dog balancing spinach leaf on nose

Are you sick of conflicting information about plants in a raw diet?

Me too.

Nothing is more confusing to raw feeders than the debate over fruits and vegetables in a dog’s diet.

The raw feeding community agrees on the exclusion of grains in a canine raw diet. But they’re divided when it comes to the use of plants. And this is where the raw feeding ideologies take different paths.

Do dogs need fruits and vegetables for optimal health?

Most commercial pet food companies and “BARF diet” raw feeders believe fruits and vegetables belong in a dog’s diet. But “Prey Model” feeders advocate as carnivores, dogs have no need for plant matter.

Let’s get to the bottom of this debate right now.

Why This Post Has Changed

It was long overdue for an update.

The previous version no longer supported what I believe today.

What’s more, it left out important pieces out of the puzzle. Pieces you need to make an educated decision about fruits and veggies in your dog’s raw diet.

Today you’ll learn:

  • Viewpoints from both sides
  • New research to consider
  • Tests to determine if plants make your dog healthier

Once you know all the facts, you can make better decisions about which ingredients to include in your dog’s diet. 

First, let’s tackle the age-old question.

Do Dogs Need Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates along with other foods like:

  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Starches
  • Sugars

Because fruits and vegetables are the healthiest choice in the carbohydrate category, this leads dog owners to question:

“Do dogs need fruits and vegetables?”

It’s important we emphasize need. This has nothing to do with your dog’s preference for plants. Or, if feeding fruits and vegetables makes you feel better.

What we’re asking is:

  • Do dogs need fruits and vegetables to survive?
  • Are carbohydrates required for good canine health?

The answer is NO.

Both the National Research Council and the Association of American Feed Control Officials confirmed this.

  • In a 2006 committee on Animal Nutrition, the NRC confirmed dogs have no nutritional requirements for carbohydrates.
  • In their 2010 Pet Food Nutrient Profiles, the AAFCO concluded carbohydrates are not essential to a healthy canine diet.
  • Leading canine nutrition textbooks agree as well.

This makes sense. As facultative carnivores, dogs don’t have a physiological requirement for carbohydrates.

NOTE: See this free eBook for a complete discussion on the classification of animals and whether dogs are carnivores or omnivores.

But can plants play a role in supplementation?

Many in the industry believe so. Today, information suggests plants can be a healthful addition to the modern dog’s diet.

Let me explain.

The Canine Ancestral Diet

red swiss chard on wood background

Ancestral nutrition is the premise of a raw diet.

It’s modeled after what your dog’s ancestors ate in the wild. Since your dog is a descendant of the wolf, raw diets are based on the natural diet of the wolf.

While this is the foundation of a raw diet, it splits into two opinionated groups of thought:

The Prey Model Philosophy

This approach tries to mimic the wolf’s diet as close as possible. Prey Model feeders do not approve of:

  • Heavy supplementation
  • Plant matter (herbs, fruits, and vegetables)
  • Dairy
  • Or anything they feel is not species appropriate.

The BARF Philosophy

This is a flexible approach to raw feeding with a focus on what works for domestic dogs today. While BARF is modeled off the wolf’s diet, BARF feeders choose to improve upon a raw diet by including:

  • Plant material: fruits, vegetables, herbs
  • Additional supplements
  • And even dairy

BARF supporters feel a strict Prey Model approach limits the potential of a dog’s diet. What’s more, it doesn’t take into account the nutritional landscape of modern day.

Most raw feeding debates stem from these two opinions. So let’s hear them.

What Do Wolves Eat?

Through scientific study, we’re certain wolves are classified as carnivores and are hunters and scavengers.

Carnivores survive on other animals, consuming:

  • Muscle meat
  • Edible bones
  • Organs and offal
  • Connective tissues
  • Fat
  • Skin, hide and fur

Here’s where it gets tricky:

Some wolves eat plant matter and some don’t, which has created an open debate on the topic. This plant material in question includes:

  • Fruits (like berries, apples, and pears)
  • Grasses
  • Herbs
  • Other leafy vegetables
  • Some nut and seeds

The Dispute Over Plant Based Foods in a Wolf’s Diet

carrots on wood background

Prey Model supporters claim plant based foods are not natural food items. What’s more, they’re of no interest to wolves.

They cite renowned wolf researcher, David L. Mech.

In Mech’s Book “Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation,” he states:

Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and … consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilledThe vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site.”

 “To grow and maintain their own bodies, wolves need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous preyexcept the plants in the digestive system.”

BARF supporters claim the opposite:

Wolves choose to eat plant material to supplement their diet. Plants are scavenged from their natural environment. Or, they’re obtained through the predigested plants within their prey’s stomach.

There’s research to back up these claims as well.

In “The diet of feral carnivores: a review of stomach content analysis” both Landry and Van Ruining state:

“The staple diet of carnivores living in a natural setting includes other animals, carrion, and occasionally fruits and grasses

And from Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution by Coppinger R, Coppinger L, the following is said:

 “Scraps of meat, bones, pieces of carcass, rotten greens and fruit, fish guts, discarded seed and grains, animals guts and head…”

 In “What a wolf eats: research on wild candids can help inform dietary planning for dogs,” Puotinen can be found saying:

“Their preference is freshly killed meat, but when that’s not available, they’ll eat anything that could remotely be considered edible

And now we circle back to David L Mech. In the same book quoted earlier, he says:

“Perhaps because of the greater availability of fruit, wolves in the southern portions of Eurasia may feed on plant material more extensively than those in North America…. Fruit may provide vitamins for wolves in the summer, as even in North America it is not uncommon to find seeds from raspberries….”

“It also feeds on all the other animals in it’s environment, scavenges, and can even eat fruits and berries”

Because wolves may consume fruits such as berries, sweet taste receptors would be adaptive…”

Closing the Plant Based Food Argument

Both parties’ arguments hold some weight. Research findings support that some wolves eat plants and some don’t.

The natural diet of the wolf varies and may depend on factors like:

  • Environment
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Availability and vulnerability of prey in the area

A single strict diet for all wolves does not exist.

If both sides were present, they’d bicker over the reasons for plant consumption. It’s not worth hearing out; we won’t ever know why wolves choose to add plant-based foods to their diet.

  • Is it food scarcity?
  • Do plants settle an upset stomach?
  • On an instinctual level, is the animal is seeking out extra nutrients?

Let’s move on to the next series of arguments.

Can Dogs Digest Plants?

kale in dog bowl on wood background

Many question if dogs are efficient at digesting and absorbing nutrients from plants. This leads to the following claims and rebuttals:

Prey Model Argument: “Dogs Are Inefficient at Digesting Plant-Based Foods”

Dogs have a short, simple, and acidic GI tract.

It’s job:

Passing foods with high pathogen loads through the digestive system quickly. Often, this digestive expressway causes food to exit looking similar to how it entered.

This raises the questions:

  • If plants are not fully digested – are the vitamins, minerals and enzymes being absorbed?
  • If nutrient absorption is sub par, why include these ingredients?

Because dogs are inefficient at digesting plants, BARF feeders puree fruits and vegetables. Prey Model feeders disagree with this practice. They believe foods that must be predigested before feeding are not natural food items.

BARF Feeders: “Dogs Benefit From Predigested Plants In Their Prey’s Stomach”

BARF Feeders agree:

Dogs have a carnivore’s digestive tract. Their internal piping is inefficient at breaking down a plant’s tough cell wall.

The solution?

BARF feeders puree fruits and veggies before giving them to their dogs. Why?

  1. It mimics the the predigested plant matter within a prey animal’s stomach
  2. It make fruit and veggies easier to digest

Now, we may never 100% replicate the plant material in a prey animal’s stomach. It’s chewed, mixed with amylase and other enzymes, contains probiotics, and other beneficial bacteria.

But we can do our best.

More importantly, by pureeing plant material, we assist in breaking down the tough cell wall of the plant to make it easier for our dogs to digest. This may not be a perfect approach but it’s a good start.

BARF feeders believe the gut content of prey animals is not inconsequential.

Instead, it’s important to the health of the modern dog. Plants provide beneficial vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrients not found in meat.

Prey Model Argument: “Dogs don’t have salivary amylase”

Dogs lack salivary amylase. It’s responsible for breaking down carbs and starches before they enter the stomach.

Prey Model feeders claim:

Salivary amylase handles the majority of starch digestion. And dogs lack the specific bacteria that aids in the break down of cellulose and starch.

BARF Argument: “Dogs have more copies of the amylase gene than wolves”

BARF Feeders understand dogs lack salivary amylase.

But they point out:

Dogs produce the enzyme later in the body through the pancreas and small intestine. And what’s interesting is dogs have a greater amylase capability than wolves do.

A study concluded:

  • Wolves had 2 copies of the gene responsible for the production of amylase
  • But domestic dogs had a range of 4 to 30 copies of that gene.

The research also indicated dogs produced a different type of maltase gene from the wolf. FYI, Maltese is another carbohydrate digesting enzyme.

What does this mean?

Some breeds may be genetically better adapted to digest starch than others.

Prey Model Argument: “Fruits and Vegetables Are Hard On A Dog’s Pancreas”

Many Prey Model advocates claim:

Fruits and vegetables are difficult for a dog’s digestive system to break down.  The pancreas has to work hard to produce amylase to aid in the digestion of those foods.

Over time, the pancreas can become overworked, inflamed, or worn out. This can result in illnesses such as diabetes and pancreatitis.

BARF Argument: “Fruits and Vegetables DO NOT Harm the Pancreas”

According to many raw feeders, this is a myth.

The original source of the information is unknown. Plus, there are no studies or research to back up the claim. Just the opposite, the starch study above indicates dogs have evolved to be able to digest plant material.

Rather, this is an assumption. It’s based on the differences in a carnivore’s digestive system, not fact.

Pet nutrition blogger and filmmaker, Rodney Habib, has attempted to bust this myth. Not only has he interviewed the world’s top researchers, he’s met with owners of the oldest living pets in the world.

What they ALL had in common had been: diversity in their diets.

And renowned veterinarian and raw feeding supporter, Dr. Karen Becker agrees. Habib relays her response in the following quote from this video:

“If vegetables, let’s say hypothetically, were hurting a dog’s pancreas…Purina would be responsible for death by pancreatitis of 20 billion animals on the planet just from the vegetable content they put in their foods.”

“It makes total sense:

“96% of the world’s population feeds processed food. And we know that a huge category required to put these processed foods together are vegetable/starch components. (Now, I’m not saying those are good and of course, we know what starches can do for cancer…).

But dogs would be dying in exponential rates of pancreatitis all over the world if vegetables were destroying dog’s pancreases.” 

The “Plant Digestion” Argument Summarized: It Can Depend on YOUR Dog

lemons on wood background

Dog’s are individuals, like us.

Each dog handles ingredients in a fresh food diet in a different manner.

For example, in the starch study we discussed earlier:

  • Certain dogs resembled the limited starch capabilities of the Wolf
  • Others showed the potential for a much greater capacity.

The truth is:

Some dogs do better with more plant material in their diets and some don’t.

And as a dog owner, that’s for you to figure out.

How? Don’t subscribe to one side’s arguments and remain blind to the other. Read, research, and test.

The good news:

We have more research to inform us and it’s changing what we’ve always thought as raw feeders.

An Interview With Rodney Habib

parsley in rustic tin can

 Rodney is a pet nutrition blogger.

He’s traveled all over globe interviewing the world’s top experts on diet and nutrition. Rodney has met with 100s of canine and human health experts on a variety of topics.

I knew he’d bring some fascinating research to the table so we sat down for an informal mind jam.

But first, I want to share how Rodney started his raw journey.

Believe it or not, Rodney began as a Prey Model feeder. He switched to BARF after he started analyzing his dog’s diets. What he found was they were deficient in several key nutrients.

Around the same time, he was also treating one of his dogs for cancer. Despite help from the best minds in the raw feeding and natural health communities…

Those darn tumors kept growing.

Once Rodney set out on a quest for answers from the world’s leading researchers, he learned the benefits of plants to fill in the gaps in today’s foods.

Today, Rodney is still an avid raw feeder and provides his dogs a meat-based diet. But now he enlists the help of plant material and other fresh foods as supplementation

Update: Rodney has not only halted, but reversed the cancer in his dog. He mentions it here.

The moral of the story

We’re always learning new things about nutrition. Never stop testing, analyzing, experimenting and learning with your dog’s diet.

Let’s review the research Rodney shared. It might help guide you on the matter of fruits and vegetables in your dog’s diet.

The Purdue Study

In 2005, Purdue University conducted a study using fresh vegetables in canine diets. The goal was to see how they affected incidences of bladder cancer in dogs.

Using Scottish terriers, one group received only dry kibble. The other group received dry kibble plus different vegetables 3 times per week.

The results were shocking.

Dogs that ate green leafy vegetables had reduced the risk of developing bladder cancer by 90%. And dogs that consumed yellow or orange colored veggies reduced their risk by 70%.

Poor Farming Practices & Soil Depletion

 Conventionally raised animal proteins are coming up short today. CAFO and factory farmed animals:

  • Live in dark, tiny and unsanitary conditions where diseases spread rapidly
  • Are loaded with chemicals, drugs, antibiotics, and hormones
  • Don’t receive enough sunlight. They lack vitamin D which helps with immunity and other biological processes
  • Eat unnatural foods
  • Have an imbalance of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids contributing to inflammation in the body

This creates nutritionally weakened food sources.

And it’s hard to avoid; 99% of farm animals in the US are raised on factory farms.

What’s more, the soil is depleted too.

Modern, intense agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil.

Crops grown decades ago (and the animals that ate them) were much richer in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients than the varieties most of us get today.

A 2004 study showed “reliable declines in protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C over the past half century.”

Luckily, healthier meat and produce options exist today. Like grass-fed, free-range, organic, and non-GMO.

But the truth is:

The best meat and produce options today don’t compare to their counterparts 50 years ago. And the same foods can be like night in day in nutrient content. For example, the nutrition in a chicken breast can vary from state, region, and even country.

Don’t panic, the point is:

While there’s no such thing as a perfect diet, you must understand the limitations in today’s foods and adjust for it.

According to Steve Brown, renowned dog nutrition expert:

“Vegetables provide essential nutrients, including fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Without plant matter providing those nutrients, an all-meat diet would need supplements.

Nutritional analysis can show where any homemade raw diet is falling short. Though is seems as if more and more dog owners and experts are pointing out greater deficiencies in meat-only diets.

In this article, Brown cites beef and bone-in chicken recipes with and without vegetables. In the chart included, you can see the nutritional deficiencies.

The bottom line:

Dogs are carnivores and should eat a meat-based diet. But plant foods are helping raw feeders to fill in the gaps in their raw diets today.

The MicroBiome:

Inside an animal’s intestinal tract lives trillions of diverse microorganisms. They help with:

  • Digestion
  • Protect the body from harmful bacteria
  • Influence immune response
  • And do tons of other amazing things.

We call this “ecosystem” of bacteria the microbiome.And researchers are learning it has a lot to do with health, immunity and longevity.

Research has determined:

Humans and animals living the longest today have double the gut bacteria in their bodies.

Some forms of gut bacteria can even help prevent disease. Researchers triggered obesity in lab rats by eradicating four species of gut bacteria. What’s more, those with health issues like obesity and cancer lack a diversified microbiome.

Here’s something else to consider:

Research is uncovering that the microbiome drives genetic expression. This means it can turn genes on or off depending on which microbes are present.

And we know dogs are the animals most prone to genetic disorders. Thanks to excessive inbreeding.

Research also suggests the microbiome may be one of the preeminent factors determining longevity.

The big takeaway:

Diet is key. It’s about more than getting specific nutrients from food…

A healthy diet improves the quality of the gut bacteria and supports a healthy microbiome.

This leads us back to fruits and vegetables.

Did you know specific microbes specialize in fermenting soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables? The byproducts from this fermentation activity help nourish the cells lining the colon. And they can help prevent inflammatory disorders as well.

The point:

Your dog’s diet can make or break their microbiome.

Foods that help the microbiome flourish are:

  • Raw foods
  • Fermented foods
  • Foods high in fiber
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Foods that impair the microbiome are:

  • Processed foods
  • Meats from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
  • Foods high in sugar
  • GMO foods

Again, this doesn’t mean we should avoid meat. Dogs are facultative carnivores and are built to consume a meat-based diet. But plant material can increase the microbiome diversity of our pets. And according to research, this could prevent or reduce the likelihood of:

  • Genetic disorders
  • Lead to stronger immunity
  • And a longer life.


From a biological perspective, the role of any animal is perpetuating their genes.

It may seem grim but cell replication, reproduction and death is what we’re designed to do. We exist to ensure our species lives on in the next generation.

To achieve longevity then:

We must understand these cellular processes and look to slow down cell manipulation.

Enter mTOR.

It stands for the mammalian target of rapamycin. Let’s break this down:

  • Mammalian – happens in the body of mammals
  • TOR – it’s a “nutrient-sensitive, central controller of cell growth and aging.”

MTOR is one of the most important nutrient-signaling pathways in the body of mammals. This is what you need to know:

  • It’s implicated in many diseases like cancer.
  • Stimulating the mTOR pathway promotes growth– including cancer cell growth – rather than regeneration.
  • mTOR activation inhibits cellular and mitochondrial autophagy.

What’s autophagy?

It means “self-eating.” And it refers to the process you or your dog’s body uses to clean and destroy:

  • Debris
  • Toxins
  • Damaged cells and mitochondria

Boosting autophagy:

  • Decreases inflammation
  • Slows down the aging process
  • Optimizes biological functions says:

“Greater autophagy taking place in tissue should mean fewer damaged and disarrayed cells at any given moment in time, which in turn should translate to a longer-lasting organism.”

How do we boost autophagy?

  • Fasting
  • Exercise
  • Diet

Experts recommend a ketogenic diet – high fat, moderate protein and low carb. This helps to avoid activating mTOR.

Here’s why:

Eating more protein than the body requires will stimulate mTOR. This can speed up the aging process and increase the risk for cancer and other diseases. When protein is limited to only what the body needs, mTOr remains inhibited. Obviously, protein needs are animal-specific. Dogs will require more protein than people will.

It’s also wise to restrict non-fiber carbs. These are the sugary and starchy heavy foods that quickly convert to sugar in the body.

But fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, along with increasing healthy fats can be beneficial. These foods do not carry negative metabolic effects.

The main takeaway:

Macronutrient (protein, carbs, fat) manipulation can help activate or inhibit mTor.

For a healthy dog, this might not be a much of a concern. But dogs with cancer and other health concerns may benefit from macronutrient manipulation. This often includes adjusting the plant content of their diets.

Making Sense of Everything 

Don’t stop feeding meat.

Your dog is a carnivore and should consume a meat-based diet. This article exists only to share the thoughts and opinions on fruits and veggies in a raw diet today.

More and more dog owners are choosing to supplements with plants to:

  1. Provide a greater variety of nutrients
  2. Fill the gaps in today’s foods
  3. Increase the diversity of the microbiome
  4. Help to slow aging
  5. Assist in preventing or slowing illness and disease, especially cancer.

Do You Recommend a Prey Model (no plants) Diet?

zucchinis on wood background

Yes, I support all forms of raw diets.

I used to feed Prey Model so I have a ton of respect for the approach and the philosophy behind it. What I disagree with though is a strong stance against plant matter.


No single, strict ancestral diet exists. We have enough data to make a conclusion that wolves scavenge for plant material in the wild. Even if that amount is small.

But I do agree:

Even without plants, Prey Model diets can be complete, balanced, and nutrient dense. Plus, they’re unarguably authentic.

The problem I notice is that some raw feeders can’t locate or afford enough variety in the diet. They tend to feed:

  • 1-2 protein sources
  • A narrow or select grouping of muscle meats, edible bone, and organs.

Over time nutritional deficiencies may creep in.


Wolves in the wild consume a vast range of nutrients even if they eat the same prey (or protein sources) all the time. They devour 90-95% of a prey animal including:

  • Fur, hide, or feathers for fiber
  • Eyes, brains, tongue and other random parts
  • Just about all organs and glands (more than the typical raw feeder provides)

It’s difficult to replicate this at home. Some of the best examples of a varied Prey Model diet come from those who feed whole prey. Whether it’s purchased or hunted. But hunting and whole prey feeding isn’t for everyone…

Don’t get me wrong:

Plenty of people excel at feeding Prey Model. They’re a dedicated bunch that provides an impressive variety of foods for their dogs.

It’s possible to give your dog everything they need with a Prey Model diet. But not all raw feeders succeed at this. Prey Model diets are for the dedicated. It’s for the people who can afford, locate, and get this kind of variety.

Still undecided?

Consider using cold, hard facts to help you make a decision.

Test Your Dogs Diet With and Without Fruits and Vegetables.

carrots on wood background

Use data to come to a conclusion, instead of assumptions.

If you’re a Prey Model feeder, test your dog on their normal diet. Then try a BARF diet and test your dog again. The same goes for BARF feeders.

Compare and see which diet produces a healthier animal on paper and in person.

Dr. Dobias HairQ Test

Available worldwide, it’s an accurate hair test for mineral deficiencies and toxins. With this test you’ll see what minerals are missing in your dog’s diet and can detect levels of harmful heavy metals.


This a microbiome-screening test that provides detailed and accurate information about gut health. It’s doctor ordered so make sure you ask your vet to request one.

Pet food Analysis

Fire up Google and find a company that can analyze your dog’s homemade raw diet.

Or click here, for a list of pet food testing laboratories in and outside the US. I recommend you contact the lab for pricing and shipping instructions.

Analyze your dog’s homemade raw diet often as you can afford. Maybe that’s quarterly, once a year or every couple of years.

With ingredients coming from different sources – your local grocery store, an online retailer, and a local co-op – it may never be exact.

But nutritional analyses could offer some helpful insight into what your dog is eating day in and day out. You might find some areas you’re falling short that are worth supplementing.

And that could make all the difference in a healthy and long-lived dog.

Now, it’s YOUR Decision

dog holding zucchini in his mouth

When it comes to fruits and vegetables in raw diet, a winning side may never emerge.

The truth: this stuff is complicated.

But at least you’ve heard both sides of the argument, along with interesting research to consider. With this information, you can come to an unbiased conclusion.

Do what you think is best.

Or better yet, test both approaches and choose the one your dog flourishes on.

One last thing:

Share this with other raw feeders struggling with the same question.

Let’s open up a fresh and objective conversation on the topic. Tell me if you think plants should or should not belong in a canine diet by leaving a comment below.







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Comments (64)

  • Michelle

    The vast majority of people are not going to feed their dogs whole prey. How do you account for the nutrients that the would be missing by not eating eyes, spleens, brains, etc.?

    Reply to Michelle
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Michelle – Thanks for commenting, and you’re correct. Those nutrients are extremely important and need to be provided in raw diets.

      Most raw feeders include organs and other forms of raw offal in their pet’s diet to ensure they’re getting the full spectrum of nutrients they would get as if they were eating animals in the wild.

      Not only is the addition of these nutrients important, but the correct amounts are as well. Since feeding whole prey (isn’t practical or preferred by everyone), there are guidelines for how much to feed. These are based off of the ratios found in wild animals – which are approximately 5-10% organs, 10-15% edible bone, and 80-85% muscle meat and other remains like skin and hide.

      To get these nutrients, raw feeders typically feed organs such as liver, heart, kidney, lung, brains, pancreas, spleen, green tripe, eggs, etc. for one or two meals a week or about 10% of the diet.

      Hope that helps! Feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any more questions :)

      Reply to Amy
    • Carla Boyadjian

      Another great alternative for getting the nutrients found in eyes, spleens, brains, etc is to feed heads :) You get the eyes, the tongue, the brain, and the cartilage found in the animals head and the dogs love them. As for rarer items such as spleens and thymus and adrenal, etc – you can always try ordering those organs from raw feeding suppliers such as ourselves!

      Reply to Carla
      • Amy Marshall

        Hi Carla, thanks so much for the comment and suggestion. It’s a great idea!

        Reply to Amy
    • Learning Raw with Roxane (FB)

      Prey Model Raw Diet 80% raw meat, 10% raw bone, 5% liver, 5% secreting organs. I include sardine/anchovy fish oil too. I don’t use pesticides in or on my GSD. He is 8.5 years old and healthy.

      Reply to Learning
  • Richard Olson

    Interesting article. I am curious tho, why none of the recent genetic research on dog digestion was not included. For example, you state that ” Carnivores also lack amylase (found in all omnivores and herbivores), the enzyme necessary for breaking down carbs and starches”, yet the Scientist (Dogs adapted to Agriculture, Jan 2013) says “Specifically, dogs carry extra copies of the gene for amylase—an intestinal enzyme that cuts starch into maltose—and now produce 28 times more of the protein than their wolf counterparts. Dogs also produce 12 times more maltase-glucoamylase, which converts maltose into sugar, thanks to several mutations in the gene for this enzyme. Mutations in a third gene—SGLT1—improved the function of a protein that absorbs the sugar through the gut.”
    Science Mag, goes on to say “Dogs and wolves have the same number of copies of another gene, MGAM, which codes for maltase, another enzyme important in starch digestion. But there are four key differences between the sequence in dogs and wolves. One difference causes dogs to produce longer versions of maltase. That longer protein is also seen in herbivores, such as cows and rabbits, and omnivores, such as mouse lemurs and rats, but not in other mammals, suggesting length is important to plant-eaters. These differences make the dog maltase more efficient, the researchers report. “(Diet Shaped Dog Domestication, Jan 23 2013). These articles all point to dogs beginning to eat grains and fruits (the scavenger hypothesis) when domestication began 10K years ago, not 100 as you suggest. There are many more articles like this in several science publications concerning the comparison of the dog and wolf genome. Comparative anatomy alone is an insufficient methodology in determining diet.

    Reply to Richard
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Richard, I appreciate your feedback. I’m glad you pointed this out – as I had a miswording in the post.

      Dogs do not produce the enzyme amylase in their saliva. Salivary amylase starts the process of breaking down starchy carbohydrates before they enter the stomach and is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. Omnivorous and herbivorous animals produce amylase in their salivary glands, but not carnivores.

      Because of this, carnivores need to make amylase later in the digestion process (I see where that wasn’t clear enough from the article). This burden is placed on the pancreas. It must produce a larger amount of amylase to deal with the starch, cellulose, and carbs from plant matter. Because of the lack of salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion is much more difficult. It taxes the pancreas and puts an extra strain on the organ since it needs to work harder to digest the starchy carbohydrates and plant matter.

      Amylase and maltase are needed to break down carbs, my point is that dogs don’t naturally come equipped with it in the right places like herbivorous and omnivorous animals. Herbivores may have as many as four stomachs and both omnivores and herbivores have a considerably longer digestive tract than carnivores. The point being that grains, fruits and vegetables aren’t natural foods for dogs and are foods they can’t digest as effectively and efficiently as their omnivore and herbivore counterparts. It’s like putting 87 octane gasoline in a sports car. It might still run, but it will be running far less efficiently. Since a carnivore’s digestive tract and digestion time is considerably faster, these foods will be eliminated before sufficient digestion and vitamin and mineral absorption can occur.

      I was also talking about dogs eating grains, fruits, and vegetables for 100 years in relation to how long commercial pet food has been on the market, not domestication. To answer your original question further, I usually avoid studies that don’t show who funded the research because most scientific studies are not completed merely for the knowledge gained; they are usually funded by governments or corporations. Since our government has more to worry about than what dogs should be eating, dog food companies end up funding most of the studies surrounding canine diet and nutrition, as they are the ones who benefit the most.

      But, again, thanks for pointing out any confusion or areas in the post that wasn’t clear. I’ll be happy to go back and include the research and clarify any points!

      Reply to Amy
      • Mary

        You are exactly correct. Most to all research is being funded by the Pet Food Industry trying to prove that our dogs (& cats)can digest the garbage they have in their products especially kibble & canned foods. As far as raw diets, they should not be including all the veggies & fruits because amalyse is not produced in dogs saliva & it does over work the pancreas to produce more enzymes. I’m glad you wrote this. I’ve been fighting this with people for too long and just has beaten me down. If people don’t want to learn the “true facts” about how our pets digestive system & stomach work, not having specific enzymes to breakdown veggies & most fruits other than small berries(it goes in one end & totally out the other, they get no nutrients from these not bioavailable ingredients) and how they truly are not eaten in the wild, nor by wild dog or even by feral dogs & cats, then I guess there is nothing more I can try to teach and I get people who contact me on a weekly basis wanting to learn more, so I educate the people who really want to learn and know the truth. Not just on nutrition, but also on horrors of vaccines, monthly HW poison meds, chemical flea,tick & mosquito topical & oral pill poisons, & other meds your vets (& pharmies) aren’t telling you are killing or making your animals sicker

        Reply to Mary
        • nora lenz

          There is evidence that wild dogs eat fruit, according to Dr. Mech’s work that is cited in the article. This article rightly asks the question: what can be accomplished with the feeding of fruit, and I say that it fulfills whatever need that exists because of biological adaptation that resulted from prey scarcity. That is, when wild dogs cannot find prey, they will eat fruit if they come upon it. How often this happened in their biological history is open to question, but there’s no doubt that it happened. In the modern raw diet, fruit can offer dogs relief from the overfeeding of fatty domestically raised meats, which differ greatly from the prey foods they evolved eating. Ripe fruits are easily digested by dogs and should be fed alone, without meat, for an entire day or even alternating days. Dogs fed this way are thriving, not just staying out of the vet’s office.

          Reply to nora
    • Mary

      what you didn’t state here especially on some of this newer research is that seems to me scientists are changing their “theories” all the time to meet the needs of the Pet Food Industry. Some of this research has actually been funded by the Pet Food Industry so they can make it ok to continue to put grains in foods, let alone starches, including starches from veggies, that actually turn to sugars that our pets “do not” process well at all. If their research was all true, then our dogs & cats health issues wouldn’t be as bad as they have been the past 30-35yrs or even longer. Due to All dry kibble(canned too but kibble is the worse) it has caused Obesity, more & more diabetes(because they can’t convert all this sugar from starches), more & more cancer, IBD, kidney & liver disease & failure, tons of different allergies including chronic ear infections… with all the research I did in 2 1/2yrs/130+hrs and seeing how some of this “science research” was funded by the Pet Food Industry, and my 28yrs of studying wolves & African Wild Cat(small cat–our cat’s ancestor) dogs are not producing amalyse in the amounts that are now out in these studies and 2, adding veggies & some fruits,(not small berries) over works the pancreas to produce more enzymes to digest the foods that would sit in their gut too long as they ferment. Our pets digestive system is not like a humans, it is fast compared to a humans, mouth to colon in dogs 2-3hrs/ cats 1-2hrs; humans 24hrs to 48hrs(unhealthy people are even longer) and their system is identical & works identical to their ancestors the wolf (& for cats African Wild cat)

      Reply to Mary
  • Manuel

    Totally agree with you, Amy. There are two thoughts I wish to add for those who like the idea that wolves do eat stomach content and therefore include veg in the diet:

    Even if it’s true (to some extent), one should ask themselves WHAT is the stomach content of wolves’ natural prey. Broccoli, leak, cabbage, carrots, beet….? Doesn’t sound right, does it? It’d be more like hay, grass, herbs, tree bark, moss, etc.

    What wolves do eat (seasonally) are ripe fruits and berries. So what I do, I buy a bag of frozen mixed berries and use them as ocassional treat. 1lb bag will last 3 months easy, that’s how much I use them in the diet.

    Just my 2c worth, hope you agree :)

    Reply to Manuel
    • Amy Marshall

      Hi Manuel, thanks so much for your comments. I completely agree and what great points to bring to the discussion!

      Reply to Amy
  • Jean

    I used to believe that raw meat feeding was the best for dogs, and then I ran across a raw-feeder who behaved as if not feeding raw meat was tantamount to poisoning dogs. I started to do research, avoiding biased sites and came to the conclusion that however much a dog may have begun as a strict carnivore, he is now an omnivore in the practical sense of the word. Meat may be easier to digest, but it seems evident to me that dogs can also digest many other foods. I can’t imagine that 10,000 years of evolution from wolf to today’s dog changed a dog’s physical body, their mental processes and their behavior, but did not change their digestive system. To me, that’s just not logical.

    In my research, I’ve discovered that dogs can be allergic to many foods, including grains but that the single most likely cause of a dog’s allergies are meat proteins. This is something that raw-meat feeders simply deny, rather than address. So, ultimately I have come to regard most raw-meat feeders as being blinded by fanaticism; instead of thinking about what dogs actually *do*, they make decisions based on what the dog’s relative, the wolf, does.

    I’m not against raw-food diets; I think if the dog does well on it (and he probably will), so much the better. But I also believe that most dogs can thrive on practically any diet, and that there will always be some dogs who will have issues with certain foods – whether it’s processed corn in kibble, or chicken freshly killed from the henhouse. The trick is in knowing your own dog, and not assuming that any one diet is, by default, better than any other diet.

    Reply to Jean
    • Shan

      Not to divert from the original debate, but what would you say to a pet owner whose dog has tested as being very allergic to some of the carnivorous proteins, such as chicken and turkey, as well as eggs.

      Reply to Shan
      • Amy Marshall

        Great question! I’m hoping to cover this soon in another post but in the meantime, feel free to shoot me an email about it. :)

        Reply to Amy
      • IluvmyGSD

        Refrain from feeding any protein that was grain fed before slaughter. Many dogs are so sensitive to grains that they will have an allergic reaction to protein that were grain fed. Grass fed proteins are an option.

        Also, many forms of proteins do not cause the same allergic reaction in their raw state as they do cooked in kibble. So, even if the dog tested positive for certain proteins while eating kibble, these dogs may tolerate the same proteins raw.

        Reply to IluvmyGSD
      • Paige

        Ask if the test was done with cooked proteins or raw. My dog has a chicken intolerance therefore I don’t feed him chicken simple as that.

        Reply to Paige
  • Amy wheat

    How do I increase fiber in my diabetic dogs high protein very low carb diet? I thought about adding steamed green beans but now I don’t think so. A little flax seed perhaps with the omega 3’s or just leave her diet as is. Fiber but not carbs is supposed to aid in the control of diabetes in dogs

    Reply to Amy
  • Kandee Rock

    Love your post and replies! Great info.

    I have some confusion in regards to fiber and digestion.

    Since a raw diet would not supply the fur (fiber?), is your opinion that this should be supplemented?

    I have read that “Kibbles” type dog food is digested much slower and should not be fed while feeding raw do to bacteria concerns due to the raw meat remaining in the system longer than it normally would. You stated that fruits and vegetables do not stay in the system long enough for the dog to receive the nutrients. I am unclear if fruits and veggies with meat stay longer in the system than just meat. So, I am a bit confused. What is the difference between digestion times? Can feeding vegetables or fruits as treats or otherwise cause harm due to digestion time?

    I have a pup that I have been giving a teaspoon of raw pumpkin to aid with bowel movements. I have a vet that is against raw feeding and upset that I wouldn’t let my pup have a “cookie/dog biscuit” after her shot. Yes, I am looking for a new vet. But, until then, I would love your opinion, since the vet is useless, or at the very least unwilling in this area.

    Thanks so much.

    Reply to Kandee
    • Kandee Rock

      Thanks for your response. My pup had a few days of constipation when we first began the raw diet and I used the pumpkin. Since then her stools have been fine. With the exception of a few loose ones when introducing the organ meats. We have been able to balance this with portion control. We are loving the raw diet, however, when something is a bit off with our pup, I get paranoid about feeding raw. It is too bad I can’t find a supportive vet. She is getting a bit of discharge from her eyes, which the vet will blame on her diet and she has been itchy (no flees) more than seems normal to me. I am not sure if growing pups itch or not. I can’t seem to relate the symptoms to the introduction of any proteins.

      What is the time span for any allergies to appear and disappear when introducing new foods?

      Reply to Kandee
    • Brad Peng

      Hi Amy,

      Hope you are well and I have been feeding my 4 dogs raw for over one year now and they are well developed and with less smell and shiny coat. I came across this feeding idea when I first got my border collies pups.

      I belong to a group called “Raw diet for dogs and cat” on facebook. and it seems like many of these “Prey model” feeders and so called experienced “Teachers” like to shut down other peoples ideas when it comes to feeding vegetables (green leaves) and very little fruits (as treats). I have been feeding my fur kids probably 95% of meat / bones / bone meals / various organs / livers / kidneys / fish etc and changing from chicken to beef, turkey, pork, lamb whatever I can get my hands on fresh quality (I share the same food with them except some odd offal).

      You may call me BRAF feeder though I also don’t follow their methods to the T. I understand all the carbs such as carrots, potatoes, rice, pasta etc are not good for the dogs. But I do believe the green leavey vegetables are limited on carbs but more fibre and etc. I am very much of nutritional value / label person when it comes to my dogs feeding. My dogs do graze on grass whether you believe or not and they poop them out. and I understand dogs can not really digest the vegetable whole due to lack of chewing mechanism and certain enzymes and they usually come out indigested.

      I just have one question and until now not one single prey model feeders or any well experienced raw feeders can answer me. I do believe certain plant matter (to human) are good for dogs as well. I usually supplement coconut oil to my dogs diet. What if I only use green vegetables (I am Chinese so we eat more leavey vegs usually) and they are chopped finely mixed with the food and also with some oil extracts (it can be coconut, fish oil etc). surely these additives can be safely absorbed quickly in their digestive system without taxing their system? And can these additions to their diet ultimately benefit and prolong their lives? I do not believe there is any study focusing on this and it seems like prey model is based on the traditional approach on how dogs / wolves used to live. Now dogs are living with us and there are things we could do and add into their food which they would not be able to do for themselves. i.e. chew the vegetable or cold extract the oils from olives / coconuts or fish for that matter. Again, my focus and question here is that will these additional items which I have mentioned add value to their health system? It is the same approach as eating whole flaxseed is not as beneficial as eating them grind or oil extract but we human are clever which managed to do that. Which we can apply the same principle to the dogs..?

      I would really appreciate your feedback on this.



      Reply to Brad
  • Chris

    Green tripe is not an organ. Tripe is meat; the green is bovine digesta that does not benefit a carnivore. The “values” of green are largely the stink and the relatively low phos and calcium.

    The stink is a useful lure for picky dogs, sick dogs, or aged dogs. The meat value is the same as you will find in the USDA Nutrition Database listing for raw tripe.

    The relatively low phos and high calcium in the meat can be beneficial for dogs in latter stages of renal failure.

    Reply to Chris
    • IluvmyGSD

      Green Tripe has a 1:1 calcium/phosphorus ratio. It contains probiotics, enzymes, protein and other nutrients.

      Reply to IluvmyGSD
  • Kaitlyn

    Newb question: When feeding a diet of raw meat, does one still give treats to the dog? If so, would it be acceptable to give them veggies like sweet potato or carrot as a treat? Would you give them baked biscuit type treats?

    Reply to Kaitlyn
  • Jane

    We feed a raw diet, just recently started, and my dog is much healthier, you can see it in her coat, her movement and her general behaviour. The food we give her has ground raw meat, bone and some offal. However she LOVES carrot and broccoli! I often give her the off cuts when I’m cooking. If we don’t have these for a couple of days, and therefore she doesn’t get any, she is in the garden eating grass. This is something both cats and dogs do naturally, do wild dogs and wolves also eat grass? If not, why do domesticated dogs? Wouldn’t this suggest that they need some roughage?

    Reply to Jane
  • Ashley

    I was wondering if you could post your sources for the information in this article? I really enjoyed reading it, and always appreciate being able to double back on the studies and sources cited. I utilized a lot of this information to help me organize my own rebuttal for a claim based on the oh-so-common “dogs are omnivores” myth in a group that I am a part of.

    Reply to Ashley
  • gina

    My dogs eat soopa sweet potato and papaya dog chews and an excellent source of fibre, has helped hugely with they’re digestion and soothes tummies

    Reply to gina

    Hi Amy…

    I have female doberman 7 months ago, but she did not gain weight, I started to eat diet barf for 2 months, changed the food to holistic kibble, 2 months, but she not improve, today she eat morning holistic food and evening only eat raw chicken. she is in good health, she has no digestive parasites and disease. I would you recommend please ? I appreciate your comments or any diet.
    Thanks and best regards.

    Reply to ENRIQUE
  • Gail

    I have a couple of observations. I live on a large farm where we raise horses, hair sheep and crops. We have corn, soybeans, oats, and hay depending on the year. I have watched my dogs who are working Border Collies (for the last 30 years with dogs of all ages here off and on) as they go about their day as to what they will eat, want to eat and will not eat. They have the opportunity to eat a lot of things of their own choosing and in amounts of their own choosing due to their high activity level and I do like it that way. They have access to horse manure, which is a grass manure since our horses are on pasture, and of course means that their manure is not as highly digested as the cow who is a ruminant. We also have sheep that are strictly pastured as well. My dogs will graze on grass with the new rye and oat grass being their favorites though that is not in large amounts. They will also eat the “sweet feed” that is given to the foals when they’re being weaned as well as given to the lambs when they’re getting ready to be weaned. The dogs will choose to eat some horse manure every day but little to no sheep manure. They have access to free choice loose and brick minerals too. The dogs are offered baby birds, non-feathered and feathered, when we clean out the sparrow nests in the barn, they will usually not eat any. They actually prefer the eggs over the babies and rarely will eat any of the birds which surprises me. The cats we have prefer the birds and mice much more than the dogs. We also offer them the baby and adult mice when we clean out the mouse nests in the barn or the bluebird boxes that we monitor, but they really are not interested in eating them, just in killing them. They do eat a high quality meat first kibble due to me traveling a lot and others needing to care for them, but they do choose to eat all those other carbs and fibers on their own. Which sounds in contrast to what you’re saying is what they should be doing. I do give them raw meat, mostly beef I get at our local locker, several times a week but it’s not their total diet as I stated. They do all seem to thrive and most of my dogs live to 15 at a minimum with no health issues usually. Why would they choose to eat the manure and sweet feeds, grasses and such do you think?

    Reply to Gail
    • Kathy

      Hi Amy, I have been feeding raw for 15 years and have come to trust biologists and their studies. More recent studies show that wolves who are higher in the pecking order actually choose one or more organs at nearly every meal. From that I surmise that the healthiest in the pack actually eat more organs than we thought. I have upgraded my pack’s organ intake to as much as. 45% some weeks with very positive outcomes. I highly recommend trying and increase in organ and even in tripe.

      Reply to Kathy
  • Luke


    Great article! Just got back from the gets after my dog had knee surgery. She is now taking joint supplements as arthritis is likely. I asked if I should give my younger dog joint supplements and the said he should get what he needs from puppy food, I told them I feed him raw meat, bone and offal diet but they insisted its unbalanced and needs rice or pasta and vegetables. I was recommended raw feeding by the breeders of both my dogs and their dogs live long healthy lives. Can I safely go back go them and say that not only do they not need rice and veg but that they wouldn’t do the dogs any good anyway?

    Reply to Luke
  • Mister

    I think Amy got bored with this site lol..

    You have been gone since March and not answering some pretty good questions asked here..What’s up Amy where did you go?

    Reply to Mister
    • Amy Marshall

      Thank you for the nudge! I certainly didn’t get bored with the site, just been a bit bogged down… Thank you everyone for sharing your thoughts and asking such good questions. I have been juggling reader questions via email and trying to keep up with publishing new content so my apologies that comments have taken a back seat. If you have any pressing questions, feel free to shoot me an email. It’s much easier to respond to questions at length in email versus the comments section. You’re questions are important to me and I’d love nothing more than to help. Some of these questions are so great that I’m going to revamp this post or write a few new ones addressing some of these points. Stayed tuned for new content, comment answers, and more and thank you so much for your patience!

      Reply to Amy
      • Kimberly

        I just wrote a long question before I read this post. Should I have emailed you instead? Yikes!

        Reply to Kimberly
      • Mike

        Grammar correction:

        “What I disagree though with is a strong stance against plant matter”

        Reply to Mike
  • Kimberly

    I need some answers. I need things not to contradict each other. I need some clarification.
    I have a 2 year old, 5 lb teacup Schnauzer who is my baby since 2 of my children are grown & the youngest is 16. I have attempted to change her diet to raw twice, this last time cost me $1000 in vet bills! Two weeks into changing her to raw she began vomiting & waking me up every 1 1/2-2 hrs throughout the night to have a BM. On the morning after our 5th night of nighttime potty runs, it was diarrhea & I called a new vet, a holistic one, instead of my normal one who might just give one of her expensive processed crap. She ran some blood work & her ALT liver enzymes were 385. She said that not all dogs can tolerate a raw diet, that we have breed our dogs for different traits & not all do well on a raw diet. She suggested The Honest Kitchen preference where I add a cooked protein source. She also gave her a low dose of Metronidazole to help with the nighttime BM’s & Denamarin for the liver. Once the Metronidazole was over (2weeks) she had me up at night again. I went back in & she did a acid bile test, it was only 25 points over normal. We decided to do an ultrasound because the vet feared a small liver shunt. Right before the ultrasound appointment, she started acting her old playful self. We went to the appt. & the ultrasound showed everything was normal, zero problems!! In the meantime I was frantically doing research to find a cause for her issues & for liver shunts. I came across this website that talks about great success with liver shunt dogs. That a liver shunt (from birth or develops later) is the body’s way of protecting the liver. They recommend supplements that you buy from them & they advocate for healing purposes a 1 part cooked protein 2 part raw vegetable diet. Fruits are given as a treat not with meals. That a healthy dog can do a 50/50 diet eventually. They talk about detoxing symptoms when changing to their more healthy diet away from all the store bought processed stuff. Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, possible skin issues or eyes oozing etc., normal detox symptoms. I have decided to try their program to see how Sable does, even though she’s doing fine right now & nothing is medically wrong with her except high liver enzymes. We will retest in 30 days. After reading your article, I have read similar information before, which is why I attempted a raw diet again (similar symptoms the first time I tried raw, but just stopped the diet & didn’t go to the vet) I am so torn & so confused on what is best, there is so much contradicting information, just like in the human medical world! I don’t want to “fix” her symptoms temporarily only to have serious health issues down the road. I do believe they are meant to eat meat, raw or cooked, but I also wonder if they have evolved to digest vegetables & fruits. I know we have breed dogs for different traits & wonder if that has made changes to some breeds that can’t tolerate a raw or high protein diet. I don’t think grains are in their best interest because they aren’t in a human’s best interest either. And I don’t think the majority of commercial dog food that is available is best for our dogs. If it was I don’t think we would be seeing more & more dogs developing human like diseases (cancer, diabetes, auto immune diseases etc.) from eating all the highly processed, grain foods. Before the second raw diet attempt, she was eating Wervua, human grade dog food (very little amounts of vegetables, mainly meat) & I always kept Natures Variety dry kibble available (though she rarely ate any). Since this last medical scare, she can no longer tolerate the kibble. Whenever she eats it, we are up again all night on potty runs! The kibble is now in the garbage. So I said all this because this liver shunt website was talking about the detox process that may occur in changing her over to this “healthier” diet. It made me wonder if when I fed Sable the raw diet & 2 weeks into it she began vomiting & having diarrhea was that just her body detoxing from store bought food? Was the detox so severe that it raised her liver enzymes & her bile acid? Would it have only been temporary? After reading your article, I emailed this liver shunt website guy, shared this link, pasted part of your article in my email with several questions where his information contradicts yours. I also asked him for links/documents that he may have to support his high vegetable diet suggestions.
    I am just looking for clarification, to make some sense of all this confusing, contradicting information. Did I stop the raw diet too soon? Did I do something wrong somewhere along this journey, maybe switching too fast or choosing the wrong raw foods? I want to do what is best for my fur baby because I want her around as long as I can have her here healthy. Thank you

    Reply to Kimberly
    • Lainie

      Just came across this blog & see Kimberley has not received a reply. I am not a vet, just a life time dog owner (70 yrs…, not the dog, lol).
      Our present black lab, 12 yrs. old, has been suffering from skin problems for approx. 10 years. We have spent thousands, always being told its her diet, been on every food trail imaginable, drugs, supplements, holistic vets, dermatologists, raw diet for the past 2 years….no changes whatsoever. She scratches her muzzle & armpits, chews her paws anus & private area & has constant ear problems. All our other dogs lived long & relatively healthy lives into their teens on kibble. I have to cut to the chase here……yesterday I was at a new raw food supplier. Over the past 2 years her raw food has contained a few veggies & fruit including carrot & apple. This new guy tells me to quit everything….all drugs, all supplement, everything & just feed her raw meat with some crushed bone & nothing else but a few ounces of raw green tripe. It stinks to the high heavens but I’ve never given her tripe before. So last night for her dinner she had her raw ground beef with bone & 2 ounces of raw green beef tripe. She went to her favorite couch, slept the night in her bed & has not chewed her paws or her bottom area once! Now, maybe I’m jumping the gun here, she did give her face a scratch. But what the heck is going on? She always is constantly chewing or scratching & only stops to eat sleep or have her walk & playtime. Could the answer have been as simple as excluding vegetables? No matter how few vegetable/fruit? After all these years of misery & all that money? So my big fat opinion is feed your dog whatever works, whatever doesn’t bother her health, poop or digestion. The very first time I fed raw, I bought commercial raw food at the pet shop. My dog was as sick as a dog (pun intended). I blamed it on raw food. Now she only gets from our trusted supplier or home made when the meat is on sale.
      Wish me luck in that our girl is finally relieved from her misery….I can’t believe it. I think all breeds are being slowly & successfully ruined & I will never get another dog or cat only because of the pure racket the dog food & vet industry is in. Why the h&*ell didn’t our vet suggest eliminating veggies/fruit? Because they have no idea of proper nutrition & their training is sponsored by the pet food industry. Simple as that. Sorry for the long rant.

      Reply to Lainie
    • Kathy

      What time of year did you switch to raw or what was the weather when you switched?

      Reply to Kathy
    • Learning Raw with Roxane (FB)

      Were you feeding the proper amounts of raw? 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% secreting organ all based on 2%-3% of your dog’s ideal body weight?

      Reply to Learning
  • Peggy

    I have been feeding my shih tzus a raw diet for about 12 years. I started out making my own but since I had eight dogs at one time, I resorted to buying a commercial blend. I’ve had a lot of misgivings about feeding this, because of the addition of fruits and vegetables. I’ve never been positively sure that these are appropriate for dogs. Recently I have been experimenting with food combining principles for myself. I recognize that it’s difficult for humans to digest fruits when combined with protein. So it would only make sense to me that it would be even more important for dogs. And yet these raw dog food mixes contain things like blueberries and other fruits, as well as sugary root vegetables. I have to say that, even though my dogs are healthier than most, they still have ongoing problems with dental plaque and have lost a lot of teeth. I wonder if this is due to the sugars created, trying to digest these fruits and vegetables. I now have only four dogs left and they have quite a few missing teeth. I’d love to feed raw meaty bones but because of this, as well as the fact that they are a brachycephalic breed, I’m reluctant. Can you shed any light on this?

    Reply to Peggy
  • WaiPeng Yuan

    HI there, I found your blog and must say I enjoyed and learned a lot from your posting.

    I’ve been feeding my two dogs raw for 3 years already and they weren’t exactly doing that well. They have skin problems and yeast infection in their ears. I’ve spent tons of money doing test and acupuncture and still couldn’t find out why they aren’t they doing fantastic. After all I’m feeding them raw right? Then just about a month ago someone introduce me to a pure prey model group in the facebook. The first question she asked was ‘Did you feed them ANYTHING else other than raw meat?’ I answered honestly ‘yes, fruits an vegetables’. So she said ‘take that out from their diet.’ I was quite reluctant to. I mean what harm would it do my furkids if I was to feed them just half an apple each everyday as treats or some blueberries or strawberries and some steamed chopped up green leafy vegs in their main meal. Anyway I would try anything as long it yields good results. Bam! Two weeks later I started to see a change in my Labrador girl – not major but noticeable. She used to have very bad gooey eyes – you know like us humans when we woke up with those eye goo? Yeah, she gets that a lot before I took out the fruits and vegs from her diet. Her eye goo reduced significantly. Then her little red bumps that looks like acne which was on her face, under her chin, around her mouth, on top of her head and on her front legs which sometimes has pus were reducing, subsiding and drying up! Actually during those two weeks I was still sneaking her some cucumber once in a while but after noticing the change and result I completely took her off that too. It’s now one month already and I don’t see any new little red bumps popping up. Those places that used to have red bumps and after dried off and leaving it hairless has now started to grow back hair! The most noticeable one was her interdigital furuncles on her paws between toes. Haven’t seen any new ones pop one and old ones are drying off! Even my Golden boy, he used to get yeasty ears but now has reduce tremendously after I weaned him off fruits and vegs. Now, I don’t want to be overly optimistic but I do think it has to do with the fruits I fed them on a constant daily basis. Even though it was a handful only but it’s still sugar which is carbo and I believe it’s an accumulative effect that it went into their blood stream which is causing them the problems. Maybe once in a while feeding them fruits might not be bad but if on a constant basis like what I did, it would actually bring them more harm than good. Although they are not really out of the woods yet but compare to a month ago they are way way better off without the fruits and veg. Still, I’ll continue to monitor their health.

    Reply to WaiPeng
  • jack russell and seizures

    A good pair of rules to ingrain around the dog could be the concept of “nothing in daily life is free,” so that if the dog would like to enjoy or have something, it has to work for it.
    Undeterred, he start working through his normal process, entirely confidence that his techniques
    would work using this dog, as well as with any other.
    Terriers such as Fox Terriers, Airedasles and Jack Russels and Sighthounds like Whippets, Salakis and Greyhounds are susceptible to chase
    and in many cases kill cats.

    Reply to jack
  • Amy

    I have been feeding a freeze dried raw diet consisting of meat, fruit and vegetables to our five dogs for about a month now. I will be dropping this food and looking for an alternative.
    The small carrots, apples and celery in the food never digest. Apparently the dogs short digestive tracks cannot digest the carrots, apples or celery pieces. The small pieces of apples and carrots are only about 1/8 of an inch in size. I know they are not digesting because they are in the dog feces when I clean up. Most of the food is wasted because the dogs do not digest it.
    I also have alfalfa in our back field which the dogs never eat, ever. This is also in the food but as a powder. Apparently if the dogs like alfalfa they would be eating it in the field but they never do. If you have any doubts about what is good for your dog just try feeding it to your dog raw. My dogs never eat raw potatoes, which potato is in most foods that state they are grain free. My dogs always eat and digest liver, heart, muscle meat, bones and eggs. I think the best approach to feeding a dogs is;
    A good multi-vitemin for a dog
    Fresh grass fed meat and organs.

    Reply to Amy
  • Sue

    My dog almost died on kibble, of all kinds and costs recommended by the vet, hundreds of $ wasted. The vet did not approve of ‘raw’, So I spent several thousands of dollars in vet bills, lab tests, etc to try to figure out what was wrong. He ended up losing almost 1/3 of his body weight, wouldn’t drink or eat. I thought he was going to die, simply laying there. He ended up on IV fluids.

    I finally told the vet I didn’t care what they thought. I gave him a raw, bone in chicken thigh. He ate it and actually looked at me. I continued, first with other chicken parts raw, bone in. Within a week he was eating, drinking, standing, and walking a bit.

    It took him almost three months, but he regained all of his weight, liveliness, joy. I had by then started feeding him various meats and especially organs, beef, venison, raw eggs, chicken, pork, etc, etc. Then added high quality omega 3 oils and occasionally high quality cod liver oil sometimes. He occasionally gets blueberries or raspberries or strawberries as a treat.

    That was 5 years ago. He is now 6 1/2 and keeps up with the 2 year old dogs at the dog park. It is kind of scary to see him with dogs of his own age who are starting to slow down, get a few gray hairs on the muzzle, etc.

    If in the future I end up getting another dog, I will only get one from a breeder that feeds their dogs raw, plus has good certified health test scores, etc. No question at all. I want them to inherit great genes from nutrition and healthy parents.

    Reply to Sue
  • John DeSalvo

    Why do coyotes (who are also decended from the wolf and are true carnivores) regularly raid and consume melons from farmers crops?

    Reply to John
  • Aga

    I need HELP. One of our pups has chronic kidney disease, she’s only about 3 yrs old. She’s 55lbs & I recently switched her diet from commercial kidney food to Green Tripe. The million publications I’ve read suggest a 50/50 meat to vegetable ratio feed mix & based on her weight, I’m supposed to give her 22oz/day of the mixed mass. After reading your article & many other comments I’m concerned about all the vegetables & the amount I’m feeding. I’m lost, and completely confused as to what the appropriate diet for a pup like mine should be. Any suggestions? I really need a good measured recipe! Anyone!!!

    Reply to Aga
  • Hector

    Love all the comments on here, a lot of knowledgeable people commenting on here. I do want to bring up that humans have also changed their diet over the thousands of years. Dogs have been eating more like an omnivore than a carnivore for as long as they have lived amongst humans. Their diet has not only changed during this time, but their digestive system has also adapted. I do agree with most of what you wrote, and I enjoyed reading this article by the way. One of the topics I agree with you mostly on is commercial dog food, and the biased articles written about it. Having fed my dogs not only commercial and raw food, but also home cooked food. I can tell you there is a big problem with commercial dog food. I’ve fed my dogs the grocery store brand dog food, with horrible results. I now feed my dogs 5 star grain free dog food, and also home cooked food and raw food ocassionally with great results. As far as vegetables and fruits, I have seen good results with no issues. But as far as grains, I cannot recommend. I would advise any pet owner to keep grains away from their dogs diet. In my opinion it appears dogs are in a transitional phase from carnivore to omnivore and there is no clear diet that is the one and only diet for dogs currently. We have domesticated dogs, and by doing so have also caused all kinds of problems for them. I also think dogs are on too many medications and vets. are making people vaccinate their dogs too much. Thanks for writing this article, one of the more honest and truthful ones I’ve read.

    Reply to Hector
  • Alison

    You mention Rodney habab several times, people know that name and he does talk about feeding Vegtables…I don’t feed vegtables at the time but do wonder if dogs would benefit from a little green leafy vegtables blitzed in the blender ..there the cell walls are broke down.

    Reply to Alison
    • Amy Marshall

      Thanks for the comment Alison! It’s a good question. There are lots of arguments for and against each side’s opinion. The only way to know for sure it to test it. But again, there’s nothing wrong with feeding a small amount of pureed fruits & veggies, even if it’s 5% or so.

      Reply to Amy
  • Jenn

    I didn’t read through all the comments, not sure if this was already mentioned. The article states “And we know dogs are the animals most prone to genetic disorders. Thanks to excessive breeding”

    I’d like to ensure readers understand that that should read excessive inbreeding. Excessive breeding done correctly would not correlate to genetic disorders. Excessive inbreeding (like we have today thanks to the past couple hundred years) is what caused our bottlenecks and genetic disorders.

    This is a fantastic article, well thought out, well documented, and surprisingly unbiased, which is hard to find. I’d love to see that one point also corrected to complete it as a very clear and researched article. Thanks for writing this.

    Reply to Jenn
  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been a raw feeder (prey model) of my labradors for over 3 years now. While I do think it is the best way to feed (I even wean my lab puppies to raw), I have struggled CONSTANTLY with yeast issues with my dogs — ears, feet, etc. Not all of them struggle but probably half of them do. I get the bulk of my raw food from one pet food supplier and I’m also wondering (worrying?) about the health of those animals BEFORE they are butchered. We have sheep on our property and I would love to be able to JUST feed our dogs our own livestock (because I KNOW how it is cared for), but it isn’t feasible. I spent the day today researching kibble thinking maybe my dogs are lacking something in their diet… that there isn’t enough variety (I feed lamb, beef, chicken as well as kidneys and liver for offal). I’ve tried adding in fish oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar. I still feel something is missing. Why else would they constantly be battling yeast issues? But the only kibble that I think is possibly good costs a FORTUNE to feed… especially when you have 14 labs! The pet food company where I get the raw meat claims the ONLY thing they add to their meat is garlic to help deter fleas. That’s all good (my dogs have NEVER had fleas). Today I cooked them up some kale and broccoli and added some to each dog’s meal — even my 4 month old puppies. I had no idea if they would eat it or it would be left in their bowls but EVERY dog ate it. Maybe I AM lacking something in their diet (due to not being able to feed WHOLE prey) and cooked veggies might help.

    Reply to Elizabeth
    • Amy Marshall

      All good questions Elizabeth. There are certainly a lot of pieces to the puzzle. I always start with diet but vaccinations, flea/tick/heartworm treatments, chemicals/toxins in your dog’s environment, allergies, and on the list goes – these could all be possible causes for unwanted health issues. For some people it’s a constant game of detective to figure out what works for their dogs so don’t lose hope! Have you tried Dr. Dobias’s HairQTest or had their diet analyzed? That might provide some helpful insight if it is diet related (and at least it’s not a guess, it will be based in fact). Another thing I commonly see is that even on raw diets, the fats are often unbalanced. Dog owners who feed more poultry (even if they supplement with omega 3s) may still be getting too many omega 6’s in the diet. If the fats aren’t in the right ranges, that can also contribute to inflammation.

      Reply to Amy
  • Julie Arnold

    Great collation of all the relevant info brought together in an easy-to-follow and understand piece, highly ‘shareable’ to help others.
    Totally on the same page!

    Reply to Julie
  • Monica Robinson

    Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this blog post. It was funny. Keep on posting!

    Reply to Monica
  • Mozell Richardson

    Hi, I’m a massive fan of your website. I really enjoy your post! I am a crazy keen angler & hunter so your posts are really interesting to me and my friends. Fish & hunt on! Thx.

    Reply to Mozell
  • Vincent Perrault

    You’re review was immaculate, it is complete and not biased. I have so much respect for what you just put out. Thank you so much! The world needs more people like you!

    Reply to Vincent
  • Rebecca

    We have raised Border Collies, which from what I have been told are the closest descendants to the wolfs – if you hear them howl at night it is believable. These dogs are free range living in a rural area, and they do hunt, kill and scavenge – a lot! They get food from us as well, and they will eat just about anything we give them – they love veges. I thought they were only eating the veges that were covered in meat broth etc., but I have given them pure vege soup or left over veges many times and they love it – that is their choice to eat it or not. They also go crazy when certain fruit and nuts are in season, jumping up and picking the fruit from the trees growing around the farm, and eat any vegetation they feel like. As far as I can see, they are omnivores. Whether it is good for them or not is NOT the question – they are choosing to eat those foods. Is that not the classification criteria for these dietary labels in animal species..? ie “What food does this animal eat?”

    Reply to Rebecca
    • Amy Marshall

      Thanks for sharing Rebecca, very helpful observations! I cover a lot of this in my eBook which should be up on the site soon. According to taxonomy (it’s the branch of science that classifies all organisms) dogs are in the order “carnivora” (meaning they are classified as carnivores). This was determined by scientists hundreds of years ago and still holds up today. Here’s where so many people get caught up though… This simply means that the diet is mainly meat. It doesn’t mean it’s has to be exclusively meat. Within the carnivora order are a range of meat-eating animals. Some require meat alone for survival, other don’t. There’s also plenty of research that supports wolves eat plant material in the wild, it may be a smaller part of the diet (and not as significant as meat is) but they do eat plants regardless of the amount. And many argue, even if it’s small, it’s still an important part of the diet. So it makes sense your dogs enjoy plants too :)

      Reply to Amy
  • Penny chandler

    i believe vegetables should be included in a dogs diet but not in the form of kibble! My dog happily eats organic apples,cucumber, sharon fruit, and more. Her diet mainly consists of raw. When i first rescued her a year ago i just gave her the best quality food i could find, this was naive to say the least! It took me a few months of tummy upsets to conclude that the dog food market didn’t suit her. this article has put sense in mind of the issues and opinions that float around without factual backup.

    Reply to Penny

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