Is it normal for my dog to be constipated when on a raw diet?

Chefs4Pets Raw Pet Food

This is quite a common question from pet owners that are new to the concept of feeding a raw diet to their cats and dogs. Owners expect normal bowel movements from their pets when feeding a raw meat diet so when either diarrhea or constipation occur, they become concerned that their pet might be having a major problem.

Lets first clear up a common misconception, and that is, it’s not normal for your dog or cat to have a perfectly formed, firm stool every day of its life. It might sound weird but there is a reason why your pet cannot have predictable stools. When feeding a premium raw diet, your dog or cat is receiving a variety of food, treats, bones and even the odd table scrap(although we don’t recommend this but we know you do this anyway:) every day, which means that every meal will have a variation of ingredients.

There are always other factors that influence and affect your pets’ digestive tract, such as stress, medication, exercise and illness, even eating something in the garden they shouldn’t have. Each of these factors affects the gastrointestinal tract which can then result in either diarrhea, vomiting or constipation.

So yes, it is true, a dog that is fed the exact same food day in and day out for its entire life eg (kibble), that has never been fed off the table, is never given treats, never allowed to dig in the garden and eat things they shouldn’t and is so healthy they never in need of medication, can be the perfect example of having a healthy well-formed stool every day.

However a dog this perfect we know as pet owners is very hard to come by if at all.

Chefs4pets philosophy on how to feed is based on a biologically appropriate healthy way of feeding either an obligate carnivore ie cats or a prey appropriate diet based on raw food and bones as is natural to dogs either when they stumble upon a dead carcass or they have caught the meal themselves.

It’s also true that a dog that consumes a good amount of bone in their diet will have a tendency to produce a chalky-white hard stool and at times may experience some slight constipation. In these cases, constipation is normal and should resolve itself, however should the symptoms persist and you feel you would like to assist your fur friend in relieving the problem we do have a few suggestions:

  • Firstly if you are giving your canine companion raw meaty bones to chew on, perhaps reduce the amount you are giving them to once a week or until you see the change you wish to see in the stool.
  • Another effective solution is to add some extra fruit to your pets meal, this is a well accepted way to help the GI tract. Suggestions are apples, pears, citrus, spinach, figs, leafy greens.
  • Cooked pumpkin can temporarily aid the movement of stool through the system as well.

In closing, It is quite interesting to compare the stool of a pet that is fed a raw diet versus a pet that is fed a kibble diet, huge differences are seen in the size, odour and volume. The difference in the animals’ natural ability to absorb and utilize the nutrients in each diet is obvious when you immediately notice a raw fed pet has at least 30% less stool volume than a pet fed a processed food. This clearly indicates the animals’ effectiveness to absorb the nutritional content of their food more effectively which often gives the stool a chalky white look with almost no odour and is consistently smaller. These improvements are always a huge advantage with owners with large and giant breed dogs.

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