Q: I mix raw meat I get at the grocery store in with my dog’s kibble, but my friends say I shouldn’t do that. They couldn’t tell me why, and said that I should ask you. Can you tell me why?
– Annie S.
A: Thank you, Annie! I get asked this question a lot.
When a carnivore consumes raw meat, the pH level in the stomach is sufficiently acidic to ensure that virtually all pathogens are destroyed. Mother Nature did equip her carnivores to survive!
However, when plant-based kibble is consumed (and all kibbles are plant-based), the pH level in the stomach is too alkaline to ensure that all pathogens are destroyed. As a result, your dog may become quite ill if the raw meat you’re adding is not pathogen-free.
Raw meats intended for pet consumption must meet the FDA standard of zero tolerance for pathogens; however, raw meats intended for human consumption are presumed to be cooked before eaten, and so are allowed managed-risk levels of pathogens by the USDA. By feeding a mix of kibble with raw meat intended for human consumption, you are setting up your dog’s gut for a pH that is not sufficiently acidic to destroy pathogens, in combination with a raw meat that is at risk for pathogens. A risky combination indeed.
And finally, even if you eliminate the kibble and feed just your grocer’s raw muscle meat intended for human consumption, you will not be feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet. A complete and balanced raw pet diet must include appropriate ratios of muscle meat, organ meat, and bone.
If you want to make your dog’s diet a mix of kibble and raw, it is far better to separate the two. Feed kibble one meal, and feed a proper complete and balanced raw food diet at another.