Top 25 Raw Feeding Questions

September 16, 2019 10 min read

We've compiled a list of the top 25 questions we receive about raw feeding to help prepare for the journey to becoming your dogs hero with optimal nutrition. There is no diet healthier for dogs than the ancestral diet they are biologically designed for. Be sure you know and understand what raw food can do for your dog by reading these top questions below. 


1. Are dogs carnivores?

Yes! Dogs are in the Carnivora classification, based on the fact they have canine teeth and shorter digestive tracts. Dogs can also benefit from healthy fruits, vegetables, and other supplements. This is why we choose to feed a BARF diet. Our nutritionists carefully formulate our raw dog food to be complete & balanced nutrition, this means you do not need to add any supplements to your dogs diet.


2. Why aren’t raw diets more common?

Approximately 4% of dogs were raw fed in 2018. This number is growing by the day as more and more pet owners see vast improvements in their dogs health & quickly!

As our society as a whole has become more and more aware of the poison in our own food supply, we are also taking notice that the traditional kibble diet is toxic to our dogs & cats. Neither us nor our pets are built to withstand highly processed, high carb diets; hence the epidemics of cancer, allergies, obesity, heart disease & kidney failure in our pets. 

Raw diets for pets are not a new idea, but having a pre-made, straight to your door delivery system is! In the past, pet owners would need to hire their own animal nutritionist to formulate recipes for them. They would also need to shop, source, and prepare it themselves. We take the guesswork out of optimizing your dog’s nutrition, and the stress out of having to prepare it.


3. Should dogs eat carbohydrates?

While dogs are technically able to process carbohydrates, this is not an ideal source of fuel for the species. A high carb diet such as kibble, can cause inflammation and metabolic stress in a dogs' body. The most biologically appropriate diet for carnivorous canines is raw meat high in fat content.

4. Are vegetables healthy for dogs?

Yes! Dogs get fiber, energy, vitamins, some minerals, and diverse nutrients from vegetables. We believe it is beneficial to feed dogs a BARF diet comprised of approx. 80% meat, organ & bone coupled with 20% vegetables. 

5. How will raw dog food change my dog’s stool?

Often times when transitioning a dog into a new diet, especially one of a higher quality it can upset their stool for a short time. This is considered to be somewhat of a detoxification.

When transitioning to raw the bacteria in the intestinal tract is adjusting, causing your dog to have loose stool or maybe go more often for a short period of time. The good news is that once your dog is fully transitioned to a raw diet their stool will firm up, and be much smaller than when they were on kibble!

With no fillers & maximum nutrient absorption, your dogs digestion & elimination regularity will improve greatly. Yes, this means less dog farts too! 

Clickhere to learn more about how nutrition affects your dog's poop.

6. What if my dog is losing weight?

Many dogs on kibble are overweight and even obese. When starting raw it is not uncommon for an overweight dog to start losing weight as he is getting more fit and lean.

If your dog is already at their optimal weight or has dropped below your target weight please increase your dogs portions to 1/2% higher. For example if you are feeding 2.5% of body weight, increase to 3% of body weight. 

Like humans, some dogs have faster metabolisms regardless of activity levels. 


7. How do I transition my dog to a raw diet properly?

Anytime you change food it’s important to take it slow. While most dogs have strong digestive systems, switching from dry kibble to a raw moist food, can be a shock on their systems initially.

Some dogs will even experience a mild detoxification during the transition. Don't be alarmed, this is common when a dog has been eating processed foods their whole life. When switching to a fresh or raw food diet, the dog’s system will take time to adjust and form the enzymes and microbiota.

This is our recommended process for ensuring a smooth transition to raw dog food: 

  • Start with feeding 20% raw food & 80% old food for the first 3-5 days. 
  • Then adjust to 50% raw food & 50% old food for the next 3-7 days. 
  • Finally, adjust to 80 raw food & 20% old food for the final 7-14 days. 
  • After 1-2 weeks of slowly introducing the raw dog food, your dog will be ready for a 100% raw diet. 

8. Can fruits and vegetables be fed as dog treats?

Yes! Occasionally and in moderation certain fruits and vegetables can be fed as treats. keep in mind that when feeding Cali Raw Dog Food, you dog is receiving a complete and balanced diet with all the necessary nutrition. 

Examples of fruits and vegetables that are safe to be fed as dog treats are:

  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potato
  • Kale
  • Carrots


9. Is raw ok to feed my dog with allergies?

Yes! Always read the label on each formula to be sure the recipe does not contain ingredients that your dog is allergic to.

Typically dogs with allergies find substantial relief on a limited ingredient raw diet free of fillers, grain, gluten & artificial or processed ingredients. 

Clickhere to learn more about raw feeding a dog with allergies. 

TheAdult Beef Formula is a top pick for dogs with allergies.


10. What kinds of treats are healthy for my dog?

Treat quality is just as important as your dog’s daily food. You will want to look for something with pure ingredients, like our all-natural meat jerky treats or beef marrow bones.


11. Can I switch from meat source to meat source within the raw diets?

Yes, as long as your dog is not allergic to something in the formula you can switch meat sources with ease. We actually recommend offering your dog a variety of meat sources weekly. When possible it is best to feed your dog 2-3 meat proteins per week. Your dog will appreciate this! 

12. Do I need to cook the food before feeding it?

No, and we recommend you don’t. Cooking the meat will deplete the nutrients and may destroy or modify the proteins. The only instances we recommend cooking the food is if you have someone in the family (pet or human) with a compromised or weakened immune system or if your puppy is under 16 weeks of age. In these cases, you can choose to lightly cook it 6-8 minutes in a skillet with a small amount of water.

We always recommend practicing safe handling & work area sanitation after serving or handling raw food products. 


13. What about salmonella in chicken?

Keep in mind that dogs can tolerate a higher level of bacteria than us humans. Dogs have shorter digestive tract and higher levels of acidity in their digestive system. 

We know that when a dog is fed a species appropriate diet, their immune system is optimally strong and their digestive system is functioning properly. The acidity level in their stomachs is also very high on a raw diet, which makes it an undesirable environment for bacteria.

To ensure your own safety when feeding raw, use the same safe handling practices you would use when preparing your own raw meats: exercise basic hygiene, wash your hands, and sanitize surfaces after use. 

Quality raw meats are not just perfectly safe for dogs, they are ideal. 


14. Will eating raw make my dog more aggressive?

No! A raw diet is what dogs are designed to eat for their biological, nutritional needs. The food you feed to your dog is not a factor in aggressive behavior.

However, we always recommend separating dogs with known food aggression. A raw diet is very pleasing to a dog and could be considered a high value prize that a dog may be more possessive over than kibble. 

15. How often should I feed my dog or puppy?

For adult dogs, we recommend feeding a raw diet either once or twice per day. If twice per day, split the daily suggested feeding in half. 

For puppies, we recommend feeding raw food 3-4 times per day, splitting each meal equally based on suggested daily feeding quantity for their predicted adult weight. 


16. How many calories do dogs need?

Dog’s caloric needs can vary greatly based on age, weight, activity level, and other factors.

The standard formula used for calculating the energy requirements of the average adult dog that lives in the house, receives light daily exercise, and is spayed or neutered is: 

 30 X Weight in Kg (or pounds divided by 2.2) + 70 = Daily Caloric Needs

Dog's Weight 10 20 35 50 60 75
Inactive   296 419 757 914 1134 1340
Moderately Active 342 576 781 1145 1313 1552
Very Active 576 969 1474 1926 2208 2610

Click here for our raw feeding calculator based on body weight.

17. Why is raw better than dry kibble, cooked food or canned dog food?

We know that processed food is less healthy than fresh, raw food for humans, it’s the same for dogs! Cooking the food depletes the nutrients in the meat source and produce.

Kibble is a relatively new concept, it was developed during WWII because of the lack of materials needed to make cans for canned food. Kibble has never been a good option for our pets, most kibbles are filled with corn, wheat, non-human grade meat, and synthetic vitamins which will, over time, hurt your pets health because of the nutritional deficiencies.

Kibble also lacks moisture, in a dogs’ natural diet where they would be hunting and eating prey, their food contained approximately 70% moisture, with kibble that percentage drops to 10% and below. This can cause dehydration in dogs and lead to chronic UTIs or Kidney failure.

Dogs have a short digestive tract, that makes it difficult to digest complex processed foods, they evolved to eat fresh, raw meat and vegetables. There is also much less useless waste in a raw diet, leaving the dog more able to process and absorb more of the nutrition, leading to less smelly, more solid, and smaller poops.

18. My dog is drinking less water, is that normal?

Yes, due to the high moisture and low sodium content in raw food it is normal for pets to drink less water since they are getting most of the moisture they need from their food!

19. Can I mix feed both raw & kibble?

We recommend avoiding kibble like you avoid McDonalds, hopefully.

We do realize it isn't always feasible for everyone to afford the very best dog food, especially when you have large dogs or are lucky enough to have a bunch of dogs. If you cannot afford to switch to a 100% raw diet for your dog, supplementing your dogs dry food with raw food is beneficial. If you can afford to give your dog at least 50% raw, the nutrients will benefit your dog's overall health & wellness. 

If allergies or serious health issues are present, a 100% raw diet is recommended for the best chance at improved health. 

20. Can I thaw and then refreeze raw dog food?

Yes, it is safe to thaw and then refreeze raw dog food. It does not affect the quality or safety of the product. 

21. Why does my traditional veterinarian say no to a raw diet for my dog?

When you go to the doctor, does your doctor ask you about your nutrition & diet? Does your veterinarian address this crucial factor in your dog's health? Most likely not.

Traditional veterinarians may often have a negative opinion of a raw diet based on our societies adoption of the cheap & convenient kibble diet during WWII. Also, many that do know and understand the nutritional benefits of a raw diet, have also encountered dogs fed an unbalanced DIY raw diet. 

We strongly endorse a complete and balanced raw diet that meets AAFCO guidelines. This ensures your dog is not missing any key components. Our Cali Raw formulas include important ingredients like organs, vegetables, plus naturally derived minerals & vitamins. 

We recommend that you do your own research on the benefits of a raw ancestral diet for your dog, as well as the long term effects & dangers of a kibble diet. 

22. If I choose to feed raw food to my pet, what precautions should I take to protect my family?

Raw feeding is no different than cooking for yourself and family within your own home. Standard sanitary habits should be practiced when handling raw meat. Always sanitize your work area thoroughly after prepping, sanitize used food utensils, including your pet’s bowls once they are finished eating. Finally, wash hands thoroughly after touching raw meat. 

Keep the raw dog food food frozen until ready to use, and then  refrigerate or discard any leftovers. Refrigerated leftovers can be stored for no more than 3 days. 

Regularly wash pet dishes – make sure to pick them up after eating, sorry no grazing allowed. Leaving the food out will cause the meat to spoil. 

Clickhere to learn about what to expect when transitioning to raw food. 

23. Will my pet get sick from eating raw meat?

Your dog will thrive on a raw meat diet. This ancestral diet is exactly what your dogs body was intended to digest. A raw dog food diet offers your dog optimal nutrition with maximum bioavailability for nutrient absorption. 

With a species appropriate diet their immune systems are strongest and their digestive systems are operating properly.  The acidity level in their stomachs are also very, which makes it an inhospitable environment for bacteria. Dogs are much more susceptible to get sick when they are fed a processed diet not intended them biologically. A diet filled with grains, starches, and sugars is a serious cause for concern, while raw food is not. 

During the transition to a raw diet, some dogs may experience mild detoxification symptoms, including diarrhea or lethargy. This is temporary and expected when their system is accustomed to a highly processed diet of artificial or low quality ingredients. 

24. What about bones? Aren’t they dangerous?

No! Raw bones are soft and easy to digest… they arecompletely safe for most dogs. I know what you’re thinking – my whole life I heard, “Don’t give the dog (mostly chicken) bones”.  That’s because cooked bones can splinter, making them potentially dangerous. Frozen bones, on the other hand, are perfectly safe.

We do recommend some precautions when feeding raw bones:

  • Get your bones from a reputable source such as a manufacturer, store, or butcher.
  • Size the bone to your dog. Don't give big dogs small bones and vice versa.  The safest way to avoid any problems is to start them off with a. large bone- maybe even the size of their head. I know that sounds odd. However, until they are comfortable with this feast before them, they may try to swallow the bone whole.
  • Supervision: If you have more than one dog in the house, we recommend keeping them separate to avoid fights. If your dog inhales his or her food, you may need to give lessons on how to eat a bone. 

25. What if my dog is gaining weight?

First, wait a few weeks to make sure it is not a normal fluctuation of your dogs weight. If your pup packed on an extra pound or two, no problem.

If undesired weight gain is occurring, adjust your daily feeding amount by reducing 1/2%. For example if you are feeding 2.5% of body weight, reduce daily portions to 2% of body weight. 

Check out our dog weight loss guide here.

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