There is an overwhelming number of dog food options at the pet store. Whether you are considering switching to a homemade or a raw-fed diet, you probably have a lot of questions. It’s important to keep in mind that a balanced diet is really important when feeding your dog any type of homemade dog food.

If you’ve been curious about a raw diet for dogs, read on as we dig into the risks, benefits and rules. We will also provide you with a 5 day menu to get your dog started if you choose to go the raw route.

What is a raw-fed diet?

A raw diet for dogs is pretty much the dog version of a human Paleo diet. Essentially, eating like our ancestors did, natural and of the earth. Racing and sled dogs have eaten this way for years, but the idea of bringing this diet to a family pet is relatively new and can be hard to determine if it is right for your pet.

In 1993, an Australian vet named Ian Billinghurst proposed the idea of a BARF diet. This stands for: Biologically Appropriate Raw Food…what dogs ate before they became domesticated. Although this diet is widely popular, it remains controversial within the veterinary community and the Food and Drug Administration.

Like anything, there are both possible risks and benefits to feeding your dog an entirely raw diet.

Potential risks

  • Bacteria in raw meat that can affect the owner and/or the dog
  • Diet may not be balanced enough
  • Whole bones could choke animal, cause broken teeth or an internal puncture

Benefits

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Smaller stools
Source: Dog Naturally

Never did I ever think I would find a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing page on Instagram that consists of raw meat…but never say never. I came across @rawfedmax in my initial searches of this interesting diet. The bowls of raw food she puts together are a work of art.

I spoke with Maddie, owner of Max, who provided helpful information on creating a balanced raw diet, where to get ingredients, and what she has learned from raw-feeding. AND, she was kind enough to share a five-day meal-plan to get you started raw feeding your dog!

Creating a balanced raw-fed diet

Maddie follows the 70:10:10:5:5 ratio. This ratio means a dogs bowl will be filled with 70% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% vegetables, 5% liver and 5% other secreting organ.

Meat

A majority of the meat is red meat. She suggests meats such as lamb, bison, emu and duck.

 

Secreting Organs

Liver is a main staple, but other secreting organs to add include kidney, spleen, brain, pancreas or testicles.

Where to buy ingredients for raw diet for dogs

Most of the ingredients Maddie purchases come from local farms, local hunters and oriental markets. However, some items can be hard to find. For example, it’s been extremely hard for her to find emu. She buys some items from online sources such as Raw Feeding Miami or My Pet Carnivore.

Making the switch to a raw-fed diet

Maddie feels strongly about the benefits of a raw diet. As she states, “I 100 percent think Max is healthier because of the switch in his diet. His food allergies are finally under control and his weight is at a steady rate. He is also more stable when it comes to his energy levels.”

Maddie’s biggest take away is that raw feeding is not simply throwing food in a bowl and calling it good, as it takes time, space and math. However, the reward of feeding Max the raw diet correctly is worth it.

Social media and raw fed groups have helped Maddie learn about the diet, “they encourage me. Without them I wouldn’t have the sources I have now to get proper ingredients for Max’s new raw fed diet.”

Remember, your dog can’t just switch over to a new diet. Changing their food needs to be done slowly. I recommend reading this article to learn how to best complete a transition.

For those of you who have already been feeding raw, we have a five day meal plan that you can try with your pup!

Day 1 Raw Diet

Ingredients

  • Duck head
  • Mackerel tail
  • Squid
  • Pork tongue
  • Pork uteri
  • Emu
  • Lamb brain
  • Rabbit liver
  • Quail eggs
  • Veggie mix
  • Coconut oil

 

Day 2 Raw Diet

Ingredients

  • Pork heart
  • Smelt
  • Bison
  • Rabbit head
  • Rabbit meat
  • Rabbit liver
  • Rabbit kidney
  • Quail egg
  • Veggie mix
  • Goat milk

 

Day 3 Raw Diet

Ingredients

  • Rabbit leg
  • Duck foot
  • Pork heart
  • Lamb
  • Bison
  • Emu
  • Squid
  • Lamb brains
  • Duck liver
  • Quail egg
  • Goat milk
  • Coconut oil

 

Day 4 Raw Diet

Ingredients

  • Pork foot
  • Rabbit
  • Pork heart
  • Lamb
  • Bison
  • Pork tongue
  • Squid
  • Lamb brains
  • Turkey liver
  • Quail eggs
  • Veggie mix
  • Coconut oil

 

Day 5 Raw Diet

Ingredients

  • Lamb Shank
  • Pork Kidney
  • Duck liver
  • Quail egg
  • Veggie mix
  • Goat milk

This food option may not work for every dog and their hoomans. Before you start your dog on a new diet, be sure to consult your veterinarian and do research on how to successfully complete any type of switch.

Do you raw feed? Send us a message on Instagram and tell us how the process went for you!
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