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 Bottom flat meat (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 bottom flat meat 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 12.767 mg = 12.8 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

7 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 Bottom flat meat (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. : – )

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