Friday, August 20, 2010

Feeding Meat: Raw or Cooked?

As I've mentioned in an earlier article, meat is an important part of a fox's diet. However, a common question is whether to feed cooked meat, or raw meat.

Personally, I'm an advocate of raw meat as a staple in any captive fox's diet. This more closely approximates their diet in the wild. Depending on how the meat is offered, it can also be a great source of entertainment and enrichment for your fox. For example, Wolf Park in Indiana often gives their foxes an entire leg of venison. Stripping the meat from the bone is great for keeping a fox's teeth clean and in top condition, and they can practice their natural behaviors such as food caching. Obviously, this won't be practical for most pet fox owners, but it's still something worth considering.

Along with it being a much more natural food source, raw meat is actually much healthier for your fox than cooked meat is. Cooking meat breaks down many of the natural enzymes in it. While the process of cooking makes meat easier for humans to digest, it can have the exact opposite effect on canines.

A worry I often hear stated is that a fox will be at a serious risk of becoming ill from eating raw meat. So long as you use good, meant-for-human-consumption meat, and follow basic sanitary standards, this is not a concern. Foxes are designed to eat raw meat. A million years of evolution has given them the necessary teeth and digestive system to handle raw meat. Now, if a fox has been living on dog kibble, and you abruptly switch it to a raw meat diet, they will likely have some digestive upset. This is quite normal for ANY rapid food change, both for animals and humans.

So long as you buy raw meat that is of high quality (i.e. intended for human consumption), and follow smart sanitary practices (thawing out what you need daily and keeping the rest frozen, etc.), raw meat is an excellent addition to any pet fox's diet.

Stay tuned: Coming up on Monday and Wednesday, I'm going to finally be sharing some recipes for Gizmo's food!


  1. Question if you dont mind, would sharing bits of cooked meat be ok if it was more of a treat rather than main meal?

    I.E. Left over steak? (Im a carnivore so itll be rare) What about the bones left over from cooking?

  2. Cooked bones arn't a good idea for animals.

  3. We have had a red fox with mange and a crippled back leg visiting us since August. We have been able to give him two rounds of Ivermectin and see improvement of healthy fur growing on the tip of his tail. We have been feeding him cat food (Beef & Vension) adding a High fatty acid supplement as we are trying to build him up & get him healthier for the cold winter and will continue to feed him. I see you have posted recipes for feeding a heathy fox but I am looking for a recipe that would help a sick/injured fox. The Wildlife Preserve I contacted said to feed him some parboiled chicken thighs but I would like to provide him with a balanced diet with added food nutrients.

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

    1. National Fox Welfare Society are brilliant.
      Mange is treatable and it sounds as if you're on the right track for your little visitor!


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