Raw dog food vs kibble – which is best?


Let’s weigh the benefits of feeding raw compared to commercial kibble

Raw dog food vs kibble – which is best?

Quick takeaways about raw dog food vs kibble

  • Raw food is protein-based, with 100% natural ingredients and no fillers.
  • Kibble is a dry dog food made by cooking ingredients and shaping them into pellets.
  • Feeding a raw diet early on has been linked to fewer long-term gut problems.


We all want the best for our dogs – and we know the importance of diet for our pets’ overall health and wellbeing.

So, it’s no surprise that many owners are questioning whether a raw diet is better for their dog’s health than commercial kibble.

When you’re shopping for dog food, a whole spectrum of options is available.

It’s easy to opt for the cheapest option, but if you can, it’s worth investing in a natural, protein-rich raw diet to prevent costly health issues further down the line.

While pet parents can be divided on the raw dog food vs kibble debate, it’s worth deciding for yourself what’s best for you and your dog.


What’s in raw food and how is it made?

Raw food is made by blending raw meat, offal and dog-safe fruits and vegetables.

The bulk of raw food is made from meat protein to imitate the natural prey of dogs in the wild. Raw food contains only natural ingredients.


What’s in kibble and how is it made?

Kibble is commercially produced dry dog food that’s often made from meat derivatives, grains and vegetables. It’s cooked at high temperatures, made into a dough and shaped into pellets.

Excess moisture is removed from the pellets to create a dry mixture with a long shelf-life.


What are the biggest benefits of a raw food diet?

There are lots of benefits of raw dog food, and more research is being carried out to prove them. Some of the key ones include:

1. Weight management

Around 46% of dogs are thought to be overweight or obese. Because it’s rich in meat protein with no additives, a raw food diet may help your dog maintain a healthy weight.


2. Good gut health

Research shows that dogs that ate mostly commercial dog food were 29% more likely to develop gastrointestinal problems compared to dogs that mostly ate raw foods.

Gut health can impact many other areas of your dog’s overall wellbeing, like their energy levels, as well as digestion.


3. Healthy coat and skin

A raw diet contains just the right amount of essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and 6, as well as key amino acids.

And because raw foods can be better for digestion, your dog can more easily absorb all those nutrients.

That means shiny, healthy fur, without excess shedding. Good news for your cleaning routine.


4. Healthy teeth

Raw dog food tends to be lower in carbohydrates than kibble, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and little to no sugars that affect the teeth.

Plaque build-up – and subsequent bad breath – are less of an issue on a raw diet, which is music to many dog owners’ ears.


Nutritionally, what’s better – raw dog food or kibble?

Dog food can only be labelled 'complete' if it meets standards met by the European Pet Food Industry (FEDIAF) – so you can be sure that ‘complete’ kibble contains all the vital nutrients your dog needs.

But often, kibble contains bulking agents like gluten and grain-based ingredients including rice and wheat – which lack nutritional benefits and can even cause an upset stomach in some dogs.

Low-quality kibble can also include colourings and chemical preservatives.

Raw food, on the other hand, doesn’t contain any fillers and uses only natural ingredients. The ingredients list tends to be short and easy to understand, so you know exactly what your dog is eating.

With Natures Menu personalised meal plans, you can get expert advice on the best diet for your pooch, and mix and match proteins to help them enjoy their food.


Does raw food cost more than kibble?

While feeding your dog low-quality kibble can work out cheaper than a raw food diet, the cost of feeding a high-quality kibble is very similar to raw.

Feeding a balanced raw diet may also save you money in the long-term as many customers claim it can help to stave off lots of common health complaints and subsequent trips to the vet.

A recent study by the University of Helsinki found that raw-fed puppies are less likely to develop chronic gut problems later in life.


Can you mix raw food and kibble?

If you're in the process of transitioning your dog from kibble to raw, it's a good idea to do this gradually across 7 days to allow your dog to get used to the change.

We don't recommend you feed a mix of raw and kibble in the long-term as this can cause tummy troubles. If you're switching to a complete raw food diet, it will contain everything your dog needs, without needing to add kibble.


How can I transition my dog from kibble to raw food?

Transitioning to raw should be a gradual process done in just 7 days. Introduce raw food slowly alongside your dog’s usual food, and gradually switch the balance over from kibble to raw.

Check out our guide on how to transition your dog to raw. Our veterinary nurse, Melanie Sainsbury, shares the simple steps and her advice on making the switch as seamlessly as possible.


The bottom line

The raw dog food vs kibble debate is proof that pet parents care deeply about their dogs’ health.

Stick to the facts and carefully check the ingredients and processing methods of your dog’s food to help you work out the best diet for them.


Try a personalised meal plan with quality, natural raw ingredients to help keep your dog healthy and happy.