YOUR STARTER GUIDE TO RAW FEEDING
It’s great to hear that you’re considering making the change to feeding your dog a raw food diet! This guide is designed to help you with the raw transition by clearly explaining the health benefits and process.
Please note: Prior to starting your dog on a raw food diet, we recommend booking a raw feeding consultation with one of our team members. This free consultation gives tremendous peace of mind as it ensures you’re feeding raw the right way by protecting the health and well-being of your dog.
What are the health benefits in feeding your dog a raw diet?
It’s undeniable that a raw meat, organ and bone focused diet is the most natural and biologically appropriate diet for dogs. Raw feeding will nurture and fuel your dog’s well-being by providing:
- Cleaner teeth, healthy gums and fresher breath
- Smaller, firmer stools that are less smelly
- Improved digestion
- Reduction in irritations and allergies
- Strong bones and supple joints
- Muscular support and development
- Improved mobility
- Boosted immune system
- Better weight control
- Shinier coat and healthier skin
- Increased energy and stamina
- Increased energy, stamina and vitality
- Improved focus and cognitive ability
- Mental stimulation
- Balanced temperament
- Engaged, curious and stimulated by what’s in their raw bowl
- Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
- Fewer veterinary appointments – resulting in financial savings
Transitioning to Raw:
Transitioning to raw feeding is straightforward. We recommend that the best way to change from your dog’s existing diet to raw feeding is to go completely ‘cold turkey’ by doing a straight swap.
The reason we don’t advise mixing raw with anything else (such as kibble or tinned food) is to prevent digestive upsets. Naturally acidic (pH level 2), a dog’s stomach is biologically suited to a raw diet as a highly acidic stomach easily breaks down and digests bone.
To start, feed the last meal of your dog’s current diet in the evening, then start afresh with raw food the following morning. Follow your dog’s established feeding routine as before.
During the transition process your dog may need time to adjust as they will be going through a detoxification process. Monitor your dog’s overall well-being and their stools during this process and ensure fresh water is readily available.
How Much Do I Feed?
Adult (over one year old):
Aim to feed a guideline of 2-3% of your dog’s current bodyweight per day. This amount may be fed once a day, or halved and divided up between two meals to achieve your dog’s set grams per day. For example: a dog weighing 30KG should be eating between 600-900grams per day. If fed twice a day each meal would be 300-450grams per meal.
Each and every dog is unique, and their diet should be tailored according to their individual needs. Raw feeding is easy to adjust as you can add or takeaway the guideline amount of their feed according to your dog’s specific requirements.
When identifying the feeding quantities consider the amount of daily exercise and activity your dog exerts. A working dog being active for the majority of the day, would burn much more energy compared to a dog that is a pet, and therefore would require a higher percentage feed. Other factors like age, breed, as well as external factors such as seasonal temperatures and other variables should be considered. Be mindful of the type of protein you are feeding when it comes to per day feeding percentages, as different proteins have varying fat content. For example, turkey is a leaner meat compared to a rich beef mince.
If you want your dog to lose or gain weight then feed 2-3% of their target bodyweight per day. By increasing or reducing food quantity you can manage your dog’s weight according to their needs at the time.
Puppies (under one year old):
Raw feeding your puppy will provide them with all the nutrients they require to flourish and thrive. We recommend you raw feed on the basis of the bodyweight of your puppy at specific age milestones, as follows:
2-4 months: feed 10%-8% of their bodyweight per day
4-6 months: feed 8%-6% of their bodyweight per day (by 4 months of age commence feeding your puppy from three times a day to two)
6-8 months: feed 6%-4% of their bodyweight per day
8-12 months: feed 4%-3% of their bodyweight per day
It’s important to note how your puppy is responding and adjust accordingly. Like adult dogs, treat the raw feeding of your puppy on their individual dietary, digestive and activity needs and requirements.
What Do I Feed?
To feed a balanced raw diet we suggest following the 80/10/10 approach – this means feeding a mix of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% offal / organ meat (5% liver with 5% other offal).
You can approach raw feeding by:
- DIY: whereby you chop and weigh chunks of meat, meaty bones and offal at the required percentage.
- 80/10/10 Complete Minces or Dinners: pre-prepared minces containing a variety of either single or mixed proteins made with 80% meat, 10% ground bone and 10% organ meat. You can also add nutritional supplements containing fish oil, dried vegetables, fruit, herbals and nuts for added benefits
- 80/20 Complete Minces: pre-prepared minces containing 80% meat, organ meat and bone with 20% vegetables, fruit and supplements
- A combination of the above, with the focus on achieving a balanced nutrition over time by feeding quality meaty chunks, meaty bone and offal / organ meat according to the needs of your dog.
Whatever your approach to raw feeding, it’s important that the approach works best for both you and your dog. For ease of transition, we suggest using convenient, already prepared 80/10/10 or 80/20 complete minces and 80/10/10 dinners. Pre-prepared completes ensures that your dog is getting a balanced diet, and gives you the chance to adapt to the new way of feeding without the worry.
During the transition period feed one type of protein (type of meat) a week for each meal for the first 5 weeks. This approach helps your dog get used to different types of meat and also gives you a chance to identify and eliminate any potential allergies.
After the 5-week transition period the best way to give your dog all they need is variety – at least five different proteins on rotation a week, but if you can do more, that is even better! Variety is vital to a raw fed dog, as constantly feeding only one type of protein can lead to your dog becoming uninterested in their food and potentially may cause allergies.
- Introduce raw frozen fish such as sprats, mackerel or sardines, and feed no more than twice a week.
- Include raw organic eggs with shell once or twice a week
- If you decide to include vegetables, it is recommended to slightly steam them then blend into a pulp so as to break down the cellulose wall. Feed vegetables on top of your dog’s specific meal allowance so it doesn’t dilute down the 80/10/10.
- If possible, always feed organic vegetables as these will not contain pesticides which can be very harmful especially if the veggies are fed raw as treats.
- Vegetables such as spinach, kale, squash and pumpkin are nutritionally beneficial; however, avoid onion, corn on the cob and raw potato.
- For convenience and those who a time sensitive, you can purchase nutritional supplements containing human grade vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts and seeds to mix in with raw minces
During the first five weeks feed one protein a week. For ease of digestion, start your dog on a bland meat. During the first week add green tripe (beef or lamb tripe) to the protein as this helps dilute the bone, and helps the pH balance of the stomach to adjust with the bone effectively. Following this, introduce one new protein each week until your dog has had 5 different types of protein.
A recommended guidance is:
- During the first week feed a chicken or turkey complete (80/10/10) mixed 50/50 with beef or lamb tripe.
- Each week thereafter, add another meat complete (80/10/10) such as duck, beef, lamb or veal. Some proteins are available seasonally, therefore keep this in mind when introducing new proteins.
- Introduce fish and whole meaty bones appropriate to your dog’s size and chewing style – feed chicken or duck feet, chicken wing tips, turkey necks and other raw food options after week 5.
During your raw feeding consultation, a week-by-week, step-by-step menu plan for the 5-week period including protein type and amounts is written specifically for your dog. We advise to embark on raw feeding under the guidance of one of our team members so your dog can transition to raw in the right way, with the best possible start.
How Do I know Im doing it right?
The best gauge in knowing how your dog is getting on with their raw food diet is by their stool. The ideal stool should be firm, not too hard or too soft. If the stool is white and crumbly, or your dog is straining when toileting then there is too much bone present in the diet. To counteract this, increase the tripe content in their diet. If stools are too loose and runny then reduce the tripe and increase the bone content.
Other things to note
- As all dogs have their own unique dietary requirements and needs the percentages are a guideline only. Content percentages are dependent on your dog’s metabolism, activity levels, amount of exercise, food preferences or intolerances and sensitivities. Some dogs may need a higher percentage of bone than others. Additions and alternations based on your dog’s requirements are easily adapted into their raw feeding.
- Your dog’s thirst and the drinking of water will reduce considerably; this is to be expected as there is a great amount of natural moisture in raw food.
- Stool frequency and size will reduce dramatically. Again, this is perfectly normal, as there are fewer waste products in the natural raw food for them to eliminate.
- During the night some dogs may wake and bring up yellow foamy bile known as ‘hunger pukes”. If this should occur then feed your dog a small treat last thing at night and this should resolve this. Suggested low fat night time treats include Pooch’s, Green and Wilds or Paws for a Treat. There is absolutely no need to starve your dog the following day as they are hungry.
- Not all vets prescribe to raw feeding, but most are fine if it is done correctly and your dog receives a nutritionally balanced diet. To ensure raw feeding your dog is done correctly, we recommend booking a complimentary raw feeding consultation.
The team at Raw Dog Food Company have the knowledge and experience to help in guiding your dog’s transition to raw feeding, and will continue to provide support once you are established. We’re with you every paw step along your raw feeding journey.