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A Little Raw DOESN'T Go a Long Way

One of the most debated topics in the raw feeding world is mixing raw with kibble. We hear “a little raw goes a long way" or "some raw is better than none". Unfortunately these statements are not true and are completely misguided.



The great debate of KIBBLE vs. RAW continues, as the pet food industry funds our Veterinarians Education on Pet Nutrition. We thought it prudent to have a honest look at both.

Kibble benefits:

*Easy to feed

*Easy to source
*Easy to store
*Balanced within itself

Prey Model Raw PMR benefits:
*Pets enjoy their food and look forward to meal times with excitement
*Helps create a stronger, healthier immune system so more resistant to disease and ill-health
* Shiny healthy coats
* Sweet smelling skin (no doggy smell)
* Pearly white teeth, healthy gums and sweet breath (no tooth decay, or periodontal disease, therefore no
infection on the gums and no bacteria swallowed with every gulp of saliva, this in turns leads to reduced chances of heart, kidney and liver disease
*Better concentration
*Less veterinarian cost
*Less hyperactive yet more energy
*Easier to keep at the right weight
*Better muscle tone
*No bloated look or pudgy feeling to the body
*Smaller poops
*More mental stimulation eating dinner – helps to stop boredom
*Stomach acid is strong enough to combat the threat of Salmonella and other bacteria

*No metabolic problems
*It's cheaper in the short run if you buy wisely
*It’s cheaper in the long run as vet bills are dramatically reduced
*Fresh food and you know what is in it

Negative sides of feeding Raw:
*You have to have extra cooling or freezing space
*If you don't feed balanced you can have constipation from too much bone and nutrient deficiencies 
*If you feed bones that are not the right size (too small for your dog), or your dog has been fed kibble and does not know how to eat bones, your dog can choke. To be fair, dogs can choke on anything that they gulp down, including kibble. Therefore they have a learning curve on eating bones
*If you don't shop wisely it can be expensive to source

Negative Side of feeding Kibble:
*Most kibble is plant based and therefore not dietary acceptable for digestion and not species appropriate. Also chemicals, food coloring and preservatives have been added to extent shelf life
*Source of meat is un-known to the consumer
*Many kibble manufactures source their meat from rendering plants, meat unfit for human consumption, including chemically denatured meats and/or spoiled meats
*Most kibble includes corn or corn syrup. Corn is a major contributor to allergies, as it acts as a natural histamine.
*Kibble has been found a major contributor to canine diabetes and pancreatic problems
*Many kibble brands are repeatedly recalled for mold or salmonella contamination
*Kibble fed dogs do not have the stomach acid to withstand the ill effects of salmonella contamination in the kibble.
*Kibble fed dogs do not have the stomach acid to digest the occasional bone they get as a treat and therefore risk injury to the stomach or intestine, as well as blockage
*Kibble with it's grain and sugar are a major contributor to cancer and arthritis
*Kibble fed dogs have a higher percentage of tooth decay and are in periodical need of dental cleanings by the veterinarian
*Kibble fed dogs find them self at the vet more often, because of above named conditions and therefore have a higher annual or life time vet bill

To be honest, we could find many more negative sides of feeding kibble, but you get the idea.

Let us have a look what Studies have shown:
In Sweden a Dr. Kollath proved that animals fed a cooked, processed diet from puppy hood on seemed at first healthy and thriving. However, once they reached adulthood, they started aging and developing diseases that are in the category of degenerative diseases faster than the controlled group that was fed a species appropriate raw diet.
A different study from Lippert and Sapy of Belgium showed in a study from 1998-2002, that dogs that were fed a high quality homemade diet, outlived their counterparts who lived on a commercial dog food by almost 3 years.
Yes, there are may more differences between Kibble and PMR. However we hope to have shown you the ones that seem the most outstanding.
Sources: Dogs naturally Magazine, Freeman, L.M. and K.E. Michel. Evaluation of raw food diets for dogs.
JAVMA. 218 95):705-709,
doogfoodadvisior, smart living network/ canine diabetes

Now on to why it's NOT recommended to mix the two!

First off, let's talk about Gastrin:

 Gastrin is a hormone that stimulates secretion of gastric juice and is secreted into the bloodstream by the stomach wall in response to the presence of food and has many functions. It controls the muscular actions of the stomach, reduces stomach motility, which slows gastric emptying. This then helps the stomach hold and process a large meal. Recognizing which foods trigger gastrin release goes a long way to improving the digestive process of your companion.

The importance of high levels of gastric acidity is for:

  • Proper digestion 

  • Absorption of nutrients

  • Protection against pathogenic organisms


 Gastric pH of a kibble fed dog is no different from the gastric pH of a raw fed dog when the dog’s are not eating. When the dog’s eat, this is when the differences come in. A raw, species appropriate diet, including raw meaty bones are great digestive aids because of their amino acid profile and their ability to trigger gastrin. Carnivore's have a naturally high gastric acidity of 1-2 pH. Carbohydrates such as kibble and even fruits and veggies immediately increase the pH of the stomach above pH 4 the moment the food is swallowed. This lessens the release of gastrin speeding up the time the meal is held in the stomach allowing less effective digestion to take place and does not provide protection from pathogens.

According to a study by Saint-Hilaire in July 1960 gastric pouches from dogs were isolated and used to understand the function of a dog’s stomach. Their conclusion-“The foods with the highest secretory equivalent values belonged in the meat, fish, and dairy products categories. The foods with the least ability to stimulate acidity had the most carbohydrate content: fruit, bread, cereals, green peas, oatmeal and potatoes. Most of these foods are common ingredients in processed petfoods.

It was concluded protein was the most important acid-stimulating factor.”

A kibble diet being made of ingredient’s not suitable for our carnivore friends lowers their immune system as well. Just imagine if you ate McDonald’s all day every day, you would probably not be the healthiest person. It works the same for our companions. If they are constantly spending tons of energy on ingredients that are taxing to digest, then the body’s focus isn’t on health or a quality immune system. A diet of raw meats, organs and bone is conducive for maintaining a high immune system that can fight most illness, diseases, and deal with other stresses.


So what does this mean for your companion? When one feeds a mixture of raw and kibble, the stomach acid can never reach that very acidic level that could kill bacteria, digest properly, nor absorb nutrients. Instead, the body is still in a depressed state actually making them more susceptible to illness and disease. Furthermore, commercial kibble contains inappropriate ingredients that do not digest well. It takes more effort for the body and can slow the elimination of waste as well as cause digestive upset which can include vomiting and diarrhea. This is why so many pet foods are removed from the shelf when a recall of listeria or salmonella is announced. Normally, if that animal were on a 100% raw diet they would be able to handle the bacteria load, neutralize it and destroy it often never being affected by the actual bacteria. 

In the end, feed foods that trigger the most efficient response for a carnivores digestive system!


Raw Essentials Gastric Acidity & Mixed Feeding  by Dr. Lyn Thomson:

  • Callaway, E. (2014). Microbes help vultures eat rotting meat. Nature, 26 November 2014).

  • Beasley DE, Koltz AM, Lambert JE, Fierer N, Dunn RR. (2015) The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and Its Relevance to the Human Microbiome. PLoS ONE 10(7): e0134116. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134116

  • Saint-Hilaire, S.,Lavers, M.K., Kennedy, J. & Code, C.F. (1960). Gastric acid secretory value of different foods. Gastroenterology, 39(1).

  • Lennard-Jones, J.E., Fletcher, J. & Shaw, D.G. (1968). Effect of different foods on the acidity of the gastric contents in patients with duodenal ulcer. Gut (BMJ), 9, 177-182.

  • Lichtenberger, L.M. (1982). Importance of food in the regulation of gastrin release and formation. American Journal of Physiology 243, G429-441.

  • Brooks, F.P. (1985). Effect of diet on gastric secretion. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 42, 1006-1019.

  • DelValle, J. & Yamada, T. (1990). Amino acids and amines stimulate gastrin release from canine antral G-cells via different pathways. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 85, 139-143

  • Smith, J.L. (2003). The role of gastric acid in preventing foodborne disease and how bacteria oversome acid conditions. Journal of Food Protection, 66(7):1292-1303

  • Hunt, R.H. (1988). The protective role of gastric acid. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 23(supp146):34-39

  • Cook, G.C.(1985). Infective gastroenteritis and its relationship to reduced gastric acidity. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 111:17-23

  • Martinsen, T.C., Bergh, K. & Waldum, H.L.(2005). Gastric juice: a barrier against infectious diseases. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, 96(2):94-102

  • Simpson, S.J., & Raubenheimer, D. (2012). The Nature of Nutrition: A Unifying Framework from Animal Adaptation to Human Obesity. Princeton University Press.

  • Hewson-Hughes, A.K., Hewson-Hughes, V.L., Colyer, A. Miller, A.T. McGrane, S.J. Hall, S.R. Butterwick, R.F. Simpson, S.J. & Raubenheimer, D.(2012, 23 October). Geometric analysis of macronutrient selection in breeds of the domestic dog, Canis lupus familiaris. Behavioral Ecology, doi:10.1093/beheco/ars168

  • Thomson, L., & Mair, A. (2013). Analysis of the 2012 American Veterinary Medical Association Position statement on Raw Feeding


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