Raw vs Grain Free VS Standard

Navigating Canine Diets: Raw dog food, GRAIN-FREE dog food, and Standard Dog Food Comparison.

Dog owners today are faced with multiple dietary choices for their pets, each claiming to offer unique benefits. Raw dog food, grain-free dog food or standard commercial dog food represent three prevalent options. Understanding their differences is key to making the best nutritional choice for your canine companion.

Diet Composition:

Raw Dog Food: Primarily consists of raw meats, bones, organs, and may include fruits and vegetables or herbal supplements. It’s based on the idea of a natural, ancestral diet for the animal. Nutritionally packed with natural goodness and as its fresh meat, highly attractive to your carnivorous pet.

Grain-Free Dry Dog Food: Made using higher grade and higher quantities of meat, grain-free foods are made without… grains. Instead, they use alternative carbohydrates like sweet potatoes or legumes.

Standard Dry Dog Food: Typically made using lower quantities of low grade meats, packed with maize, wheat, rice with other cheap fillers. It’s designed to be a so-called ‘balanced’ diet for dogs or cats, providing them with the bare essentials to survive – not thrive.

Nutritional Focus:

Raw Diet: Aims to mimic a dog’s natural diet; high in fresh meat protein and low or zero carbs.

Grain-Free Diet: Often high in protein but focus on eliminating the inclusion of grains, still potentially high in other carbs like sweet potato.

Standard Diet: Generally ‘balanced’ in terms of the protein, carbs, and fats used, with an emphasis on meeting all nutritional needs. Often use ‘vegetable protein derivatives’ as main protein source

Health Benefits Claims:

Raw Diet: Improved digestion, healthier skin and coat, better focus, better teeth, better poops and better overall health.

Grain-Free Diet: Marketed for dogs with grain allergies; claims to improve coat and digestion. Easier to process than grain filled options.

Standard Diet: Designed to be nutritionally ‘complete and balanced’ for dogs of various life stages and activity levels.

Potential Risks

Raw Diet: If fed and handled properly, i.e. common sense is used, there are very few risks or downsides.

Grain-Free Diet: Provided the quality is sound with some rotation in the proteins and it is handled in a hygienic manner, there are few risks.

Standard Diet: Some brands are full of fillers and artificial ingredients which increases the potential of allergies developing in some dogs.

Cost and Convenience

Raw Diet: Not any more expensive to feed than a higher end grain free food. Long term savings on the health and condition of your pet. Requires thoughtful handling and preparation. Becoming more popular and so available year on year.

Grain-Free Diet: Can be a little more costly than standard grain filled foods but readily available.

Standard Diet: Cheap and readily available in any supermarket or corner shop.


Conclusion: Selecting the right diet for your dog involves considering their specific health needs and your lifestyle.
Raw diets offer a fresh natural option for your pet but require some initial learning and some commitment to freezer space and of course a bit of common sense when handling. Grain-free diets can benefit dogs with grain sensitivities, especially single source options but aren’t inherently superior for all dogs. Standard dog food like Royal Canin, Hills or anything on a supermarket shelf, claim to provide a ‘complete and balanced’ option but will often cause health issues or cause dietary sensitivities.

If you would like to discuss better feeding options for your pet, please contact us at The Pet Parlour on (01) 492 4566!

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