Raw Feeding for dogs: the basics!

Hey, fellow pet lovers!

Today’s post is going to stick with our focus on raw feeding and is a fairly short post, that talks a little about a lot.

Let’s jump straight in and learn the basics of feeding a species appropriate diet to our canine companions.


What is raw feeding?

Well, raw feeding is when you feed a domesticated carnivore a diet that consists of:

  • Raw Muscle Meat.

  • Raw Edible Meaty Bones.

  • And Raw Organ Meat.

It eliminates the need to feed a mass-produced, overly processed commercial diet such as low-quality Kibble or canned/pouched pet food and being raw it contains none of the nasty ingredients that these pet foods can contain, such as:

  • Non-functional carbohydrates.

  • Low-quality protein sources, such as soy and corn.

  • A myriad of harmful chemicals, preservatives and palatability enhancers.

There are two main models of raw feeding and these are:

  • BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food)

  • And Prey Model Raw (PMR)


BARF, Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food

pexels-photo-128401.jpeg
BARF is an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding or Bones and Raw Food.

BARF feeders believe that it is fine to add:

  • Veg.

  • Fruit.

  • And Dairy into their pet’s diet and believe there is no harm in doing so. 

Personally, we give our girls a little bit of veg, fruit and sheep/goats diary every now and then to brighten up their diet.

There are two options when feeding the BARF method and these are:

  • The DIY approach, where you make your pets homemade meals from a variety of proteins, following the BARF percentages.

  • Or you can purchase commercially prepared raw food from raw feeding manufacturers and distributors.

Feeding Percentages when feeding a BARF diet

Since BARF feeders think it is fine to give their pet veg, fruit and dairy in their diet then the percentages are slightly different. If you choose to follow the BARF approach then you will give your pet 70/10/10/10 rule, which will mean you will feed your pet:

  • 70% Muscle Meat.

  • 10% Edible Meaty Bones.

  • 10% Offal (5% of this must consist of liver!)

  • 10% Veg, Fruit or dairy. 

This is what a BARF feeder would give their pet following this method.


Prey Model Raw (PMR)

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My girl Nia eating, a whole Partridge.

The ethos of this model is to attempt to resemble what our dog’s ancestors, the Grey Wolf would eat in the wild.

The first difference between PMR feeders and BARF is that Prey Model Raw (PMR) feeders believe that their pets are true carnivores and do not require any:

  • Veg.
  • Fruit.
  • Or dairy in their diet and no supplementation unless completely necessary.

Since a PMR feeder does not give their pet any of the above, feeding percentages for this method is slightly different from feeding the BARFapproach.

Just like BARF, there are two different approaches a PMRfeeder can take when following this method and these are:

  • Feeding strictly whole prey.

  • Or Franken feeding.

Franken feeding is when a Prey Model Raw (PMR) feeder pieces together different proteins to reach the required ratios of whole prey. This is an easier way of feeding the Prey Model Raw (PMR) method, as not everyone can get their hands on whole prey with feathers and innards still intact.

An example of this is a PMRfeeder giving their pet a whole duck or chicken from the supermarket, giving them offal and maybe some rabbit pelt on the side to mimic feeding whole prey.


Feeding Percentages when feeding a PMR diet

The feeding percentages for both methods are slightly different due to the variation in ingredients that can be fed. Someone who takes a Prey Model Raw (PMR) approach to raw feeding will follow the 80/10/10 rule, which will mean you will feed your pet:

  • 80% Muscle Meat
  • 10% Raw meaty bones
  • 10% Offal (5% of this must consist of liver!)

This is what a PMR feeder would give their pet following this method.


How are feeding percentages worked out?

The basic percentages for feeding your pet is worked out in relation to their ideal expected body weight.

You should feed your pet 2-3% of their ideal expected body weight per day. 

My girl Nia’s ideal expected body weight is about 15/16 kilos.

1% of 15 kilos is 150 grams x 2 is a total of 300 grams a day.

1% of 16 kilos is 160 grams x 3 is a total of 480 grams a day. 

Therefore she gets between 300 and 480 grams a day, it all depends on how much exercise she has done and also how lean or plump she is looking.

Feeding percentages for both methods can be adapted depending on how your pet looks, how much exercise they do or if they are ill and have had a decrease in exercise.

Remember to keep a close eye on how your pet looks and adjust accordingly. 


Feeding percentages for puppies

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Feeding percentages for puppies are different from percentages for feeding an adult dog.

This is because they require more meals per day and extra nutrients to ensure they grow into a strong and healthy pet.

The resource I use is Honey’s Natural Feeding Handbook for Dogs* by Jonathan Self. The following information has been taken from this book and I definitely suggest purchasing it if you are going to start raw feeding, I have found it to be invaluable!

In terms of volume of food there is no hard-and-fast rule but, generally speaking, you should follow these guidelines:

  • 0-4 months: 8%
  • 4-6 months: 6-8% 
  • 6-9 months 4% 
  • 9-12 months: 3%
  • >12 months: 2%

The percentage refers to the weight of the food to be fed per day in relation to the body weight of the puppy. 

The transition should be gradual, not sudden. So the day a puppy turns 6 months you don’t suddenly drop the food from 8% to 4% and in case of smaller breeds you need to up the quantity by half as much again. (Self, J. 2012 Honey’s Natural feeding handbook, second edition, page 88) 

*By purchasing through this link you are supporting epoch.pet as we get a small amount of commission, with no extra cost to you. This money helps keep the blog up and running and allows us to purchase pet products to review on our site.


Where to find raw food?

There are so many places to find raw food for your furry friend.

Firstly, you could

  • Order online from a raw feeding manufacture or distributor.

We order our girls food online each month and it really helps us, as we save time not having to prepare their meals. You will also get a lot more choice when ordering online than just going to your supermarket and getting generic meats such as chicken or beef.

  • Go to your local supermarket.

When we first started raw feeding we followed the DIY BARF approach and made our girls meals at home by purchasing different meats from supermarkets or Pets at Home.

  • Go to your local butchers.

Going to your local butchers is a great option to get high-quality meat at a great price. If you ask, most butchers will give you their scraps or cheap cuts at a great price and these go a long way when raw feeding.


Raw feeding checklist

Here is a list of everything you will need to start your pet on a raw diet:

  • Freezer Space.

You will need extra freezer space for your pet to store all their raw food for the month. Most raw feeders will have two or more freezers, one for them and one for their furry friend. You can pick up second-hand freezers fairly cheap on Gumtree or eBay.

  • Feeding Mat.

You will need to get a feeding mat to feed your pet, even if you feed your pet using a bowl it is always good to have a feeding mat on hand when feeding bone inside your home.

  • A good knife and knife sharpener

This is one of the most important things on the checklist, when embarking on raw feeding you will find yourself cutting up things you never imagined and for that, you need a good sharp knife and a knife sharpener to keep it sharp at all times.

  • Gloves, if your fussy about touching raw meat or want to be extra cautious.

Some people don’t like touching raw meat and it is always handy to have a few sets of gloves in the house if you are a raw feeder. Especially for prepping meals or touching smelly tripe!!

  • A chopping board.

A chopping board is an essential item on your raw feeding checklist. We have a separate chopping board for our girl’s food as they eat some gross things, like green tripe.

  • Scales.

You will need a set of scales to weigh out and portion up your furry friend’s food.

  • Storage containers.

If you choose to feed your pet using the BARF method and DIY your pet’s meals, then you will need containers to store your portioned up food in. Please do not use freezer bags and always stick to reusable items such as tubs, as plastic food bags have a serious negative effect on our environment!

These are just about everything I can think of and if I have missed anything out please leave a comment down below and I will be sure to add it in.


Thanks for reading this post, I hope this has helped anyone who wishes to start their pet on a raw diet. Remember there are so many reasons to do so and it will benefit your pet massively.

Also be sure to check out our other raw feeding posts as we have

And our many raw feeding friendly treat recipes such as

Thanks for checking in and be sure to follow/subscribe to the epoch.pet to never miss a post and follow us on social media, or get in touch with us on Facebook @epoch.pet

Weekly posts every Tuesday and Saturday!

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