The main goal in preparing raw food for pets is to establish an all-natural diet, just like what their ancestors (wolves) naturally eat everyday in the wild. By giving up commercial dog food and instead consuming a diet rich in meat, raw bones, organs, and some fruits and vegetables, raw food advocates claim your dog can attain better health than their industry-fed counterparts.
Guidelines for Feeding Your Dog Raw Food
1. How much does your dog weigh? Your dog’s weight will ultimately determine the amount of ingredients that go into their daily diet. Experts recommend providing amounts between 2% – 3% of a dog’s weight, or roughly 1/2 lb. of food for every 25 lbs. of body weight. Puppies shouldn’t consume more than 10% of their weight or 2% – 3% of their optimal adult weight. Keep in mind that an active dog will consume more than a lazier dog. Most raw food feeders follow these guidelines:
– 80% meat with fat
– 10% raw meaty bones
– 10% organs
– Raw eggs once a week
– Green tripe, no more than 20% of overall diet
Balance these foods throughout the month. The key is to establish variety.
2. Only use the most organic meats if possible. Recommended meats include beef, pork, bison, and poultry; organ meats include liver, ovaries, eyeballs, kidney, brain, and spleen. Any other secreting organ meat can be included as well.
3. Store enough bones and meats to last up to 5 days total and wrap up the leftovers to freeze for later.
4. Finely chop, grind, or steam a few pounds of fresh, low-glycemic, organic vegetables like broccoli or spinach. Some fruits are okay too.
5. Most dogs can tolerate the switch overnight. For example: commercial food for supper, then their first taste of raw food for breakfast. Some dogs require a fasting period of a few days, but never go longer than one meal for puppies.
Also, never mix commercial food with raw food since it takes quite a bit longer to digest commercial food than raw, which can sometimes cause the dog an upset stomach.
6. Only use one protein source as long as needed in order to monitor your dog’s stool. For example, if the first meal you give them is raw chicken, feed them chicken until their stool is normal again – firm and relatively small. Eventually add a second source of protein, then a third, and so on. Let their stool be your guide.
7. Keep an eye on your dog’s weight and alter their proportions of food accordingly. If you can still see a faint outline of their ribs, you’re feeding them enough. Veterinarians agree it’s better to keep your dog on the thin side rather than too heavy.
8. Remember, your dog has been fed a commercial diet all their life. Therefore, when switching to a raw food diet, their system will naturally detox and cleanse itself. Commercial food is full of added ingredients such as oils, fats, preservatives, grains, etc. At first, things may get ugly before they get better.
In the interest of your dog’s overall health and vitality, continue to research the benefits of raw food for dogs. There is always something new or different to learn that may ultimately help your dog and/or help you save money along the way as well.