How Much to Feed the Adult Raw Fed Dog
Posted on January 29 2020
You got your first delivery of Doggy Moggy Beef - now what? How much do you feed your dog?
GUIDELINES NOT RULES
When deciding how much to feed your dog, think in terms of guidelines not rules. Consider all the variables that might affect your decision. Age of the dog and its level of physical activity. Are they healthy? Is your dog in heat? Is your dog pregnant/nursing? Are they currently at a healthy weight? Are they lay-abouts indoors or are they roaming the property outdoors? What other food are they receiving during the day?
Take for example our Bernedoodle, Philly. It was a no brainer that when she was pregnant and nursing she required more food to fuel her body and her puppies. After the puppies were weaned, it became obvious she was gaining weight and we needed to reduce the amount she was being fed as the demands on her body returned to normal. What worked before, wasn’t working any more. We lowered her food intake, added some more exercise and she is now back to her ideal weight.
The variables in your dog’s life can change so it’s important to keep an eye on your dog’s food intake depending on what season of life they are in. The percentages below are guidelines, not rules. Much like monitoring our own weight and food intake, we need to pay attention to our dogs and take action when it is obvious that changes need to be made.
IS YOUR DOG AN IDEAL WEIGHT
It’s important to weigh your dog when you start them on a raw food diet for the following reasons:
- The recommended feeding quantity is based on a dog’s weight.
- It provides a baseline to determine weight gain or loss on their new diet.
- It allows you to research their ideal weight against the actual weight and decide if you need to factor weight gain or loss into the picture.
In addition to weighing them, we recommend getting into the habit of assessing your dog weekly. Can their ribs be felt? Does the belly tuck up when seen from the side? Do they have a visible waist when looking from above? These are all indicators of a healthy weight.
HOW MUCH TO FEED - PUPPY
Puppies grow rapidly. Because of this, you will be feeding them more to fuel their growth. Ideally, puppies under 6 months should be fed three times a day; this is especially important for smaller breed dogs as they run the risk of becoming hypoglycemic.
Puppy Feeding Frequency
2-6 Months - 3 meals per day
6-12 months - 2 meals per day
1 + year - 2 meals or 1 meal (Figure it out with your pet)
There are two ways to determine how much to feed. The first is calculating a percentage of their ideal adult weight. If your dog is a purebred dog or a dog from a breeder where you know the parents, this might be easy for you to figure out. A simple google search will return the average weight of your breed or you can ask your vet for their advice. Once you decide the ideal weight you are going to base your calculations on, you can calculate 2-3% of that ideal weight to get your feeding amount.
If you aren’t sure what their ideal adult weight will be, the second option would be to use the outline listed below.
2 - 4 months = 8%-10% of current weight
4 - 6 months = 6% - 8% of current weight
6 - 8 months = 4% - 6% of current weight
8 - 12 months = 2% - 4% of current weight
If you’re interested in learning more about feeding puppies a raw diet, you can find our Guide to Feeding Raw to Puppies here.
HOW MUCH TO FEED - ADULT DOG
Once your dog reaches a year old, your feeding amounts can drop to 1%-2% of their current body weight. There are varying opinions on this with some recommending 2-3%. Our recommendation is one that we find works for us and most of our clients. Again, these are guidelines. Work with your dog, monitor their weight and increase or decrease their food as needed to maintain a healthy weight.
Find out how to calculate feeding amounts for puppies here.
HOW ACTIVE IS YOUR DOG
When determining what percentage to work with one of the most important aspects to consider is your dog's activity level. Below is a guide originally found on the Primal Pooch website using our percentage recommendation to help determine where your dog might sit.
1% Inactive - A dog that spends most of their time indoors with smaller bursts of activity and walks for less than 20 minutes a day. These dogs will fall on the lower end of the scale and should start at 1%.
1.5% Average - Dogs that gets a thirty minutes to a couple hours of exercise everyday can start at 1.5%.
2% Active - An active dog spends most of their time outside with activity filling most of their day. They are dogs who enjoy lots of hiking, biking, and playing with their humans. These dogs would have food intake at 2% of their weight.
German Shepherd Adult Male weighs 80 lbs. He spends most of his days outside, even in the winter (except of course 30) and is physically active with his human friends.
For example: 80 lbs x 2% or 0.02 = 1.6 lbs of food per day
Alternatively, you can determine your dog's baseline calorie requirements by taking their weight in kg (take their weight in pounds and divide by 2.2) and multiplying by 30 and then adding 70.
For example: 22.6 kg (50 lb) x 30 + 70 = 748 calories per day
This calculation doesn't account for high activity levels, so use the number as a guide and adjust up or down as needed. Food analysis sheets are available with calorie content for each raw meal on our website; email us to gather this info.
Need help with calculations? Email me for support! firstname.lastname@example.org
RAW VS. KIBBLE
If you are transitioning from a kibble diet to raw there are a couple scenarios you might find yourself in.
You might find that your dog loses weight initially. This is because your dog is moving from a highly processed diet much like a human diet filled with fast food to a nutrient dense real food diet. Your dog's body is going to adjust to the new way of eating and may lean out in the process. Don’t worry, just adjust your feedings accordingly.
The food might look a little scarce in the bowl prompting you to wonder if you are feeding enough. Remember that raw is much more calorie dense due to the higher nutritional content, than kibble which is higher in starches and carbohydrates. The goal is to work the guidelines and find the amount that satisfies your dog and keeps them at a healthy weight.
Remember they are guidelines not rules. Think of the guidelines as your starting point. It’s our responsibility as dog owners to ensure we are feeding the proper amounts to our dogs. We need to be honest about our dog’s activity level and be mindful of where they are in life, adjusting their food intake accordingly. These are the same principles we apply to our own food intake and weight management as dog owners. It’s not rocket science but it does require attention and being intentional to keep ourselves and our dogs healthy.
SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY
What percentage do you feed your dog(s)? Do you have stories of life events with your dog that prompted a change in how much you feed?
Yes, I think Bison would be a good place to start. Our pork and turkey options might be good items to try as well. Ideally on a raw diet, your pups would be getting a rotation of different proteins (within their specific requirements of course). A variety of food is the best way to ensure your pups are getting a wide array of nutrients from their food.
Has an allergy test been conducted? If not, it’s possible that beef or chicken is not the issue, but more so the filler ingredients and starches in kibble that is causing the issue. Sometimes people find that proteins they thought were an issue on kibble are no problem once they are on a raw diet. It might be something worth considering down the road.
I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, please email me at email@example.com
Im considering trying Raw for my 3 dogs.
Rosie 2yrs old Bernese/ blood hound mix
106lbs and has allergies. Appears to be food related.
Chief 7yrs old Shepard/husky mix 80lbs palliative with some kind of tumour. Currently taking prednisone and spironolactone. Due to prednisone his appetite is insatiable. So very frequent smaller meals.
Hawkeye 6yrs old Shepard/Husky mix 40lbs and in good health.
Usually they are walked 1x per day 1hour long. Since Chief’s recent health change we walk 1/2 distance and not on cold days. They do go out in the backyard often to play. Since Chief’s appetite has changed he has started to eat dog poop. Yuck.
The Vet put Chief on Kangaroo kibble Raine brand at 259.00 per bag. Rosie is also eating it as is Hawk. Too expensive so changed to Zignature kangaroo.
The vet said they are seeing some dogs develop heart failure from eating Zignature brand.
Hence the thought of feeding Raw.
Do you think bison would work since chicken and beef are iff the table?
Hi Dolores! In order for the meals you are giving him to be balanced, it does require organ meat and bone. He may like the raw food, I would say you don’t know until you try! I will email you with more info!
Hi we are looking at trying the sample package on our mini Australian Shepard he is nine months old and has been a very fussy eater with any of the kibble we have gotten for him so I started cooking him. Chicken with vegetables and eggs and was wondering what else to put in the food to make it healthy or do you think he might like the raw food
For the one who is 26 lb, you are looking at feeding them about 1 patty a day (1/4 of a lb). This is the minimum at 1% of their bodyweight due to the low activity levels. For the other one, I can’t say for sure until I know their weight.
I have a westie poo 26lbs 4 lbs heavy 15 years old not Active and good health.Westie 9 years old not active good weight Just got a beef Pattie’s 1/4 lb what amount should I feed they were on a raw diet for about 6 weeks now they like your food thanks for your help
Hi Stephanie! Email sent with additional info to help you out!
Hello, our 6 month old boxer started having seizures, though we don’t think it’s food related, this has caused me to do a lot of research and we are thinking about switching to raw. I know all dogs need different nutrients. What box would you suggest for Bailey our boxer. He is 55lbs and is VERY active. Right now he eats 5 cups of Hill Advantage for large breed puppies. We have done a lot of research and are thinking about making the switch. But definitely am nervous about it. Bailey loves to eat, and even the 5 cups doesn’t seem like enough for him, he is always hungry. Thank you for your help.
Hi Alana! Our food will provide the foundational components of a raw diet: muscle meat, bone, and organs. The are are the items that are most important. You could consider some additional supplementation; I cover supplements that we recommend in this blog post: https://granddog.ca/blogs/news/should-you-feed-supplements .
We are looking to feed our two Bernese mountain dogs your raw food( beef and veggies) will this cover all their nutritional needs or do we have do add some additional supplements.
Hi Sandy! I have sent you an email with more information on supplements. For our audience, I am putting together a blog post on this topic, so keep watch!
Any supplements required?