New Zealand dog diet study, a wake-up call for dog nutrition

An independent New Zealand study, only the second of its kind in the world, found that a high meat diet is easier for dogs to digest.
The full Text

1 Like

Although I support this study’s overall message, it is far from conclusive. It only looked at two groups of dogs - one group fed on “a raw red meat diet (73% beef muscle, 10% beef liver, 5% bone chip, 5% beef tripe, 3.5% beef heart, 3.5% beef kidney, 0.2% mineral pre-mix)” and the other on a “commercially available kibbled diet”. No further details are given about the kibble.

Fairly unsurprisingly the first group fared better than the second but whether this is necessarily due to the fact that the first group ate more meat or not is far from clear.

A study to accurately compare the effects of low and high meat intakes would require the two groups of dogs to be fed diets that were identical in every way other than the proportion of meat. That is clearly not the case with this study. The results could be nothing to do with meat intake and instead be an indication that fresh ingredients are better than processed, raw is better than cooked, low carb is better than high carb or even that low fibre diets are better for digestive health in dogs than high fibre diets.

Sadly studies like this tend to serve more to grab headlines and spearhead the marketing campaigns of the companies funding them than to actually further our understanding of canine nutrition.


Seaweed - thank you for linking the study. I tend to be concerned when I read studies like this because my experience tells me that all dogs are different and whereas one type of diet might suit a particular dog, it might not suit another. I also see that funding was made available by commercial companies: by the New Zealand Premium Petfood Alliance (a collaboration between leading NZ Petfood manufacturers Bombay Petfoods, K9 Natural and ZiwiPeak)
I do not believe that some of those claims are true of all dogs. Looking at just one of them - the issue of faecal health, I can say that with my dogs it was definitely worse when fed a high meat, raw diet. They now have some fibre/carb in their diet and their poos have never been better.

There simply isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to feeding dogs. Many do perfectly well on commercial dry or wet food, living long and healthy lives.

David - thank you for your appraisal of the research method - it is very helpful.

1 Like

Without wishing to appear biased to feeding RAW…(Actually I currently feed BARF complete products)…

I appreciate that data & results can be open to interpretation, but to me, & without over analysing or speculating, the message seems quite clear…Dogs in the study did well on the raw diet.

I accept Davids comments in that it is unclear as to which differing diet factor caused the alleged benefits.

Whilst some dogs might not do well on RAW/BARF, it might be argued that in some cases this could be due to one or a number of factors , (storage, prep, sourcing, specific protein source, introduction method, feed amounts etc).

Basically, my opinion is that it is not easy to pinpoint specific factors which make a specific diet more or less beneficial.

1 Like