Raw Dog Food Feeding Guide. How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog?


Raw food diets for dogs

Raw food diets for dogs generally consist of meaty bones, muscle meats, organ meats, and edible bones. As long-time raw diet feeders for our dogs Belle and Marley, we have seen the numerous health benefits firsthand, including improved digestion, a shinier coat, and increased energy levels. However, figuring out the right amount of raw food to feed your dog daily can be challenging for pet owners.

This guide will help you understand how much raw food your dog needs, considering its current weight, ideal adult weight, and other considerations.

  1. Determine your dog's ideal weight: To establish the right amount of raw dog food diet for your pet, you'll first need to know their ideal weight. This can be done using a breed-specific weight chart or consulting your veterinarian.

  2. Calculate daily intake: The general guideline for raw feeding is to provide 2-3% of your dog's ideal daily weight. This percentage may need to be adjusted based on your dog's age, activity level, metabolism, and overall health. 

  3. Adjust for age and activity level: Puppies, pregnant or nursing dogs, and highly active dogs may require more food per day than the general guideline, while senior or less active dogs may require less.

  • Puppies (up to 6 months): Feed 4-6% of their ideal weight per day
  • Puppies (6-12 months): Feed 3-4% of their ideal weight per day
  • Pregnant or nursing dogs: Feed up to 4-6% of their ideal weight per day
  • Highly active dogs: Feed 3-4% of their ideal weight per day
  • Senior or less active dogs: Feed 1.5-2% of their ideal weight per day
  1. Divide meals per day: Split the total daily intake into two or more meals per day. Feeding your dog multiple times daily can help prevent bloat and maintain stable energy levels throughout the day.

  2. Ensure a balanced diet: A balanced diet for dogs on a raw food diet should include a combination of muscle meats, organ meats, and edible bones. The fat content in their meals should also be considered, as it can affect the overall daily intake. Consult your veterinarian to ensure you're meeting your dog's nutritional requirements.

  3. Monitor your dog's weight and condition: Regularly weigh your dog and observe their overall body condition to ensure they're maintaining its ideal weight. Adjust their daily intake accordingly if your dog is losing or gaining too much weight.

  4. Consider supplements: Some pet parents may add supplements to their dog's raw diet to meet specific nutritional requirements. Joint supplements for raw feeders include omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, probiotics, and multivitamins. Consult your veterinarian to determine if any supplements are necessary for your dog's specific needs.

  5. Practice food safety: Handling raw food, especially raw meat, requires proper food safety practices. After handling raw food, wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot soapy water. Store raw food in airtight containers and refrigerate or freeze until feeding time.

Changing the game at chow time

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    Raw food diets for dogs

    In conclusion, feeding your dog a raw dog food diet requires careful planning and attention to detail. Monitor your dog's weight, overall condition, and preferences while adjusting its food intake based on age, activity level, and health status. Don't hesitate to consult your veterinarian with any concerns or questions about your dog's raw food diet. Your dog can thrive on a raw diet and enjoy its many health benefits with proper care and attention.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

    1. Is a raw dog food diet suitable for all dogs?

    A raw dog food diet can be suitable for most dogs; however, some dogs may have specific health conditions or dietary restrictions that make a raw diet less ideal. Always consult your veterinarian before transitioning your dog to a raw diet to ensure it suits its needs and health status.

    1. Can I mix raw food with kibble or canned food?

    If you wish to feed your dog raw and processed foods, it's best to serve them separately. Mixing raw food with kibble or canned food is generally not recommended due to differences in digestion rates. Raw food typically digests faster than kibble or canned food, which can lead to gastrointestinal issues if mixed.

    1. How do I ensure my dog is getting a balanced diet on a raw food diet?

    To provide a balanced raw diet for your dog, you need to include a variety of muscle meats, organ meats, and edible bones in the appropriate proportions. A general guideline for a balanced raw diet is 80% muscle meat, 10% edible bone, and 10% organ meat (half of that being liver). Consult with your veterinarian or a pet nutritionist to ensure your dog's specific nutritional requirements are being met.

    1. How do I safely store and handle raw dog food?

    Raw dog food should be stored in airtight containers and refrigerated or frozen until feeding. When handling raw food, particularly raw meat, always wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot soapy water to prevent bacterial contamination. Defrost frozen raw food in the refrigerator or using the cold water method, and never refreeze raw food once it has been thawed.

    1. How long does a dog transition to a raw diet take?

    Transitioning a dog to a raw diet can take a few days to several weeks, depending on the dog's age, health, and previous diet. Start by introducing a single protein source and gradually add in new proteins and other ingredients over time. Monitor your dog's stools, weight, and overall condition to ensure they adjust well to the new diet. Consult with your veterinarian if you notice any adverse reactions or digestive issues.