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Is raw meat good for dogs? How much raw food do I feed my dog? How do I start my dog on a raw food diet? Feeding raw dog food for beginners can be daunting for sure, and you’ll have plenty of questions you’ll want answered before changing up your pup’s meal plan. We know, because we feed raw to our two boys – and we had so many questions at the start.
In recent years, feeding a raw food diet has become a growing pet health and wellbeing trend for pet parents looking for a more healthy alternative to processed commercial pet foods. So, if you’re considering introducing raw food into your dog’s diet – you’re certainly not alone!
If you’re unsure about where to start with making the switch to raw, this simple, stress-free guide to raw dog food for beginners has you covered. Here we’ll answer all your raw dog food questions, so you can confidently decide if feeding raw food is the right decision for your best friend.
Looking for healthy dog food recipes? We think you’ll love our Homemade Chicken Jerky for Dogs and !
A Guide to Feeding Raw Dog Food for Beginners
Firstly, if you’re worried that feeding your dog a raw diet is too complicated, time-consuming or expensive…let’s kick those thoughts to the curb right here and now!
Here’s why switching to raw dog food is less stressful than what you may think:
The benefits: Why you should feed your dog raw
Before we get to all your burning questions, let’s look at the benefits of feeding a raw food diet – and there are plenty of them!
Basically, a raw dog food diet is all natural – offering the right balance of vitamins and minerals your dog needs to live their healthiest life.
While it’s true there are some risks to raw feeding, with careful research and preparation (such as reading this article!) those risks are very minimal.
Is feeding raw meat good for dogs?
Raw meat is a natural part of a dog’s diet. While the answer is yes, dogs can eat raw meat – a diet consisting only of raw meat won’t give your dog the balanced nutrition they need.
A natural raw meat diet appeals to many pet parents, simply because it was 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.
Fast forward to the present, it’s become the norm for dogs to consume less raw meat. In its place is processed commercial pet food, that is 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.
So, while it’s true that feeding raw meat is good for your dog, your dog’s diet should contain other minerals, vitamins, amino and fatty acids, and sources of fiber to aid with digestion. This can be done by introducing eggs, vegetables, and supplements to their predominantly raw meat diet.
MUSCLE MEATS ORGAN MEATS
Raw meat good for dogs:
What are the risks of feeding dogs raw meat?
If you’re concerned about harmful bacteria in raw meat, it’s useful to know that parasite contamination is far more likely in wild animal carcasses than raw meat fed to dogs.
Before feeding raw meat to your dog, it’s best to divide the meat into portions and freeze it. Freezing meat kills off any bacteria and parasites (should they be present), without removing the nutrients in the meat. You’ll then need to defrost the raw meat prior to feeding it to your dog by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.
Taking 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, will avoid contamination and minimize any potential health risks.
Can dogs eat raw vegetables?
‘Can dogs have raw carrots?’ or ‘can dogs have raw broccoli?’ are questions you’ve likely asked yourself upon finding vegetable scraps in the back of the fridge!
Again, it’s important to know that a raw food diet for dogs isn’t meat-only. Vegetables are an important source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants when feeding your dog a raw diet. Plant ingredients support digestion and the balance of healthy bacteria in your dog’s gut. In fact, some vegetables are a superfood for dogs!
So, how to prepare vegetables for dogs? Veggies can be boiled, steamed, or raw – though they maintain higher concentrations of nutritional value when fed raw. Either your dog will like the taste of raw vegetables, or if they’re a little fussy, you might need to chop or grate them into small pieces and mix in with their meat.
Best vegetables for dogs:
Are fruits good for dogs?
With the focus on protein and veggies, dog-friendly fruits are often a forgotten addition to your pup’s diet. However, an ideal raw food diet for dogs consists of all three food groups – raw meat, vegetables – and fruit!
While there are many health benefits of fruit for dogs such as boosting the immune system, reducing inflammation, improving digestion and promoting skin and coat health, dogs should only eat certain fruits in moderation. For a detailed breakdown of the health properties of each fruit, see our post 10 Superfood Fruits for Dogs.
So, which fruits are safe for dogs to eat? Here’s a quick list of dog-safe fruits below – just be sure to remove any pits, seeds or rind present!
TIP: Get access to 30 fun and simple fruity dog treat recipes with the popular eBook,
Best fruits to feed dogs:
TIP: Get access to 30 fun and simple fruity dog treat recipes with the popular eBook,
What foods to avoid when feeding your dog a raw diet?
While fresh vegetables, fruits and meat are needed for a healthy and balanced raw food diet for your dog, there are certain foods that should be avoided while feeding raw.
Vegetables like avocado, onions, mushrooms, and raw potato are toxic to dogs and should be avoided in their diet. Dogs can eat cooked potatoes, but only in very small amounts.
Unripened tomatoes, cherries, and grapes are all toxic to your dog and should be avoided. When thinking about a new source of vitamins and minerals in the form of fruits or vegetables, always do your research first!
What is the best raw dog food diet for dogs?
While technically there isn’t a best raw dog food diet, the two most popular raw food diets for dogs are 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.
The above raw food diets are an excellent guide for your dog’s raw food meal plan. However, if you find the percentages a little overwhelming, see this simple three-step raw dog food plan that is perfect for beginners.
How to safely switch to a raw dog food diet?
Switching your dog to a natural raw food diet is quite simple. But, knowing how to start your dog on a raw diet – and whether to make the transition quick or slow – is one of the most common questions among pet parents.
For the majority of dogs – including puppies, young and healthy dogs – transitioning to raw dog food can simply be done overnight (ie. Monday they might have kibble, Tuesday the raw food begins).
However, if your pup is a senior dog, has allergies, or is on a commercial diet, switching over to raw should be a gradual process to avoid any stomach upsets. If your dog’s gut is used to processed food only, the sudden change to raw meat and vegetables might shock their system.
Therefore, the best way to transition to a raw food diet is to gradually wean your dog off their current food, over a period of around 7 days. Depending on their age and health, it may take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks for your dog to make the full transition.
So, how to start your dog on raw food for beginners like yourself? Here’s an easy daily guide:
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 (This is just a rough guide – you don’t have to follow the percentages exactly! The main goal is to increase their raw food intake slowly over 2 weeks, until you reach 100% raw food).
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
(This is just a rough guide – you don’t have to follow the percentages exactly! The main goal is to increase their raw food intake slowly over 2 weeks, until you reach 100% raw food).
How much raw food should you be feeding your dog?
Knowing how much raw food to feed your dog everyday can 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. Where they fall in that range will depend on their weight, health, and activity levels.
If you’re preparing meals from scratch, this raw dog food feeding guide by popular Australian raw food company Raw & Fresh provides an excellent breakdown of feeding percentages based on body weight and activity levels.
There are also 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.
Final tips: How to save on the cost of a raw food diet for dogs
- If you plan on preparing raw dog meat yourself, it will likely save you time and money to bulk buy, portion, then freeze. An easy way to do this is by shaping your meat portions into balls or hamburgers.
- Find a good local butcher, as this will make feeding your dog much easier and cheaper.
- Know what to say to your butcher. Explain you are preparing a raw meat meal plan for your dog, and ask for suitable items like cheaper cuts, raw and meaty bones, chicken, wings, backs, offal (heart, kidneys and liver) and mince or scraps that aren’t too fatty.
We hope this guide on raw dog food for beginners has answered all your questions, and made you feel more confident in making the switch to a healthier and happier life for your best friend!
‘What You Need to Know About Raw Food Diets for Dogs’: https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/5-mistakes-people-make-when-feeding-pets-raw-food-diet
‘Raw Feeding Factsheet’: https://www.pfma.org.uk/raw-feeding-factsheet
‘Current knowledge about the risks and benefits of raw meat-based diets for dogs and cats’: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24261804/
‘Nutrition and health of dogs and cats: evolution of pet food’:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16244924/
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Pretty Fluffy is the ultimate lifestyle destination for dog lovers. Discover the best designer dog brands and emerging small pet businesses, the latest dog accessories, healthy dog treat recipes, dog training tips and more. Thank you for being part of our dog-loving community!
Pretty Fluffy is the ultimate lifestyle destination for dog lovers.
Discover the best designer dog brands and emerging small pet businesses, the latest dog accessories, healthy dog treat recipes, dog training tips and more.
Thank you for being part of our dog-loving community!
What is the best raw food to start dog on? ›
Laurie Coger, DVM, CVCP, dogs “thrive on chicken, turkey, and beef,” which make them ideal options for raw food diets. But choosing the best protein for your dog may be dictated by your dog's overall health. “Beef and pork are the lowest in sodium. Pork has the highest potassium, and chicken has the lowest,” says Dr.Do I need to add anything to my dogs raw diet? ›
So, while it's true that feeding raw meat is good for your dog, your dog's diet should contain other minerals, vitamins, amino and fatty acids, and sources of fiber to aid with digestion. This can be done by introducing eggs, vegetables, and supplements to their predominantly raw meat diet.How to make 80 10 10 raw dog food? ›
What Do I Feed? To feed a balanced raw diet we suggest following the 80/10/10 approach – this means feeding a mix of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% offal / organ meat (5% liver with 5% other offal).Can I feed my dog raw meat from grocery store? ›
Raw meat is likely to contain harmful bacterial like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and more. Cooking meat to a safe temperature kills off those harmful bacteria. By feeding uncooked meat, there's a higher risk your dog could develop a foodborne illness or other type of bacterial infection.Are dogs happier on raw diet? ›
Although research is still in its infancy, there is promising evidence that a raw diet can drastically improve canine cognitive and mental health, leading to improved behavior and an overall higher quality of life.What raw food can dogs eat everyday? ›
According to most raw feeders, dogs should eat muscle meat (hamburger, chicken, turkey), as well as a healthy array of organ meat (heart, liver, kidneys), whole fish, and raw meaty bones (aka, RMBs).What are the six ingredients that typically make up a raw diet for dogs? ›
- Muscle meat.
- Raw meaty bones.
- Organ meat.
- Vegetables and fruits.
One portion can be kept a maximum of 3 days in the refrigerator once they are thawed. Put the portion out of the fridge and leave it at room temperature for about 5 minutes before serving so it is not too cold. If your pet has not eaten his whole portion, you may put it back in the refrigerator after 10 minutes.How often should a raw fed dog be wormed? ›
There is no evidence that this pre-freezing has any impact on bacterial pathogens in raw diets. Regular worm treatment — cats and dogs fed raw meat or offal that has not been pre-frozen should be treated for Toxocara infection monthly with a licensed product to minimise zoonotic risk.What is the 95 rule for dog food? ›
The “95 Percent” rule: At least 95% of the product (by weight) must be the named ingredient; for example, the ingredients of “Salmon Cat Food” must include at least 95% salmon (not including water). When including water, the named ingredient still must comprise at least 70% of the product.
What is the 100% rule for dog food? ›
The 100 percent rule for dog food
If, for example, you're getting 100 percent beef treats, they are only beef. This rule allows the manufacturers to add water for processing, and trace amounts of condiments and preservatives.
Making your own raw dog food has the advantage of giving you complete control over what your dog eats. This makes homemade a great option for dogs with food sensitivities or health concerns. It's also more cost effective to make your own than to buy pre-made raw food from a store.What meat can dogs not eat raw? ›
Common meats to avoid are any processed meats like sausage, bologna, hot dogs etc. Also avoid giving your dog any rib bones as they are extremely brittle and can damage your dog's stomach and throat.What dogs should not eat raw meat? ›
Reconsider Feeding Raw Meat To Sick Dogs, Puppies And Senior Dogs. These dogs have weaker immune systems, and their nutritional needs are more complex. Putting them on a raw meat diet takes careful preparation. Be sure to research their needs before embarking on feeding these dogs a raw food diet.What meat should dogs not eat? ›
Bacon, Ham and Fat Trimmings
Bacon, bacon grease, ham, and fat trimmed off meat or bones contains a lot of salt and/or fat and at the least can cause indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea in both dogs and cats. These foods can also cause pancreatitis, a serious, potentially deadly inflammation of the pancreas.
The American Kennel Club (AKC), American Veterinary Medical Association and other groups discourage pet owners from feeding dogs raw or unprocessed meat, eggs and milk. Raw meat and dairy can carry pathogens, like E. coli, listeria and salmonella, which can make pets and people sick or even cause death.Do dogs drink less water on raw diet? ›
One of the first things pet parents notice after transitioning dogs and cats to a raw food diet is a decreased water intake – that's because our furry friends are getting the natural hydration they need right from their meals!Can I feed my dog raw hamburger? ›
Raw steak or hamburger patties can contain bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, that can be harmful to dogs and people. Keep a careful eye on the meat as you prepare the grill because the aroma will definitely get your dog's attention, and they may try to sneak a tasty morsel of the uncooked meat.
The two common vitamins often lacking in raw diets include Vitamin D and Vitamin E. These nutrients can be supplied through whole foods. However, there are instances where the whole food ingredient for these nutrients cannot be fed and supplements prove beneficial in these scenarios.Are there any fruits that dogs can't eat? ›
- Avocado. This fruit contains persin, a toxin that makes dogs throw up and have diarrhea.
- Cherries. Cherry pits contain cyanide. ...
- Grapes. Grapes can cause sudden kidney failure in dogs. ...
- Tomatoes. The green parts of the tomato plant have solanine, which is toxic to dogs.
Are eggs good for dogs? ›
Are Eggs Good for Dogs? Eggs are perfectly safe for dogs, Eggs are a great source of nutrition for your canine companion. They are high in protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and fatty acids that help support your dog inside and out. Remember that eggs are only as good as the chicken they come from.How do you get rid of bacteria in raw dog food? ›
Thorough cooking kills Salmonella, L. monocytogenes, and other harmful foodborne bacteria. Don't kiss your pet around its mouth, and don't let your pet lick your face. This is especially important after your pet has just finished eating raw food.How long can raw food sit out for dog? ›
If your pet is a grazer we recommend the maximum time for leaving out a bowl of food is 1 hour (or 30 minutes on a warm day). If they do not eat the food straight away, you can also put it back in the fridge and offer it to them later (throw away any uneaten raw food 24 hours after it's been in the bowl).How long can raw dog food last in fridge? ›
Raw dog food that has been thawed completely in the fridge should be consumed by your dogs within 3-5 days. If it's been thawed completely on the counter, the food should be fed within 2-3 days. To protect the nutrient integrity of the food, we do not recommend thawing in the microwave.What are the symptoms of worms in dogs? ›
- Abdominal pain.
- Weight loss.
- Poor coat appearance.
- Pot-bellied appearance.
Your dog or cat can contract a worm infestation through raw meat, but this only happens when the food isn't inspected, handled or prepared properly. In fact, pet parents that are deeply invested in their pets' health, safety, and longevity, are more likely to choose companies that prioritize food safety and handling.How often should you bathe a dog? ›
Generally speaking, a healthy dog with a short, smooth coat and no skin problems doesn't need to be bathed often. In most cases, dog baths are more for the benefit of their pet parents than for the dogs themselves. Even so, it's a good idea to bathe your pooch at least once every two to three months.What is the 10 minute rule for dog food? ›
Limit Meal Time
Leaving your dog's food out all day can cause them to ignore it altogether. To break this habit, leave their food down at meal times for 10 minutes and even if they don't touch it, take the bowl away until the next meal. This will teach your pup to eat when the bowl is on the ground.
80:20 is the term used for kibbles that include an approximate proportion of 80% meat and 20% fruit and veg additions. They use no carb filler whatsoever. From a quality point of view, at least in terms of kibbles, they are assumed to be of the highest quality.What is the 25 rule in dog food? ›
If you've noticed some of the food labels at the pet store saying “chicken dinner for dogs” or “tuna entree for cats,” these diets are using the 25% rule. This rule implies that the named protein makes up at least 25% of the product listed, but is less than 95%.
What happens if you give a dog unlimited food? ›
The vast majority of dogs, however, will stop eating once they've had enough. They might eat to the point of nausea, or until they throw up, but rarely, if ever, until they die. Dogs, cats, horses, and goats have all been known to eat themselves to death.Can I make my own raw dog food? ›
Take any meat (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, whatever) minced or diced. Grate raw vegetables into it (anything but potato) so that it is roughly 2⁄3 meat and 1⁄3 vegetable (if you prefer, you can put the vegetable through a food processor). Get some meaty bones from the butcher and give your dog one every day or two.How much dog food should I buy at once? ›
As a general rule, you can use the following as a start to determine the dry dog food bag size you need: 4-6 pound bag = small dog, under 20 lbs. 12-18 pound bag = medium dog, 20-50 lbs (or two small dogs) 24-30 pound bag = large dog, 50 lbs and over (or 2-3 medium dogs)What is the cheapest healthiest way to feed your dog? ›
Dry diets are by far the most economical and healthy way of feeding your doggo and saving some coin.Can a dog live off chicken and rice? ›
It is not a good idea to keep your dog on a daily diet of chicken and rice for long. While this dish is extremely healthy for dogs, it does not contain all of the nutrients they need, which they get from other sources such as red meats and vegetables. Also, dogs tend to develop allergies to the foods they eat the most.Why is chicken bad for dogs? ›
In fact, it's a good source of protein, and cooked chicken can even be substituted for or added to his regular meal. Most sources recommend against raw chicken, due to the risk of salmonella or bacterial infections, although the movement toward raw food, including raw chicken and raw chicken bones, is growing.Why is pork bad for dogs? ›
Eating raw or undercooked pork is not safe for dogs or humans due to the parasite trichinella spiralis larvae, which can cause a parasite infection known as trichinosis. An infection transmitted by pork meat, it can occur when a dog eats the muscles of animals infected with the trichinella parasites.Can dogs eat bananas? ›
Yes, dogs can eat bananas. In moderation, bananas are a great low-calorie treat for dogs. They're high in potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper. They are low in cholesterol and sodium, but because of their high sugar content, bananas should be given as a treat, not part of your dog's main diet.Can dogs eat cheese? ›
Yes, dogs can eat cheese. In fact, cheese is often a great training tool, especially for puppies.How often should dogs eat raw meat? ›
How often should dogs eat raw meat? If you're wondering how often you should feed your dog raw meat, we recommend feeding pups 2 - 4 times per day and older dogs 1 - 2 times per day, as part of a fully balanced meal. Feeding your canine twice a day may assist with begging tendencies.
Why can't dogs have mashed potatoes? ›
The main problem with mashed potatoes and why they are “bad” for dogs, is that they are very starchy and packed full of carbohydrates and calories. That means it can be easy for your dog to eat too much, and all those extra carbs will quickly add up and lead to your pooch piling on the pounds.Can I give my dog an egg a day? ›
One egg a day for your dog is all that is recommended. If you want to introduce eggs to your dog's diet, add a cooked egg to their diet. Make sure it doesn't cause stomach issues like vomiting or diarrhea. If there are no problems, you can start giving them eggs more often.What food is poisonous to dogs? ›
- Onions, garlic and chives. The onion family, whether dry, raw or cooked, is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. ...
- Chocolate. ...
- Macadamia nuts. ...
- Corn on the cob. ...
- Avocado. ...
- Artificial sweetener (Xylitol) ...
- Alcohol. ...
- Cooked bones.
Puppies should be moved to real food from weaning, which is 3 to 4 weeks of age. The best meats to start with are plain, raw, boneless, white minces such as chicken, fish or turkey. Feel free to leave out a large meaty beef bone for them to gnaw at but make sure it is not small enough to chew.Should I start feeding my dog raw meat? ›
Is raw meat good for dogs? The American Veterinary Medical Association cautions against feeding your dog raw meat because it doesn't provide the balanced nutrition your canine companion needs in their diet. Eating raw meat regularly can increase risk of nutritional deficiencies.What is the easiest raw dog food to digest? ›
Eggs - Most pet owners who opt to feed a raw dog food diet focus on raw meat as a protein source, but eggs are also an excellent option for adding nutrients and protein to your dog's meals. Eggs have the highest biological value of any animal protein, which means it's highly digestible.How many times a day should I feed my puppy raw meat? ›
It's recommended to feed your puppy three small meals a day on a raw diet. You should portion 2-3% of your puppy's ideal adult weight.What are the cons of feeding your dog raw meat? ›
- potentially dangerous bacteria or pathogens in raw food.
- risk of contamination with raw meat that could make humans sick.
- raw bones can pose a choking hazard to dogs and may chip their teeth.
- high cost and time investment.
We recommend feeding a small raw minced meal in the morning, followed by a meal of your pet's old food later in the day. Gradually increase the amount of raw food being fed compared to the old food each day. After around 3 days you will be ready to feed 100% raw.Do dogs poop less on raw diet? ›
Dog Poop on Raw Diet
First things first, raw pet food can actually make your dog poop less! This is because your pet is now ingesting food that is being digested and properly utilized by the body, resulting in less waste. Plus, another of the benefits of feeding raw is your dog's poop may be less smelly.
Why is raw dog food so expensive? ›
Why Is Raw Dog Food So Expensive? The cost of raw dog food can vary by the pound, with a significant factor for price difference being the quality of what you're buying. When you purchase high-quality products, the price is expected to rise to accommodate the high-quality ingredients used.What dog food do vets not recommend? ›
- Taste of the Wild.
- Earthborn Holistic.
- Blue Buffalo.
- Nature's Domain.
Common meats to avoid are any processed meats like sausage, bologna, hot dogs etc. Also avoid giving your dog any rib bones as they are extremely brittle and can damage your dog's stomach and throat.What is the most unhealthy food for dogs? ›
- Chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine—both of which are toxic to dogs and cats. ...
- Grapes and Raisins. ...
- Onions and Garlic. ...
- Bacon, Ham and Fat Trimmings. ...
- Salty Snacks. ...
- Macadamia Nuts. ...
- Anything with Xylitol. ...