If you are like most dog owners, you are nervous to make the first raw meal for your pup.
We surely understand.
Firstly, it’s important to remember that making the switch to a raw food diet can be a great thing for your pup. Remember, in the wild, dogs hunt their prey – as mother nature intended.
So, the truth is while many manufacturers boast about the nutritional value of their kibble, nothing beats the nutritional value of raw food.
So, we know it can be daunting to start your dog on a raw diet, but don’t let that stop you; let’s help you with your first 5 healthy recipes that you can do right at home.
Raw Food Basics
Now before we get into it, it’s important to discuss some raw food basics or essentials.
Because it’s not just about feeding your dog raw food, you need to be able to recreate a balanced diet when you switch your dog to raw. For a complete introduction and guide to switching your dog to raw, check out our book ‘Switch Your Dog To A Raw Diet – The Complete Guide’.
The 5:1:1 Formula
The 5:1:1 is a ratio that can be used to create a balanced diet for your dog. The ratio represents a healthy proportional combination of ingredients:
Five Parts Of Lean Muscle Meat On Bone: Meat on bone or good mince with some cartilage and bone should be a large part of your dog’s raw diet. Good sources of lean meat include chicken, duck, turkey or beef.
One Part Of Fresh Organ Meat: Fresh, healthy organ meats including liver and kidney. Be careful not to feed your dog too much liver though.
One Part Of Cooked Vegetables: Leafy vegetables are good, but not essential.
Of course, you can modify this ratio a bit to suit the needs of your pup, especially if it has some form of illness or nutritional deficiency. In any case the basic 5:1:1 rule is a good start.
The Components Of A Good Raw Diet
So, we already mentioned the 5:1:1 ratio which specifies the combination of lean meat, bone, organ meat and vegetables that your dog should be consuming. That’s a general start, now let’s take a specific look at the specific components so that you can know what to avoid so as to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients it needs to live well and thrive.
1. Lean Muscle Meat
In the wild, dogs will mostly consume meat and so meat is the foundation of every raw meal. However, it’s important that you don’t feed your dog too much fatty meats. Lean raw meat is the best type of meat for your pup to enjoy and remain healthy.
On the other hand, pork is generally fatty all over (except for pork loins) and so we don’t normally recommend feeding your dog meats like pork (except for the loins).
Many dog owners end up feeding their dog fatty meats because the fatty cuts tend to be cheaper than leaner alternatives. However, it’s important to remember that too much fat intake can lead to excessive weight gain.
This doesn’t mean you want to get rid of fat completely, but you want to reduce it to about 10% of your dog’s meat intake. Good lean meat options are pork loin, chicken breasts, and wild game.
Bones bones bones. Give a dog a bone!
How many times have we seen cartoons with dogs searching for bones? Dogs love bones! In fact, its very important for your dog to consumes bone and cartilage because they contain calcium and phosphorous which your dog needs to maintain healthy bones and a strong nervous system.
It’s very important however that you don’t feed your dog splintered bones. Either feed them boneless meat or meat with intact bones that won’t easily splinter.
Great sources of bones include chicken wings, chicken legs, turkey legs, tail bones, and neck. Another great source of calcium is eggs.
3. Whole Organs
Dogs are scavenging carnivores. They are meat eaters. When dogs are eating prey, they waste very little of it – except the stomach contents. This is unlike cats who tend to nibble for the very best bits only.
The best whole organ options are livers, kidneys, spleens, heart and brains. These can certainly do wonders for your dog!
HOWEVER, it is very important that you don’t feed your dog too much liver. This is because livers are normally high in vitamin A which can lead to diarrhea. Also, note that you can feed your dog intestines as well – but ensure they are clean!
We all know that fish is a great source of protein. Another wonderful benefit of fish is fish oil which contains omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids are very important for keeping your dog’s skin and coat supple and healthy. In addition, it plays an important role in keeping your dog’s heart healthy.
5. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables aren’t absolutely essential for your dog’s diet, but it’s a good idea to throw in some every now and then. One of the biggest benefits of fruits and vegetables if fiber. Fiber will help to keep your dog’s digestive system churning as it should.
While the main component of your dog’s diet should always be meat, you can throw in some vegetables as well. Plant-based ingredients aren’t required.
For many dog owners, it’s simply a matter of personal preference. However, vegetables can offer a number of benefits. In addition, they include important probiotics and antioxidants.
Before you go ahead and add veggies to your dog’s diet, ensure it is safe to do so first. In addition, for vegetables, don’t feed them quite raw. It’s important that you boil vegetables properly before feeding same to your dog. This will break down the fiber to digestible forms.
What About Carbs?
In general, dogs don’t depend on carbs for their nutritional needs. You can however treat your dogs to a small bit of boiled or soaked porridge (oats) or boiled sweet potato with skin on.
However, the more popular forms of carbs such as wheat, rice, corn of any kind or white potatoes should really be avoided. Cereals that digest rapidly should be avoided as well.
What You Will Need
Considering that most of these recipes will make food that can last for a long time (about 2 weeks to a month). You will need the following:
• A large basin: For holding and mixing the ingredients
• Meat: Enough for 2 to 4 weeks
• Freezer space: Ensure you have enough freezer space to hold the items. Otherwise, proportion as necessary.
• Rubber gloves: Ensure your rubber gloves are safe to handle food
• Large freezer bags: Get freezer bags or big 4-5kg lunch boxes to store the food
• Antibacterial wipes: Remember, you will be working with raw meat, so you will need to wipe things down after preparation
#1. Simplest & Longest Lasting: Basic Raw All Mixed Up
This recipe is for those who want a simple recipe that’s easy to prepare and will last a long time. Now this recipe will make 14kg of raw dog food or about 30 pounds. Now before you go crazy, we will admit that’s a lot of meat! However, you can separate it into daily portions and kept in the freezer until you are ready. This I a great option for working class people who don’t have the time to prepare meals for their dogs daily.
In any case, 14 kg is about one freezer drawer in a medium to large fridge when packed away if you pack carefully and economically.
• Chopped or Minced Meats: 22 pounds (10 kilograms) of minced meat with bone
• Organ Meat: 4.5 pound (2 kilograms) of organs
• Par-cooked Vegetables: 4.5 pound (2 kilograms) of vegetables
The following additions aren’t entirely necessary, but are great for improving taste and overall nutritional value:
• Eggs: 3-6 whole raw eggs
• Kelp Power: A few tablespoons of kelp powder or gluten free brewers yeast
• Oils: 3 tablespoons of oils whether it’s cod liver, flax or hemp oil. You don’t necessarily need this is your dog’s diet is rich in fish.
1. We will start off by getting the minces and organ meats and putting them into the mixing tub. Ensure they are cut up in bite size pieces
2. The next step will be par-cooking the vegetables until they’re soft. You can boil them until they are mushy if you prefer
3. Now time or the additions. You don’t necessarily need then – just add the additions as you may prefer
4. Allow the vegetables to cool down completely
5. Now mix everything up with your gloved hand or a large spoon
6. Now for additions such as eggs, those may be added as you are dishing out the meal daily
7. Now package in a lunchbox and store away in the fridge
#2. Best On A Budget: Organ Patty Cakes
Organ minces are generally cheaper than meat chops. This is because organ parts are normally grounded and sold in bulk as ‘refuse’ parts.
However, due to the fact that organs don’t contain bones nor cartilage, you cannot use it as a substitute for lean meat/bone. Also, you should not offer it to your dogs as an everyday meat replacement. Instead, this should be used as a delicious treat or variety option.
• 4 ounces (113 grams) of beef hearts
• 4 ounces (113 grams) of kidneys
• 4 ounces (113 grams) of gizzards
• 4 ounces (113 grams) of liver
• 2 tablespoons (16 grams) of precooked vegetables
• 1 raw egg
1. Start by chopping up the organs into fine pieces. Additionally, you can use a food processor to mince them up
2. Do the same with the vegetables
3. Mix everything together in your bowl. Add the raw egg with the shell
4. Form the mixture into raw cakes or patties and place them in the freezer until you are ready to feed your dog
#3. Best Fish Recipe: Fish Fillet Wonder
Fish is a versatile ingredient that offers all the nutrients your dog needs. This recipe uses fillets and canned meat as the base.
You can feed your dog just about any type of fish, however some popular options include salmon pike, mackerel, ocean whitefish, Lake Whitefish, herring, walleye and flounder. It’s important to remember that when you are preparing fish for your dog, you do not add seasonings like salt and pepper. Also, please remember that you should only use boneless fillet and inspect the fish just to make sure.
• For this recipe, we will be using mackerel or whiting fish fillet. Get 2 pounds (907 grams) of your chosen fish
• We will also be using 2 cans of Alaskan pink salmon
• 8 ounces (227 grams) of beef liver
• 1-3 eggs
• 10 and 1/2 ounces (300 grams) of mixed vegetables
• 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of kelp powder
• 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of honey
1. Start by chopping the vegetables into small pieces and boil them until they’re fully softened
2. Allow the vegetables to cool down completely
3. Ground up the fish, liver, and vegetables in a meat grinder or food processor
4. Finally, add in the eggs with shells, honey, and kelp powder
#4. Best Chicken Recipe: Chicken Chop Craze
When we say raw meat, you probably think chicken. Chicken is very popular and very easy to come by. It’s cheap as well.
With this recipe, we will use cheap parts of the chicken – neck and various organs to create a healthy mix.
With this recipe, you will have food lasting for several weeks.
• 40 pounds (18.1 kilograms) of chicken necks
• 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of chicken hearts
• 5 pounds (2.25 kilograms) of chicken livers
• 2 cans of pink salmon
• 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of carrots
• 1/2 a bunch of red cabbage
• 1 beet
• 2 apples (seeds removed)
• 1/2 a bunch of fresh spinach
1. Cut or chop up the chicken to bite-sized pieces
2. Next chop up the fruits and vegetables
3. Lightly cook the fruits and vegetables
4. Wait until thy cooked items are cool
5. Now mix in the meat with the fruits and vegetables
6. You could also just run all the ingredients in a food processor to create a mince
7. Serve or store in the fridge until you are ready to use
#5. Best For One-Off Meals: Turkey and Vegetable Mash
With this recipe, we will be using ground turkey.
Now, normally ground turkey does not contain bones or cartilage. Because of this, this meal is best suited for a one-time meal to add some variety to your dog’s diet. You can offer this meal to your dog during the week for example.
• 2 pounds (907 grams) of ground turkey meat
• 4 ounces (113 grams) of turkey liver
• 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of olive oil
• 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of cauliflower
• 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of broccoli
• 1/2 of zucchini
• 2 medium-sized carrots
1. Chop up the vegetables into small pieces and boil them
2. Then, put them through a food processor until they turn into a soft mash
3. The livers should also be chopped up into smaller pieces
4. Mix the vegetables and meats together to create a mince
#6. Best Meat Variety: Red Velvet Meaty Mix
Maybe you have several different meat kids lying around – beef, lamb, mutton and you want to use them all. The recipe uses chopped beef or lamb and a vegetable option.
Please note that this is one of the only times in which we will recommend rice. As you will note, this is brown rice and not any other type. In any case, carbs should always be offered to dogs in moderation.
• 8.8 ounces (250 grams) of lamb or beef
• 5 ounces (150 grams) of chopped carrots
• 5 ounces (150 grams) of chopped apples
• 1 ounce (28 grams) peas
• 8 ounces (225 grams) of chopped pumpkin
• 3 ounces (90 grams) of brown rice
• 4 teaspoons (19 milliliters) of sunflower oil
• 4 grams of fish oil
1. Begin by cooking the rice and pumpkin together
2. Now boil the carrots and peas in separate pots until they are soft
3. Wait until the vegetables are cool
4. Mix the vegetables and apples together
5. Mix in the meat option
6. Store until ready to use
We hope you enjoyed reading through our recipes. We also hope that you found a few that are optimal for your dog and your own lifestyle. Again, it is important to remember that dogs are naturally scavenging carnivores and were made to consume food in this way. If you need more information on how to switch your dogs to a raw diet, please check out our complete guide to switching your dog to raw: