Raw vs Cooked Dog Food-Which Is Better For Your Dog


It is understandable why many dog owners are looking for other alternatives when it comes to feeding our dogs. First there are so many dog food recalls that you see in the news, with the most recent one being excessive Vitamin D in many major brand name dog foods. This one has lead to several dogs losing their lives.Raw vs Cooked Dog Food

There is also the situation of many breeds of dogs dying at younger ages than they did 20 to 30 years ago. It seems more dogs are getting cancer, have allergies or have food intolerances than ever before. That would lead many to believe that it would have something to do with the food that we are feeding our dogs.

This is leading many dog owners to start looking at changing their dogs diet, but what is the best route to choose? I am going to take a look at raw vs cooked dog food to help you decide which is better for your dog, after all, don’t we just want our dogs to life longer and be more healthy as they age?

Raw Dog Food

Feeding your dog raw dog food diets is still a bit controversial with many people. It is not safe to feed dogs a raw diet if they are younger than 12 weeks old, but you should also be careful if your dog has other pre-existing illnesses.

Raw dog food is mainly uncooked meat. Many times it is muscle meat often still on the bone and organ meats like livers and kidneys. It will also include whole or crushed bones, vegetables like broccoli, celery and spinach, fruits, raw eggs and some dairy like yogurt.

Claimed Benefits Of Raw Dog Food

  • Shinier Coat
  • Cleaner Teeth
  • More Energy
  • Healthier Skin
  • Smaller Stool

Risks Of Raw Dog Food Diet

  • Bacteria in raw meat poses a threat to the dog and human’s health
  • An unbalanced diet that could damage the health of your dog.
  • Giving a dog whole bones can cause a risk of choking or cause broken teeth.

The American Veterninary Medical Association discourages feeding your dog any animal source protein that hasn’t been cooked long enough to eliminate pathogens.

A raw dog food diet will cost you approximately $3 to $6 per day more (depending on the size of your dog) than feeding your dog standard dry dog food.

Recommendations For A Raw Diet

If you decide that you still want to feed your dog a raw diet, I recommend purchasing a store bought product. These are generally freeze-dried or frozen to maintain their nutrients and contain grains, vitamins and vegetables. In some cases you will still have to purchase the raw meat separately, and add it to the mix. These type of mixes will ensure that your dog is getting the vitamins that they need.

Raw vs Cooked Dog Food

Most purchased raw meals need you to add your own meat.

Recommended Brands

  • The Honest Kitchen
  • Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw
  • Primal Pet Foods
  • Vital Essentials
  • TruDog

Making sure that your dog is getting the proper nutritional needs are important when you are preparing a raw diet for your dog, that is why I recommend using the store bought product.

Be very careful of recipes that you may find on the internet, unless you know the recipe is prepared by a veterinary nutritionist. That is the only way you will know for sure that you are providing your dog with everything that they need in their diet.

Too little fat in your dog’s diet means that they could get a bad coat and too much fat and not enough protein can cause mild anemia. It can be tricky getting the right amounts of everything they need.

Your veterinarian would also be a good source for information, and you should check with them before switching your dog to a raw diet, to make sure they don’t have any concerns with your dog’s health.

I would consider TruDog the best source from the list above.  They flash freeze their meat to guarantee freshness.  You simply add water to the food when you are ready to feed your dog.

Cooked Dog Food

The main difference between a raw dog food diet and a cooked dog food diet is obvious, one is cooked. Cooked dog food might surprise you to realize that it is made with all fresh ingredients as well though. These ingredients are all human grade fresh ingredients that are lightly cooked, providing safer food for your dog since they won’t run the risk of bacteria.

A fresh dog food diet won’t contain any preservatives or artificial ingredients like a dry or canned dog food will.

Raw vs Cooked Dog Food

Fresh kale provides Vitamin A for your dog.

Benefits of Fresh Cooked Dog Food

  1. More energy – Fresh dog food is easier for your dog to digest, which helps your dog’s body to absorb more energy from the food they are eating.
  2. Shinier coat – made with healthy oils
  3. Healthier skin – contains nutrients like zinc, B Vitamins, and fatty acids, which helps soothe and treat many skin conditions.
  4. Brighter, healthier eyes – fresh dog food is plentiful of Vitamin A from things like kale, sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach.
  5. Less waste and firmer stools – processed food adds an excessive amount of fiber since it is a cheaper ingredient. Fiber is important, but too much and your dog can’t absorb other nutrients from the food.
  6. Fewer trips to the vet – the rich vitamins that come from fresh vegetables and freshly cooked meats help keep your dog’s immune system up.
  7. Quality of life
  8. Longer life – less risk of cancer, allergies and other threats of processed dog food.
  9. Peace of mind – no longer will you wonder what your dog is really eating. It is made with 100% fresh ingredients, no artificial ingredients, preservatives, chemicals or fillers.  When you read the label, you will actually know what the ingredients are.

Risks Of A Fresh Dog Food Diet

There are no risks associated with a fresh dog food diet.

Fresh dog food ingredients are designed by certified nutritionists in veterinary nutrition, so you can feel comfortable that your dog is getting the vitamins and nutrition that they need to stay healthy.

Recommendations For A Cooked Diet

If you are looking at getting your dog on a fresh dog food diet, my #1 recommendation would be choosing NomNomNow fresh dog food. You can read this NomNomNow Review for additional information.

NomNomNow can provide so many great benefits for your dog’s diet and overall health. NomNomNow is the only company that provides pre-portioned meals specific to your dog’s needs that are delivered to your door.

All of the diets are developed by Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM who is the Chief Nutrition Officer and is one of less than 100 board certified specialists in small animal clinical nutrition in the country.

Benefits Of NomNomNow

  • Only use human grade food
  • All vitamins are natural
  • No additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients ever
  • All ingredients are from the United States
  • Gluten free and grain free recipes only
  • Produced in FDA compliant kitchen
  • Customized diet plan – each meal is customized for your dog based on their age, weight, activity level and breed
  • Portion sized meals vacuumed sealed for freshness
  • Delivered to your door

NomNomNow is currently offering 50% off your first order.  Click on the picture to try it out.



Keeping our dog healthy longer in life is a big concern for most dog owners. The quality controls that are put on dry and canned dog food are lacking, and the nutritional value has been all but cooked out of the food just so it can remain on the shelf for a year or longer. If you want to know how dry dog food is made and all the ingredients that go into making it, you should take a look at dry dog food ingredients. It just might scare you to never buy dry dog food again.

If you are considering raw vs cooked dog food for your dog, do take the risks with raw dog food into consideration. My guess is that the reason you are looking at other alternatives are because you want to provide your dog with the very best health possible. Make sure if you go with a raw diet, that your dog is still getting everything that they need for their health.

Purchasing a fresh dog food diet from NomNomNow will take all the guess work out if what your dog needs. They will provide you with a meal that is designed for your dog with the vitamins included right in their meal. You won’t even have to figure out how much to give your dog, since it will arrive in individual portion sized meals.

My opinion is that cooked dog food is better than raw dog food.  I feel that there are too many risks I am not willing to take with the raw dog food, and fresh dog food provides everything that I would be trying to accomplish with raw dog food.  Which choice do you feel is better?  Let me know below.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I will get back to you. You can follow justforyourdog.com on Pinterest, FaceBook or Twitter for all your latest dog updates. Please share this article with others that might find this information useful.

Some of the links within this post are affiliate links of which I might receive a small compensation from sales of certain items.





  1. Actually my dog, Shelly, loves cooked foods. I don’t give him raw foods at all because most times, she eats when I’m eating and we do eat together sometimes. I wouldn’t know why some parents would expose their children to dangers through unhealthy and uncooked meal. NomNomNow seems to be great too maybe I’ll add it up to her foods. Thanks for this post

    • I do have a very hard time with feeding my dog raw dog food, but I know others that believe it has helped their dogs live longer and stay healthier.  I feel that a cooked diet of fresh foods is the safest and the best way to keep your dog healthy.  

  2. Thank you for this informative post.

    My dogs have been on Blue Buffalo dry food their entire lives.  My Jack Russell lived to be 16, although I think she would have lived longer had I changed her to senior food.  I didn’t realize the protein content in regular adult food would accelerate her renal failure.

    That said, I’m considering changing my current dogs diets.  I’d lean toward cooked vs raw.  I see you offered up an average cost for the raw diet but I didn’t see the same for the cooked, unless I missed it.  Is this because each one is customized and thus has a different price?

    Thank you for your recommendation of NomNomNow.  I’ll definitely check it out.

    Thanks again,


    • When feeding your dog a processed diet, I do feel that Blue Buffalo is one of the better ones to offer your dog.  You are very lucky to have had a dog that lived to 16.  You must be doing something right.  

      There will be some variations on price, not because of it being customized as much as the size of your dog.  A much smaller dog would need less food than a larger dog.  To give you an estimate, a fresh diet from NomNomNow will cost you around $20 per week.

  3. Hey! First, let me tell you that, I love dogs. So, I always looking for the best quality dog food. And you solved my problem. Actually, I’ve no idea which is the best quality dog food. So, I read your article full. I realized that raw dog food isn’t so good for dogs. On the other hand, cooked dog food is the best for dogs. It gives them energy and also protein and vitamins to make a good body for my dog. But raw dog food isn’t so safe I think. Because it also causes of dog cancer. And I really don’t take any risk for any dog. So, I suggest everyone give freshly cooked food a try.
    I’m gonna share this post with my friends. Because they have a dog. And I want that, they make the right decision to read your post.
    Thanks for writing this excellent article.

    • Giving your dog fresh or cooked dog food is most healthy dog food you can give your dog.  I do think a raw diet has some benefits over processed dog food, but you need to be careful how you handle it, you should talk to your vet before switching and you need to be very careful where you are getting the recipe from.  You want to make sure it is from a vet nutritionist so your dog is getting all the vitamins that are needed.  

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