FOOD & TREATS

Raw Dog Food Recipes: Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy

Doog with a spoon
Anna Smith
Written by Anna Smith

Raw dog food recipes, or BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food), include a special diet that has been promoted by many pet owners as the best choice for your dogs. Why? Because when you cook meat, all of the proteins, vitamins and minerals are lost. Furthermore, the commercial kibble tends to be high in grains, cereals and preservatives, which are all sources of allergies and various health problems while raw meat is high in moisture, which is great for your dog’s kidney function.

When you feed your dog raw meat, you can notice the decrease in odor, allergies, and stool. It is also important for your dog to chew bones (never the old ones) because they will clean the teeth and keep the gums strong. Pay special attention to the quality of raw meat – it should always be fit for human consumption and bought from a reliable butcher. Your dog diet should consist 60-80% of raw meat, while the rest can include vegetables.

There are many pet owners who are put off by this kind of diet, mostly because they believe that their dogs may turn into aggressive beasts after tasting raw meat. There is no scientific proof for this considering that there are thousands of dogs who are fed this way and none of them have showed any sign of increased aggression.

People also complain about possible parasites and bacteria in raw meat, which can be true, but if you buy raw meat from a trustworthy butcher, there will be no problems. Always buy the meat that is sold for human consumption, in other words, as if you were buying it for yourself and your family, since your dog is part of it too.

Raw dog food

As a responsible and reliable pet owner, you should know that the key to your pet’s health and increased life expectancy is, among other important things, a proper diet that will provide your dog with all essential nutrients.

If you’d like to know more about what your dog is really getting from a raw food diet, we have a great article detailing the benefits your dog can receive from having a raw food diet.

There are many people who are unable or insecure about making homemade meals for their dogs, and they mostly resort to buying popular commercial food which is not always the best option. You should bear in mind that your loving pet is depending only on you to make the tastiest, and most importantly, the healthiest meals, therefore this article will offer a few raw dog food recipes for you to try out.

What kind of meat and how much

First of all, you should avoid mixing kibble and raw meat together, because that can increase the chances of upsetting your dog’s digestive system. You should also never cook bones because that can be very dangerous – old and cooked bones are harder and sometimes they can even break and pierce your pet’s stomach, and that is something that anyone would like to avoid.

Dogs are perfectly able to digest raw soft bones which are also a source of calcium, just like egg shells. Some people also prefer to avoid pork due to risk of parasites; however, pork and also salmon are recommended. You can just freeze the meat for two weeks beforehand in order to reduce the risks of bacteria and parasites.

Secondly, when it comes to the quantity of daily meals, you should remember that every dog eats around two to three percent of their ideal adult weight per day. So, if your dog weights 30 kg (66 lb), then a daily meal should consist of 600 g food which is 2% of the dog’s adult weight.

However, if a dog is very active you can feed it 3% or more. Some dogs may be fed even less than 2%, it all depends on your dog, having in mind that each one is special and demands a specific treatment.

Raw meat for dogs

If you are switching your dog to a raw diet, then you should do it gently, by starting off with one kind of raw meat and getting the dog used to it before introducing a new type of meat. You can start off with chicken, since it is affordable and easy to obtain. Cut the proper size that includes the meat and bones and feed your dog for a day or two.

It is important to monitor the stool – if it is okay, then feel free to continue with this diet for two to three weeks before introducing a new type of raw meat. If there is anything wrong with the stool, it is better to pause and wait.

Raw feeding should include

  • 70% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat. For example: beef, chicken, turkey, goat, lamb, fish, rabbit, pork (freeze it for two weeks before feeding).
  • 10% edible bone. Never cook bones and never feed your dog with bones that have been in a dead animal’s body for a long time!
  • 5% liver. You can feed liver once a week, beef liver is the best.
  • 5% other organ meat. Chicken feet, beef trachea, tails, lung, kidney, testicles…
  • 10% vegetables/fruits. Some of them are: carrots, celery, green beans, peppers, fresh pumpkin / oranges, apples, bananas, cherries and pineapples. * Eggs and cottage cheese can also be included in a diet; they are a great source of proteins.

AVOID at all costs:

  • Coffee (caffeine)
  • Tea (caffeine)
  • Onions (poisonous to dogs)
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Leaves and stems of vegetables (poisonous to dogs)
  • All fruit pits and seeds
  • Chocolate (causes vomiting and diarrhea)
  • Macadamia nuts

For a list of other practices you should avoid, please read our article on the five common mistakes made in dog nutrition.

Sometimes various supplements are required. Even though raw meat is healthier than the cooked one, if you freeze it for a long period of time, some of the nutrients can be lost. Therefore you should take into account some of the supplements. If you decide to use oils, you can use fish oils, cod liver oil or plant oils.

They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for the immune system. When it comes to plant oils, there is safflower oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil etc. Usually only one teaspoon is enough, and these oils should be used as addition to food, not as replacements. There are also other vitamins and minerals that can be bought specifically for pets.

Puppies and raw meat

It is easy for puppies to adapt quickly to the raw dog food and they can be ready to be fed this diet when they are around six weeks of age. However, until then you should definitely mince the meat and bones together in order to avoid any injures due to the fact that they are too small.

From six weeks of age it is for best to give them bigger pieces of meat including softer bones so they can practice chewing and jaw muscles.

You should encourage your puppy to nip, rip and tear the meat in order for them to become as strong as possible. Do not forget to cut off the wing tips off the chicken because puppies can swallow them whole and choke on them. The same goes for fish bones which can be dangerous to small puppies.

Puppies eating raw meat

You can take a look at this outline or guide for feeding your puppy. Do not forget that smaller breeds can have one to two meals per day, while bigger puppies can have two to three meals per day. It all depends on your dog’s size, and you should measure the meals according to it.

It is also for best not to subject your puppy to long walks as they can result in joint problems. You can just play with the puppy, which will keep it both entertained and fit.

A weekly feeding schedule can consist of breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you can feed your puppy with appropriate portions of chicken breast for example. Before you decide to switch to a new type of meat, feed your puppy a smaller portion of it and check the stools to see whether there are any changes.

*at 8 weeks of age

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Week 1 Chicken breast Beef Chicken breast
Week 2 Ground beef Ground lamb Ground beef
Week 3 — 4 Ground tripe Beef tail Ground tripe
Week 5 — 6 Ground beef Ground chicken Ground mackerel

Simple raw dog food recipes

This simple raw dog food recipe is an example of a well balanced schedule that consists of approximately 10 to 15 meals (500 g each). If your dog is smaller, you can reduce the meals or if the dog is bigger and more active, you can increase the portions; it all depends on your pet’s size, needs and activities.

Do not forget to add soft bones on a weekly basis since they are very important for teeth and gums and they can also keep the dog entertained for a long time. You can also choose the type of raw meat that your dog prefers and that is most affordable to you. The same goes for vegetables and fruits.

Raw food for dogs

Firstly, prepare a huge bowl that will be used for mixing the ingredients. After that, put in it one kilo of ground beef, four kilos of chicken mice, 200 to 300 g of other organ meat (chicken feet, liver, kidneys, lungs, brains) and mix it all well.

The next step is to put a broccoli piece, a cauliflower, three whole eggs, five spoons of yoghurt and a bit of water into a blender and blend it all up until you get a nice soft mixture. Add that mixture to the bowl and mix everything properly.

You can also add a bit of salmon or coconut oil, as in a vitamin boost, and now you are ready for packing.

Take a kitchen scale, storage bags and a spoon. According to your dog’s weight, activities and life style in general, as we have already said, you should put the approximate portion in a storage bag and freeze it until it is ready to be served. If you divide the food into portions of 500 g each, in that case you should have 10 to 15 meals for your dog.

Raw dog food recipes should be an outline for a menu plan, which you should introduce after doing enough research and after monitoring your dog’s behavior and stool. If you notice that your dog rejects one type of meat, for example beef, you can try out another type of meat and then return to beef once your dog accepts raw meat completely.

The main raw meat:

  • 1 kilo of ground beef
  • 4 kilos of chicken mice
  • 200-300 g of organ meat

The additional elements:

  • 3 whole eggs
  • A broccoli piece
  • A cauliflower
  • 5 spoons of yoghurt
  • A bit of water

Another recipe that you can try out is the one that includes cottage cheese and skin-on raw chicken wings. Grate a half of carrot and mix it with a half cup of cottage cheese. Then add four to five organic skin-on raw chicken wings.

Mix all of these delicious ingredients together and pile up your doggie’s bowl, he or she would love this. This recipe can be prepared in the morning for breakfast and it will take you only 10 minutes, while the chicken wings are very affordable.

Tasty raw doggy treats

Some of the simplest raw dog food recipes can be extremely delicious, and you can use them for special occasions when you want to treat your beloved pet and reward it for being good and smart. Remember that they are called treats and that means they should not replace the full meals. You can prepare them beforehand and freeze them for the later use.

Prepare a bigger bowl for mixing the ingredients. Put 300 g of ground beef in it and add one egg. Take two spoons of yoghurt, ½ teaspoon of alfalfa powder, ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 250 mgs of crushed vitamin C for dogs. You can also add a bit of water if you think the mixture is not soft enough. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then take the storage bags of average size.

Take a small portion of the mixture in your hand and roll it between your palms until you form a meatball. You can put one or more meatballs in a storage bag, depending on the size you have chosen. After that you can treat your dog and put the rest in the freezer. You can also change the type of meat as you wish – use chicken, fish or anything else you find good.

Ingredients:

  • 300 g raw ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 spoons of yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon of alfalfa powder
  • ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 250 mg of crushed vitamin C for dogs
  • A bit of water

Another tasty and natural raw dog food recipe can be the following — put 500 g of raw ground turkey into a bowl and add one egg. After that you can grate a half of carrot, apple and pumpkin and mix them all together in a bowl. These ingredients are very healthy while the ground turkey meat is very tasteful and your dog will love it.

Halo Vita Glo Xtra-C Instant Vitamin-C Concentrate

You can once again change the meat to suit your dog’s preference, or you can change the type of vegetables you put in the mixture.

The rest of the recipe and packing is the same as for the first one – you can form the meatballs or dice and freeze them so you can treat your dog the next day.

Raw tasty treats

Do not forget that it is not safe to keep raw meat in a fridge for a long time, but you can always freeze it and keep it in the freezer for days or weeks.

Ingredients:

  • 500 g raw ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • ½ carrot
  • ½ apple
  • ½ cup of pumpkin
  • A bit of water

If you’d like even more recipes to add to your repertoire, please read our article on making your own dog food. It’s chock-full of great and easy recipes your dog will enjoy.

To sum up, raw dog food or BARF is a special diet that has gained a lot of followers among pet owners and dog breeders. There are many advantages of feeding this kind of food, because it decreases the allergies and odors and it provides your dog with all essential nutrients (minerals and vitamins) that can be found in raw meat.

It also makes your dog’s coat shiny and beautiful while the fresh bones keep the teeth and gums strong and healthy. Your dog will become more active and it will be able to follow the commands more carefully. If you buy wisely, it can be cheaper and you can also see less and firmer stools which is another proof that there are more useful elements in raw meat than in commercial food.

Feeding and training your dog

Having in mind that it is in dogs’ nature to search for raw food and that their digestive systems have not adapted to all the commercial dog food which is filled with grains and preservatives, it seems that raw dog food is one of the best possible options out there.

This article offered the recipes for puppies, treats and simple meals for adult dogs on a weekly basis. Choose wisely and do not forget that your dog’s health depends on the choices that you make.

About the author
Anna Smith
Anna Smith

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.

  • Mary Anne

    Raw meat is actually natural for dogs and other predators. I think exclusion of this kind of food can damage the organism of the dog. I would rather add that the dog food that can be bought in pet shops seems to be harmful.

    I have seen so many dogs who suffered from stomachache and even from cancer. The vet said that one of the reasons can be the pet food. Maybe buying high quality raw meat can take time but it will save the pet’s life.

    • I honestly believe that a balanced diet with both raw meat and commercial dog food (of high quality, of course) will make Fido happy. That is if he/she has a healthy digestive system. Sometimes it’s best to let our beloved friends to tell what’s best for them by watching their reactions.

  • Mary Ong

    I cook my dog half kibble and half raw. That way I could be sure at least they were getting some of all the nutrients they need.

    • Anna Smith

      This practice is okay, Mary. In addition, you are also encouraging a variation of texture and taste which inhibits the chances of appetite loss in dogs.

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