People new to raw feeding all have the same questions "how do I start?" "what exactly do I feed?" and "how much do I feed?". All too often, people are not given the information or confidence they need to begin and this is an unfortunate barrier to getting their pet off kibble and onto a raw diet especially if their veterinarian is against it. Below is a break down of the necessities in a raw fed pet's diet. We recommend feeding a balance over time and try to aim for the following ratio
80% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat, can also include heart meat and green tripe
10% edible bone
5% other organ meat
So for example 375g of food a day would equal
300g meat, sinew, ligaments, fat, heart meat, green tripe
37.5g edible bone
18.75g other organ meat
These measurements don’t have to be exact .
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What to Feed
Muscle meat should make up a total of 80% of your pets diet. This can be in the form of ground proteins or whole proteins. Muscle meat supplies protein and fat, which in turn supply energy for your pet. It also contains water, vitamins, minerals and all the essential amino acids necessary for dogs and cats of all ages, including growing, pregnant, lactating females, and of course active and not so active pets. Protein supplies amino acids, which help build hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage and are a very important part of your pet's diet. It also plays a key role in producing hormones and enzymes that help to regulate daily basic functions. Muscle meat is low in sodium and high in potassium which is good news for pets with heart problems. Proteins with the highest potassium levels are pork while chicken has the lowest. That makes pork a great all around meat for pets with heart problems. Beef, lamb, chicken, and pork are all very low in calcium and moderately low in magnesium this means they are great for pets prone to bladder stones. The lack of minerals and calcium in muscle meat alone is why it is important to also feed bonea in your pet's diet.
Heart is considered a muscle and not an organ and is a very important part of your pet's diet. Beef heart contains selenium, phosphorus and zinc, along with essential amino acids that help build muscle, store energy and boost stamina and endurance. It also contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat which is important for healthy joints. It is an excellent source of protein, B vitamins and iron. It contains some essential fatty acids and vitamin A. It contains a great level of taurine, which is a very important food for the heart and is also a VERY important part of a raw fed cat's diet.
Bones are living tissue composed of living cells because of this they are a complex source of a wide variety of nutrients. They contain minerals, which are embedded in protein, fat and fat soluble vitamins. They are a great source of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. The central part of most bones contain marrow, which is a highly nutritious source of blood forming elements. They also provide natural antioxidants, including enzymes. Pets fed bone rarely suffer from indigestion or diarrhea. Bones play a similar role to fiber which helps remove toxins promoting bowel health. Pet's fed bones are long lived healthy animals that seem to be particularly free of degenerative diseases. Common bones can include chicken backs, chicken wings, turkey necks, pork necks, ox tails, lamb necks and beef necks just to name a few. If you are feeding meaty parts you can feed them alone, if your choices are bonier (such as chicken backs) then you will need to add meat or heart to correct the ratios. You are trying to replicate whole prey so look at what you're feeding and visualize the actual bone content, you are aiming for 10%. Never feed cooked bones of any type they become harder and very dangerous as they can splinter and pierce the stomach or intestines. Raw bones are soft enough to bend and digest easily. Dogs have highly acidic stomachs which are perfect for digesting raw bones. Avoid weight bearing bones like leg and knuckle bones of larger animals such as beef as well as vertebrae. These bones are dense and can fracture or break teeth. All bones should be supervised during feeding and remember NEVER cook bones.