Plastic lidded tubs of raw chicken

What I Feed

The basics of how I feed my dogs are these:

50% raw meaty bones
5% raw liver
5% raw organs
10% “other” items such as treats, supplements, and other foods
30% muscle meat, including heart

50% of the diet is raw meaty bones

Roughly 50% of what I feed my dogs is raw meaty bones.  Clover eats somewhat less than that, probably closer to 40% because a full 50% causes her to get constipated.  Jackson requires a higher amount of raw meaty bones to keep him regular and keep his anal glands naturally expressed.

A raw meaty bone is a cut of meat including bone that is meant to be fully consumed.  It should not come from the weight-bearing bones of anything with hooves (so, no leg bones).  These weight-bearing bones are too hard to be consumed and are a risk for broken teeth. Never feed cooked bones.

Some raw meaty bones I feed are meaty chicken backs, chicken leg quarters, chicken thighs, chicken necks, meaty duck frames, duck necks, turkey necks, pork ribs, pork neck bones, lamb neck bones, and lamb ribs.  These bones are soft and easily consumed when raw.  Because chicken is relatively cheap and easily sourced, it and duck are my primary protein sources for raw meaty bones.

A pile of frozen duck frames

5% of the diet is raw liver

Liver is a wonderful, nutrient rich organ that is necessary for a complete diet.  Too much liver when fed at one time can cause gastric issues in some dogs, so aim to feed a small amount every day instead.

Clover, my picky eater, dislikes eating raw organs, so I cut up liver into roughly 1 ounce / 28 gram pieces and freeze it on a cookie sheet, and then put the frozen pieces in the breakfast bowls.  I got this idea from Rebekah at My Rotten Dogs.

Boiled liver pieces

5% of the diet is secreting organs

For the purposes of raw feeding, heart is considered a muscle meat, not an organ.  Tripe (stomachs) is also considered muscle meat.  Organs for raw feeding would include kidney, spleen, pancreas, lungs, sweetbreads (thymus), and so forth.  Kidneys are probably the easiest to find, but lung is not terribly hard to get if you shop around. Like the liver, I cut the kidneys into roughly 1 ounce / 28 gram pieces and freeze on a cookie sheet.

Frozen lamb kidneys on a cookie sheet

10% of the diet is “other food items”

I feed one whole egg a day to each dog, and two ounces of cottage cheese.  Training treats (whether commercially purchased or home-prepared) and various chews (like bully sticks) also fall into this category.  Also, for Jackson and Loki, fresh fruits and some vegetables that they will eat raw are counted in this category.  Clover is firmly of the opinion that vegetables are not food; they are what food eats.  However, I do not as a general rule feed plant matter to my dogs; the blueberries, bites of banana, or other bits of fruit that Jackson and Loki eat are treats, not part of their regular meals.

30% of the diet is pure muscle meat

The rest of what I feed my dogs is muscle meat.  Here I include regular boneless meat, heart, and green tripe.  For the purposes of increasing variety in the diet, I never feed chicken or duck as a muscle meat, because I feed them as raw meaty bones.

Green tripe is the unwashed stomachs from large ruminants like cows and sheep.  You can buy it whole or ground, but you cannot purchase it in grocery stores because it is not for human consumption.  The important thing here is that it is unwashed and unbleached.  Honeycomb tripe that you buy in a grocery store (for cooking menudo, for instance) is nutritionally void and is not the same as green tripe.

You’ll know you have green tripe because it smells disgusting.  Dogs go nuts for it, though.

Feed for variety and balance over time, not at every meal

Different cuts of meat contain different proportions of amino acids, even when from the same animal.  In order to make sure that you are feeding a healthy balance of all the essential amino acids, I recommend that you aim to feed food from at least four different protein sources per month.  In other words, don’t feed just chicken or just duck, but also include beef, pork, turkey, lamb, venison, fish, and so on.

Chicken, beef, pork, fish, and turkey are probably the most common animals to feed and thus the easiest to find in stores.  Lamb is also pretty common in stores.  You can find rabbit from several online suppliers, but it’s relatively expensive.  People who are hunters, or friends with hunters, can get venison and elk fairly easily and cheaply.

You’re not trying to make every single meal you feed your dog 100% complete and balanced, just like every meal you feed yourself isn’t 100% complete and balanced.  Instead, by making sure you feed a good variety of foods, you ensure that the overall diet is balanced over time.

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4 thoughts on “What I Feed”

  1. First: A WONDERFUL Blog!! Very informative and interesting!
    My question is how often do you feed your pack? We have 4 dogs, all rescues, as we are a rescue group, we have a Black Lab mix, a Golden retriever/chow mix, a Pit, and a Dogo…no small dogs in our WAY too small house! I currently feed mostly raw chicken/pork/turkey once a day, feeding in the evening, I think I need to start adding organ meats and other adds like you feed more than once a day, I don’t want to feed too much all at once. – Thanks for all your valuable info!

    1. I feed twice a day — I do a morning meal that is muscle meat and organ, egg, cheese, and supplements. My evening meal is raw meaty bones. However, if you’re dealing with all adult dogs, then how often you feed is just a matter of what is convenient for you. (Puppies are a different story.) Some people feed once a day, some feed twice, it’s all just a matter of what you find easiest.

  2. I am starting to feed my rotti who is 7 weeks old,
    how can i start now? feed her twice a day ?
    is it fine for feeding her goat milk ?
    thank you

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