Raw Food Diet: A Healthy Option for Spaniels

August 14, 2022

Food is an essential part of both ours as well as our dog's life. As a dog owner, it is important to ensure your dog has proper nutrition and best dog food to keep him healthy and happy.

One of the options is a raw diet (these are also called barf diets) which means feeding your dog raw uncooked ingredients. This diet normally includes raw meat, whole or ground bone, raw eggs, fresh fruit and raw vegetables and dairy.

Raw feeding can come with many benefits for your dog, but while its increasingly popular can also have some drawbacks to consider. In this complete guide, we will cover all things you need to know for a varied diet and picking your dog's food.

The Importance Of Great Dog Nutrition

To be healthy, your dog needs to eat foods that have carbohydrates, fat, protein, minerals, essential vitamins and fibre.

Most dog foods are made to include all these necessary nutrients. However, poor quality food can have items in wrong quantity and this can have a negative impact on your dog's health.

Feeding imbalanced diet can lead to many issues and affect the digestive system and gut health:

  • Diabetes
  • Allergies and itchy skin
  • Arthritis
  • Skin issues
  • Obesity
  • Digestive disorders

So, it is crucial your dogs nutrition is focused on. The diet needs to be of good quality, balanced and suitable based on your dog's activity level and age.

Feeding Your Dog Commercial Food

Many people are feeding their dogs commercial dog food. This can seem like a good way to balance the dog's diet.

These are specially made with dog's needs in mind and can include required vitamins and minerals as well as suitable source of protein and other nutrients.

However, it is always worth doing research and even consulting with a vet when choosing a good dog food. Sometimes, these commercial foods may be of low quality or just not work for your dog.

If your feeding your dog and they have a sensitive stomach or food allergies, it may be due to their dry food.

Of course, initially when you bring your dog home you should continue feeding him the same meals as the breeder. Any changes to diet should be done slowly.

What Is A Raw Food Diet?

Sometimes referred to as BARF diets which stand for "biologically appropriate raw food" or "Bones and raw food". This means eating foods that the canines were evolved to consume, fresh and raw uncooked food.

The popular raw dog food diet with natural ingredients can be homemade or purchased from stores and pet shops.

One of the benefits of feeding raw is you can clearly monitor food intake, see what your dog is consuming and miss any nasty and unnecessary ingredients that can be found in low quality meals.

Your dog should not be consuming only one type of meat. Variety is key for a healthy digestive system and healthy weight.

The raw diet can consist of chicken, fish or beef while pork is not recommended raw. Do not forget to also include fruits and vegetables for a balanced barf diet.

When feeding your dog, it is also worth remembering that a portion of the raw meat needs to be offal (the organ meat like liver).

Chicken And Turkey

Chicken as well as turkey and their raw bones can be good sources of protein.

Remember, you can never give you dog cooked bones.

If you see the dog eat a cooked bone, consult with a vet as cooking process can make bones brittle and splinter. These can pierce a dog's stomach.

Also remember to not give the uncooked bones at the same time as the meat. The pup will love raw meat and you do not want him accidentally chipping a tooth on a bone.


Raw fish is also great natural food for your dog.

Avoid raw salmon as this can carry parasites that can make your dog sick.

Cooked salmon is still safe for your pup to feed on.

Fish proteins are great source of omega 3 and omega 6 that can contribute to healthy joints and skin.


Beef is also a good meat for your dog's health. This needs to be consumed in moderation.


Pork is not suitable for raw feeding. It can include nasty bacteria that cause roundworm in both humans and dogs.

Your dog will also struggle to digest raw pork.

Fruit and Vegetables

Raw vegetables and fruit are great addition to your dogs diet and will improve nutrition as they have so many vitamins and minerals.

Carrot, cucumber, peas, broccoli, apple, banana, pepper and blueberry are just a few of the many fruits and veggies that your pup can enjoy.

However, do your research before choosing your veggies as some items are toxic to dogs like grapes, tomato and onions.

Dairy and Egg

You can also feed eggs to your dog. Cottage cheese and natural yoghurt are also great sources of calcium. Be careful with cheese as this can be high in sodium.

Benefits of Raw Dog Food

Raw dog food diet or so called barf diet has become so popular due to its many benefits for your dog and his immune system.

Some owners swear by their raw dog food diet and believe their dog looks, feels and smells better than before.

Also, cooking can make food lose some of its nutritional value, so raw food can be better for your dog.

Gut Health

Some commercial dry foods have low quality carbs like corn, wheat and soy that cause health problems in some dogs.

If your dog has a sensitive stomach and is gassy, you might need to change their diet to improve their health through nutrition.

Oral Health

Eating raw meat and bones help to keep dog's teeth clean and this can reduce bad breath and tartar.

This can also minimize future vet bills as some oral health problems like gum disease can cause serious infections.

Allergies And Intolerances

Picking barf diet can help to get rid of some of the allergies caused by low quality foods as well as work wonders on your dogs immune system.

Weight Management

The main causes of obesity are wrong nutrition and overfeeding. A well balanced raw diet can help to manage your dog's weight.


Barf diet can help your dog smell better. As already discussed, it improves oral health which in turn will reduce bad breath.

Raw diet can also reduce flatulence and amount of waste your dog produces.

Looking Better

Your dog on raw diet can have improved skin and silkier coat.

They will also be feeling better due to all the healthy food they have been consuming.

Disadvantages of Raw Meat

While there are many benefits, there are also some issues with having your dog on a raw food diet.

Balanced Diet Of A Healthy Dog

Some owners do not do enough research when starting the raw diet journey. Your pup will require a balanced diet and homemade DIY meals can sometimes lack some required nutrients.

This can be more harm than good to your dog's wellbeing.

It may be easier to start with store bought mixes as these are already created with all the nutrients in mind.

Sanitation and Bacteria

Handling raw meat requires care and attention.

You will need to ensure areas are properly sanitized when handling raw meat. Avoid cross contamination that can make the family sick.

Also, if your dog is eating raw food, they can get some of it on their coat. So if you have elderly people or kids, they could accidentally get salmonella or E.coli from touching the dog's coat.

Bacteria like salmonella can make some dogs sick.

The symptoms to look out for that can indicate exposure to salmonella are:

  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea


The preparation process can be time consuming. You also need to have space to store the food as buying in bulk can be cheaper.

If you do decide to prepare the raw items yourself, keep in mind basic food preparation rules:

  • Wash your hands before and after handling the meats
  • Clean and sanitise all used surfaces
  • Keep raw food frozen until you need it
  • Keep raw meat separate from other food
  • Use separate dishes to store raw items
  • Be cautious of allowing your dog to lick you after eating raw.
  • Wash your hands after petting your pup and do not touch your face with your hands.

Can I Feed My Dog Bones?

Yes, your dog will be happy munching on some bones. Remember, they have to be uncooked.

Cooked bones can get brittle and splinter. This is a choking hazard and can lead to piercing of the stomach lining.

Choose fresh bones that come from the butcher or specially included in barf packs.

Storing Raw Food For Dogs

It is crucial to store the dog food well.

If your food is store bought, always follow specific instructions on the packaging.

Otherwise, store the dog's raw food same as you would any other meats in the household.

You can also freeze some of the meats.

Tips For Starting A Raw Food Diet

Raw meat diet can be a bit scary to start with, so it is essential to do plenty of research.

Here are some tips that can help you on the journey:

  • Do not be worried if your dog's water consumption changes. Raw food has a lot of water in it, so your dog might be drinking less.
  • Alternate meats to keep it interesting for your pup as well as to prevent allergies developing.
  • You should be giving your dog about 2% of their bodyweight in food each day.
  • Energy - do not be surprised if your dog suddenly has more energy.
  • Poo - you can monitor how well your dog is dealing with his new diet by their poo. A sign of good gut health is firm, dry poo that can be easily picked up.


Raw food diets are rising in popularity. A good balanced raw food diet can have benefits for your pup, like improved gut and oral health, smoother skin, less allergies and boost in energy.

There are many options when creating a raw meal for your dog. Best is to alternate with food as they can have chicken, beef, fish as well as many vegetables and fruit.

However, there can also be some issues when the owner has not done enough research. You might be giving your dog an unbalanced diet and if not prepared properly can lead to cross contamination in the household.

This diet is not for all dogs and there are plenty of other options available. But, when you decide to start a raw food trial for the first time, it is best to do plenty of research and maybe even use pre prepared packs.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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