Exploring owner understanding and motivation to feed a raw diet to their pet dog

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


The increasing trend towards feeding pets raw diets, consisting of uncooked meat, offal,
bones, dairy, and eggs, necessitates a comprehensive understanding of raw feeding practices
and beliefs among dog owners. Whether home-prepared or commercial, these diets carry
risks of bacterial and parasitic infections and, in the case of homemade diets, potential
nutritional imbalances.
This study aimed to investigate the motivations and practices of UK dog owners who feed
their pets raw food. This information can equip professionals with the necessary information
to offer well-informed advice to dog owners, covering aspects such as health benefits,
associated risks, and nutritional adequacies of various diets.
To achieve this goal, a questionnaire was distributed over six weeks on LinkedIn and within
raw feeding Facebook groups targeting UK dog owners. The survey collected 1,131 responses,
which were systematically coded and analysed. The chi-squared test showed no significant
association between the benefits and drawbacks by raw feeding owners regarding the raw
diet. Qualitative analysis revealed that 86% of respondents (n=980) perceived a ‘natural’ diet
as a benefit of raw feeding. Additionally, 27% (n=305) recognised ‘bacteria’ as a potential risk
when feeding raw meat, yet some owners believed that the benefits outweigh the risks.
The study found that the main sources of dietary information for these owners was social
media / online forums, with only 31 respondents consulting veterinarians. Furthermore, 50
individuals sought advice from canine nutritionists; however, as this title is not regulated, the
quality and reliability of the information given may be inaccurate.
To safeguard the health and welfare of both animals and humans, regulations on the
manufacturing of raw food and access to peer-reviewed educational sources are essential
when feeding raw diets to pets
Period24 Apr 2024
Event title18th Student UFAW Animal Welfare conference
Event typeConference