Balanced homemade raw dog food with a raw egg and a raw turkey neck in a stainless steel dog bowl

How To Easily Balance Homemade Raw Dog Food

Does this sound familiar: How do I balance homemade raw dog food without having to buy a billion different things?

That’s what a K9sOverCoffee newsletter subscriber mentioned as their biggest raw feeding challenge.

And that’s fair, because many highly nutritious raw dog food bowls that you see online are made with a plethora of raw dog food ingredients.

So today, I’m sharing a few hacks that let you balance homemade raw dog food more easily.

Here’s my advice – and just FYI, I’ll include two different approaches – one for beginners, and one for more advanced raw feeders.

How To Easily Balance Homemade Raw Dog Food

Balanced DIY raw dog food featuring a bright orange egg yolk in a stainless steel dog bowl

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.

What Is Balanced Raw Dog Food?

First off, what exactly IS balanced raw dog food?

Well, a balanced raw food diet for dogs refers to raw dog food that can be fed as is. That means, without the addition of any toppers or other foods.

In short, it’s a complete raw food for dogs that doesn’t lack in any nutrients.

Now, many raw feeders don’t love this term.

That’s because what’s balanced for one dog may not be considered balanced for another dog.

For example, a dog with cancer who’s on a Keto diet won’t be eating more than 5% in starchy foods.

So that raw dog food bowl with the addition of 10-15% pumpkin puree and boiled sweet potato won’t work for him.

Likewise, a dog with purine intolerances has to eat a low-purine diet with white meats and no organ meats.

Of course that will look different from a dog who has no problems with purines.

You get the gist – balanced raw dog food can mean different things depending on the dog it’s made for!

So, you’ll have to take YOUR dog’s particular nutritional needs into consideration when you’re making balanced raw meals for them.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #1: Use Base Mixes With Meat And Oils

This is my first suggestion and the easiest one I can think of.

All you need for this is the following:

That’s the approach I used before I learned how to make raw dog food with a variety of different ingredients.

Convenience Tip: You can also add base mixes to manufactured prey model raw dog foods.

You know, the kind you buy premade from brands that don’t have any synthetic supplements added to them.

Raw Paws Pet Food carries several of those:

Tip: Save 15% on anything from Raw Paws Pet Food with my affiliate discount code K9Savings.

Next up is an approach for making homemade raw dog food from scratch.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #2: Mix White Meats And Red Meats

White and red meats have different levels of nutrients, so it’s best not to feed just one type.

Here’s what’s considered white meats:

  • Duck
  • Quail
  • Turkey
  • Goose
  • Rabbit
  • Chicken

And the following are considered red meats:

  • Pork
  • Goat
  • Beef
  • Bison
  • Lamb
  • Beaver
  • Camel
  • Venison
  • Kangaroo

To keep this as simple as possible and if I HAD to decide on just two for my dog, I’d pick turkey and venison because Wally does well with both.

Why might it work for YOUR dog?

Because both are lean meats and more than half of dogs in the US are obese, so there’s more than a 50% chance that your pup is, too.

Nutrients In Ground Turkey

Also, ground turkey is naturally rich in Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) and less dogs are allergic to turkey than they are to chicken, for example.

Vitamin B9 is important for your dog’s DNA and their blood cells.

Note: Yes, rabbit is even richer in Vitamin B9, but it’s also a lot more expensive.

Plus any grocery store carries ground turkey, so it’s a lot easier to source than rabbit.

Nutrients In Venison

And regarding the nutrients in venison, it’s naturally rich in iron, zinc and choline.

Iron helps carry oxygen throughout your dog’s body and helps with energy production.

Zinc is important for a healthy immune system and your dog’s thyroid.

Choline is important for muscle contraction and cell membrane health.

You can either buy raw venison online from raw dog food retailers, hunt it yourself or get it FREE from wildlife processors if there’s any where you live.

Raw Dog Food Retailers Who Carry Venison

In the States, I’m aware of the following raw dog food retailers who carry venison:

Wildlife Processors

Wildlife processors aren’t allowed to sell you their deer and other wild game, but they are allowed to give it away.

Back when I lived in the States, I made friends with a wildlife processor in NC who gave me deer organ meats like heart and liver, and also legs.

I wouldn’t feed the bone on the legs because they’re pretty tough and too hard for dog teeth, but you can cut the flesh off and feed that.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #3: Add Oily Fish

If you won’t be feeding any secreting organs like brains and eyes that are naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, you’ll have to feed your dog an oily fish.

This can be herring, mackerel, salmon, (canned) sardines or anchovies.

Regarding the salmon and other fish from the Pacific Northwest, make sure you freeze it for 3 weeks prior to feeding it.

That gets rid of a potentially deadly parasite. To be on the safest side, avoid fish from the Pacific and feed Atlantic fish instead.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #4: Add Lamb Liver

Lamb liver has the highest amount of Vitamin A in comparison to liver from chicken, beef, pork, duck and turkey.

So if you want to use only one type of liver, go for raw lamb liver.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #5: Add Pork Kidney

You’ll need to feed a second secreting organ besides the liver.

And since pork kidney is fairly easy to source from ethnic grocery stores (Asian and Mexican), that’s easy enough.

It also has a decent amount of B Vitamins.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #6: Add Turkey Necks or Chicken Wings

Your homemade raw dog food diet still needs a calcium and phosphorus source in form of a raw meaty bone.

Of course you can also grind it too, but that means that your pup won’t get the all the oral benefits of eating whole raw meaty bones.

But that’s a choice you have to make.

Either way, both turkey necks and chicken wings are very easy to source as any grocery store has them.

Turkey necks are going to be a better option for medium to large dogs, and chicken wings will be better for smaller dogs.

Balancing Homemade Raw Dog Food Tip #7: Add Spinach, Ground Almonds, Eggs & Kelp

Spinach and almonds are a great source of iron, Vitamin A (spinach) and Vitamin E (almonds).

Eggs are naturally rich in Vitamin D and choline. You can either feed chicken eggs, quail eggs or duck eggs. Even goose eggs, but those are much harder to source.

When you can, opt for eggs from pastured hens as their Vitamin D content is a lot higher than eggs from hens who are never exposed to sunshine.

And what about kelp? Well, kelp is a great source of fiber and iodine as well as other essential trace minerals.

How To Easily Balance Homemade Raw Dog Food: Bottom Line

So there you have it!

To recap, the absolutely easiest way to balance homemade raw dog food is going to be with a base mix.

For example, the kinds from Dr. Harveys or The Honest Kitchen. There are also options from Sojos and Grandma Lucy’s.

Just do a search for base mix online or ask at your local pet food retailer.

All you need to do with those is to rehydrate them with water or bone broth, add your type of protein in the form of raw meats, and top them off with a healthy fat.

If you’re looking to be more involved in making homemade raw dog food, here are the 7 ingredient ideas I had for as few raw dog food ingredients as possible:

  • Oily fish (mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, salmon)
  • Turkey necks and chicken wings
  • Raw turkey and venison
  • Ground almonds
  • Pork kidney
  • Lamb liver
  • Spinach
  • Eggs
  • Kelp

But please remember that balancing homemade raw dog food is always going to depend on what foods and protein sources your dog does well on.

If they can’t have turkey because it makes them itch and scratch, replace it by another white meat. The same goes for venison (replace it with a different red meat).

If your dog can’t have chicken eggs (like my pup Wally), replace them with quail eggs or duck eggs. Etc.

Now have fun balancing your homemade raw meals!

Please leave any 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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