Raw feeding and vegetables

From time to time one comes across posts on social media about dogs not needing vegetables. They are nearly always raw feeders who are vehement in their belief that all a dog needs is meat, offal and bone - no carbohydrate, no vegetable matter. Clearly dogs are surviving on this sort of diet but is it good for them? Are they missing out on useful nutrients? From what I’ve read, dogs can make good use of vegetables, when they are prepared correctly. Many of the companies who sell raw food include vegetables in their complete products and they would not do this without very good reason. My feeling is that a diet that consists wholly of meat, offal and bone is not a balanced one but have no proof so I would like to hear of other views/opinions on the subject.

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My concern would be balancing the diet to ensure a dog receives all the essential nutrients, including the oils, vitamins and minerals that would be supplied by a diet of varied meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and herbs.

A couple of examples are the essential fatty acids known as Omega 6 and Omega 3, which must come from the dog’s diet because a dog cannot readily produce them.

Omega 6s are found in nuts and seeds and the oils that are made from them.

Omega 3 originates from plant sources (eg. chia and flaxseeds, walnuts) and marine sources (eg. fish oil).

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Regarding vegetables and fruits there is information available on the health benefits from phytonutrients (plant chemicals) that these supply.

Of course, with an added attempt on our part to avoid (as far as is practically possible) fruit and vegetables ‘full’ of pesticides! Organically grown food might be preferable.

Here are links to articles regarding phytonutrients :

Advances in Nutrition

British Journal of Nutrition

Sources of phytonutrients and health benefits


Thank you Meg - some really useful links there. We have recently been discussing dogs eating grass - there is a video by Rodney Habib on the subject here. My little one loves a snack of grass. She is very delicate about it and does not do it to make herself sick. According to the article in one of your links, I clearly need to up her green vegetables to increase her chlorophyll intake.

I don’t know why some raw feeders believe that vegetables are unnecessary in their dog’s diet. It must have come from somewhere but no idea of the source.

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I do feed some green vegetables but my dog does like a nibble on grass too. Occasionally she will eat lots and that seems to be about calming digestive issues but mostly it is small amounts.

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Yes grass nibbling is commonplace here at the moment :wink: particular favourites are those longer and thicker blades of one particular grass that flourishes at this time of year.

Here’s a sourced quote from an interesting article from Science Direct, Research in Veterinary Science:

“Functional foods, strongly appreciated for their health benefits, include fruit and vegetables”

Link to the article is here:
Functional foods in pet nutrition: Focus on dogs and cats


Regarding organic vegetables, Naturaw Organic Veg (400g) £1.85, independently certified as organic by OF&G. Also organic completes.
Also Natural Instinct have organic veg in their Country Banquet (Dog) Organic Chicken and Country Banquet (Dog) Organic Turkey.

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In theory, feeding organ meat should supply enough variety of nutrients; whether such variety is in the right quantities, it’s up for debate. Also fibres will be completely absent on a diet based exclusively on meat and, as it’s already been mentioned, dogs seem to benefit from fibres to the point that they will happily go for a graze in the park if they feel they’re not having enough of them.
My point is always the same: feeding a dog as if it was a wolf is like feeding a human as if it was a chimpanzee. The argument of 96+ % of genome in common doesn’t take into account tens of thousands of years where humans have learnt farming and rearing, and dogs have learnt to scavenge on human scraps.


Interestingly, I’ve known dogs to eat grass when they are particularly hormonal, for example bitches in season chomping on grass to a higher degree than usual.

I’ve also had dogs that almost appear to be ‘grinning’ as they are happily chewing on their favourite specific grass. :slight_smile:

And of course on the odd occasion when a dog feels bilious and deliberately self medicates with over eating grass. Many years ago grass was considered a ‘medicine’ for dogs as usually following grass-gorging sessions, dogs invariably vomitted and it was thought they must feel unwell and this was how they cleared their stomachs… :o

Thank you for starting this thread Dottie. A couple of articles on adding fruit and veg to a raw diet.
Also an article from Vince the Vet.

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I feed BARF complete off the shelf products that include veg. I also chuck in some fresh Kale , (I am aware that there has been some commentary it may contain thallium). I add Kale as some say it has anti-cancer properties. I also chuck in certain veg if we are cooking same & have some spare.

I feed Nutriment or Wolftucker complete BARF mince products that include veg.

Interestingly Nutriment also market premium Raw products called Laverstoke Organic. Noteably these does NOT include veg in the composition despite a relatively hefty £5.20, (current at time of typing), price for one 500g tray of the Beef & Bone variety.

Prey feeders essentially don’t tend to add veg to the bowl.

Grazing habits on certain grasses & greenery when on walks are enough to convince me dogs like &/or can benefit from veg, (some say dogs do this if they feel health benefit from adding same to diet - I am open minded) .

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An article from The Raw Feeding Community “Adding Fruits and Veggies to Raw Dog Food” followed by some interesting comments.


Should Dogs Have Vegetables As Part of Their Raw Diet? https://www.animalnaturopathy.org/should-dogs-have-vegetables-as-part-of-their-raw-diet/

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