Most people think of choosing what to feed their dog as deciding between brands at their local pet store, but there are a surprising number of considerations when selecting your dog’s food. Raw dog food vs cooked is one of the primary, yet lesser known, choices because there aren’t a lot of raw food options at the pet store. Even though we’ve chosen raw dog food, I had to decide if I wanted to purchase commercial or co-op raw dog food or make it myself. Then, when I decided to make the food myself, I also had to decide which feeding model to base my raw dog food on and what to include in my recipe to ensure my dog was receiving enough nutrients. (So many decisions!)
BARF Diet vs Prey Model
The BARF diet and prey model are the two main feeding models for homemade raw dog food that most people use as the basis of their dog’s homemade raw diet. Essentially, the BARF diet promotes feeding some veggies and fruits while prey model discourages it. Since both arguments have merit, I think it’s up to the owner if they want to include them. I personally choose to include them because my dog likes them, they add variety to the diet, and some help prevent constipation. However, there have been times when I’ve skipped adding them for weeks at a time with no ill effects.
Homemade Raw Dog Food Proportions
I use roughly the following breakdown when preparing food combinations for my homemade dog food recipes:
50% Raw Meaty Bones
30% Muscle Meat
10% Organ Meat
10% Veggies, Fruits, Eggs, Etc
I use approximately 50% raw meaty bones in my homemade dog food. Most raw meaty bones have a 3 to 1 ratio of meat to bone. So, about 37.5% of the 50% raw meaty bones is meat and 12.5% is bone. This breakdown also works out to about 65-70% muscle meat and 10-15% edible bone in the overall diet if you’d rather look at it like that. Dogs on either the BARF diet or the prey model diet cannot process more than 10-15% of bone. Additional bone will not harm them, but may cause constipation so we try to restrict the amount of bone to roughly that percentage.
Whether you consider dogs to be carnivores or omnivores, most people will agree that dogs need a meat-based diet. So, all the homemade dog food recipes shared on The Natural Puppy consist primarily of meat. However, both raw feeding models agree that you can’t just feed your dog meat and bone. Organ meat, particularly liver, offers an abundance of necessary vitamins and minerals and is often the most nutrient-dense part of the animal. Therefore, it is extremely important to incorporate high-quality organ meat in your dog’s raw diet. Organ meat should be about 10% of the diet with a large portion consisting of liver. (TIP: Because liver filters impurities out of the body, consider feeding your dog organic liver for the best quality liver with the least probability of toxins.)
The remaining 10% of your dog’s diet depends on which feeding model you and your dog prefer. We often vary this portion of our homemade dog food recipe by batch to include seasonal produce or eggs or a combination of such. Feel free to include your dog’s favorites.