The raw dog food diet is a new trend that has taken the pet industry by storm. Whether you have a fur baby that has a sensitive stomach or you are choosing a raw diet for health reasons, there are some recipes you can try at home.
Sure, there are raw dog food commercial companies that guarantee to provide your pooch with well-balanced meals, but nothing gives an attentive pawrent more peace of mind then taking a hands-on approach to preparing meals for their pets.
Let’s explore some recipes for homemade dog food and discuss the benefits to make sure this is the right course of action for your pup.
Benefits of Raw Dog Food
It all boils down to their ancestral diet. Your little pooch’s ancestors have lived and thrived on raw diets for as long as recorded history has existed. Australian vet Ian Billinghurst proposed the concept of incorporating this diet for our domesticated hounds.
His argument was largely centered on the fact that commercial dog food is heavily processed and does more harm than good for our canines. While there isn’t much debate surrounding this fact, people still wonder whether is a raw diet needed.
Benefits of introducing a raw diet to your pooch includes the following:
Healthy Skin and Coat
More essential nutrients are absorbed from their meals when minimal processing is involved. A lot of healthy fats and acids are therefore available which contribute to a shinier coat and healthier skin.
An unhealthy digestive system could have detrimental effects on the rest of the body. The introduction of a raw food diet won’t add stress to your pup’s digestive system. Many dogs with the runs or who have trouble taking in kibble will do well on a raw diet.
They Get the Most out of Each Meal
As we know, since it’s the same for human food, heavy processing can strip the ingredients of quality nutrients. Not only that, but the composition can change as well. This is not the case with raw food. A meal with fully raw ingredients will ensure your dog gets all of the fresh nutrients.
When none of those processes are involved in your dog’s food, you know your fur baby will be getting the optimal nutrition.
Kibble can really dry your dogs out, which is why they always need a full water bowl on hand. However, the high moisture content in raw food will make sure your pooch is always hydrated and reduce the risk of certain ailments and lighten the load on his kidneys.
You may see wet dog food also boast of these benefits but they are still lower on the nutritional ladder compared to raw food.
Why Go Homemade?
Sure, there are commercially available raw dog foods, but do you really know what’s in the diet 100%? Raw food claims to benefit dogs with digestive issues, allergies and more, but to do that they need to be made with care. Who better to do that than a loving pawrent?
You will be able to take the time to only include what’s good for your dog and be sure that only safe ingredients are going in.
What to Consider When Making Homemade Raw Dog Food
There are a few things you need to consider before creating the perfect recipe for your dog.
Your dog’s age will contribute to the amount and affect the overall recipe. Older dogs may need more joint protection while young pups will thrive off tons of protein for growth.
The breed is also a crucial point to consider. Puppies will need more calcium and phosphorus with large breeds needing more for joint protection well into adulthood. Typically, as an adult, your dog would need a balanced ratio of 1:1 of calcium and phosphorus.
How is your dog doing health-wise? It’s easier if your pooch is 100% healthy, but a lot of dogs go into the raw diet with illnesses such as diabetes and digestive issues. Take into consideration the health concerns your pup presents and tailor the ingredients accordingly.
It’s an acronym! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to actually make your dog barf. BARF stood for Bones And Raw Food but has now been altered to stand for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Basically, the concept adheres to the logic that dogs benefit from an ancestral diet.
It isn’t really a diet but more of a guideline for what you should include in your recipe, taking all factors into consideration.
A basic BARF plan for a healthy dog would be as follows:
+ 70% lean meat for protein
+ 10% raw bone
+ 5% liver
+ 5% other organs (kidney, heart, pancreas)
+ 7% veggies
+ 2% seeds or nuts
+ 1% fruit
This is just a loose guideline, and you can interchange ingredients and rotate through your dog’s favorite flavors as needed. That’s the beauty of creating recipes at home, you can alter it as you see fit.
Whole Prey Model
This is another take on the raw diet. It resembles the BARF diet but is more based on what your dog would eat if he were to hunt on his own. The ratio is less complicated and doesn’t incorporate what dogs wouldn’t necessarily consume natural, such as seeds, fruits and nuts.
An example of the Whole Prey Model would look something like this:
+ 80% lean meat protein
+ 10% raw bones
+ 5% liver
+ 5% other organs
For dogs who are more allergic and have sensitive stomachs, this is the preferred diet due to the lack of fruits and nuts. However, this doesn’t mean your pup can’t obtain these nutrients another way, such as through supplements.
Fatty acids, vitamins and minerals play an important part in your pup’s daily diet as well. It’s in these micronutrients where your dog gets extra support for his or her digestive system, skin and coat health and protection for other organs and body parts.
Omega fatty acids from fish oil will do wonders for your pup’s skin and coat health. Looking at chondroitin and glucosamine for joint protection for any breed into old age can make a tremendous difference. Determine what your dog needs to tailor a unique recipe just for him.
Just How Much is Enough?
The portion size will also vary depending on each pup. Influencing factors for raw food intake will depend on weight, activity level and of course, age.
The breed will also have a significant effect on the activity level. For example, huskies are known for their active nature while English bulldogs are known to laze around the house. Assess their activity levels honestly.
Next you should determine if your pooch needs to put on, lose or maintain their weight. If you have a pregnant or senior dog, it will also affect how much you feed them and what goes into the meal.
We’re going to preface this by cautioning all pawrents to consult with their vet first before introducing raw diets to dogs. It is a try-as-you-go process that leaves room for a lot of error. To minimize this risk, your vet can give you tips on what your dog needs and with some trial and error, you can figure out what’s good for your pooch.
The transition from regular kibble to raw dog food is also one that takes care and effort. However, that is a whole other story that we will cover on another day.
Some Recipes to Get You Started
Below we offer some recipes to get you started on a raw meal plan for your pooch. Remember to tailor and customize the ingredients as needed for your pup’s individual needs. Below is a general guideline.
Easy Homemade Raw Dog Food
- Around 2 pounds of ground meat (pork, beef, whatever your pooch likes)
- 4-5 ounces of liver
- 1 carrot
- 1 apple
- ½ cups of veggies (lettuce or spinach are great choices)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of seeds/nuts
Grind and chop the ingredients accordingly until you get a sort of paste. Then you can create your very own raw meat patties that you can freeze to keep longer and feed as necessary. Store in the fridge or keep frozen for longevity.
Feel free to experiment with the recipe as every dog is different and has his own preferences. Remember to consult your vet on whether or not it’s appropriate for your pooch to transition to a raw diet. Get some tips on what to include that’s best for your dog.
It’s okay to try a few different recipes and to get it perfect, and keep in mind that the having a variety of meats and vegetables that you rotate through is beneficial. This will provide your dog with a diverse diet and allow him to gain the most out of his meals.
As important as the macronutrients are, they wouldn’t be as effective without the aid of micronutrients. Remember to add fatty oils, vitamins and minerals to guarantee a well balanced diet for your pooch.