a bowl of dog food on a wooden floor

Mixing Raw Dog Food with Kibble

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It’s well known that feeding your dog a balanced and nutritious diet is necessary for their overall health and well-being. There are lots of dog food types available today, including commercially-made kibble and raw food. Some dog owners like to feed their dogs one type of food and others choose to mix kibble and raw food.

Interestingly enough, the question of whether you can feed kibble and raw food together keeps coming up. You may recall that in an earlier post we pondered the question: “Can You Feed Kibble and Raw?” 

The answer to this question seems rather obvious — of course you can feed kibble and raw food togetherBut, like all seemingly obvious answers, there is a caveat you need to be aware of. In fact, there are some precautions to consider before feeding a mixed diet to your dog.

Some dog owners like to mix kibble and raw food to provide their pets with a variety of nutrients and textures, which is fine to do. Others may be switching their dog to an all-raw food but need to mix it with kibble so their dog doesn’t go off food. Whatever the reason, it is important to consult with your veterinarian or pet nutritionist before making any major changes to your dog’s diet.

What Exactly is Kibble?

Kibble is a dry, further processed dog food that is typically made of a mixture of meat, grains, and vegetables which is then extruded into a bite-sized pellet. Kibble is convenient and easy to store, however, not all kibble is created equal. Some brands may contain low-quality ingredients or cheap fillers that are not necessarily good for your dog. Only buy and feed kibble that lists real meat first as the main ingredient. 

What is a Raw Diet?

A raw diet, also known as a raw food diet or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), is a type of diet that consists of uncooked, unprocessed foods such as raw meat, bones, vegetables, and fruits. The idea behind a raw diet is that it mimics what dogs would eat in the wild, and therefore provides them with the nutrients they need to survive. Proponents of raw diets claim that they can improve a dog’s overall health, including their coat, skin, teeth, and energy levels.

Both kibble and raw diets have their advantages and disadvantages. But, it is important to think about your dog’s individual needs before deciding one diet is better than the other. Some dogs may do well on a raw diet, while others may thrive on kibble. It is certainly possible to combine the two, as long as you do so in a safe and healthy way.

When deciding on a kibble, raw, or combination diet, the important thing to look for is a high-quality ingredients list and to avoid fillers and nonsense additives rather than getting all tied up in knots over whether the food is raw or not.  The point is to do what works best for the dog and you and not get caught up in all the hype. 

You should also ask your veterinarian about the foods you’re feeding so that your dog gets the right balance of nutrients for their age, breed, weight, health, and activity.  Your focus ought to be on what you and your vet believe is best for your dog.

Can You Mix Kibble and Raw?

If you are wondering if feeding your dog a combination of kibble and raw food is okay, it is. The answer is YES, you can mix kibble and raw food, but there are some precautions you should keep in mind.

Benefits of Mixing

Mixing kibble and raw food can benefit your dog:

  • Variety: Feeding your dog a mix of kibble and raw food gives him or her a wider variety of nutrients and flavors than feeding the dog a single food.
  • Convenience: Mixing kibble and raw food is a convenient way to transition your dog to a raw food diet. This helps the dog gradually get used to the new flavors and textures.
  • Cost: Mixing kibble and raw food can be cost-lowering since kibble is usually cheaper than raw food.

Risks of Mixing

Mixing kibble and raw food can definitely be cheaper than feeding all raw. 

But, there are definitely some precautions too that you should be aware of:

  • Digestive upset: If you introduce raw food too quickly or feed your dog a mix of kibble and raw food that doesn’t digest well, the dog may suffer from digestive upset like diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Nutritional imbalances: Carefully balancing the nutrients in your dog’s diet, assures the dog will likely get all the vitamins and minerals needed to remain healthy. Working or consulting with a veterinarian or pet nutritionist is key to making sure that your dog’s diet is properly balanced.
  • Contamination: Raw food can be dangerous for the person prepping the dog food and the dog that eats it. 

Why?  Because raw dog food can easily be tainted with harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, that can cause severe illness. Some people believe that dogs aren’t adversely affected by Salmonella. This may be true of wolves and wild dogs, but it’s not necessarily true of domesticated pet dogs, especially frail, sick, or old dogs. It’s really important to handle raw food carefully and follow food safety guidelines to minimize (note: minimize, not eliminate) the risk of facility, utensil, and hand contamination.

Don’t be too alarmed. After all, mixing kibble and raw food can be a safe and beneficial way to feed your dog. Just as long as you introduce new foods gradually, balance your dog’s diet carefully, and handle raw food safely.

cocker spaniel sitting on a wooden floor looking up

How to Safely Mix Kibble and Raw

So, if you’re thinking about mixing kibble and raw food for your pet’s diet, it’s really important to do it safely. 

Here are some tips to make it as easy and healthy as possible:

Transitioning Your Pet

  1. Start by adding a small amount of raw food to your pet’s regular kibble meal.
  2. Gradually increase the raw food amount and decrease the kibble amount over the next seven to ten days. Mix the two food types thoroughly.  It’s really important that you don’t let your dog wolf down the raw food!  Why? Because the dog will vomit it up!
  3. Once your pet is fully switched to a raw and kibble diet, you can adjust the ratio of each based on your pet’s needs.

Balancing Nutrients

It’s important to make sure your pet is getting all the necessary nutrients from their diet, regardless of whether it’s kibble, raw, or a mix of both. 

Here are four helpful tips to balance your dog’s daily diet:

  1. Consult with your veterinarian or dog nutritionist to be sure your dog’s diet is balanced for his or her specific needs.
  2. Choose high-quality kibble and raw food that are both individually nutritious.
  3. Monitor your dog’s weight and adjust his or her diet as necessary to maintain a healthy weight.
  4. Add any supplements to your dog’s diet, like omega-3 fatty acids or probiotics, to support their overall health according to your vet’s recommendations.

By following these easy tips, you can safely mix kibble and raw food for your dog’s diet and be sure that they’re getting all the nutrients needed for good health.

Expert Opinions 

You’ve probably guessed that experts are divided about feeding dogs a combination of kibble and raw food. Some experts believe that it is perfectly safe and healthy to mix the two, while others think it is very unsafe. 

You can decide for yourself….here are some expert opinions to weigh:

  • Dr. Karen Becker — a much-followed and admired holistic veterinarian, claims that mixing kibble and raw food can be beneficial for dogs. She recommends feeding a balanced raw diet with high-quality kibble to ensure that your dog gets all the necessary nutrients.
  • Dr. Peter Dobias — a veterinarian and expert in natural pet health, also believes that it is safe to mix kibble and raw food. But, rather than mixing together, he recommends feeding raw food in the morning and kibble in the evening to avoid digestive upset.
  • Dr. Ian Billinghurst — a veterinarian and advocate of the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet, believes that feeding a combination of kibble and raw food is not recommended. He argues that kibble and raw food have different digestion rates, which can lead to digestive problems.
  • Dr. Jean Dodds — a veterinarian and expert in animal nutrition, also advises against mixing kibble and raw food. She believes that kibble and raw food have different pHs, which can affect the digestive process and lead to health problems.

Ultimately, it is your choice.  After all, whether or not to feed a combination of kibble and raw food, feed these two dog food types separately, or not to feed one or both of them at all, is a personal decision. A decision that should be made based on what you believe is best for your dog. Yes, It is an important decision. So, if you are uncertain, then ask your veterinarian or pet nutritionist before making any big changes to your dog’s diet.

Feeding your dog a combination of kibble and raw food is a good way to provide a balanced and nutritious diet. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all dogs will respond well to this feeding method.  It’s also important to introduce raw foods gradually and make sure the raws are cut into bite sizes so that he or she doesn’t gulp down the raw food or choke on it.

If you decide to feed your dog a mix of kibble and raw, make sure to choose high-quality, nutritionally balanced products. It’s also important to introduce the new diet gradually and monitor your dog’s reaction to it.

Here are some key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Mixing kibble and raw food is safe as long as both are nutritionally balanced and your dog has a healthy digestive system.
  • Feeding a combination of kibble and raw can provide a range of benefits, including improved digestion, shinier coat, and increased energy.
  • It’s important to feed only high-quality products and introduce the new diet gradually to avoid digestive upset.
  • If you’re unsure whether feeding a combination of kibble and raw is right for your dog, consult with your veterinarian or local pet nutritionist for expert advice.

Remember, every dog is different, and what works for one may not work for another. By choosing high-quality products and monitoring your dog’s reaction, you can help ensure that a mix of kibble and raw is a safe and healthy option for your dog.

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