Raw Dog Food Diet – The Basics
Last year, I slowly started feeding Bruce the raw dog food diet. I talked about it here, and mentioned that I would do monthly updates. Well, that didn’t happen did it? Once I got more into raw feeding, I learned that there’s so much more to it than just chucking your dog some raw chicken at dinner time. It stands to reason that you need to make sure that your dog is not just eating raw, but getting a balanced raw diet full of all the minerals, vitamins and nutrients he needs. The monthly updates didn’t happen because I was still learning and adapting Bruce’s food. He now has an incredible diet, I’ll be honest – it’s probably better than my own – and he’s been on it long enough for me to see the changes in him, and the benefits of the raw dog food diet.
No doubt there will be plenty more posts about raw feeding for dogs in the future, but to start off with I thought I would explain the basic principles behind feeding your dog raw meat, so that you can be sure that your gorgeous pup is getting everything it needs from its diet.
How to Feed the Raw Dog Food Diet
One of the most important things to remember with feeding your dog raw, is the following ratios of meat, organ and bone in your dog’s overall diet. This is not meant to be for each meal, but an overall percentage over time. Meaning you could feed your dog a raw meaty bone for dinner one day, providing he gets meat and organs for the next several meals. The percentages you need to follow are:
80% muscle meat, including fat, sinew and ligaments
10% safe, edible bone
10% organ meat – half of which should be liver
By sticking to these ratios you are giving your dog a balanced diet, and providing him with optimum nutrition. Try to vary the types of meat you give your dog, so that they get different nutrients and don’t get bored by eating the same meals every day.
How much should you feed a dog on the raw food diet?
Aim to give your dog between 2% and 3% of their ideal adult body weight. Start with 2% and monitor your dog for a few weeks, you should be able to feel their ribs under their skin but not see them (except in certain very lean breeds). If you have an active dog, they may need more, but if your dog is overweight or a bit of a couch potato they may need less. Use your best judgement.
How to Start the Raw Dog Food Diet
To get started, I recommend giving your dog raw chicken wings. The reason for this is that they provide a good ratio of meat and bone, so you don’t have to worry about balancing the meal. Don’t worry about organ meat just yet, the main focus is on getting your dog used to eating raw and letting their sensitive digestive systems adjust to the dietary changes.
The first time you give your dog raw chicken wings, they may not realise that it is actually food. Give them lots of encouragement and praise when they lick, bite or pick up the meat, and they will soon figure it out.
Give your dog a couple of weeks on the chicken wings, and if they handle it well and without stomach upsets then start adding the occasional piece of raw liver. After another weeks or so, you can slowly start adding more variety to their meals with different types of meat, some raw meaty bones, and fun treats like crunchy chicken feet.
Raw Dog Food Diet Warnings
Whilst it is important to feed your dog bones so they get a good amount of calcium and other wonders like collagen and glucosamine, you must always make sure these bones are raw so that they can be easily digested. Never feed bones without supervising your dog, and make sure they are a suitable size – bigger bones are better as some dogs may try to swallow small bones whole, which could create a choking risk or create an upset stomach. Never give your dog load bearing bones as these are too hard. A load bearing bone is one which is used to support the weight of the animal, for example cow femur.
If you want to feed your dog raw salmon or pork then you must freeze it for a fortnight first to kill off any parasites which could potentially be in the meat and be harmful to your dog. It’s a small risk, but not worth taking.
What would you like to know about raw feeding? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, and tell me if you’d like to hear about what I feed Bruce in his daily diet.