This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!


Member Since
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 7:24am PST 
I'm so lost on raw feeding. I've done all the work and research. I know why to feed raw and I'm very committed to doing it but I have no idea what cuts of meat I can and cannot feed.

I just started my Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff) puppy on raw this past week. I was still nervous about what meats to feed him so I bought prepackaged raw to get him used to it, then I plan to feed raw on my own.

I know the dogs are supposed to get muscle meat, bones and organs. How much of each do they need and do they need each every day?

Also my biggest problem is knowing specifically what cuts of meat I need. I can't call a local farmer or go to a butcher without this understanding. And I cannot seem to find this information laid out simply anywhere.

For example, if I were to feed chicken. I know I could buy a whole chicken and whack it into pieces. I know I could feed chicken quarters, etc. But I do not know if I could feed necks, backs or thighs (too much conflicting information on these cuts). Since my dog will be so big, I don't know what pieces of meat are too small for him and that he may choke on. He's quite the gulper.

Also red meat is what is much harder. Everything you read says no weight bearing bones, etc. I don't know what that means (no leg bones)? I've never seen a beef leg in the store anyway. And if I'm trying to buy red meat with bone in it, what cut can I get. I've seen ribs (do the dogs consume all the ribs)? I need the most help with red meat please.

What I'm getting at is I am not sure which cuts are raw meaty bones that the dog can eat and consume. What cuts have bones that should be avoided. I want to start placing bulk orders for meat but I have no idea what to even ask for.

I'm very lost. If it helps as well, I'm young. I'm in my 20's. I don't have a lot of experience cooking for myself and understanding cuts of meat which is perhaps why this is so confusing for me.

Any help would be appreciated!! Thanks so much

the chi-weenie
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 7:35am PST 
Well my dog is like 9 lbs so what I feed will be different than what you feed. xD
but my dog cane consume pork ribs, chicken thighs, etc. She's not a gulper so I don't have to watch out too bad, but a general rule is to not give your dog something smaller than it's head. This way, the dog has to chew part of it off and when he discovers a bone while chewing he will know to chew it up.

dogs can consume all bones (except large legs bones, yes you are right that's what weight bearing means).

I read your post really fast and I don't have time to go over it right now, did you let us know how big your dog is? that will help us figure out what's best.

You can feed any part of an animal, so any cut, neck, brains, head, anything.... this is a whole prey diet so ideally the dogs would be eating a whole animal, all the parts.

it's 80% meat(and stuff), 10% bone, 5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ. Heart counts as a meat.

you don't have to be balanced everyday, just balance it over a period of time.

I go to the grocery store and find whatever cuts of red meat are on sale or for the lowest price/lb and buy that. During holidays certain things will be on sale, like pork ribs.

Member Since
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 7:55am PST 
Okay, thanks! My dog is just over 4 months old. Last time he was weighed I believe he was 44lbs which was a few weeks ago. I'm sure he'll be at 50 in no time. He's a male so he'll prob be around 115-130 when full grown.

And yea I think I just need to start it out and give it a try, I'm just very worried about him swallowing things whole. Plus his head is going to be so big that will make finding cuts harder. I want to be able to feed backs and necks and stuff like I've read about but I feel like that might be too small for him. Maybe not right now but it will be soon I'm sure.


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 9:51am PST 
You have seen beef legs at the market. Round steak, soup bones, marrow bones, shank are all cuts from the leg. I give Max shank and round steak meat cut from the very hard bone, shank meat is especially tough and tasty. Most dogs are fine with leg bones from pork, lamb, rabbit, turkey chicken. If venison legs are young perhaps they are soft enough but a trophy buck's leg bones might be too dense.

Sorry that Dogster doesn't allow for stickied threads, we have to bump them to the top of the board when somebody needs the info. I bumped several great ones to the top. Do read the mistakes thread it is funny and very informative. Not sure it stopped me from making most of those mistakes though.......

The Newbie thread lists names of meats that are fine. Mostly you just want meat, lots of it. Cheap meat with not too much fat. Tough is better than tender. Less bone is better than more and bones cut lengthwise like in chops aren't good at all. Meats are commonly 'enhanced' these days which upsets some dogs' stomachs. Enhanced meat will have more than 100mg sodium per serving listed on the nutrition box. I just passed on turkeys with 360mg sodium per serving this morning. Sodium is an essential nutrient but my Max needs something like 160mg a day and since he would be eating at least 2 servings of that turkey it is just too much.

Your pup does need to eat big stuff. The basic size that is safe for normal dogs is the size of their skull. Super gulpy dogs need pieces that are even larger and dainty eaters may be fine with smaller pieces. And it may change in time. Max is now reliable eating chicken necks when early on he swallowed one whole and I can give him beef ribs because he no longer tried to break them up and swallow big chunks.

I want to play!
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 10:48am PST 
It depends on your dog, but big dog chicken neck isn't good unless it's attached to the roaster.. which most cases it is not. Bella my mom's 55lb boxer can handle chicken drumsticks, thighs, and chicken necks, but she is pretty careful, but not all dogs are and stuff that size for big dog can swallow it whole..

Pork chops are nice I usually cut the bone off and use just the meat..

pork ribs are yummy meal for Saya or Bella..

Big turkey necks, chicken quarters are good.

I don't give beef bones often due to how dense and thick it is not very edible.

Saya has had beef ribs and she mostly works on the meat and only tiny bit of bone she can grind off which is probably enough for her bone requirement, but some dogs would bite down too hard and that can be an issue and might cause broken tooth.. So know your dog and if it tries crunch it and half instead of slowly working on it then maybe try it once he's been on raw longer..

pork shoulders make nice meals a lot of it is boneless meals and once near the bone it becomes a bone in meal. Saya works on the jointed parts of the shoulder fine and is able to grind it no issue. Once there is a little bit of it and it's pretty thick I toss it out by then all meat is gone.

turkey breast and backs are nice meals the back is boney though so feed some meat with it to balance it. Breast is much more meatier then the back.

Saya enjoys whole chicken roasters feeds her for while..

I'd start with bone in chicken and work on other protein sources.

Caned sardines, mackerel, salmon and chicken gizzards and heart makes yummy snacks.

I've feed lamb ribs, lamb neck, lamb shank, and lamb leg to Bella and Saya. The lamb shank and leg most of the jointed part is edible and some of the bone is too. The marrow is rich and yummy, but if dog is new to it might cause farts.. Saya had death farts after eating her first lamb shank..
Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 11:43am PST 
I've got a big girl, though not as big as yours will be...but can compare. One thing she really enjoys is a Pork Shank or Pork Butt. She can't gulp them because they are too big and have a large bone in them. Keeps her busy for quite a while.

Because she is on a diet and gets a certain weight of food at each feeding, I have to hacksaw through these to get a more reasonable portion. But past chicken, it is a good meal for a large dog.

When I feed her chicken, I give her large chunks, not pieces like would be cut up for a human meal. At the size your guy is going to be a whole chicken would not be unreasonable. Savvy gets about half a chicken right now.

It takes a while to get used to this, but having such a big dog you will want to start feeding your own selection of raw meats...packaged raw would in large quantities would get REALLY expensive.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Fri Nov 16, '12 6:16pm PST 
I just ask my butcher for beef trim. It's all the chewy offcuts that they usually make into mince or sausage. It usually comes from the flank. You can get some very awesome meat that way very cheap.

Some other good cheap cuts of beef are brisket (upper front leg), chuck (shoulder) and round. Round meat is what is usually found in roasts, it's the stuff from the rump/back legs that has little fat. I also feed heart. Hearts can really be very large and a good source of meat for the price! Just be aware they can be a bit fatty and very rich, and something to work up to.

Pork I feed the shoulder (boston butt? I think it's called.) That is way cheaper than a pork leg.

I usually feed bone in lamb, which consists of neck (scrag end, that is, the bony part sold for soup), flaps (unedible rib usually sold just for dogs) and shank. The cheapest cut of muscle meat would either be chump chops with the bone removed, or a shoulder roast. In the states that is called a square cut I believe. Again I also feed the hearts.

Chicken I generally feed the whole thing.

Hope that helps.

Edited by author Fri Nov 16, '12 6:21pm PST


Member Since
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 8:06am PST 
It does, thanks for all the advice. I'm starting to get the hang out of it. Unfortunately most of it is trial and error, but I'm learning either way smile

I'm king of the- world!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 3:23pm PST 
Yep, trial and error, indeed! Ask some of the regulars on this forum what a complete basket-case I was 2 years ago when I started Duke on raw. smile I panicked about everything...and now it's all just part of the daily routine.

You will get the hang of it with time. Keep reading, asking questions, and noting what works. One of the best things I did was to keep a food diary. It really helped me narrow down allergies, how much bone Duke could digest at a meal, how the poop was coming out, whether one meal a day or two worked best, etc. It also helped reassure me on balance, as I would run a week's diet through nutritiondata.com so I could see the numbers and know he was getting what he needs. I still use the diary, in fact.