For the vast majority of people, we recommend feeding complete formulas. They contain everything the dog needs, but if you want to DIY things, we hope this will help.
The diet should be made up of 80% meat, 10% offal (5% liver, 5% other) and 10% bone.
How much to feed?
Dogs should be fed 2-3% of their ideal body weight. If they are not in optimal body condition (over or underweight) then do not calculate from their actual weight, but rather the weight that they should be.
Puppies should be fed at least 4-6% of their ideal body weight.
The lower percentages are considered the “maintain” rate and you shouldn’t ever feed your dog less than this amount. It is completely normal for dogs' appetites to fluctuate. If they don’t eat the daily amount, don’t worry, they will likely eat over the daily amount later in the week.
Ideally, Puppies can even be fed in higher percentages, that lover with the age of the pup.
Meat, Bone and Offal
Many companies “formulas” or “completes” which are designed to contain all the bone, offal and meat in the correct ratios. If a formula or complete contains fruit and veg, a slightly higher amount should be fed.
For DIY feeders, meat is sometimes sold as boneless, or as meat and bone. The percentage of bone differs between brands. Nature's menu Freeflow contains around 40% bone, so this would have to be diluted with boneless meat to make the 90% of the dog’s daily intake.
Certain Nutriment “formulas” do not contain offal (salmon mixes) so on the day these are fed, it is important to feed 90% formula with and add 10% offal.
For the purposes of raw feeding:
5% of the offal intake must be liver, the other 5% can be also liver or another item on the above list.
Dried offal, such as liver, can be fed as treats or as part of the meal, but it must be accounted for in the daily allowance. The dried amount must be a maximum of ⅓ of the allowed allocated raw amount. So, if a dog’s allowed offal amount is 60g per day, you could feed 20g of dried/dehydrated liver rather than 60g raw.
If the dog is being fed animal portions, chicken thigh for example, the bone to meat ratio must be taken into account.
So, a dog weighing 20kg (feeding 2% maintain weight) needs:
If feeding a chicken thigh as part of the meal, this needs to be weighed. Let's say the whole thigh with bone weighs 150g. Following the above guide, 22.5g of the thigh is bone and 127.5g is meat. This would mean that the dog needs another 17.5g of bone and another 192.5g of meat in their daily food bowl.
As all pieces of meat with differ, so they will need to be weighed.
If the dog’s allowance is split over 2 or three meals, not all meals have to be balanced in the 80/10/10 ratio. A large bone may be fed in the morning, with boneless meat making up the evening meal for example.
Always be guided by a dogs poo when feeding bone. Too much will lead to poo becoming white and crumbly and my cause constipation. If this occurs, add more boneless meat into the diet.
It is also very beneficial to make sure that the dog is being offered at least 4-5 different proteins on rotation regularly. The more the better!
Feeding Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and veg can have beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is important to be aware of sugar levels, so more leafy greens than say carrots which are high in sugar. Dogs struggle to break vegetables down, so for them to get the most out of the nutrients, they should be blitzed to a fine texture. Fruit and veg amounts can be fed up to 20% of the daily allowed weight.
They then may be fed up to 80g of fruit and veg per day on top of the above allowance.
Fish and Eggs
It is recommended to feed oily fish and eggs a few times a week rather than daily. They should always be fed on top of the daily meat allowance.
The maximum allowance for oily fish, is to feed a daily allowance spread over the space of a week. So, if a dog weighs 20kg and has a daily allowance of 400g, the maximum added oily fish allowance would be 400g over the space of a week. Ideally, you would feed a little less than this.
It is not recommended to feed tinned fish.
Buying meat for DIY
A lot of places sell raw food. Whilst all will have to adhere to strict guidelines, it is worth noting that only some companies are registered with PFMA (Pet Foods Manufacturing Agency).
Meat and bone products can absolutely be bought from “human” suppliers, supermarkets, butchers etc but all products must be frozen for at least 10 days to kill any bacteria or parasites.