Lean, low starch, grain-free homemade raw food recipe for dogs (revised)

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How much does it cost to feed my 45-50 lb dog raw?

This is only a sample calculation based on the food prices in 2014 in SW Florida.

$122.- for 30.5 lb beef (at BJ’s with BJ membership card, 3.99/lb)
$17.- for 10.5 lb chicken hearts/ liver (at Walmart)
$7.60 for 8 lb carrots (at BJ’s)
$8.- for 4 lb broccoli (at BJ’s)
$3.25 for 3 Bags of split dried green peas
$3.25 for 24 eggs (at BJ’s)
≈ $2  for 1/2 garlic bulb, limestone powder
(add $3.- for 1/2 bottle organic ACV (with mother!) if you use that)
≈ $3.60/ day (without added vitamins, yogurt and fish oil)
≈ $110/ month

Calculation of daily raw food intake for your Bull Terrier or other dog

This is measured in percentage of body weight.
Note: This is a calculation for RAW food, not kibble!
Also these values are only for reference. Please adjust the daily amount depending on your dogs situation and condition. Just like humans, very active dogs may require more food than the average dog, for example.

  • 2% of bodyweight for overweight dogs
  • 2.5% – 3% to maintain the current weight
  • More % to fatten a skinny dog

Please talk to your vet, if you intend to feed your puppy a raw diet. Puppies have special needs and require up to 10% of body their weight in food each day.

Mila weighs ≈ 50 lb. She has an average level of activity with some more active days sprinkled in. She also gets her homemade treats and a daily amount of yogurt, salmon oil and vitamin supplement.
All of these aspects lead to a daily amount of 600 grams (≈ 1.3 lb) as the perfect amount of our raw dog food mix.

Update & note!

The daily calorie requirement of your dog not only depends on the size/ ideal weight, but also highly on the age and activity level of your dog. This recipe is designed for adult dogs over 12 months. Recently I had to increase Mila’s daily food servings, because she is super active lately ans started to shed weight, although she already was in the ideal range.

Please be aware that the calorie requirement of a very active dog can make a difference of several hundred calories a day (around 1/3 more than average activity).
If you feel your dog is loosing weight on this diet, although it shouldn’t, increase the food amounts (if the dog keeps loosing weight, that would be reason for a vet visit though).

Some people like to calculate their dog’s calorie intake exactly in calories rather than in percent of the body weight in order to be a little more exact. To help you with those calculations I have now calculated the amount of calories in my recipe.

1lb of my low starch, grain-free homemade raw food delivers about 650 calories.
There are a lot calorie-based calculators on the internet.
But these two values may be helping already: The calorie requirements of an adult 50 lb dog on average activity level is said to be 700 – 900 calories.
The same dog, but highly active, can require up to 1400 calories a day.


Calcium – simple but important

If you do not feed bones to your dog or another source rich in calcium, you may want to supplement Calcium in your dog’s diet when feeding raw. This is also true for this recipe, because it does not include bone.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals for a dog’s body, required in fairly high amounts for the bones, muscles, nerves and blood.
In addition, the Calcium – Phosphorous ratio is a very important parameter in the nutrition of your dog, because those two minerals work together in the skeletal system.
While Phosphorous usually is automatically fed in sufficient amounts just by feeding meats in a raw diet, Calcium may need to be added to balance the ratio, which should be 1.2 – 1.3 parts of Calcium per 1 part of Phosphorous.
Both over and under supplementing can have health consequences for your dog. Therefore it is advisable to calculate the Calcium requirement of your own dog and supplement appropriately.
The following calculation is intended only for reference. If insecure, please consult your vet to learn more about feeding the correct amount of Calcium.

Calcium calculation

Daily Calcium requirement by body weight*:

  • 25 lb dog needs about 800-900 mg Calcium
  • 50 lb dog needs 1600-1750 mg Calcium
  • 75 lb dog needs about 2600-2700 mg Calcium

There is a pretty easy way to add Calcium to the batch: I simply use the egg shells from my recipe and powder them in a porcelain mortar (they should be ground/powdered to aid absorption). One egg shell weighs about 6-7 grams and contains about 37% Calcium*.
So from 24 egg shells I already have approx. 58,000 mg of Calcium. From the egg yolks come about 1050 mg*.
The Calcium from the beef and the innards can be disregarded, because they contain only a minimum amount.
My 18 lb of veggies deliver roughly 4225 mg of Calcium*.
So in my batch I already have 63,275 mg of Calcium*.

My dog weighs 50 lb and I am making food for 45 days. That means I will need a total amount of
78,750 mg of Calcium in her food.
Subtracting the amounts my food does already deliver, makes a remaining difference of 15,475 mg of Calcium I need to supplement.
Food grade limestone contains 75-90% available Calcium*.
That means I need to add 17.194 mg = 17.2 grams of food grade limestone.
There are also other calcium sources that can be used as additive.

*I have researched these values on the Internet. Please do your own research to confirm the correct amounts. I do not take over any responsibility for the values published in this recipe.
However, if you figure out any verifiable flaws in my calculation, please just let me know. I will be happy to adjust my recipe accordingly after reviewing your information.

On the next page: More about the Weston No.8 575 Watt heavy duty meat grinder

14 thoughts on “Lean, low starch, grain-free homemade raw food recipe for dogs (revised)

  1. This is lovely! Right this can be consider as high quality food for our dogs, Homemade recipes for our dog foods are better than choosing some dog food brands.. Just saying.

    • In this recipe the only ingredient that is chicken are the innards (chicken hearts). That’s the 10lb. ADDING to it: The 30lb meats, which is ground beef. Of course you can substitute as you wish.

      “Meats and Organs
      • 30-31 lb beef (makes for 50% of the batch, 0 calcium) If you get lean pieces, you do not need to trim the fat
      • 10-11 lb chicken hearts and beef liver (makes for 15-17% of the batch, almost no calcium)
      (every now and then you should replace the liver by another organ in order to avoid overdosing of vitamin A. Also if your dog does not tolerate chicken, of course you should substitute the chicken hearts. A very valuable substitution for dogs is green tripe for example.)”

      If the dog needs to get some more calories, I recommend to choose meat with a higher fat content and not trimming the fat.
      I hope this answers your question.

  2. Amazing blog.Thank you so much for sharing very easy homemade raw dog food recipe. It is a smashing one of a kind guide for discovering healthy recipes for dog food minus a headache. Thanks again.

  3. I have pomeranian boy. I know that grain are mixed into the dog foods to make the production cost cheaper. But unlike humans, dogs don’t have the molar teeth necessary to grind up the grains. This may lead to unproper digestion. Your recipe is grain free. thank you for recipe.

    • Well, that statement is probably true and not true at the same time. As with many other things the dose is what makes the poison.
      Garlic consumed by a dog in high amounts – as well as plants containing the same problematic substance, such as onions, leeks, scallions, chives and shallots – can damage the red blood cells in a dog, which quite obviously can cause serious problems if that happens to a great extend.
      If your dog catches the net of onions or garlic you just brought home from the grocery store and consumes it all at once, YES, it IS time to worry and the best thing to do is have your dog seen by your vet immediately. Because as far as I know this kind of poisoning can be treated and severe consequences be prevented if discovered early.

      On the other hand, in small amounts many consider garlic beneficial in a dog’s nutrition and most dogs tolerate very small amounts well. You will actually find it in a lot of dog foods or supplements, often closer to the bottom of the list of ingredients because it’s only contained in tiny amounts for the above reasons.
      One reason many consider it so beneficial is that the sulfur in the garlic will be excreted through the dog’s skin, which is said to help keeping fleas away. Another reason are the antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties of garlic. It is even said to be usable as an anthelmintic (de-worming agent) and a natural antibiotic. Some say it can also support the growth of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

      But I do not see it as an essential ingredient in a dog’s nutrition. So, if you are worried there’s really nothing wrong with just skipping the garlic.
      Your dog will be just as happy without it. : – )

      • If it’s a natural antibiotic it would kill the natural gut biome. It can’t be antibiotic and improve gut bacteria at the same time.

        It’s poison to dogs. Just because they can tolerate small amounts does not mean you should feed it to them on a regular basis.

        It’s like when a human baby eats some cat poop from the sandbox. It’s nothing to freak out about but you certainly don’t want to encourage this.

  4. Hi, with your raw food recipe, what is the amount you suggest on a daily basis? Once or twice a day? Is this all you feed or do you supplement with kibble at another meal? What do you mean by bottom flat? Thanks

    • Hi Carey,
      the recipe is formulated to work as an “only-food”. But it can also be combined with other foods.
      I can only tell you what I am doing at the time of your question, because I vary the way I feed my dog over time.
      What has not changed, however, is that I have always been using this recipe – for years now in some variations with tripe as well as different kinds of veggies and meats.
      These days I feed half&half. That means my girl gets half of her daily intake from my raw recipe and half of a good quality kibble.

      There is no standard recommendation for feeding amounts as this depends on the size of your dog, the amount of treats and other extras over the day, activity level and your feeding goals (weight loss, keep or gain weight). You will find more info on that on this page of the article https://www.bullterrierfun.com/low-starch-grain-free-raw-food-recipe-for-dogs/5/

      Also, the way you split the meals is very individual. Some people only feed once a day, others split the daily intake into several meals a day.
      I myself feed Mila four times a day. Last meal comes in the afternoon. The reason I am doing this is to structure her day. She knows her feeding times exactly and is “planning” her day around it. In between meals she finds time to rest or play. And over the course of the day there’s always something “to do” for her, even if it is just killing some time until the next meal is coming up.
      But no matter which way you decide to feed, my general recommendation is to stick to a relatively fixed schedule every day, if possible. Dogs work like clockwork and they will start to “demand” their food at specific times if you did the same thing three times in a row or so. They love fixed routines because it helps them organize their own lives in our human world.

      I feed Mila two times raw for the first meals an then the high quality kibble for the last two meals. I never mix raw and kibble because these two types of foods have very different digestion times. The reason I feed the kibble as the last meals is that it takes a lot longer to digest for the dog and therefore she hopefully feels full longer with the kibble until the next morning.

      “Bottom flat” was the description of the meat that I used at the time I posted this recipe. Or at least I thought so. However, when I tried to look up synonyms after receiving your question, I was not able to find this term anywhere on the internet. So, I changed my recommendation in the text now to just beef. Because that’s basically what I meant, some of the more affordable parts of the cow 🙂 because dogs don’t care if their meat is tenderloin or a more chewy version.

    • I am not a great example because at the moment I feed my dog FOUR times a day. Of course, it’s the correct amount of calories divided by four. My dog is not as big as a bear. 🙂 She has a normal appetite. So she gets four small servings.

      How often you feed your dog every day really depends on different factors. There’s no rule of thumb for that. Some only feed once, others twice…

      I split her daily calories into four meals because it helps me and my dog to structure her day. And as I am working from home, I am around to meet her feeding schedule.
      By feeding her four times there’s something happening for her every few hours. She can nap in between because her inner clock will tell her when it’s time for the next meal. At the moment the first two servings of the day are raw, the second two are good quality kibble. Part of the kibble I use for a hide and seek game for her diversion.
      So, the feeding schedule and how the food is given does not only nourish her but also gives some form of structure and on the other hand is entertainment for my dog.

      I don’t know if any of this is applicable to your own situation. I am just answering your question.
      You can split the daily amount of this recipe or feed it all at once, there’s no rule regarding digestion or so. In general fresh food is digested faster than kibble, if that information helps in any way.

  5. Hello, nice forum…

    I have one male 5 yr old and 1 female almost 2 years old now… my dad makes a recipe very similar to yours with cow heart and chicken and vegetables… i used to feed first the male taste of the wild and then when we got our litlte girl also taste of the. wild.. until she was like 1… it got so expensive here in venezuela that i strted looking into other brands… i started feeding them Nutrranuggets and i belive it has grains… nothing to bad on the girl, it works good for her.. for the boy he is almost 5 his mom had a lot of skin alergies when she ate carbs i think… well nothing so horrible on him either but he defitnetly starting getting some new small bumps on his skin under his fair… nothign to bad, but if you look at his skin from a certain. angle you could defently see smoething goig on on his skin… which before he was not… nothing to worry about but well maybe I should go back to taste of the wild? i feed them 2 times a day. 50/50 with the. recipe and the. dogfood each time, they. love it…

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