A dog staring at a wooden bowl full of raw meat on a table.

Why Dogs Can but Shouldn’t Eat Raw Meat

Feeding raw meat may seem like the “natural” thing to do, especially if your dog is a picky eater, but it can potentially cause your dog to become ill. While raw meat can be a good source of protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and omega fatty acids, it can also put your dog and family at risk of illness. Learn why it’s a good idea to avoid feeding raw meat.

The Microscopic Dangers of Raw Meat

Raw or undercooked meat could be contaminated with viruses, bacteria like Salmonella or Campylobacter, or parasites like roundworm or tapeworm. In some dogs, particularly puppies, senior dogs, pregnant or immunosuppressed dogs, these microbes and parasites can cause illness.

Feeding raw meat to dogs also puts people at risk of developing food-borne illnesses. If the raw meat is contaminated with microbes or parasites, there is a risk that they can be passed to people who touch contaminated surfaces (e.g., food bowls), clean up feces or have direct contact with their dog. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend feeding raw diets to pets.

Stomach Acid Provides Some, but Not Complete, Protection

Along with its role in protein digestion, the acid in a dog’s stomach, called hydrochloric acid, helps disable bacteria and other microorganisms that may have been eaten during a meal. The acid helps inhibit microbial growth, but it is still possible for dogs to get food poisoning from eating meat contaminated with microbes.


Feeding raw meat to pets is associated with health risks, including risks to humans. So think twice before tossing raw meat trimmings or any other raw meat to your dog. It may have serious consequences.


RELATED POST: Debarking Pet Myths: My Dog Can Eat Anything!

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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