Create Pet Profile


Begin typing to search (min. 3 characters) Your search for revealed the following
Loading Results
Close Flyout

The Science Behind Raw Pet Food

Raw pet food has been increasing in popularity throughout the years, but some pet parents — and vets — are still wary about whether it’s just a passing fad. And while in the past, raw pet brands have often cited anecdotal evidence to prove the impact of their food, emerging science is showing that feeding raw has real, proven health benefits.

The University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research group has published, peer-reviewed research that sheds light on how food – including raw – plays a role in our pets’ health and well-being. DogRisk collected information on over 16,000 dogs of various ages and breeds. They studied dogs of various ages to see how diet choices impacted their health over time.

What they found is significant. It turns out, raw pet food has even more benefits than we had originally suspected.

Logos of DogRisk and the University of Helsinki


According to their research, puppies fed raw have fewer environmental allergies as adults than puppies fed kibble.* Environmental allergies are caused by an allergic reaction to one or more substances in the environment, and can include uncomfortable symptoms, like itching, excessive scratching, hot spots, ear infections, greasy skin, paw chewing, and more.

Dr. Hjelm-Bjorkman and her group at the University of Helsinki found that puppies fed kibble are nearly twice as likely to have environmental allergies as adults than puppies fed raw. This may be because raw pet food is high in protein and has zero cooking toxins, protecting a puppy’s immune system from future allergies. And even better? As little as 20% raw food can decrease dogs’ risk of developing environmental allergies.

*Statistically significant; puppies 1-2 months of age.


The study also found that puppies fed raw have a reduced risk of developing symptoms of IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) later in life compared to puppies fed kibble**. IBD is believed to be an abnormal immune system response to — or because of — an abnormal gut microbiome on a background of genetic predisposition. Symptoms include chronic vomiting, diarrhea, unwanted weight loss, or any combination of the three.

And their research found that puppies fed kibble are 61 – 85% more likely to develop IBD as adults compared to puppies fed raw.

**Statistically significant; puppies 1-6 months of age.


Dr. Hjelm-Bjorkman and the University of Helsinki are still uncovering more and more about the impact of feeding raw. Their in-progress research includes mobility issues, chronic ear infections, and cancer, and how raw nutrition could positively impact all three. And Instinct is proud to be the only pet food company to sponsor the impressive work being done by the DogRisk Research Group, led by Dr. Anna Hjelm-Bjorkman. Click here to learn more.

Studies by other researchers have suggested that raw feeding has other benefits as well:

  • Reduces roundworm infections
  • Helps maintain ideal body weight (Sources: 1, 2 and 3)
  • Improves skin metabolism and coat quality (Sources: 1 and 2)
  • Improves gut integrity and immune health (both studies yet unpublished; thesis found here)
  • Reduces inflammation all over the body (Sources: 1 and 2)

We already knew that feeding raw was powerful. We knew that pet parents reported their pets having more energy, smaller #2s, more mealtime excitement, improved skin and coat, and more after consuming raw food. But now there is quantitative and qualitative research showing that raw pet food also helps prevent environmental allergies and IBD symptoms. And this is just the beginning.

Your pet’s best life
starts here

What do you think about raw pet food?
Pet Type

Thanks for signing up for our e-mail list!

Our site uses cookies to improve the website experience, products, to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and analyze our traffic. By agreeing to the use of cookies on our website, you direct us to share information about your use of the website with our social media, advertising and analytics service providers. For more information, please see our Privacy and Cookie Policy.