Raw Dog Food vs. Kibble vs. Gently Cooked - Which is BEST?

January 21, 2020 5 min read

Compare These Popular Types Of Dog Food

As dog owners, do you want to choose the best food for your dog? Life is about choices, right? Every day we are faced with decisions that will directly affect our own well-being and we do our best to choose correctly. This is especially true with our diet, as we truly do live in an era of abundance here in the U.S. where no matter where you live in this great country, almost anything you want to eat is either not too far away or can be delivered directly to you. All foods can be broken down simply into one of three categories when it comes to the health benefits that they provide: Bad, Better, and Best. For example:

Fast food, bad.

Cali Raw Fresh IngredientsPreparing a healthy meal at home, best.

Sitting down at a restaurant, better.

The same is true with the decisions we are faced with trying to find a healthy dog food brand. Since our fur babies don’t get to decide for themselves, are you giving them Bad, Better, or Best?

Kibble or raw food, or somewhere in between?

Ironically, the most common forms of food you can give your dog also break down into three basic categories – kibble, cooked whole dog food, and a raw food diet for dogs. Conveniently, those three categories sync up perfectly with the “Bad, Better, Best” decision-making model, check it out.


Absolutely the “fast food” of doggy diets, kibble exists due to three main reasons; it’s cheap, it’s convenient, and its dry pelletized form is "easy" to store at room temperature. Notice that none of those alleged selling points mention anything regarding health or nutrition.

In a battle of raw food for dogs versus kibble, kibble loses. Why? 

That’s because it’s not healthy or nutritious!

Dry, pelletized kibble style dog food is loaded with synthetic fillers and flavors as well as other added colors and chemicals to compensate for the nutritional annihilation that occurs during its processing. The “natural” ingredients found in these products are allowed to contain diseased and “non-slaughtered”/roadkill meat ingredients. Gross! These products are also chock full of genetically modified corn, wheat, rice, and potatoes – all high carbohydrate, high starch ingredients that your dog not only doesn’t need but could find detrimental to their health. 

The so-called convenience of keeping a bag of dry dog food on the kitchen floor leads to dehydration for dogs which can lead to overdrinking, increased “accidents”, heavier panting, reduced energy levels, and more. Not to mention, that seemingly unchanging bag of kibble begins to go rancid the second you open the bag as the fats within degrade, taking vitamins and nutritional value down with them. Long term consumption of rancid fats in kibble has been shown to lead to hair loss, incontinence, kidney or liver diseases, reproductive failure, and even cancer or death.

High starch, grain-loaded kibble style dog food has also been shown to lead to potentially fatal heart disease in dogs which have led to a wave of “grain-free” marketing by the big grocery store dog food brands, but they still suffer from all of the above. If the cost of convenience is your dog’s health, is it worth it? We say no way!

english bulldog choosing the best dog food between raw and dry

Read More: Why Kibble is Bad For Dogs  | Life Stage Nutrition Guide for puppies and adult dogs


Alright! So you have made the initial decision to kick kibble to the curb and explore some healthy natural dog food options. There are many brands on the market pitching their version of a “gently cooked” whole food diet claiming they contain human-grade ingredients similar to what you’d use to prepare your own healthy cooked meal.

Make no mistake, almost any brand that you choose will be a major upgrade over even the best kibble based diets, but not all of them are alike, and far too many include human-grade ingredients that dogs simply do not need. Starchy vegetables, pasta, and rice blends make for cheap filler and add a hip sounding ingredient to the list, but if it is not a part of a dog’s ancestral diet, it is not contributing to their optimal health.

A common misconception is that cooked dog food is “safer” than raw fresh dog food due to the potential risk of bacterial contamination from uncooked meats – not just for the human preparing the meal, but for the dog digesting it!  That is simply not true. Gently cooked while dog food is better than kibble, but here is why we feel that raw feeding is the best!


Dogs are the living product of domestication by humans. After years of predatory evolution by their closest ancestor, the wolf, dogs strayed from their natural raw diet. However, just because they are fed processed kibble or cooked meat, it doesn't mean that they are absorbing all the nutrients they need.

Owners who are aware of the fact that dogs will be the healthiest when eating a biologically appropriate meal. They need to research and gather the appropriate ingredients to replicate the past diet of the dog's ancestors. This is costly and time-consuming and usually unable to meet the nutritional needs of their dogs.

Sourcing the right ingredients and combining them proportionately are traditionally the two biggest hurdles that discourage curious dog owners from trying a raw diet.

The good news is that there is a rise in popularity and quality of raw natural dog food delivery services, like Cali Raw. You are literally just a few mouse clicks away from some very simple and surprisingly affordable solutions that can be delivered right to your door.

turkey raw dog food in orange county delivered frozen to feed fresh

When considering a switch to raw dog food diet for dogs, think about the healthiest foods that you could choose for yourself. As a rule of thumb, the healthiest foods that you can think of are the ones that have been processed the least by humans. A freshly plucked apple, a bushel of berries, or a platter of tasty sashimi… yum! The same is true for our pups – the closer you can get to their natural predatory diet, not only the better… but the BEST!

Have a finicky eater? Creating a blend of raw and gently cooked, nutrition-dense dog foods is a great way to transition to a holistic remedy for your dog. A successful switch to a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF) style diet can almost immediately register an overall improvement in health, more flexibility, improved joint health, cleaner teeth, the end of allergies, and more.

Read More: What is Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding | Tips for Dog sensitive stomach



When you are faced with the choice of what to feed your dogs, consider the Bad, Better, Best model. Only one offers the greatest bio-availability of nutrition! When choosing between healthy dog food brands, here are a few key tips to help you find the very best.

Choose a dog food brand that:

  • Uses high-quality, nutrient-dense, and all-natural ingredients
  • Provides formulated meals expertly balanced for a canine’s optimal health
  • Prepares the meals in craft-sized batches using proven processes and techniques to minimize depletion and maximize nutrient and vitamin absorption

Lucky for you, you’ve found one that checks all those boxes here with Cali Raw's Menu. 

Shop around our site awhile, be sure to check out our other informative blog posts, the always useful Feeding Calculator, read customer tutorials from other dog lovers, and dive into our ingredients lists to see why we are confident when we say that Cali Raw is the BEST dog food you will find!


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