Are you asking: how much raw food to feed a dog? If so, we have the answer for you.
In this feeding guide, you will learn how much food, specifically raw-based food you should feed your adult dog and puppy. A raw, natural diet high in omega fatty acids and other nutrients is best for a dog’s diet. Too much of a good thing can be bad, though. That’s why it’s important to know how much you should feed your furry friend during meals.
How Much Raw Food to Feed a Dog
It can be difficult to know how much raw food you should feed your dog. There are many factors that determine how much food, especially raw food will be good for your pup. Factors such as:
- Activity Level
- Metabolic Rate
- Outdoor Temperature
- Dog’s Body Condition
…and so much more!
Achieving the ideal weight is essential for a healthy life for humans AND dogs. Pet owners who are concerned about how much to include in a raw dog food diet are doing a great job of preserving their dog’s health.
Rule of Thumb for Feeding Raw Dog Food
The best way to determine how much raw dog food to feed is to go by a dog’s body weight.
To support a dog’s health, an adult dog should eat 2% to 4% of its weight in raw food.
Smaller dogs need a higher percentage of body weight in raw food than large breed dogs. The amount should also be divided up into two servings a day. For example, if you feed 4% of your dog’s weight, you should serve 2% for morning meals and 2% for evening meals.
For those who would like a better breakdown of the average amount different size dogs eat in raw food, check out this feeding guide below:
The above feeding guide image indicates a 10-pound dog should eat between 2 and 2.5 pounds of raw food per week, which equates to 10 pounds per month. A 25-pound dog should eat about five pounds a week for a total of 20 pounds of raw food a month. A 50-pound dog should eat eight pounds of raw food for 32 pounds a month. A large breed dog of 75 pounds should eat about 10.5 pounds a week or 42 pounds a month, and a giant breed dog should eat 13.5 pounds per week for 54 pounds a month.
Always remember… The above raw diet information is only guidelines. You should always pay close attention to your dog’s eating behavior and weight for a consult with your veterinarian to determine the best amount.
How Much Raw Food When Switching from Dry Dog Food
When switching from a dry food diet to a raw food diet, expect weight loss in the beginning. This weight loss is not fat loss, but rather a water weight loss. After the water weight is gone, you should see no more than a 1% to 2% loss in weight. Be sure to work closely with your veterinarian when making the switch to a raw food diet.
Raw Feeding Guide for Puppies
Puppies need two to three times more than an adult dog of the same body weight. An example of the amount a puppy should receive when raw feeding is if a puppy is 10 pounds, he/she would need two to three times more than what an adult 10-pound dog would eat.
When looking above at the chart, a 10-pound adult dog should eat 2 pounds per week, so two or three times that amount is four or six pounds per week.
A raw dog food diet should be divided up into two servings, puppies should eat three to four times a day.
To know if your raw feeding is sufficient, pay close attention to your dog’s weight, age, and eating behavior (leaving food behind).
It’s important for you to know that small or toy-breed dogs grow faster than large breed dogs. A Great Dane or Mastiff will be actively growing at 8 months but a Yorkie will be nearly full grown.
This is why the range of percentage of weight to the amount of raw food is so wide for puppies. Refer to the feeding guide for puppies below for more information:
Puppies two to three months old should consume eight percent to ten percent of their body weight per day. Those four to five months old should have six percent to eight percent of their weight per day and six to eight-month old puppies should have four percent to six percent of their weight per day. Older puppies nine to twelve months only need three percent to four percent of their weight in raw food per day.
Why Puppies Need More Raw Food than Adult Dogs
A puppy’s body is busy growing at an accelerated rate. The metabolic rate is high and as we all know, a puppy’s activity level is high. To keep up with all of that work going on throughout the day, puppies need more food each day.
It’s also worth noting that puppies also need more nutrition than an older dog’s body. Their bones are growing and strengthening, they need omega fatty acids for proper brain development and so much more. Pet owners should pay close attention to feeding guides when feeding raw meat during the first several months of a puppy’s life to ensure proper growth of bones, ideal body weight, and overall health.
Older dogs are in maintenance mode. Their metabolic rate isn’t as high and they aren’t as active unless they are working dogs. A working dog needs more raw food than a non-working one, which is why the above amounts are only guidelines.
How Much Raw Food for Senior Dogs
Seniors dogs are even less active than adult dogs, especially overweight ones. Plan on feeding senior dogs 1.5% of their current weight per day to maintain an ideal weight.
Raw Dog Food Calculator
While you can likely take out your calculator to figure how many pounds you should feed your dog a day or week, you can also use a raw dog food calculator.
The Caloric Approach to Raw Feeding
While the percentage of body weight is the most common way to know how much to feed your dog, some experts recommend the caloric approach for a dog’s diet.
Pet Nutrition Alliance has a great Calorie Calculator for Dogs. Just know that when you use the calculator, the right amount of food can go 20% either way. Again, the number of calories a dog needs per day varies depending on the same factors identified above when using the bodyweight percentage approach.
The reason many people do not use the caloric approach for raw diets is that it can be hard to know what the calorie amount is for it. Calories are affected by the preparation of the raw meat and what it’s mixed with so calorie information is always just an estimate.
Despite the above, many dog owners use the caloric approach when they first start to feed their dogs a raw, natural diet to achieve ideal body weight.
When to Feed Less or More Than Recommended Amount
Pet owners who find their dogs overweight should decrease the amount they feed according to the above guidelines. A dog’s body condition, how lean or fat they are, determines where they fall in the percentages in the feeding guide above. For instance, if your dog is underweight, pet owners should feed a higher percentage amount of food, while those who are overweight should receive a lower percentage.
The same goes for the caloric approach. Pet owners should lower the number of calories they feed them by reducing the amount during meals each day to help with weight loss until achieving the ideal weight.
This also means that some dog owners may feed their dogs less or more than the recommended amount, especially very active dogs or sedentary senior dogs. The feeding guide above is only a guideline. While your dog may fall in the percentages according to your veterinarian, not all do and may not later in life.
Be careful with high-fat content meats, such as pork. Lean meats should make up most of a dog’s diet. This means that meats like chorizo are not a good idea.
We encourage everyone to follow the feeding guide if they feel as though this is best for their dog’s growth and health. Any questions or concerns about a raw diet should be directed to a veterinarian for confirmation.
A fresh raw dog food diet or a natural diet is a great option for your furry friend. At this point, you should have a good idea of how much you should feed dogs, no matter if you have larger dogs or smaller ones. If you have any questions, reach out to your veterinarian. You can also ask for advice from other dog owners by leaving a comment below.