How to make raw dog food at home

How to make raw dog food yourself

Feeding a dog homemade raw food does not have to be complicated, but people are good about making anything complicated! We tend to worry way too much.

This post is intended to show newbies that raw feeding can be simple. You can make it more complicated down the road if you want, but getting started is easy.

Yes, you want to make sure your dog is getting enough variety in his raw dog food diet. But as long as your dog doesn’t have specific health concerns, he should do OK assuming you feed the correct balance of nutritious foods.

The following are some tips to help you get started feeding a dog raw food.

How-to-make-raw-dog-food-compressor

How I feed raw dog food

I make raw feeding as easy as possible.

I buy nearly all the ingredients at grocery stores, Costco, farmers markets and pet food stores.

I don’t have a huge freezer stuffed with food. I simply buy a week’s worth of food or so at a time, just as I would buy for myself.

Here is the basic ratio I try to follow for Ace’s raw dog food diet:

  • 70 percent meat
  • 10 percent organ meat (half of this is liver)
  • 10 percent bone
  • 10 percent fruits and veggies

Does this mean my dog gets two balanced meals every single day? Heck, no! He probably never gets a balanced meal. This is just the basic ratio I strive for over any given week or month. In addition to the above, I also feed my dog:

  • A tablespoon of cottage cheese or plain yogurt with most meals. He loves it!
  • A fish-oil tablet once a day or so
  • Sometimes a glucosamine tablet

How did I decide on that ratio?

I believe dogs are carnivores, but in order for dogs to benefit from a truly carnivorous diet, they would need the option of literally eating whole prey animals. You know, including the:

  • blood
  • eyes
  • lungs
  • brains
  • tongue
  • bones
  • a little fur and feathers

While some raw feeders are able to provide this option for their dogs through a variety of excellent sources, I am not willing to do so at this time. I would love to feed my dog portions of a whole deer or a whole rabbit, but frankly I don’t have the energy or the time or the storage right now.

The “whole prey model” of raw feeding typically focuses on feeding 80 percent meat, 10 percent bone and 10 percent organs. I believe that is an excellent model, but I also like the idea of adding a small amount of fruits and veggies to my dog’s diet because it gives him a larger variety of nutrients. Not all dog owners are going to agree on whether dogs need fruits and veggies, and that’s OK. We all have to make our own choices.

What types of raw food should I feed my dog?

How to make raw dog food at home

Here are some examples of foods I regularly include in Ace’s raw dog food diet. I buy all of this at local grocery stores, ethnic grocery stores, Costco or pet food stores. You can find better deals if you work directly with a butcher, rancher, farmer or possibly a CSA group.

Meat: “Whole” chickens (as whole as they come), chicken quarters, chicken thighs, chicken hearts and gizzards, turkey hearts and gizzards, ground meats, boneless pork chops, turkey thighs, boneless pork roasts, boneless beef roasts.

Organ meat: Beef liver, chicken liver, turkey liver, tripe (stomach lining), any kind of “innards” such as beef or pork kidneys. Check ethnic markets, butcher shops or the freezer section of natural pet food stores.

Bones: Ace only eats raw chicken and turkey bones within the meat such as when I give him a chicken quarter or a turkey thigh. He also gets egg shells. I do not feed any beef or pork bones, not even for “recreational chewing” because I don’t want him to swallow large chunks or hurt his teeth.

Fruits: Apples, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, bananas. That’s about it. I don’t feed a ton of fruit.

Veggies: Pretty much anything I’m eating – Sweet potatoes, yams, zucchini, broccoli, red peppers, kale, spinach, dark lettuce, green beans, peas, carrots, squash, pumpkin. Sometimes I chop the veggies up, but it’s better to blend or cook them for easier digestion. Remember, dogs aren’t exactly designed for eating veggies.

Other: Chicken eggs, canned sardines, fish oil, small amounts of plain yogurt, small amounts of full-fat cottage cheese

Is this perfect?

No. I’m simply doing the best I can. None of us eat perfectly healthy meals all the time, so that’s why my goal is always variety. A variety of different types of meats in Ace’s raw dog food should always be my goal.

10 easy homemade raw dog food recipes BARF diet

To make things easier, you could buy pre-made commercial raw dog food and use it for convenience feeding once or twice per week. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s an easy way to add variety. I recommend you buy a protein source that’s different from what you’d normally feed. For example, when I buy commercial raw dog food, I prefer to buy lamb or rabbit.

Well, that’s about as simple as I can make it! You may also be interested in my tips on how to make affordable raw dog food.

If you found this post helpful, you’ll definitely benefit from my ebook “10 Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes.” It goes over everything I’ve learned about raw feeding.

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What are some raw ingredients you typically feed your dog?

23 thoughts on “How to make raw dog food at home”

  1. You really do make it simple. I don’t have the money (or the constitution, quite frankly) to feed my dog all raw. He usually gets an egg cracked over his dinner, and I just started giving him whole chicken legs whenever I need to do laundry (so I can wash the towel he eats it on right away; I’m a bit of a germaphobe when it comes to raw meat).

  2. I’ve heard a lot of good things about a raw meat diet for dogs. But I’m like Jessicayv when it comes to not having the money or the constitution and to being a germaphobe when it comes to raw meat. I used to give Maya and Pierson a raw egg, but then they decided they didn’t like raw eggs anymore. Cooked, yes, but they won’t eat them raw. I’m not sure they will eat raw meat either. Pierson has killed two birds and a rabbit since I’ve had him but he had no desire to eat them, for which I am grateful.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Totally understand about the cost. I always have dry food on hand and feed it several times per week to save money. I’m not much of a germaphobe though when it comes to raw meat. I think I just got over it! 🙂

      I’m not sure if Ace would try to eat a bird or a rabbit. I think he might need to be encouraged to do so. But then again he would never be able to catch one anyway!

  3. I would say beef heart and chicken leg quarters are our primary base, with various organs, other species’ hearts, pork roasts and venison. On occasion I can get a case of boneless turkey breasts through my coOp, so I snatch one up when they are available. So many people think raw feeding is difficult, or expensive, or tedious. It really isn’t any of these.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You’ve really found a good system for your dogs. I love reading about how you obtain all your raw food for them.

  4. I am new to raw food and have a few questions. I want to get my very allergic to everything dog off dry and go with raw. She is allergic to beef, fish, lamb, turkey, venison, duck and chicken. (had testing done, we were at our wits end trying to figure out what she could have) So the only meat she’s not allergic to is pork. So do you think if we did raw she could eat the others, since they are not processed? And what organ meat would I use? This has to be cheaper to do then our almost $80 a month on the other stuff she gets.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I would start with pork and keep her on that for a few weeks. Then, slowly introduce one meat at a time so you will know right away if she is reacting to it or not.

      If she can only eat pork, it will be a bit more challenging to find pork organ meat, but I would recommend you get in touch with a butcher to see if they have anything really cheap or that they normally throw away.

      You can get away with less than $80 a month on raw, but it will be a challenge. Have you seen my ebook yet? http://www.thatmutt.com/ebooks/10-easy-raw-dog-food-recipes/

  5. We currently feed our dog a commercial raw food, and she has been thriving on it for many years. However, the cost keeps going up and it is getting prohibitive. You probably know that the raw diet is a mushy, consistent consistency, even though it has bones and organs. I am nervous about feeding my dog whole bones (a little nervous she might choke, and a little nervous about the mess). Do you know of a method to “puree” the bones, meat, organs, veggies, etc? Can a vitamix or food processor do it, or perhaps some sort of meat grinder?

    1. I should say, I am not looking for something that can pulverize a beef femur, just something that can grind up a chicken leg quarter.

  6. What about ameno acids and digestive enzimes that I read about – like Dinovite? How important is that? Other websites list it as a must and it is rather expensive. Just curious.

  7. I heard that you are not supposed to give dogs chicken bones, because they could choke, but you say your dog eats whole chicken legs. Is this boneless chicken?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Raw chicken with raw bone is generally safe for dogs. The raw bones are very soft for them and pliable. When they are cooked, that is when they are more dangerous because they can become very sharp or splinter. Of course, any type of chew you give your dog has a slight risk of choking hazard, that goes for rawhides, etc.

  8. I get most of our raw meaty bones from our local supermarket – chicken leg quarters, chicken wings, & turkey necks. For the sake of variety, I also add duck necks which I purchase from Darwin’s (also get beef & bison tripe from them). When I first started feeding raw, I would add a veggie/fruit pre-mix that I purchased from different brands online (Dr. Harvey’s or THK), but nowadays I tend to make my own mix. I don’t always add veggies & fruit – so I’m neither solely pro BARF nor Prey Model, lol. I’ll add some of my homemade mix one or two weeks per month, and then just feed muscle meat, bones, and organs the rest of the time.

  9. I have 7 freezers that I fill during deer hunting season with free deer meat (scraps, organs and bones) that I mostly feed to my german shepherds. That means I can feed my dogs for free pretty much. I supplement with organ meat (heart, liver, etc) from local sources and organic eggs or local eggs. I use a few supplements because of mostly feeding venison but also when there is a good deal on beef, pork or chicken, they get that too. I have healthy dogs with no vet bills. The most I have had to spend in health bills for my 8 year old and 9 year old is for chiropractic care for their backs. Otherwise I can testify to raw food being the best for my dogs health. We now have two 2 year old gsds who have been fed raw since we got them at 9 weeks old and the same thing. No vet bills, no health issues. yeah

  10. All me dog’s years (13) my vet insisted on no feeding bones because they splint (mentioning how many he had to surgically remove) so I’m concern about that. Is it too late to start at their advanced age?

  11. I have just started using your raw recipies for my dog. I also have parboiled my brocolli and carrots then smash them down with a motar and pestil. Should I par bolil my veges or not? My meat is given raw on the bone as you do

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