How to make a balanced homemade raw diet for your dog

Raw food prey model diet

 

There are so many types of diets around, hundreds of possible ingredients, and all dogs really are individuals.

What may work for you and your dog is not going to work for someone else.

Prey model raw is one of the most common ways homemade dog foodies formulate their diets, and it’s a good diet if done right, and to do it right, you need to add lots of variety of ingredients- well, organs.

The prey model diet is based around replicating the natural diet your dog would eat in the wild. Like what a wolf would eat. Its trying to mimic the nutrients found in whole natural prey. Whole prey isn’t just lean meat, bones, liver and kidney. There are eyeballs, testicles, viscera, digestive tract contents, brains, pancreas etc etc… So be prepared to get good with anatomy and body parts, and getting comfortable with talking to your butcher, local hunter, or farmer.

 

Basic principles of the prey model diet

The most simple way to feed a raw prey style diet, is to make up their diet on the 80:10:5:5 this gives 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other offal.

Offal is essential in this type of diet, as its where most of the micro-nutrients are going to come from. If you don’t want to feed offal, you need to choose another style of feeding, or be prepared to supplement a lot.

In this type of diet, you base their meal requirements around 2-3% of their body weight.

For example, lets work with a 20kg dog. They require their food intake to be 2-3% of 20kg, or 400g-600g daily intake. This is going to vary as to your dogs individual energy requirements. An overweight dog you are trying to shed some weight from, can go 1.5%, and a highly active dog can require as much as 5%. you will know your dog best. Also, its important to keep a close eye on your dog. Learn to condition score them. If they are getting a little lean, increase their intake. If they are putting on too much weight, drop their percentage down.

Sample Diet breakdown 20kg dog

Total diet (grams) 80% muscle meat 10% bone 5% liver 5% other offal
2% 400 320g 40g 20g 20g
2.5% 500 400g 50g 25g 25g
3% 600 480g 60g 30g 30g

This is based on a wet weight, so fresh meats and organs. You cannot replace with dehydrated organs without changing the maths.

Bones need to be raw

It is really important to remember the bone needs to be raw, which is easily digested and absorbed. If they are not digesting and absorbing the bone (when you see bone fragments in the stool) they are not absorbing the calcium out of it.

You can also track how well they are coping with the bone content, and seeing if the need more, or less based on their stool. A small, white, hard to pass stool has too much bone. A soft or runny poo can have too little bone.

Although soft stools can be caused by many things. Including a change in diet, parasites, infection.

Organs are not all created equally

The organs used for the 5% organ needs to be a secreting organ. These are like the kidneys, testicles, pancreas, thymus, brain. Other offal, like heart, tongue, gizzard fall into the 80% portion of the meat. These meaty organs are not going to give as much nutrients as the secreting organs. But its important to add them in.

Variety is the spice of life!

And don’t forget the liver! You must add in the liver. Think of liver as the super king of nutrition for your dog.

Commercially produced animals just ain’t wild game

The problem I find when formulating the diet around these principles, dogs are not getting enough variety, and they are also eating feed-lot meat, and commercial poultry, which is a far cry from the lean, fit, wild caught game animals. A farmed rabbit is going to have a different nutritional content than a wild rabbit.

Wild animals have different fast twitch muscle, which is high in omega 3 fatty acids. They are lean, and they are eating their natural diet. Their farm raised counterparts are fat, with high omega 6 fat levels. They are not the same nutritionally when fed to your dog.

When I run the numbers through my computer program, they are often falling short of essential nutrients. SO I like to base a diet on these guidelines, but then add a few extras to make up the shortfalls created by farming practices, and lack of variety.

A sample for a 20kg dog

 

For a dog that needs more energy, increase their intake to 3%, when using the prey model diet, so base it on a 600g meal.

400g chuck steak/ lamb offcuts- lean

25g liver

25g kidney

I egg- with shell (can be crushed up and mixed with the meat)

3 oysters

20g of greens- spinach/dandelion/ parsley or other herbs that take your fancy lightly wilted/ finely chopped/ juiced or pureed

Pinch kelp

This falls a little short on vitamin D and E, so I actually add in 100IU of vitamin D- They need 170IU daily, but will be getting some from the oysters and egg and liver, and 8.5mg Vitamin E.

Vitamin E and Vitamin D are fat soluble vitamins, which mean they are stored in the body, so just because a little is good, a lot is not better.

The egg shell can be replaced with 10%, or 50g of raw meaty bone

Eggshell powder

For those dogs that can eat around the crushed egg shell- make some egg shell powder. this is much easier to hide in a food, and much harder to eat around.

 

NO to offal!!

Some dogs flat out refuse to eat offal. You can try feeding the offal portion frozen, or you can try hiding it. If they wont eat it for love nor money, you are going to have to supplement with a multivitamin and mineral.

What about the Veg?

Some people like to use a higher vegetable base to their diets. I like to use vegetables as a bit of a topper. Some wilted spinach, or blended greens. They cant digest greens unless they are processed in some form.

However when displacing a lot of meat from the diet with vegetables, you will need to add in more supplements, as vegetables are not as nutritious for your dog.

Some dogs with really high energy requirements that cannot tolerate too much fat might also benefit from a little sweet potato, or other carby vegetable, which can be a cheaper alternative to adding in more meat. Sometimes I think we all need shares in a dog food meat farm!

 

 

 

 

 

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