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Species Appropriate Raw Nutrition For Dogs Part 2: How to Get Started

Most of a dog’s diet should be raw meat, bones and organs. How much of each? Think of the ratios in a prey animal, but don’t overthink it.

Ratios

You do not have to provide everything in perfect balance at every meal. Instead, balance it over the course of a couple of weeks or a month.

  • Meat (including organs) 70%
  • Bones 25%
  • Plants + Supplements 5%

*Many sources recommend up to 25% plants (vegetables). We find a lower percentage to work for our dogs.

Quantity

A dog’s relatively small stomach has room for only very limited quantities of food. The general feeding rule for dogs is small amounts of highly concentrated foods of which raw meat is one of the foremost. Estimate how much food based on your dog’s weight, and adjust according to appetite and condition.

Dog’s weight in pounds x 10 = food in grams per day

(Eg 100 lb dog x 10 = 1000 grams = 2.2 pounds per day)

Meat

“Raw meat fed in lumps exercises to full capacity both the muscular stomach in the intestines, also the digestive juices and of course utilizes the special teeth and jaw formation. If other food is substituted there is deterioration of the carnivorous organs of digestion.”

Juliette de Baïracli Levy
“The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat”

Include meat from a variety of prey animals. Lamb and goat are ideal for dogs. Minimize use of ground meat. Less popular cuts from a local butcher (eg chicken backs) are often priced lower. Venison is a great option for stocking up in season at a lower cost. Raising your own meat rabbits would be another great option, though more suited to smaller breeds. Beef is more suited for larger breeds.

Bones

Raw bones provide minerals, keep your dog’s teeth clean and keep the stomach strong. Start with smaller bones. (Eg chicken necks for puppies and toy breeds). Larger bones such as lamb, goat and deer are ideal for dogs. Never feed cooked bones, which can splinter and cause serious injuries. Large beef and bison bones could potentially crack your dog’s teeth.

Raw Meat, Organs and Bones are the foundation

Most of the necessary nutrients are found in a raw meat, organs and bones diet with some caveats. Unless prey animals are fed whole, your dog’s diet will be missing some nutrients and roughage. There is also the potential of mineral deficiencies that can be traced back to the soil in which the plants grew that the prey animal ate from. The diet I shared in this post is an excellent starting point, and part 3 below will fill in the gaps.

Part 1: Why / Part 2: How to Get Started / Part 3: Supplements