Balancing Raw Meals for Dogs
27 October, 2016
raw food dogs

Guest Blog by Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging

One of the fears people have about raw feeding is balancing their dog’s diet.  I’m going to share an easy way to ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced.  It involves math so get your calculator.

Not interested in doing math?  Don’t worry, I offer two easy solutions that don’t involve a calculator.

What I Feed My Dogs

There are two main models of raw feeding:  BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model and Prey Model.  Those of us who feed our dogs based on the BARF Model believe that fruits and vegetables have a place in our dogs’ nutrition.  Prey Model raw feeders see fruits and vegetables as unnecessary.

I feed my dogs a modified version of BARF that I call FrankenBARF.  t has morphed over the years to the following:

  • 80% Muscle Meat
  • 10% Raw Bone
  • 5% Offal (kidneys, pancreas, spleen)
  • 5% Liver
  • Vegetable Mix
  • Supplements (specific to each dog)

This seemed easy at first and then I wondered “how do I figure out how much ’10% organ meat’ weighs?”  I’m an accountant by day, so it was fun to figure out a simple calculation to help me out.

Calculating Raw Food Ratios for Dogs without Bone

In the below example, I’m going to show you how I create a balanced raw meal starting with 15 pounds of meat and no bone.

Step One: Calculate Your 80%

15 pounds / 0.80 = 18.75 pounds is the total weight of your meal when you’re finished when you’re also adding bone.  However, in this example, we are using a meal balancer in place of bone so you’ll see that your total weight is only being used to calculate how much offal you need.

Step Two: Calculate Your 5% Offal

18.75 pounds x 0.05 = 0.94 pounds (if you’re using a digital scale, you can easily come to this weight).

Step Three: Calculate Your 5% Liver

This is the easiest step, you’ll have 0.94 pounds of liver.  Please note that this number changes when you account for your meal balancer.

Step Four: Calculate Your Bone

Because you don’t have bone, you’ll need to use a balancing mix to account for the missing calcium in your dog’s diet.  Depending on the balancing mix you chose, you may have to adjust the amount of liver you add to avoid too much Vitamin A.

When using a meal balancer, it’s also important to read the ingredients to avoid duplicating supplements.  For instance, if the meal balancer already accounts for kelp, don’t add more to your dog’s raw meal.  Petabolics contains iodine and Kindley contains kelp.

Follow the instructions on the meal balancer to determine how much to add to your meat, organ meat, and liver.

If math isn’t your thing, don’t click away – stay with this post for an easier way to balance your dog’s raw meals.

Calculating Raw Food Ratios for Dogs with Bone

In the below example, I’m going to show you how I create a balanced raw meal starting with 15 pounds of duck wings and bone.  In this example, you will have to add more muscle and organ meat for this to be a balanced diet.  We’ll figure out the amount in Step Four.

Step One: Calculate Your 80%

First, figure out how much meat and how much bone comprises a duck wing.  PerfectlyRawsome.com has an amazing chart that helps break this down.

Duck Wings:  61% meat, 39% bone

  • 61 x 15 pounds of duck wings = 9.15 pounds of meat and 5.85 pounds of bone
  • 15 pounds / 0.80 = 11.44 pounds of raw dog food

Step Two: Calculate Your 5% Offal

11.44 pounds x 0.05 = 0.57 pounds (if you’re using a digital scale, you can easily come to this weight).

Step Three: Calculate Your 5% Liver

This is the easiest step, you’ll have 0.57 pounds of liver.

Step Four: Calculate Your Bone

11.44 pounds x 0.10 = 1.14 pounds of raw bone; however, you have 5.85 pounds of raw bone and you can’t separate it out to use later.

  • 85 pounds of raw bone / 0.10 = 58.5 pounds of raw dog food
  • 5 pounds of raw dog food x 0.80 = 46.8 pounds of muscle meat – 9.15 pounds calculated above, you’ll need an additional 37.65 pounds of meat. I add turkey scapula meat that I order through our raw food co-op and grind at home.  Sometimes I’ll also add turkey heart, but not too much (about 5 pounds) because it’s a bit rich.
  • 5 pounds of raw dog food x 0.10 = 5.85 pounds of organ meat, half of which is liver.

Balanced Raw Meal for Dogs with Bone

  • 15 pounds of duck wings
  • 65 pounds of turkey scapula meat (no bone) – or 32.65 pounds of scapula + 5 pounds of turkey heart
  • 85 pounds of bone
  • 93 pounds of offal (kidney, spleen, pancreas)
  • 93 pounds of liver

If your brain is melting and you’re thinking “does raw feeding require this much math?” then CLICK HERE to learn an easier way to feed your dog a balanced raw meal.  I wish someone would have told me this in the beginning.

Remember, CLICK HERE, to learn an easy way to balance your dog’s diet.  Hint: Scroll to the end.

About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding and dog nutrition.  Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore.

 

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