A popular myth surrounding raw feeding is that the scent of raw meat makes dogs aggressive and more likely to bite a human. But is there any truth at all to this theory? Let’s dive in…
In short, there are no studies that show any link between a raw diet and dogs becoming more aggressive after starting on it.
The rumour comes from the theory that the added protein could trigger a dog’s instinct to hunt and prey on wildlife, however all dogs have this instinct – in most dogs you can see this as a need to chase balls or even squirrels. That’s not to say some dogs don’t have a much stronger instinct that can lead them to bite or attempt to hunt wildlife, but there is no link between this and a dog’s diet. In fact, these examples are mostly products of socialisation, as with all aggressive dogs.
In fact, there are facts that show the opposite to this myth is true, for example:
- Fresh food is richer in B Vitamins which help calm dogs (and humans – fresh food is also recommended for people with ADHD).
- Chewing fresh bones and meat releases dopamine in dogs.
- Fresh food is free of gluten, which positively influences any gluten intolerant dog, as undiagnosed gluten intolerance can cause a host of behavioural issues in dogs.
- Kibble has an unusually high level of carbohydrates that act as a cheap filler, which is known to cause disruptive behaviour (much like a child on a sugar high).
As you can see, there is a lot more evidence against this theory than there is for it. So, if that isn’t true, then why might a dog be suddenly acting aggressively?
It could be a whole range of things, or a mixture, but here are the most common ones:
- They could be suffering with a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, seizures or chronic pain.
- Lack of amino acids – this is very important to keep an eye on when raw feeding your dogs.
- If you’re dog has a past including abuse relating to being starved or neglected in some way, it could be that they are protecting their food. If this happens, make sure to give them space so as to not make them feel like you may take away their food and leave them hungry.
In conclusion, yes, your dog does have a natural instinct to hunt, but this is a behaviour that can be discouraged – just as you would discourage shoe chewing! Raw feeding does not mean that your dog will become bloodthirsty or even have any sudden negative changes to their behaviour, so don’t be afraid to give it a go!