shepherd dog eating from a raised bowl

Can You Feed Kibble and Raw?

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We’ve said it before, feeding your dog a balanced diet is essential for their health and wellbeing. We are often asked can you feed kibble and raw to your dog? The answer is YES, but there are a couple of very important things to understand.

Firstly, it is a fairly common practice because mixing kibble and raw food can offer a range of benefits for your dog. That is, of course, provided that you carefully remove any large raw chunks and bones that can choke or injure your dog.

Secondly, kibble is a convenient and affordable source of nutrition while raw food offers essential nutrients that may be lacking in processed kibble. However, you must make sure that your dog is getting a balanced diet every day and that you are following safe food handling practices to prevent foodborne illnesses. 

Thirdly, you must make sure your dog isn’t getting a fat overload from the raw food component.  Be sure that the raws you feed are not too fatty for your pooch’s digestive system to process. Too much dietary fat not only leads to obesity, it is simply unhealthy in so many ways.

In this article, we will explore the benefits and risks of feeding kibble and raw food together, and provide tips for creating a balanced diet for your pooch.

Understanding Kibble and Raw Diets

When you are trying to determine the best mixed diet for your dog, quality manufacturing standards are really important factors to think about. The quality of the kibble and raw dog food ingredients as well as the entire manufacturing-packaging-shipping-storage process can greatly impact the nutritional value and wholesome safety of the kibble and raw foods that you mix.

What is Kibble?

Kibble is a type of dry dog food that is made by mixing various ingredients like meat, grains, vegetables, and fruits. The mixture is then cooked at a high temperature or extruded to enhance the product mixture and to remove most of the moisture. Kibble is fed by many pet owners because it is convenient and it has a long shelf life. However, some pet owners question the quality of the ingredients used and kibble’s actual nutritional value.  This is a trust issue that needs more attention by those makers and sellers of dog foods.

What is a Raw Diet?

A raw diet, a.k.a. a BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), is a type of diet that consists of raw or minimally further processed ingredients like meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables. The idea behind a raw diet is to mimic the primitive diet of wild dogs and cats, which includes raw meat and bones. 

Advocates of the raw diet believe that it provides a more natural and nutrient-dense diet for dogs and cats. That is probably true but, unfortunately, those advocates do not account for the untold illnesses and deaths that occur among wild dogs and cats from eating infected prey and ingesting sharp raw bones.

So, when considering a raw diet or partial raw diet for your dog, it is important to realize there are some potential risks inherent with feeding raw meat. The risk of microbial contamination and sharp bones cannot be honestly denied. It is also very necessary that the diet is balanced and provides all of the necessary nutrients your dog needs.

Obviously, kibble and raw diets are two popular choices for feeding dogs. A combined kibble and raw diet is gaining popularity as another choice these days. While kibble is convenient and has a long shelf life, some dog owners are concerned about the quality of the ingredients used and its nutritional value. On the other hand, a raw diet provides a more natural and nutrient-dense diet, but it also comes with some potential risks. Ultimately, the decision of what to feed your dog should be based on the dog’s individual needs and likes. When in doubt, always ask your veterinarian before making any big changes in your pooch’s diet.

Can You Mix Kibble and Raw Food?

Absolutely! When it comes to feeding your dog, there are many options available, including kibble and raw food. But can you mix the two? The answer is a resounding YES — you can mix kibble and raw food, however, there are both pros and cons to doing so.

Pros of Mixing

One of the main benefits of mixing kibble and raw food is that it can provide an affordable balanced and complete diet for your dog. Good kibble will contain the essential vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in raw food, while raw food can provide important nutrients that may be processed out of the kibble ingredients. By combining the two, you can be sure that your dog is getting a well-rounded diet.

Another advantage of mixing kibble and raw food is that it can be more convenient than feeding raw food alone. Kibble is easy to store and can be left out for your dog to eat when you can’t be there, whereas raw food needs some preparation and it must be refrigerated or frozen.

Cons of Mixing

One potential downside of mixing kibble and raw food is that it can be difficult to nutritionally balance the two. It’s important to be sure that your dog is getting the right amount of each type of food to avoid overfeeding or undernourishing. 

Additionally, mixing kibble and raw food can be more expensive and time consuming than feeding one type of food by itself.

Another potential problem with mixing kibble and raw food is that it can increase the risk of dental and digestive issues. Some dogs may have trouble digesting one type of food or the other. This can cause mouth injuries, choking, vomiting, diarrhoea, or other gastrointestinal problems.

It’s important to weigh the pros and cons before rushing into any diet change.

Mixing kibble and raw food can be a good option for some dog owners, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before rushing into any diet change. If you do decide to mix the two, be sure to monitor your dog’s health and adjust its diet as needed to ensure that they are getting the needed nutrients.

Health Implications

Feeding your dog a combination of kibble and raw food can have health implications that you need to consider. 

Here are some potential issues that should concern you:

Digestive Issues

Introducing any new food (raw or otherwise) to a dog’s diet can cause digestive issues such as diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation. This is because a new food — especially raw food — can be difficult for your dog to digest, certainly when the dog is used to eating only kibble. Additionally, kibble and raw food have different digestion parameters, which can lead to stomach upset and discomfort.

To minimize digestive issues, start by introducing small amounts of raw food into your dog’s diet and gradually increase the amount over time. Watch your dog’s stool and behaviour during the diet change to be sure he or she is adjusting okay to the new diet.

Nutritional Balance

Kibble and raw food have very different nutritional profiles. This means that feeding your dog a combination of the two can result in an unbalanced diet. Kibble is often formulated to meet a dog’s nutritional needs, whereas raw food is not necessarily nutritionally complete. This can lead to unhealthy tissue deficiencies in essential nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins.

Create a kibble and raw food meal plan with a pet nutritionist or your vet that meets your dog’s nutritional needs.

Although feeding your dog a combination of kibble and raw food has certain benefits, this diet has health implications that you need to think about. Digestive issues and nutritional imbalances are certainly important concerns, however, these can be minimized with proper planning and careful monitoring. We recommend consulting with a professional to create a balanced meal plan that satisfies your dog’s nutritional needs.

It is important to look for a made in the USA kibble.  All such kibbles meet the AAFCO standards for complete and balanced nutrition and the dog food is subject to all government regulations and quality control measures. This ensures that the kibble provides all the essential nutrients that dogs need for normal growth and good health.

Another important consideration is the quality of the protein source in the kibble. Look for kibble that contains high-quality protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, lamb, or fish. These protein sources provide the essential amino acids that are important for maintaining muscle mass and overall health.

It is also important to select kibble that contains other high-quality ingredients, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These ingredients provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre that are important for maintaining good health.

Overall, when buying the best kibble for your dog, it is important to look for a kibble that meets AAFCO standards, is made in the USA, contains high-quality protein sources and ingredients, and is manufactured using strict quality control measures.

Benefits of High-Quality Kibble

Feeding your dog a high-quality kibble has many benefits, including providing a complete and balanced diet that supports their overall health and wellbeing. Introducing a new kibble to your dog can be a process, but with patience and persistence, it can be done. Gradually introducing the new kibble and experimenting with different flavours can all help encourage your dog to try something new.

Here are some of the key benefits of feeding your dog a high-quality kibble:

Complete and Balanced Diet: High-quality kibble should provide all the essential nutrients that your dog needs for a healthy diet. This includes a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs, as well as all of the essential vitamins and minerals. By feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet, you can rest assured that he or she is getting all the nutrients needed to stay healthy and active.

Natural Ingredients: Many high-quality kibbles are made with all-natural ingredients, which are beneficial for dogs with sensitive stomachs or allergies. All-natural kibbles are free from artificial preservatives, colours, and flavours. 

Healthy Skin and Coat: High-quality kibble is often fortified with omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help reduce inflammation and improve joint health. This can be especially beneficial for dogs with joint issues or arthritis.

High-Protein: Dogs need a high-protein diet to support growth, development, and overall health. High-quality kibble made with real meat as the primary protein source can help your dog get the protein they need to grow and thrive.

Performance: High-quality kibble also helps improve your dog’s physical and mental performance. Provide your dog with a diet that is rich in nutrients and protein and you will help support your dog’s overall performance.

Feeding your dog a high-quality kibble is an excellent way to make sure that they are getting the nutrients needed to stay healthy and happy. By choosing a quality kibble that is complete and balanced, made with natural ingredients, and fortified with essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, you can help support your dog’s overall health and well being.

From All Kibble to All Raw: Transitioning Your Dog

Some dog owners don’t want a mixed kibble and raw feeding program.  They simply want to convert their dog from kibble to raw food. If this is you, then you need to be aware that when transitioning your dog from all kibble to all raw, it’s important to do it gradually to avoid digestive upset. 

There are two main ways to transition: gradual and immediate.

Gradual Transition

A gradual transition slowly introduces raw food into your dog’s diet while decreasing the corresponding amount of kibble they eat. This can be done over the course of several weeks, depending on your dog’s tolerance and reaction to the change.

Here’s a sample gradual transition plan:

WeekKibbleRaw
175%25%
250%50%
325%75%
40%100%

During the first week, your dog will be eating 75% kibble and 25% raw food. Gradually increase the amount of raw food each week until your dog is eating 100% raw food.

Immediate Switch

An immediate switch means suddenly and completely taking your dog off the kibble and replacing it with raw food.  A “cold turkey” method, so to speak. This method is not recommended for most dogs because it can be a shock to their digestive system causing severe upset.

However, if you choose to do an immediate switch, make sure to closely monitor your dog for any signs of digestive upset, such as whimpering, fidgeting, vomiting, or diarrhoea. It’s also important to ensure that your dog is getting all the necessary nutrients from their new diet.  When in doubt, ask your vet!

Taking your dog off kibble and switching to an all-raw diet can be a difficult process. But, it may be worth it in the opinions of some expert and non-expert folks. Just be sure that you get good advice and take it slowly while paying attention to your dog’s well-being so that a smooth transition occurs.

Can You Feed Raw and Kibble? Expert Opinions Are Divided!

Feeding both kibble and raw to your dog is possible, but it requires careful planning and thoughtful consideration. While kibble is convenient and readily available, some feel that it lacks the nutritional punch that raw food provides. On the other hand, raw food is often expensive, spoiled, messy, and time-consuming to prepare. However, it may offer some health benefits to your dog.

When it comes to feeding your dog a combination of kibble and raw food, opinions from experts are divided. Some believe that this is a good way to provide a balanced diet, while others think that it can be harmful to your dog’s health.

Those in favour of feeding kibble and raw food together argue that it provides a balance of nutrients that can be difficult to achieve with just one type of food. They also believe that raw food can help improve your dog’s digestion and overall health.

On the other hand, those who are against this type of feeding argue that it can be dangerous for your dog. Raw food, especially meat and bones can contain harmful bacteria that can make your dog sick.  Mixing the raw food with kibble can often make the meal more difficult to digest causing painful distress.  Also, many experts believe that feeding raw, animal-based food can lead to nutritional imbalances and deficiencies.

Ultimately, the decision is yours whether or not to feed your dog a combination of kibble and raw food or one or the other exclusively. In any case, it’s important to do your research and consult with your veterinarian before making any major changes to your dog’s diet. Even if your vet is opposed to a mixed ration, he or she will likely assist you with feeding guidelines.

When it comes to feeding pets, there are lots of dog and cat food choices.  Choose wisely by being an informed pet owner! 

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