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Complete Beginners Guide to Raw Dog Food

This comprehensive guide to raw dog food is the ultimate resource for dog owners looking to unleash their dog’s wild side with a wholesome and natural diet.

Here’s everything we’re about to cover:

Ready to learn about raw?

Let’s get to it.

BARF: What is it and what does it stand for?

First up, let’s talk BARF (and no, we’re not talking about anything stomach-churning). 

BARF stands for “Biologically Appropriate Raw Food,” or “Bones And Raw Food”, which in other words is a type of diet for dogs that aims to replicate what they would naturally eat in the wild. 

In a world where commercially processed foods have gained ground, loaded with unnecessary additives that might harm your dog’s health, BARF is here to flip the script. Our approach revolves around the use of raw, nourishing ingredients that keep nutrients and proteins intact as they’re not compromised by cooking. 

No fillers here – just a symphony of flavours that’ll make your pup’s taste buds sing!

Components of a BARF diet include: 

  • Muscle Meat: Like any raw diet, muscle meat forms the backbone, providing essential amino acids and protein.
  • Raw Bones: These can be whole or ground and are essential for calcium and other nutrients.
  • Organ Meats: Liver, kidney, and other organs offer a dense nutrient profile.
  • Fruits: In smaller quantities, fruits like berries and apple slices provide vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Supplements: Some BARF diets also incorporate additional supplements like fish oils for Omega-3s, and possibly probiotics or other vitamins.
  • Vegetables: Leafy greens, and other veggies, often finely ground or pureed, offer fibre and additional nutrients.

The benefits of a BARF diet are similar to those of any high-quality raw food diet and can include improved digestion, higher energy levels, healthier skin and coat, and better dental hygiene, but we’ll come onto that more a little later…

First let’s talk about the 80/10/10 rule.

The 80/10/10 Raw Dog Food Diet

The 80/10/10 rule is a guideline often used in raw feeding models, particularly for the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) diet. 

This rule provides a simple framework for the macronutrient distribution in the dog’s diet: 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat. The idea is to emulate the approximate ratios of these components as they would occur in a dog’s natural prey

Here’s the 3 main components: 

  • 80% Muscle Meat: This forms the bulk of the diet, offering essential proteins and amino acids. It can include various meat types, like beef, chicken, lamb, or fish.
  • 10% Edible Bone: These provide essential minerals like calcium and phosphorus. Bones can be fed whole, but they are often ground up for easier consumption and digestion.
  • 10% Organ Meat: Organ meats like liver, kidney, and spleen are nutrient-dense and provide many vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in muscle meat. Usually, it’s recommended that half of this percentage be liver, with the other half consisting of other organ meats.

Striking this balance is essential to providing your furry companion with the nutrients they require.

But that’s not where the fun ends…

We also suggest adding a dash of superfoods to the 80/10/10 raw dog food diet plan for an extra boost of essential nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

What’s in Raw Dog Food?

Now that you know about BARF and the 80/10/10 rule, what’s actually in raw dog food?

Well, raw dog food isn’t just about tossing a few scraps of meat into a bowl. 

We believe in providing a balanced and nutritionally rich meal for your dogs, hence our food provides a harmonious blend of meat, berries, vegetables, nutrient-rich bones and superfoods, each playing a pivotal role in enhancing your dog’s overall well-being. 

Let’s explore these in a little more detail…

Quality Protein

For a balanced diet, your dog needs a diet with at least 80% protein. 

Your dog gets the majority of their protein from lean cuts of meat. They’re an essential source of energy for building and sustaining muscular mass. If you want to give your dog the healthiest protein source available, use lean cuts of meat like:

  • Chicken
  • Venison
  • Beef 
  • Lamb

These meats are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, iron, and zinc.

By consuming diverse raw meats, your dog gains access to an array of micronutrients, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals. Since these ingredients remain untouched by cooking, they retain their natural goodness.

Building Strength with Bones

In addition to protein, raw diets contain bones, which are essential to your dog’s bone health because of the calcium and phosphorus they contain. 

Chewing on bones is also helpful for maintaining dental hygiene.

However, to guarantee the dog’s safety and health advantages, make sure to feed your dog bones of the right size and variety.

Elevate Nutrition with Veg & Superfoods

And lastly, superfoods…

To elevate your dog’s nutrition to the next level, consider incorporating superfoods.

Berries and veggies hold top status as superfoods. These ingredients improve your dog’s health since they are rich in antioxidants, enzymes, and phytonutrients. Plus, their natural sweetness adds a burst of flavour to your dog’s meal.

Your dog will benefit from the additional vitamins and minerals in a diet that includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, raspberries, blueberries, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. These nutrients also support a healthy digestive system and glossy fur.

Raw Dog Food Benefits

Lots of dog owners bark up the wrong tree when it comes to feeding their dogs.

That’s to say that most prefer kibble for its ‘convenience’. 

But we disagree. 

And here’s 4 benefits of raw dog food to help explain why we disagree:

Better Digestion

By feeding your dog raw, your dog’s faeces will become smaller and firmer when on a raw food diet. 

It doesn’t contain any fillers, grains, or other components that are not suitable for canines. This allows your dog to absorb and digest more of what they eat, leading to less waste coming out.

Improved Skin and Coat

The skin and coats of dogs on a raw food diet are noticeably healthier than those of dogs fed kibble or canned food. 

Why? 

Raw dog food is more moist and contains more beneficial fats contributing towards a healthier and glossier skin.

Weight Management

More than half of all dogs are overweight or obese which can lead to several health problems. 

Kibble is a major contributor to this, as it is loaded with carbs that can’t be properly digested. 

So if your dog is just a little rough around the edges, switching to a raw diet and eliminating specific treats may be helpful. 

Ulti-Mutt Dental Care

Kibble’s claim to dental fame crumbles like a biscuit, while raw food shines as the true hero. 

While kibble packs in starches and sugars that give bacteria a feast, raw diets come bearing gifts of natural enzymes that keep gums and teeth in excellent shape.

Experts also recommend that recreational raw bones should be given a few times a week to not only help remove plaque and tartar organically but to also strengthen the jaw.

Making the Switch: Raw Dog Food for Beginners

Embarking on the journey of transitioning your dog to a raw food diet requires careful consideration. 

You can go for a straight switch, but we personally do not recommend it.

We recommend a gradual swap instead…

A gradual swap to raw

It is recommended to switch your dog over to raw food gradually, replacing a small amount of their current food with raw food and increasing it over the course of seven days, monitoring your dog’s reaction throughout.

For example:

  • Day 1: Replace one-fifth of their food with Wild Pack
  • Day 2: Replace a quarter of their food with Wild Pack
  • Day 3: Replace a third of their food with Wild Pack
  • Day 4: Replace half of their food with Wild Pack
  • Day 5: Replace two-thirds of their food with Wild Pack
  • Day 6: Replace three-quarters of their food with Wild Pack

Note:

If your dog has a history of anxiety or seems wary of change, a slower introduction to the new diet may be best. This will allow them to be gradually introduced to new flavours and textures whilst maintaining a sense of familiarity with their diet.

3 Myths About Raw Dog Food 

Myth 1: Contamination

The possibility of bacteria and contamination is a major worry for dog owners contemplating a raw food diet. Because of their inquisitive and exploratory nature, dogs are likely to come into contact with a wide variety of germs and dirt. 

However, when compared to other parts of your dog’s daily life, feeding them natural raw dog food is a safer option because it has undergone extensive batch testing for salmonella.

Myth 2: Takes up too much space

Raw food does need to be kept in the freezer, although its space requirements are typically overestimated. Buying a small chest freezer may seem like a lot, but when you consider the money you could save on vet expenses by switching to a natural diet, it’s a great cost-effective approach. 

Making this change will improve the quality of life for both you and your dog, as well as save you time and money.

Myth 3: It is expensive 

Raw dog food has been the subject of debate due to its high price. It has been argued that buying highly processed kibble is the more cost-effective option. 

However, there is a significant nutritional gap between cheaper but less wholesome options and a completely raw dog food meal made with real meat and high-quality ingredients. Comparing this situation to choosing between cheap junk food and a gourmet meal illustrates the substantial difference in quality and benefits.

Raw Dog Food FAQs

Is raw food for dogs safe?

With the right preparation and attention to food safety, feeding raw meat to dogs is perfectly safe. In contrast to humans, dogs have powerful stomach acid and digestive enzymes which are well-suited to neutralising harmful bacteria and breaking down raw meat.

Do I need to add anything to the raw food?

Nothing else should be added to our food because it is formulated to be nutritionally full and balanced for dogs at every stage of their lives. 

Since we already strengthen the food with high-quality ingredients, supplementing it with yet another multivitamin is not recommended.

How much raw food should I feed my dog?

Finding out how much food your dog needs is the first step. Adult dogs should be fed a diet consisting of 2-3% of their body weight each day, while pups should be fed a diet consisting of 3% of their predicted adult weight per day.

Remember that these are only suggestions and that every dog is different, with their own unique activity levels and calorie needs, so feel free to make any necessary adjustments. 

Is raw food better for dogs?

Feeding your dog a raw food diet ensures that it is packed with nutrients and has a taste of Britain in every bite. A raw dog food diet is not only 100% nutritional and delicious, but it may also be cost-effective, safe, and easy to give, making it a viable alternative to commercially processed dog foods.

Ready to make dog food raw again?

We’re all about turning the tables on conventional dog nutrition. 

We’re not just a brand, we’re taking a stand at the forefront of the Raw Revolution.

So, let’s make dog food raw again and give your dog a taste of the Wild Pack.

Read more guides from the Wild Pack team here

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Tested on Animals

(They loved it.)
StarStarStarStarStar

Badger was completely unphased by meal times before I switched him over to Wild Pack from kibble. He gets so excited now when he sees the tub, that I've had to get him a slow feeder bowl so he doesn't inhale it all in two minutes!!

Amanda & Badger
London, UK
StarStarStarStarStar

Fantastic raw dog food! Great consistency full of all the goodness your dog needs. Handy packaging and most importantly, Freddie loves it! I would highly recommend Wild Pack to anyone who really cares for their dogs health and well being!

Daniel & Freddie
Leicester, UK
StarStarStarStarStar

Tarka has always eaten raw but she's usually quite fussy on flavours. All six Wild Pack recipes were a big hit with her though. And as the one who dishes it out, I love it too. Far less smelly and much easier to serve than any of the other brands we've tried!

Verity & Tarka
Norfolk, UK
Better sh*t

Smaller, less smelly and more pick-uppable poos. That’s all down to improved digestion and gut health, more natural fibre sources, fewer carbohydrates and no nasty additives or preservatives.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Glossier coats

Dogs on raw diets get healthy fatty acids, improved nutrient absorption, increased hydration (due to higher moisture content) and better protein quality. So their coats are utterly fabulous.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Better digestion

Raw dog food is so much kinder to your dog’s insides. With no additives, no preservatives and fewer carbohydrates, they’ll get improved digestion and fewer tummy troubles.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Stronger immune system

When we eat sh*t and don’t get enough nutrients, we get ill. It's just the same for dogs. But when they eat raw like they’re supposed to, it’s the foundation of good health.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Bags of energy

Commercial kibble causes crashes and spikes of energy. But raw food is lighter on carbohydrates and has whole meat, bones and organs which release energy steadily, so they’re full of beans all day long.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Better breath

Improved digestion, a better balance of nutrients, fewer carbohydrates and no additives or preservatives. Goodbye dragon breath!

1 2 3 4 5 6
Can the Kibble
Six reasons to go raw...