top of page

How to Make Complete and Balanced Raw Meals for you Dog: Raw Feeding 101 Workshop

So you’ve done a little bit of research, heard people talking about a Raw Diet for dogs but you’re too bit scared to make the switch? If it all seems really complicated and expensive don’t worry by the end of this blog you’ll have the simple 5 step BASE formula to take their food to the next level!

Change is scary and I know you love your dog a lot. Otherwise, you’d just be tossing some cheap supermarket store food in a bowl instead of reading this. So, here is a simple of set of guidelines that will help clear up some questions you may have so you can move your dog to a safe, high quality diet. After all, a healthy happy pet lives longer, has less illness and things like allergies, dental issues, costly vet visits.

So if you’re thinking of switching to raw, then I applaud you! And I admire that you’re doing your research first and not just jumping in … An unbalanced raw diet done wrong can harm your dog. But don’t worry about that … if you follow these rules, you won’t go wrong.

The BARF Formula

It’s a simple formula based on the 70/10/10/10 Model

70% Meat

10% Offal

10% Bone

10% Vegetables and Fruits.

This is the MOST important thing to remember when creating your own Raw Meals!!

What the heck does BARF mean?

B iologically

A ppropriate

R aw (or as I like to say REAL)

F eeding (or FOOD)

What makes up a BARF Diet?

Multiple protein sources including beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, roo, goat. Eggs. Bones to consume entirely & bones to chew. Vegetables, fruits, seeds. Quality Oils.

Simply put, you are Feeding a Biologically Appropriate, or Species Appropriate Diet. What your Dog was designed to eat! Before we go any further it’s really important to understand 3 things. The first thing to remember is do not be afraid, we have all been conditioned to believe the marketing spin around ‘complete and balanced’. It is not hard at all to feed a species appropriate diet.

Second, keep it simple, you do not need a bowl full of 20 different proteins or ingredients every meal. Complete and balanced happens over a longer period than one single meal! It really is a simple concept, we do it daily with our human diets, and when you apply this it really is as simple as mix-it-up!

Third, VARIETY is the key! Rotate your ingredients, offer a large range of proteins from different animals, and don’t feed the same thing day in and day out. So, let's get to it: How to Make Complete and Balanced Raw Meals for you Dog

How to Make Complete and Balanced Raw Meals for you Dog:

Step One: Raw Feeding Protein & Fat Rule

The staple of your dog’s meal is meat. This should make up 70% of the diet. You can buy meat from the grocery store or from the butcher or a reputable Pet Butcher or Supplier. All of your dog’s energy requirements come from just two sources: protein and fat. The foundation of your dog’s raw diet are proteins and fats. This makes up most of his meal. It’s as simple as buying ground meat or chunks and putting them in your dog’s bowl. But balance is important. This means feeding a diet that’s about 10% to 20% fat total, including any fats like fish oil that you add to your dog’s raw diet. A great way to control the quantity of fats is by adding quality oils like Fish Oil, Hemp Seed Oil or Coconut oils on rotation.

Step Two: Raw Feeding: Calcium & Minerals Balance

Calcium Rule 10% to 15% of your dog’s total diet needs to be bone. Puppies need at least 12% and up to 15% bone.

Your dog needs a steady supply of minerals and trace minerals. Along with enzymes from proteins, minerals are important cofactors that fire all of the metabolic processes in your dog’s body. If your dog is missing minerals, things can go very, very wrong. He can develop crippling joint disease, heart issues, seizures and more. That might sound frightening, but it’s easy to get this step right with bones.

Bone is made up of about 65% minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium and zinc … and most importantly, calcium. Your dog needs a steady supply of these minerals. Meat without any bone at all contains a lot of phosphorus and very little calcium. If you fed your dog an all-meat diet without calcium, he would pull all of the calcium from his bones to get enough to move his muscles and control body processes. So if the diet is too low in calcium, you’ll often see bone and joint disease … especially in growing puppies.

To keep your dog’s bone content in the 12% to 15% range, you need some of his meat to have the bone in them. Start with the meaty bones you can find at your butcher or local pet store and offer these to him 2 or 3 times a week. We have a video that focuses only on Bones and which are the best ones to feed your dog check this out:

Step 3: Raw Feeding Add The Organ Meats

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get enough vitamins and minerals in the raw diet without organ meats. Enter the organ meats … Mother Nature’s multivitamins! And the organ that supplies the most, gram for gram, is the liver. About 10% of your dog’s diet should be liver. This will supply most of his vitamins (such as vitamins B and C) and many of his minerals including copper and folate. The main mistake raw feeders make is only adding liver. There are many other organs you should feed your dog … and your job is to source as many of them as you can.

The Organ Meat Rule

There are Two categories of Organs, The SECRETING TYPE and the NON-SECRETING TYPE

Secreting Organs are Liver, Pancreas, Spleen, Kidney, Sweetbreads (testicles), Eyes.

Non- Secreting Organs are Lung, Brain, Green Tripe.

Secreting Organs like Liver should make up 5% of the diet. Non- secreting Organs like Green Tripe should make up 5% of the diet. (and these together make up the 10% Organ Rule)

It’s interesting to note that Heart, an organ, is actually a muscle meat, high in nutrients and should make up around 5% of the diet. Heart is a major source of taurine and not all dogs can make enough of this essential amino acid, so taurine must be in your dog’s raw diet. Taurine deficiency can cause heart disease. Here’s the truth behind the saying you are what you eat!

Feed about 5% of your dog’s raw diet as heart.

Step 4: Raw Feeding Add Vegetation

Add fruits and vegetables as 10% of the diet and choose organic if you can afford it. Broccoli, kale and especially broccoli sprouts are a good source of cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Blueberries have a special affinity for the brain and nervous system, and cranberries add bladder and kidney benefits … but most berries are a good choice.

Many raw feeders stop at step 3 … and that’s a mistake in my opinion. Research shows that vegetables reduce the risk of cancer in both humans and dogs. This is because fruits and vegetables have important immune benefits. While fruits, berries and vegetables are an important addition to the raw diet, starchy carbohydrates like grains and legumes aren’t. They feed the wrong types of gut bacteria and are linked to chronic inflammation. You’ll also want to avoid high sugar fruits and use low sugar berries instead.

Step 5: Raw Feeding Complete The Balance

Many raw diets are deficient in two key nutrients: Vitamin D and Manganese. To boost the vitamin D content, feed whole raw fish, egg yolks, vitamin D rich mushrooms or green lipped mussels. Green lipped mussels will also increase manganese levels, as will oysters and shellfish.

If you follow the first four steps, your dog’s raw meals will be reasonably balanced. But you’re giving your dog a raw diet because you want the ultimate in nutrition! This last step will make sure your dog gets enough of the two micronutrients that are most likely to be lacking in a raw diet.

Here are some great food sources of vitamin D:

Mushrooms: When mushrooms are exposed to sunshine, they can produce vitamin D, just like animals. Whole Eggs: Yolks from pastured hens raised in sunshine and eating a proper diet are rich in vitamin D. You can feed eggs several times a week.

Mussels: Green lipped mussels and other mussel species are rich in vitamin D.

Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines and mackerel are all rich in vitamin D, as is cod liver oil.

Manganese deficiency is fairly common in raw fed dogs if you’re not careful. If your dog is deficient in manganese, it will usually show as weakened ligaments and connective tissue that can cause joint issues such as cruciate tears. Manganese can also be found in spinach, but it’s richest in mussels, followed by oysters and shellfish. Adding mussels to your dog’s raw diet will help provide the vitamin D and manganese that he needs, so as the saying goes 2 birds with one stone (or Mussel in this case!)

Well there you have it, the 5 key elements that you need to create your very own complete and balanced meals. Remember the BARF Formula of 70% Meat, 10% in total of Secreting and Non-secreting Organs, 10% Bone and 10% veggies and you have got it covered!

And to debunk the price argument. It’s probably easiest to see it in relative portion sizes - a complete meal for my 6 kilo adult boy Amarah - he eats 3% of his body weight daily so this is 180gm of raw food.

And if the cost is still bothering you - this cost just under $2.25 - and to compare Royal Canin Dry food (following their feeding guidelines) he needs 100gm per day which will cost you around $2.34.

Raw feeding can be Cheaper than feeding Dry Kibble

If you are like me and just did the math - that’s $23.40 a kilo of carbohydrates. Not the BARF model at all!

So, now you know How to Make Complete and Balanced Raw Meals for you Dog. Raw feeding or Species Appropriate feeding means healthier dogs - saving you a fortune on vet visits. Still on the fence and too scared to try? Don’t be, reach out in the comments below or drop us a message we are here to help you!

90 views0 comments


bottom of page