Raw Diet How Much to Feed
Updated: Jul 3
Let's continue on the topic of RAW DIET. and the next question that comes to mind is HOW MUCH TO FEED?
Regardless of tones of myth and misbelieves and even more marketing schemes, that’s pretty easy despite it being a major question for newcomers when starting with any type of raw (let's just call it “species-specific diet” for now). It really isn’t worth getting hung up on, I mean common sense says you feed your dog an amount that fuels their lifestyle and activity levels without becoming overweight. The received canine nutritionists’ wisdom is to feed 2–3% of your adult dog’s body weight each day. Spread over one or two meals. For very active or working (e.g. farm) dogs that figure will be more like 3–6%. And for puppies, up to 4–7% of bodyweight spread over 3–4 meals a day.
For dogs that put on weight using these measures, or for a dog that needs to loos a bit of that extra chunkiness there are two options. First, (obviously) reduce the overall amount fed per day. Second, replace some of the protein (the meat part of the diet) with more vegetables (blended or pulped — for easier digestion). Not by much, just enough to temper the overall intake. The vegetable matter has a very low glycaemic index — meaning vegetables are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and a concomitant smaller insulin response.
Remember, a low glycaemic index is healthier than a high glycaemic index, no matter what the food is. Not only this but vegetables have an overall ‘cooling’ impact on the dog’s digestive system, meaning the body’s IMMUNITY RESPONSE is less likely to be provoked and thereby less likely to lead to ALLERGIES.
SOME POINTS TO MAKE A NOTE OF Some dogs, like humans, seem to put on and lose weight pretty easily. In which case, moderate food intake as you think fit. You don’t have to weigh your dog constantly in this case, instead feel your dog’s ribs with your knuckles as you glide the back of your hand along the dog’s side. If you can’t, the dog is gaining too much weight. Another measure (think of these awesome vet office posters!) is looking down on your dog and seeing if a waist is visible. No waist equates to excess weight.
Not much else to say. Except that feeding raw aka species-specific and appropriate diet will (money-back guarantee it) result over the longer term (trust me there are no quick fixes or short term resolutions when it comes to anyone’s diet human or dog for that matter), in a healthier dog, a dog without allergies, a dog that has delicious and species-appropriate variety in its everyday diet, a dog that has more energy and an overall calmer, more centred dog. It's hard to prove these things but I'm confident to say, you will notice positive changes in your dog when you switch to raw be it commercial, home-cooked, prey model or any other for that matter.
If moving from kibble to raw, rather than starting with raw, make the change a GRADUAL one (mix kibble with raw, slowly reducing the kibble), over 5+ days (I would even say for an older dog never been introduced to anything else but kibbles it should be spread over 2-3 weeks). The reason for graduating dry kibble to raw, is to give time for your dog to change the pH values in its digestion processes. Naturally, a dog’s stomach has a pH of about 1–2, which is very acidic but with an undemanding kibble, this is increased and needs to return to more natural levels.
A low pH is important for two reasons: first, to enable meat and bone to be broken down and metabolised as it passes into the intestinal tract; second, to help kill the bacteria in raw meats.
You’ll see improvements in your dog — whether recovering from allergies, particularly skin; as well as in their general demeanour and energy levels — within 3–6 months of switching to raw (I did mention no quick fixes here as all good things take time).
ANOTHER WORD OF ADVICE As a fall-back, when you don’t have time to make your raw meal; or you haven’t defrosted their food; or perhaps when travelling, keep a small pack of air-dried or dehydrated food available. I'm lucky enough to have a dehydrator at home (great investment btw! Make some good jerky for me as well and dry fruit candies for the kids ) so I always have some good dehydrated beef liver, and one ingredient meat jerky on hand. But all can be bought in any pet store and kept in your cupboard for a good long time.
Photo used credit to Dog Time December 21, 2021 issue.