Table of Contents:
The history of dog feeding
What is raw dog food?
So what is a raw dog food diet?
How do I make up a good raw diet for my dog?
Getting creative with raw
Raw bones and chews as part of a raw dog food diet
Complete and balanced raw dog food, for every kind of dog
Benefits of a raw dog food diet
Raw dog food you can trust
Safety and hygiene with raw dog food – step by step
Your quick-fire raw feeding guide FAQs.
To sum it all up…
There’s no doubt about it, raw dog food is on the rise. More and more pet parents are making the switch to give their dogs a natural, healthy, wholesome diet – and at Natures Menu, we’re all for it. We’ve been making raw dog food here in the Norfolk countryside for over 40 years, so to help you decide whether a raw dog food diet is right for your four-legged friend, we’ve put together our ultimate guide…
It might feel like raw feeding dogs is a new thing, but the truth is, dogs were born to it. Strange as it might seem when you look at your labradoodle or chihuahua, all domestic dogs are descendants of the grey wolf. So, once upon a time their ancestors spent their days hunting and scavenging, just like their wild cousins do today. Raw feeding came naturally to those dogs, who’d eat all sorts of raw meat, bones and vegetation.
When humans started keeping dogs as pets, we began feeding them leftovers from our own meals, until eventually, in the 1860s, the first commercial dog food arrived in shops. It’s been the norm ever since, but over time, people have started to question the quality of what’s inside those tins and packets, with a growing number looking for a more natural alternative, and therefore making the move to a raw dog food diet.
If you’ve been hearing a lot about raw feeding dogs lately, you’re not the only one. As people try to make more natural, healthy choices in their own diets, they’re exploring doing the same for their four-legged friends – meaning raw dog food is definitely having a moment.
But if you’re considering switching to a raw dog food diet for your pup, you might be asking – is raw food good for dogs? And what exactly does it involve? We’ve got you…
Let’s think back to your dog’s wild ancestors, out there hunting and foraging. They wouldn’t just have eaten raw meat, they’d have worked their way through whole prey, so offal and bones would have made up part of their diet too. They’re also likely to have scavenged a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Those same key ingredients make up raw dog food today – simple, natural and healthy.
A raw dog food diet aims to get back to that natural, uncooked way of feeding your dog, and it’s based on a mix of simple raw ingredients. So while raw meat (and that includes offal) tends to make up most of a raw dog food diet, it’s important to make sure your dog gets a broad range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. That means also including raw fruits and/or vegetables in their meals and raw bone if right for your dog.
Every dog’s different, and what your dog needs in their raw diet will depend on their age, breed, size and lifestyle – but generally speaking healthy dog food is about giving them a good mix of meat, fruit and/or veggies.
Here at Natures Menu, we’ve been making raw dog food for over 40 years, and we’ve found that two simple ratios work well for most dogs…
80/20 raw dog food
First, the 80/20 ratio. That’s 80% meat (including offal), 20% fruit and/or veggies. Whatever size meal you’re making, for whatever size dog you’ve got, if you can strike that 80/20 balance, you’ll be off to a good start.
60/40 raw dog food
Second, the 60/40 ratio. That’s 60% meat (again, including offal), 40% veggies and healthy grain. While dogs don’t technically need any carbs, if you’ve got a really busy, active or working dog, adding some into their diet can help to keep their energy levels up and maintain their weight.
To make life (and healthy dog food) easier, we’ve created a range of frozen raw nuggets that helps you get those ratios just right. Our bestselling Complete & Balanced raw nuggets include 80/20 and 60/40 recipes, full of all kinds of healthy, nutritious meat, fruit and veggies, so you can choose the right mix for your dog. Even better, they’re really straightforward to use – just pour, thaw and serve.
Once you’re feeling confident with the raw dog food diet, we’ve made it easy to start getting creative too. Our Ready to Mix frozen raw blocks and freeflow mince give you lots of meaty options to make up the heart of your dog’s dinners, then you can add your own blend of fruits, veggies and/or carbs.
And if you’d like some advice about healthy dog food specific to your dog, it’s always a good idea to talk to your vet.
As we saw earlier, raw bones would have been part of a dog’s natural diet but can dogs eat bones now? Absolutely. Raw bones and chews are a great way to help your dog’s teeth and gums stay healthy, keep them entertained, give them some extra mental stimulation and add some healthy variety to their raw dog food diet.
That’s why we’ve made raw bones and chews part of our Natures Menu range. We’ve got options for all kinds of dogs, from the littlest to the biggest, and from raw newbies to those who’ve been on a raw dog food diet for a really long time.
Can dogs eat bones? Yes. But do they have to? No. Raw bones and chews work well as part of a raw dog food diet, but they’re not essential. So, if you’re not sure about giving them to your dog, it’s ok to leave them out. Our Complete & Balanced nuggets will give them all the nutrition they need without any supplements, and if you’re looking for alternative snacks, our Meaty Treats and Superfood Bars are great on the go.
Four-legged family members come in all shapes and sizes, breeds and ages, and for every pet parent, finding healthy dog food that goes down a treat is a real priority.
Which is what’s so great about raw dog food. It’s suitable for all of them, however big or small, right from when you start weaning. Just remember to get a good balance of meat, fruit and/or veggies – and healthy grain if you’ve got a hungrier dog – and you’ll be giving them natural, healthy dog food that’s full of great flavours.
If you’re exploring raw for the first time, you might be wondering, is raw food good for dogs? Well, we’ve been making it for over 40 years – and we’ve seen some real benefits. Of course, raw dog food goes down differently with different dogs, but the feedback we’ve had from them (thanks to their owners!) has been overwhelmingly positive.
We regularly hear from people who say their dog has cleaner teeth and fresher breath after switching to a raw dog food diet. Raw dog food is free from sugars, colours and artificial preservatives which are often associated with tartar build up and plaque deposits – both of which tend to lead to dirty teeth and bad breath.
Lots of pet parents also report that their dog’s skin and coat improve once they switch to raw dog food. That’s because a balanced raw dog food diet contains a good mix of essential nutrients, including just the right quantities of naturally sourced fatty acids to help with soft, shiny coats.
Raw dog food can also help with your dog’s digestive wellbeing. Because it’s free from the fillers and sugar you often get in more processed food, it can prove easier for some dogs to digest. That can help keep their digestive system healthy, which might well be why so many people report their dogs have less wind.
On top of that, because it can be easier to absorb the nutrients in raw dog food, lots of pet parents tell us their dogs do firmer, more pick-up-able poos, making walks a whole lot nicer for everyone. And last but not least, we often hear that raw feeding dogs gives them renewed energy levels – we all know we feel better when we eat better.
So, is raw food good for dogs? With over 40 years’ experience feeding it to the dogs we love, and an ever-growing following of pet parents and pups, we definitely think so.
We’ve talked about why raw feeding dogs is natural – and why it’s good for them. So how do you choose raw dog food you can trust to be safe and healthy?
If you’re thinking of making the switch to raw dog food, the safest way to do it is to choose quality, commercially produced food, specifically created for dogs. Formulated by experts, to strict health and safety guidelines, good raw dog food recipes should contain all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy.
Try to choose transparent raw dog food recipes you can really understand, with no added artificial ingredients. Over the course of the week, make sure your dog gets a good mix of proteins, like chicken, beef and fish, as well as a range of vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies.
Here at Natures Menu, we’ve been making raw dog food – and feeding it to our own dogs and a loyal community of customers’ dogs – for over 40 years. We’re members of UK Pet Food (formerly the PFMA), the leading body for the UK’s pet food industry, and our manufacturing facilities are approved by DEFRA (the government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs).
On top of that, all of our high-quality pet food is formulated to the European Pet Food Guidelines created by FEDIAF (the European Pet Food Industry Federation).
We make sure every one of our raw dog food products is made with healthy, high-quality, natural ingredients and no added sugars, artificial colours or preservatives. They include a careful blend of vitamins and minerals to help support your dog’s health, and we avoid any unnecessary processes, keeping our raw dog food recipes and ingredient lists straightforward and easy to understand.
We’ve also worked hard to make the switch to raw dog food really easy for you – and your dog. Our Complete & Balanced frozen raw nuggets are full of healthy, natural ingredients, carefully formulated to give your dog all the nutrients they need without any extra supplements. They’re also super easy to pour, thaw and serve, helping you find your feet and feel confident with raw feeding your dogs.
Wondering how to store raw food for dogs, or how to serve it safely? We know some people feel nervous about handling raw dog food, but it’s not much different to the meat you’d eat yourself, and the same food hygiene principles apply.
We’ve put together a few simple steps you can follow to make raw feeding dogs easy and keep your dog’s food as fresh as your own…
Yes! A raw dog food diet can suit any breed of dog, at any age, from weaning up.
Every dog’s different but raw dog food can be easier to digest for some dogs , so it can often help those with more sensitive stomachs.
Of course! Natures Menu raw dog food comes frozen, ready to pour, thaw and serve when you need it – so just remember to save a bit of space in your freezer.
You’ll find easy instructions on all Natures Menu packs, but each night, we recommend taking the food your dog will eat the next day out of the freezer, placing in a covered container and then defrosting it in the fridge . If you need it to thaw more quickly, you can defrost it in covered a bowl on the counter at room temperature too.
That depends on their age, size, breed and lifestyle. A great starting point for advice on how much your dog needs is our on pack feeding guides.
When you’re just starting out, our Complete & Balanced nuggets are a great way to find your feet with raw feeding dogs. Our most popular choice, they’re made with all the ingredients and nutrients your dog needs and they’re really easy to use – just pour, thaw and serve.
We recommend a ratio of 80% meat to 20% fruit and/or veggies, or if you’ve got an active dog, 60% meat, 40% veggies and healthy grain. For homemade recipes, we recommend adding a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement to each meal. Advice can be sought from your vet on which would be best for your dog’s needs.
We recommend switching gradually over the course of a week, so your dog can get used to the new flavours and textures. Take a look here for more on how to switch.
There’s a good reason why so many people are talking about raw dog food right now. We’re all getting more conscious of the food we put in our bodies, so it’s no surprise we want a healthy, natural diet for our four-legged family members too – and raw’s a great way to do that.
Is raw food good for dogs? Absolutely. While your dog might not look much like their wild ancestors or cousins, they can just be as capable of thriving on a raw dog food diet. And if you choose quality products from brands you trust, you might well see some great health benefits – from glossy locks and fresh breath to all those firm, pick-up-able poos.
If you’re thinking of making the switch, at Natures Menu we’re here for you. We’ve got lots more helpful, practical resources on our website. And, of course, a menu full of delicious, high-quality raw dog food that’s easy to use, packed with nutrients and full of big, tasty flavours your dog’s going to love.