Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

by Tom Ken

There are various reasons pet parents consider giving their dogs raw meat. They include the desire for the canines to eat a diet more like their ancestors would eat in the wild, and the belief that raw meat improves a pup's overall health.

Regardless of your reason for switching to raw meat, the most important thing is to understand whether dogs can eat raw meat. But, while it is often okay for dogs to eat raw flesh, things are not always that straightforward.

There is always a greater risk of bacterial contamination with raw meat diets even when feeding it human-grade cuts. Also, raw meat is not well-regulated like processed dog foods. However, most dogs can eat and digest raw meats with no issues if done correctly and safely.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?
Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Is Raw Meat Dangerous for Dog?

Before switching to raw meat, it is a great idea to understand the potential risks involved. Here are some points that can make this clear.

1. Dog and Wolf Diet Requirements Differ

While dogs evolved from wolves, it is essential to note that they have been domesticated for thousands of years, which has changed them considerably. Wolves are still obligate carnivores, but dogs are physiologically omnivores, meaning they cannot handle raw meats as well as their ancestors.

According to a Science-Based Medicine paper , a dog's basic working and physiology have not changed much since branching out from wolves thousands of years ago. However, given the environment dogs live in and the typical diet that often entails many starchy foods, they can still thrive without requiring raw or even cooked meat.

2. Health Risks

Feeding your pup raw meats has significant health risks, with bacteria exposure being the most common one. A two-year study by FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) reveals that raw meat and other unprocessed dog foods are more likely to contain disease-causing bacteria.

According to this CVM study, there is a potential risk for both the pet eating raw meat and the pet owner. There is a greater likelihood of getting salmonella and listeria monocytogenes. However, most of these bacteria do not cause the pets any severe health issues or illnesses.

3. Contamination

Contamination is another significant risk that comes with raw meats, and it primarily stems from how food is handled. Raw meats in butcher shops and supermarkets are often tainted with fecal matter, which further increases the likelihood of transferring pathogens to the dog.

4. Nutritional Deficiency

Lack of proper regulation of raw pet foods means most will not be nutritionally balanced. Therefore, feeding your dog exclusively on raw meat can lead to nutritional imbalances that often come with health complications in the long run.

What If My Dog Already Ate Raw Meat?

What If My Dog Already Ate Raw Meat
What If My Dog Already Ate Raw Meat

There is often nothing to worry about when your pup eats raw meat. Many dogs will not help but eat chicken, pork, ground beef, or even eggs they come across. What's more, many love chewing raw bones, and in the process, they can ingest some of the raw meat.

Even if the pet was to eat a whole raw chicken, there is often no cause for alarm. Most of the time, the canine can digest it with no issues. Therefore, there is no need to panic and induce vomiting or rush to the vet. A simple call to your veterinarian should be enough just for precaution.

However, since some raw meats can be contaminated with bacteria and other pathogens, it is still essential to watch the pet keenly for a few days after eating the raw meat. This way, you can tell when the raw meat causes any health issues.


Dogs were eating raw meats before their domestication. Therefore, most can still eat uncooked meat with no issues. However, it comes with significant risks such as bacterial contamination. Therefore, if you have to feed your dog some raw meat, you need to take enough precautions to ensure safety.

About Tom Ken

Tom has worked with many veterinary surgeons as a nurse at different veterinary clinics throughout his life.

There, he provides care for sick animals; such as: dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, and sometimes reptiles.

He has good work ethics and gentle hands; hence, the doctors as well the pet owners have come to love his presence alot.

With this site, he aims to help the readers ensure their pets' wellbeing, learn how to care, and proivide medical treatment as needed.

Joshua received Veterinary Technician Degree at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN.

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