Will Raw Meat Hurt My Dog?

Raw dog food is one of the more popular diets among pet parents due to its various benefits. However, did you ever worry when your dog ate raw steak off the counter? Let’s take a look at how raw meat is not detrimental to your canine’s health in this article.

Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

Can a dog get sick from eating raw meat?

Yes, a dog can become ill from eating raw meat, although this is a very rare occurrence. Instead, when you hear about the risk of your pet becoming sick from raw meat, you should be more concerned about the humans who handle it. The risk is no different than humans handling raw meat for their own cooking. Proper hygiene is key. 

Alternatively, the dog's stomach may become upset simply due to a sudden change in its diet rather than the uncooked meat itself.

Adult, non-immunocompromised canines can consume raw meat and can typically manage germs better than humans, so feeding your dog raw meals will not pose a risk if the food is prepared properly, following food hygiene standards 

Even dogs who have sensitive stomachs will gain a lot from this meal since raw diets aid in better digestion. This is because raw dog food in its natural form has a high moisture content, which will help digest and absorb nutrients.

My dog ate raw meat and has diarrhoea

During the transition time to a raw diet, dogs may develop diarrhoea. Canines digest kibble and canned food differently than raw meat, so if you don't give them time to adjust, there is a possibility that they will have diarrhoea. 

Your dog's stomach has become accustomed to digesting additives and carbohydrates included in commercial meals, so it's normal for it to take some time to adjust. One way you can help your pup transition better is by knowing how much raw meat you feed them.

Besides that, too much fat suddenly can induce diarrhoea, and the best approach to avoid this is to feed your dog raw beef, raw lamb, and/or raw duck as snacks first. These meats are low in fats, easy to digest proteins and unlikely to cause your dog to have diarrhoea.

How often should dogs eat raw meat?

If you're wondering how often you should feed your dog raw meat, we recommend feeding pups 2 - 4 times per day and older dogs 1 - 2 times per day, as part of a fully balanced meal.

Feeding your canine twice a day may assist with begging tendencies. It's also practical for food-obsessed dogs that wreak havoc when they're hungry. Smaller meals can also aid digestion, minimise gas, and lessen the likelihood of bloating.

You can consult your vet to get a better idea of what works best for your dog.

Will raw hamburger meat hurt dogs?

Your dog will probably be alright if it eats raw meat from the grocery store, such as raw hamburger meat.  However, there are specific issues to consider.

Raw meat purchased at the grocery store is intended to be cooked before consumed by humans. It may have been sitting out for a few days, which allows germs more time to multiply. 

Most canines shouldn't have an issue with this, but if you want to be cautious, freeze the meat for 2-3 weeks before feeding it to your dog or gently cook it if you’re going to provide it immediately. Don’t feed your dog raw hamburger meat daily.

We would recommend giving them human-grade raw meat, such as chicken or beef. This guarantees that these nutrients are obtained without the use of any additional additives. 

Dogs with allergies and gastrointestinal sensitivities benefit from limited ingredient diets. Because there are fewer components, your dog's immune system will be less triggered and their stomach will be less disturbed.

Can dogs eat raw beef fat?

Consumption of raw beef fat in moderation can be healthy in low-fat diets. Canines, on the other hand, need a higher value on meat protein than fat trimmings. For a well-balanced diet, some fat is required. It doesn't have to be detrimental to your dog's health. Just find the appropriate balance.
Choose your raw fats carefully. For example, we recommend giving your dog fats from salmon or tuna since it is rich in fatty omega-3 acids, good for skin and coat health.

How to reduce the risk of raw meat hurting your dog?

Dogs can consume raw meat if their veterinarian agrees, but there are certain precautions to take to limit the risk of sickness due to contamination:

  • Be cautious when you feed them bones

Raw bones that are huge in size can be eaten by dogs, however, cooked bones should not be fed. 

Small bones can cause choking, and roasted poultry bones are hazardous because they can splinter and stick in your pet's throat or penetrate its intestines.

  • Take note of the meat’s quality

    When it comes to raw feeding your dog, you must always ensure the raw meat is of high quality. Most raw meat sold commercially has to pass the hygiene standards set by the government, such as the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification. 

    Hence, the first step to purchasing fresh meats is to check the label. Do not give your canine meat that has been sitting out on the counter for an extended period.

    • Learn how to safely handle raw meat

    Another vital thing when feeding raw meat to your dog is knowing how to handle them safely. This is because germs can be present in raw meat. 

    These bacterias have the potential to make your pets ill. Your family may also become sick due to poor handling of the raw food or caring for your pet. If raw meat fluids, for example, spill on floors or other surfaces, humans can readily come into touch with them and become sick.

    We recommend washing hands before and after handling raw meat, as well as thoroughly cleaning and sanitising dishes, cutlery, cutting boards, grinders, and other meat-preparation equipment, and adequately storing cooked food.

    Learn more about raw feeding safety tips and how you can handle raw meat to provide a safe meal for your dog.

    • Buy pre-made raw dog food

    Another way you can lower the risk of your dog getting sick from eating raw meat is to get pre-prepared raw dog food. 

    These meals are carefully made by professionals who will go to great lengths to ensure that the food is safe for your canine and has less bacteria than meat purchased at a supermarket.

    For example, PetCubes’ Raw Dog Food Collection offers a diverse range of raw meats you can choose from. The meals are perfectly made with the best ingredients and are easy to feed; just thaw and serve.

    Moreover, this will save your time and energy as homemade raw meals are hard to make from scratch.

    Concluding remarks

    Don't be worried. Your dog will most likely be alright if it steals a huge amount of raw meat from the counter. Most dogs require time to acclimatise to a new diet, so give it time and you can soon see the changes in your dog's health.

    Reviewed by: 

    Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.