Blood Values for Raw Fed Dogs

It is important that everyone considers the different blood work results for pets fed a raw diet. You and your vet are a team in the overall well-being of your pet, so it is important that you are all on the same page.

The results below are taken from a study by Dr. Jean Dodds' of Hemopet, Petlifeline, Hemolife & Nutriscan that involved over 200 dogs of various breeds fed a raw diet for a minimum of 9 months prior to collection of the blood samples. The results of the laboratory tests were compared to healthy dogs fed dry kibble diet. Most of the blood values were comparable with the exception of the following:


Hematocrit 51.0 ± 6.6 – 53.5 ± 5.6% 47.6 ± 6.1% 37 – 55%
BUN 18.8 ± 6.9 – 22.0 ± 8.7mg/dL 15.5 ± 4.7mg/dL 6 – 24mg/dL
Creatinine 1.20 ± 0.34mg/dL* 1.07 ± 0.28mg/dL 0.4 – 1.4mg/dL

* Results found only in dogs fed a Volhard diet.

Hematocrit: is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells in whole blood. Decreased Hematocrit (anemia) can be caused by poor nutrition, parasites or chronic disease including cancer and liver disease. Increased values (dehydration) are more of a concern with the dry kibbled fed dog than the raw fed dog because of the lack of moisture of the diet. Raw fed dogs are also more likely to get adequate iron and vitamin B from their higher quality protein diets.

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen): is a waste product derived from protein breakdown in the liver. Low levels are most commonly due to inadequate protein intake, malabsorption, or liver damage. Increased levels can be caused by kidney damage, certain drugs, low fluid intake, intestinal bleeding, exercise, heart failure or decreased digestive enzyme production by the pancreas. Raw fed dogs typically have higher BUN levels because they consume more protein.

Creatinine: is also a protein breakdown product. Its level is a reflection of the body’s muscle mass. Low levels are commonly seen with inadequate protein intake, liver disease, kidney damage or pregnancy. Elevated levels are generally reflective of kidney damage and need to be monitored carefully.” –

About Dr. Jean Dodds.....  By Dr. Jean Dodds:

Blood is my thing.

“I am by training a veterinary hematologist and immunologist. After graduation from veterinary school, I was a Research Scientist with the New York State Health Department and began comparative studies of animals with inherited and acquired bleeding diseases. Eventually, my position culminated as Chief, Laboratory of Hematology, Wadsworth Center. In 1980, I also became Executive Director, New York State Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services before moving to Southern California to start Hemopet, a non-profit, closed colony blood bank for dogs, greyhound rescue and veterinary specialty diagnostic program. So, when you hear me go on about antibodies (produced in the blood) and the NutriScan test, adverse reactions to vaccines such as IMHA (anemia), or the importance of thyroid reference ranges (measured through blood), you can rest assure it is backed with my over 50 years of clinical research.”

Dr. Dodds “Hemopet” clinic is a not-for-profit, and testing can be done directly for a variety of issues, or to seek a second opinion if need be in conjunction with your vet.