There is so much different advice out there, so many different views and ideas about what is the best way to feed your dog.
The approximate ratio to aim for with a raw diet is: 80% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat; 10% edible bone; 10% offal.
Just as we do not scientifically analyse what we eat, we do not need to do it for our dogs either. So long as a good balance is achieved over time eg. today's meal may have more meat, tomorrow's may have more bone.
Meat is high in phosphorous, bones are high in calcium. 80% meat/10% bone ensures your dog has the exact ratio of calcium to phosphorus required. Whole prey, fish, eggs and tripe all have a balanced ratio.
Organ meat should not be more than 10% of the dogs diet.
Dogs are carnivores (their DNA is 90% wolf), they are designed to digest raw meat and raw bones. Raw bones are soft enough to bend and digest easily although meal times should always be supervised. ALL bones must be fed raw – cooked bones are dangerous as they are too hard and could splinter and pierce the stomach or intestines as well as damage teeth.
It is good practice to give your dog a wide variety of raw food, don't shy away from chicken feet, trachea, lung, kidney, pizzle (penis) etc. Trachea, chicken and turkey feet are packed with natural glucosamine and chondroitin to keep joints healthy.
Carbohydrates, in particular grains, are not a natural part of the dog’s diet and are not recommended them as part of the diet. Dogs do not have the ability to digest grains properly putting extra strain on the liver as it has to produce more bile to break down the insoluble fibre.
Most adult dogs need to eat 2-3% of their ideal adult bodyweight per day e.g.
30kg adult dog - 600g - 900g per day.
20kg adult dog - 400g - 600g per day.
10kg adult dog - 200g - 300g per day.
If your dog regularly does not eat all of his meal in one go, then you know you are feeding too much and should adjust accordingly.
If your dog is very active, you may need to feed a little more than 3%. If your dog is more of a couch-potato, you may need to feed a little less than 2% – every dog is different.
The best way to tell if you are feeding the right amount is to run your hands over your dog’s ribs. If you can feel the ribs, yet not see them, your dog is at a good weight.
WHAT TO FEED
Every meal does not need to weighed and correctly balanced. So long as your dog's nutritional needs are met on the whole, this can be achieved over time. If you feed a variety of meats and organ meats, then it will balance out over time.
Starting Out – Gently…
Choose a meat type to start, such as chicken. Feed this one type for several days and get the dog used to it first before introducing another type in the same fashion. This way you will notice if your dog has an allergy or an intolerance to any particular meat type.
Your dog's poop will be your guide – you are looking for poop that are is not too loose and not too firm, not too black and not too white. Loose, dark poop could mean too much offal and chalky white poop usually means too much bone.
When introducing eggs, test with a small amount of beaten egg first and keep an eye on the poop before increasing to a whole egg. Eggs can be served whole in their shell (this will work your dogs brain as he will have to figure out how to get at the contents. Sometimes you may need to make a tiny hole in the shell so the dog can smell the egg inside and figure it out.
Raw bones are living tissue made of living cells. Just as other parts of the body, they are a source of biologically balanced minerals, especially calcium, but also copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. It may be considered that bones in a dog’s diet have a similar role to fibre in ours. To bulk out the food, remove toxins and promote general bowel health. Good bone choices include all poultry, pork, lamb/mutton, cow, fish etc.
Whilst the flesh of any animal is fine for dogs to eat, bone type should be restricted to the type of animal that a dog pack could realistically hunt in the wild e.g. a cow would be unlikely and the bones are said to be too dense for a dogs teeth (especially small dogs) so could cause teeth chipping or breakage. Common cuts include chicken backs, wings and necks (or whole carcasses), lamb necks, pork necks, turkey necks, pork hocks, pork ribs, ox tails, turkey tails, even lamb, pork or poultry heads for the adventurous. Any meaty bone that can be completely consumed by your dog in fact.
If you are feeding meaty parts then you can feed them alone, if you are feeding bonier parts (such as chicken backs, pork necks, wings or ribs), then you will need to add meat or heart to get the correct ratios. Remember you are aiming for 10% bone.
Raw muscle meat should be fed daily. You can feed heart as a muscle meat yet not exclusively. Muscle meat is a great source of protein which contains essential amino acids, the building blocks of your dog. Muscle meat also contains a lot of phosphorus and is low in calcium. When fed with 10% bone you have the exact ratios of calcium to phosphorus required by your dog.
Raw Fat is a natural source of energy for a dog. Too much fat though, can lead to loose stools so you need to build up fat content nice and slowly – this includes chicken skin which is considered a fat, so for sensitive dogs should be removed in the early stages of raw feeding.
Raw fish can be fed for one or two meals per week.
Raw offal (organ meat such as liver, heart, kidneys, brains, lung, pancreas, spleen) should make up 10% of the diet. Organs in general provide an enzyme-rich mixture of protein, B-complex vitamins, vitamins A and D, vitamin E, some vitamin C, and essential fatty acids EPA, DHA, and AA, along with minerals such as manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium and copper. Like muscle meat, organs contain a lot of phosphorus (and potassium) and are low in calcium.
Raw whole eggs with shells (a perfect ratio of phosphorous to calcium) can be fed two or more times per week. Egg yolks are an excellent source of magnesium, calcium, iron, folate, vitamins A, E and B6 and free-range eggs have lots of beta-carotene. If you buy your eggs commercially, they are likely sprayed with wax and other chemicals to improve their appearance. These chemicals are harmful for your dog so if you cannot find fresh farm eggs, feed commercial eggs without the shell and count them as a meat meal.
Raw green tripe is highly beneficial for domestic dogs as it contains many living nutrients including digestive enzymes, omega- 3 and 6 fatty acids, vitamin B, probiotics, and phytonutrients. Raw tripe is considered as meat yet has a very good calcium/phosphorus ratio – it’s not an essential part of the diet; yet is extremely nutritious.
In a short time from beginning the raw diet, you will start to see the results in the form of better coats, cleaner teeth, fresher breath and fewer health issues. Switch to a raw diet and feel confident that you will be joining thousands of people who have safely and effectively made the leap to raw and have never looked back.
After just a few weeks of raw feeding you will start to see an improvement in your dog’s health. After a few months the benefits are incredible and the list of health benefits are endless!!