The ultimate guide to raw diet for dogs
Can dogs eat raw meat?
The answer is, absolutely!
In fact, many people are turning to a raw food diet for their dogs as they learn the multitude of health benefits it can bring. And yet, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why we created this guide for anyone considering a raw meat diet for dogs, anyone already using it but wanting to fine tune their skills, or anyone with an interest in pet nutrition.
There’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach to raw meat feeding of dogs. But there are some basic rules to design the ultimate guide to raw diet for dogs. Read on to learn the guidelines and then work out what will work best for your dog and for yourself. In this article, we’ll cover all your questions including – can dogs eat raw mince; can dogs have raw chicken bones; are raw eggs good for dogs; how much raw meat to feed a dog…and more.
Is raw meat good for dogs?
The raw diet for dogs emulates what the animal’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild. For that reason, it’s considered biologically suited to the dog. Certainly, removing overly processed dog food products from your dog’s diet will be very good for them. Replacing that with natural foods they thrive on, can only be a positive thing.
In the wild, dogs eat prey animals, head to tail – this includes the meat, muscle, bones and organs. Wild dogs also eat a small amount of plant food. And that in a nutshell is what you’d feed your dog if it were eating a raw diet.
As far as particular health benefits of raw dog food, these include:
- Increased energy and vitality.
- Strengthened immune system.
- Better digestion and gut health, plus smaller stools.
- Stronger bones and joints.
- Softer, shinier coat and healthy skin.
- Improved dental health, reduced mouth odour.
Watch and see what happens to your dog once you start to feed it raw meat. Many people who switch from kibble feeding to raw meat will see a noticeable improvement in their dog’s health.
Some pet owners feel that a raw meat diet is dangerous. This objection stems from the potential risks of bacteria in raw meat. If you buy raw meat from reputable suppliers, the risk is very minimal. Care must be taken when handling raw meat or fish products, in terms of proper washing and sanitation of knives, chopping boards and pet bowls. Just take the same amount of care with your pet as if you were feeding yourself.
What raw food should I feed my dog?
Ideally you should be feeding your dog meat from a range of different animals including poultry, beef, kangaroo and fish among others. A raw diet for dogs would usually include muscle meat, organ meats (such as kidneys and livers), whole or ground bones, raw eggs, yoghurt, fruits and vegetables (such as carrot, broccoli, spinach and apple).
Make a slow transition, in order to reduce the chance that your dog will have any digestive difficulties. We recommend slowing adjusting the quantities over the course of 7 days.
“The raw diet for dogs emulates what the animal’s ancestors would have eaten in the wild. For that reason, it’s considered biologically suited to the dog. Certainly, removing overly processed dog food products from your dog’s diet will be very good for them. Replacing that with natural foods they thrive on, can only be a positive thing”.
Top tips for feeding dogs raw
- You don’t have to get the percentages spot on every single day. As long as your dog gets roughly those quantities in balance over the course of a few days.
- Try to get as much variety into your dog’s diet as possible. That way, you will optimise the nutrient mix they are receiving. So don’t give chicken pieces every night, make sure you add in kangaroo, lamb, pork, turkey and fish for a start. You can get even more creative with other types of seafood, rabbit or birds. Vegetables and fruit, seeds and nuts are easy to mix around based on what you’re eating or cooking at home.
- Only ever feed raw bones to your dog. That’s because cooked bones can splinter and cause harm or choking. Small bones such as chicken necks are completely edible and will be devoured by your dog. Large bones such as kangaroo femurs are great for gnawing on so they act as both a toy and a way of cleaning their teeth. Both types of bones offer plenty of valuable nutrients.
- You can feed your adult dog just one meal a day, or more. It’s up to you. Most people go with one or two meals a day. Remember to divide the total amount of daily food across all meals.
- If you’ve got an overweight dog, you’ll need to reduce their daily intake until they get back to a healthy weight.
- Transition your dog onto raw food gradually, over about a week. Introduce a small amount of the new food while continuing the old food. Each day, increase the quantity of the new and reduce the quantity of the old food. This will reduce the chance of an upset tummy and other unpleasant digestive symptoms.
- Puppies have a need for more calories and nutrients to support their growing bodies (up to 10% of body weight from 2 months old, to around 3% of body weight at 1 year of age). Puppies also require multiple meals per day. For more info, see our puppy feeding tips.
- For more information on feeding dogs, check out our feeding guide and FAQs for dogs.
Raw feeding the easy way!
If it’s all sounding too hard at this point, don’t worry. Paringa has plenty of raw dog food and raw meaty bones to make it much easier for you to manage and maintain optimum nutrition for your dog on a raw food diet. Some dog food already comes made up in the right biological mix of meat / bones / organs / plants – check out Regal BARF or the FurFresh range. We also have puppy food options too. With the ultimate guide to raw diet for dogs you can certainly create the perfect menu for your pooch!
So now you have answers to all of your questions. Can dogs eat raw mince? Yes! Can dogs have raw chicken bones? Yes! Are raw eggs good for dogs? Yes! How much raw meat to feed a dog? See our guide above.
Feeding guide for raw dog food – how much raw meat to feed a dog
Most adult dogs eat roughly 2-3% of their body weight each day, depending of course on their age, stage and activity levels. The table below gives an example of the quantity of food and types of food to give a small, medium and large sized dog. Make sure you factor in their activity levels. This is a guide only.
|Type of food
|Small dog (7kg)
|Medium dog (18kg)
|Large dog (30kg)
|Divide total into no. of meals per day
|Meat, muscle, ligaments, fat
|Opting for meat with bones in them is an easy way to get the right meat to bone balance. eg. chicken carcasses, lamb/pork/turkey necks, hocks, tails, ribs, wings. Whole prey such as rabbit, bird, small fish.
|Edible raw bones
|5% liver, 5% other organs
|Approx 2 feeds per week of liver, kidney, heart, tripe, spleen, lung, pancreas, brain, raw eggs with shells.
|Vegetables, seeds, fruit
|Eg. Carrots, pumpkin, beans, broccoli, peas, beetroot, spinach, cucumber, celery, apples, pears, stone fruits (no skin/stone), chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, pumpkin seeds.