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How to raw feed your dog

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Posted by on April 15, 2011

Nothing inspires writing like lots of comments after posting. The topic of raw feeding seems to have hit a nerve with many of you, and I’m so glad to help “feed” the need!

Jumping into a raw food diet seems to cause many a bit of anxiety: how do I know how much to feed? Will Rufus’s digestive system go berserk? I thought bones can get stuck and can kill our pet?

Let’s clear up one main misunderstanding about our pets: they are descendants of wild animals, like wolves, and their digestive systems still work the same way. They have no problem with bones as long as they are RAW (uncooked), and they have no problem with the bacteria on raw meats, as their digestive system can handle it. Did Fluffy ever bury a piece of meat in the backyard only to drag it out several days later steaming in a ripe aroma? She has basically just fermented the meat, by burying it, and will not suffer one day off of work because of it. Their digestive systems are much tougher than ours. Have no fear.

Raw feeding your pet is about the easiest feeding method, ever!

After feeding your dog this way, you’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t do this. So where do you start? How about at the grocery store: people food makes great doggie food.

What to feed Fido

Meaty bones and some organ meats are what make up the mainstay of a raw diet. You can also add in raw eggs in the shell and some veggies/fruit for occasional treats. Supplements like brewers yeast, Vitamin E and fish oil are personal choices. There seem to be many people who don’t and many that do. You can add them in to see if they make a change in your pet’s coat, but just like humans–it’s a personal choice.

What kinds of meaty bones

What do I mean by meaty bones? Meat…on the bone. Great for humans, great for pets. Pork, lamb and chicken necks, pork chops, chicken parts (breast, legs, thigh), all cuts of beef. I really look for any type of meat (including venison from my hunter husband) and any cut– as long as it has bones in it, it is raw (skin on) and it’s inexpensive.

Some of the cheapest cuts of meat, like those used for soups, are great for our dogs.

Yes, the whole piece of meat!

Yup, the whole enchilada. Take the meat out of the package–the whole chicken leg, let’s say–put it in your pet’s bowl, and watch them chow down. The first time you watch them use their powerful jaws to chew up those bones, a new kind of respect will overtake you. For the first time, you will realize that your dog is a full fledged member of the canine clan….and NOT a human.

How much do I feed my pet?

This question can be a bit tricky. Not hard, just tricky for me to figure out for you and your dog. I have a cocker spaniel. He’s about 25 pounds. I feed him two chicken legs in the morning and a pork chop, let’s say, at night. The next day I might give him an egg in the shell (I crack it slightly) and about a cup full of gizzards.

There are sites that offer equations, but that’s too cerebral for me. I watch his weight and adjust as needed. I sometimes give him a carrot or apple skin as a treat, but I don’t feel they need them: it just tastes good and is fun for them.

I never feed my dog ANY grains….ever.

Humans have their own issues with grains, and certainly our carnivorous friends don’t need them in their diet.


My pup seems to give a shrug when I offer it, but by all means give it a try. Occasionally, I’ll give some cooked fish (he LOVES it) as a treat, but I stick with the raw meats.

I’ll be writing more on the topic in future posts, but please feel free to contact me with any questions. Do you raw feed your dog already? Leave a comment and tell everyone some of the details!

14 Responses to How to raw feed your dog

  1. Ed Umbaugh

    I have an Irish Terrier that was rasised on a raw food diet and she is very healthy. Now she gets a wide variety of foods and is still very healthy. I don’t quite get the no grains ever attidue though. When dogs kill a herbivor the offten eat the whole thing if it is small. If it is larger, a deer for example, the stomach contents is eaten with relish, gain and all.

    • nourishingnancy

      Hey Ed! Thanks for reading. The ‘no grains ever attitude’ is not an attitude at all, but a very important fact that nature teaches us. If you were to observe wolves, they have been seen opening up the stomach sack, allowing the contents to fall out, before ingesting the organ. Besides the fact that even if they do eat the contents, on occasion, it has fermented inside of the animal. The fermenting, or soaking, of grains can make a major difference in the health of animals…humans included.
      It sounds like you might be having some feelings of guilt for abandoning your dog’s original diet. No reason for bad feelings, just be aware that the effects of giving a dog a less than optimal diet is not often noticed immediately: it is the years of this that can alter the health of your pet.

  2. Alicia

    I am transitioning to this right now…I had bought some “healthy dog food” at the grocery store in the frozen section months ago and figured I would use that up first..

    I have 2 Maltese dogs. The biggest difference for them right now is we usually left their bowls out with the dry dog food in them…they are not use to the bowls not being there. Dusty has been sitting by the water bowl looking pitiful….and when I feed him, he has been inhaling his food. I know that when I give him the chicken legs which I think will be tomorrow, I am going to have to hold it so he doesn’t try to inhale it too fast.

    My husband is not too sure of this…but he is allowing me to try it…They have skin allergies so I am anxious to see how this helps.

    I had bought some chicken legs in the store and have them individually frozen in my freezer….

    Looking forward to the adventure!


    • nourishingnancy

      Hi Alicia. Funny how you can switch raw feeding your mutual pet with breast feeding a new baby: if it’s not been done before, there is always either the partner or a close relative that has many doubts that shake the confidence of the original sense to do the beneficial deed.
      Have faith, friend….all will work out fine. Follow your instincts! The wolfing down thing might even slow down once you begin this diet. Good luck and keep in touch!

      • Alicia

        Yes, it is! But my husband is getting used to my “off the wall” tendencies…;) I have changed our diet so much over the last year, he just shakes his head:0) So he knew it was just a matter of time, and this is something I had mentioned before…I think his biggest concern is the cost…and I know it can actually be cheaper by getting marked down meats and such…my husband and our 2 sons are also hunters, so I am looking forward to your next post! Thanks again!

        • nourishingnancy

          Girlfriend….you’re right ON that wall!! Good food is good for the body/good for the soul! Doggies too. Keep up the great work, Alicia. On the hunting thing: I used to be a vegetarian! Now I look forward to my husband’s hunting runs: More amazingly healthy meat! Tell your hunters good luck!

          • Alicia

            Thanks! The hunters are getting ready for turkey season-first day for junior hunt is Saturday…;) My husband is actually getting on board now… You are right, you do have a new respect when you see them crunching through the bones!! Love it! It is so funny to see them get excited to eat.

            How/where do you feed your dog? In a crate?
            I think I am going to invest in a couple of pet taxis to feed them in…so it doesn’t get all over my floor. That will be easier to clean up! ;) I have been holding the chicken while they eat and the “wolfing down” has stopped. Yay!

            Looking forward to your next post!

  3. Barb

    We’re transitioning to this right now. My dogs, and cats, get grain free pet food and are supplimented with raw. We can get meaty, marrow and rib beef bones- a large (think gorcery store bag) bag for $4. I can’t afford to be choosy with grassfed, organic, etc. (non-factory farmed). My dogs wont’ eat factory liver raw so I JUST brown it. They get raw yolks form my organic free range ladies. And our grocery store has a ‘reduced for quick ale’ section in the meat dept. and they mark stuff down CHEAP. Chicken wings, pieces and steak, usually under $2 a pkg. I can get fish craps for .99/lb including salmon. One of my dogs in particularl loves raw veggies and KRAUT…

    • nourishingnancy

      Lovely, Barb! You are bringing up several things I will post in the next installment. You’re beating me to the punch. LOL.
      I also go for the store bought, factory farmed stuff : ( But I think the fact that the live enzymes are there, is very important. My pup does get some real grass fed though: Wild harvested venison–my husband is a hunter.
      And, the same goes for my dog with liver. Perhaps that’s a sense they have about not eating the factory farmed liver. Ouch. Those packages are “organic” too! Just goes to show ya.
      Thanks for the good word, Barb.

  4. Kathy

    Hi, I don’t raw feed, but do feed grain free dog food. I have been curious about this for a long time though. I do wonder about the raw chicken. I have always been told that chicken and pork bones (like in pork chops) shouldn’t be given to dogs as they splinter too easily and can get stuck in the throat (this actually happened to my great aunt’s dog back in the day). Anyway I’m wondering what you can tell me about those types of bones and splintering and getting stuck in their throats as it’s a concern of mine. Thanks!

    • nourishingnancy

      Hi Kathy! Yes COOKED chicken and pork bones can and will splinter and cause potential health risks–Not RAW. That’s the major distinction. I can’t stress that enough. The meats must be raw when fed to your puppy/dog/cat. The point is that raw meat is ablaze with live enzymes that help your pet’s digestive system. My cocker (and he’s small–about 20 pounds) gets all raw chicken and pork, raw, bones and all. Amazing to watch them eat! You’ll have a new found respect for your pup. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Kathy

    Also, can you just go from kibbles to raw food or is their some kind of transitioning that has to be done to prime their digestive systesm?

    My German Shepherd has had skin allergies and IBS type problems ever since we adopted him. He is now perminantly on a medicine called Tylan to help with intestional inflamation and to reduce his small bowel bacterial overgrowth. I’m really not thrilled with giving him low dose antibiotics perminantely but nothing else has worked so far and he was loosing weight quickly as everything was just pouring of of the other end too quickly and this has at least stablized him and added on some weight. It has also gotten rid of the pus in his skin sores and reduced the amount of skin sores.

    I know antibiotics go after the good bacteria as well as the bad too so his good bacteria population probably isn’t all that great. How do you think this medicine might affect a raw diet as well?

    • nourishingnancy

      Wow, Kathy, that’s a lot going on with poor shepherd. I’m not a vet, so my experience is with healthy dogs. His digestive system might need some help first. I couldn’t be sure. I would think that giving him some probiotics would be vital to his health. Perhaps then you could get him off of the antibiotics. Let me know how he’s doing.

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