For those new to the raw feeding world, you may be asking ‘what is raw feeding for dogs?’ In this article, we will introduce you to raw feeding. Before you get overwhelmed, it’s important to understand that although it’s more work than putting kibble in a food bowl, it’s actually not as difficult as you would think to feed your dog raw. Take it from us; our team here feed raw, and before we learned about the raw bowl, all we heard was how difficult and expensive it is to get this going.
Don’t worry- it’s not. Of course, if you’re not a fan of touching raw meat, it’s not going to be your fantasy task, but that’s what gloves are for. Let’s get started. (And, if you want a little help, we have a nutritionist we recommend that specializes in this at the bottom of this article).
What is Raw Feeding for Dogs?
There are several models of raw feeding to choose from. Here at Drake Dog Cancer Foundation, we use the ancestral diet formulation, but that doesn’t mean you have to. But, for the purposes of this particular article, we are going to focus on the ancestral diet– that’s what a lot of dog lovers choose.
What is the Ancestral Raw Diet?
The ancestral raw diet is a species-appropriate diet that resembles what your dog would have eaten in the wild. If you’re thinking… but they’re not in the wild. Well, you aren’t either, but aren’t whole foods what’s best for you?
Here we go! It contains roughly:
- 65% muscle meat
- 10% seafood
- 10% bone
- 5% liver
- 5% other secreting organs (pancreas, kidney, spleen)
- 5% fiber, fur, or feathers
Protein in the Raw Diet in the Form of Muscle Meat
Protein is where most of your dog’s energy will be sourced from when you feed raw. Unlike with kibble, where most of your dog’s energy is gained from carbs (ick!). As far as protein sources go, you can choose any of the following:
- Red meat: Beef, bison, lamb, pork, goat, elk, venison, elk
- White meat: Chicken, turkey, farm-raised rabbit, quail
- Muscular organs and animal parts: Heart, trachea, aorta, tongue, lungs, green tripe
- Whole raw eggs, with or without the shell, up to two times per week (unless otherwise suggested by your nutritionist)
Adding Your Dog’s Seafood to The Bowl
Seafood is necessary to incorporate omega 3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet. It also contains a myriad of vitamins and minerals that keep your dog happy and healthy. Small, oily fishes should be fed, including sardines and anchovies. You can also add salmon to this mix.
Large predatory fish should be avoided. They have longer lifespans and have accumulated mercury in their body which could be harmful to your dog if ingested.
Raw Meaty Bones
Raw meaty bones are important to incorporate not only for nutritional value, but also for mental stimulation purposes. BUT, as far as nutrition goes, they do provide large amounts of bioavailable vitamins and minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
RMBs also contain prebiotics and probiotics to keep your dog’s gut microbiome balanced thereby improving digestion and overall health.
Did you know 70% of your dog’s immune system is in their gut?! That’s one of the many reasons it’s so important to keep it healthy and balanced.
Including Liver in the Raw Bowl
The liver is full of high-quality fat, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. However, since it is incredibly nutrient-dense, it’s important that it does not make up more than 5% of your dog’s raw bowl.
The liver also contains the following:
- Vitamin A: Important for eye health
- Vitamin B12: Important for the formation of red blood cell development
- Copper: Prevents anemia
- Zinc: Serves as an immune-booster
Other Secreting Organs in Your Dog’s Raw Diet
Secreting organs should be fed in addition to liver. These can include the spleen, pancreas, or kidneys. They’re important for providing enzymes and hormones, as well as providing vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, and B12.
Fiber, Fur, or Feathers
In the wild, your dog would naturally consume prey whole, including the fur of a rabbit or the feathers from a quail. If you would rather not feed fur or feathers, you can elect to feed leafy green vegetables as a substitute.
Contact Our Recommended Nutritionist
If you’re looking for help making your raw bowl, contact a trusted canine nutritionist that specializes in raw feeding. We recommend Hannah Zulueta with Daily Dog Food Recipes. Use code DRAKE to get 5% off of any consultation. Click here to book your consult!