Is a raw food diet healthy for dogs and what could be causing a dog to always be hungry?

Original Question: Do you like raw meat? I am feeding my dog raw meat as I heard how wonderful it is. My dog has pancreatitis periodically and I have always used vets authorized low-fat kibble and he becomes high maintenance because he is always hungry." - Elsie - Elsie

Is a raw food diet healthy for dogs and what could be causing a dog to always be hungry? May 23, 2017

Hi Elsie,

Thanks for your question.

It’s very difficult to recommend the best diet for your pet. In fact, I think it is near impossible because you really need to know how a dog responds to a food to know if it is good for them or not. I have always maintained that a food is good if your dog eats it, has good solid stools, does not become itchy, doesn’t vomit, and maintains an ideal body condition. Any food you select has to have a trial period before knowing whether it is ideal or not. So I feel the same about raw food. I have seen many dogs do very well on raw food. It’s important to manage it properly since it will increase the bacterial contamination in the kitchen. You have to store it properly and keep in mind that it commonly has high levels of fat and protein in it that can increase the risk of causing pancreatitis. To avoid this risk, I would recommend that you introduce any new food very slowly over the course of 3 weeks. Monitor your dog’s response to it very closely as you switch over to the new diet. If diarrhea or vomiting develops, I would stop it immediately and seek medical attention if it does not resolve right away.

If your dog is always hungry, I would recommend that you have your veterinarian perform a physical exam. There could be a medical reason for this so it’s worth getting a physical examination. For example, an intestinal parasite will certainly make a dog hungrier since it can prevent proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. I would also have your veterinarian perform a calculation to determine what the ideal daily caloric intake amount should be. Then determine whether the food your using has the right amount of calories in it to support that daily requirement. Your dog may be hungry because the food does not have enough calories in it or you’re not feeding enough of it.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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