Let me tell you something, dogs are neither omnivores nor carnivores, but they fall in between. Thus, it is difficult to decide on their diet plan. Nowadays, serving your dog raw food is increasingly popular. But how much raw food should I feed my dog? Dog owners want to make their pet’s diets like they would have eaten in the wild.
Generally, Your dog should consume up to 2% to 3 % of their body weight. But it also varies by some factors like activity level, metabolic rate, age, breed, outdoor temperature and other variables.
You might have doubts about how much raw food to feed a dog. In this article, I will suggest what type of raw food and how much raw food you should feed your dog. But before that, let us find out if it is advisable to feed your dog raw meat.
How Much Raw Meat to Feed Dog?
First, you might be thinking, “Can dogs have raw meat?” Yes, but no. It is quite complex to give an answer in a simple way. Dogs can eat raw meat, but it is not recommended. Ready-made dog food already contains some amount of meat in it. Serving raw meat will only fill your dog’s tummy, but it will not provide the required nutrients.
Definitely, a dog’s digestive system is capable of digesting raw meat. But raw meat cannot be digested as efficiently as cooked meat can. Cooked meat will provide your dog with enough nutriment as compared to raw meat.
Moreover, raw meat will lead your dog to nutritional deficiencies and illness. So even if you are serving cooked meat, it will not be a balanced nutritional meal for your dog. Therefore, avoid giving raw meat. Instead, serve cooked meat with certified commercial dog food. That will heal your dog to grow and stay healthy.
Feeding your dog raw meat can be dangerous. Raw meat contains harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and Tuberculosis (TB). the risk of cross-contamination is much higher and also it invites major illness not only for your dog but also for your family.
“Nearly 25% of the raw food samples tested positive for harmful bacteria..” says Malcolm Weir, DVM from VCAHospital.
Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA), Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) , and the University of Bristol, UK have all spoken out about the dangers of feeding raw meat to a dog.
When you cook raw meat up to a certain temperature, it kills all harmful bacteria. Uncooked meat can make your dog ill or invite disease. Therefore, even though they can eat raw meat, it is not advisable to feed your dog raw meat, and after all the studies, it always depends upon the individual’s experience with feeding raw diets.
How Much Raw Food to Feed My Dog?
Usually, small dogs need a high percentage of their body weight, while large dogs need a small percentage of their body weight. A general thumb rule for this is, you are supposed to feed 2% to 3 % of your dog’s body weight. In case your dog is ill, he is just a puppy, or a pregnant or nursing dog, then consulting your veterinarian would be the best option.
“The practice of feeding raw diets has raised some concerns due to the risk of food borne illnesses, zoonosis and nutritional imbalances.” stated Wikipedia.
How much raw food to feed your dog depends upon many factors but right now we are considering a general parameter which is weight. The below-mentioned ratio is for per-day intake.
- Dogs up to 5 lbs: 5-6% of their body weight
- Dogs up to 5 lbs: 4-5% of their body weight
- Dogs up to 5 lbs: 3-3.5% of their body weight
- Dogs up to 5 lbs: 2.5-3% of their body weight
Now you know how much raw food to feed, but the question is how often you should feed raw food. Most dog owners like to feed raw food once a day so it gives their dogs a wild environment. In reality, not one thing can fit all. It should be decided by what works for you and your dog mutually.
Note:- UK government website has provided a pamphlet on pet food handling safety.
You can also refer to this feeding chart. This will help you to decide more accurately.
How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Puppy?
Feeding your puppy a raw diet is less preferable compared to cooked or commercial food. But still, if you want to know how much to feed a puppy by weight. Then a puppy needs more proportion of nutrition and energy of their body weight, in comparison to large dogs.
Since raw food is the evolutionary diet of dogs, you can serve them a raw diet. But the question is when, what, and how much.
You can also refer to the raw food calculator/chart
How Much and When to Feed
When your pup attends a growth spurt, they may need more of it. Normally, you can start serving raw food after weaning when they develop their teeth. Ideally after 5 to 6 weeks of born.
In general, if your puppy is less than 8 weeks old, you should feed 10% of its body weight. When he reaches to knee high dog (50% of their adult weight) you should decrease to half, which is 5% of their body weight. And then slowly you should come down to 3% of their body weight until they become fully grown adult dogs.
What Raw Food Should I Feed to My Dog?
Feeding your dog a raw diet may not be advisable now. But before dogs became pet animals, they used to eat raw in the wild. Not every raw food is safe for dogs, but there are some vegetables and fruits that are good for them. Let me share with you some vegetables and fruits which you can feed to your dog.
Note that your dog can be allergic to some kinds of food. Please avoid that food.
- Bananas: Bananas are a very healthy option for dogs. It is a bank of potassium, which is helpful in muscle building and blood flow in the body. It also regulates the acid in the dog’s body. Bananas also contain vitamin B6, which increases the oxygen level in the blood.
- Rutabaga: This vegetable is very underrated, smashed and boiled rutabaga can be a very healthy diet for your dog. It has high levels of vitamin C, potassium, and carotenoids. This keeps the eyes healthy and makes the immune system strong. It reduces the chances of disease associated with age and not only that, it also prevents cancer.
- Sweet Potato: Like humans, sweet potatoes are dogs’ favourites too. It carries a bunch of essential nutrients like carotenoids and Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are a very good source of essential minerals like copper, iron, and manganese.
- Carrots: One of the most loved foods of dogs. Because they are crunchy and tasty to eat, they love to have carrots. They are full of carotenoids, fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K (needed for blood clotting). It also produces energy as it contains potassium. Carrots have magnesium, manganese, most of the B vitamins, and phosphorus.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkins are a good option for dog treats with low calories and high fiber. It is recommended to serve pumpkin if the dog is having diarrhea. It has many vitamins and calcium, so you can use it to make dog treats.
Ideally, feed your dog approximately 2% to 3% of its body weight and split it between two meals per day according to your dog’s needs. If you have a very active schedule for your dog then you can add a little more by monitoring his weight.
Raw meat contains some harmful bacteria and can be a potential risk for your dog and your family. Bones in raw meat can damage their teeth and increase the risk of dental issues.
Yes, dogs’ digestive systems absorb more nutrients when they eat raw food. So when they eat raw food, they make less amount of waste compared to cooked or commercial food. Also, they start eating less food when they eat a raw diet because it takes more time to digest and they get enough nutrients from a raw diet.
Vets are against the concept of feeding a raw diet to pets. It contains harmful bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, and more, which are very dangerous for dogs and people around them. Before feeding your pet any raw food, consult your vet.
How much raw food you should feed your dog will always be controversial. Every dog deserves a balanced nutritional diet to stay healthy. Honestly, I would not suggest you feed raw meat. If you want to serve a raw diet, then I have mentioned some fruits and vegetables that can be better options for your dog.
In the end, what works for your dog is the most important thing for you and your dog, so choose the diet plan accordingly.
- Stogdale, L. (2019). One veterinarian’s experience with owners who are feeding raw meat to their pets. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 60(6), 655-658. https://doi.org/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515799/
- Raw pet foods: handling and preventing infection. (2019, March 18). GOV.UK. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from https://www.gov.uk/guidance/raw-pet-foods-handling-and-preventing-infection
- Colgate. (2022a, August 30). Dangers of Raw Diets for Dogs. Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Retrieved January 16, 2023, from https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/nutrition-feeding/dangers-of-raw-diets-for-dogs
- Raw feeding. (2022, December 16). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raw_feeding