Raw diets have always been controversial in the pet world, but they have been used for sled dogs and greyhounds for quite some time. Some people argue that dogs should be eating what their ancestors ate before we domesticated the canine, and that kibble is harmful to their health. The FDA, CDC, AAHA, and many veterinarians do not support it due to the risks to public health with raw meats. ACVN has even gone so far as to say there is no research to support any differences in health besides digestibility between kibble and raw diets. So, we’ve put together a guide to the contents of a raw food dog diet to help you in your research.

Many times, the issue is the number of calories and nutrients the dog receives because people are not educated in the art of balancing a dog’s meal. Here are some important ingredients, supplements, and vitamins that need to be in a dog’s raw diet or supplemented with a diet of kibble on the side as necessary. Please consult your veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s diet. 

Homemade dog food in dog bowl on cutting board.

Fat:

Fat should be about 10-20% of your dog’s diet, including fish oil. Some types of meat that have a good source of fat include beef, chicken necks, lamb, and pork. Fat does contain many calories, so be sure your veterinary nutritionist measures this out specifically for your dog’s healthy weight. Meat with bones in it is also high in phosphorous, which is another important nutrient for your dog. 

Bones:

Calcium is very important for your dog, especially in puppies that are growing. About 10-15% of your dog’s diet should be calcium or you will see major bone and joint disease. Raw eggs can also be a source of calcium, but you will still need to supplement this with other sources. You need to make sure the bone matches the size of the dog and they must be able to eat the entire bone, such as a chicken foot. The bones also need to be big enough to prevent your dog from swallowing them whole! 

Eggs, yogurt, flour, dog bones on kitchen counter

Organs:

Organs are a very small part of a raw diet, totaling around 15%. Liver is an essential 10% of the diet and is PACKED with vitamins. Too much liver in the diet can overload their system with Vitamin A and cause toxicity. Heart is full of taurine and is an essential 5% of the diet. Spleens, Kidneys, Lungs, Eyes, Brains and Pancreases can also be part of the raw diet. 

Veggies & Fruits:

Vegetation should make up about 10% of your dog’s diet as well. Organic vegetables and fruits are highly recommended, just as they are for humans. These are great to boost their immune system, because they act as an anti-inflammatory, they prevent cancer, and they are high in antioxidants! 

Done bones and eggs and flour on kitchen counter

Other nutrients: 

Vitamin D can be found in mushrooms, egg yolks, fish, and mussels. Mussels also help keep their level of manganese up, which is very important to keep their joints strong. 

The raw diet requires a lot of science and math to determine the right amount of nutrients at all stages of your dog’s life. It can change often or become insufficient. Many times, you will have to swap ingredients to what becomes available or what your budget may be. Feeding your dog a raw diet can be expensive, but can be beneficial for dogs with certain allergies to grains. 

Find more homemade pet recipes on our blog.

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