Should Pitbulls Eat Raw Meat? Vet Explains Benefits & Risks

There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of raw meat diets for dogs. Some people swear by them, while others believe they are dangerous and should be avoided.

To settle this debate and find the answers that will benefit your dog’s health, I have called a few vets and asked them these questions, and here is what I’ve found:

So, should Pitbulls eat raw meat? Pitbulls should eat raw meat but their diet should not consist of raw meats only. Raw Meat is perfectly healthy for Pitbulls and will provide them with nutrients and vitamins, cooked meat is still better as this kills the bacteria. Seniors, puppies, and immuno-compromised dogs should avoid raw meats.

The fact is that your pitbull’s dietary needs are quite complex, and feeding them one thing, whatever this is, is never a good idea. This is especially true for puppies that are still developing and have quite sophisticated dietary needs that is crucial for their development.

To understand why is feeding Pitbulls raw meat okay, why they shouldn’t eat raw foods only, and when they definitely should not, keep reading, as I will try to explain the answers for all these questions (and more) in the simplest way possible.

This article has been reviewed and edited by a vet, but it doesn’t replace your own vet. Please see your vet for specific and trusted advice. This site DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE and all the information provided here is meant for informational purposes only.

Should Pitbulls Eat Raw Meat?

pitbull in front of a plate with meat to answer should pitbulls eat raw meat

Pitbulls should eat raw meat, and there is a lot of scientific proof that shows that dogs of all breeds should indeed have raw meat as an essential part of their diet, whether that’s red meat or chicken. However, science also shows that raw meat should not be the only component in your dog’s diet.

Certain dogs will indeed need to eat a raw diet, a common reason for these cases is dogs that are allergic to the certain ingredients in dry and wet foods and so they need a more natural diet, but these dogs are a minority

Can Pitbuls digest raw meat?

Pitbulls can digest raw meat without a problem. However, just because that’s what they would have eaten in the wild doesn’t mean that it’s all they should eat.

While this saying may be true for almost all other animals, dogs are really the exception here, and the reason is quite simple: Modern day dogs do not live in the wild, and domestic dogs have not lived in the wild for a few thousand years now.

Domesticated dogs have been living alongside humans for a long time now, and in this time, they have changed on the outside and inside from what they used ot be. Which was wolves, of course, or a common ancestor that looked a lot like wolves.

Now that we have discussed the basics, let’s get ot the benefits of feeding your pitbull raw meat in the first place.

The benefits of feeding your pitbull raw meat

Here are some of the reasons that you would want to feed your Pitbull raw meats:

Better Bone and Joint Health

There is no better way to increase bone density than with real bone! Real bone powder, which is a natural source of calcium, phosphorus, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and marrow. All of these components contribute to the development and long-term health of pups’ joints and bones.

A Stronger Immune system

Raw muscle meats are high in protein, which is an essential component of good health and immunity. Furthermore, raw meat proteins include a number of critical fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that aren’t lost during cooking, unlike commercial pet foods that have been subjected to a lot of processing. Providing your dog with a variety of fresh meat protein sources is the best way to ensure a strong immune system.

Healthy Teeth and Gums

The crunchiness of raw meat helps clean teeth and remove plaque, tartar, bacteria, and food particles that can cause bad breath. In fact, it has been proven that feeding your dog a diet high in raw meat can help reduce their chances of developing periodontal disease.

Better Digestion

Dogs that eat a diet high in raw meat have much better digestion due to the fact that their stomachs, with time, become more capable of breaking down and digesting these types of proteins more easily than cooked ones. This is because when food is cooked, it often loses a lot of its nutritional value, and the digestive system has to work harder to extract what it needs from these foods.

Weight Control

While this may not be a benefit for all Pitbulls, many dogs that are overweight can benefit from being put on a raw diet because it is more filling and satisfying than processed foods, which often contain empty calories.

Softer, shinier coats

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in Raw diets and are known to be beneficial to skin and coat health, perform a variety of vital roles.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been studied extensively and widely recognized for promoting excellent skin and coat health in raw diets. Omega fats, especially those derived from fish oil, have antioxidant properties that will not only help their coats health and improve it, but will also help dogs with allergies.

Reduced Body Odour

There hasn’t yet been any formal clinical research on a diet and odor, but we frequently hear about it from our friends and the broader raw feeding community.

Better Reproductive Health

We evaluated the affects of a 100% raw food diet on Guide Dog colony sizes in a 2009 research with Queensland Guide Dogs. During this period, Guide Dogs Australia announced an improved pup per litter rate and better general health and fitness in both brood bitches and stud dogs.

Reduced stool odour and volume

The more highly digestible elements in your pet’s diet, the more of what goes in is absorbed and utilized, resulting to less output from the other end.

Our dogs’ digestive system is built to extract as many excellent nutrients from their food as feasible. Carbohydrates and filler ingredients like soy, potato, corn, and rice take longer to digest and are not totally absorbed by your dog. These elements act as fillers and can bulk out your dog’s stool, resulting in a larger quantity of stool volume and a smellier output.

Raw Meats will help them gain muscle

A common misconception people have is that Pitbulls will develop muscles naturally, and while a part of this is actually true, which is that Pitbulls are disposed to developing muscle mass more easily than other dog breeds thanks to their genetics and breeding history, the diet they eat plays a huge role in this.

Just ask any body builder and they will tell you that building muscle is 70% your diet, 30% your resistance training, and the same is true for your dog (to a certain degree).

Raw Meats are high in protein, a lot higher than processed foods, so a raw meat diet will help your Pitbull gain more muscle thanks to the increased protein intake. You can learn more about how to make your Pitbull gain more muscles in my articles on are are pitbulls naturally muscular here.

However, it’s not all flowers and roses. If a raw diet with the absolute perfect diet for pitbulls, everyone would feed their dogs raw meats only, but it isn’t, so now we have to discuss the risks of feeding your pittie raw meats.

The risks of feeding your pitbull raw meat

Here are the risks of feeding your pitbull raw meat and how you can navigate these risks (if possible):

Contaminations and infections

Raw diets are more prone to be contaminated with germs like Salmonella and E. coli than cooked ones, which may make your dog ill. Even if your dog does not become sick, he may shed germs into your home, putting another pet or person at risk of infection.

“These transmissible microorganisms might be quite dangerous to immunocompromised people who live in the house with a dog,” Meindl adds. People aged 60 and above, infants, and individuals on immunosuppressive medications such as chemotherapy are all examples of this.

Nutritonal Deficiencies

Raw diets are not always nutritionally adequate and complete. These diets may cause nutritional deprivation, as well as health issues, unless developed by an expert in veterinary nutrition.

In fact, 60% of raw food diets in dogs were found to have significant nutritional imbalances in in a 2011 study (find the sources section at the end of the article)


Meats will have raw bones, and sometimes these little raw bones will break dogs’ teeth while chewing or, even worse, the shreds of these bones can pierce their intestines, cause blockage, or cause other life-threatening problems.

When can you begin feeding your pitbull raw meat?

You can start feeding your pitbull raw meat when they are 3 to 4 weeks of age, and you should start with plain, raw, boneless, white meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish.

If you do decide to feed your pitbull raw meats or a completely raw diet, there are a few things you should definitely keep in mind to mitigate the risks and make sure your dog is getting the best out of their diet.

How to begin feeding your pitbull raw meat

Here is how to start feeding your pitbull a raw meats diet:

Start slowly

If you want to convert your Pitbull to a raw meat diet, regardless of what kind of food they’re currently eating—such as dry food, canned food, or a mix—you should gradually make the shift.

Begin by gradually introducing the new diet to your Pitbull. This will lessen the risk of your Pitbull’s stomach and digestive system being upset, allowing him to gradually adopt the changing diet.

Add some of your raw meat components to the current diet gradually and increase the amount of raw meat while reducing the amount of previous food. The goal behind feeding your Pitbull raw flesh is to replicate what entire prey would provide in the wild.

Here are the recommended percentages for raw meats for Pitbulls:

  • 80% Muscle Meats
  • 10% Raw Meaty Bones
  • 5% Liver Meat
  • 5% other secreting organ meats

As you can see, it’s absolutely critical to vary the types of meats they are eating, again, to replicate what an actual prey would provide for them.

By the way, these percentages are based on a model called the whole prey model, but it’s not the only model. You can learn about the other models here.

Prepare the meat

Make sure you never give your dog the raw meat while it’s still too cold to consume. Dogs will try to eat the meat even when it’s still a bit cold or even frosty at parts, because they are dogs and don’t understand how bad this is .

Make sure to also rehydrate the meat if it’s been freeze-dried. If you have gotten fresh raw meats, you need to make sure it’s absolutely cleaned before you give it to your dog. Contamination is a serious threat.

The easiest, most natural way to disinfect the meat would be a vinegar and water dilution – a 10-15% vingear to water solution should be enough to disinfect the meat and you shouldn’t worry much about the smell as this will dissipate quite quickly.

You also need to wash your hands before you can prepare the meats.

One last tip would be avoid plastic bowls with raw feeds as they can scratch very easily which will create a perfect place for bacteria to hide. Over time, these scratches will become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

What other raw foods can Pitbulls eat?

Other raw foods that you can include in your pitbull’s diet include fresh vegetables and eggs. You can also get frozen raw dog food from certain breeds that is minimally processed and is ready to feed.

These are good options if you want something that is easy to prepare (instant at times) and you don’t mind the cost.

Conclusion: should your pitbull be on a raw diet?

Whether you should feed your pitbull a raw diet or not is really up to you. I don’t recommend a completely raw diet and believe that a moderate diet that includes some bits of everything is the perfect middle ground that offers the best variety for your dog and gives them the most benefits.

However, if you are indeed considering putting your dog on a raw diet then I highly recommend talking to your vet first and discussing it. The raw diet is great for some dogs but is quite harmful to others, and you will want to make sure your dog is unlikely to face any problems on a raw diet before you make the decision and start the transition.

Can Pitbulls Eat Raw Red Meat?

Pitbulls can eat raw red meat and it’s actually quite good for them as red meats is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your pitbull needs.

However, their diet can not consist of raw meats only as it doesn’t contain all the nutrients pitbulls need, and puppies younger than 4 weeks of age should not eat raw red meat at all.

What meat is best for Pitbulls?

Turkey, beef, and chicken are the best meats for Pitbulls as they offer the best nutritional value for them. These meats are high in nutritional value and when fed completely unprocessed offer a great way to feed your dog a healthy diet.

Do Raw Meats make pitbulls aggressive?

Raw Meats will not make your pitbull aggressive. Dogs are only aggressive when you try to take their meat away, as they would be with any other food. A Raw diet should have no effects on your dog’s behavior and should not trigger or worsen any behavioral problems they may have.

Helpful Resources

Give That Dog (or Cat) a Bone! – The importance of raw bones for dogs and cats

Evaluation of the effect of dietary vegetable consumption on reducing risk of transitional cell carcinoma of the urinary bladder in Scottish Terriers– Malathi Raghavan 1, Deborah W Knapp, Patty L Bonney, Marcia H Dawson, Lawrence T Glickman

Dog Nutrition for a Healthy Coat

Get the Facts! Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet

Nemser SM, Doran T, Grabenstein M, et al. Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and toxigenic Escherichia coli in various pet foods. Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014;11(9):706-709. doi:10.1089/fpd.2014.1748

Intake of minerals, trace elements and vitamins in bone and raw food rations in adult dogs – The Cambrdge University Press.

Finley, Rita et al. “The risk of salmonellae shedding by dogs fed Salmonella-contaminated commercial raw food diets.” The Canadian veterinary journal = La revue veterinaire canadienne vol. 48,1 (2007): 69-75.

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