So you’ve done your research and made the decision to switch your pup from kibble to raw dog food because you want him to thrive…except that your pup is less enthusiastic and doesn’t want to eat his raw dog food.
Chapeau to you, my friend!
I really mean this, because it requires quite a bit of effort as far as time for research is concerned. It also often means contradicting and/or trying to convince your friends, family, and traditional veterinarians who lack knowledge of all the wonderful benefits a species-appropriate raw diet provides – been there too, experienced AND overcame that!
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Now the only problem is that your dog refuses to eat his or her new diet. You’re probably thinking what the f***, why aren’t you eating your awesome new food?!
After all, the benefits of feeding fresh, raw dog food far outweigh the minor con of inconvenience:
Benefits of raw dog food
- Stronger immune system
- Smaller poop
- Cleaner teeth
- Reduced ear infections
- Healthier skin
- Shinier and softer coat
- More energy
- Minimized cancer risk
- No more dog smell
I’ve experienced all of these benefits in my personal 3 dogs I fed a raw dog food diet, and truly can’t recommend it enough.
My Boxer mixes Missy and Buzz had clean teeth and beautiful shiny coats, and Buzz never had another ear infection after he ate raw dog food. Back in his kibble days, he would get them several times per year.
My Feist mix Wally also has shiny, clean teeth and a soft red coat, and his itchy allergies are mostly gone.
Why do some dogs don’t want to eat raw dog food?
Well, there’s actually a good reason why some dogs snub their noses at raw dog food. It’s because they’re kibble junkies. Yep, you’ve read that correctly.
The kibble industry coats their dry dog food with palatants to replace nutrients that were lost in the cooking process and to make it more enticing for dogs to eat. Those are chemical substances, salt and sugar.
The result is that dogs who’ve eaten kibble for the vast majority of their lives literally get addicted to it. That’s especially true for smaller breeds who are known to be finicky eaters any way.
You can compare this behavior with someone who’s used to eating highly processed human food like microwaveable meals and fast food, and is then expected to eat salads with farro and grilled salmon. It’ll take some getting used to.
Easy hacks to get your dog to eat raw dog food
Now, I warmly recommend trying the following approaches to get your pup interested in their new diet. You can try some or all of these hacks to make raw dog food more enticing.
Just FYI, my 3 pups Missy, Buzz, and now Wally didn’t hesitate for one second when I offered them their raw dog food (they didn’t eat kibble long enough for that to happen), but I sure know (of) several pups who more or less politely declined raw dog food at first.
Add some warm bone broth
It’ll bring out the flavor of the raw dog food more than if it were offered cold. You can either make your own bone broth or buy it. Amazon has it, and some grocery stores and pet retail stores do as well.
Mix in an overly ripe banana
Overly ripe bananas are rich in sugar which is why it can work to get your pup to eat his raw dog food if you mix a little in it.
Add some scrambled egg
Most dogs love scrambled egg, so cook some up or mix some of yours into your pup’s raw dog food. Sharing is caring, right?!
Purée the raw dog food
Some dogs either don’t like the texture of raw dog food when it comes in larger cuts of meat or their teeth are in poor health and they have trouble chewing properly. Either way, puréeing it fixes both issues, you just need a meat grinder.
Of course you can also buy pre-made raw dog food from brands like Raw Paws Pet Food or Raw Feeding Miami (I buy from both). Save 15% when you do!
Add a little wet dog food
Another alternative is to top your dog’s raw dog food off with a little wet dog food. I recommend Ziwipeak’s wet dog food and have fed it to my own dogs in combination with their air-dried raw dog food before I made the switch to fresh raw dog food.
It comes as chicken, beef, lamb, mackerel & lamb, and tripe & lamb.
Mix in some pumpkin purée
Canned pumpkin purée is another way you can try to entice your dog to eat their raw dog food. You can find it at any grocery store. It’s usually located in the baking aisle because people use it to make pumpkin pies. Make sure not to feed pumpkin pie filling, but 100% pumpkin purée.
Tip: You can also make your own pumpkin purée during pumpkin season and freeze some. It’s rich in fiber and works great for both diarrhea and constipation in dogs.
Check out my pumpkin purée recipe here.
Closest alternative to raw dog food
Most dogs will come around sooner or later and eat their raw dog food. Some dogs, however, are truly stubborn and will continue to refuse it.
I know one such pup who still refuses raw dog food to this day, but loves eating what I’m about to share with you instead.
So for those extra stubborn guys, it’s best to lightly cook their meat and add a freeze-dried or dehydrated mix of highly nutritious vegetables, herbs, and/or fruit. They’re known as base-mixes or pre-mixes, and are easy enough to use.
This method comes closest to a fresh raw dog food diet and is exactly how I made the transition from kibble to raw back in 2015.
I recommend two brands, both of which I’ve used and would use again if for some reason I wasn’t able to continue feeding fresh raw dog food:
- The brand Dr. Harvey’s and their dehydrated pre-mix Paradigm. It’s a low-carb blend of 6 vegetables and healing herbs like broccoli, green beans, kelp and alfalfa to name a few. All you need to add is water, meat and some oil, that’s it.
- The brand Sojos and their freeze-dried pre-mix Mix-a-Meal grain-free. This mix isn’t low-carb but it’s grain-free and consists of vegetables and fruit like sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and cranberries to name just a few. You add meat and water, let it soak for about 15 minutes, and that’s it.