How To Safely Prepare Raw Food For Your Dog

The dangers of raw feeding your dog and the potential for bacterial contamination from raw food has become a hot topic after the BBC recently aired episode 1 of the series “Trust Me I’m A Vet”.

The series claims to use science to “seek out what is really good for our pet’s health”. However, in trying to discredit raw feeding this hugely biased program used very little GOOD science, failed to present all of the facts, and instead resorted to scaremongering with the intention of frightening people away from raw feeding.

If you didn’t watch the show but I have piqued your interest, here is a rundown of the main arguments they presented:


Raw feeding is a fad (umm what?)

This actually made me burst into laughter. The domesticated dog has been roaming the Earth for tens of thousands of years eating all manner of raw meats from the prey they have hunted and killed, scavenged or had thrown to them from scraps around the campfire.

Pokemon Go. Fad? Yes.

Dogs eating raw food. Fad? No.


Feeding your dog raw food will put you and your family at risk (because you are too stupid to follow basic hygiene principles)

The way they actually went about demonstrating this was to firstly have a person handle raw meats when feeding their dog, then take a bacterial swab of the person’s hand and dramatically reveal that they discovered bacteria present. WOW!!! Are you as amazed as I was?

I guess I won’t be preparing any more lamb roasts or chicken schnitzels in my kitchen. I’m sure that all of those meals I have prepared for the humans in my household using raw meat ingredients must have been terribly dangerous. How did we ever survive? Oh yeah, that’s right, we washed our hands, refrained from polishing our kitchen benchtops with chicken wings and cleaned up after ourselves.


related story reasons i dont feed kibble


Commercial pet foods are a safer option (so please feed your pets highly processed foods from a bag or can)

They conveniently forgot to mention the hundreds of commercial pet food recalls due to contamination.

I have been feeding a raw diet for years, and neither me, my dog or family members have ever been infected with any pathogenic bacteria as a result.

Obviously, I don’t go around licking up the leftovers from my dog’s bowl, or throwing raw green tripe around my kitchen like confetti, but here are a few common sense hygiene tips I follow to ensure that everybody is safe, clean and not swimming in salmonella (as that ridiculous show would have had you believing):tips to safely prepare raw food for your dog

  1. Wash your hands after feeding your dog, and after handling raw food or any utensils and surfaces the food has come into contact with.
  2. Wash your dog’s bowl, as well as any utensils and chopping boards in hot soapy water (or in the dishwasher) after every use. I often leave bowls out in the sun after washing, as UV light is a natural disinfectant and has been shown to kill numerous pathogens.
  3. Feed your dog from a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Plastic bowls easily become scratched and can harbor pathogens in these crevices.
  4. Disinfect your bench tops thoroughly after every use.
  5. Store your dog’s food separately from yours in the refrigerator. I store all of the raw dog food in a large container covered with a lid to prevent cross contamination.
  6. Sanitize the area where your dog normally eats. If you feed your dog indoors, a mat can be placed on the ground to allow for easy cleaning and disinfecting. If your dog is fed outdoors then hose down and clean the area regularly.
  7. Don’t allow your dog to lick you (especially on the face) immediately after eating. If they do, be sure to wash the area.
 labrador raw food


So there you have it. 7 simple tips to keep you safe while preparing raw meals for your dogs. If you would like to know why I recommend a raw food diet, you can read more about that here – “10 Reasons I Don’t Feed My Dog Kibble”

Do you feed your dog raw foods? Do you have any tips to share for preparing them safely? Would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Rita x


rita barking botanicals dog naturopath

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how to safely prepare raw food for your dog

11 Responses

  1. Allison says:

    Great tips! No idea why people think raw feeding is a fad.
    “Pokemon Go. Fad? Yes.” This made me giggle a little 😛

  2. Desiree says:

    Thanks for shedding light on this Rita. Goes to show how science can be skewed one way… Common sense sometimes doesn’t prevail with these silly journalists. Have started feeding Mikko raw food and with a baby these tips are really useful. Thanks for being you! PS. Love your writing style xxxii you rock!

    • Thanks Desiree. I felt it was important to point out the obvious facts that this program failed to mention, and to also give some piece of mind to those pet parents (such as yourself) feeding a raw diet. Glad you enjoyed the post. Big hugs. Rita x

  3. Sara Grant says:

    So may I ask you a few questions, I have started feeding a raw diet over the last 2 days, i am very excited because my poor 8 yr old aussie is struggling with allergies and I think his food has been part of that. I have read several different recipes if you will, I started with chicken and yogurt the first couple of days. What would you add to that? Do you just feed all raw meet? His stools seem to be a little loose, so I am hoping that will pass. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi Sara,

      Great questions. As your pup is just starting out on a raw diet I would introduce each new food gradually and see how he reacts. The goal is to feed a wide variety of foods to ensure balance, and I generally follow these ratios – 70% muscle meat, 10% edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other organs (hold off on introducing organs for a few weeks and only give in small quantities to start with), 5% fruit and vegetables and 5% other nutritious add ons. I recently posted an infographic on my Facebook page (see the pinned post) regarding this exact topic in case you want to check it out –

      It is not uncommon for your dog to experience a little digestive upset when first transitioning to a new diet. This can often be remedied by feeding stomach nourishing ingredients such as bone broth, slippery elm powder or a good quality probiotic. If he has never been fed yoghurt before, this may also be the cause, as some dogs do not tolerate dairy very well. You could try goats milk yoghurt, or goat milk kefir as a more gentle alternative.

      All the very best with your raw feeding journey. I hope this was helpful, and be sure to keep checking in with the blog, and following along on social media as this is a topic I often get asked about and will be covering a lot more in future.

      Rita x

  4. Sara Grant says:

    thanks so much!

  5. Jennine Wilson says:

    My dog was just diagnosed with lymphoma and it was recommended to me that she eat a raw diet. I am currently researching just how to do this safely for my dog, so I appreciate your post! My husband and I often get frustrated with mass media scare tactics, so I found your post very amusing!!! 🙂

    • Hi Jennine. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and leave me a comment. Wishing you and your pup all the best, and remember not to go licking up any leftovers out of her bowl hehehe. Hugs, Rita x

  6. Kristen Bourn says:

    Do you feed the dog raw meat or cook it first?

    • Hi Kristen,

      I feed my dogs all of their foods including meat, bones and, offal raw. Some people prefer to lightly cook the meat first (although bones should never be cooked), which is also an option if you are uncomfortable feeding raw foods but would still like to provide a homemade diet.

      Rita x

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