Guide To Raw Feeding

A Basic Guide to Raw Feeding for your Dog

Raw or BARF feeding is becoming more popular, hence the reason I decided to write this article. I am not an expert in this field but I do love watching my dogs enjoying their meals and munching down on a juicy bone.

First question you may ask is how much to feed.  Feeding 2-3% of adult body weight is a good starting point.  If your dog could do with losing a few pounds start with say, 2% – 2.5% and then go by eye.

The following guides and calculators are extremely useful to help work out how much you should feed your dog

It’s a good idea to weigh your food at first to get a rough idea of how much it looks like.  It is very easy to guess too much and end up having to put them on a diet. Be aware that puppies are fed differently and it is important not to feed too much calcium by way of digestible bone, especially when very young.

Puppy Guidlines

0-4 months        8 – 10%  of present body weight per day
4 – 6 months:     6 – 8%
6 – 9 months:     4%
9-12 months      3%
>12 months       2% – 3%
OR
2-3% of their projected adult weight per day.

All dogs are different so go by eye and trust your instinct.

Most Adult Dogs Suit Feeding:

80% MUSCLE MEAT – This would be any part of an animal that humans would eat. Muscle, fat, connective tissue and muscular organs such as heart and tongue. Heart is considered a muscle meat and not an organ when feeding raw, although it is best treated similarly to offal with regards to how much you feed, as it can be very rich.

Heart, liver and kidney is very high in phosphorous so could put a strain on the kidneys if fed too much all at once. Even if the dog appears to tolerate a lot of heart, there could be long term effects.

10% OFFAL –  (i.e. 5% of overall diet ideally needs to be liver and 5% of overall diet another offal).

Organs include liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, brains, testicles. They provide lots of vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes.

10% EDIBLE BONES – This does no include the weight bearing bones of animals.  All chicken, turkey bones and necks are edible. Bones provide many minerals and nutrients as well as a good supply of calcium and phosphorous.

You MUST have bone in the diet for calcium.

Adjusting to your dog

Some people feed slightly more bone, some less.  All dogs are different so be guided by your dogs poops and general appearance. Too firm add more muscle meat.  Too loose it may be too much offal or veg or more bone may be needed.

You don’t have to balance foods daily as it can balance over time, however, as said before too much bone at one time can cause problems.  If you want to feed vegetables it is up to you.  More on veg further down.

Remember not to over feed any dog, be guided by the look of the dog’s weight.  Too chunky – cut back; too ribby – feed a little more or feed an extra small meal.  Dogs will vary on their requirements depending on age, sex, activity level, temperament and time of year etc

It’s a good idea to start off with just one protein source and add a new one at a time.  This way if something upsets them you are likely to be able to pinpoint which one it was.

Chicken or turkey are usually the easiest to start with but please be aware that MOST chicken minces are made of chicken carcass which are very high in bone content (40%-60%) so will need chicken muscle meat (i.e. breast) adding to it.

Tripe is also a good starting point as it is naturally balanced in calcium/phosphorus. Maybe you are still feeding kibble.  If still feeding kibble, feed as a separate meal, NOT with raw mince as kibble and raw are processed differently.

A little extra tip

Treebarks from Dorwest Herbs is excellent to give when introducing anything new or an upset tum.

The two powdered tree barks in this product provide a food for the specific nutritional purpose of reducing acute intestinal absorptive disorders and to compensate for maldigestion.

Links, Further Reading & Other Useful Information on Raw Feeding

Further Reading into Raw Feeding

Understanding Raw Feeding isn’t a simple process. To get it right, you will probably find yourself research and reading articles as well as joining groups and forums. To help you get started, here are some other websites and documents that I recommend you read.

Alternatively, feel free to contact us or visit our shop in Somersham, Cambridgeshire to discuss raw feeding and look at our range of prepared meals and food.

To join a community of similarly minded owners and discuss all things raw, visit:
The Barf Diet Chat Facebook Page

Information on the correct ratio of Calcium to Phosphorus is very important. Please check this guide.(Thank you www.gratefulpet.com)
Guide to Calcium to Phosphorus Ratio in Raw Feeding

Understand why Organ meat is so important for the Raw Fed Dog
Guide to using Organ Meat in Raw Dog Food

Storing and keeping your dog food fresh is important. Here are some guides you should read.
Guide to storing Raw Dog Food (Thank you healthypets.mercola.com)
Understanding Raw Dog Food (Thank you rawfed.com)

Suggested reading material:
Top 50 Questions about BARF feeding (Thank you NJBoxers.com)
The Dogs Dinner (Thank you Ann Ridyard)
Honeys Natural Feeding Handbook
Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats

Many thanks for Chris Ogunsiji & Lesley Morgan for creating this guide and allowing its use on our website.
You can read their full guide and visit their website, 
barfdietchat.weebly.com