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Do You Dare to
Feed a Raw Diet to Your Dog?

Or Do You really Dare NOT to?

From the desk of Mogens Eliasen - first published: November 16, 2004:

Mogens Eliasen - the author of this article
on Feeding a Raw Diet to Your Dog

It is amazing how people can argue about whether or not to feed their dogs a raw diet instead of commercially available kibble products. Here are some facts that should be considered before you attempt to participate in that discussion:

Biology and physiology

Dogs are carnivores - actually domesticated wolves. The genetic difference between dogs and wolves is no bigger than the genetic difference between black and white people...

Dogs' gastrointestinal system cannot be told apart from that of a wolf. Wolves live and thrive on killing large prey animals, which they completely consume - hide, organs, meat, and bones all included. But wolves do not eat a lot of vegetable matter if they have any choices - and they certainly do not consume any grain products, not even from the stomachs of their prey. The fact that domestic dogs can survive on a diet that is primarily based on grain products does not in any way mean that they reach optimum health on such food. (Heavy smokers may also survive, despite their smoking, for many years. But that does not make smoking healthy...)

Dogs' gastrointestinal system is mechanically, physiologically, and chemically constructed completely different from the human system. Here is a short overview of some of the most important features:

  • " Dogs have a different chemistry in their stomach, enabling them to digest foods that humans cannot digest, such as raw bones.

  • Dogs are incapable of chewing their food - their teeth make side-wards moving of the jaws impossible. They can only cut and crush.

  • Dogs have no enzymes in their saliva that can clean their teeth by digesting accumulated crumbs of carbohydrates from grain-based products, as humans do.

  • Dogs (like wolves) are known to thrive on a diet that contains almost no carbohydrates at all, but consists almost exclusively of raw meat, raw organs, raw fat, and raw bones, possibly with some raw vegetables added.

  • Dogs do not lose energy when they fast for a few days, like humans do. The metabolism of a dog can easily access the body's fat depots, without destroying any muscle tissue first, the opposite of what the case is for humans that "diet"...

  • Dogs produce vitamin C in an amount of 40 mg per kg body weight per day. It corresponds to a human taking two-three 500 mg tablets per day.

Overall, this means that what is good food for a human cannot be good food for a dog, and vice versa...

Commerce and financial interests

The pet food manufacturers have no interest in raw food - it is too expensive to deal with on a mass-production and mass-distribution scale.

No matter what a scientist says, no scientist (or group of scientists) can know EVERYTHING there is no know about nutrition. Our understanding of what humans and dogs need is constantly developing - which means that we still do not know the end… Replacing a natural diet with one that is synthetically composed from individual man-made ingredients is doomed to be lacking in fundamental nutrients. Those we do not know anything about most probably are not in the recipe…

Pet food labels are outright deceptive in regards to the information they contain about nutritional value. The analytical data presented (as dictated by law), even when the information is perfectly true, do not tell ANYTHING about the quality of the food. But they might impress a layperson that does not know what information truly can be extracted from those labels… (More about mineral analysis and labels.)

Veterinarians in North America learn virtually NOTHING about carnivore nutrition in order to earn their DVM title. If they know anything about it at all, it is from personal studies, outside the curriculum. What is taught in vet schools about nutrition for dogs is typically nothing but a 2-hour lecture given by sales representatives from the pet food manufacturing industry, at no cost to the government.

Veterinarians make a living on treating sick dogs, not healthy dogs. Besides, veterinarians also make big commissions on selling pet food, and they get paid for endorsing products...

Veterinarians risk their license to practice if they speak their mind against their Associations, whom North American governments have granted the right to issue and revoke licenses for practicing veterinarians. The Associations are Trade Unions that primarily work for their members' financial interest; they have no mandate to serve the public interest, and they don't! The latest prominent example was in April 2004 when The American Veterinary Association refused to negotiate with the US government about abstaining from recommending yearly revaccinations for dogs. The Association left the negotiation table in protest when the government refused to discuss replacement of the income from those routine vaccinations - which account for close to half of an average veterinarian's total revenue... (More about a vet's financial dilemma.)

Other people's experiences

There are thousands and thousands of people having shifted from kibble to raw food during the past few years, documented through on-line newsgroups. ALL of them have noticed serious health benefits for their dogs when following through on the transition. There are no reports of raw feeders "converting back to kibble" that achieved any health benefits from doing so, unless the shift was from an inadequate and improperly balanced raw diet.

Summing it up:

  • All kibble products are cooked. Cooking changes the chemistry of all food to something that chemically is very different from the source. Cooking is known to destroy at least 35 known nutrients the dog depends on as much as we depend on vitamins. Cooking destroys all natural enzymes and all live microorganisms.

  • All kibble products contain a minimum of 65% grain (primarily carbohydrates) and a maximum of 10% moisture. If they don't, they become way too expensive for the market or too difficult to store...

  • All kibble products contains chemical preservatives that are added for the purpose of the product not perishing - which means, "Kill micro-organisms that try to eat the food before the dog". Chemical preservatives are, in their pure nature, poisonous. Their function depends on that. "Natural" or not. Venomous snakes are also "natural"...

  • A natural diet is raw…. Raw means, "full of natural enzymes and healthy microorganisms - and chemically unaltered".

  • A natural diet contains less than 2% carbohydrates, no grains, and at least 70% water, about 15% protein and 10% bone, 5% fat and 2-4% of other nutrients we may or may not know the identity of...

  • A natural diet contains no artificial chemicals and no added poisons...

  • A natural diet will most likely increase your dog's life expectancy by 30-35%. And it will most likely reduce your vet bills to a level of 10-15% of what they were before - provided you do take diligent care of your dog.

From here, you should be able to enter the discussion about whether or not to feed a raw diet or to trust the commercial players in their promotion of their profitable products.

The call is yours.

And, of course, personal experience is a major plus. Enjoy the discussion!


Mogens Eliasen


Mogens Eliasen holds a mag. scient. degree (comparable to a US Ph. D.) in Chemistry from Århus University, Denmark, has a extensive education also as military officer and in business management. He has been working with dogs, dog owners, dog trainers, and veterinarians since 1970. A large part of his dog work has been in the area of education and education planning, and as consultant for dog owners and dog training associations. He is a strong advocate of treating the dog with respect for its nature as domesticated wolf, and has published several books and videos on topics related to dogs, dog training, dog behavior, and responsible care of dogs. He publishes a newsletter "The Peeing Post" containing lots of tips and advice on all matters pertaining to dogs.

For more information about Mogens Eliasen, including links to other articles he has published, please send this e-mail to or visit or

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Titles available from K9joy®:

Anders Hallgren:
"The ABC's of Dog Language" (140 page book - 1996)
Understand what your dog is telling you - and communicate with it on its own terms. A must have for all dog lovers. Easy to read. Easy to use as reference.

Mogens Eliasen:
"The Dog's Social Behavior" (2.5 hr. video - 1998, updated on DVD 2006, with support materials on a CD)
How the dog's behavior is linked to its instincts and needs. What you can change and what is "for life". How you use this information to dramatically improve your relationship with your dog.

Mogens Eliasen:
"BrainWork for Smart Dogs" (380 page e-book - 2003)
How you get a happy and well-behaved dog, stimulating its brain with 15 minutes of fun per day. Dogs need to work and use their instinct in order to be in mental balance. Everyone can do it with these instructions. More than 40 exercises to choose from!

Mogens Eliasen:
"Don't Pull on the Leash!" (40 page e-book - 2005)
The 5 simple steps in this complete training manual will effectively stop any dog from pulling on the leash, with no pain or abuse and no special equipment - and make the start of a much better relationship with the dog.

Mogens Eliasen:
"Is Your Dog's Drinking Water Safe?" (30 page e-book - 2005, updated 2006)
A layman's overview of how and why drinking water gets contaminated - and what you can do about it.

Mogens Eliasen:
"Feeding Your Dog - the Natural Way" (1 hr. video - 1998)
The fastest introduction to get you started on feeding your dog a natural diet. It explains the dog's physiology in simple terms, so you also understand why you should do this.

Mogens Eliasen:
"Canine Choice - by Nature" (80 page e-book - 1999, updated 2005)
The simple "how-to" about feeding a natural diet for optimal health.

Mogens Eliasen:
"Raw Food for Dogs - the Ultimate Reference for Dog Owners"
(340 page e-book - revised/expanded 2006)
Everything you need for making your own informed decisions about what to feed your dog, and why and how. Includes numerous examples of feeding plans plus two chapters on how to work with your vet, also if he/she does not approve of your feeding...

Mogens Eliasen:
"The Wolf's Natural Diet - a Feeding Guide for Your Dog?"
(125 page e-book - 2004 updated/revised 2006)
What we know and don't know about the wolf and its natural feeding, and about the dog and its domestication, and what we can and cannot conclude from wolf to dog... this is the big "why?" behind any responsible approach to feeding your dog.

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