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The Controversy of Raw Dog Diets

The controversy of raw dog diets has been sweeping the internet. Many individuals visit these pages on social media for a variety of reasons. However, the question stands, are these raw diets safe for dogs and, if so, how does one transition their dog to it? 

A raw dog diet is a diet that consists of fresher ingredients. These diets include meals made from dehydrated, freeze dried, homemade, or store-bought ingredients. Many of these ingredients consist of organ meats, muscle meats, vegetables, fruits, raw eggs, whole or ground bones, dairy, and an abundance of dietary supplements. Many people are wondering why a canine diet featuring such a complicated mix of ingredients is becoming so popular on social media.  

The alleged benefits of a raw diet include shinier coats, healthier skin, smaller stools, improved dental health, and increased energy. However, these claims are not proven to be true. There is a lack of scientific evidence to prove that these diets produce these benefits. Many people who have tried it for themselves have agreed that the raw meats improved their dogs’ shiny coats and the bones improved the dental health of their pets. Unfortunately, with such a lack of scientific research, dog owners should be more hesitant to adopt these diets than they actually are. 

Veterinarians warn of the health risks associated with starting a raw dog diet, for both the dog and its owner. 

The American Kennel Club states that “The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the unregulated feeding of raw foods and discourages ‘the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal-source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens, because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs, as well as humans.’”

There are risks to an unbalanced and improperly managed diet. Bones in raw dog meals are potential choking hazards for dogs, and handling raw meats commonly included within the diet increases the risk of foodborne pathogens and bacteria, which are harmful to both the dog and the owner. Meats sold at grocery stores often contain some bacteria because they are prepared for cooking and not intended to be eaten raw. 

According to an FDA study, there is a “‘potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product.’ Owners who feed their pet a raw diet may have a higher risk of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes.” In spite of all of these risks, people are still featuring their dogs devouring these raw meals online.

Many of these raw dog diets have gone viral on TikTok for their ASMR qualities and intrigued curiosity of the meals. Somek9shit on TikTok has posted videos of her feeding ground turkey, ground beef, a chicken wing, chicken hearts, pork kidney, beef liver, beef chunks, blueberries, blackberries, quail eggs, and supplements to her dog. She does not wear gloves while handling the different raw meats included within her meals. However, she does claim that she advises a nutritionist’s recommendation before starting a raw dog diet. 

Another account mydogsdope showed a similar video of her two dogs eating a raw dog meal, featuring many of the same ingredients as somek9shit’s. She prepared the meal without any food safety gloves, although she did not touch the meat with her bare hands like somek9shit did. This video was hashtagged with “ASMR,” and the majority of the video involved watching and listening to the two dogs consuming their meals. 

Videos like these could be a risk to those who see the diet trend, which has popularized the feeding of raw meats and vegetables to dogs without doing the necessary research that accompanies the raw dog diet. However, many people online have mixed feelings about these diets.

Natalitttt stated in a Twitter post that she, “switched [her dog] Phoenix over to an expensive ass raw food diet and she’s excited about feeding time, her breath isn’t so stinky, and her coat is so soft…. I just had to get the most boujee dog out of the litter didn’t I.”

For users like her, it seems the raw diet is working well. However, others aren't quite as convinced. 

Another post on Twitter, made by Celestialgvrl, stated that “this lady on ig (Instagram) [is] trying to push her raw food dog diet while her dog is already greying in the face at 2 years old...yeah that's working out for ya lmfaooo.” She doesn't seem to be falling for the internet hype of raw dog diets. 

Despite the controversy, people are still intrigued by these raw diet meals. How can people desiring to start these diets do so while still paying attention to the research? Here are some ways people can introduce a raw diet to their dogs. 

  1. Talk to a veterinarian: Although they might not be the biggest fan of the new diet idea, they could give some tips on how to start a raw diet, and tell you what not to do in order to keep both you and your dog safe. 

  2. Get a nutritionist: Nutritionists are often more open to the idea of a raw dog diet, and they may be able to help with recipes and food charts. These will help to keep your dog's health in balance and on track to receiving any benefits that may come from the diet. 

  3. Keep yourself safe: When handling raw meats, it's important to take proper food safety precautions. Wear gloves, wash your hands, and maybe get your meat from a butcher to ensure its freshness. It's important to protect yourself from any bacteria and pathogens potentially contained within these meats.  

  4. If you notice any decline in health, stop dieting: Your dog's health is the number one priority (besides your own health) when dealing with these diets. If it appears that the dog isn't improving like you had hoped, take them to the vet. If a veterinarian says to stop the diet, then stop.

  5. Ease them into it: It's not healthy to change a dog’s diet all at once. It's important to ease them into it little by little, while receiving guidance from professionals on how to do so.


Raw dog diets may be trendy at the moment, but they should be taken seriously. There are many risks and potential benefits that follow these diets, although the many  why they're so popular in the first place. With lack of research it's hard to say that these diets are beneficial at all, but maybe you can be the judge of that. 

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