Newbie with quite a few questions!

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!


Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 9:08pm PST 
Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I have two dogs of my own and a foster dog. I have always wanted to feed raw but thought I couldn't afford it. I was reading a friends post on FB about her starting to feed raw and was being guided by a friend of hers. He suggested to get chicken backs, and I am been doing a lot of reading. Now that I have found the prey model raw diet things really took a confusing twist! I had no clue that just feeding chicken backs was too much bone, and that you needed a variety of meats. A few questions that I can think of for now (I'm sure there will be plenty in the future) are...

How do I figure out how much is 80% meat, 10 % bone and %10 organs?

Now that I know I have to feed other meats besides chicken backs, where is the best place to get other meats? I am wondering if I can afford to do it now. I have a local butcher that sells a 40 lbs box of backs for $18. Are leg quarters and other meats much more expensive than that?

What other meats should I include eventually?

Do you supplement at all with kelp or flax seed oil?

Thanks guys. I am looking forward to this learning experience and getting my dogs on the healthy track. Especially my newf who has had allergies all of her life!

Barked: Fri Feb 15, '13 9:47pm PST 
That's an okay price for backs. But don't feed only backs, that's way too much bone. I can get quarters for about $0.75 a pound in 10 pound bags. The price in my area recently went up from $0.69 a pound.
Other meats to eventually add are whatever you can get and your dogs will eat. I spend no more than $1.90lb on lamb, $2lb on beef, $1.70lb on pork, $0.75lb on chicken, and around $0.70-$1lb on turkey.
I do not supplement with plant oils, wrong kind of stuff for dogs. I use fish oils. I also do not supplement with kelp. I find most kelp supplements (both human and pet) at the recommended dosages give WAY too much iodine, and I'd rather not fry my dog's thyroids.

My dog weighs about 23-24 pounds, but I feed him based on a 25 pound dog to make things easier. I feed him 2.5% of his body weight, which comes out to 10 ounces a day. I do that by multiplying 16 (ounces in a pound) by 25 (total pounds) to get 400 ounces, then I figure out what 2.5% of 400 is (400 - 97.5%) to get 10. After that I take 10 and subtract 20% to get 8, then subtract the full total by 90% to get 1 ounce, half of which (.5 ounce) should be liver.

For my 45 pound dog who gets closer to 2% a day...
16 x 45 = 750 - 98% = 14.4 ounces per day. 14.4 - 20% is 11.52, and 14.4% - 90% is 1.44. So she would get 11.50 ounces of meat and 1.44 ounces of bone and 1.44 ounces of organs. In a perfect world. I usually round the numbers up or down to fit what I am feeding for that day.

The other dog, who gets 1.5% of her bodyweight (48 pounds) would be:
16 x 48 = 768 - 98.5% = 11.52 ounces a day. That's around 9.2 ounces of meat, and 1.1 ounces each of bone and organs.

OR, you can get this spreadsheet and input your dog's weight int the box and it'll do it all for you. Much easier that way.

In order to determine how much a certain item weighs, I just weigh it with a kitchen scale. If it's a chicken leg and I wanna know how much the bone weighs, I cut off all the meat and weigh the legbone. Then I figure out how many legs I need to feed per dog each day to get in the bone requirements.
Confusing at first, simple once you get the hang of it. I used to weigh everything, but now I mostly eyeball stuff unless it's something I am not sure about.

Edited by author Fri Feb 15, '13 9:48pm PST


the chi-weenie
Barked: Sat Feb 16, '13 8:14am PST 
Yay raw! Cookie has been on raw for 1 year and 1 month now!

It may be a poor example since are dogs are such different sizes, but Cookie weighs 8.5 lbs. and I use this calculator to find out what 2-3% of that is. http://reelrawdog.com/feeding-calculator
Then I round it to make it easier on me. I decided to aim for about 3 oz a day.

Figure out what 2-3% of your dogs weights are and write that down. It will only be a starting point, if the dogs get skinny or get fat, please adjust the amount.

After I figure out how much to feed a day.. I either eyeball what a tenth of that chunk of meat would be, and use that as a reference for how much bone content to feed a day, and how much organ (at least half liver) she needs a day.
or there is a thread here that states how much bone is in certain cuts of meat.. and you can calculate it.

However my dog would require such a small amount of bone everyday that she only gets 1 oz of bone every 2-3 days. and depending on what kind of cuts of meat you find, your dogs don't need to have 80, 10, 10 everyday, just as long as it's balanced over time.

chicken is the cheapest, but red meat is more nutritious. See if you can find, pork ribs, beef ribs, beef heart, beef cheek, and any red meat on sale.

And, when preparing meals, I hold 5 days worth of food in one container at a time, so five days of food is already in the fridge thawing at a time. It's much easier that way than packing and remembering to thaw one meal at a time! I was doing that for a while and it was way to much work preparing so many.

When you first start them, use skinnless bone-in chicken and don't worry so much about balancing, just feed them the bone-in chicken and see if they handle it well and if their poop looks normal and there's no problems, then you can introduce a new meat. But you have to take it slow, cause the dogs system has to change, the enzymes it's used to using on kibble will be ready to go, but won't work on raw meat. Sometimes it's good to give pro biotic.


Barked: Wed Feb 20, '13 1:48pm PST 
These are the prices that my local butcher gave me. Chicken backs and liver sound like a good price but the rest seems pretty pricey. Thoughts?

Chicken backs $18 for 40 lbs box
Chicken Quarters $64 – 40lbs box(1.60 lbs)
Chicken Livers - $1.25 lbs
Beef Heart - $1.89 lbs
Pork Ribs - $96 – 40 lbs box(2.40 lbs)
Pork Roast – $2.19 lbs
Beef Liver - $1.39

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Feb 20, '13 4:28pm PST 
To continue with calculations estimate how much food your dog will need per day then per month. If your girl is 100 pounds and eats 2% a day she would need 2 pounds a day and 60 pounds a month. Half can be chicken quarters, the rest can be pork, beef, lamb and other boneless meats. Some days she could have pork ribs or bone in pork roast or beef ribs or bony turkey instead of chicken quarters or chicken+meat. Each day she would have a bit of organ, about 1.6 ounces of liver and 1.6 ounces of kidney, brain, spleen, thymus or ? but in time you might be able to feed organs a couple times a week.

So you are looking at 30 pounds of chicken quarters and 30-6 pounds of organ=24 pounds of boneless stuff for a month. That comes to $48 for the chicken and $45 for the heart and $8.40 for liver except half of that needs to be something other than liver. A giant breed dog might not need 2% a day while a toy breed might need 10% a day, we feed to dog's condition as with any diet but you have to start somewhere!

Yuck. That is super expensive for chicken, I get it on sale for much less than $1 a pound. Just bought a large tray of thighs for $.50 and one of bone in breasts for $.75 a pound this week in fact [clearance bin!]. The heart price is about what I see and the liver price is better than what I usually pay. Ask your friend where the raw comes from, perhaps there is a better source out there. I stalk the clearance bin of the market for cheap meat. I googled my area and found a whole street loaded with ethnic markets about 20 miles away some of which have online flyers so I can shop when there is a good deal. Costco sells chicken for a good price and I have bought meat there once or twice. Dogaware has a list of coops and sellers of raw pet food you could look through. http://www.dogaware.com/diet/rawfoods.html Most urban areas have wholesale meat markets and some of those will sell a few cases of meats retail, haven't gone that way yet. Need a dog freezer to use that resource but with the amount of meat you will be buying just for Summer you would want one anyway.

See Charlie's Newbie thread that was just bumped to the top of the board for how much bone is in what cut of meat. Backs are at least 50% bone, ribs and whole chicken are about 30% bone so you can see it doesn't take much to get too much bone into the diet! Bone is fun for the dog and we love feeding it as the poop is tiny and very firm but too much bone isn't good for dogs as it contains so much calcium and phosphorus.

My interest in raw was piqued in the same mistaken belief that bony chicken was a good diet. I wanted to bone raw chicken, cook the meat for Sassy and feed Max the bone but found out before I even started that meat was more important than bone. Just chicken is unbalanced anyway as chicken is low in a number of nutrients that red meats like pork, beef and lamb are rich in. A couple of Dogsters have been stuck feeding only chicken for a time and reported that the dogs started stinking in about a week, same as if they were on a mediocre kibble.
Crash- Dynamite

Live up to your- Name!
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 12:41pm PST 
I aim to feed the WHOLE animal, so like we will by an entire turkey, cut it up and feed it over several days. Same with chicken. Of course, beef and pork are harder to do that with so I just buy those cuts that have some bone, but not too much. Like a picnic shoulder roast with lots of meat around a bone. Sometimes we do beef ribs when they are on sale. Most of my beef comes in the form of Heart since it's the most affordable. We also do whole frozen sardines.

If I could get a hold of rabbit, i'd feed that whole as well.

By the way, those prices from your butcher sound really good. Just mix and match it so your pup is not getting a lot of bone over a long period of time.

Member Since
Barked: Thu Feb 21, '13 11:00pm PST 
PMR is easy - 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs. Muscle organs like hearts, gizzards, and tongue are considered muscle meat.

So, if you're feeding a 50 pound dog at approximately 3% of his weight, you are looking at feeding approximately 1.5 lbs per day. In a week you got about 10 lbs worth of food. So, 8 lbs of this would be muscle meat, 1 lb of this will be bone, 0.5 lb of this will be liver and 0.5 lb will be other secreting organs. Spread it out over the course of the week and you got a raw fed dog.

Easy does it.

As far as meat sources, this is what I use for my dog:

Whole fryer chicken - 99 cents a pound at the grocery without innards
Cut as follows: Cut out both thighs (drumstick and thigh intact), separate the back from the breast, cut the breast down the middle (wing would be attached).

Chicken gizzards - 99 cents a pound for a 30-lb case at my local butcher. I used this as muscle meat and not organ meat so it is counted as part of the 80% meat.

Turkey breasts - 99 cents a pound bone-in at the grocery on special sale - I scan the weekly circular and it usually appears once every 2 months.

Beef hearts - 99 cents a pound for a 30-lb case at my local butcher. I used this as muscle meat and not organ meat so it's counted as part of the 80% meat.

Pork butt (actually it is the shoulder, not the buttocks but it's called pork butts because they used to be shipped in cases called butts) - I don't feed the bone, I make soup for the humans with it or give it to the dogs as a chew toy. 99 cents a pound at the grocery which includes the bone that the dogs may or may not eat.

Whole Rabbit - you can get a 12 lb rabbit for $11 from rodentpro.com (I buy the food for my pet snake from them too). And when I say whole rabbit, I mean WHOLE RABBIT with fur and everything else. I do skin the rabbit only because I tan them. I open the belly of the rabbit, take out the gall bladder from the liver, and give the entire rabbit to the dog for several meals.

For organs:
Chicken liver - $1.39/lb for a 15-lb case at the local butcher.
Beef liver - $1.49/lb for a 15 lb case at the local butcher.
Beef kidneys - $1.49/lb for a 15 lb case at the local butcher.
Offal (all kinds of organs mixed together) - $1.25/lb at the Asian Market but it's not always available.

Miscellaneous (used as supplement and not part of the ratio):
Eggs - $2.19/doz at the grocery. I give one egg every week. Just put the egg, shell and all, in the bowl, crush the thing, and mix it with the food.

Hobby Items:
English Whiting, etc. - free from the hubby's fishing hobby from the Atlantic ocean.
Wild Hog - $125.00 for any size hog at the shoot-your-own-hog hunting lodge.

Splurge items:
Ground Beef Chuck - $3.19/lb - grocery.
Cornish Hens - $3/lb - grocery.
Green Tripe - $1.69/lb - from the raw-feeder co-op (they bulk buy from raw4paw.com)
Deer - $6.99/lb from the local butcher
Lamb - $3.89/lb from the local butcher
Bison - $8.99/lb from the local butcher
Salmon - $8.99/lb - grocery. Canned salmon in water is $4.99 for a 14 oz can.