Can you mix raw and dry dog food?
If the question is, is it necessary to mix some dry food into the raw diet, then the answer is no, absolutely not. That would be like putting a salad on a frozen pizza. The best diet for a dog is a fresh or raw dog food. I wouldn’t recommend dry food for the starving!
For a dog to gain the maximum benefit from their fresh food diet, then the ingredients detrimental to their health need to be cut out. This means, amongst others, you need to remove all wheat (which is most dry dog food and cheap pet treats), poor quality cooked meat (most dry foods) and anything difficult to pronounce (chemicals added to dry food and many dog treats). This invariably means removing all dry food and pet store treats.
But, if the question is, “Is it ok mixing raw dog food with dry food?”, then the answer is yes, absolutely. A little fresh food is better than none. In fact, it’s how we advise people when introducing raw dog food in the first place, a teaspoon one meal, two the next etc.
Is Mixing dry and Raw Dog Food Safe?
There is a lot of confusion over this point, which is a result of the following point. If I suddenly feed a large amount of fresh meat to a dog that has never eaten it before their guts will not be ready to digest such food. Dry fed dogs have stomach acids of around pH2.5 as this acidity suits the enzymes and digestive juices necessary for a cereal cased dry diet. He’s probably been eating it for years and his stomach has become digestively conditioned to the whole process. Just before dinner time you hear all the gurgling and squirting in his belly?! That’s all the digestive juices being released in anticipation of the dry meal. In some dogs, if you introduce a large amount of raw food at this time it will fail to digest properly. Raw dog food requires a more natural and acidic gut environment of pH1.5, as we see in all carnivores.
When people see a dog at this point bringing up his new raw meal at this time they incorrectly conclude that the dog “didn’t like his food” or that “you can’t mix raw and dry”. You can, but you should do it gradually, slowly acclimatising the gut to the new lower acidity level. Once down there he’ll be able to eat anything at all!
All that said, there is some solid theory behind the notion that dry food requires a different acidity in the gut to digest properly. Hence it’s presence may perceivably make the stomach acids weaker. For this reason, while it’s OK to put some fresh meat in with dry, done correctly, maybe even some ground meat and bone meal, we do recommend you don’t mix dry with meat on the bone. This needs the stomach to itself to digest properly so please separate these meals until we know more.
For more on the digestive anatomy of the dog check out our video below!