Are you thinking about switching your dog to a raw food diet? This starter guide can help!
What is a Prey Model Raw Diet?
A Prey Model Raw Diet represents how a dog would eat in the wild, which can be broken down into the following categories:
80% Muscle Meat (examples: beef, turkey, lamb)
10% Bones (examples: chicken drumstick, turkey neck)
10% Liver & Organs (examples: 5% chicken or beef liver, 5% brain, kidney, or spleen)
This diet does not contain any vegetables, fruits, carbs, or grain. A Prey Model Raw Diet emphasizes that dogs are descendants of the wolf and therefore should eat like wolves. This is the easiest diet to start with.
As you get more experienced with raw feeding, you may want to add fruits, vegetables, and/or other supplements. This is considered a BARF or Biologically appropriate Raw Food diet. That will be introduced later in another blog post!
How much do I need to feed my dog?
Adult dogs eat around 2-3% of their body weight daily. Puppies should eat about 4-10% depending on their age. You can increase this number if your dog is more active and decrease for less active dogs.
7-10 Weeks 8-10% of body weight
10-16 Weeks 7.5-8-5% of body weight
16-20 Weeks 6.5-7.5% of body weight
20-24 Weeks 5.5-6.6% of body weight
24-36 Weeks 4.5-5.5% of body weight
36-56 Weeks 3.5-4.5% of body weight
56-68 Weeks 3.5% of body weight
68 Weeks+ 2-3% of body weight
Age/Number of Feedings
Under 16 weeks - 4 meals a day
16-24 weeks - 3 meals a day
24-52 weeks - 2 meals a day
52 weeks+ - 1-2 meals a day
Adjust accordingly as your puppy/dog grows and matures. Be sure to familiarize yourself fully with the raw food process, your puppy’s specific needs, and your puppy’s activity level.
Follow this schedule to start the switch:
Weeks 1 and 2: Feed boneless meats such as chicken breast or ground beef. Soft bones can be introduced at day 5 (ex: chicken neck). Continue to feed your dog soft bone throughout the week. At day 7 introduce a thicker bone such as a chicken drumstick. Continue to feed your dog the boneless meat, a soft bone, and a thicker bone throughout week 2.
Week 3: Introduce another form of protein such as lamb or pork. Phase out the boneless meat from week 2 slowly over the course of week 3. At the end of week 3, the old protein should be replaced entirely with the new protein. You can keep feeding the same bones from weeks 1 and 2.
Weeks 4 and 5: Introduce new forms of protein using the same method you did in Week 3. Both Week 4 and 5 should have different protein sources.
Week 6: By this week you should have monitored your dog for intestinal upset. If they seem healthy and are adjusting well to the diet, then you can begin adding liver. Liver is loaded with nutrients so please introduce it slowly. Add pieces that are about the size of a nickel and then keep increasing the size throughout the week until you reach the 5% amount.
If your dog is struggling with diarrhea, try adding some Slippery Elm Bark to his or her bowl.
Week 7: Introduce other secreting organ (ex: kidney, brain, and spleen) the same way as in week 6 (the size of a nickel and then increase to the 5% amount).
Week 8: This week you will be introducing fish and eggs. Aim to feed at least 3-4 times over the week. Examples of fish include salmon, trout, or flounder. Keep the same rule in mind and introduce the fish slowly to prevent intestinal upset. Fresh and store bought fish must be frozen for 3 weeks to kill parasites.
Dehydrated anchovies are great to add to your dog’s bowl! They don’t need to be frozen and they are ready to feed!
Farm fresh eggs are recommended to feed as the shells are a great source of vitamins and fatty acids. Store bought eggs are ok, but don’t contain the same amount of nutrients.
Prey Model Raw Meal Plan Example:
Huncho weighs 80 lbs at 2 years old. He has a healthy weight so we want to maintain it. We will feed him 2.5% of his body weight, which would be 2 lbs daily.
Huncho's meal plan would break down as follows:
80% Muscle Meat - Chicken Breast
10% Bone - Turkey Neck
5% Liver - Beef Liver
5% Other Organ - Beef Kidney
1 Egg 2 times a week
Trout 4 times a week
Additional proteins (remember to slowly introduce): lamb, ground beef, pork
Additional bone sources: chicken wings, chicken drumsticks
We hope that this guide will help you properly begin your dog's raw food journey! Please take the time to explore other raw food articles and get to know your dog's eating habits, activity levels, and overall health status. If you need additional help, we do provide custom raw meal plan services so please feel free to send an email to email@example.com to get started!
Why You Need to Feed Your Dog a Raw Food Diet by Amy Marshall