How much raw food to feed a dog per day?

So you’re switching your dog to a raw diet. Congratulations!

You might be wondering, how much raw meat should I feed my dog per day?

The general rule of thumb is to feed the dog 2 to 3 percent of her ideal adult body weight. Then, adjust accordingly if she starts to seem too thin, too hungry or too fat. Some dogs will naturally require more or less food depending on their genetics, age, health, activity levels and other factors.

As an example, my dog weighs about 68 pounds. Two percent of 68 pounds is about 1.3 pounds, which is indeed about what he eats per day.

I don’t actually measure my dog’s food anymore, but I initially used the 2 percent rule to get a general idea on how much to feed him. Since I’ve been feeding him raw dog food for awhile, I have a pretty good idea how much to feed just by looking at the food. Every meal does not have to be measured perfectly.

How much raw food to feed a dog?

Commercial raw dog food is often measured in 8-ounce patties. Sixteen ounces equals one pound, so my dog would need a little more than 2.5 patties per day. Commercial raw dog food is much more convenient than making it yourself, but it is also more expensive. Check out my post on affordable raw dog food ideas for tips to save money on raw dog food.

If your brain hurts from trying to calculate all this, here is a basic equation you can use to figure out the amount of raw dog food your pup needs per day in ounces :

Take your dog’s ideal adult weight in pounds and multiply it by 16 to get your dog’s weight in ounces. (For Ace that would be 68 pounds x 16 = 1088 ounces.)

Take your dog’s weight in ounces and multiply it by .02 to get an estimate of the amount of food she should eat per day in ounces, assuming she needs to eat around 2 percent of her weight. (For Ace, that’s 1088 x .02 = 21.76 ounces.)

I like to keep my dog lean, so I try to feed him the minimum amount each day for him to maintain his weight, and he generally does eat about 1.3 pounds of raw dog food per day. Obviously if you have an underweight dog, a puppy or a pregnant dog you are going to want to feed more than 2 or 3 percent of her weight. Check with a vet if you are not sure.

How much of my dog’s raw diet should be meat/bones/fat/organs?

If you’re following a “whole prey raw diet,” meaning a diet of mostly animal products, the general rule of thumb is 80 percent muscle meat, 10 percent organ meat (half of that should be liver) and 10 percent bone. This is pretty standard and agreed upon by those who don’t feed their dogs grain or produce.

If you are feeding a diet that includes fruits and veggies and maybe even some grain (barf diet recipes), you would adjust the percentages a bit, so it might be more like 70 percent meat, 10 percent organs, 10 percent bone and 10 percent vegetation. This is roughly what my dog eats.

There is disagreement on whether dogs need fruits or veggies in their diets. My belief is that fruits and veggies can’t hurt. While I’m not overly concerned about what fruits and veggies my dog eats, I do try to feed them every day in small quantities for a variety of nutrients. I’m actually more concerned about the quality and variety of meat products my dog eats and making sure he gets enough fat, organ meat, calcium and so on.

Do I need to include any supplements in my dog’s raw food?


For added nutrients, you could give your dog a daily multi vitamin. Ideally, your dog shouldn’t need a vitamin because she should be getting all the necessary nutrients from her raw diet for dogs. But, as with humans, sometimes it’s just easier not to worry about it and just take a daily vitamin. It can’t hurt. Or, at the very least, give your dog a vitamin every couple of days or once per week.

Fish oil

I give my dog a fish oil tablet most days for the omega 3s. Everything I’ve read about fish oil for dogs says it is beneficial and helps to balance out the omega 6s found in supermarket meats such as raw beef. I take a fish oil tablet myself most days.

“EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil, provide widespread benefits,” according to Mary Straus in an article “The Benefits of Fish Oil to Your Dog’s Health” in the September 2012 issue of “The Whole Dog Journal.”

According to the article, some of the benefits of fish oil for dogs include weight loss for overweight dogs, a healthier coat and healthier skin, reduced joint pain, reduced allergies, a healthier immune system and lower blood pressure.

If you feed your dog a homemade raw or cooked diet, what are some foods you feed?

Raw dog food guide and recipes

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If you would like more information on feeding raw dog food, you will find my ebook helpful. The cost is $9 and it goes over everything you need to know about raw feeding.


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11 Readers Commented

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  1. Jana Rade on June 22, 2013

    Just a note, with raw feeding, I wouldn’t necessarily worry as much about vitamins, as I would about minerals, calcium in particular. That would be the first thing I would want to know how much the recipe contains, and what the ratio to phosphorus is.

  2. Penny Neiman on April 15, 2015

    Thank you for your article, now I will start my dog off on raw meat with confidence! 🙂

  3. B J Audet on August 27, 2016

    Is human grade raw pork safe to give my dogs?

  4. Ruby Kingston on October 12, 2016

    How much raw meat per day for a 4 year old desexed female weighs 30kg Labrador dog?

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on October 12, 2016

      Equation is in the post:

      Take your dog’s weight in ounces and multiply it by .02 to get an estimate of the amount of food she should eat per day in ounces, assuming she needs to eat around 2 percent of her weight. (For Ace, that’s 1088 x .02 = 21.76 ounces.)

  5. Heather on November 8, 2016

    I completely get the equations but for my pack of 10 i was curious what your take on feeding raw at night and a cup of kibble in the morning as ive read they digest the 2 differently. So do you think feeding at 7am and the raw at 7pm would be enough time?

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 8, 2016

      My guess is with 10 dogs it will work well for some and not others. Each dog is a little different in what they can handle. I know my Lab mix seemed to do OK when each meal was mixed or when I fed one meal raw, one dry but when I fed him 100% raw for an extended period and then suddenly switched him to dry for a few days he got really sick from the switch to dry.

      It’s hard to know. I’d say once you find something that works, try to stick with it and be consistent. 12 hours a part would be a good way to try and see how they do.

  6. Deborah London on November 13, 2016

    I started giving my maltepoo raw meat about a month ago., she eats very fast, in less than one minute she is finish eating 1-2 ounces. should i be concern?

    • Lindsay Stordahl Author on November 13, 2016

      No, that’s how some dogs are. Only concern would be if she shallows a large piece of bone that could be a potential choking hazard.