If you’ve read my article on reasons to feed a raw diet, you may be wondering how you can make the switch to this diet. If you haven’t however, please read up on the benefits of a raw foods diet for your dog. The Raw Dog Ranch has excellent information as well as beginning tips on how to get started with this diet.
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How Much to Feed?
This diet is tailored to your dog’s specific body type and weight goals. Generally speaking, you should feed 2-4% of your dog’s weight each day. If your dog is underweight or overweight, then feed 2-4% of your dog’s target weight daily. A very active dog will need a higher percentage of his or her weight, so lean toward four percent; a very inactive or older dog will need a smaller percentage, more like two percent. Remember that you are most likely splitting your dog’s daily intake into two meals a day, so be sure you are feeding 2-4% total, not at each meal, or you will quickly have a very overweight dog!
As you get more accustomed to this diet, you will be better able to gauge the weight of each food item. When first starting, however, I advise weighing out your pet’s meals each week. You can keep about a week’s worth of meals in plastic or zip-loc bags in a standard freezer, and you can weigh food with a standard kitchen or meat scale. They’re very cheap and retailers like Target and Wal-Mart sell them for five to ten dollars. I usually weigh out each meal and put them each in a different baggy; it makes rushed morning feeding much easier! Remember that it will take about two days for frozen food to unthaw in your refrigerator, so be sure that you are moving food from the freezer to your refrigerator so your dog can eat it!
What to Feed?
Remember the key word here: raw, meaty bones. You are not feeding your dog just bones and instead want to aim for bones with meat on them. Chicken legs, deer meat, lamb, and other common meats found in your grocery store work just great. Aim for variety, but keep in mind that higher price does not mean your dog will like it better! Your dog will enjoy the cheap chicken breast as much as the expensive lamb chops.
This diet is not only about raw meaty bones, however. The proportions of the diet should be roughly 65% raw meaty bones, 25% muscle meat, and 10% organ meat. Muscle meat is, simply put, any kind of meat that isn’t sold on a bone. Ground beef, ground turkey, and other muscle meats are excellent sources. Organ meat is the gross stuff-kidneys, liver, chicken gizzards and hearts, etc. Feed this stuff in small portions because it is very rich and too much can make your dog sick!
What Else Can I Add?
There are two excellent additions to this diet: yogurt and pumpkin. Yogurt will help your dog maintain the correct bacterial balance in his or her stomach. Make sure to go for plain, white, unflavored, cultured yogurt. Give a spoonful or so every day. Pumpkin- the pure stuff, not pumpkin pie filler- also helps with stomach upsets, and helps also to ensure healthy skin and coat. You can give a spoonful of this every day. If your dog has skin or coat problems, you can also consider supplementing this diet with Vitamin E.
The diet can be confusing at first, but with proper planning and observing your dog, it will soon become easy! The payoff will be a healthy, happy dog, a clean conscience, and your dog’s shiny white teeth!