Feeding raw doesn’t have to be complicated. When feeding raw, you want to stick with the 80/10/5/5 Rule: 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver and 5% secreting organs. This formula represents a balanced raw diet and is the ‘jumping off’ point for feeding raw. You don’t need to grind meat and you don’t have to thaw meat. You can feed it whole and raw or thawed. There’s no need to cook either – that actually diminishes the nutrients. My motto is “K.I.S.S.” (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Here’s what I feed and where I get it from:

  • Turkey necks (a staple item in my dogs’ diet) – purchased in bulk at Cash & Carry
  • Eggs – taken out of our chicken coop (eggs are 100% digestible and therefore very good for dogs)
  • Mackerel – purchased in 12 ounce cans from the grocery store (not ideal, but fish is hard to come by for a decent price)
  • Whole chicken or chicken drumsticks, legs, breast etc – purchased at local grocery store
  • Quail (whole prey aka the entire bird) – purchased locally
  • Any freezer-burnt or leftover meat
  • Beef hearts (one of their favorites) – purchased in bulk at Cash & Carry
  • Beef tripe – purchased at local grocery store (warning: smells terrible!)
  • Beef marrow bones – sold online and at some grocery stores
  • Chicken and beef liver – sold at local grocery stores (in freezer section)
  • Various other freeze-dried protein – sold online (TruDog.com, Chewy.com etc)
  • Chicken gizzards (Zoey’s least favorite, but she’ll eat it) – purchased at Cash & Carry, also sold at grocery stores

(photo: raw turkey necks, a staple in my dogs’ diet)

Figuring out where to buy your meat from will take some time, and research, but once you have things established feeding raw is really quite easy!

I feed one meal per day (in the evening) and usually have 1-2 types of muscle meat, 1 bone option, some liver and 1 secreting organ. My dogs will usually get the same types of meals 2-3 days in a row since we buy in bulk and have limited refrigerator space for thawing. Nothing wrong with that!

I also give my dogs one bowl of Grandma Lucy’s Valor Fish freeze-dried food each week. This includes: USDA Pollock, Mahi, Quinoa, Flax, Lentils, Carrots, Celery, Apples, Bananas, Blueberries, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Spinach, Garlic and various vitamins and nutrients. We sell Grandma Lucy’s at Valor K9 Academy – Spokane or you can buy them online.

Each day, I add 3-4 of the following to my dogs’ meals:

  • NuVet Plus Wafers– fed daily – for antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, herbs and more for overall health and joint care – use code 45459 at checkout.
  • NuJoint Wafers– fed daily – a high quality, human-grade, natural, nutrient-rich hip and joint support supplement – use code 45459 at checkout
  • Organic Bone Broth– made with bones from 100% grass fed, pasture raised cattle that are hormone and antibiotic free, organic vegetables, organic herbs, sea salt, and black peppercorns – incredible health benefits (for dogs and humans!)
  • Salmon Oil– contains 15+ Omega 3, Omega 6, and Arachidonic fatty acids to support a healthy coat, heart, and immune system
  • Sea Meal– to boost immune system and ease digestion
  • Fish Filets– human-grade, wild caught white fish skins, high in protein
  • Vertex– before and after hard workouts
  • Bully Sticks– for a healthy chew snack
  • Happy Howie’s– as a high value training treat
  • Various TruDog meal enhancers, toppers and digestive enyzymes
  • Beef suet – animal fat, found in local grocery stores
  • A small amount of apple cider vinegar
  • A small amount of garlic – okay for dogs in small amounts!

Simple and easy – and my dogs love it! I’ve been feeding Zoey, Havok and Yedi raw for three years now, and my dogs have never been better! Their coats are shiny, their nails are strong, their weight is great, and their teeth are clean. They are healthy, have great energy and *knock on wood* have never been sick or injured. We always get compliments from our vet when we take them in for annual check-ups.

On average, I spend $1-1.50 per pound overall to feed raw (including the extras I add each day) which is actually less than I was paying previously for a high end, dry, processed kibble. Feeding raw can be as cheap or as expensive as your budget will allow. If you find and buy the foods yourself, it’s significantly cheaper than hiring someone to prepare and ship your dog’s meals to you. Do what works for you – and your budget!

Approximately half of my clients feed their dogs raw. Many of them fed kibble previously, then made the switch – and haven’t looked back!

If you’re looking to switch to raw, you can do it all at once or transition slowly. It’s okay to mix raw and kibble. If you don’t want to switch to raw completely, maybe consider adding healthy options like eggs, fish oil and NuVet labs vitamins to your dog’s daily meal. Dogs of all ages and sizes can eat raw. When starting out, make sure your dog chews the meat instead of inhaling it. It’s sometimes helpful to hold the meat in your hand to teach dogs to eat slowly, or you can cut the meat into small pieces.

As for serving amounts, Havok (90# GSD) eats 2.5-3 pounds per day, Zoey and Yedi (55# Aussies) eat about 1.5 pounds per day. All three are extremely active and athletic. I try to keep them lean and muscular.

Recommended Resources:

Canine Nutrigenomics– Secrets to Feeding Dogs for Optimum Cellular Health and Longevity

@rawfeedingcommunity on Instagram and The Raw Feeding Community on Facebook

I highly recommend doing some research if you’re looking to start feeding raw, but remember it doesn’t have to be complicated. The above resources will help you get on track with what you need to know to get started. I’m happy to help with basic questions, but for specific diet and nutrition plans I recommend reaching out to The Raw Feeding Community. They’re over 100k followers strong and can help you get things going!

The saying “You are what you eat” is literally true. Feeding your dog right starts at the molecular level. As humans, every one of our cells is replaced in about seven years, and your food is what those new cells are made from. So take a good look at what you have got on your plate.

The same goes for our beloved pets. Feed them right, and they’ll live longer, happier, healthier lives!

I hope this blog post has been helpful and insightful for you. Please share it to help educate more people.