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7 Best Raw Dog Food Recipes

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Choosing to feed your dog homemade raw dog food is big step and should not be taken lightly. For those new to homemade and/or raw feeding, this can be a stressful and difficult decision, because of the many risks raw food diets may have. But when done correctly, raw dog food recipes can be one of the most healthy dietary changes you'll make for your pet.

Staying objectiveBest Raw Dog Food Recipes

There's a lot of talk about raw feeding and how this diet is based on the way dogs' ancestors survived in the wild. But it's important not to romanticize raw dog food diets. With all the advantages, like any other type of food, they also have their negatives. It's no secret that it takes more time to make homemade meals, it can be more costly, and bacterial contamination is a big concern when not doing it correctly.

For the uninitiated, raw feeding is exactly what it sounds like: a diet that consists of uncooked and unprocessed ingredients. Because the foods are raw and haven't been tampered with, that means they are natural and wholesome, and when prepared right, will be the best choice for your dog.

Foods in raw dog food recipes most commonly include: meat, eggs, seeds, nuts, grains, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, dried fruits (with no additives) and some others.

Before we delve into some of the best raw dog food recipes for you to try, let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of preparing raw dog food recipes for your furry pal. There are many recipes out there, but not all of them are safe or appropriate for all dogs.

MORE: Raw Diet for Dogs 101 – The Ultimate Guide

7 Best Raw Dog Food Recipes

Raw Dog Food Recipes

The Drawbacks of Raw Food

Feeding raw dog food isn't the easiest thing to do, but it can be accomplished with the right information. There are many positive aspects to this diet that improve the dog's health, as witnessed by many dog owners, but it's not without its drawbacks either.

Just as there are many pet owners noticing positive health effects from raw feeding in their dogs, there's about just as many people who dislike this diet and after trying it went back to commercial dog foods, or simply cooking homemade dog food meals that aren't raw. Maggie from OhMyDogBlog.com shares her experience with raw feeding and why she doesn't do it, and Meagan from Collared-Scholar.com shares her experience here.

In majority of cases, it all comes down a few same reasons:

Raw feeding can be time-consuming.

Whichever raw dog food recipes you decide to use, it will never match the convenience of dry dog kibble. Dry food is simply easier to use. That’s why people love it – you buy it and you pour it into your dog’s food bowl. For a lot of busy dog owners, preparing homemade meals is just too much hassle.

It can be more expensive.

Preparing raw dog food is generally a bit more expensive than buying commercial dog food brands. It depends entirely on what ingredients you are using, of course, but assuming you are feeding your dog with high quality and diverse foods, it will usually cost you more, and there's no way around it.

The end result of quality depends on you.

A lot of dog owners fail to make properly nutritious homemade raw dog food meals for their pets. This is often because they are misinformed or mislead by websites and so-called “dog food specialists” that don’t know what they are talking about. It's a very dangerous practice.

A few years ago the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) examined 200 homemade dog food recipes from websites and veterinarians alike. Of the 200 recipes, only 9 matched the NRC’s requirements for a high-quality dog food. You can find most of their studies online in AVMA library. Here's a 2013 Stockman et al. study and here's a 2012 Larsen et al. study.

Official Conclusion: Many problems with nutritional adequacy were detected, and use of the recipes could result in highly variable and often inappropriate diets. Many recipes would not meet nutritional and clinical needs of individual patients and should be used cautiously for long-term feeding.

The general consensus among veterinarians is that they are usually not supportive of raw feeding dogs, mostly because they do not trust pet owners to make the right choices.

Bacterial contamination is a real concern.

Yes, dogs are much more resistant to things such as Salmonella and E. coli germs than we are and bacterial contamination is quite rare for dogs. Still, it should be mentioned that it’s a risk with using raw dog food recipes and that caution should be used. That said, if you know the source of your meats, and buy USDA certified organic and prepare it correctly, the chances of contamination are very low.

And a few more things must be considered.

There are more aspects of raw dog food, and homemade dog food recipes in general that you'll need to take into account. Two of our writers have previously reasons why you should feed raw and why you shouldn't, many of which are very valid. Finally, Kimberly from KeepTheTailWagging.com, a proponent of raw feeding and a great source of information on this subject, gives five more important reasons that you should consider.

With everything above considered, if you’ve decided to feed your dog with homemade raw food, make sure you inform yourself about all the specifics this includes – vitamins, minerals, calcium, etc. Also, make sure you consult with not one, but at least several different vets once you’ve chosen a particular diet.

RECOMMENDED: Is Raw Food Diet Safe for Dogs?

How to Do It Right

Raw Dog Food Recipes

While drawbacks do exist, like with any other diet, if you do it right, you and your dog can happily enjoy the benefits of raw dog food. And they are numerous:

  • stronger immune system
  • better overall health
  • better skin and coat
  • more muscle mass
  • more energy
  • better digestion and better long-term health of the digestive and urinal tracts

How do you achieve it? Below I'll list seven of the best raw dog food recipes based on  what your dog requires in his diet. But you shouldn't simply follow the recipes; you need to clearly understand what goes into making safe homemade raw dog food for your Fido.

If possible, which – when it comes to raw feeding – isn't always the case, try to work with your veterinarian or a canine nutritionist to find out your dog's exact nutritional needs and adjust the diet based on that. Your pet's requirements will vary depending on his age, weight, breed, activity level and overall health condition.

Some of the most important things for your to remember include:

1. Calcium, calcium, calcium

One of the main problems of some bad raw dog food recipes you’ll find online is the lack of calcium. Many dog owners are afraid to include bones in their dogs’ food, but bones are essential for the calcium and other minerals they have.

A proper raw dog food includes between 12% and 15% bone. This means that about a third of the food must include nice, meaty bones. These can be chicken wings, necks, legs or thighs, turkey necks, lamb necks or ribs, beef tail bones, and others.

2. Don’t skip the organs

Because we stopped eating organ meat, for the most part, we also forget to include it in our dogs' diet. However, organs such as livers, kidneys, lungs, hearts, brain, etc., are the most nutrient-rich parts of the animal. If you skip on the organs then you either have to include a lot of artificial supplements (at which point you’re missing the goal of a raw dog food diet) or you’ll leave your dog malnourished.

A proper raw dog food recipe includes anywhere between 10% and 30% organs. Liver is usually the easiest one to find. However, if the only organ you’re going to include in your dog’s diet is liver, then don’t make it more than 10% of the food because then you can overdose your dog on some vitamins, like Vitamin A. Only go above 10% of organ meat, if you’re using liver with other organs.

3. Muscle meat is the base of a raw dog food diet

Muscle meat should make up 35% to 50% of your dog’s raw dog food meal (depending on how much organ meat you’re using). Muscle meat is the key source of protein, as well as vitamins and enzymes.

Don't skip it. Proper raw dog food recipes must include one of the following:

  • beef (ground, cheek, stewing)
  • beef heart (but not more than 5% of the diet, since it’s very rich)
  • bison (ground or stewing)
  • lamb (stewing, ground, shoulder or breast)
  • pork (cushion, boneless rib, loin, shoulder or butt)
  • chicken (breasts or boneless thighs)
  • turkey (ground, boneless thighs, breast or tenderloin)

4. Fat is important (but accuracy is crucial)

Fat is another place where many homemade raw dog food recipes fail – some owners use too much fat in their dogs’ diets, while others skip on it entirely. Remember that dietary fat is not what makes your dog gain weight; it's the over-consumption of calories.

Fat in itself is as important as protein in the dog's diet; you just don't need as much of it. Generally, the fat in your dog’s food shouldn’t go above 10%.

5. Fruits and veggies are nice (in smaller amounts)

Some people find it surprising, but dogs aren’t actually obligatory carnivores – they are omnivorous. Even in the wild, canines don’t just eat meat and will munch of things like berries. Being a long lost relative of bears with a close DNA sequence, it's not surprising.

Veggies and fruits provide vitamins, minerals, prebiotics, chlorophyll, flavonoids, carotenoids, fibers, and more. However, this doesn’t mean that they should be the main part of your dog’s diets. Muscle meat, meaty bones, organs and a bit of fat are what’s essential. Fruits and veggies are welcomed, but moderation is key.

6. Limit the grains as much as possible

Raw dog food proponents do not believe that most grains, and foods like peas and potatoes should be welcomed in your dog’s diet. While dogs can digest them, they don’t bring anything nutritional (Souliere, 2014; PDF) to your dog’s diet that would warrant their inclusion. Most training dog treats do include a small amount of grains and that’s fine, but you really don’t need to include them in your dog’s raw food meals.

7. Variety over time can be good (but not essential)

As with all other things in life, variety and long-term balance can be good, but it depends. Generally, dogs do not require as much variety in their diet as humans do; they can eat the same food that they really enjoy for very long periods of time.

So if your raw dog food recipes are complete and nutritionally balanced, and your dog loves them, then you can stick to just one. But it's best to work with a veterinarian or canine nutritionist on this, and decide whether you'll need to switch it up now and again.

RECIPE: Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe with Ground Beef and Chicken Liver

The Best Raw Dog Food Recipes

Here are the seven best raw dog food recipes that are my favorite for beginners:

1. Chicken and carrots

  • 35% – 50% Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 10% – 30% Chicken hearts and liver
  • 12% – 15% Ground chicken bone
  • 5% lightly boiled chicken eggs
  • 5% – 20% Organic carrots
  • 5% – 20% Organic green beans

Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.

2. Beef and greens

  • 35% – 50% Beef – ground, cheek or stewing
  • 10% – 30% Beef hearts and liver
  • 12% – 15% Beef tail bones
  • 5% – 10% Organic green apples (very high on fiber and rich in nutrients)
  • 5% – 10% Organic celery (it’s quite rich in water when it is raw, but it is still a great source of dietary fiber)
  • 5% lightly boiled chicken eggs
  • 5% – 10% Organic collard greens (high vitamin and mineral content)
  • 5% – 20% Organic kale (rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, vitamin K and calcium)

Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.

3. Chicken and greens

  • 35% – 50% Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 10% – 30% Chicken hearts and liver
  • 12% – 15% Ground chicken bone
  • 5% lightly boiled chicken eggs
  • 5% – 10% Organic broccoli (like kale, broccoli is very rich in vitamin C and fiber and a lot of other nutrients)
  • 5% – 10% Organic celery (it’s quite rich in water when it is raw, but it is still a great source of dietary fiber)
  • 5% – 10% Organic spinach (very high vitamin and mineral content, excellent nutrient)
  • 5% – 10% Organic carrots
  • 5% Alfalfa meal

Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.

4. Turkey and greens

  • 12% – 15% Turkey necks
  • 35% – 50% Turkey boneless thighs, breast or tenderloin
  • 10% – 30% Turkey hearts and liver
  • 5% – 10% Organic lettuce
  • 5% – 10% Yams or sweet potatoes – a decent source of complex carbohydrates fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients
  • 5% – 10% (or more, if you want to skip on the yams) Organic zucchini – great for complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber
  • 5% – 10% Turkey gizzard (subtract this from the amount of turkey muscle meat)

Simply mix and freeze or serve.

5. Sweet turkey

  • 35% – 50% Turkey boneless thighs, breast or tenderloin
  • 10% – 30% Turkey hearts and liver
  • 5% – 10% Yams or sweet potatoes – a decent source of complex carbohydrates fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients
  • 5% – 10% Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) – highly rich in natural fiber
  • 5% – 10% Organic green beans – very rich in vitamins, minerals and natural fiber
  • 5% Organic cranberries – highly nutritious and rich in natural fiber
  • 5% – 10% dried eggs – dehydrated shell-free eggs

Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs in this recipe are dehydrated instead of lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.

6. Chicken and beef delight

  • 20% – 25% Chicken thighs or breasts
  • 20% – 25% Beef – ground, cheek or stewing
  • 10% – 30% Beef hearts and liver
  • 12% – 15% Ground chicken bone
  • 5% – 10% Yams or sweet potatoes – a decent source of complex carbohydrates fiber, beta carotene and other healthy nutrients
  • 5% – 10% Organic broccoli (like kale, broccoli is very rich in vitamin C and fiber and a lot of other nutrients)
  • 5% Linseed meal – an amazing source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber
  • 5% Sunflower meal – very high on protein

Simply mix and freeze or serve.

7. Chicken and turkey with a fish twist

  • 12% – 15% Ground chicken and turkey bones
  • 35% – 50% Herring – a marine fish, the herring is an exceptional source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and essential oils
  • 10% – 30% Chicken and turkey hearts and liver
  • 5% lightly boiled chicken eggs
  • 5% – 10% Organic spinach (very high vitamin and mineral content, excellent nutrient)
  • 5% – 10% Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) – highly rich in natural fiber

Simply mix and freeze or serve. The eggs should be lightly boiled as a protection against Salmonella.


Of course, there are a lot of other great raw dog food recipes out there, but these are the seven that I believe could be perfect for those just starting on the raw feeding diet.

Do not take them for granted, or any other raw dog food recipes you find online for that matter. As I said, every recipe should be very carefully thought out and examined, and you should consult with at least a couple of veterinarians and/or canine nutritionists before making raw dog foods for your furry friend.

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