As of 2022, the pet food industry is valued at 99.10 billion US dollars with a predicted growth rate of 4.4% until the year 2030. The amount isn’t surprising as more and more options enter the market. Two of the most popular pet food options are raw dog food vs kibble. Here’s how each one stacks up against the other:
Raw Diet vs Commercial Pet Food
Understanding the difference between raw dog food and kibble is pretty easy. Raw food are typically made from whole foods such as chicken, beef, pork, fruits, and vegetables. They undergo minimal processing and are served raw. Pet owners may serve them cut up, grounded, minced, or chopped in some way, but the raw meat is kept uncooked. The reason behind this is simple—raw feeding is exactly how pre-evolution dog ate in the wild. Getting safe raw meals for Fido is easier today as there are dog food delivery service options like We Feed Raw, that offer customized meals daily.
Compared to raw food diets, kibble foods undergo processing before being served. The raw foodstuffs are cooked, dried, shaped in small portions, and served as dehydrated dog food. Kibbles are typically made commercially and prepared with different proteins, vegetables, and other ingredients. As commercial pet food, kibbles, typically need to meet industry standards set by the State and AAFCO. See our comparison on fresh dog food vs dry to know more.
But which one should pet parents pick for their dog’s diet? As a concerned pet parent, here’s what you should know:
Pros and Cons of a Raw Food Diet
- Raw dog foods have a higher nutritional value. You’re getting the whole food with no processing in between.
- Thanks to the moisture content of fresh meat, you’re directly providing your dog with additional water in his diet. This keeps him hydrated and also helps him feel full faster.
- Dogs feel full longer when feeding raw, allowing them to eat lesser calories through the day. It’s a good diet for dogs that need to lose weight or are prone to obesity.
- Raw diets give you full control over the muscle meat and fresh dog food included. This allows for easy customization, especially if you have dogs with specific dietary needs.
- A dog’s raw diet is generally grain free food which is a common allergy trigger in dogs.
- Raw dog food notably comes with several health benefits including healthier skin and regular bowel movements.
- Dogs actually prefer raw meals since the taste and texture are more appealing to them.
- Commercial raw foodstuff meal plan brands are available today for owners who want to offer a complete and balanced nutrition without the added work.
- Shelf life is pretty short even for the commercially prepared kind. At best, the food can last up to 5 days in the fridge.
A notable downside of raw dog food is that it takes time and effort to prepare it yourself. The overall cost can also be more than kibble since you have to make them using whole foods. Also note that the nutritional value of raw dog meals may vary depending on the recipe you follow. Ideally, feeding raw diets should be done under the guidance of a veterinary nutritionist.
Pros and Cons of Kibble Dog Food
- Kibble is dry dog food which means that it has an extended shelf life. You can keep it for months and they’re very travel-friendly.
- Access to dry dog foods is incredibly easy since they’re available in most pet stores today.
- Feeding dogs kibble is actually good for their teeth. The hardness of the kibble helps dislodge food in between the teeth and keeps them gums healthy.
- They’re incredibly easy to serve as pet’s food. All you have to do is take a scoop and serve to your own dog with little preparation in between.
- There are several options for dry food in the market. You can choose from different protein sources like lamb bones, beef, pork, chicken, and others.
- There are clear and precise instructions when it comes to kibble. Dog owners can simply follow the feeding guidelines of commercial meals as opposed to raw foods which takes some guesswork.
- Kibble can be tough for a pup’s mouth or senior dog’s teeth.
The nutritional needs of dogs may not be fully met with kibble dog meals. There’s also no control on your part when buying kibble since the ingredients are already predetermined. While dog’s kibble mostly meet the standards set by the American Veterinary Medical Association, quality of nutrition may still be an issue. This is because the process of creating kibble can reduce the pets food of its natural vitamins and minerals. The dogs thrive still, but nutritional deficiencies can happen .
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better raw or kibble for dogs?
When it comes right down to it, healthy food for the dog is equivalent to a balanced diet. The right dog food contains everything your pup will ever need to live a healthy lifestyle. In most cases, this means adding more than only meat in your dog’s bowl. If you have to choose, opt for raw meals that’s been prepared by an animal nutritionist. However, if budget is an issue, supplementing with raw meals or freeze dried foods can give your dog a more rounded diet.
Why should dogs not eat raw food?
A common concern with uncooked meat and raw eggs is the pathogen content  of homemade diets. Many pet parents are unaware of the proper process to prepare meals in a sterile kitchen. With poor preparation, you may be serving your dog raw meats laced with bacteria. If you’re buying from a commercial provider however, the chances of pathogens in the meal may be lower.
How much raw food is equivalent to kibble?
One cup of kibble is usually equal to 1/2 pound of raw meals. So if you’re feeding your pooch 2 cups per day of dry meals, you’ll have to substitute with 1 pound of raw. Note however that if you’re buying commercial raw meals with clear feeding instructions, this is what you should follow.
Do dogs poop less on raw food?
Yes. Raw meals allow dogs to absorb more with each bite. This means that less content is wasted—which means that your dog will be pooping less with a raw diet. Note however that transitioning from kibble to raw may cause problems with their digestive tract at first. Once they get used to it, their bowel movement would be more regular.