After years of trying out various foods and diets, here’s how we have adjusted raw feeding for our dogs to fit our budget and convenience. Recipe and our favorite raw food brands included!
When I recently talked about how we choose raw feeding for our dogs on Instagram, I got several questions requesting more details on their diet. I’ve talked about the benefits of raw food for dogs in this post and how it changed my dogs’ health, so I would start there if you want to learn more about it.
What is raw feeding?
Raw feeding is based on the guideline that our pets should eat the closest diet to that of their ancestors for optimal health. For dogs, that would mean eating like how wolves do in the wild. While wolves are omnivores, their ideal diet is based on raw meats, bones, and organs. You can also supplement with some veggies and fruits but they should be only a small percentage of their diet.
Why we adjusted raw feeding for our dogs
When we first started out feeding our dogs raw, we used the BARF method (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), with a high percentage of meat, some bones and organs, and very little veggies and fruits. It worked really well for a while and my Frenchie’s skin allergies went away and my Shih Tzu’s hair got so healthy and shiny.
However, both of them were losing weight rapidly with raw feeding and we were realizing that in order for them to stay a healthy weight AND eat like how they are doing, we would have to feed them way more and it would be way too expensive for us to keep up with all the meat we were buying.
A more balanced approach for our family
So we’ve been switching up their food for a few years to find something that would work for all of us: A healthy diet for the dogs with the convenience, both financially and physically, for us. This meant switching it up quite often to see what would work best for us: high quality kibble, prepared raw food products, homemade meals, etc.
In the past year, I finally landed on a more balanced approach that’s been working really well. I’ve been raw feeding them, but with some cooked veggies and a different ratio of components to keep their weight up. Upping their carbs with veggies helps them not lose weight, and cooking them makes them more digestible.
If we are too busy or we forget to make their food, we purchase prepared raw food. Luckily, we live close to a pet store called Pet Food Express, that has some amazing raw food options and they even have homemade raw food as well!
However, if we are traveling and have to leave them with a sitter, we feed them freeze-dried raw food or high quality kibble. We don’t want the sitter to worry about wet food while we are gone (not everyone’s comfortable handling raw meats and organ meats), and the dogs do great on them for a short time.
My personal raw feeding guideline
Most of the food that I prepare for our dogs consists of raw meat. I use chicken or turkey, because I’ve found that fattier cuts of meat will upset their stomachs. Every 2-3 days, I’ll add raw bones to their food, such as cut up chicken wings or bones leftover from cooking (ALWAYS RAW, cooked bones can splinter).
When I can find organ meats, I add a bit of it to their food. If I can’t, I just sprinkle some Perfect Supplements’ powdered desiccated liver to their food, which is grass fed and packed with nutrients.
With veggies and fruits, my guideline is this: however much meat I give them, 20% of that will be veggies and fruits. This is all in weights. I have a cheap kitchen scale to measure everything out. I measure the weight of veggies and fruits when they are raw and then cook the veggies afterwards.
For example, if I’m preparing 5 lbs of meat for the dogs, 1 lb of that would be veggies and fruits.
Raw feeding recipe for our family
Of course, this is more work than feeding them kibble, so I make a big batch of their food about every 2 weeks and keep the food in the fridge. Here’s my exact recipe that our dogs love:
Our Personalized Raw Feeding Recipe for Our Dogs
- 8 lbs raw meat usually turkey or chicken
- 1 1/4 lbs organ meats liver, kidney, spleen OR 4 scoops Perfect Desiccated Liver Powder (Use code GREATGRANDMA10 for 10% off your entire order)
- 1 1/2 lbs raw veggies and fruits make sure they are safe for pets!
- Small raw bones chicken wings or thigh bones
- If the raw meat and organs aren’t ground up or in small pieces, cut up into smaller pieces or pulse several times in the food processor.
- Measure out the veggies and fruits. Fruits can be eaten raw, but for sensitive tummies, steam the veggies until they are soft. I like to use the Instant Pot to cook veggies easily and quickly.
- Cool the veggies and place in the food processor with the fruits.
- Pulse several time until they are in small pieces or ground up.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the meats, veggies, fruits, and Perfect Desiccated Liver Powder, if using.
- Store in the fridge and feed the dogs during their feeding time. The quantity is different for all dogs so try different amounts until you find what’s right for them.
- Add raw bones to their food every 2-3 days.
I have 2 dogs and one is 12 lbs, and the other is 25 lbs. This amount lasts me about 2 weeks for both of them.
Some of my favorite veggies and fruits to give my dogs
- sweet potatoes
- green beans
- brussels sprouts
Raw feeding may not be right for every dog.
Just like humans, not one diet works for every dog, AND THAT’S OKAY. I know many people who tried raw feeding for their dogs, but their dogs had a bad reaction to it. Some dogs may have evolved too much that they can’t stomach raw meats.
I definitely think it’s worth trying raw feeding for every dog because it truly has improved our dogs’ health dramatically, but I understand that it may not be right for everyone. In that case, you can feed them quality kibble or freeze-dried food instead.
If you want to try out raw feeding but don’t want to make your dog’s food or you are just too busy to, below are some of my favorite store-bought options, both frozen raw products and freeze-dried products!
High quality frozen raw food brands
Because these are frozen raw meats, you’ll have to see if your local pet store has them. However, a few do ship and deliver to your house.
- Darwin’s Natural Pet Food
- Steve’s Real Food
- Vital Essentials Dog Food
- Northwest Naturals
- Answers Pet Food
- Genesis Raw Dog Food
- Nature’s Variety Instinct
- Aunt Jeni’s Home Made
- Primal Pet Food
High quality freeze dried raw food brands
There are some great freeze dried options as well, and these are great for when we are traveling and don’t want the dog sitter to deal with raw meat and bones. You just add water to them and they bulk up into wet food that our dogs love.
- TruDog Dog Food
- Bravo Homestyle Complete
- Northwest Naturals Freeze Dried Raw
- RAWZ Freeze Dried Nutrition
- Grandma Lucy’s Pureformance
- Whole Life Pet LifeBites Dog Food
- Sojos Wild
- Fresh Is Best Dog Food
- Stewart Raw Naturals
High quality kibble
We do feed our dogs high quality kibble when we are traveling as well, because they are much easier to find and really convenient on the go. There are so many brands out there, and we are still experimenting with what works best for our dogs. I’ll update with another blog post when we find one that we really love!
Hope this post helped you answer any questions about how I’ve been feeding my dogs. Again, this may change in the future depending on how my dogs react. Just like humans, our dogs need individual nutrition which may change overtime. I highly recommend you experiment with different meats, ratios, and veggies to figure out what works best for them!