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.
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
(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.
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: 24oz||Whole Prey: 24oz|
|70% Muscle meat: 16.8oz||80% Muscle meat: 19.2oz|
|10% RMBs: 2.4oz||10% RMBs: 2.4oz|
|10% Secreting organs: 2.4oz (half is liver)||10% Secreting organs: 2.4oz (half is liver)|
|10% Plant matter: 2.4oz||0% Plant matter|
How Much Raw Dog 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.
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 precalculated feeding charts 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.
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.
Check out the pups’ waistlines in the video below:
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.
(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.
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!
- How to measure percentages in raw feeding
- What does balanced raw dog food consist of?
- Raw dog food for puppies: How much and what?
- Understanding the math in BARF & PMR raw feeding
- I have 10lbs of [insert animal] meat - what else do I need for DIY raw dog food?
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