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Can Puppies Eat Raw Meat?

by Scott Marshall March 01, 2024 4 min read

Can Puppies Eat Raw Meat?

Can Puppies Eat Raw Meat?

Embarking on a raw feeding journey with your puppy opens up a pathway to the most natural and health-promoting option for their canine companions. 

This nutrition strategy aims to closely replicate the natural dietary patterns of wild canines, ensuring that puppies consume a diet that is rich in nutrients, which is crucial for their growth and overall development.

What is raw feeding for puppies?

Raw feeding for puppies, often known as a BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food), involves offering pups a diet mainly composed of raw meat, bones, organ meats, and occasionally, fruits and vegetables as well as supplements as required to fill in nutritional blanks in the diet.

Why choose raw meat for puppies?

Raw meat has its benefits, especially when you start early in a dog’s life. 

High protein content

A diet rich in raw meat provides puppies with essential proteins necessary for their growth, muscle development, and overall health. 

The high protein content in raw diets is crucial during the rapid growth phases, aiding in the development of strong muscles and bones. For some breeds, this needs to be kept under control but they will still have a much higher protein amount than typical commercial diets like kibble.

Potential for improved coat and skin health

Owners who switch their puppies to a raw meat diet often report a noticeable improvement in coat shine and skin health. 

These benefits are attributed to the natural fats and nutrients in raw meat, which can lead to a shinier coat and healthier, less irritated skin.

Belief in a more 'natural' diet

Many dog parents are drawn to raw feeding by the belief that it provides a diet that is closer to what dogs would naturally consume in the wild. 

This 'natural' diet perspective suggests that raw feeding more accurately meets the evolutionary nutritional needs of puppies, promoting healthier growth and development.

Danger of bones causing internal injuries

Including bones in a puppy's diet carries the risk of internal injuries, such as choking hazards, digestive blockages, or punctures in the gastrointestinal tract. 

It's vital to be informed about safe bone-feeding practices to mitigate these risks. Appropriately introducing your puppy to bones, teaching them safe eating habits, choosing the right bone sources for your dog’s size, and so on. 

Risks of raw meat for puppies

While the benefits of a raw diet can be appealing, it's essential to be aware of the risks associated with feeding raw meat to puppies. 

One of the primary concerns is the risk of Salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that can lead to serious health issues for both puppies and their human caretakers. Furthermore, there's a potential for nutritional deficiencies if the diet isn't carefully balanced, which could result in long-term developmental problems. 

Another significant risk is the danger of bones causing internal injuries, such as choking hazards, blockages, or punctures in the digestive system. 

Navigating these risks with informed strategies is critical for integrating raw meat into your puppy's diet safely. For help in this area, please contact us through the website. 

Safely introducing raw meat

Integrating raw meat into your puppy's diet requires a thoughtful and informed approach to safeguard their health. 

The initial step involves consulting with an individual with long term, educated experience with raw feeding to obtain tailored dietary guidance, considering your puppy's unique health requirements. Gradually transitioning to raw meat over a period of several weeks is an option, allowing the puppy's digestive system to adapt and reduce the likelihood of gastrointestinal disturbances. That being said, most puppies do not experience significant issue in switching to nutrient balanced raw diets quickly. For more information on this, please see our Free Puppy Guide. 

Additionally, it's imperative to select human-grade meat and ensure its freshness to diminish the risk of bacterial contamination, while also maintaining proper sanitization

By adhering to these strategies, dog owners can confidently introduce raw meat into their puppies' diets, leveraging the advantages of raw feeding while minimizing potential risks.

The Takeaway

Introducing raw meat into a puppy’s life takes it back to its ancestral ways. If done properly, you can expect there to be no issues, rather benefits for the puppy. 

Of course, all of this needs to be done in accordance with a veterinary nutritionist or experienced individual. Your puppy could have its own specific issues that need to be addressed. In general, raw meat can be a great enhancer of health for puppies. 


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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