There's strangely nothing more satisfying than preparing a meal for someone and knowing how happy it made them. That's especially true when it means preparing a meal for your dog. If you're thinking about how to DIY your own raw dog food and take on this challenge for yourself, we'll get into the basics of what a DIY raw dog food recipe entails and all the building blocks you'll need. Then at the end, we've rounded up some of our favorite raw feeding instagram accounts for some meal inspiration and recipes for try out on your dog at home. We promise it's not nearly as intimidating as it looks. When you prepare your dog's own food, you get complete control and personalization. They're going to love it and love you even more for it.
There are 4 main components to include in a raw food diet and then some extra whole food supplements that could be incorporated depending on your dog's specific nutritional goals.
Lean muscle meat: 80% of the meal. Protein is the most foundational building block of any raw food recipe. You'll want a cut of meat that has a little bit of fat in it so that your dog can reap the benefits of the boost of energy from the fat source and so it makes the meal more appetizing. Too much fat though can lead to weight gain. Choose a cut that's around 95% lean (whether chicken or beef or fish or whatever your prefer)
Bones: 5% of the meal. You can include this in the lean muscle meat if the cut comes with bone on it or you can buy bone separately. Either way, bone is vital to your dog's health. Bones contain calcium and phosphorus to maintain their own bone health. It also helps support their nervous system. Great options here are turkey legs, tail bones, whole fish, etc. But, should you choose to go with ground meat for your lean muscle, you can always buy raw bone separately. One important disclaimer: always use raw bones and not cooked bones - cooked bones can splinter and become a choking hazard.
Organ meat: 10% of the meal. Organ meat is densely packed with vitamins and minerals including almost all B vitamins, copper, magnesium, iron, phosophorus, and the list goes on. Organ meat also has one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin D in almost any food source. Organ meat can come from livers (in small quantities and in rotation), sweetbread and beef heart. It sounds way more gross than it actually is.
Vegetables/fruits: 5% of the meal. Micronutrients are key. A raw food diet should not mean just putting a piece of t-bone steak into your dog's bowl. Your dog will end up missing key nutrients in dark leafy greens or missing out on antioxidants found in things like blueberries. It's worth experimenting to figure out what your dog likes best for the fruit and vegetable source. You can always top meals with canned pumpkin or a couple of blueberries. For any leafy greens like spinach or kale, it's often best to blend them up to aid your dog's digestion and nutrient absorption.
Portion sizing: This one is important because you want your dog to have enough food to be full of energy, but not too much such that they gain weight. In Raw and Natural Nutiriton for Dogs, Lew Olson argues that your dog should eat about 15% of their bodyweight every week.
Now that we have the basics in place, here are some of our favorite raw feeding accounts on Instagram for recipe and meal inspiration. Warning: they're a little graphic, but since you're already into raw feeding, it probably shouldn't shock you too much: