Commercial pre-made raw diets are popular for one simple reason. They’re easy.
You don’t need to figure out the calcium:phosphorus ratio. Or the percentage of muscle meat vs secreting and non-secreting organs. Or what you should include for fruit and vegetables. And the good news is there are several good commercial raw food companies in the marketplace.
But for others, pre-made raw isn’t affordable or they want to try making meals themselves. Maybe your favorite brands just aren’t available in all parts of the country.
Whatever the reason, dog owners like you want totally balanced raw dog food recipes. Recipes with all the measurements and accessible ingredients. Recipes that include the right balance of meat, bones, organ meats and produce.
You want to make your own dog food to solve problems, not create them. And making your own dog food is the perfect way to do that. Here are just some benefits …
Take Control Of Your Dog’s Diet With Homemade Raw
When you make your own raw dog food, you get more control. You can …
- Address special needs and allergies
- Quickly adjust your dog’s diet for different life stages
- Control the source of your ingredients
- Avoid commercial food recalls
- Enjoy better budgeting and bulk buying ability
And making your own raw food is taking a huge step towards better health for your dog. Dogs of all ages … from puppies to seniors … are healthier on a raw food diet.
Here are just some health benefits.
- Improved digestion
- Healthier skin and coat
- Better dental health
- Reduced allergy symptoms
- Firmer stools
- Weight management
When I switched to raw many years ago I had another reason. I wanted to know what was in my dogs’ food. The internet was a new research tool. Instead of finding out how to feed, I found out what not to feed. I stumbled onto horror stories about what was going into kibble. It disgusted me. I was more determined than ever to feed raw.
The ingredient list on the bag didn’t help either. There were a lot of chemicals, “meals” and other mystery ingredients. They disguised waste turned into dog food. Sadly, not much has changed in 20 years.
When I started feeding home prepared raw to my pups, I could ignore every dog food recall. And there were many serious ones. I knew what I was putting in their bowls.
Without further delay, let’s take a look at some easy recipes so you can take control of your dog’s health. Just choose the foods that work for you and your dog. The calculations are done for you.
RELATED: How to balance calcium in your dog’s homemade meals …
5 Simple Raw Food Recipes
These are 5 of our best homemade dog food recipes. Make and serve them right away or freeze them in individual servings.
Some recipes have bone, some have a calcium supplement. Some recipes are for adult dogs. Some are for all life stages. That means you can feed those to puppies too. And they all meet The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) minimum requirements.
I’m excited to share these recipes with you: beef, chicken, turkey, fish, pork and … rabbit. Yes rabbit. You can get several meals out of it for a 50 pound dog.
Let’s start with a beef and chicken recipe. These are the most common proteins fed to dogs.
1. Beef & Chicken Neck Dog Food Recipe: With Bone – All Life Stages
Puppies love to chew. Anyone who’s lost a good leather shoe to a puppy’s teething frenzy will understand. That’s what makes this recipe perfect for puppies.
Chicken necks give puppies a little … or a lot to chew. You decide. Plus there’s the right amount of calcium to balance this recipe for a growing puppy. And it’s balanced for adult dogs too.
This recipe gives you the option of grinding chicken necks into the meat mixture. Or you can grind in some of the necks. Then feed the rest whole. Most puppies are able to work through chicken necks. And larger dogs will love these crunchy treats throughout the day as well.
Worried about giving your puppy bones? No need … replace chicken necks with bone meal. Locally sourced, food grade bone meal is best. Bone meal is also available through online retailers.
Caution: Don’t use bone meal that you see in garden centers or hardware stores. It can contain added fertilizers and chemical stabilizers that can be toxic to your dog.
Ready to get started? Here’s the full recipe: Raw Beef & Chicken Neck Raw Dog Food Recipe: All Life Stages
2. Rabbit, Chicken & Beef Dog Food Recipe: With Bone – Adult
Rabbit is a novel protein. That means it’s not a meat that’s commonly fed. It’s a good choice when you’re looking for a protein other than beef and chicken.
Rabbit can also be great for dogs with food sensitivities. And it can be used as part of an elimination diet to identify what your dog is sensitive to. During the elimination diet, you remove the proteins your dog usually eats, and feed a single novel protein like rabbit. But if you’re feeding rabbit for this reason, you don’t want to feed it with eggs or organs from other animals. In that case, restrict your dog’s diet to rabbit alone and monitor your dog’s reaction.
And rabbit also has benefits for other dogs as well. It’s a very lean meat plus it’s higher in protein than chicken, pork, turkey, fish or beef. And it’s sustainable. It’s true that rabbits reproduce quickly and they need less food and water compared to other animals. They’ll produce six pounds of meat eating the same amount as a cow needs to produce one pound of beef
You can feed rabbit in pieces to your dog or use a nice sharp cleaver and a deliberate swing to chop it. You can also feed it whole … your dog will figure out what to do. To add texture you can grind the rabbit and add chopped organs. Some dogs don’t like chunks while others don’t mind.
Here is the full recipe: Raw Rabbit, Chicken & Beef Raw Dog Food Recipe: Adult
3. Pork & Fish Dog Food Recipe: With Calcium Supplement – Adult
Feeding pork is a great addition to your dog’s raw diet. Pork has great advantages. It’s very digestible. If it’s pasture raised, it’s higher in omega-3 fatty acids than factory-farmed meat. And it has more vitamins, especially vitamin E.
But pork diets can be hard to formulate. That’s because they’re quite high in omega-6 fatty acids. That’s why you want to add fish … to help balance out the fats.
Whole fish is a great addition to your dog’s diet and this recipe. It’s high in omega-3 fats and contains important nutrients like protein, calcium, selenium and niacin.
Add sardines fresh, frozen or canned. They pack a nutritional punch. Mackerel are also a good option.
Here’s the full recipe: Raw Pork & Fish Raw Dog Food Recipe: Adult
4. Raw Boneless Turkey & Egg Dog Food Recipe: All Life Stages
Eggs are an easy addition to your dog’s raw food diet. If you can get free-range eggs, even better. Most supermarkets carry them now. But I’m still wary. Some egg cartons proudly proclaim “Vegetarian Diet.” Chickens are not vegetarian. You want eggs from free-range hens allowed to hunt and peck outside for worms and bugs.
To be sure, I get mine from farmers’ markets or directly from the farm. I’ll take a drive through the countryside looking for farms. Those with laying hens often have a simple sign saying “Eggs For Sale.” Drive in, leave your money and take your eggs.
Now you’re ready for this easy combination of turkey, organs and eggs.
Here’s the full recipe: Raw Boneless Turkey & Egg Raw Dog Food Recipe: all life stages
5. Raw Boneless Beef & Egg Dog Food Recipe: All Life Stages
Beef and egg combine for another simple recipe. Visit your butcher for beef heart and liver. Buy it by the organ or the pound. And don’t be surprised by the size … cows are pretty big animals.
This recipe is boneless so you’ll need to add a supplement. Bone meal will supply the extra minerals puppies need. Give adult dogs bone meal or seaweed calcium.
[HINT: You can also try adding powdered bone to your dog’s meals. Visit the Natural Dog Store to buy our grass-fed bone powder.]
Caution: Seaweed calcium has higher bioavailability so do not give it to puppies.
Here’s the full recipe: Raw Boneless Beef & Egg Raw Dog Food Recipe: All Life Stages
Raw Recipes Meet AAFCO Requirements
The ingredients in these five recipes have been carefully chosen to meet AAFCO minimum nutrition requirements for adult dogs. Where indicated, recipes are balanced for all life stages including puppies.
How Much To Feed
Adult dogs should eat about 2-3% of their ideal body weight daily in raw food. So, if your dog’s ideal weight is 50 lbs, 1 to 1.5 pounds of food a day is good. If your dog’s really active, you may want to give him a little more. If he enjoys lounging more than a good game of fetch, you may want to feed a bit less. You can also adjust the amount you’re feeding if your dog begins losing or gaining weight. That’s about as scientific as it gets.
Puppies should eat 2-3% of their ideal adult weight. A puppy might weigh 15 lbs right now, but his ideal adult weight could be 50 lbs. You’ll want to be feeding for that future weight, not the current weight. With that amount of food, you’ll want to split it into 3 meals a day. Feed this way until 6 months old. Some puppies will wean themselves off of 3 meals earlier or later than 6 months. Adult feedings are usually 1-2 times a day.
Now you’ve got a good collection of raw dog food recipes with lots of variety.
But before you head off to the store with your shopping list, there’s one last thing you may want to know …
How To Choose The Best Ingredients
Now that you know what you want to make … it’s time to put together a shopping list and do some sourcing.
The staple of your dog’s diet is meat. Some dog owners will be lucky enough to have a local farmer, meat processor or abattoir nearby. But supermarket meats are ok too. Knowing your butcher or farmer makes it easier to get a selection of organs and various types of meat.
When choosing meat, the fat content should be between 10% and 20%. Packaged meat should say 80%, 85% or 90% lean. The fat content is the remaining amount … so 20%, 15% or 10%. That’s what you need to look for.
As well as meat, you’ll need a selection of organs for these recipes. I’ve built up a rapport with my butcher so I can text and have him put organs aside. Then I don’t have to worry about him selling out if I can’t get there.
Buy the best quality meat, poultry, eggs and produce you can afford. Remember, this is a long-term commitment so you want to stay within your means. At the top end of the scale are free range, grass-fed or organic meats. They’ll be free of antibiotics and growth hormones and raised on pastures in the fresh air.
Avoid genetically-modified products (GMO) as much as possible. So look for organic produce. Organic means it has been grown without the use of harmful pesticides or GMO seeds. The cleaner the food, the better it is for your dog’s health.
It isn’t necessary to make these changes all at once. After all, making your own raw dog food is a big step. Make small changes when you can. Eventually it becomes second nature.
Now it’s time to get started with homemade raw. And you’re sure to have tasters standing by, eager to try some samples.
Want more nutritious homemade dog food recipes? …