Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat? Vet Guide + Science Facts

Meat is one of the most common parts of our daily diet unless you’re vegetarian or vegan. But raw meat is dangerous and can pose risks to our health. So, what about our best friends – can dogs eat raw meat?

The quick answer is no. Raw meat is much more difficult to process and is more likely to carry bacteria, worms, and parasites than cooked meat.

If you have time, let me quickly guide you through some of the most common risks that raw meat can pose to your dog and answer some of the popular questions others ask.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

vet explains raw food diet for dogs

No. The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) advises against raw meat in dogs’ diets. I know you’ve probably seen some TikToks about people feeding their dogs raw meat, mentioning many benefits it can provide, etc. But let me assure you – raw meat is not safe for us, and neither it’s for our four-legged friends.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and animal nutrition experts do not recommend a raw food diet for dogs. High-quality dog foods contain all the nutrients your pup needs and in case you want to include some homemade foods, make sure they are cooked and unseasoned. 

Although a dog could consume a piece of raw meat without danger, raw meat has a significant chance of carrying dangerous parasites and bacteria that can be extremely dangerous for your pup’s health. 

If you however still contemplate raw feeding, please talk to your vet first. 

The Risks Of Feeding Raw Meat to Your Dog

To understand better why you should never feed raw meat to your furry friend, here’s a quick list of the most common risks of feeding dogs raw meat:

  • Bacterial contamination: Raw meat can carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Proper handling and storage are crucial to mitigate this risk.
  • Imbalance in diet: Feeding only raw meat may result in an unbalanced diet. Consult with a veterinarian to ensure your dog receives all necessary nutrients.
  • Choking hazard: Bones in raw meat can pose a choking hazard if not appropriately sized and supervised.
  • Parasitic infections: Raw meat may contain parasites such as tapeworms or protozoa, which can infect dogs and lead to health issues.
  • Dental problems: Gnawing on raw bones may break dogs’ teeth or damage their gums, requiring dental care.
  • Digestive upset: Sudden dietary changes to raw meat can upset a dog’s digestive system, causing diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Allergic reactions: Some dogs can be allergic to specific proteins in raw meat, leading to skin, gastrointestinal, or respiratory problems.
  • Zoonotic disease risk: Handling raw meat increases the risk of zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted from pets to humans.

Which Meat Is Safe and Healthy for Dogs?

Now that you know dogs should avoid raw meat, you might wonder which meat is the best for your pup (when prepared properly, of course). The answer is a bit complicated. The key to a healthy diet is variety, so there’s no specific type of meat you should consider the best.

But don’t worry – I got you covered. Here’s a quick list of the most nutritious and beneficial meat you can prepare and include in your dog’s diet:

  • Chicken: Chicken is a popular choice for raw feeding. It’s lean, easy to find, and generally well-tolerated by dogs.
  • Beef: Beef is rich in protein and nutrients. It’s an excellent choice for larger breeds with hearty appetites.
  • Turkey: Turkey meat is another lean option that most dogs enjoy. Just be cautious with turkey bones, as they can splinter.
  • Lamb: Lamb is a great alternative protein source if your dog has allergies to more common meats.
  • Fish: Fish like salmon and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are fantastic for your dog’s skin and coat.

Pro tip: Remember that dogs can have allergies too, just like us. So, try to monitor your pup when you introduce a new type of meat to their diet, and watch out for reactions like itching, changes in skin and fur, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

5 Tips to Properly Prepare Meat For Your Dog

When it comes to preparing meat for dogs, safety is the priority. Here are five tips on how to properly prepare meat for your doggo:

  • Choose quality meat: Look for lean cuts like chicken breast, turkey, or beef with minimal fat. Avoid processed or seasoned meats, as they often contain additives that aren’t healthy for your dog.
  • Cook it thoroughly: Cooking meat is a must to kill harmful bacteria. Boiling, baking, or grilling are great options. Try to cook until there’s no pink in the center, especially for poultry.
  • No seasonings/sauces: Keep it simple! Avoid using any spices, onions, garlic, or seasoning that might upset your dog’s tummy. Plain and unseasoned is the way to go.
  • Cool before serving: Let the cooked meat cool down before giving it to your pup. Hot food can burn their mouth and throat. Plus, it’s easier to digest when it’s not piping hot.
  • Watch for bones: Be extra careful with bones, as they can splinter and cause choking or digestive problems. Always remove them before serving. Try to find boneless cuts or consider safer alternatives like raw meaty bones designed for dogs.

Vet Q&A

What Should I Do If My Dog Has Diarrhea After Eating Raw Meat?

If your dog experiences digestive issues, consult your vet immediately. It may be a sign of food intolerance or bacterial contamination.

Can Puppies Eat Raw Meat?

Puppies have sensitive stomachs, so consult your vet before introducing raw meat. Ensure it’s finely ground to prevent choking.

Is It Okay to Feed My Dog Raw Pork?

No. Raw pork meat is extremely dangerous for your dog and has a high chance of carrying dangerous parasites like Trichinella spiralis, causing trichinellosis in dogs – a condition that can be fatal for most dogs. Parasites like this can cause serious damage to a dog’s digestive system and lead to a fatal outcome.

Is It Okay to Feed My Dog Raw Chicken?

No. Although chicken is significantly safer and healthier than pork, raw chicken is still dangerous. Raw chicken can carry worms like Capillaria – a parasite that can seriously damage the respiratory tract of dogs and lead to a life-threatening condition.