We all want the best for our families – dogs included. So while you carefully craft your own meal to be nutritious and delicious, why dump the same old brown kibble in your pup’s bowl day in and out? Maybe you’ve heard that raw dog food diets are expensive, or time consuming. Or perhaps you’re worried about your dog eating raw meat or bones. As it turns out, it’s not as hard as it seems when you follow these raw dog food recipes and tips!
Before Deciding on a Raw Dog Food Recipe
Before you start a raw food diet for your dog, there are a few things you need to know:
When feeding a raw diet, it’s best to ditch the starch. Starchy foods such as peas or potatoes aren’t great for your dog, as they may cause weight gain through the constant production of insulin.
Pay Attention to Fat in Homemade Dog Food
While fat is good for your dog in moderation, it is also high in calories and low in vitamins. The biggest mistake that dog owners can make is to use raw dog food recipes that are high in fat. Overuse of fat can often happen due to the fat content in cheap or low quality meats such as skin-on chicken necks, dark poultry meat with skin, pork belly, or non-lean ground beef.
Organs are Star Players
Packed with vitamins and nutrients, organs play a crucial role in any raw dog food recipe, and should make up ten to thirty percent of your pup’s diet. However, variety is very important when it comes to organs. Too much liver can result in runny stool, so if that’s the only type you have access to, limit the dog’s intake to ten percent of their diet. If you have access it a variety of organs, they can comprise up to thirty percent of their diet.
Calcium, Calcium, Calcium!
In both adult dogs and puppies, vitamins and minerals are crucial to their well-being. A great source of these required nutrients is raw bones, which are high in phosphorus and calcium. To maintain a good balance, your raw dog food recipe should contain approximately twelve to fifteen percent bone, or thirty percent ‘meaty bones’ like chicken limbs, turkey necks, or lamb ribs. Alternatively, you could feed your dog whole fish, whole rabbits, or whole small poultry, which should contain the correct amount of bones and includes the aforementioned organs.
Muscle Meat is the Base of Raw Dog Food
Along side the meaty bones, lean meat is best for the remainder of the protein- around thirty to fifty percent of their diet overall. This portion of the diet provides your dog with the hormones, protein, and enzymes that they need to build strong tissues and thrive.
Don’t Stress Over Fruit and Greens
While fruits and veggies can be great for your pup, you don’t need to stress out over adding them too frequently. There are many benefits of you dogs getting a few fruits and veggies, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To add these to your raw dog food recipe, it is recommended that you finely chop them or blend them up.
Balance Takes Time
If reading all of these percentages is making your head swim, don’t fret. These numbers can be achieved over time as the amounts average out. For example, you may provide more meat on day one, a whole rabbit the next day, and then a meal of equal organs and meat the day after. As long as your dog’s diet averages out close to the recommended number, then you’re doing A-OK.
Instead of using fish oil in your raw dog food recipe, many people choose to feed whole fish. Fish such as smelts, mackerel, herring, and sardines make great sources of required nutrients. Keep in mind, these should only be given once per week or spread out as small portions in each meal.
Variety in Raw Dog Food Recipes Counts
The key to providing your pooch with all of the vitamins and nutrients they need is to switch it up! Try adding a variety of meats, organs, and odd ends like poultry feet or cow trachea to your blend. Most of the parts you think of as ‘gross’ contain the most nutrients.
As long as you follow basic raw feeding guidelines, you’ll be feeding your dog a healthy raw food diet. Pay attention to dog body language and behavior to keep track of how your dog is feeling about the switch to raw food as well.
How Much to Feed Your Dog
The rule of thumb when it comes to feeding a raw diet is approximately two to three percent of their adult weight, or their estimated adult weight if they’re a puppy. It also depends on the activity level that your dog has on a daily basis. If your dog is less active, they can probably eat a little less, and if they’re active frequently, they could probably use a little more. To tell if you’re feeding your dog a good amount, try running your hands over their ribs. If you can’t see them, but you can feel them, you’re probably doing well. You can always check with your vet to track your pet’s progress.
Simple Raw Dog Food Mix
To make around thirty pounds of raw dog food, you’ll need twenty-two pounds of finely topped lean meat, four ponds of organs, and four pounds of par-cooked veggies.
Mix all of these ingredients in a large bowl or bucket, and freeze in pre-portioned balls or patties for easy servings. If you’d like to, you can add mix-ins like eggs, hemp oil, kelp, or flax oil depending on your dog’s needs. In addition to this mix, you should feed your pup raw meaty bones or whole animals as a meal once or twice a week.
At the end of the day, raw food diets are a lot less intimidating once you start. By following these tips, communicating with your vets, and doing a little bit of prep, your dog can be eating raw in no time!