Homemade Raw Dog Food: Easy BARF Diet Recipes [Vet Approved]

homemade raw dog food recipes vet approved

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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?

The raw dog diet, also known as BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food), is designed to mimic a dog’s ancestral diet, drawing on the canine’s carnivorous and primal instincts. All ingredients in BARF diet recipes are uncooked to preserve enzyme content, minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. There are three types of raw dog diets: frozen, freeze-dried, and homemade. The BARF diet reflects what dogs consumed in the wild millions of years ago. A variation of the BARF recipe is known as the “prey model raw (PMR)” food. The prey model excludes fruits, dairy, and vegetables. Check out the side-by-side comparison below.

ComponentsBARF DietPrey Model Diet
Edible Bones10% (whole or ground)10% (whole or ground)
Muscle Meat70% 80%
Organ Meat10% (5% liver + 5% other organs)10% (5% liver + 5% other organs)
Fruits and Vegetables10% (8% vegetables & 2% fruits)0% (Prey Model typically excludes plant matter)
Dairy/EggsOptional, small amountsRarely included or absent
SupplementsOften included (e.g., kelp, fish oil)Minimal to none, aiming for a complete diet through variety over time
FocusBARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. BARF is the most popular raw diet style, with many variations available. It mimics a wild diet, emphasizing nutritional completeness through variety, including plant matter.The prey model raw diet is often seen as the more natural diet for a carnivore. This formula is much simpler as it contains no fruits, dairy, vegetables, or carbs. Strictly mimics the exact proportions found in prey animals, with no or minimal plant matter.

Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Dogs can thrive on a raw meat diet. 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. Read our ‘Can dogs eat raw meat?‘ article to learn all the research that supports dog raw meat consumption.

BARF Dog Food Recipe Benefits

Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a veterinarian, pioneer, and top advocate of raw feeding dogs, mentions raw food has several positive effects on canine health, including:

  • Shinner coat
  • Improved skin health
  • More energy
  • Lean, strong muscles
  • Smaller, firmer stools
  • Improved dental health
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lower risk for allergies
  • Improved digestion
  • Increased agility
  • Bright eyes
  • Faster nutrient absorption
  • Weight management

Why Feed BARF Homemade Raw Dog Recipes

Increased lifespanThe most extensive study on raw-feeding dogs concluded that a raw diet could add as much as 32 months (almost three years) – to a dog’s life.[1] Dr. Peter Dobias, who has 30 years of veterinary experience and has advocated for raw pet diets since 1995, says, “A raw diet will increase a dog’s lifespan by 25 percent. Generally, raw-fed dogs are so much healthier. The changes are profound.”[2]
Balanced without supplementationA study showed it’s possible to make balanced raw dog food that meets the European Pet Food Industry (FEDIAF and Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines without additional synthetic supplementation.[4]
Sick dogs got better after switching to a BARF diet632 owners reported that their dogs, suffering from skin-related problems, gastrointestinal issues, eye-related problems, urinary tract issues, and various other diseases, experienced significant recovery from these conditions after switching to a raw dog food diet.[6]
Cancer preventionWhen it comes to cancer, raw dog food removes the highly processed food from the equation, which is often linked to cancer issues in dogs. Food processing has been shown to cause free radicals and carcinogenic chemicals to be released. With raw recipes, you no longer have to worry about oxidative stress due to processed food.[9],[10] There is also evidence that raw food decreases the odds of neoplasia development (abnormal growth of cells, cancer) when provided at a young age.[11]
Easy digestionHomemade raw dog food is easier to digest than those hard-kibble mystery balls. Feeding your dog freshly made food puts less stress on their digestive system and liver, reducing the likelihood of bloating or other digestive issues.
Deemed healthyA study on feeding practices in the United States and Australia indicated that 98.7% (where 16.2% of 98.7% feed bones or raw food to their dogs) deemed their pet healthy.[3]
Health beneficialLisa M. Freeman Freeman, a nutrition professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, attributes the benefits of a raw dog food diet, such as a shinier coat, to the high-fat composition of the typical raw diet. Furthermore, For most animals, [raw diets] are more beneficial than processed foods,” says Dr. Doug Knueven, DVM, of the Beaver Animal Clinic in Beaver, PA.[5]
Fewer allergies and skin problemsA study revealed that dogs fed a raw diet during puppyhood showed significantly less allergy and atopy-related skin symptoms in adulthood.[7] Feeding raw bones and cartilage to puppies has been associated with less chronic enteropathy (CE) in later life.[8]
Hip dysplasia protectionBARF diet showed a protective effect against canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and even if only a part of the dog’s diet is raw food, it could still help protect puppies from CHD.[12]
Avoid unsafe commercial dog foodsBARF dog food recipes ensure your dog always eats fresh, wholesome, and chemical-free foods without additives, fillers, high-glycemic carbs, or colorants commonly found in kibble.
Excellent taste, smell & varietyDogs love the taste, smell, texture and variety of fresh ingredients.

Homemade Raw Dog Food Risks

  1. Contamination: Raw ingredients pose a higher risk of contamination with harmful pathogens (i.e., Salmonella, E. coli) that can sicken you and your pet.
  2. Choking: Feeding whole bones to dogs presents a risk of choking, broken teeth, intestinal obstruction, or internal punctures.
  3. Unbalanced: Cooking nutritionally unbalanced raw food recipes can lead to malnutrition, obesity and other health issues.
  4. Raw allergies: Dogs might be allergic to raw ingredients. An at-home dog allergy test can help you pick ingredients that won’t trigger allergies.

How to Reduce Raw Dog Food Risks

  • Washing. Wash all meats, organs, and other raw ingredients thoroughly.
  • Sourcing. Purchase human-grade, ethically sourced raw ingredients from reputable grocery stores or butchers known for high sanitary standards.
  • Raw bones. Feed only small or ground bones, avoid large or heavy ones, and never provide cooked bones as they can splinter when chewed. Remove any bones that may splinter, though this may become unnecessary as your dog grows accustomed to eating raw bones.
  • Freeze 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.[13]

Always work with your vet before changing your dog’s diet. You can get personalized nutritional advice from a registered vet nutritionist through Vetster anytime, an

How to Make Raw Dog Food Recipes

A BARF diet should consist of 70% uncooked muscle meat, 10% raw edible bone, 10% vegetables and fruit, 5% liver, and 5% other organs. It must also include the six essential nutrients for a dog’s proper growth, body function, and health. These nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, fats, and water. It’s also important to consider your pup’s weight, health conditions, size, and activity level.

Below is a detailed breakdown of each nutrient and its importance.

Dog Raw Diet Nutritional Guidelines to Follow

Protein plays a vital role in your dog’s diet, providing essential amino acids necessary for bodily processes, including the creation of blood glucose for energy. Protein also helps build and repair muscles and other body tissues. It’s needed to make new skin cells, grow hair, hormones and enzymes. The proteins in your dog’s diet must have a balanced amino acid profile and are provided in appropriate amounts.

Protein dietary recommendations for raw homemade dog food:

  • Adult dog. 18% dry matter protein (45.0g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating dog. 22.5% dry matter protein (56.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Raw protein sources for homemade raw dog food recipes include:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Salmon
  • Pork
  • Eggs

Dogs need energy for daily activities, growth, pregnancy, lactation, and exercise. This energy, measured in calories, comes from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Omnivorous animals, including dogs, derive some energy from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates supply glucose needed by the brain, nervous system, and other critical organs for normal function in dogs. You can use our dog calorie calculator to find the exact caloric needs of your dog based on his weight. Ensure you follow the 10% rule if feeding treats to your dog. Food would equal 90% of the total calories and treats the remaining 10%.

Energy dietary recommendations for raw homemade food based on life stage, weight and activity level.

Type of Dog10 lb30 lb50 lb70 lb90 lb
Puppies990
Inactive Dog6749891,2721,540
Adult Active Dog9221,3531,7402,100
Pregnant Dog1,2741,9402,5703,170
Young Active Dog9931,4511,8762,264
Senior Active Dog7451,0931,4071,700
Energy Requirements for dogs | Nursing dog kcals vary depending on the number of puppies & weeks into lactation | Carbohydrates should also include 2.5-4.5% fiber

Carbohydrate sources for raw dog food recipes include:

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole wheat
  • Pumpkin

Fats play a multifaceted role in a dog’s diet. They are a dense energy source, provide essential fatty acids for skin and coat health, enable absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, improve food palatability, offer insulation and organ protection, support reproductive health, are critical for nervous system function, and serve as a reserve for energy storage.

Fat dietary recommendations for raw homemade dog food:

  • Adult Dog. 5.5% dry matter fat (13.8g for every 1,000 kcal ME).
  • Puppies & Pregnant or Lactating Dog. 8.5% dry matter fat (21.3g for every 1,000 kcal ME).

Fat sources for raw dog food recipes include:

  • Meats fats
  • Fish oils
  • Olive
  • Egg yolk
  • Sunflower oil
  • Canola oils

Minerals in a dog’s diet are indispensable for bone and dental health, nerve function, enzymatic reactions, fluid balance, oxygen transport, and maintaining the body’s pH level, making them essential for overall health and metabolic processes. Proper mineral balance is crucial and should be carefully managed to avoid deficiencies or excesses.

These 12 minerals are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus

Mineral sources for homemade raw dog food include:

  • Spleen (Iron)
  • Raw bones (Calcium)
  • Eggshells
  • Pancreas and thymus (Selenium and phosphorus)
  • Stomach tripe (Zinc)
  • Trachea (Glucosamine and chondroitin)
  • Reproductive organs (Testicles & uterus)
  • Sweet potatoes and pumpkin (Magnesium)
  • Nuts and legumes (Copper)
  • Bananas and carrots (Potassium)
  • Seaweed (Iodine)
  • Celery (Manganese)

Vitamins in a dog’s diet are integral for maintaining overall health and bodily functions. They support vision, immune health, aid in energy metabolism and nervous system function, provide antioxidant benefits, reduce inflammation, prevent diseases and ailments and more. Dogs require vitamins, but only in small amounts, and excessive doses of certain vitamins, like vitamin D, can harm them.

These 12 vitamins are known to be essential nutrients for dogs:

  • Vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, D, E & K
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folic Acid
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Choline

Vitamin sources for raw dog recipes include:

  • Liver (Vitamins A, D, and B)
  • Lungs (Vitamin B)
  • Kidney (Vitamins A, D, and E)
  • Brain
  • Eyeballs
  • Heart (Vitamin B12 and niacin)
  • Sweet potatoes and spinach (Vitamin A)
  • Broccoli (Vitamin C)
  • Kale and parsley (Vitamin K)
  • Squash (Vitamin E)
  • Apples, cranberries, and blueberries

Water is vital in a dog’s diet to maintain hydration, support body functions such as digestion, nutrient absorption, and waste excretion, lubricate joints, regulate body temperature, ensure proper organ function, and facilitate metabolic processes. Continuous access to clean water is as crucial as providing nutritious food for overall health and well-being. Generally, dogs should drink 2 to 3 times the amount of their dry food intake daily. However, dogs can naturally regulate their daily water consumption if water is readily available from various sources.

*If feeding the “Prey” model, this method typically consists of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs (half of which are liver). There are no fruits or veggies.

Source: We compiled the data for the table above by referencing the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines and the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs Report by the National Research Council (NRC). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizes the information from these reports to regulate and ensure the safety of pet foods.

Homemade BARF Recipe Dog Food Delivery Service

We Feed Raw

Who It’s For: The perfect raw dog food recipe if you don’t have time to cook for your dog or cannot balance nutrients to provide a balanced diet.

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Want more options? Check out our review of the best pre-made BARF recipes you can feed your pup. We personally tested and ranked them for different needs. We love the convenience of having them delivered and avoiding all the hassle of shopping for ingredients.

is fertilizer safe for dogs

Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipes Vet Approved

Here are our favorite balanced, vet-approved, and complete homemade raw dog food recipes. We’ve also included a special treat recipe for your dog, enriched with the health benefits of our favorite ingredient: dog therapeutic oil. This oil might help with issues like seizures, anxiety, arthritis, inflammation, pain, and overall wellness.

Note: Consult your vet before adjusting your dog’s diet. The recipes below don’t specify serving sizes since they depend on your dog’s breed, weight, age, activity, and health. As a guideline, consider feeding the equivalent amount you’d give in kibble, but always consult your veterinarian for proper portioning.

Forest Feast for Fido

Fido Raw Feast

Canine Bible
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2.5 lbs of lean chicken
  • 1 lb turkey hearts
  • 1/4 lb chicken liver
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs without shells
  • 8 oz of green beans
  • 1/2 oz of finely chopped kale
  • 6 oz of mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • 2 gr of krill oil powder

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the chicken: Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces appropriate for your dog's size. If you prefer, you can grind the chicken using a meat grinder.
  • Prepare the organs: Finely chop the turkey hearts and chicken liver, or grind them together with the chicken if your dog prefers or requires a finer texture.
  • Veggie and berry puree: Puree the green beans, kale, and mixed berries in a food processor until smooth. This helps improve digestibility and nutrient absorption.
  • Mix together: In a large bowl, combine the ground or chopped chicken, turkey hearts, chicken liver, and eggs. Add the veggie and berry puree along with the krill oil powder. Mix thoroughly to ensure even distribution of all ingredients.
  • Portion and freeze: Divide the mixture into smaller containers based on your dog's daily food intake. Freeze the portions. You can thaw them in the refrigerator 24 hours before feeding.

Blueberry-Banana Beneficial Dog Treats

Treat your dog with these nutritious, therapeutic, and delicious homemade dog treats. They are made with bananas, a great source of essential vitamins and minerals (like potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6). Banana also aids with digestion and energy. Coconut is added for skin and coat, digestion and helps reduce allergic reactions.

Remember to consult your vet to ensure that it is safe for your dog and that you are giving the correct dosage. Alternatively, you can buy commercially available therapeutic dog treats so your pup can experience the benefits of this oil without the cooking.

Ingredients

  • 120 mg of this therapeutic oil
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional, for a hint of sweetness)
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • A pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Oven preparation. Preheat oven to 350ºF and brush a dog biscuit baking tray with coconut oil.
  2. Banana preparation. Mash a ripe banana until smooth, ensuring no large chunks remain.
  3. Dry ingredients. Blend gluten-free flour and oats in a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk an egg until beaten. Add coconut oil, water, mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, and fresh blueberries. Mix well.
  5. Combining ingredients. Combine the wet mixture with the dry ingredients, stirring until even. Drizzle in the oil, stirring again for even distribution.
  6. Mold filling. Scoop portions of the mixture with a tablespoon and press firmly into the dog-treat baking mold.
  7. Baking. Bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the treats are firm to the touch and slightly golden.
  8. Cooling and storage. Let the treats cool before transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

Beefy Bark Gourmet Patties

This raw meat food recipe for dogs is among our favorites. Easy to digest and packed with all the essential nutrients dogs need.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef
  • 4 oz chicken livers
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach
  • 1 small apple, cored
  • 2 whole eggs (including shell)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

Directions

  1. Prepare the veggie and fruit mix: Place the carrot, apple, and spinach in a food processor. Process until the mixture is finely chopped.
  2. Create the liver blend: Add the chicken livers to the food processor with the veggie and fruit mix. Process until fully mixed.
  3. Combine with wet ingredients: Transfer the liver and veggie mixture to a large bowl. Add and combine the reaming ingredients, whole eggs (with shells), plain yogurt, ground flaxseed, and olive oil.
  4. Add the beef: Add the ground beef to the bowl. Use a large spoon to mix everything until the beef is evenly distributed.
  5. Form the patties: Scoop out portions of the mixture and form them into palm-sized patties. Place the patties on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Freeze for storage: Freeze patties and transfer them to a storage container to keep them frozen.
  7. Serving: The night before you wish to feed, remove the patties from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw.

Wholesome Turkey and Heart Harmony Blend

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds of chicken heart
  • 1 pound beef liver
  • 5 pounds 95% lean ground turkey 
  • 7 pastured eggs without shells (only 3 yolks)
  • 8 ounces of Swiss chard
  • 8 ounces (2 stalks) of broccoli
  • 8 ounces (4 chopped cups) of dandelion greens
  • 12 ounces (2 small clamshell packages) of blueberries or mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cranberries)
  • 6 tbsps bone meal (seaweed calcium can be used for adult dogs)
  • 3 tbsps of ground pumpkin seed powder
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon spirulina

Directions

  1. Prepare the proteins: If you have a grinder, grind the chicken hearts and beef liver together until well combined. If you don’t have a grinder, chop the heart and liver into small, bite-sized cubes.
  2. Egg preparation: Crack 7 eggs, keeping only 3 yolks. You can either whisk them lightly in a bowl or keep them whole to be blended with the vegetables.
  3. Vegetable and berry puree: Chop the Swiss chard, broccoli, and dandelion greens and place them into the food processor along with the blueberries or mixed berries. Add the eggs (with three yolks), bone meal (or seaweed calcium), pumpkin seed powder, sea salt, and spirulina. Puree the mixture until it’s smooth and the ingredients are well integrated.
  4. Mix everything together: In a large mixing bowl, start with the lean ground turkey. Add in the ground or chopped chicken hearts and beef liver. Gradually stir in the veggie and berry puree.
  5. Serving and storage: Place the mixture into smaller containers and place them in your freezer. It’s best to freeze your food in 1-3 day portions.

Hearty Health Organ Patties

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.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces of beef hearts
  • 4 ounces of kidneys
  • 4 ounces of gizzards
  • 4 ounces of lamb liver (replacing beef liver)
  • 2 tablespoons of precooked leafy greens
  • 1 raw egg

Directions

  1. Prepare the organs: Chop the organs or use a food processor for a more uniform mince.
  2. Prep the greens: Choose nutrient-rich leafy greens like spinach or kale. Ensure they are precooked, cooled, and finely chopped or processed to enhance digestibility.
  3. Mix Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the minced organs and leafy greens. Crack the raw egg into the mixture, including the shells
  4. Form patties: Form the mixture into palm-sized patties suitable for your dog’s size and dietary needs.
  5. Freezing and serving: Freeze the patties until you’re ready to give them to your dog. Thaw the patties in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Chicken Delight with Garden Greens

This is another easy homemade raw dog food recipe for dogs to add to their menu. It uses raw chicken with a veggie mix. It’s full of nutrients and vitamins.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 pounds Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 pound Chicken hearts and liver
  • 1/2 pound Ground chicken bone
  • 7 lightly boiled chicken eggs (only 3 yolks)
  • 8 ounces Organic broccoli (rich in vitamin C, fiber, and other nutrients)
  • 8 ounces of organic celery (a good source of dietary fiber and water)
  • 8 ounces of organic spinach (high in vitamins and minerals)
  • 8 ounces of organic carrots (rich in beta-carotene and fiber)
  • 2 tbps of alfalfa meal

Directions

  1. Prepare the chicken: Chop the chicken thighs or breasts into bite-sized pieces suitable for your dog. Clean the chicken hearts and liver, trim excess fat, and chop into small pieces.
  2. Egg preparation: Lightly boil the eggs to reduce the risk of bacteria.
  3. Vegetable prep: Chop the broccoli, celery, spinach, and carrots into small pieces, or use a food processor to puree for easier digestion.
  4. Mixing: In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken, organ meats, ground bone, chopped vegetables, and alfalfa meal.
  5. Storing: You can serve one portion fresh immediately. Store the remaining food in airtight containers or freezer bags and place it in the freezer.

More Raw Food Diet For Dogs Recipes

If you want more raw dog food recipes for your dog, cookbooks can be useful. Our favorite book for raw homemade dog food recipes is A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs.

How to Cook Homemade Raw Dog Food (DIY Video)

Watch this video and learn to make your own raw dog food recipes.

Best Homemade Raw Dog Food Recipe Practices

  1. Understand your dog’s nutritional needs
  2. Do not use inadequate or dangerous recipes
  3. Ensure your dog’s meal is balanced
  4. Do not use toxic ingredients
  5. Understand the impact of food and dietary changes
  6. Do not neglect your dog’s health conditions
  7. Switch to raw gradually
  8. The diet must be based on your dog’s life stage nutritional needs (puppies, adults or seniors)
  9. Liver and other organs might be slimy. Be cautious and cut into bite-size pieces to avoid choking
  10. Feed the leanest ground products possible
  11. You can find a broader variety of cheaper organ meats by visiting your local Mexican, Asian, or farmer’s market. Alternatively, you can have frozen organ meats packed in ice and delivered directly to your door.

Before you dive into preparing a raw diet for your dog, it’s essential to equip yourself with the right knowledge and skills. Our article, ‘Raw Dog Food for Beginners,’ is a must-read for anyone looking to make this important dietary transition. Covering everything from cooking practices to safe handling, serving and more, this comprehensive guide ensures you’re fully prepared to provide the best raw nutrition for your dog. Read our guide now to ensure you make informed, safe, and healthy choices for your beloved pet.

How Much Raw Food to Feed Dogs?

Generally, feed your dog about 2% to 4% of his ideal adult weight. Consider his metabolism, activity level, lifestyle, health, and other factors to determine the perfect amount.

Homemade Raw Dog Food Feeding Chart

To calculate your dog’s daily raw food intake, multiply his weight by the percentage below that best fits him.

  • Weight maintenance: Feed 2% – 2.5% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Active dogs (canine athletes, sport dogs, or highly active dogs): Feed 3% – 4% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Senior, less active, or overweight dogs (weight loss): Feed 1.5% – 2% of their current weight in pounds daily
  • Underweight dogs (weight gain): Feed 3% – 3.5% % of their current weight in pounds daily

For instance, for a dog that weighs 50 pounds, here is how much raw food you would need to feed him daily.

ScenariosRaw Food (lbs)
Weight maintenance1 to 1.25 lbs
Active dogs1.5 to 2 lbs
Senior, less active, or overweight dogs0.75 to 1 lbs
Underweight dogs1.5 to 1.75 lbs
Adult dogs typically eat two meals per day. So, break the total amount into two meals per day.

Use our raw dog food calculator, to get a more accurate calculation of how much raw food to feed your [Enter Breed]

Homemade Raw Diet For Puppies

A puppy’s dietary requirements differ from those of an adult dog. Compared to adult dogs, puppies require higher protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus levels. Inadequate or excessive amounts of these nutrients can lead to deficiencies, hindered growth, or lifelong health complications.

  • 6 weeks to 5 months puppies. 3-6 meals a day
  • 6-12month puppies. 2-3 times a day
  • Do not skip meals. Skipping meals is not advisable during your puppy’s growth and development.
  • Puppy feeding needs are unique. The science isn’t exact. Fine-tune their diet. If your puppy is getting chunky, cut back a smidge and vice versa.

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 2 to 3 months: 8% to 10% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 4 to 5 months: 6% to 8% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 6 to 8 months: 4% to 6% of body weight daily
  • Puppies 9 to 12 months: 3% to 4% of body weight daily

How to Transition Your Dog to A Homemade Raw Dog Diet

When feeding your dog raw for the first time, it 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.

  • Week 1: 25% new food and 75% old food
  • Week 2: 50% new food and 50% old food
  • Week 3: 25% new food and 75% old food
  • Week 4: 100% new food

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?

Below is a list of the most common toxic ingredients dogs need to avoid.

  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Onions and garlic
  • Avocados
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Raw bread dough
  • Alcohol

Here is the complete list of toxic ingredients dogs should never eat. Please print it out and put it 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.

Dogs That Shouldn’t Eat BARF Diet 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.

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.

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.

Monitor Weight And Health

A dog’s weight and gut health are essential indicators of their health, and you need to track them when switching to a new diet (i.e., BARF diet). If your dog’s weight increases or decreases rapidly, it might be due to food-related health issues. A healthy gut can confirm a smooth transition to your dog’s new diet, among other health issues. However, identifying a healthy gut is not an easy task. Fortunately, an at-home dog gut health test can provide insight into your dog’s gut health. Unbalanced meal plans can cause skin or coat issues, excessive tiredness, allergies, weight loss, malnutrition, and obesity in dogs. If you detect any of these symptoms while feeding your dog meals, stop immediately and seek expert advice.

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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Sources

Canine Bible uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process and product review methodology to learn more about how we fact-check, test products, and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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Canine Bible authorship represents the unified voice of our entire editorial team and our in-house veterinarians rather than a single author. Each article, blog post, and review published under the Canine Bible name undergoes a rigorous review process, involving all team members to guarantee accuracy and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research. This collaborative effort is an integral part of our editorial process and aligns with our four pillars of content creation. This approach ensures our content is backed by expert knowledge and factual information, offering our readers reliable, actionable, and trustworthy content.

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