Feed your pooch naturally with the best raw food diet for dogs

There are many pros and cons to this type of diet so we're here to help you decide whether it's right for your pooch.

Raw food diet for dogs

by Rosie Floyd |
Updated on

Feeding your pooch a raw food diet for dogs is something that has grown in popularity over the past couple of years but it’s not without its controversies. While there are no studies that suggest raw food is better than more traditional dog food options, many owners who feed their dogs raw food have reported seeing an improvement in their hound’s digestive health, a shinier coat and firmer stools. To help you decide whether a raw food diet is right for your dog, we’re here to help you weigh up the pros and cons with commentary from veterinary experts.

You may have heard raw food diets being talked about but what is raw dog food exactly? Well, simply put, it’s food that is designed to mimic the food your dog’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild and the kind of diet your hound would be eating if they weren’t living a life of luxury as a domesticated animal. Raw food – or Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding (BARF) as it’s otherwise known – offers a natural diet consisting of uncooked foods, like raw meaty bones, offal, vegetables, fruit and botanicals to give your dog the essential vitamins and nutrients they need. Some dog owners choose to put together their own raw food using those ingredients but with the commercialised options on the market in the UK, raw food diets for dogs tend to have all these things blended together.

Best raw food diet for dogs at a glance:

Best raw food diet for dogs overall: Bella & Duke - Buy now on Bella & Duke
Best shop-bought raw food diet for dogs: Natures Menu Complete & Balanced Frozen Adult Dog Food, 1kg - Buy now on Pets At Home
Best raw food diet for working dogs: Nutriment Enhanced Adult Dog Food, 10 x 500g - Buy now on Amazon UK
Best superfood raw food diet for dogs: Billy + Margot Raw Tasting Bundle, 5 x 2kg - By now on Billy + Margot
Best raw food diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs: Benyfit Natural Sensitive Complete Adult Raw Dog Food, 1 x 500g - Buy now on Benyfit Natural

We’ll explain the pros and cons of raw dog food diets in more detail with the help of experts from Natures Menu and the PDSA in our FAQs. However, one of the main concerns about raw food is the amount of bacteria, parasites and other pathogens that can be found in it. This is mainly due to its uncooked meat element as the bacteria and other nasties would normally be killed during the cooking process of making your dog’s dry and wet dog food. Although, raw feeding experts believe the positives to our dogs outweigh the negatives when it comes to raw dog food diets.

As well as considering the potential risks and the rewards of raw feeding, you’ll have to think about where you will store your pup’s raw food. The majority of companies that produce raw food will deliver it to you frozen, so you can thaw each meal ahead of when your pooch needs it. The food being frozen will ward off bacterial growth and kill off any parasites in the meat, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve got plenty of room to store it properly and have strict hygiene measures in place to avoid cross-contamination. If you feel ready to dip your pup’s paw into the world of raw feeding, we’ve listed some of the best raw food diets for dogs that can be delivered straight to your door. As always, before making big changes to your dog’s diet, you should consult your vet to ensure it’s right for your pooch.

Best raw food diet for dogs overall

Bella & DukeBella & Duke
Price: £1.72+ a day


The raw food on offer at Bella & Duke is a perfectly balanced subscription-based service that is designed to give your pooch all the vital proteins, vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy and happy.

All of the meals are packed with at least 80 per cent meat, bone and offal, which builds up muscles, tendons, ligaments and more. Superfoods, such as black pepper, ginger and turmeric, are also added to give them much-needed nutrients, plus seasonal veg and berries for extra goodness. Omega three and six are also thrown into the mix, which are key fats for keeping your furry friend's coat looking ultra soft and shiny.

As it's a subscription-based service, you will need to provide details about your pooch, including their age and breed so they can work out how much food your pup needs and what to include in the recipe. That's why the price may vary from dog to dog. The meals come frozen too so you will have to make sure you've got plenty of space in your freezer to store them, but by doing this, it locks in the freshness. Customers on Trustpilot love the ease and convenience of having them delivered to their door.


  • Food is tailored to your dog's needs so you can be assured that they're getting the right balance of everything
  • High percentage of meat which is good for building muscles
  • Food delivered straight to your door


  • The price per day varies depending on the size/needs of your pet

Best shop-bought raw food diet for dogs

Natures Menu Complete & Balanced Frozen Adult Dog FoodNatures Menu

For a raw food diet that you can pick up as easily as toys and walking essentials for your pooch, Natures Menu Complete & Balanced Frozen Adult Dog Food is a great choice.

As the name suggests, this food is made with 60 per cent meat and offal (in this case chicken and salmon), which will ensure your hound's muscles remain strong and nicely built up. It then has tasty veggies, brown rice, vitamins and minerals to make up the remaining 40 per cent and they come nicely together to form these tasty nuggets your pooch won't be able to get enough of. Just don't forget to let them thaw for a bit first as they have to be stored in the freezer. It's worth noting that if your pup has allergies, sensitivities or allergies to grains, this may not be the best food for them as it has rice included as part of the mix.

Natures Diet claims that these tasty nuggets help with digestive wellbeing and make your pup's coat shiny and the customer reviews back that up. Many of the reviews from dog owners on Pets at Home mention they've seen an improvement in their dog's coat condition and others mention that their dogs haven't had an upset tummy since starting the food.


  • Easily available so you can pick it up alongside other pet food essentials
  • Customers have seen an improvement in coat condition since their dog has started eating the food
  • Many customers also mention that their dogs haven't had an upset stomach since starting the food


  • May not be suitable for dogs with grain allergies, intolerances or sensitivities as it includes brown rice as part of the ingredients

Best raw food diet for working dogs

Nutriment Enhanced Adult Dog FoodNutriment Raw/Amazon

As any pet owner knows, dogs can soon get bored of eating the same things over and over, but they shouldn't with these Nutriment Enhanced Adult Dog Food trays as there are four different flavours included; chicken, turkey, salmon and beef so you can switch it up on the daily.

The recipe of each of these trays, regardless of the flavour, is formulated with quality protein for strength, essential fatty acids for skin and coat condition, and vitamins and minerals that help improve your pup's energy levels and immune system.

What makes it particularly great for working dogs is that the recipe is higher in calories compared to other raw foods. Working dogs need these extra calories to account for all the extra energy they've burnt off while working but if your pup leads a more lazy lifestyle, you'll want to watch their weight if you opt to feed them this food.


  • A mix of flavours included in each pack so dogs won't get bored
  • Good for working dogs that need a higher calorie meal to account for the amount they are burning off
  • Formulated with quality protein for strength


  • As a higher calorie option, this may not be a good choice for dogs that lead a more sedentary lifestyle

Best superfood raw food diet for dogs

Billy + Margot Raw Tasting BundleBilly + Margot

Listed on the UK Pet Food Association list of certified raw pet food manufacturers, you can rest assured that Billy + Margot Raw Tasting Bundle has been made with quality ingredients and high standards of care and hygiene.

Superfoods are great for supporting your pooch with their overall health and wellbeing as they give their immune system a much-needed boost and give them plenty of energy for running around, and this raw tasting bundle has got them in abundance as it contains alfalfa, yam, turmeric, coconut, nettles and kelp. Not to mention 80 per cent meat, bone and offal and 20 per cent seasonal vegetables so you know your pup is getting only the finest quality ingredients with every mouthful.

Customer reviews have found this raw food to be great value, good quality, a nice texture and also tasty (we'll take the dog owners' word on that one!) One reviewer was disappointed that it took a long time for their order to be despatched but by the looks of the other reviews, it was definitely worth the wait.


  • Contains superfoods that are designed to support your pup's overall wellbeing and health
  • Made with quality ingredients and a high standard of care
  • Customer reviews found the food to be great value, quality and tasty


  • One reviewer said it took a long time for their order to be dispatched

Best raw food diet for dogs with sensitive stomachs

Benyfit Natural Sensitive Complete Adult Raw Dog FoodBenyfit Natural

We understand that if your dog has a sensitive stomach, you may be hesitant to change their diet to raw one but thanks to Benyfit Natural, there’s a recipe that your hound can give a go.

Unlike some other raw dog foods, this Benyfit Natural Sensitive Complete Adult Raw Dog Food doesn’t contain offal and it is low in purine, which is great for dogs with sensitive stomachs, those with pancreatitis or prone to forming bladder stones. The recipe is also low in fat so you won’t have to worry about your pup getting too podgy from eating it at mealtimes.

There have been a couple of reviews that have mentioned the packaging could be better as the food didn’t arrive in the best state but overall 98 per cent of customers would recommend the food. Customers agree with the fact that this food is great for dogs with tummy troubles, with many commenting that this food hasn’t upset their stomach at all and that their dog has stopped having stomach issues since switching to the food.


  • Doesn't contain offal which can be something that can trigger tummy trouble in dogs
  • Low in fat so you don't need to worry about your pup gaining too much weight while on this diet
  • Many customers have commented that their dog has stopped having stomach issues since switching to the food


  • Some customers felt the packaging could be better

Best topper to use in a raw food diet for dogs

Nature's Variety Freeze Dried Meat Bites TopperNature's Variety/Pets at Home

If you're not ready to commit your pooch to a full raw food diet, these Nature's Variety Freeze Dried Meat Bites Toppers are a good place to start.

Toppers are simply added to the top layer of your dog's food to give them a little something special in terms of taste and value. If your dog is a fussy eater, they may benefit from having a topper added to their food as they can entice your pup to their bowl and whet their appetite for what's to come. Toppers are also designed to add extra nutritional value to their meals and these meaty raw food toppers certainly do that. They contain 100 per cent high-quality deboned lamb with added fruit, vegetables and botanicals which are carefully selected to make sure your pup is getting balanced nutrition.

As they're designed to be used as a topper, some reviewers have mentioned that they felt they were quite expensive so they've only bought them as a treat for their dog every now and again. Others felt they were best suited to training as the high meat content makes them a high-value reward.


  • A good introduction to raw food as it's designed to be used on top of existing food
  • Uses 100 per cent high-quality lamb in the recipe to entice dogs to eat it
  • Offers balanced nutrition by adding fruit, vegetables and botanicals to the lamb


  • Cost may soon add up if you wanted to add them to your dog's food daily

Best value raw food diet for dogs

4PAWSRAW Raw Dog Food4PAWSRAW/Amazon

Support a small business by buying the 4PAWSRAW Raw Dog Food and save yourself some money too. You get 20 bars of 560g of raw food for under £50 so it pays to buy in bulk, but you’ve got to have plenty of room in your freezer to store it. Luckily, as it comes in bar form, it shouldn’t take as much room as trays or bags.

The shape of this raw food isn’t just good for storage purposes, it’s also great for helping you portion up your dog’s food. Each bar is presented into four cubes, which you can then give straight to your dog or break down into smaller pieces depending on their size and breed, as well as what else you’re feeding them. The bundle contains a variety of flavours, including beef and oily fish, chicken and salmon, beef mince, chicken liver and so much more, so there’s more than enough to get your pooch’s tail wagging at mealtimes.

The 4PAWSRAW Raw Dog Food has been a hit with the majority of fussy dogs belonging to the reviewers on Amazon. With one reviewer saying that their dog has been known to turn their nose up to food before but he eagerly eats all the flavours in this 20-pack bundle and another said their dog wolfs it down. Not all fussy dogs have loved every flavour though. One customer said their dog only ate the chicken flavour ones and not the beef ones, but if your hound loves their food, they won’t be able to get enough of this.


  • Easy to store as it comes in bar form and not as bulky as bags or trays
  • Great value for money as you get 20 560g bars for the price
  • Easy to portion control food as each bar comes in four cubes


  • While the recipes have mostly been a hit with some fussy dogs, some might not like certain flavours so you could risk wasting it if your dog isn't a fan


We know that feeding your pooch raw food is a bit of a controversial topic, that's why we've asked the opinion of two industry experts to explain all the positives and negatives so you can make your own judgement about whether a raw food diet for dogs is the right choice for your pup.

We spoke to Melanie Sainsbury, veterinary expert at Natures Menu, Europe’s leading natural and raw food manufacturer, and Gemma Renwick, vet nurse from veterinary charity PDSA all about raw dog food diets.

Before making any big changes to your dog's diet, we recommend consulting your vet in order not to cause your pup any tummy troubles or other health-related issues.

What are the benefits of a raw food diet for dogs?

Melanie from Natures Menu: "Raw feeding attempts to mimic the diet a dog would have naturally eaten in the wild, comprising of raw meat, offal, veggies and fruit. Many pet owners who feed raw food report they see an array of benefits from digestive well-being to shiny coats, and we put this down to raw diets being minimally processed, free from artificial flavours, sugars and colourings, which can be found in some pet foods.

"With raw food comprising of 100 per cent natural ingredients, your pup's stool will become much more manageable in general, and often less smelly. With the right quantities of carefully selected meats and offals blended with wholesome fruits and vegetables, a raw diet can really make a positive difference to many of our beloved dogs."

What are the cons of a raw food diet for dogs?

Gemma from the PDSA: “Whilst some pet owners may feel raw food is a more ‘natural’ method of feeding, it does bring extra risks, not just to the animal but to other people in the dog’s household.

“Naturally, raw food, especially meat, contains bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens that would normally be killed during the cooking process. Even with the greatest care, the risk of cross-contamination is much higher, meaning you could accidentally spread bacteria such as E.coli, Salmonella, and even Tuberculosis (TB) via the food or your pet. Additionally, studies have shown that pets on a raw food diet can carry some of these bacteria in their mouths, potentially putting owners at risk if their pet licks them. Concerningly, raw-fed pets have also been shown to have higher levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their faeces.

“Bones are also another hazard with raw feeding, especially with “Raw Meaty Bones”-type foods. We don’t recommend ever feeding your pet bones, regardless of whether they are cooked or uncooked, as they can get stuck in your pet’s stomach and splinters of bone can damage your pet’s delicate insides. Chewing on bones can also cause fractures in your pet’s teeth. Even if your furry family member is lucky to avoid these issues, bones can also cause stomach pain and constipation due to their high levels of calcium.

“We don’t recommend preparing your own pet food – whether cooked or raw – as without help from a veterinary specialist in pet nutrition a homemade diet is likely to be nutritionally unbalanced which puts your pet at risk of serious illness. Regardless of owner preference, there are no studies to support that raw food is better than traditional wet or dry dog food.

“Pet owners that opt for a raw food diet may feel that they can see positive changes in their pet, which include a glossier coat, healthier teeth, more energy, and better congestion. However, these benefits can be achieved by making sure you’re feeding your pet any balanced, age-appropriate diet, not just raw food."

Do vets recommend raw dog food?

Gemma from the PDSA: "If you’re considering a raw food diet for your pet, speak to your vet first as they can advise on the best course of action based on your dog’s breed, age and health background. Is there is anyone at higher risk of infections in your household, such as a baby, elderly relative, or someone with a weakened immune system? In that case, it’s best not to feed raw food to your pet due to the risk of disease from bacteria and other pathogens on the raw food.

“If you do choose a raw diet after consulting your vet, always choose a commercially prepared complete one. Our vets also recommend that you choose a manufacturer of pet food that is a member of the UK Pet Food Association to guarantee quality, as these members must have even higher food and hygiene standards than the legal minimum, which means your pet’s food will be safer.

“It’s worth noting that maintaining a high-quality raw diet can also be expensive compared to other high-quality, cooked, commercially produced pet food. Always remain cautious when purchasing cheaper raw alternatives, as these may not meet the high hygiene standards needed to be safe to feed your pet and may not have the balanced nutrition essential for good health.

"Although it may be easier, avoid buying meat or cheaper raw products from the supermarket or butchers that are meant for human consumption. As well as not providing a complete, balanced diet for your dog, these are meant to be cooked before eating, so are likely to have higher levels of bacteria than recommended for raw feeding."

Can all dogs eat raw food?

Gemma from the PDSA: “Whatever food you choose for your pet, it’s important to make sure you are feeding a complete commercial diet to help them stay healthy, as this will provide all the nutrients your pet needs if fed correctly according to their weight and age. There are no specific dog breeds who can’t eat raw food, however, dogs with a weakened immune system should not be fed a raw diet, as this could leave them at higher risk of serious illness."

How do I switch my dog to a raw diet?

Melanie from Natures Menu: "We recommend a seven-day transition period. Divide your dog’s daily ration into two portions: one raw and one their usual food.

"Feed each portion ideally 12 hours apart. For example, you could feed raw in the morning and normal food in the evening. Then, from day eight you can feed 100 per cent raw. This gradual transition allows the dog’s digestive system to gently and gradually adapt to the new food, without causing tummy upsets."

How long does it take to see results from a raw diet for dogs?

Melanie from Natures Menu: "Seeing the benefits raw food can bring varies for each individual dog. However, many pet owners report an improvement in their dog’s stool consistency within a few days, with coats starting to look shiny and healthy within a few weeks."

Rosie Floyd is a Pets, Homes and Garden Product Writer for Yours, specialising in home appliances, décor and furnishings, as well as all things dogs. After completing her Journalism & Media degree from Coventry University back in 2015, she started her career writing about must-visit holiday destinations, moving on to creating content around outdoor living and garden buildings, before joining the team at Bauer.

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