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Homemade raw dog food recipes
In this post I share my own experience learning to feed my dog a raw dog food diet.
I have been feeding my mutt Ace a raw dog food diet since 2011. We started with a pre-made, frozen commercial brand and eventually I started making homemade raw food to save some money (hence, the recipes in this post and in my ebook).
The main downside to feeding commercial raw dog food is the price. Ace is a 67-pound black lab mix. A 6-pound bag of commercial raw food is roughly $27 (on the low end) and will last my dog just four days. It costs more than $200 a month to feed him commercial raw.
Most of us do not have $200 in our monthly budgets for dog food. That's the equivalent or more of feeding an extra person, which is why it makes sense to consider homemade raw food at least a couple days per week or to mix in with a commercial raw brand.
If you decide to buy ingredients to make the food yourself, you'll be buying foods like raw beef or raw chicken, raw organs like chicken livers, raw bones and raw veggies.
Most of us do not have $200 in our monthly budgets for dog food.
You can buy most of these ingredients at your local grocery store or butcher. Look for meat that is higher in fat. This meat is cheaper and considered lower-quality meat for humans, but most dogs need the extra fat in their diets.
You can likely save even more if you know any local ranchers, farmers or hunters. Deer meat and guts are perfect for dogs!
The added benefit of buying your own raw dog food ingredients is that you will know exactly what your dog is eating.
The drawback, of course, is time and making sure the meals are generally balanced.
To help you out, I've written an ebook to guide you through the process of learning to feed a raw diet.
How much raw dog food should I feed my dog?
The general rule is to feed your dog 2 percent of his body weight. This is just a general rule. Some dogs will only require 1 percent while others may need 3 or 4 percent.
Here's a simple equation you can use to find out how much to feed your dog in ounces:
Your dog's weight in pounds x 16 = your dog's weight in ounces. (For example, my dog weighs 67 pounds X 16 = 1,072 ounces.)
Your dog's weight in ounces x .02 = roughly the amount of food your dog should eat in ounces per day. (So with my dog it is 1,072 x .02 = 21.44.)
According to the above example, my 67 pound dog should be eating 21.44 ounces of food per day, or 1.3 pounds (16 ounces in 1 pound).
I feed him a bit more (24 ounces per day) since he is naturally lean and burns a lot of calories. You also want to factor in the treats you feed your dog. Ace barely gets any treats because I am a mean dog mom.
It doesn't have to be complicated! If your dog is underweight, feed him a bit more. If he's fat, feed him less.
Free homemade raw dog food recipes
*My ebook has 10 additional recipes. Download the ebook with the button below.
For this post, I also asked some readers and friends to share some of their raw dog food “recipes.”
The raw dog food recipes in this post are not necessarily 100 percent balanced or meant to be fed every day. They are not necessarily recommended by a veterinarian. They are not necessarily right for your particular dog.
These are just some real examples of real raw meals real dog owners have fed their dogs.
If you feed your dog raw, please share some examples of meals you feed your dog. It would be extra helpful if you could also tell us the weight, breed and activity level of your dog and where you buy the ingredients.
Raw meat/veggie mix
This is for a 100-pound Kuvasz, twice per day:
- 1/4 C. plain yogurt
- 1/4 -1/2 C. chopped or ground veggies (carrots, leafy greens, apples, broccoli or peas)
- A skinned chicken leg quarter with bone (chicken leg, thigh and some of the back, which usually weighs about 1 lb)
If the meat does not have a lot of bone, sometimes Biggie's owners will add a calcium tablet.
Raw beef/organ/veggie mix
This is for an active springer/pointer mix:
- 2 C. raw ground beef or chicken (from local meat shop)
- 1 C. organ meat (from grocery store)
- 1 C. vegetables/fruit
Rotate the kinds of organ meat and veggies you use. Blend the organ meat and veggies and mix with the already ground meat. Add an egg if desired.
Raw beef stuffed in Kongs
This method is intended to keep the dogs (a standard poodle and a pitbull) occupied while their owner goes to work. It's as easy as it sounds. Simply stuff several Kong toys with raw meat. Then freeze and serve.
In this case, each dog gets 2 to 3 frozen Kongs per day. The Kongs are typically filled with raw ground beef from Hare Today, a farm located in Pennsylvania that grinds, cuts and packages whole animals.
- Small amount of any raw meat (optional)
- Small amount of spinach, chopped carrots or broccoli (optional)
- 2 C. water
- 1 large can of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 1 small can of tomato puree
- 9-ounce paper cups
If using meat, make sure it is finely chopped or ground. Otherwise, put it in a food processor with the water to make a soup. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Put a very generous tablespoon in each paper cup. Freeze and serve. You probably want to serve outside!
Some reminders about feeding raw dog food:
- Some fruits and vegetables are not good for dogs such as grapes and onions.
- Never give your dog cooked bones or sharp raw bones.
If you are going to make your dog's raw food yourself, I highly recommend making at least a week's worth at a time and storing it in your freezer.
Update on feeding my dog raw food
All the above recipes sound easy, right? I think so. It's just a matter of buying the food ahead of time and planning ahead.
To make it easier, you can always feed one meal of DIY raw dog food and one meal of commercial raw dog food each day.
Gradual switch to raw or quick switch?
Back when I first introduced Ace to raw dog food, I gradually switched him from dry food to raw dog food by mixing the two together over eight days.
This is what the majority of vets and raw dog food companies recommend, but some people just switch over “cold turkey” and it goes just fine.
See my post: How to transition your dog to a raw diet.
Friends and family who are skeptical of raw dog food
This is just a small annoyance, but there are people who are obviously opposed to Ace eating raw food. I have to just brush their opinions aside and worry about myself. I wanted to mention this because it's something you will likely come across if you switch your dog to a raw diet.
I don't waste time trying to explain the diet to certain friends and family members. I know what's best for my dog. They can feed their dogs what they want.
I don't waste time trying to explain the diet to certain friends and family members. I know what's best for my dog.
Here is what I noticed after switching Ace to a homemade raw diet:
Ace used to get about two ear infections a year so not enough where I was overly concerned about food allergies or environmental allergies. Since being on a raw diet he's had one ear infection in about six years.
Ace seems to scratch a lot less and lick his paws less when on a raw diet.
I don't expect to notice a difference in Ace's teeth, but many others report their dogs oral health improved dramatically after switching to raw.
There is a LOT less shedding.
I know this is more information than you want to hear, but Ace's poop is tiny and hard – just what I like to see!
My dog definitely has less energy every year, and while others report a raw diet seems to give their dogs more energy, that has never been noticeable with my low-energy guy. He's just low energy all the time!
Learn more about raw feeding with my ebook “10 Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes.”
Do you feed your dog homemade raw food?
In the comments, share some examples of raw dog food “recipes” you have used.