RAW Bistro

Complete Raw Dog Food Recipe Guide

raw dog food recipes complete guide

If you’re interested in putting your dog on a raw food diet, making your own dog food is one option to get started.

But before you begin, it’s important to understand all the components of a healthy raw diet. Doing so will allow you to feed your dog a complete meal with all the necessary nutrients, and avoid feeding anything that could be harmful or toxic.

Since 2010, Raw Bistro has been dedicated to creating nutritious raw dog food products, and we’d like to pass on some of that knowledge in this guide. 

In the article below, we address some important information about a dog’s dietary needs and raw dog food recipe examples:

Is Raw Dog Food Good for Dogs?

There are quite a few health benefits to feeding your dog a raw food diet. These include:

  • Leaner, more muscular build; nearly 60% of dogs are overweight or obese based on body condition scoring, which leads to a number of related conditions
  • Skin and coat improvements
  • Cleaner teeth and fresher breath
  • Less odor
  • Vibrant, calm energy

The environmental impact is another compelling benefit: feeding raw lowers our ecological footprint. A raw diet is more fully utilized by dogs’ and cats’ bodies, which equates to smaller stools and cleaner litter boxes. A raw diet also uses animal parts like organ meats which can help reduce waste.

In short: what’s good for our pets is also good for our environment. It’s truly a win-win. For more information, check out our full guide on a raw diet for dogs.

“My No. 1 choice for optimal nutrition for dogs and cats is a nutritionally balanced, fresh homemade diet (offered raw or gently cooked).”

Is It Cheaper to Make Your Own Dog Food?

Making homemade dog food can cut some of the costs of commercial food. However, it’s important to consider the effort it takes to make the food in a commercial facility - it may be challenging to do in your home. For instance, we recommend grinding up bone-in products, which can be difficult to achieve with home products. 

However, it is important to note that making dog food at home can create other costs: time, effort and potentially unbalanced formulas are all risk factors. We recommend weighing the pros and cons and deciding what’s best for you and your family (including your pup).

And remember: a raw diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Raw can be used as a treat, one meal a day, etc. Just getting fresh food into your dog’s diet is beneficial and they will reap the benefits - not much different than for us humans. 

We outline 5 cost-effective ways to ease into feeding raw in our post How to Feed Your Dog Raw on a Budget.

Nutritional Needs for Dogs

Dogs rely on us to provide them with a healthy, balanced diet. If you want to create that for them, you need to understand their nutritional needs

Generally measured in terms of calories, your dog’s energy comes from three major dietary components: protein, fats and carbohydrates.

In her Pet Food Label Seminar, Dr. Karen Becker shares the dietary percentages that are biologically appropriate for dogs:

  • Protein: 30-52% of your dog’s calories should be protein sources: meat, poultry, fish. 
  • Fat: 47-63% of your dog’s calories should be fat sources: animal fats, seed oils from various plants.
  • Carbohydrates: 1-7% of your dog’s calories should be carbohydrates: vegetables, nuts, seeds and minimal fruit.

Protein

Dogs cannot survive without protein in their diets. Dietary protein contains 10 specific amino acids that dogs cannot make on their own. Known as essential amino acids, they provide the building blocks for many important biologically active compounds and proteins. 

High-quality proteins have a good balance of all of the essential amino acids. A dog’s diet too high in fat may be lacking critical amino acids without supplementation. That’s why it’s so important to feed an appropriate and balanced amount of protein. 

Fats and Fatty Acids

Dietary fats provide the most concentrated source of energy in the diet. They supply essential fatty acids that cannot be synthesized in the body and serve as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins.

They also supply essential fatty acids which play a role in cell structure and function, and are necessary to keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy.

Carbohydrates

While both fats and carbohydrates provide energy, the biologically appropriate dietary recommendations limit carbohydrate consumption to 7%. This is because dietary fats are essential for dogs and cats whereas carbs are not. 

Many dry pet foods are loaded with high glycemic carbs (40 to 50 percent of total content in some cases), which can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes and other health problems in pets.

So while carbs provide energy more rapidly than fats, an overabundance can create health problems in dogs. For more information, read our post on why kibble is bad for dogs.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals provide a host of functions, from the activation of clotting factors, bone proteins, and other proteins, to supplementing strong bones and teeth.

Bloodwork needs to be done to determine if your dog has any existing nutrient deficiencies that you may need to supplement in their diet. That’s why it’s important to consult your veterinarian to decide what’s best for your dog. 

The vast majority of these nutrients can be supplied through food; however, there are some limitations. It’s a balancing act to find the right amount of the nutrients from mostly whole foods and minimize the additional supplements. And remember: quality is key when it comes to vitamins and minerals for your dog. 

Raw Dog Food Recipes

Now that you understand the composition of a balanced raw diet, below are two *raw dog food recipes to get you started:

Beef Recipe, Adult

raw bistro beef recipe

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb beef heart
  • 1 lb beef liver
  • 2 lbs veggies, finely puréed
  • 1/3 lb freshly ground hempseed
  • 44 grams plant based calcium carbonate (Animal Essentials
  • Seaweed Calcium)
  • 11 grams krill oil
  • 4 grams Thorvin Kelp (equivalent to 3mg Iodine)
  • 5 mg Manganese
  • 1200 IU Vitamin D
  • 200 IU Vitamin E

Analysis

51 kcal/oz

Chicken Recipe, Adult

raw bistro chicken recipe

Ingredients

  • 6.5 lbs chicken thigh meat (no bone, skin & separable fat
  • removed)
  • 1 lb chicken heart
  • 1 lb chicken liver
  • 1.75 lbs chicken necks, with skin & fat
  • 1.75 lbs chicken necks, with skin & fat removed
  • 2 lbs veggies, finely puréed
  • 1/4 lb freshly ground flaxseeds
  • 8 grams krill oil
  • 3 grams Thorvin Kelp (equivalent to 2.1mg Iodine)
  • 50 mg Zinc
  • 9 mg Copper
  • 5 mg Manganese
  • 1200 IU Vitamin D
  • 200 IU Vitamin E

Analysis

37 kcal/oz

*These recipes are formulated for healthy, adult dogs (do not feed to puppies) and must be followed exactly to be nutritionally complete. Based upon USDA data and typical test data for bone-in products that can vary by lot, manufacturer, season and so forth. All nutrient content numbers are approximate.

How Much to Feed

A general rule to follow is to feed 2-4% of your pet’s body weight. Smaller dogs will require a higher percentage of their body weight, while larger dogs will require a smaller percentage of their body weight. The daily portion should be split between morning and night.

  • a 10 lb. dog will eat about 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. per week or about 10 lbs per month
  • a 25 lb. dog will eat about 5 lbs per week or about 20 lbs per month
  • a 50 lb. dog will eat about 8 lbs per week or about 32 lbs per month
  • a 75 lb. dog will eat about 10-1/2 lbs per week or about 42 lbs per month
  • a 100 lb. dog will eat about 13-1/2 lbs per week or about 54 lbs per month

Feed puppies anywhere from 2-3x the amount an adult dog of the same weight would eat. For example, a puppy that weighs 10 pounds would eat 2-3x the amount a 10 pound adult dog would eat. Feed very young puppies 3 or 4 times per day. Older puppies generally do fine with twice-daily feedings.

Try our handy raw dog food calculator for a baseline recommendation based on your dog’s specific weight. 

Pre-Made Raw Dog Food Products

Perhaps you’re interested in feeding your dog a raw diet, but don’t have the time or desire to create the recipes listed above.

Our line of raw dog food products offers a balanced diet solution that’s ready for your dog to eat. All of our products are made with organic ingredients, sourced from farmers who embrace sustainable and humane farming practices. 

Browse our products lines to get started:

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