Should You Mix Raw Food & Kibble?

Listen to “Mixing Raw Food & Kibble” on Spreaker.

Is it safe to mix raw food and kibble? This is a question I get ALL the time at our pet food store and online.Dog sitting

First of all let’s talk about the concerns with mixing kibble and raw together in the same meal: 

*Please see the note at the end of this article about pH transiency* 

  • Kibble fed dogs have a more alkaline stomach pH and so will not digest the bones in the raw food effectively and is at a higher risk for bowel obstruction. 
  • Also, because they are less acidic, kibble fed dogs may be more susceptible to pathogenic bacteria like e coli or salmonella.

These are legitimate concerns so why do I say yes to feeding both kibble and raw food?

  • Getting some whole fresh foods into your pet it better than none
    • Raw feeding doesn’t have to be a 100% or nothing endeavour. Attitudes like this can make people too scared to ever try feeding raw at all.
    • Raw feeding can be cost prohibitive to some people. If all you can afford to do is feed your dog one raw food meal a week right now. That is a great place to start. Do the best you can for your pet whatever that may be.
  • AND  there are some easy ways to make the combination safer
    • Add Probiotics
      • Adding a high quality pre & probiotic into your pet’s diet will boost the friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and help crowd out the harmful bacteria like salmonella or e coli.
      • Research has shown that some Lactobacillus probiotic strains can actually lower the pH of the stomach
    • Add Apple Cider Vinegar
      • Is a natural way to lower the pH of your dog’s gut (make them more acidic) and can help them break down the bone content more easily.
      • Dosage is 1 Tbsp per 50 lbs of body weight

Since recording the podcast there has been a new article written about digestion times of kibble vs raw that suggests that raw is actually digested at a slightly slower rate than kibble is. While I make no mention of this “fact” in either the podcast or this blogpost I did want to draw your attention to the article because digestion rate is something that is commonly brought up when discussing mixing raw & kibble. 

*I also wanted to make a quick note that pH levels are transient. That is to say, a raw fed dog may not have a fixed GI pH that is lower than a kibble fed dog. It is also interesting to note that pH levels tend to vary through the GI tract likely to aid in digestion of different micro and macro nutrients. 

However, I do believe that adding probiotics and apple cider vinegar, while perhaps not necessary for safety concerns, will help improve your pet’s digestion regardless. 

References: 

1. https://therawfeedingcommunity.com/2015/01/08/digest-this-kibble-may-actually-digest-faster-than-raw/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23460608/
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