How to measure percentages in raw feeding is one of the questions I’m asked the most!
Truly anyone who’s learning 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.
There are also great raw feeding calculators you can use to double-check your own math with. I’ll link to them in this blog post.
How To Measure Percentages In Raw Feeding
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OK, let’s jump right in.
Percentages matter in raw feeding 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 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.
However, this can vary from dog to dog. My favorite examples are those of a couch potato Bulldog, an active Boxer, and a working 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 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.
The 70-80/10/10 Rule
Alright, moving on!
Of the 2-4% of food per day, your dog will need to eat:
- Muscle meat, 70%
- Raw meaty bones, 10%
- Secreting organs, 10% (5% liver, 5% other secreting organ like pancreas, kidneys, spleen, etc.)
- Plant matter, 10% (e.g. veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, herbs)
If you decide not to feed plant matter, feed 80% muscle meat instead of 70%.
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.
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, and if you’d like to learn more, please refer to my e-books.
Muscle meat examples: Duck heart, beef green tripe, beef lung, chicken breast
Secreting organs examples (besides liver): Beef pancreas, rabbit kidneys, goat spleen
Raw meaty bone examples: Chicken leg quarter, duck foot, duck neck
Plant matter examples: Broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, apples
Sample Raw Dog Food Recipe For A 50 lb Dog Who Eats 2.5% Of Raw Dog Food Per Day
14 oz muscle meat:
- 6 oz chicken breast
- 2 oz duck heart
- 4 oz beef green tripe
- 2 oz duck meat from duck neck (see below in raw meaty bone category)
2 oz raw meaty bones:
- One 4 oz duck neck (consists of 50% bone and 50% muscle meat, so 2 oz bone and 2 oz muscle meat)
2 oz secreting organs:
- 1 oz beef liver
- 1 oz rabbit kidneys
2 oz plant matter:
- 1 oz steamed and puréed shiitake mushrooms
- 1 oz puréed apple
Raw Dog Food Calculators
Both are straight forward and great to double check your own feeding math with.
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.
Of those 2-4%, you need to feed 70% muscle meat, 10% raw meaty bones, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organ, and 10% plant matter.
In a nutshell, that’s it!