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Choosing to feed your dog homemade raw dog food is a big step and should not be taken lightly.

For those new to homemade and/or raw feeding, the process can be confusing.

Moreover, there are also risks that raw food diets may have. But when done correctly, the best raw dog food recipes can be a healthy and beneficial dietary change for your dog.

Staying Objective on Raw Dog Food Feeding

There's a lot of talk about raw feeding and how this diet is based on the way ancestors of dogs survived in the wild.

However, contrary to veterinarians' opposition to raw feeding, recent studies found a number of benefits this diet provides to dogs. But it's important not to romanticize easy raw dog food diets.

With all the advantages, like any other type of food, raw feeding still has its negatives.

It's no secret that it takes more time to make homemade meals, whether it's raw food or cooked recipes.

They can also be more costly, especially if shopping for fresh meat at your local butcher's shop.

Finally, because we're dealing with raw meat, bacterial contamination is a big concern if it's not done 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, containing no by-products, artificial preservatives, or food colors, and no filler.

Moreover, ingredients in the best raw dog food recipes most commonly include meat of different types (muscle and organs) and eggs.

Furthermore, other recipes will also include seeds, nuts, grains, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, beans, dried fruits (with no additives), and some other foods.

Before you delve into trying these best raw dog food recipes for your pet, let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of preparing easy raw dog food meals.

There are many recipes out there, but not all of them are safe or appropriate for all dogs.

Potential Drawbacks of Raw Food Feeding

Moreover, 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 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 are 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 the majority of cases, it all comes down to a few same reasons:

1. Raw feeding can be time-consuming.

Firstly, whichever the best 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.

2. Raw Dog Food Recipes can be more expensive.

Secondly, preparing easy 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.

3. The end result of quality depends on you.

Thirdly, a lot of dog owners fail to make properly nutritious homemade easy raw dog food meals for their pets.

This is often because they are misinformed or misled 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 high-quality dog food. You can find most of their studies online in the 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.

4. 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 easy 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.

5. Few things to consider in making Easy Raw Dog Food

Lastly, 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.

Reasons to Consider a Raw Food Diet for Your Dog

Even with all of those things to consider, there are still a lot of reasons you may want to give your dog a raw food diet and make it yourself. Some of the most popular reasons include the following, some of which we have already touched on: 

  • The ability to adjust to your dog’s dietary needs or allergies
  • The ability to adapt recipes as your dog passes through various life stages
  • The ability to control all of the ingredients, including the quality of the source
  • The ability to take advantage of bulk buying or sales 
  • Not having to worry about recalls from dog food manufacturers
  • The knowledge that you reduced your environmental impact

Additionally, a raw food diet can be associated with the following benefits for your pup: 

  • Firmer stools
  • Reduced allergy symptoms
  • Improved dental health
  • Weight management
  • More muscular build 
  • Healthier skin
  • Healthier coat
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced odor 

How to Feed Dogs Raw Diet Correctly

How to Feed Dogs Raw Diet Correctly

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 to include:

1. Importance of 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, brains, 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 the best raw dog food diet) or you’ll leave your dog malnourished.

A proper raw dog food recipe includes anywhere between 10% and 30% organs.

The liver is usually the easiest one to find. However, if the only organ you’re going to include in your dog’s diet is the 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.

However, only go above 10% of organ meat, if you’re using liver with other organs.

3. Muscle Meat is the Basis 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 for Raw Food Diet (In Small 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 on 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 diet.

Muscle meat, meaty bones, organs, and a bit of fat are what’s essential.

Fruits and veggies are welcomed, but moderation is key.

6. Grains in Homemade Raw Dog Food

Furthermore, 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 number 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

Cheap Raw Dog Food Recipe

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 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 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 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 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 protection against Salmonella.

Get Creative With the Raw Food Diet For Dogs Recipes

Once you have followed the above recipes a few times, go ahead and get creative. As long as your dog is getting the proper nutrition that he needs, you can mix and match ingredients from the various recipes.

Moreover, you can also use them as inspiration to come up with something else your dog would love. You could even get creative with ingredients and try introducing your dog to something like rabbit meat.  

If you decide to create your own recipe, make sure it gives your dog the nutrients he needs. 

Most importantly, remember that you want meat (with fat) to make up about 80% of the food. Another 10% should be from organs, and 5% each should come from fruits and vegetables and dairy and supplements. 

Overall, your dog should get about 30-52% of his calories from protein, 47-63% from fat, and 1-7% from carbohydrates. The dietary fat provides concentrated energy and helps with essential fatty acids to maintain coat and skin health. Carbs also provide energy. 

What Foods are Toxic to Dogs?

Moreover, always remember that dogs don't have the digestive capabilities of a human. Some human foods can be toxic or poisonous to our pets.

Most importantly, as the owner, you have the responsibility to look over certain ingredients and recipes for your dog's diet.

Here are some dangerous foods for dogs:

  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Milk
  • Chocolate
  • Xylitol
  • Salt
  • Citrus
  • Coffee
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol

However, if you use a wild-caught game in your dog’s raw food, freeze it for three weeks or longer before using it. This kills any parasites. If you catch raw trout or salmon, freeze it for at least 24 hours, also to kill parasites. 

Extra Tips When Following Raw Dog Food Recipes

Moreover, as you plan and make your dog’s raw food, here are some extra tips to keep in mind: 

  • Firstly, know how much raw food to give your dog. It should be about 2-3% of your canine’s ideal body weight per day. You can increase this a little for very active dogs. If your dog is pregnant, talk to your veterinarian for ideal quantities. 
  • However, if the recipe calls for a bone meal, always get it from a grocery store or other food-related retailer. Never get it from hardware stores or garden centers as it could contain chemicals and fertilizers to stabilize it. To avoid issues, always read the label to confirm that your chosen bone meal is just the bone meal and nothing else. 
  • Try incorporating your dog’s omega-3 supplements into their meals. 
  • Furthermore, when you buy organ meat for your dog’s food, try to get enough for a few batches at once. You can chop or grind them, put them in a labeled bag, and freeze them. This saves you the hassle of buying organ meat as often, especially if you don’t eat it yourself. 
  • Try to choose meats with a fat content of 10-20% (or 80-90% lean). 
  • Always buy the highest quality ingredients that fit your budget. 
  • However, if you want to give your dog raw food but don’t have the time to prepare it yourself, you can buy it. Just beware that pre-made raw food for dogs will be more expensive.

Common Questions About the Best Raw Dog Food Recipes

Meanwhile, do you have some lingering questions about feeding your dog raw food, its health benefits, or what to include or avoid? We gathered the most common questions and answered them to ensure you can discover all the information you want to know. 

What is the best raw food for dogs? 

However, if you prefer to buy raw food instead of making it yourself, consider the options from Primal, BARF World, Steve’s Real Food, Stella and Chewy, Nature’s Variety, or TruDog. 

How can I make my own raw dog food?

Moreover, the simplest way to make your dog raw food at home is to follow any of the recipes listed above. You can also get creative and combine ingredients from various recipes.

Use the ingredient lists and the other information we outlined to create a balanced meal your dog will love based on the ingredients you have on hand. 

What to mix with a dog's raw food?

However, any of the ingredients we included in our above recipes can be a great addition to dog food. Some good choices include turkey, chicken, fish, chickpeas, brown rice, carrots, cod liver oil, peas, spinach, eggs, and cranberries. 

Can I feed my dog raw meat from the grocery store?

Yes, it is typically safe for dogs to eat raw meat, even though that is not the case for humans. Just make sure that you take steps to avoid contamination or disease and give your dog a balanced diet. He will also need carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals from veggies, and other ingredients in his diet in addition to the meat.

Is it cheaper to make your own raw dog food?

Furthermore, if you want to feed your dog raw food, you will definitely save money if you choose to make it yourself instead of buying raw food that has been premade. That said, keep in mind that you will still spend more feeding your dog homemade raw food than you are likely to if you just fed him traditional dog food, even a moderate-quality brand. 

Is it okay to mix Kibble with Raw?

Meanwhile, there's a myth that you can't mix kibble with raw because kibble takes longer to digest than raw. But with recent research, we have learned that it is perfectly safe for dogs to eat a mix of kibble and raw.

However, watch out for dogs that have digestive problems. That's why it is still important to consult with your vet every once in a while.

Conclusion for the Best Raw Dog Food Recipes

Moreover, there are plenty more 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 food diet for dogs.

Furthermore, do not take them for granted, or any other raw food diet for dogs 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.

READ NEXT: Benefits of Commercial Raw Dog Food Diets

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The 7 Best Raw Dog Food Recipes to Try