How to Start Raw Feeding

Now there many different opinions on the best way to feed raw!

The two main models which I am going to discuss are The Complete Raw Diet and The Prey Model Diet.

The Complete Raw Diet is definitely the easier of the two. You buy already made blocks of minced meat which are formulated to contain the same amount of meat bone and offal the dog would get from a whole animal in the wild. Approx 80/10/10

Its super simple you don’t have to get scientific. You simply take it out of the freezer the night before and away you go.

The Prey Model Raw diet tries to mimic the diet that carnivorous canines have evolved to eat, and have been eating, for many thousands, if not millions of years. The diet is modelled on whole prey foods that they would be eaten in the wild which their bodies are physiologically design to do. Eating as nature intended so to speak!

You make this whole prey balance up either by feeding whole animals like rabbit, birds etc or with chunks of meat, chunks of offal and chunks of bones.

What are the benefits of feeding Raw?

  • Improved Digestion
  • Healthier teeth and gums
  • Better weight management
  • Less allergenic risk
  • Firmer Stools with little or no odour
  • Healthier skin and coat
  • reduces the risk of various diseases including cancer
  • prolongs your dogs life
  • Calms down hyperactive dogs

 

How to start on a Raw Diet?

First thing to know is that you must never mix Kibble with Raw! The two do not mix well together because they have different digestion rates. It takes 11-13 hours for kibble to be fully digested and for raw only takes 5-6. Feeding raw and kibble together is not recommended and and often causes digestion upset. If you do not want to throw away the kibble you have left, donate it to a local animal rescue organisation.

The average adult dog should be fed between 2-3% of their body weight of food each day. Like I said this is the average, however some dogs with high energy levels and fast metabolisms may require more. My own dogs eat approximately 4-5% per day as they are very active dogs.

For example: A 30kg dog who is eating 3% would need 900g of food per day.

Complete Raw:

To start the dog off on the ‘Complete Diet’ there isn’t really much to think about.

You go from their current diet on the night to then starting on raw the very next day and not look back.

Its advised to take the introduction of proteins slowly just to make sure the dogs stomach is adjusting without throwing too much at them too soon.

Start with a meat like Chicken or Turkey which is a easy digesting and not very rich meat. We advise to feed solely Chicken or Turkey for 3-7 days. Then once the dog has adjusted to the change introduce another protein such as Beef or Lamb etc for another 3-7 days and so on until your feeding at least 5 different proteins.

While each meat will be complete and balanced. You cant just feed one meat to the dog. Each meat has a different amino acid complex and different fats etc and to ensure your dog is getting a balanced full diet you should feed as many different meats as possible.

By the 3rd week on Raw its time to start adding Oily fish into their diet.

Oily fish such as Sprats, Sarnies, Mackerel and Salmon all contains essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) which the dog cannot synthesise themselves. Oily fish should be give to the dog 2-3 times per week. But no more than 5 times! If you feed too much you will throw their bodies EFA’s out of wack.

While your dogs diet will be complete. You will still need to give them a bone or two a week for them to chew on to ensure they are keeping their teeth clean and oral health in check. Pick the right bone for your dogs breed. I touch on suitable bones down in the Prey Model section. The same applies.

As far as sourcing complete diets it can be as cheap or expensive as you like and their are plenty of different options to suit all budgets.

We stock a wide range of different brands. We stock DAF which is approx £1.60 per KG, Natural Instinct approx £3.50 per KG, Nutriment approx £3.50 per KG and Paleo Ridge which is the most expensive at approx £4.50 per KG.

All are complete but all different in what they contain.

We stock. Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Duck, Venison, Rabbit, Game and Tripe, Goose and Oily Fish. VARIETY IS KEY!

Prey Model Raw:

The same formula applies to the Prey Model Diet as Completes. So your fully grown Adult dog will need 2-3% of their body weight per day.

30kg dog will need to eat 900g per day.

This 900g will need to be broken up into approximately 80/10/10 which is 80% Muscle meat, 10% Offal and 10% Bone. This 80/10/10 ratio best represents the average amount of bone, organ and meat tissue within prey animals. But don’t get hung up on numbers follow this as a guide not a rule. You do not need 80/10/10 in every meal, Balance over time is key!! So you can feed something like a Lambs neck for a meal which is around 40% bone. But then maybe make sure the next meal or two is just meat and offal.

What to feed?

Muscle Meat: Variety is very important to a healthy raw diet! You can basically feed all part of any animal. This includes the muscle meat from all the usual suspects, Chicken, Turkey, Lamb, Beef and Pork. But you can also feed game such as Rabbits, Pheasants, Partridge, Pigeon and Deer. Not to mention a range of Oily fish, Salmon, Trout, Mackerel, Sardines, Sprats…. High Omega 3.6.9 x Low Mercury Fish is best.

A good rule for picking out pieces of meat to feed, is that your dog should never be able to swallow anything whole without at least crunching down on it a few times to make it small enough fit down his throat. If your dog can swallow something whole stay away from it. The risk of choking or getting a blockage goes up if your dog can swallow it whole. For example, its not recommended to feed chicken necks or drumsticks to large breed dogs because they tend to swallow them whole. Chewing through bones is one of the biggest benefits from a raw diet, so you might as well make them chew their food! Keep in mind that dogs don’t chew their food like we do. They don’t need to. They just have to make it small enough to fit down the hatch. So don’t panic if you see your dog crunch a chicken quarter 3 or 4 times and then swallow it.

Offal: Offal is organ meat, however not all ‘organs’ are classed as offal in Raw feeding. Liver must make up half of the 10% of your dogs offal content. The other 5% should be made up of a Kidneys and or Pancreas, Testicles, Brain, Lungs etc. Heart and Gizzards, although technically organs they are classed as muscle meat so feed these as part of your 80%.

Bones: This is what many people have a mental block on feeding. Why? because they have most probably been told that bones can splinter and kill your dog. Which is true FOR COOKED BONES!!! Never ever feed a dog cooked bones!

Raw bones are perfectly healthy for dogs! Raw bones are natures tooth brush and you can spot a raw fed dog a mile off because their pearly whites are blinding. But seriously raw bones help to clean your dogs teeth and gums aiding in turn keeping their breath fresh.

What bones to feed? This can depend on the size of your dog. However, you can feed pretty much all bones from small animal like chickens, Pheasant, Rabbits, fish etc.. Larger bone from Pigs, Lambs, Goat, Veal, can be fed for larger dogs. Literally from head to trotters but if you are worried at all then stick with the ribs as they are relatively soft and all dogs should be fine with them. My Vizsla Luna eats, Lamb and pork Necks, spines, trotters and ribs. The more meat on the bone the better!

What bones not to feed? Stay away from oddly shaped or cut pieces of bone, like T-bones. These bones are more likely to cause a blockage and can splinter due to trauma sustained from the butchers cutting method.
I do not recommend you feed Cow bones of any kind. Cow bones are very dense and may break your dogs teeth. I know of a few people who do feed Cow ribs to their dogs without a problem but in my opinion it is a accident waiting to happen. Best just to steer clear. It is widely know not to feed weight baring bones like knuckle bones or marrow bones as they are too hard and may cause tooth fractures yet some people still do let their dogs chew on them to help with teeth cleaning. I strongly advise you not to feed these nor any bone which your dog cannot chomp and actually eat!

Time to start feeding raw:

It is advised to take the additions of proteins slowly so start with just chicken. Do at least 3-7 days of just chicken and then if he has solid poo’s in a week then you can start to add a second source, maybe beef.

So for the first week, Chicken caucus, legs, wings, necks, gizzards, basically everything from a chicken. I would say to start with Chicken Wings backs and Legs in the first week. Wings and backs are great for the first couple of days as the high bone content will help their stomachs adjust and help to firm up their stools. Then on the 3rd or 4th day add a drumstick or leg into their meals.

Then for your second week maybe move onto pork or beef to add with your chicken. Pork ribs are great but try to feed as a rack so they have to work on it. Beef chunks or minced are perfect at this stage. Beef heart is a good too but can be rich so feed smaller amounts to begin with.

Once your dog has adapted to either beef or pork the following week is a great time to add Turkey. Turkey is excellent to get from the butchers. Turkey Necks, Tails and Gizzards are all amazing and great value! Turkey Necks are a personal favourite of mine and are great to feed whole. Perfect to feed frozen in the summer months too!

By the 3rd week on Raw its time to start adding Oily fish into their diet.

Oily fish such as Sprats, Sarnies, Mackerel and Salmon all contains essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) which the dog cannot synthesise themselves. Oily fish should be give to the dog 2-3 times per week. But no more than 5 times! If you feed too much you will throw their bodies EFA’s out of wack.

What about vegetables? 

Vegetables are not part of the diet for Prey Model Raw. However I do sometimes feed veg! The reason, because my dog loves it. For some reason they are mad for Spinach and Broccoli. So when ever I have some going spare in the fridge I add a little into her food.

Dogs get very little nutritional value from vegetables. So to ensure maximum absorption blitz the veg as finely as possible in a blender with a touch of water. This also mimics the chewing and processing that a prey animal would have done before the dog would make the kill and thus eat those nutrients in their stomach too.

This is why feeding Green Tripe is so important! Green Tripe is the stomach of a herbivorous animal like a Cow which contains all goodness, vitamins and minerals from the greens they eat already digested and is easily absorbed by your dog. Green Tripe is a SUPER food for dogs and should be fed AT LEAST twice a week! I will be doing an article dedicated to this wonderful stuff very soon!

Conclusion:

By week 4 you will have already seen so much differnce in your dog, including healthier teeth, skin and fur. Not to mention love seeing how happy and enthusiastic your dog is about food!

You will also be an expert in poo! you will know that a runny poo means that you should up the bone content of your dogs food just as if their poo is like powder you need to reduce the amount of bone you feed.

Remember variety and balance over time is key!

If you live local to the Midlands/Staffordshire pop on down to Our PrettyPointer Raw Shop inside Grangewood Garden Centre, Tamworth, B78 3HP and I will be more than happy to talk you guys through it and answer any questions you may have.

Join our raw feeding page on Facebook too where I share lots of information about different meats, ideas and diet plans for your dogs.

https://www.facebook.com/rawatprettypointer/

Good luck, your dog thanks you!!!

bowl20

39 thoughts on “How to Start Raw Feeding

  1. Good read! I feed my male Dobermann the same diet as you do. I feed him roughly 1kg a day and he is 39kg at 13 months old. He was on kibble as a pup until 15 weeks and the difference is amazing. He has the most shiny coat, beautiful white teeth etc. raw is the way to go and it annoys me that people don’t know. Great website keep it up

    Like

  2. Hi there
    Do you have any views/opinions on Nutriment raw food? Was thinking of switching out Vizsla to raw and someone recommended this brand.

    Any help much appreciated.

    Jamie

    Like

    • Hi Jamie
      Personally I don’t like the branded raw foods like Nutriment and Natural Instinct. There’s nothing wrong with the meat itself but I find it very watery and it’s very expensive.
      But they are great for newbies who are worried about getting balances right in the beginning.
      I also feel that feeding whole meats like legs etc are very important as it teaches the dog to chew from the beginning.
      Hope that helps 👍🏻

      Like

      • Hi

        Thanks for your reply. It does help and I thought that might be your view.

        If I were to go to the raw diet that’s you follow, where would I at the meat? Because seems like that would end up more expensive unless you either have a very good supplier OR use the cheapest meat you can find?

        Many thanks
        Jamie

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      • Nutriement is one of the more expensive ways of feeding raw. I certainly couldn’t afford to feed 2.1kg of it per day between my two dogs.
        I pay £34 per month per dog. I was paying £32 per month for kibble so I see that extra two pound as a great investment lol
        There is absolutely nothing wrong with cheap meat 👍🏻😂 I’m always scouting for bargains.
        The supplier I use for things like fish, offal, necks, ribs and wings etc is Landywoods they are fairly cheap and quality is excellent. I get a small discount for buying direct from their warehouse which isn’t a lot but every little helps.
        I use DAF for all their minced meats, lamb, beef and green tripe 55p per 450g. I get this from a local equestrian farm shop.
        Chicken legs I buy in either tesco or Asda for only £2.35 per big bag in the frozen section.
        There are times of suppliers of prey model raw foods. Manifold valley mince, the dog butcher, raw2door…
        If your on Facebook i would recommend you to join ‘Vizslas Raw and Natural’ it’s full of real helpful and knowledgable people and is vizsla specific 😊

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  3. Hey, We have 2 vizslas and we are on day 3 of the above and the little girl is not a fan of chicken at all, what can you suggest as something alternative to get her started on? Also do you have a set meal plan that you feed your dogs? thanks again!

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      • Ok well then I’d just suggest going with a different meat. Turkey is another great one for starters and Turkey necks and wings are a great workout for them.
        I feed turkey necks frozen in the summer months. They are ideal to keep them cool and entertained for a while.

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    • Hi Clara, I buy their food from a few different places. Most of the stuff bone in meats, offal and fish come from a raw company called Landywoods.
      I buy all the minced meat from a local farm shop.
      All the chicken I get from supermarkets. Asda and Tescos 2.25kg of chicken legs for £3.25
      I used to get Turkey tails and Turkey gizzards from the butchers too but they stopped doing them which was unfortunate because I would get them for £1 per kg! Chicken Carcasses are cheap there too 34 for £4.
      Are you from UK?

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  4. I’ve switched my 6 yr old viz to raw , been three weeks now. I’m using a U.S. Pre made raw Genesis raw chicken burgers and now turkey burgers. The ratio is already done ( I’m not good with handling all the raw stuff, and putting it together so this works great) and Ranger is living the food. I also give him some raw goats milk which he LOVES ( few TBS/ day). But here’s my issue–his poos are too firm and much smaller, in fact, he seems to struggle. He seems a bit constipated. I’ve added a good dollop of pumpkin w each meal and so far not much improvement. Can I add a boneless chicken thigh to diminish the bone content? I’m headed out of town Sunday and my teenage son will be feeding Ranger so I’m in a bit of panic that I won’t be around to be the “poop inspector”. Thanks!

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    • Hi Leslie,
      His poos should be very firm and at least 4 times smaller than they were when he was fed kibble.
      The only reason to reduce bone content would be if the poo actually came out white and crumbly. That would be an indication of too much bone and then I would advise you to feed the Chicken Thigh which you mentioned.
      However the ratio guidline of 80/10/10 does not have to be met everyday. There are times when my dogs will get 50% bone content and then days where they get 0. I always say to people not to get hung up on % and just ensure that they have a balanced diet over time.
      Just like Offal. I only feed offal every other day and they get 20% offal on that day which would equal out to 80.10.10 through the week.
      If you feel that you want to add a boneless chicken piece to see how he goes then go for it. It will have no adverse effect on your dogs health and its always good to give a variety of different food too 😀
      Hope that helps.
      James

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  5. Hi,

    I have a wirehaired vizsla and just switched him to raw this past month. He is so shiny and his teeth are pearly white!!! I am so excited about the switch, and pray that it adds life to him – since he is my other half.

    Like

    • Hi Jess,
      How wonderful. I am a huge fan of HWV. Early December I will be up in North Yorkshire with 11 of them hunting grouse! Cannot wait 🙂
      Glad your finding raw so good and seeing benefits already. Keep up the good work 👍🏻
      James

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  6. Hey,
    I have a 12 week old vizsla and I was wondering what the appropriate time was to switch and what the ratio was for a puppy. His food is just so expensive and we can’t really seem to keep up with as much as he eats.

    Like

    • Hi, if you go to the search bar at the top right of the page and type ‘how much’ you will see my post on daily ratios for different ages. Then if you type ‘puppy’ in you will find diet plans for puppies.
      If you have any questions type key words into the search box and I should have already covered it.
      If not feel free to ask 😊

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  7. Hi, I have a 3 yr old GSP and she has been on a dry kibble all her life except when she goes on a bland diet for tummy issues. She has had intestinal/stool issues on and off for a while and our vet puts us on a dry food for sensitive stomachs. It helps for a while but then we’re right back to it. Would my GSP benefit from the raw? I’m worried about starting it because of cost and we travel about once a month for conformation and agility shows.

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    • Have you had a look at the ingredients in the sensitive kibble? It’s truly shocking.
      Pointers are so sensitive, most of them cannot tolerate grain which is why many are on a raw diet.
      Raw does have to be expensive!
      If you type in ‘affordable’ into the search bar on the top right you will find my post on affordable guide to raw. Huge variety, just as easy as kibble just pour into a bowl and for under £10 per week!
      As for you agility shows etc. I go away with my two for 3 day weekend and bring all their food in a cool box frozen. The first day and a half they eat their food frozen and then by the final day it’s defrosted completely. For any longer holidays where we are staying for longer and their is no freezer etc I just pick up some cheap bits from local supermarket. Again feeding frozen is not a problem. All raw can be fed frozen. In fact it’s advised for dogs who eat too quick to feed they meals frozen. I give my dogs frozen necks etc during the summer months because it helps keep them cool and occupied.
      Tripe would be good to feed every other day for your dog. The amount of probiotics and digestive enzymes in tripe is phenomenal so would benefit your dog greatly.
      However start off slow introducing a protein at a time. As your dog has a sensitive tum it’s best not to throw too many new things at her. Take it slow and start with chicken. Then maybe chicken and tripe. But just small amounts as tripe is rich so need to build it up.
      Good luck 👍🏻

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  8. Hi this website has recently been recommended via the vizsla raw feed group on Facebook as I am currently feeding my 18 week old viz the natures menu and like you stated it’s starting to become expensive! I am new to raw feeding and just wanted a little advice and also confidence to know that I am doing it correct. I have to say your website is fantastic and very informative. I will be trying Hektor on simple chickens, turkey necks etc to get him used to the texture etc. And I think I will follow your menus you have put on the page. This page is a great idea and thanks 😀

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  9. I am very pleased with all the info here i am plannign to switch my puppy 6 months vizsla from kibble acana into raw prey diet, but i dont know how to do it? progressivley? or start with next meal time? I am not sure either on how to weight or measure , he is 15 kl should be 300gms per day (including meat bones fat) ? please help

    Like

    • Hi Liliana,
      You don’t do it progressively, just make the switch from one meal to the next.
      Puppies need much more food. If you type in ‘how much’ into the search bar top right you will be taken to my post and you will see how much they need at what age. As it changes all the time as they grow.
      Also if you type ‘puppy’ into the search you should see some diet plans from when my dog Hendrix was a pup.
      Many thanks
      James

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      • Thank you James I have my 6 m vizsla puppy in prey raw chicken for 11 days now; he loves it
        He has been doing great until after the 7th day I added beef to the chicken , he tolerated it for 2 days and the 3rd day he vomit all his food in the evening after 3 hours from supper time. I don’t know what I did wrong I think I gave him to much (1/2 pound) he is 15 Kilos. The next day morning and evening I gave him chicken only, so far so good.
        I am scare now when to try again the beef? maybe 75% chichen and 25% beef to re start?
        I also noticed he goes pee to frequently, is it normal?
        Thank you
        Liliana

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  10. Hi 🙂
    Thank you so much for this informative website, I have toyed with the idea of switching our vizsla to raw. When she went off her kibble completely it seemed like the perfect time. This website has given me the confidence to make the change.
    The difference in my young V is amazing, no more random trips to the vet for small things, her coat it coming back beautifully and she is excited to get her dinners now. ( we do all want to see our fur babies love there dinner!!!)
    This is now my go to website and will be recommending to everyone I see! 🙂

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  11. Thank you for this article! I’m wondering if you have any insight on how early you can start a puppy on a raw diet – we will be adding a French Bulldog to our family in a week and I’d love to provide him with a raw diet as soon as feasible.

    Also, a lot of other sources recommend freezing raw meats and then thawing them before feeding. What do you think about this? The photos you posted look like fresh (never frozen) meat.

    Thank you!!

    Like

    • Hi Maryam,
      Puppies can be fed raw straight from weaning at 4 weeks old.
      But if you type puppy into the search bar top right you will find my post including diet plan from my 8 week old puppy.
      Pretty much all the meat I feed is frozen first. I now have 6 dogs eating between 800g-1.2kg each every day so have to buy in bulk.
      Most raw meat can be fed fresh. However it’s advised that raw fish is frozen first for at least a week.
      Also any wild game should be frozen first too. This is to kill any potential parasites.
      Hope that helps
      James

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  12. Pingback: How to start feeding raw to your dog - Dorwest

  13. I’m switching my 9 month pup asap to raw! He is not eating his dry food hardly and I’m so upset! I want him healthy and to enjoy eating! Ty for the in depth detail about what and how much when switching to raw to feed and all the ins and outside…..if it wasn’t for this post you have made available it wouldn’t have happened so soon due to lack of info! God bless you I’m so thankful:-)

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  14. Hi
    I will be having my first vizsla this week on Friday… he will be 8 weeks Old when we have him … we decided to call him Pablo and want to feed him on a completely raw diet… but for training I want to do targeting I.e kibble in the hand and rewards to recall training using treats …. is it still ok to give him kibble alongside complete raw or treats at all?
    Or should I stick to the kibble until trained and then switch to completely raw diet?

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

    Elliott and Lauren

    Like

    • Hi guys,

      You don’t have to feed junk food to practise targeting and recall.
      It makes no sense.
      Instead there are nots of species appropriate treats that you can give to your dog which are extremely high value and will increase their chances of success.
      You definitely don’t want to be feeding them the optimal diet and then Chuck rubbish food at them on top. It will be counter productive for their health.
      Instead their are lots of things you can use.
      Dehydrated meats. JR Per Products do a huge range! We stock everything from Ostrich to Kangaroo over at http://www.prettypointer.com
      Country hunter are also excellent as they are very soft so the dog gets an instant reward and can carry onto the text task immediately.
      Little bits of cooked chicken are a very high value for most dogs.
      I’ve trained hundreds of Vizsla over the years and I’ve never used kibble. I wouldn’t have that in my pocket especially with so many salmonella recalls for dried food recently.
      My favourite treats to use when training is fish.
      Jr do salmon and sea bass. Country hunter have salmon and white fish. All are excellent and extremely healthy for your pup.
      Fish gets the dogs attention immediately meaning that you can be ignored. So I would strongly recommend grabbing a few bags of that for training.

      The absolute best way to train a Vizsla is using a whistle. Vizslas need a 211.5 frequency.
      It is in their natural instinct to be in front of the owner and we use their natural instincts to manipulate their movement.
      It’s a little complicated to explain over text but I would strongly recommend getting into a local HPR club for some training. It’s great fun too!

      The Vizslas absolute favourite thing and the best way to reward in my opinion is praise.
      They thrive on attention so going over the top and rolling around giving them fuss will be the absolute best way to reward.

      Hope this helps 👍🏼
      James

      Like

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