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 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:
- 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?
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.
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.