How to measure percentages in raw feeding

How To Measure Percentages In Raw Feeding

How to measure percentages in raw feeding is one of the questions I’m asked the most!

Truly anyone who’s learning how to make their pup’s own raw dog food is initially confused because of this, if only for a short time.

I promise I’ve been there too!

The good news is that it’s not rocket science. Once you understand the concept, learn the percentages and have a calculator, you’re all set.

Besides a bunch of theory, I’m also sharing a real life raw feeding example from one of my readers.

She specifically wanted to know what else she would need to add to 18lb of raw goat meat to meal prep raw dog food.

How To Measure Percentages In Raw Feeding

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OK, let’s jump right in.

There are two types of percentages in raw feeding. Both matter because when you make your own raw dog food, that’s what you use to figure out:

  • How much food your pup needs on a daily basis, and
  • How much of which cuts of meat to feed your dog.

Unlike with pre-made raw dog food that comes with feeding guidelines, homemade raw dog food doesn’t have those.

Raw-Fed Adult Dogs Eat 2-4% Of Their Ideal/Target Body Weight In Food Per Day

This is how you get started. Write down your adult dog’s ideal body weight. For example, 50 lbs.

Of those 50 lbs, your dog will eat 2-4% in raw meat per day.

The average amount dogs eat is 2.5%.

2.5% of 50 lbs is 1.25 lbs, or 20 oz.

Here’s how to do that math: Divide your dog’s target body weight (example:50lb) by 100, then multiply it with 2.5.

50/100 = 0.5 x 2.5 = 1.25lb = 20oz

However, this can vary from dog to dog. My favorite examples are those of a couch potato Bulldog, an active Boxer, and a working or pregnant German Shepherd:

  • The couch potato Bulldog will only need around 2% of food per day,
  • While the more active Boxer needs 2.5-3%,
  • And the working or pregnant German Shepherd will need closer to 4%, maybe even 4.5% of food per day.

It all depends on your dog’s activity level and metabolism.

Note that these amounts are for ADULT dogs only. Puppies require different amounts of raw dog food per day. You can read more on that here.

80/10/10 Raw Dog Food aka 80/10/5/5

Alright, moving on!

Of the average 2.5% of daily raw dog food, your dog will need to eat:

  • Muscle meat, 80%
  • Raw meaty bones, 10%
  • Secreting organs, 10% (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ like pancreas, kidneys, spleen, etc.)

Note: Heart does not count as a secreting organ in raw feeding. Instead, it counts as muscle meat.

If you decide to feed plant matter (veggies & fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs), feed 70% muscle meat instead of 80% and add 10% plant matter. That’s also known as 70/10/10/5/5.

Let’s stay with the 50 lb Boxer example who eats 2.5% of his weight per day. The Boxer will need to eat:

  • 70% of the 1.25 lbs/20 oz in muscle meat. That’s 14 oz.
  • 10% of the 1.25 lbs/20 oz in raw meaty bones. That’s 2 oz.
  • 5% of the 1.25 lbs/20 oz in liver. That’s 1 oz.
  • 5% of the 1.25 lbs/20 oz in other secreting organs (for example pancreas). That’s 1 oz.
  • 10% of the 1.25 lbs/20 oz in plant matter. That’s 2 oz.
How do you make 80 10 10 raw dog food?

The Different Food Categories: Muscle Meat, Raw Meaty Bone, Secreting Organs, Plant Matter

Now you just need to understand which types of food fall into the different categories.

I’ll give you a few short examples along with a sample recipe:

  • Muscle meat examples: Duck heart, beef green tripe, beef lung, chicken breast, ground turkey
  • Secreting organs examples (besides liver): Beef pancreas, rabbit kidneys, goat spleen
  • Raw meaty bone examples: Chicken leg quarter, duck foot, turkey neck
  • Plant matter examples: Broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, apples

70-80/10/10 Raw Dog Food Recipe

Here’s a sample raw dog food recipe for a 50 lb dog who eats 2.5% of raw dog food per day. Just to recap, 2.5% of 50 lbs is 1.25 lbs, or 20 oz.

Tip: For precalculated BARF & PMR feeding charts for adult dogs AND puppies, grab my ebook below:

If you don't want to add plant matter, feed 80% muscle meat (16 oz).

Muscle meat, 14oz:

  • 4 oz chicken breast
  • 2 oz canned sardines
  • 2 oz duck heart
  • 4 oz beef green tripe
  • 2 oz duck meat from duck neck (see below in raw meaty bone category)

Raw meaty bones, 2oz:

  • One 4 oz duck neck (consists of 50% bone and 50% muscle meat, so 2 oz bone and 2 oz muscle meat)

Secreting organs, 2oz:

  • 1 oz beef liver
  • 1 oz rabbit kidneys

Plant matter, 2oz:

  • 1 oz steamed and puréed shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 oz puréed apple

Real Life Feeding Example: What Else Do I Need If I Have 18Lbs of Muscle Meat?

This is a question one of my newsletter readers asked me. In her case, she got her hands on 18lbs of goat meat (muscle meat) and wanted to know what else she could add (including veggies) to meal prep raw dog food.

Here's what I replied: If you have 18lbs of goat muscle meat (70%), you'll first need to figure out how much 100% is based off the 18lb information:

18lb = 70%
 X    = 100%

18 x 100 = 1800/70 = 25.7

Now, here's what you'll have to add to reach the 25.7lb (100%) of total raw dog food: 

  • 2.57lb of raw (meaty) bone (10%)
  • 2.57lb of veggies (10%)
  • 1.3lb of liver (5%)
  • 1.3lb of other secreting organs (5%)

Regarding the raw meaty bone (RMB), I would add a RMB with a high bone percentage.

RMBs with the highest bone percentages (75%) are typically heads.

For example, duck heads, chicken heads or rabbit heads.

Raw duck head on a food scale
Weighing a raw duck head
Why are raw rabbit heads good for dogs?
A raw rabbit head

How To Measure Percentages In Raw Feeding: Bottom Line

There's a little learning curve with measuring percentages in raw feeding, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that hard.

Most importantly, you need to figure out how much raw dog food your pup needs per day.

That amount will be somewhere between 2-4% for adult dogs and depends on their activity level and metabolism.

But on average, your adult dog will eat 2.5% of their target body weight in raw dog food per day.

Of those 2.5%, you need to feed your 80/10/10 or 70/10/10/10 smorgasbord of different cuts of meat:

  • 70-80% muscle meat
  • 10% raw meaty bones
  • 5% liver
  • 5% other secreting organ, and
  • 10% plant matter.

In a nutshell, that's it!

Not crazy about doing all the math yourself? Grab my raw feeding math ebook and get precalculated feeding charts:

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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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