What is raw feeding?
Like me, you’ve probably seen many a heated debate in Facebook sighthound groups regarding raw dog food. There are pros and cons for each argument on raw feeding.
We all want our pets to have all the nutrients they need to be happy and healthy, so it makes sense to give them nutritional food. Which is where raw feeding comes in.
So, what is it?
The premise behind raw dog food is that it’s how our pups’ ancestors fed in the wild. They had a diet comprising raw meat, vegetables, and fruit. No cans of Pedigree Chum or can openers back then.
Did you know dogs share 99.8% of the same DNA with wolves?
The BARF (Bones and Raw Food) Diet
For the most authentic way to follow raw feeding, provide uncooked meat, bones, offal and muscle meat. Dogs’ digestive systems can cope with meat, vegetables and fruits – just as they would have done in the wild.
More people than ever are turning their backs on dry kibble and giving raw dog food a go. Although today’s kibble is often fortified with essential ingredients like potassium and calcium, many think dogs need a wider range of food.
Personally, I feed a hybrid diet to my two greyhounds. I mix raw meat and vegetables into dry kibble softened with warm water. What you choose to feed your pup is up to you. We all want the best for our pets.
What Raw Food Should I Give?
When following the BARF diet you are supposed to follow the 70-10-10-10 rule.
70% Muscle Meat 10% Organs 10% Fruit/Veg & 10% Bones
This infographic is available for free to download below.
Muscle Meats you can include are:
Chicken/Turkey/Duck – thigh, breast, skin, heart, gizzard, tongue and leg
Lamb – Leg and shoulder – lamb can be fatty, so leaner cuts are best
Beef – most cuts of meat are good as raw dog food
Emu – high-protein with lots of iron
Kangaroo – a very lean, high-protein choice
Healthy Fruit & Vegetables
There are many healthy fruit and vegetables your pup can eat. Stay away from raw potatoes and sweet potatoes though. They are one of the many foods toxic to dogs.
Try a combination of:
Bananas (high in potassium)
Apples (not the seeds or pips)
Brussel sprouts (although knowing sighthounds I would go easy on the sprouts!)
The greater the range of fruit and vegetables you raw feed, the more nutrients your dog will get into their diet.
Remember, bones should always be uncooked, especially in poultry. Including:
Chicken/Turkey/Duck – carcass, necks, wings, feet, drumstick, thigh
Lamb – tails, ribs, necks, breast
Pork – ribs, tail, feet
Beef – ribs, oxtail,
Don’t feed cooked or load-bearing bones (marrow bones and femurs) to dogs as they can splinter and cause severe damage.
Secreting organs are very rich in nutrients and include:
How much raw food should I feed my dog?
As a rule of thumb, feed approximately 2-3% of your dog’s ideal body weight daily. For example, if your dog weighs 25kg, feed between 500-750g daily.
Consider your dog’s age and energy levels – a young, active pup will need nearer the 3% mark. Whereas a senior couch potato will probably be fine at 2%.You can split this into two meals if you prefer.
Make sure your dog always has access to clean, fresh water daily for hydration.
I hope you enjoyed the beginners guide to raw feeding and the BARF diet. I’ll be adding more content on this topic shortly so check back soon.
If you follow the BARF diet, or feed raw please share your experiences or tips below.