Raw Feeding Guide For Dogs

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Questions

  • All about raw dog food
  • How much should I give my dog?
  • Homemade or Pre-Prepared?
  • Feeding amounts while swapping food
As a pet parent, you always want the best for your canine companion but raw feeding can seem a little intimidating at first, especially when you’ve spent years feeding your pooch an easy dry diet. Dry food is hard to get wrong so it’s not very intimidating at all but once you learn the ins and outs of raw feeding, it’s not much more effort and the benefits make it worthwhile.
If you’re interested in feeding your beloved pet raw food, we have put together a practical guide on what exactly it is and how to get the feeding amounts right to ensure your furry friend is getting the precise nutrition and quantity they need.

All about raw dog food

Raw dog food is exactly what it says on the tin which is a raw, uncooked diet for your dog. There are a few major ways in which it differs from both dry diets and wet dog food, mainly in how you store and handle it. Dry and wet food just needs to be stored in a cool, dry place before being opened. As long as you reseal the bag once you open a bag of dry dog food, it can stay fresh for up to six weeks while wet food will need to be kept in the fridge and fed over a couple of days.

Dog standing in the breeze.
Raw food needs to be kept frozen but that’s because it doesn’t contain any extra ingredients to keep it fresh once defrosted. You are only meant to defrost what you intend to use over the next day or two. Raw dog food is meant as a natural diet specifically tailored for your pooch. They often don’t contain any extra additives and most importantly don’t undergo any cooking processes that use high temperatures. While the cooking process of dry food makes it safe, it also reduces the nutritional value for your pooch. This is easily one of the biggest benefits of opting to feed your pup raw as the food is packed with natural nutrition. Feeding a raw diet often means you need to feed your pet less food so your feeding amounts will likely look very different if you are changing them from a different diet.

How much should I give my dog?

Feeding amounts are different with every dog food, however, when changing to a raw diet you may be convinced that it isn’t enough food for your pooch. The amount you feed your pup may look like less because they are meant to be able to digest and use every part of their meal. This means they’ll need to eat less but you should also notice that they go to the toilet less as there is less waste!

Calories in the food

To make sure you are feeding them the right amount, you need to make sure you are balancing the calories your pup needs and how much they are utilising day-to-day. Calories give your beloved pet the energy they need all day and every dog might be a little different. A neutered dog will need fewer calories than an entire dog as they tend to gain weight easier post surgery when their hormones change.
The best way to work out exactly what your canine companion needs is with a dog food calculator. It can tell you how many calories your dog needs which means you can find the perfect portion size to start feeding your pup. Some calculators can even tell you how much to feed of some exact brands. These figures are always an estimation so you should still keep an eye on their body size to make sure they’re not gaining or losing weight. 

Your dog’s size

Your dog’s size is a major factor when it comes to how much you’re feeding them. Larger dogs need more calories as it takes them more energy just to move around! Small breeds can still benefit from a raw diet and you won’t need to feed them as much. If you have a puppy who is currently growing, a larger breed puppy will need more food than a smaller puppy even if they are relatively the same size at the time. Feeding amounts should always be calculated based on the estimated size of your canine companion when they are fully grown. Puppies often need extra protein and calories to help them grow up big and strong.

Activity levels

A dog that doesn’t run around very much at all will need less food than a working border collie herding sheep all day. Just like humans, the amount of exercise your pooch does will determine the amount of food they need and the more active they are, the more they will need to eat. This can sometimes be determined by breed, like a greyhound who only has a ten minute zoom around during the day and wants to spend the rest of the day sleeping on the couch will need fewer calories than a Belgian Malinois who’s on the go all day.

Activity levels will also change as your pooch gets older, so as they age you’ll likely need to reduce their food to make sure they aren’t eating too much. As they move around less and plod along with you on walks instead of sprinting ahead, they won’t need as many calories to support their daily activities.

How many meals you feed

Whenever you are calculating portion size on a raw diet, you are working out their daily intake and the number of meals you feed will have an impact on how large their meals are. Dogs need to be fed 2 to 3% of their body weight on a raw diet so a 10kg dog will need between 200 to 300g per day depending on how active they are. If you feed 200g per day, this should be split over at least two meals so you’ll only be feeding them 100g per meal. Their portion size will be reduced per meal if they need any additional food throughout the day.


Homemade or Pre-Prepared?

Raw diets will usually include three main ingredients, meat, bone and vegetables. Getting the balance right and adding in any additional supplements to support your pooch can be a task some pup parents really enjoy. You can make sure you know exactly what is going into your dog’s diet by making it and freezing it at home yourself. You can use a mixture of muscle and organ meat to provide protein along with healthy vegetables.
If you don’t want to prepare their meals yourself, there are plenty of dog food brands that have complete raw diets you can easily pick up from the shop that are just as nutritious and delicious! Natures Menu raw dog food is one of the leading brands in raw feeding and makes it accessible to everyone, even when you’re brand new to raw feeding. You can get different components to help make your own diet like Natures Menu Frozen Chunks Of Poultry Breast and Natures Menu Frozen Nuggets Fruit And Vegetables so you have complete control over what you’re feeding your beloved pet.
They make it even easier with ready mixed complete diets of everything your pooch needs that come in handy nuggets like the Natures Menu Country Hunter Wild Venison Nuggets. The nuggets are small enough to be suitable for even the smallest breeds and make measuring out how much they need super easy. Working out that your dog needs 20 nuggets a day saves you from having to measure out exactly how many grams of food they’re getting per meal!

Feeding amounts while swapping food

Swapping your canine companion from one type of food to another should always be a gradual process. It should take around one to two weeks to get them transitioned onto an entirely raw diet and this process is even more important when they aren’t used to eating raw. Feeding some of their own diet with gradually more and more of the new raw food will allow their digestive systems to get used to it slowly. Changing their food all in one go can lead to an upset stomach, especially when feeding raw meat.
Raw feeding doesn’t have to be difficult or a big mystery and your pampered pooch can gain all the benefits of a natural diet without making a lot more work for you! For more advice on feeding your canine companion, have a scroll online or visit us in store.