How to feed your small dog raw dog food

How to Feed Your Small Dog Raw Dog Food

I’ve been answering more and more questions lately about how to feed your small dog raw dog food.

Readers have wondered if small and tiny dogs can eat raw dog food in general.

Additionally, they’ve also had the more specific question of which raw meaty bones (RMBs) are safe to feed small and tiny dogs.

So today, I’m going to answer both!

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Can Small And Tiny Dogs Eat Raw Dog Food?

Just for clarification: Yes, small and even tiny dogs can absolutely eat raw dog food. There’s no reason why Chihuahuas, Rat Terriers, Jack Russels, or Yorkies can’t or shouldn’t eat raw dog food.

Their stomachs are designed just like the stomachs of medium to large and extra large dog breeds.

It’s very acidic which means that raw meat can be processed and digested unproblematically, including raw meaty bones.

You know what’s really cool about feeding your small dog raw dog food compared to larger dogs? It’s SUPER AFFORDABLE without having to do a lot of shopping around!

Just FYI: A dog’s stomach acidity is around 2 pH.

How to Feed Your Small Dog Raw Dog Food: Making the Switch From Kibble to Raw

There are several different ways to switch your pup from kibble to raw, and all are perfectly fine. The one you go with depends on your personal preference and what your pup likes best.

The easiest way of making the transition from kibble to raw dog food is to buy pre-made raw dog food, at least at first.

For example, from brands like Raw Paws Pet Food, Darwin’s, or Steve’s Real Food to name just a few I’ve personally fed over the years.

You’ll then want to slowly decrease your dog’s old food and increase the new raw dog food.

Mix Kibble and Raw dog Food Together

You CAN mix the two together, although some dogs CAN experience upset stomachs from mixing the two.

That’s because dry and raw dog food digest at different rates.

A way around this is to feed the different types of food at different times of the day.

For example, feed the old food in the morning, and the new food at night.

Switch Cold Turkey

Some people also switch their pups from kibble to raw cold turkey, pun intended.

This approach works just fine for many dogs, so it’s worth a shot.

Take a Detour Via Cooked Dog Food

Others take a little detour via cooked food. To do this, you lightly cook meat and add a dehydrated, so-called base mix or pre-mix to it.

This is how I personally switched my pups by the way.

The base mixes I used are:

Homemade Raw Dog Food Can Be Next

Once you’ve successfully fed pre-made raw dog food for a few weeks or months, you could look into making your own balanced DIY raw dog food.

It’ll save you money and gives you the satisfaction and peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s in your dog’s raw meals.

However, I will say that pre-made raw dog food is very affordable when feeding small and tiny dog breeds.

The savings will be considerably higher when your make homemade raw dog food for medium to large dogs. 

For further reading on making your own raw dog food, check out my ebook: 

Raw Dog Food Meal Prep: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

Can Chihuahuas Eat Raw Chicken

Sidenote: You may notice that your dog drinks less water once he's fully transitioned to raw dog food. That's because raw dog food contains a lot more moisture than kibble.

How to Feed Your Small Dog Raw Dog Food: How Much to Feed Per Day?

Pre-Made Raw Dog Food

If you're buying pre-made raw dog food, check the bag or pouch it comes in for feeding suggestions.

Note that these are just suggestions as every dog has different needs as far as feeding is concerned.

Observe your dog's body over the next few weeks and see if you need to adjust the amount you feed.

If your dog is at his target body weight and gains weight on what you feed, offer less.

On the other hand, if he seems to loose weight, increase the amount you feed.

Homemade Raw Dog Food

Just like larger dogs, tiny dogs need to eat 2-4% of their target body weight in homemade raw dog food per day. The exact amount depends on their activity level, age, and metabolism. 

Less active dogs will need closer to 2%, more active dogs will need closer to 3% or even 4%.  

Of those 2-3.5%, 80% will need to be muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bone, and 10% secreting organs (5% liver, 5% other secreting organs such as kidneys, pancreas, etc.). 

If you decide to add veggies and fruit, decrease the muscle meat amount to 70% and add 10% veggies/fruit. You’ll want to puree them for optimal nutrient absorption.

That's because dogs lack the enzyme necessary to break down plant cell walls.

For example, a 15 lb dog who needs to eat 2.5% of his body weight per day will eat 6 ounces in total food per day.

Here's how to do the math - divide the body weight by 100, then multiply the result with 2,5:

15/100 = 0.15 x 2.5 = 0.375 lbs = 6 oz

Of those 6 ounces:

  • 4.2 ounces are muscle meat (70%)
  • 0.6 ounces are raw meaty bone (10%)
  • 0.3 ounces are liver (5%)
  • 0.3 ounces are a different secreting organ like kidney or pancreas (5%)
  • 0.6 ounces are veggies/fruit/nuts/seeds (10%)

How to Feed Your Small Dog Raw Dog Food: Raw Meaty Bones (RMBs)

As I just mentioned, RMBs are an integral part of feeding raw dog food. That's because they're a great source of calcium und phosphorus, both of which are needed for skeletal and muscular growth and maintenance.

That said, small and tiny dogs should eat different raw meaty bones than larger dogs due to their size difference.

They're OK eating the following raw meaty bones, although the RMB may have to be cut into halves for portion control (I recommend using a bread knife):

  • Chicken feet, necks, and wings 
  • Duck wings and feet 
  • Very small beef oxtails

Be aware of the fact that RMBs consist of bone and meat, so they're not all bone.

Chicken necks (w/o skin) and duck necks are around 50% bone, chicken and duck feet are around 60% bone, duck wings are 40% bone, chicken wings are 45% bone, and oxtails are around 80% bone.

How to feed small breed pups raw chicken necks - Michelines Pups

How To Feed Raw Meaty Bones To Small & Tiny Dogs

If you know that your dog has a tendency of gulping, hold one end of the raw meaty bone while your dog starts chewing on the other end.

It’ll ensure that he crunches down on it several times and doesn’t try to swallow it whole. It also teaches polite behavior around high value food.

If your dog’s teeth are in poor health due to many years of eating dry and wet dog food, he may unfortunately not be able to eat raw meaty bones.

In that case, you’ll have to use a meat grinder and mix the ground raw meaty bones with the muscle meat and the secreting organs.

You can find decent meat grinders on Amazon. For example, the:

Where To Buy Raw Meaty Bones For Small & Tiny Dogs

You can buy RMBs for small and tiny dogs from several different places. 

Raw Paws Pet Food carries chicken feet, necks, and wings.

Tip: Use my discount code K9Savings to get 15% off your order from Raw Paws Pet Food.

Raw Feeding Miami carries chicken feet & necks, as well as duck wings & feet. For Raw Feeding Miami, my referral link will get you 10% off.

Walmart carries oxtails in different sizes, meaning one package of oxtails will contain different sized oxtails. You could pick out the smallest ones and use the bigger ones in a homemade batch of bone broth.

Most Walmart stores also carry chicken feet, sometimes labeled as chicken paws. 

I’ve also found chicken feet at a local organic farm, so you may want to ask around in your area. 

Raw chicken feet are sometimes labeled chicken paws (seen at Walmart)
Chicken feet at Walmart

Are you looking to make the transition from kibble to raw with your small or tiny dog?

Leave your comments or questions in the comment section below this blog post!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






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