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This is the most comprehensive guide to the best BARF dog food recipes and learning how to cook them at home.
Raw dog food can make our dogs happier and healthier, but you must understand all the components of preparing a complete and balanced raw dog diet at home before getting the apron. A poorly made BARF diet can negatively impact your pup. Today we share vet-approved raw dog recipes and all the important information about the BARF diet for dogs, including benefits, risks, nutritional guidelines, cooking tips, and everything in between.
Our DIY raw dog food guide gives step-by-step instructions for making BARF diet recipes. Let’s dive right in!
What Is A BARF Diet Recipe?
Raw dog diet (aka BARF – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) mimics a dog’s ancestral diet based on the dog’s carnivorous and primal instincts. A BARF diet represents what dogs ate in the wild millions of years ago. It consists of raw ingredients. All the ingredients are uncooked to preserve the enzyme content, minerals, vitamins, and other vital nutrients. There are three types of raw dog diets: frozen, freeze-dried, and homemade.
A BARF diet recipe typically consists of the following:
A variation of the BARF recipe is known as the “prey model raw (PMR)” food. The prey model excludes fruits, dairy, and vegetables.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?
Yes, dogs are true carnivores. They can thrive on a raw meat diet. Dogs can eat raw meat and other raw ingredients. Genetic and anatomical research shows dogs have noticeable carnivorous traits that allow them to digest raw meat protein more quickly while killing potential bacteria in decaying meat.
Dogs also have a remarkable omnivorous capacity but are optimized for eating meat. Dogs can safely enjoy balanced raw meals. Read our “Can dogs eat raw meat?” article to learn all the research that supports dog raw meat consumption.
If you plan to feed raw meat to your dog, you need to do so as part of a balanced raw meal plan with your vet’s supervision.
BARF Diet Recipe Benefits
Is raw dog food good for dogs?
Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian, pioneer, and top advocate of raw feeding dogs, mentions raw food has several positive effects on canine health, including:
A BARF diet ensures dogs eat fresh, wholesome, and allergen-free foods, as no chemicals, additives, or fillers are used in raw diets.
BARF Raw Dog Diet Research
Why Feed BARF Homemade Raw Dog Recipes?
Here are some reasons to consider switching your dog to a BARF raw diet.
Unfortunately, conventional kibble ingredients such as protein sources, high levels of animal fat, preservatives, meat by-products (animal parts), food coloring, grains, and fillers are often responsible for most dog allergy cases and other health problems.
Kibble undergoes extensive processing, regardless of the ingredient claims or pictures used for marketing. All the ingredients in kibble are cooked, destroying some of the food’s nutritional value. Even more alarming is that a study from the University of Helsinki found that processed dog food such as kibble can cause oxidative stress and lead to an unbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in a dog’s body, thus increasing their risk of dog cancers.
Another harmful by-product of processed pet food is Acrylamide. This chemical is created during this process and is known to increase the risk of several types of cancer in animals and people.
Nearly 60% of dogs who eat kibble are overweight or obese, says The Farmer’s Dog. Sadly high-starch carbohydrates like high-glycemic, genetically engineered corn, wheat, rice, or potato make up most kibble, further contributing to the dog obesity pandemic.
Furthermore, powders such as “meat meal” can contain meat from diseased livestock. Surprisingly, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) allows using diseased meats in dog food as long as they are rendered at high heat to eliminate harmful bacteria, thus deeming it safe for animal consumption. Compounding the issue, the FDA regulations state that a product only requires a minimum of 3% of a particular ingredient to be labeled as being made “with” it. As a result, harmful ingredients can easily conceal themselves behind misleading packaging and marketing claims.
This is why alternatives like BARF dog food recipes and fresh dog food are increasingly popular because they do not present the health concerns that arise from feeding highly processed food like kibble.
Homemade Raw Dog Food Risks
There are some potential risks involved when preparing raw food for your dog.
How To Reduce Raw Dog Food Risks
Pro tip: Freeze all your meats for at least 2 to 3 weeks to kill any parasites — Research found that Salmonella is highly sensitive to freezing and showed survival of 1% or less after 48 hours. E. coli proved less sensitive, showing a survival rate ranging from 10% to 30% during the first week of storage. However, after two weeks of storage, most samples declined compared to salmonellae.
Raw Dog Food Nutritional Guidelines
Putting your dog on a raw diet requires you to feed him a balanced meal according to the BARF model and The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines.
The recommended guidelines for a BARF diet consist of 70% uncooked muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 10% vegetables and fruit, 5% liver, and 5% other organs.
A BARF Raw Diets For Dogs Follow This Formula
|70% Muscle Meat||Beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and other meats, depending on what your dog tolerates. Choose lean cuts. Aim for 10% fat but no higher than 20%.||Raw meat is the main source of protein. Builds and repairs muscles and other body tissues. Needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones, enzymes and more.|
|10% Raw, Edible Bone||Uncooked raw bones, bones with a lot of joints, like necks, tails, and feet. Ground bones are the safest choice. Avoid heavy or big bones - They can break teeth or get stuck in the digestive tract.||Provide essential calcium, phosphorous, and other essential nutrients.|
|5% Liver||Livers from cow, chicken, or other animals.||Great source of high-quality protein; vitamins A, B12, B6; folic acid; iron; zinc; and essential amino acids.|
|5% Other Organs||Kidney, spleen, lungs, heart, brain, eyeballs, reproductive organs (testicles, uterus), trachea, stomach, sweetbreads (pancreas and thymus), and tongue.||Organs are a great source of vitamins and minerals. The more organs you add to the diet of your dog, the better the mix of nutrients your dog will receive.|
|10% Vegetables & Fruit||Broccoli, celery, squash, pumpkin, spinach, leafy greens, and carrots. Fruit such as apples, cranberries, and blueberries. |
Fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, and oregano. (Never feed toxic fruits or veggies)
|Fruit provide antioxidants while vegetables have carotenoids, flavonoids, antioxidants, and many other phytochemicals that are beneficial to immune function and health dogs.|
A dog raw diet plan should follow the AAFCO’s guidelines. AFFCO is the entity regulating dog food’s nutritional value in commercial dog food. It states every dog meal should have six indispensable nutrients to create a balanced meal that supports life and proper function in dogs. These include protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water.
Before crafting your dog’s meals, consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.
*If feeding the “Prey” model, this method typically consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs (half of which is liver.). No fruits or veggies.
Dog Raw Diet Supplement
A balanced raw diet shouldn’t require additional supplementation. However, poorly made raw diets by inexperienced dog parents, a dog’s unique dietary needs, or health conditions may require additional supplementation to specific nutrients. Always consult with your vet to create vet-approved raw dog recipes. Adding a multivitamin like Zesty Paws Multivitamin Chews ensures your dog gets the recommended balance of vitamins and minerals.
Making balanced raw dog food recipes can be a tedious process. For more advice on BARF diet nutrition and benefits, check out Give Your Dog a Bone by Ian Billinghurst. This book is considered the Bible of healthy raw dog nutrition.Chapter 2: Cooking, Recipes & Feeding
Best Homemade BARF Recipe Dog Food Delivery Service
Are you confused about preparing a balanced dog raw meat diet? Do you have a busy lifestyle with little cooking time for your pup? Don’t know where to start? If you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, a raw dog food delivery service is the best way to let your dog reap the benefits of eating raw.
We Feed Raw is one of our favorite choices and offers the best BARF diet recipes for dogs available on the market. This company is the pioneer of raw dog food. They deliver Biologically Appropriate Raw Food straight to your door. Their formula is a balanced blend of raw meat, fruits, vegetables, organs, and bones. Plus, it’s supplemented with four other key ingredients.
All of their ingredients are USDA-sourced. Their formulas are developed with the input of a veterinary nutritionist to meet the nutritional guidelines AAFCO sets.
How Much Raw Food To Feed Dogs?
The body weight percentage method is the most straightforward alternative to many raw feeders (new and experienced). It’s simple, and it works with any diet.
Generally, feed your dog about 2% to 4% of his ideal adult weight.
Please consider his metabolism, activity level, lifestyle, health, and other factors to determine the perfect amount.
Homemade Raw Dog Food Feeding Chart
You have four scenarios to choose from to determine how much to feed your dog. To calculate your dog’s daily raw food intake, multiply his weight times the percentages.
For a dog that weighs 50 pounds, here is how much raw food you would need to feed him daily.
|Scenarios||Raw Food (lbs)|
|Weight maintenance||1 to 1.25 lbs|
|Active dogs||1.5 to 2 lbs|
|Senior, less active, or overweight dogs||0.75 to 1 lbs|
|Underweight dogs||1.5 to 1.75 lbs|
Adult dogs typically eat two meals per day. So, break the total amount into two meals per day.
Homemade Raw Diet For Puppies
A puppy’s raw diet plan differs from an adult’s.
Puppies need more protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus than adult dogs. Feed puppies 15% bone and less than 20% fat to ensure enough nutrients and minerals. Raw food for puppies also should abide by AAFCO guidelines and include the six essential nutrients mentioned earlier.
How Much Raw Food Should Puppies Get?
Puppies need more calories than adult dogs and should eat about 5% to 10% of their weight to support their growth.
Puppy Raw Feeding Chart
General raw feeding guidelines for puppies:
Puppies should be fed 3 to 4 times per day. When they mature (12 months & up), you can feed them twice daily.
BARF Dog Food Recipes: Cooking, Handling & Serving Tips
Making homemade raw dog food requires meticulous attention to detail at every step and safety handling.
How to Make Homemade Raw Dog Food (Video)
Watch this video and learn to make your own raw dog food recipes.
Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipes Vet Approved
It’s time to get cooking! Here is a list of our favorite balance, vet-approved and complete homemade raw dog food recipes.
As a bonus, we added a recipe for a special treat that is tasty and packed with impressive health benefits. This recipe can do a lot for your canine’s health and wellness. It has our favorite secret ingredient, dog CBD oil.
Note: Please consult with your pet’s veterinarian & use personal judgment when applying this information to your dog’s diet. The recipes below do not include serving size because portions will vary depending on your dog’s breed, weight, activity level, age, and health.
CBD-Infused Dog Treat
Every dog loves a tasty treat, and many agree that nothing beats nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade CBD oil dog treats. These goodies are made with Pumpkin and other essential vitamins and minerals (like iron, potassium, and vitamin A), which help promote better digestion and hydration. Coconut is also added for skin and coat health and allergy reduction.
Just be sure to check with your vet before to ensure CBD is safe for your pup and you are giving the correct dosage.
You can also purchase already-made CBD dog treats so your pup can experience CBD’s benefits without the cooking.
Total: Makes 24 treats
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a dog cookie baking tray with coconut oil.
- Core and grate the apples, then peel and grate the carrots.
- Combine gluten-free flour, oats, and coconut sugar in a medium-sized bowl. In another medium-sized bowl, beat the egg. Then, add coconut oil, water, and grated apples and carrots.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients bowl; mix thoroughly. Finally, add CBD oil and mix once more.
- Using a Tbsp measuring spoon, portion the dog biscuits and press them into the dog treat baking pan. Bake for 32-37 minutes or until the biscuits are firm and golden brown outside.
- Store in an air-tight container.
The number of dog treats will vary depending on the mold size you use. Try to make each dog treat have 2-5 mg of CBD.
Recipe from: Truth Theory
Ground Beef, Chicken Liver, Veggies Mix
This raw meat food recipe for dogs is among our favorites. Easy to digest and packed with all the essential nutrients dogs need.
- Put carrot, apple, and spinach in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
- Add remaining ingredients except for beef and process until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the beef until well-mixed.
- Form into patties the size of your palm and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Freeze patties and transfer them to a storage container to keep them frozen.
- The night before you wish to feed, remove the patties from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw.
Raw Boneless Turkey & Egg Dog
If you want to make a simple recipe that can last you well beyond a week, or perhaps you have more than one dog at home, this recipe will make 11 pounds of raw food, which is 6-7 days’ worth of food for a 50-pound dog, or two smaller dogs.
- If you have a grinder, grind the chicken heart and beef liver. If you don’t have a grinder, chop the liver and heart into small cubes.
- Puree the eggs, kale, broccoli, dandelion greens, berries, bone meal, pumpkin seed powder, salt, and kelp in a food processor.
- Mix the ground turkey, liver, heart, and veggie/berry.
- Place the mixture into smaller containers and place them in your freezer. It’s best to freeze your food in 1-3 day portions.
Recipe From: Dog Naturally Magazine
This dog homemade raw dog food recipe should be served as a tasty treat or a variety of feed options once or twice a week.
Make it with any excess organs. This recipe doesn’t include bones and cartilage, so don’t use it as a regular meal, but as a raw treat your pet] can enjoy now and then.
- The first thing you’ll need to do is prepare the ingredients. You must chop the organs or put them in a food processor. The same goes for vegetables.
- Once everything is minced, mix it all. Add the raw egg with the shell. You can then form the mixture into patties and pop them in the freezer until you’re ready to give them to your dog.
Recipe From: Daily Dog Stuff
Chicken & Greens
This is another easy homemade raw dog food recipe for dogs to add to his menu.
It uses raw chicken with a veggie mix. It’s full of nutrients and vitamins.
Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as protection against Salmonella.
Recipe From: Top Dog Tips
Want more recipes? This raw dog food cookbook has a ton of more raw food recipes for dogs.
Best Homemade Raw Cooking Practices
Here are some general guidelines to follow when putting together a homemade raw dog food recipe.
Pro tip: Visit your local Mexican market, Asian market, or farmer’s market —Typically, you will find a wider variety of organ meats at lower prices. You can also have frozen organ meats delivered to your door on ice.
How to Transition Your Dog to A Homemade Raw Dog Diet
Raw feeding your dog for the first time must be done progressively to allow his digestive tract to adjust and prevent stomach issues.
Below is a general schedule for transitioning from kibble to a raw diet.
Don’t change your dog’s food abruptly. It can cause an upset stomach, diarrhea, or vomiting. Monitor your dog’s health closely. If you notice any adverse reaction to the new diet, you should go back a week in the transition plan and proceed slowly.
What Foods Should Dogs Never Eat?
Before crafting a raw recipe for your pup, learn which foods are safe and which can send your dog straight to the emergency vet.
Avoid these toxic dog foods in your recipe.
For a more extensive list, check out this handy list you should consider having on your refrigerator as a reminder.
Raw Food To Never Feed Dogs
Never feed a raw potato to your dog. Potatoes contain solanine, a toxic compound to some dogs, says the AKC. Raw tomatoes also have solanine. Cooking them reduces the levels of solanine, but it’s better to stay on the safe side by avoiding them.
Don’t feed salmon or salmonid species of fish. It can contain the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite, which causes salmon poisoning disease. This disease can be fatal. The small brittle bones can choke your dog or lodge in his stomach or intestines.
Boneless fish (especially oily fish) are allowed only once a week. Never give fish with sharp spines and barbs. No wild pork, bear meat, or meats from wild animals are allowed, not even after freezing. Wild meats contain more parasites than farm-raised meats.
Always research every ingredient, so you know they are safe for dogs.
Dogs That Shouldn’t Eat BARF Recipes
Raw diets are not suited for all dogs. Dogs with kidney or liver problems should avoid eating raw. Raw foods are generally high in protein; excess protein can stress these organs, worsening either condition.
Dr. Doug Knueven, a holistic medicine specialist who consults for Nature’s Variety (Instinct, a raw pet food brand), says that dogs on chemotherapy or immune-suppressing drugs should be restricted from eating raw food.
For dogs suffering from pancreatitis or digestive problems, starting with a fresh dog food recipe diet before switching to raw is recommended.
Raw Dog Food Recipes vs Kibble
Is raw dog food better than kibble? Both diets have pros and cons, but it all comes down to what’s best for your dog.
If you still have lingering questions or concerns about raw feeding dogs or the whole kibble vs. raw debate, Feeding Dogs: The Science Behind The Dry Versus Raw Debate is a must-read for all interested in getting answers to this controversial topic.
Here is a glance at how they stack up against each other.
|No additives or any chemical is added.||No additives or any type of chemical is added.|
|Cheaper than a raw diet||Homemade raw food is equally expensive or cheaper. Commercially|
available raw food is a bit more expensive than kibble.
|Low standards for what can and cannot be included|
in commercial pet food,
|Typically, raw-based diets use high-quality meats and fresh ingredients.|
Quality standards for safety, hygiene, and manufacturing tend
to be more rigorous due to the raw nature of the food.
|Longer shelf-life and doesn’t spoil quickly.||Raw food doesn’t last long after being served. Leftovers for the|
day need to be discarded.
|Easy to store and carry when traveling||Requires freezer space and only the raw-freeze-dried option|
is suitable for traveling.
Is Homemade Raw Food Good For Dogs?
Is raw food good for dogs? Watch this video and learn about raw dog food from the experts.
Monitor Weight & Health
As a dog owner, you must understand that your dog’s weight is one of the most influential longevity, quality of life, and disease prevention. This is why monitoring his weight on any new diet is vital.
A poorly made raw diet can lead to an extreme lack of energy, skin or coat disorders, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, or obesity. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately stop feeding this food to your dog and call your vet.
Track your dog’s health and weight for a month to ensure that raw feeding does not adversely affect him.
BARF Diet Recipes For Dogs — Conclusion & Alternatives
Making raw dog food is fun but should be done diligently under professional guidance. It can be daunting at first, but eventually, it becomes second nature, and the benefits are worth it.
Now that you know what you want to make, it’s time to assemble a shopping list and start with homemade raw. Have fun! Remember, you can always have already made raw dog food delivered to your dog if you don’t feel like cooking.
Don’t want to feed raw today? Another diet that’s proven beneficial for dogs with meat allergies, digestive issues, or food-related health issues is vegan dog food. It’s worth checking out.
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