Once you understand the basics, you’re ready to answer the following questions to begin creating a homemade raw diet customized to your dogs specific needs!
What is my dog's ideal body weight?
If your dog is overweight, feed 2% to loose weight and if your dog is underweight, feed 3% to gain weight. Once your dog is at his ideal weight, feed 2.5% to maintain a healthy weight.
What is my dog's activity level?
If you have an active dog, you may need to feed more than 2.5% to maintain a healthy weight. If you have an inactive dog, you may need to feed less than 2% to maintain a healthy weight.
Does my dog eat at a steady pace?
Any dog can be a gulper – small or large. If your dog is a gulper, larger cuts of meat is recommended to feed to avoid choking hazards. Feeding frozen cuts also helps slow down a gulper.
Does my dog have food sensitivities?
If your dog has any sensitivities, you will want to make sure you do not feed those items to avoid issues. If you suspect your dog to have a sensitivity, feed an elimination diet to determine the problem.
Calculate Raw Feeding Ratios
It is recommended to begin with meals weighing 2.5% of the dog’s total body weight.
Calculate the meal weight requirement as well as muscle meat, edible bone, liver, and other organs using the calculator below.
When feeding raw only feed meat under 100mg sodium per serving, it should not be enhanced, seasoned, smoked, or cooked in any way.
Week 1 – 2
Transition Your Dog to Raw
Only white meat and bone is fed when first transitioning to raw feeding – additional proteins, such as red meat, and organs are added later. Feeding bland meals in the beginning helps your dog’s GI adjust to the new raw food and too much rich foods will cause diarrhea and digestive upset. Chicken is a great starter protein. However Turkey, Rabbit, Quail, and Cornish Hen can be substituted as the starting protein for raw feeding.
Adding extra bone to the first couple meals in the transition period is recommended to help firm loose stool. Remember to always feed cuts appropriate to your dogs size and eating habits. Small dogs should get chicken wings, drumsticks, necks, and/or feet. Medium to large dogs should get leg quarters or half breast. Continue feeding white meat and bone to your dog until firm stools are firm and regulated. It can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks, sometimes longer, for a dog to fully adjust to a bland meal.
If your dog experiences digestive upset and diarrhea for 2 or more days remove the skin/excessive fat, up the bone content, and provide Slippery Elm Bark (SEB) with probiotics 15 minutes before each meal until stools have firmed up. Once your dog’s stool is firm and regular, decrease bone content to 10%, stop providing SEB, and move to the next step. Continue providing probiotics during the transition period if your dog shows signs of GI upset when a new item is introduced.
Monitor your dog while eating. Most kibble fed dogs who transition to raw do not know how to properly chew food. Sometimes choking happens for dogs who typically eat fast and gulp their food.
Introduce Red Meats
Red meat is essential to a raw diet and should be introduced following a successful week on white meat only. Pork, Beef, Lamb, and Goat are good examples of red meat options to being introducing at this step. Introduce in small amounts and gradually increase amounts over a few days. Red meat naturally creates dark brown stool, to not be alarmed if your dog’s stool becomes dark after the introduction of red meat. If stools remain firm and regular, move onto the next step.
Adding in Organs
Once your dog is successfully eating a variety of protein sources and raw bones, begin feeding organs. Liver and other secreting organs will need to be introduced at this step. Organs are very rich, start small and gradually build up to requirements. Organs create dark colored stools, if stool is firm and dark – that is ok and to be expected. If stool is loose and dark, you’ve fed too much organs – decrease organ content and add a little more bone to firm up stools.
Monitor your dog’s stools during the transition process. If they get loose – slow down when adding new items. If your dog experiences digestive upset and diarrhea for 2 or more days remove the skin/excessive fat, up the bone content, and provide Slippery Elm Bark (SEB) with probiotics 15 minutes before each meal until stools have firmed up. Regular, firm stools are a good sign your dog is ready for the next step.
Add Variety. Achieve Balance.
At a minimum a raw diet should consist of 3 protein sources and 50% of the diet should be from red meat. Make sure to follow the guideline requirements for muscle meat, organ, raw bones, and veggies/fruit for your dog’s specific needs. Following the recommended ratios for your dog’s dietary requirements will ensure your dog is receiving the essential vitamins and nutrients needed.
Individual meals do not need to be balanced every day. If you choose to feed a method like this you will need to achieve a balance over time to maintain optimal pet health. However, do not forget balance must be met daily if you’re raw feeding a puppy. Once the puppy matures you can feed balance over time.
To help avoid a guessing game, you can choose to make each individual meal properly portioned out and balanced. Always monitor your dog’s potty schedule and stool.
Yellow tinted stool following a chicken meal is normal.
Add more bone to the next meal to firm up your dogs stool.
Black, Tar Like Stool
Cut back on the amount of organ next meal, add more muscle meat and bone.
Mucus, Slimy Stool
Trim off the skin and fat off of the muscle meat for the next meal.
Very Hard, White/Grey Stool
Don’t feed any bone, add more muscle meat and organ to the next meal
To complete your dog’s transition to raw you need to add an additional proteins source to your dog’s raw meal plan. When adding new raw food sources to your dogs diet to achieve balance and variety, remember to start slow and gradually increase the amounts until you’ve reached the required ratio for your dog.
A successful raw feeder is always on the look out for cheap sources and a variety of meat options.
Local Ethnic Stores
Local ethnic markets have “odd” cuts at reasonable prices.
Butchers sometimes sell “soup bags” (trimmings from cleaning fish) or trimmings from processing meat.
Hunters & Farmers
Hunters and farmers are a great way to get organs and RMB’s for next to nothing but most of the time free!
Grow your knowledge optimize the benefits your dog is receiving through a raw diet.
Benefits are provided through fish oil, garlic, spirulina, etc.
Remove all processed foods from your dogs diet and provide natural treats for training and rewards.
Prepping meals in advance helps achieve balance in your dogs diet and it also saves time.
Raw feeding requires commitment, dedication, and patience to succeed.
You should monitor your dog’s stool throughout raw feeding.
You’re handling raw meat, always clean your dog’s bowl, tools, and prep area after dealing with raw meat.
Feeding a raw diet is only beneficial when feeding the appropriate foods in the appropriate amounts.