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Choosing Between Raw Food and Kibble: What's Best for Your Dog?

by Scott Marshall March 17, 2024 4 min read

Choosing Between Raw Food and Kibble: What's Best for Your Dog?

Raw Food vs Kibble: Things to Know

In the realm of canine nutrition, the debate between raw food diets and kibble represents a critical crossroads for dog owners. 

To understand the difference between them, we need to understand what each of them are, first: 

What is a raw food diet for pets?

A raw food diet for dogs, fundamentally inspired by the primal diet of their wild ancestors, primarily comprises uncooked meats, bones, fruits, vegetables, and supplements. 

This diet underscores the significance of feeding dogs foods that are biologically appropriate, closely mirroring what they might naturally consume in the wild. The core philosophy propelling this dietary approach is the conviction that raw, natural foods can lead to enhanced health outcomes for pets. 

This includes improved digestion, more vibrant skin and coat, and heightened overall vitality. 

It's a diet that necessitates meticulous planning to ensure it is nutritionally balanced, and specifically tailored to the unique needs of individual dogs.

What is kibble?

Kibble stands as the quintessential form of commercial dog food, easily recognized by its dry, processed pellets. 

Celebrated for its convenience, kibble offers dog owners a hassle-free, clean feeding option. It's crafted to be nutritionally complete, adhering to the dietary standards established by pet nutrition experts. 

This ensures that dogs receive a balanced diet, encompassing essential proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. The long shelf life and cost-effectiveness of kibble further cement its status as a favored choice among pet parents. 

However, it's important to note that kibble is sometimes critiqued for its use of preservatives, excessive carbohydrates and sugar, additives,  and the high-temperature processing it undergoes, which can potentially reduce the bioavailability of certain nutrients, as well as the growing list of regularly recalled major pet food brands. 

Why choose a raw food diet?

Opting for a raw food diet for pets is primarily motivated by a few different factors: 

  • The cornerstone of the raw food philosophy is the belief in natural eating habits. Advocates argue that a diet emulating what canines consume in the wild—comprising meats, bones, and select vegetables—ensures the provision of nutrients in their most natural and bioavailable forms

  • One of the most noticeable benefits of a raw diet is the improved coat condition. Dogs fed on raw foods often exhibit shinier, thicker, and more vibrant coats, thanks to the higher content of natural oils and essential nutrients that are preserved in unprocessed food, fostering optimal skin and fur health

  • Adopting a raw diet can lead to better dental health. The act of gnawing on raw bones and meat provides a natural mechanism for cleaning teeth, helping to minimize plaque and tartar buildup. This contributes to healthier gums, fresher breath, and a reduction in dental diseases. With dental disease being one of the most common and harmful health issues impacting dogs today, this benefit cannot be overstated

  • Many pet owners observe increased energy levels in their dogs on a raw food diet. This surge in vitality is likely due to the enhanced digestion and more efficient nutrient absorption offered by raw foods, equipping dogs with more energy for play, exercise, and overall activities, enhancing their quality of life

Kibble vs Raw Food

Kibble and raw food both have their pros and cons. For that reason, it is important to look into both of these foods, and figure out which suits you and your dog the most. 

  • Longer shelf life is a notable benefit of kibble.

    Unlike perishable raw or fresh foods that demand refrigeration and swift consumption, kibble's extended storage capability minimizes waste and assures that nutritious, quality food is always available for your pet, enhancing convenience and peace of mind for dog owners

  • The nutritional profiles of a raw food diet and kibble exhibit notable differences. Raw diets are typically richer in protein, including food such as organ meats, which is crucial for muscle development and overall vitality in dogs

  • Furthermore, the vitamins and minerals present in raw foods are more bioavailable, facilitating easier absorption by the body.

  • On the other hand, kibble, designed to be nutritionally complete, often incorporates preservatives and additives to enhance shelf life and maintain consistency.

    These distinctions underscore the necessity of evaluating a dog's individual nutritional requirements when deciding between raw food and kibble, as each option provides distinct advantages and factors to consider

  • The protein content in a dog's diet is crucial for their health, and it's typically higher in raw food. This ensures dogs receive the necessary amino acids for robust muscle development and maintenance

  • When it comes to vitamins and minerals, these essential nutrients are more bioavailable in raw diets. This enhanced bioavailability means that dogs can absorb and utilize these nutrients more efficiently, promoting optimal health

Deciding the best diet

Selecting the optimal diet for a dog hinges on evaluating a range of key factors, such as the pet's health, age, activity level, and any existing health issues. 

It's essential to carefully analyze these elements to pinpoint whether a raw food diet or kibble aligns more closely with the dog's nutritional demands and lifestyle. 

Engaging in a discussion with a veterinarian is highly advisable to obtain expert advice and ensure the diet choice promotes the dog's health and vitality. 

Pet owners should also consider their own time and financial commitments, as these play a crucial role in determining the practicality and sustainability of the diet plan. 

It should also be noted that switching a dog's diet involves factors that need to be monitored properly.

Making a well-informed decision is key to providing dogs with the nourishment they require for a flourishing life.

The Takeaway

Understanding what type of food to feed goes hand in hand with you understanding your dog. Factoring in all the important details of what diet to put your dog on is of the highest priority, allowing you to come to a decision. 


The information on Raw Feeding 101’s website and other media outlets is designed ONLY for educational and informational purposes. It is essential that you understand the statements and information provided on this website and its other outlets do not aim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Raw Feeding 101 strongly insists that you consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog's medical care thoroughly.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been feeding a raw dog food diet for over 13 years. He lives in Utah with his wife Arianne, his 11.5 year old german shepherd Wolken, and his 2.5 year old labradoodle Montu. Scott has been teaching others about raw feeding since 2013, started Raw Feeding 101 in 2017, and has been solely focused on simplifying the process of pet parents meeting their dogs’ daily nutrient requirements since 2018.

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