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Raw Dog Food: A Beginners Guide
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Raw Dog Food: A Beginners Guide

Raw feeding can be very daunting for beginners! You probably have plenty of questions that you need answered before making any changes to your dog's diet. And we are here to help! Whether you find yourself searching "Is raw meat good for dogs?" or "How much raw food do I feed my dog?" we have the answers to all of your raw feeding questions. 

In recent years, feeding a raw food diet has become a growing pet health trend for pet parents looking for a more healthy alternative to processed commercial pet foods. Two of our dogs, Wolf and Squirrel, have both been on raw diets for some time now, and the health benefits are undeniable. So, we've been exactly where you are now! If you're unsure about where to start when making the switch to a raw food diet, our simple guide has got you covered. 

Here are all your raw dog food questions, allowing you to confidently decide whether feeding raw is the right decision for your canine companion. 


Initial Concerns

You may be worried that feeding your dog a raw diet is too complicated, time-consuming or expensive, but we're here to tell you that it's not! Switching to raw dog food may actually be less stressful than you think, here's why;

  • All you need to know are the recommended ingredients for your dog and the rough proportions to feed them (more on this later!)
  • With a little bit of forward-planning, you won't spend much more prep time than you are already used to
  • Dogs are naturally made to eat raw food – it’s completely safe and healthy for them.
  • You don't need to spend a fortune, in fact, a lot of raw foods are actually more cost effective than commercially available foods.


 The Benefits

So what are the benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet? Here are some reasons why you should feed your dog raw;

  • A raw diet for dogs is natural and unprocessed
  • Your dog will get all of the natural ingredients that their body is designed to digest
  • No artificial flavours, colours or additives are added to their diet
  •  Raw food contains antioxidants to help build a strong immune system
  • A raw diet is a healthy and practical alternative to commercial pet foods
  • Contains the right balance of vitamins and minerals your dog needs to live their healthiest life


Is Raw Meat Good For Dogs?

Whilst raw meat is a natural part of your dog's diet, they shouldn't be eating only raw meat. Balance is key to a healthy diet for you dog, allowing them to get the nutrition they need. A raw meat diet mirrors the natural diet of your dog’s ancestors, the wolf. While dogs may not be exactly the same as wolves, they do share 99.8% of the same DNA, and do have very similar dietary requirements. 

Now, it is normal for dogs to consume less raw meat. Commercial dog foods are cooked at high temperatures to remove any harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli. However, this process also removes many nutrients from the meat, which then needs to be supplemented through natural and unnatural ingredients. 

When feeding a raw diet, you can supplement nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, amino and fatty acids, and sources of fiber through things like eggs and vegetables. These additions to a predominantly raw meat diet allow your dog to enjoy a nutritious and balanced diet. 


What Raw Meats Are Good For Dogs?
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Duck
  • Rabbit
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Spleen
  • Pancreas
  • Brains


What Are The Risks?

There are some risks to raw feeding, however these are minor and can easily be avoided with proper care.

Before feeding raw meat to your dog, it’s best to divide the meat into the correct portion sizes and freeze it. Freezing the meat kills off any bacteria and parasites (if they are there in the first place), without removing the nutrients in the meat. You’ll then just need to defrost the raw meat prior to feeding it to your dog by leaving it in your fridge overnight.

Be sure to take health and safety precautions when handling raw meat, such as washing your hands thoroughly afterwards, and cleaning and disinfecting all surfaces and objects that come into contact with the meat. This will avoid contamination and minimise any potential health risks.


Can Dogs Eat Raw Vegetables?

Vegetables (and some fruits) are an important source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your dog's raw diet. Plant based ingredients support digestion and the balance of healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut. In fact, some vegetables are considered a superfood for dogs! Veggies can be boiled, steamed, or raw, but they maintain higher concentrations of nutritional value when fed raw. Depending on your dog's taste you may wish to gently cook their veggies or grate them up into their food. 


What Are The Best Vegetables For Dogs?
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Sweet potato


What Fruits Are Good For Dogs?
  • Apples
  • Apricots 
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Mango
  • Peaches 
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon


What is the Best Raw Food Diet For Dogs?

There is no best diet for your dog, however there are 2 very popular raw food diets that are a great starting point for beginners. The BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food Diet) and the Prey Model diet. Both diets have been around for many years and are a great option for most dogs. 

The BARF Diet was designed to provide a balance of essential nutrients dogs need. The recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consists of 70% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 7% vegetables, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, 2% seeds or nuts, and 1% fruit.

The Prey Model Raw Diet for dogs is favoured by pet parents who prefer their dog’s diet to resemble the natural diet of a carnivore. The recommended guidelines are 75-80% muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs, and 0-5% animal based fiber.

Whilst these raw food diets are an excellent guide for your dog’s raw food meal plan, if you find the percentages a little overwhelming, see this simple three-step raw dog food plan that is perfect for beginners. 


How to Make the Switch

Whenever you switch up your dog's diet, you should always do so gradually. If you have any concerns, talking to your vet is a great place to start. It is generally recommended to wean your dog off of their current food and onto their new raw diet over a period of 14 days. A rough guide you could follow is:

DAY 1-3: 20% raw food, 80% current food

DAY 4-6: 40% raw food 60% current food

DAY 7-9: 60% raw food 40% current food

DAY 10-12: 80% raw food 20% current food

DAY 12+: 100% raw food


 How Much Raw Food Should I be Feeding My Dog?

How much raw food to feed your dog everyday can simply be calculated based on your dog’s body weight. Generally speaking, you should feed your dog 2-5% of their body weight in raw food on a daily basis.

There are a wide range of raw dog food calculators online for puppies and dogs. Simply enter your dog’s age and weight and activity levels, and the amount of raw food needed daily will be calculated for you.


Bone Appetit!

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