How To Figure Out How Much Raw Dog Food To Feed

How To Figure Out How Much Raw Dog Food To Feed

My first challenge in 2016 was how to figure out how much raw dog food to feed.

That’s when I began making my own raw meals.

Back then, I had my Boxer mix pups Missy & Buzz. Missy weighed 55 lb and Buzz weighed 70.

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2020 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you.

Until then, I had fed them pre-made raw from Darwin’s Natural Pet and Raw Paws Pet Food.

Both come with feeding suggestions based on your dog’s weight and age.

How To Calculate Raw Dog Food Portions: 4 Options

Now that I was going to make my own meals, I no longer had that guidance!

Well, turns out I found 4 different options to help me figure out how to calculate raw dog food portions when I made my own DIY raw dog food.

You can either:

  • (1) Do the math yourself using specific formulas or
  • (2) Double check that math with a raw feeding calculator
  • (3) You can also evaluate your dog’s body condition or
  • (4) Ask a raw dog food brand for help
How to calculate raw dog food portions

(1) Do The Math Yourself With 2 Raw Feeding Formulas

Seasoned raw feeders use specific formulas to calculate their adult dog’s daily raw dog food allowance.

Step 1: Maintenance percentage

They feed 1.5-4% of the adult dog’s ideal body weight in raw food per day.

How much exactly depends on the individual dog’s age, activity, and metabolism.

For example, a couch potato Bulldog is going to eat closer to 1.5% of her ideal body weight, while an active Dalmatian or Boxer would probably eat 2.5-3%.

Likewise, a working German or Australian Shepherd would eat closer to 3.5-4%.

By working dog, I mean a dog who’s extremely active and has an actual job.

For example, herding sheep or a military working dog.

Feeding guide for raw food

Here’s how to do the math:

Divide your dog’s target body weight by 100.

Multiply the result with your feeding percentage (1.5%, 2%, 2.5%, 3%, 3.5%, 4%). That’s your dog’s daily raw dog food allowance.

Here’s the example of a 50lb, very active Boxer who’s fed at a 3% maintenance percentage:

50/100 = 0.5 x 3% = 1.5lbs = 24oz.

That’s step 1.

Now that you know how much raw food your pup needs per day, the next step is to divvy it up into different cuts of meat and plant matter (unless you feed whole prey, in that case you don’t need veggies).

Step 2: 70/10/10/10 or 80/10/10

There’s a different formula to figure that part out.

It’s known as the 70/10/10/10 (with veggies, aka barf) or 80/10/10 (without veggies, aka whole prey) formula.

70/10/10/10 Formula (BARF)

  • Muscle meat: 70%
  • Raw meaty bone: 10%
  • Secreting organs: 10% total (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ)
  • Plant matter: 10% (includes 2% seeds and nuts)

80/10/10 Formula (PMR Whole Prey)

  • Muscle meat: 80%
  • Raw meaty bone (RMB): 10%
  • Secreting organs: 10% total (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ)

How Much Raw Food for 50lb Dog

Let’s stay with the example of the 50lb, active Boxer who’s fed at a 3% maintenance percentage and eats 24oz of raw dog food per day.

Here’s what the 24oz of raw dog food would consist of – I’ll provide the amounts for the BARF (with veggies) and the PMR Whole Prey (without veggies) options:

Barf: 24ozWhole Prey: 24oz
70% Muscle meat: 16.8oz80% Muscle meat: 19.2oz
10% RMBs: 2.4oz10% RMBs: 2.4oz
10% Secreting organs: 2.4oz (half is liver)10% Secreting organs: 2.4oz (half is liver)
10% Plant matter: 2.4oz0% Plant matter
How To Figure Out How Much Raw Dog Food To Feed

How Much Food Do My Boxer Mixes Eat Per Day?

My pups are both adult dogs, and Buzz’s ideal body weight is 70 lb, 2% of which are 1.4 lb, and 3% are 2.1 lb. 

Since Buzz is fairly active and plays a lot of fetch in addition to his daily walks, I went with the higher recommended amount of 2.1 lb.

Divided by two, this comes down to 1.05 lb for breakfast and for dinner, respectively.

Missy isn’t as active as Buzz since she doesn’t play ball like her brother.

Her ideal body weight is 55 lb, 2% of which is 1.1 lb, and 3% is 1.65 lb.

Divided by two, this would come down to 8.8 ounces or 13.2 ounces per meal. 

Raw dog food made at home
Raw meals for Buzz (left) and Missy (right)

Throughout summer time I’ve been giving her around 8 ounces per meal as the high temperatures just don’t allow for a lot of activity.

Come fall and winter, her allowance is a little over 10 ounces per meal as she’s going for daily backpack walks again.

I have to omit the dog backpack throughout the hotter months because it’s just too hot.

Puppies and dogs younger than 12 months require a larger amount of raw dog food per day.

So do pregnant and lactating dogs.

Update 2023: My Raw Dog Food Math ebook!

After multiple requests from newsletter readers, I went ahead and created a solution for aspiring raw feeders who struggle with math.

It explains how to calculate raw dog food portions for adult dogs, puppies and pregnant dogs, and offers raw feeding charts for dogs for both BARF and PMR feeding:

(2) Double Check Your Own Math With Raw Feeding Calculators

Another way of figuring out how much to feed your pup is going online and using raw feeding calculators.

My favorite ones are the calculators from Raw Paws Pet Food and the raw dog food calculator by Your Paws.

The latter differentiates between BARF and PMR and even provides you with the bone percentage of 24 raw meaty bones.

They're both super convenient and also a great way to double-check your own math with.

(3) Evaluate Your Dog’s Body Condition

I also found it helpful to simply look at Missy’s & Buzz’s bodies.

Initially, I fed Missy a little too much because her waistline wasn’t as visible as it had been before.

Thankfully, there was a very quick fix!

All I had to do was reduce her daily raw food allowance by one or two ounces. 

How To Determine Your Dog's Body Condition

In the video below, Dr. Julie Buzby explains how to determine your dog's ideal weight!

Give it a watch, it's only 2.5 minutes long and easy to understand.

How to determine your dog's body condition score

(4) Ask Raw Dog Food Brands For Meal Plan Consultations

Last but not least, you can also simply ask raw dog food brands for advice.

Raw Paws Pet Food is one of several brands who offer free meal plan consultations.

I was on the phone with them for a little over 45 mins back in 2015.

I remember getting a ton of value from speaking with Shelli.

One of the biggest nuggets of wisdom was her detailed information about warming, cooling and neutral proteins.

Who knew!

Bottom Line

As a general guideline, you should feed 2-4% of your adult dog’s ideal bodyweight in raw dog food per day.

Double-check your math with raw feeding calculators, my raw dog food math ebook and/or contact brands for a personal evaluation.

Don’t forget to look for confirmation in your dog's waistline.

This can be a little more tricky to judge in a dog with a heavy coat, so if you're unsure, talk to your vet for some help.

Leave your comments or questions below in the comment section!

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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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4 responses to “How To Figure Out How Much Raw Dog Food To Feed”

  1. Rebekah Ward Avatar

    My crew each eats about 2 lbs daily. Which works out nicely for me, makes things easier.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Yes, that’s a good number to work with! Do you feed once or twice per day?

  2. Anna Avatar
    Anna

    thanks for sharing, Barbara! I have to check out the Raw Paws Pet food!

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      My pleasure, Anna!

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