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, no studies show any link between a raw diet and dogs becoming more aggressive after starting on it.
Where did this aggressive dog rumour come from?
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. These examples are primarily products of socialisation, as with all aggressive dogs.
What are the benefits of a raw diet?
There are facts that show the opposite of 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 gluten-free, 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 more evidence against this theory than for it. So, if that isn’t true, why might a dog suddenly act aggressively?
Reasons why your dog could be acting aggressively
It could be a whole range of things or a mixture, but here are the most common ones:
- They could suffer from a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, seizures or chronic pain.
- Lack of amino acids – this is very important to watch when raw feeding your dogs.
- If your 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, give them space not to 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!