How to Make a Raw Diet for Dogs…
Dogs are scavenging carnivores, meat eaters, however it’s not just plain “meat” like steak every day that he needs, as much as I’m sure he’d appreciate it! When eating prey dogs waste little, generally the whole thing goes down if possible, bar the stomach contents. This is unlike cats who tend to nibble the best bits. Over time dogs have evolved to need all the bits therein. Thus the ideal raw diet for dogs would contain meat muscle, organs, some cartilage and bone.
Think of it like lego, where like builds like, they use muscle meat to build their muscle, cartilage to build their cartilage bone to fuel bone growth, liver to feed liver growth etc. In light of this, organ meat to dogs is like green vegetables to humans. Dogs also need some roughage, normally in the form of skin and hair and nails but this can also be provided in the form of vegetables!
The Formula for Raw Dog Food…
When making a raw diet for dogs keep in mind the ratio 5:1:1; which is 5 parts meat on the bone (or good mince with some cartilage and bone in it such as chicken, duck, turkey or beef mince); 1 part fresh organ meat (liver, kidney, heart, with fresh liver being the most important) and 1 part cooked vegetables.
The ratio can vary up to 8:1:1 where the 8 refers to meat, 1 part organ meat and 1 part bone (on the basis that this is roughly what a rat or rabbit is made of, it’s called the Prey Model). However we find a little more organ meat is beneficial. Also I feel if you are going to exclude hair and feathers and hide all the other indigestible parts that come with eating a whole animal then a little plant additions (cooked) is a great addition to dogs.
Some people add in brown rice or potatoes, which is fine, certainly a cheap way to bulk up their feed, it’s just that dog’s don’t need it unlike the other stuff we mentioned. And remember, every meat has it’s good points, so make sure to vary them!
How to Make your raw Diet for Dogs…
- A very large tub: For mixing the ingredients
- Meat Ingredients: Enough for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on freezer space.
- Rubber gloves
- Large freezer bags: Better still use big 4 kilogram lunch boxes
- Antibacterial wipes: For wiping things down after preparation
- Preparation space and 20 minutes of time
Recommended Ingredients for 13kg of Raw Dog Food (roughly one freezer drawer):
- Chopped or Minced Meats: 10 kilograms
- Organ Meat: 2 kilograms
- Par-cooked Vegetables: 2 kilograms
Optional Excellent Extras
- 3-6 whole raw eggs
- 3 tablespoons of kelp powder or gluten free brewers yeast
- 3 tablespoons of essential oils: Cod liver oil, salmon oil, safflower oil or primrose oil for skin and coat conditions.
- 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic: Chopped (little bits are fine)
- Brown rice / sweet potatoes: If you like, though there’s no need.
How To Make Raw Diet For Dogs
- Put the minces and organ meats into the mixing tub
- Par-cook the vegetables until soft, if required, or simply mush / chop up raw vegetables
- Add any of the additions into the mix now: Make sure they are raw.
- Mix well, with gloved hand or large spoon. You know what your dog needs per day so bag the mix accordingly.
- Keep one bag of mix in the fridge (in a lunchbox) and freeze the rest
- Wipe the surface down with antibacterial.
A few tips…
- Dogs being introduced to raw dog food, after previously being fed dry dog food, have very limited taste experience, so need to be changed over slowly – a teaspoon one meal, two the next….!
- Dogs (particularly pups) should always be lean as excess weight is bad for their limbs and energy levels. A handy rule of thumb is you should be able to feel his ribs with a light stroke but not see them.
- Avoid nutrient excesses / deficiencies by varying the choice of meats as much as possible
- Feed fresh, raw meaty bones twice a week.
- Find cheap meat in the reduced aisle of supermarkets and at the local butchers – for dog’s it’s “best before not bad after”.
Recommended Meats to Include in your raw diet for dogs
Meat on the bone is ideal for dogs, they love chewing and breaking it down, and, it’s good for them. However, it can be messy and cause people to worry, so it is initially best to buy the meat in mince form, ideally with an approximate 10-12% bone content. Anything with a face is good – chicken, turkey, duck, pork or beef. Fish is good too but it’s the only meat whereby you should freeze it first before either including it in your mix or giving to your dog (fish can contain worms that can populate your dog). The minces available to you will vary in quality calorie content (certainly “pet” minces) so get to know your supplier, visit their website, try keep it Irish and in so far as possible buy from butchers. So pop into your local butchers or see what you can find in the reduce aisles of Supervalu or Tesco. Or try any online butchers! Ideally, keep it Irish.
Organ meat is like green vegetables to humans. Liver, kidney and heart is nutritionally very important, with liver being the most important. Spleen is brilliant too, when you can get it. Use beef, turkey, pork, lamb organs or organ mixes from suppliers such as, who supply pre-mixed organ meats with added kelp, vitamin C, coconut oil and turmeric.
Easiest to use a bag of frozen green beans, peas, carrots etc. Defrost and give them a light cooking or simply mash them together. Vegetables are not necessary for dogs, but if they are not eating hair and hide, then they need some roughage to help the waste pass through.
Where to Source
First port of call is your local butcher. They have bins full of stuff! Supermarkets. Wholesale meat suppliers. Local butchers, what’s he got in the bin? The reduced aisle of SuperValu and Tesco’s. Or try any of the numerous online Irish butchers. Kerrigan’s do great deals and offer free delivery nationwide. I use the lads at Carnivore Kellys.ie. Almost all butchers do “value packs” (make sure the meat is Irish, in so far as possible). You usually have to pick these up though. Eg. Michael McGloughlin Butchers (2 T-bone Steaks, 2 Full Chickens, 6 Burgers, 4 Chicken Fillets, 4 Pork Chops, 1 lb of Mince, 1 lb of Liver, as well as 1 lb of Sausages and 5 Spicy Chicken Portions for you) for only €30! This was you’ll know what you’re buying.
How Much Raw Dog Food Do you Feed? To Feed
Firstly find out the weight of the dog. For small dogs, simply pick them up while standing on the scales and for bigger dogs, take them to the scales in the vets or make a good guess. In short, adult dogs need 2.5% of their body weight per day in fresh food, though use our Dog Food Calculator for assistance with different lifestyles and ages.
Remember as well that only you know what other factors may affect your dog’s hunger. Big walk that day? Extra dollop. Big bone that morning? Take a dollop out.