Is raw meat or cooked meat better for dogs?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

When it comes to the debate of raw meat versus cooked meat for dogs, it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits involved. While some proponents of raw feeding argue that it is more natural and healthier for dogs, there are several factors to keep in mind.

One of the main concerns with feeding raw meat to dogs is the presence of harmful bacteria. Raw meat, especially poultry, may contain bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses in both dogs and humans. Cooking meat to a safe temperature kills off these bacteria, reducing the risk of infection.

Feeding dogs raw meat also increases the likelihood of them developing bacterial infections. Dogs have a different digestive system compared to humans, and their stomach acid is designed to handle raw meat. However, this does not guarantee that all bacteria will be eliminated. Some dogs may have a weaker immune system or be more susceptible to bacterial infections, making them more prone to getting sick from consuming raw meat.

I have personally seen cases where dogs fed raw meat have developed severe gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can be indicative of a bacterial infection or foodborne illness. In some cases, the dogs required veterinary treatment, including antibiotics, to recover. These experiences highlight the potential risks involved in feeding raw meat to dogs.

Cooking meat thoroughly not only kills harmful bacteria but also increases its digestibility for dogs. The process of cooking breaks down the proteins and makes them easier for dogs to absorb and utilize. This can be particularly beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those with digestive issues.

Another advantage of cooked meat is that it can be easier to ensure a balanced diet for your dog. When feeding raw, it is crucial to carefully plan and provide a well-balanced mix of proteins, organs, bones, and supplements to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. This requires knowledge and research to ensure that your dog is receiving all the necessary nutrients. With cooked meat, you can add additional ingredients such as vegetables, grains, and supplements to create a more balanced and complete meal for your dog.

While some may argue that raw meat is more natural and healthier for dogs, it is important to consider the potential risks involved. Raw meat may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to foodborne illnesses or bacterial infections in dogs. Cooking meat to a safe temperature not only kills off these bacteria but also increases its digestibility and allows for a more balanced diet. Ultimately, the choice between raw and cooked meat for dogs should be made after careful consideration of the potential risks and benefits.