones, like marrow bones, can break dogs teeth, so I tried turkey necks, chicken feet and chicken wings, but they tended to inhale them almost whole, and kept me up half the night regurgitating them. (bleurgh)

There is a lot out there on the potential dangers of feeding bones to dogs, but after a lot of research, I found that as long as you feed the right raw bones, and not cooked bones, the dangers are mainly due to the gastric environment of the dog's stomach, which is directly related to their diet.

The gastric acidity of the stomach of a dog eating a diet predominantly made up of raw meat is very low and acidic, with a PH of 2 or lower. This highly acidic environment favours the breakdown of raw meats, and raw bones, into soft digestible material. The low PH level is also highly effective at killing bacteria, particularly potentially pathogenic bacteria like salmonella spp, clostridia, campylobacter and E Coli. So basically, the natural ‘wild” diet of dogs has evolved a gastric environment that favours the breakdown of raw meats, raw bones, and a PH that kills potentially harmful bacteria.

Due to my dogs regurgitating the bones through the night, I was advised to give bones early on in the day as opposed to a treat during the evening, to give the body a chance to digest them, which seems to work far better.

After a lot of research and reading up on the potential benefits of a complete raw diet - which include

Coat Condition - The first physical change is usually seen in the dogs coat - Up to 40% of the protein a dog eats goes into their skin and coat. When a dog is fed a low meat protein, cereal based diet, which is mostly seen in dry foods, they will not have the protein spare to grow a healthy coat. In general, a raw dog food is high in fresh meat protein, and fresh fat, which work together to fuel a luxurious coat.

Muscle Tone - Dogs are carnivore’s, and all they need to eat is protein (and a little fat). When fed raw they will shed the carbohydrate-fuelled fat to reveal a leaner, sleek, firm body with a beautiful thick coat. Raw food for dogs is nearly always void of cereal filler and carbohydrates, which is central to maintaining a dogs weight and getting muscle tone right. Can you imagine a bodybuilder going to the gym to bulk up on a diet of 50% bread? Protein is the building blocks of muscle, organs, skin, hair and joints, and there is no alternative.

Dental Hygiene - Cutting out dry kibble and offering a dog some meat on the bone improves dental hygiene and reduces bad breath (9/10 dry fed dogs suffer gum disease by 2 years and 9/10 are dry fed).

Unfortunately, the fact that dogs have no amylase in their saliva, which breaks down carbohydrate sugars in the mouth, means that the sugars in dry food products fuel bacteria growth, leading to poor dental health and hygiene (plaque, tartar, calculus, gingivitis, periodontal disease). Dogs need fresh meaty bones to clean their teeth, not cooked, raw.

Behaviour - The improvement in behaviour from raw dog food is primarily due to the removal of dry food from the diet.

Dry feeds fuel poor behaviour in three ways:

1. It is high in easily digested carbohydrates, which fuel high blood sugar and insulin levels, long linked to poor behaviour.
2. It is full of chemicals - just have a look at the back of the packet.
3. it has a low vitamin B content - the mind soothing vitamins- and the B vitamins are very sensitive to long storage times.

Less Waste - The amount of salt in dry food begins at 1.2%, the same percentage of salt that is in salted peanuts, and 4 times a dog’s RDA of salt per meal. If there was no salt in dry foods, the dogs would not touch the stuff. Due to the high amounts of salt in their diets, dry fed dogs drink huge amounts of water, causing higher amounts of urine. Toilet issues aside this fuels kidney disease in dogs.

Then there’s faeces! As fresh food is easier to digest than cooked food, it leads to improved digestion, meaning less faeces. Stools from raw dog food also smell nothing like the stools from dry dog food, another little benefit.

To sum it up, meat and bone are the ideal diet for a dog and this is before we discuss kidney disease, pancreatitis and cancer seen in dogs today.

Usually the next question is, is feeding raw dog food expensive? To answer this, it is necessary to figure out how much a dog needs each day.

See HERE for a raw feeding calculator based on your dogs weight and condition.

After months of research, and speaking to seasoned raw feeders, I decided to do a 60 day trial to see if I would see any benefits to the dogs. I made the change at the beginning of November 2017, bought another freezer and a months supply of raw 'completes' with an 80/10/10 mix.

There are hundreds of opinions on how to ‘correctly’ feed a dog a raw diet. The consensus among many is to feed a ratio of foods that are equivalent to what the dog would consume in nature if they were a wild animal. This is called the 80/10/10 rule. This stands for 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ. Some even go a step further and say 80/10/5/5, splitting the organ category into 5% liver and 5% other organ meat. I am very fortunate that I have a local ex butcher now specialising in natural raw dog food, but it certainly pays to shop around for the best meat, some contain a lot of fat.

A typical meal will look like below - some days they get fish added, sprats or sardines, other days a raw egg, and twice a week they get lamb neck or lamb ribs. I also add garlic and fenugreek tablets, and salmon oil from Aniforte.

I make Bone Broth, which they love, and after an accidental feeding of too much raw heart, I found the Bone Broth helped to heal the stomach lining and reduce intestinal inflammation.

By the way, they don't get their food on a plate, it is all chucked into a bowl, this is purely for demonstration purposes! This lot will be devoured in literally 20 seconds.

Vegetables - although some of the raw prey model diet feeders do not advocate the feeding of vegetables, I find it slows down the digestion a little, and reduces any excess stomach acid and stops hunger pangs. But they don't get vegetables every day, sometimes a little grated carrot, courgette, or cooked green beans.

However, dogs do not need vegetables, or carbohydrates in their diet as they are not essential for their survival. And while there is evidence that veggies can be beneficial for dogs, there is no sound evidence that they are harmful in moderation.

Vegetables provide a source of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and some minerals that are not found in significant enough amounts in just meat, bone, and organ meat. While dogs have the ability to synthesize their own vitamin C and vitamin K, including some of these vitamins in the diet can be beneficial. Vegetables and fruits are a great source of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fibre.

I found information on a study that Scottish Terriers fed leafy green or yellow/orange veggies at least three times a week were up to 70-90% less likely to develop bladder cancer, even though vitamin supplements didn’t show the same results.

The “raw prey model” diet of meat, bone, and organ actually does not even accurately represent what our dogs descendants would eat in the wild. They would also be consuming fur, feathers, and hide, and would have access to far greater of a variety of organ meats, glands, and other by-products. So unless someone is feeding primarily whole prey to their dog, the diet may fall short in many minerals and definitely contain less fibre and roughage than the true diet of wild canines.

Steve Brown, author of Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet and See Spot Live Longer and owner of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, is considered an expert by many in the raw dog food community. He believes plant matter should be fed to dogs in a raw diet. He states that “Vegetables and other plant matter were part of the dog’s ancestral diet. Vegetables provide essential nutrients, including fibre, minerals and vitamins. Without the plant matter providing those nutrients, an all-meat diet would need supplements. Vegetables can also help protect against certain forms of cancer.” You can read more about Steve Brown’s philosophy on vegetables for dogs in his article by clicking HERE.

Diet is the basis for good health, when a diet high in carbohydratess, ie starch found in commericial dog food kibbles, the carbs turn into sugar, and an environment is created in the body where cancer cells can, and will, replicate.

When adding vegetables to your dogs diet they should be processed in some way to make them easy to utilize. You can do this by pureeing, chopping/grinding to a pulp in a food processor, or cooking. Since cooking may deplete some nutrients, some prefer to process veggies using a food processor.

I think most breeders have, at some stage, fed Raw Tripe - there is an interesting article on the pros and cons of raw tripe HERE.

Before I made the change to Raw, I was concerned about bacteria from eating raw meat - but have since found that research suggests that many dry diets are as likely to cause issues with the same bacteria that they blame raw feeding for such as E. coli and Salmonella.

When first starting out it is recommended to use only one protein source for a week or so, and most people start with chicken mince. Each week you can add a new source of meat until your dog is accustomed to numerous protein sources. During the first few days of the new diet, as your dog is adjusting, they may have some stomach upset and need a few extra trips outside, but once their body starts acclimating everything should settle down.

Other items that can be added several times per week include raw eggs, some include the shells too, sardines, and as per above, some vegetables. Although egg shells are the only food I have found that my dogs won't eat!

There are many ways to feed your dog a raw diet ‘the right way’ and as with everything else, everyone’s opinion is a little different. Do your research, but if you speak to your vet you may find they are against a raw diet for various reasons, but if you think it is right for your dog, make your own choices.

So in essence, have I seen a difference, for the better, yes I have. In particular, if nothing else, one of my dogs has been on prescription medication for a possible allergy / immune related problem for two years. The medication affected her hormones and she had to have regular blood tests to check her liver and kidney function. I am pleased to say she has not had any medication since two weeks after I started feeding raw, and has had no flare ups. She has also been in season, the first time in three years, and raised a litter.

I am no expert on raw feeding, but if you have any queries on the benefits I have seen in my dogs, please do not hesitate to contact me Email.

I have found weaning a litter of puppies straight onto raw meat so much easier, they take the food easily, don't leave anything, don't walk in it, and produce less waste (great news when you have a litter of six to clean up).

Puppies need protein to synthesize tissue for growth and replace that which is broken down and lost from the body each day. And that amount is quite a bit, as they grow quickly! The protein in a puppy's food should be of high quality and very digestible. Puppies don't need some of the carbohydrates and fillers found in a commercial kibble.

I often hear people say what they feed doesn't contain additives, just look at the ingredients to check, you will find they often have beat pulp, and maize etc, and some contain very little meat.

  1. A daily intake of 5% - 8% of your puppy’s weight, across four meals a day, till they are four months of age.
  2. A daily intake of 5% - 8% of your puppy’s weight, across three meals a day, till they are 6 months.
  3. A daily intake of 5% - 8% of your puppy’s weight, across 2 meals a day, till they are 1 year old.
  4. From 1 year old, in terms of feeding, you should move your puppy onto an adult feeding plan.

The benefits of feeding raw green tripe HERE

For more testimonials see HERE

Julie Growcott
Lillyway Rough Collies




The Science behind the Raw versus dry biscuit kibble debate



For information you would feed a pregnant bitch in the same way with a few tweeks

When raw feeding a pregnant bitch simply give her more of everything! She’s building mini-versions of herself and they need the same things that she needs.

Muscle meat makes muscles, fresh cartilage helps make strong joints, fresh bones lead to optimum bone growth and organ meats are broken down to form organs. Their diets should consist of 10 to 15% organ meat, particularly for pregnant bitches.

For the first half of the bitch's pregnancy feed her as normal until pregnancy has been confirmed - at six weeks you can start around 30% more food, increase the fat and decrease the bone.
By eight weeks she will probably be needing around 50-75% more food and you should not be feeding any bone whatsoever in the last 2 - 3 weeks. I buy boneless mince.

After she has whelped, you can start adding bone and calcium, whatever the bitch is used to, chicken necks, carcass, wings and even egg shells and this will help milk production.

Calcium is needed for tooth and bone development in the fetus. Calcium is even more important for nursing dogs to produce more milk. However, you should avoid feeding your dog bones after week 7 until after labour because that may lead to some health problems like uterine inertia.

The reason you remove bone from the bitch's diet before birth is because calcium is stored in the bones. Before birth the parathyroid pulls calcium from the bones to help form the skeletons of the new pups but also to increase the contractibility of heart and uterus walls.

During whelping oxytocin controls the duration and frequency of contractions but calcium and the parathyroid controls the strength. If you feed too much calcium, such as a raw diet with lots of bones, then the parathyroid can sort of go on vacation during labour when you actually need it to work. Postpartum (after birth) you once again start feeding lots of calcium to avoid eclampsia (seizures) in the bitch.

Just before birth, Dr. Ian Billianhurst, author of “Give Your Dog a Bone”, recommends

To increase the amount of cooked vegetables while, at the same time, reducing the amount of bone content in her diet. This has a laxative effect on the dog, allowing her to fully vacate her bowels, facilitating more space for the pups and contributing towards an easier birth.

you can also give your bitch a boost a few days after birth with this mix......

Fresh liver
1 cup of whole goats milk
1 teaspoon of real raw honey
1 or 2 teaspoons of flax seed oil
1 raw egg

put all of the above in a blender and mix

After whelping, the bitch’s appetite will increase dramatically and she will appreciate being fed small frequent meals. Individual bitches do vary greatly in their requirements.  Your eye will tell you if she is getting too fat or too thin, and you can regulate her intake accordingly.  As a guide you may wish to increase her normal intake by 130 – 140% in the first week, rising to 180% in the second week and up to 250 – 300% by the third week.  The size of the litter will affect the amount of food the bitch requires and this should be taken into account. With larger litters most breeders will free feed the bitch as much as they can eat.


Dogs Naturally
Dr Conor Brady