When it comes to our dogs, we want to give them the best possible nutrition and homemade raw dog food is a great way to do this. Making your own from raw meat, offal, fruit and vegetables with the right amount of carbohydrates (if you choose) can deliver a number of benefits. Creating the right mix can be easy too once you know how and we’re here to guide you on this.
While there are various homemade raw dog food calculators available online, they may offer different suggestions on what to feed and what to avoid, so be careful using these before starting to make your own recipes at home. Here at Natures Menu, we aim to make formulating your own homemade raw dog food straightforward with our Ready to Mix range. With various healthy ingredients to choose from, including Freeflow minces, 400g mince blocks, and chunks of meats, you can rest assured knowing the main component of a homemade raw meal is already taken care of.
Varying meat sources ensures your dog receives a variety of protein, vitamins and minerals. Our range of ingredients includes options such as chicken and rabbit, chicken and lamb, tripe and beef, which makes it easier to achieve a diverse diet when creating homemade raw recipes for your dog.Fruit and Vegetables
After meat and offal, other ingredients help provide a wide range of nutrients. Adding healthy sources of vegetables such carrots, swede, peas and spinach can provide your dog with an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain gut health. Dog friendly fruits can also provide taste, texture and smell. When adding these, take a look at those that can be enjoyed by reading our what fruits my dog can and can’t eat blog. When including fruits and vegetables in your dog's diet, we recommend blending or grinding them to allow the natural vitamins to be absorbed more easily.Optional Carbohydrates
Adding a carbohydrate source to your dog's homemade meals is a complementary choice. Many pet parents add ingredients such as cooked brown rice, rolled oats, mixer biscuits or sweet potato to their homemade meals to help dogs feel fuller for longer.
Although dogs have no dietary requirement for carbohydrates, fed in moderation, they can offer several benefits such as helping to maintain fullness or providing a readily available energy source for highly active, working or competition dogs.
A carbohydrate addition is useful for dog’s that are struggling to maintain a weight. If carbohydrates are consumed and not used through energy expenditure, they can contribute to weight gain. Therefore, feeding a raw diet is often preferable for overweight pets as it consists of high protein and low, healthy carbohydrates, helping to prevent excessive weight gain.
After you have chosen a diverse set of ingredients to feed your dog, you can look at mixing the quantities together. Ratios can vary from pet to pet, dependent on their lifestyle, breed, age and exercise levels. In general terms, Natures Menu suggests feeding 80% meat/offal with 20% fruits and vegetables. Alternatively, if a carbohydrate is fed in the form of mixer biscuits or any of the suggested ingredients above, we would recommend feeding approximately 60% meat/ offal with 20% fruits and vegetables and 20% carbohydrate.
Feeding bones is widely discussed when it comes to homemade raw dog food diets. Some raw feeders believe that providing raw, meaty bones is all that is necessary for dogs to consume the protein-rich muscle meat they need. This method isn’t for everyone and can sometimes be impractical when feeding indoors so that’s why our Freeflow minces and 400g minces all contain minced bone at approximately 4% (excluding any beef or tripe products).
With our 40 years’ experience in the raw food industry, we have found that this level suits most dogs, no matter their size. As dog’s are individuals and have different tolerances to things like bone content, we would always advise speaking to your vet or pet nutritionist to be sure on the best advice for their specific needs.
Understanding your dog’s unique needs
Understanding your dog’s unique needs rather than using a raw dog food calculator will help you make the right choices for them.
They all have different preferences to tastes and textures as well as smells, appearance and sometimes colour. Start off by understanding their likes and dislikes through a wide variation in the ingredients, that’ll ensure their daily nutrient requirements and specific needs are met.
At Natures Menu, we recommend adding a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement to each meal (following the manufacturer’s guidelines), so all the basic requirements are covered. A small nutritional deficiency isn’t always immediately apparent and may take several years to show notable symptoms, so keep an eye on your dog for any changes in their health and behaviour.
All in all, make the best homemade raw dog food by doing your research. Read information produced by reputable and reliable sources, with direct experience supporting various breeds of dogs and their owners. Remember, one size doesn’t always fit all. If you are new to raw feeding, start by feeding our convenient complete and balanced nuggets.
By using our Ready to Mix range alongside our Bones, Chews and Chunks, you can be well on your way to making the best homemade raw dog food for your dog.