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How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog?

labrador retriever dogs eating raw foods

Raw feeding is a controversial topic amongst vets, nutritionists, and dog lovers alike. Some support it as a more “natural” method of feeding, whereas others are concerned about the harmful bacteria and parasites raw meat can contain. In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of a raw food diet in a bit more depth and share how much raw food your dog should eat if you decide to go the raw feeding route.

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Is Raw Feeding Good For Dogs?

Experts are divided on this. Some, like Doug Kneuvan, DVM, claim that raw diets are better for dogs than processed foods because they’re closer to a dog’s natural diet. Supporters have also claimed that their dogs have been more active and energetic and have had shinier coats since eating a raw diet.

Others, including Lisa M Freeman, DVM, have warned pet parents against feeding a raw diet because of potential bacterial and parasitic infections that could affect both animals and humans. She also states that while no study has shown that a raw diet is more beneficial, studies have brought attention to the dangers of raw feeding.

The PDSA brings up more issues with raw feeding such as the concern that raw meat may contain bones or bone fragments, which can be dangerous to pets if swallowed.

Can I Feed My Dog Raw Food?

If you do decide to feed your dog raw food, the PDSA urges pet owners to consult their vet before doing so or changing their dog’s diet in any way. After you’ve consulted your vet and have decided to feed raw, the PDSA recommends going with a commercially prepared raw diet instead of trying to make one at home yourself.

This is because commercially prepared raw food has at least been prepared in facilities that have to satisfy certain hygiene standards. This helps to reduce the risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. Commercially-prepared raw food companies also have to prepare food that meets certain nutritional standards to make sure your dog stays as healthy as possible.

senior dog eating chicken
Image Credit: Sophie Louise Davis, Shutterstock


How Much Raw Food Should I Feed My Dog?

If you’ve decided to go with a commercially-prepared raw food diet, adult dogs should be fed 2–3% of their ideal body weight, and for puppies, it varies. Refer to the feeding guides below for more information, though these may vary slightly depending on the company you choose. Please refer to the guidelines by the company you’re buying the raw food from for more specific information.

Feeding Guide

Some companies produce weaning pastes for very young puppies aged between 3 and 6 weeks to help them gradually adjust to eating standard puppy food. As puppies and dogs come in all shapes and sizes, the amount you will feed them also depends upon factors like their activity level, size, and metabolism.

The amount they are fed also reduces as they get older. For example, a puppy aged between 7 and 10 weeks old would need to eat around 8–10% of their ideal body weight, whereas a puppy aged between 20 and 24 weeks would eat approximately 5–6% of their body weight. Puppies are usually fed between three and four small meals per day on average, and adult dogs usually eat two meals per day.

Dog’s Age Amount to Feed
4 – 6 weeks Feed to appetite
7 – 10 weeks 8 – 10% of ideal body weight
10 – 16 weeks 7 – 8% of ideal body weight
16 – 20 weeks 6 – 7% of ideal body weight
20 – 24 weeks 5 – 6% of ideal body weight
24 – 36 weeks 4 – 5% of ideal body weight
36 – 56 weeks 3 – 4% of ideal body weight
56 – 68 weeks 2.5 – 3.5% of ideal body weight
68+ weeks (adult) 2 – 3% of ideal body weight
Siberian husky dog puppy eating meat
Image Credit: Tati argent, Shutterstock

Feeding by Weight: Puppies

These charts give an estimation of how much raw food to feed puppies and dogs based on their weight. This can differ depending on factors like activity levels if you want your dog to lose, maintain, or gain weight.

Again, we urge you to refer to each raw food company’s individual feeding guide or use a feeding calculator to work out what would be the best amount to feed your puppy or dog. Speak to your vet if your dog is underweight or overweight to work out a meal plan that would best suit them.

Puppy’s Weight Daily Feeding Recommendation (Grams)
5 kg 200 – 300 g
10 kg 400 – 600 g
15 kg 600 – 900 g
20 kg 800 – 1200 g
25 kg 1000 – 1500 g
30 kg 1200 – 1800 g
35 kg 1400 – 2100 g
40 kg 1600 – 2400 g

Feeding by Weight: Adult Dogs

Dog’s Weight Daily Feeding Recommendation (Grams)
5 kg 100 – 150 g
10 kg 200 – 300 g
15 kg 300 – 450 g
20 kg 400 – 600 g
25 kg 500 – 750 g
30 kg 600 – 900 g
35 kg 700 – 1050 g
40 kg 800 – 1200 g


Final Thoughts

If you’re a proponent of raw feeding and are determined to make it work for your dog, we recommend following the PDSA’s advice to talk things through with a vet to determine what would work best for your dog and how much raw food.

The numbers in this post are just standard estimates and will need to be adjusted based on your dog’s weight, weight goals, activity levels, and any health issues they may have, which is why it’s so important to get an expert opinion before starting your dog on a new diet. You can also reach out to commercial raw food companies to get advice—some companies’ websites even have a live chat tool that you can use to get info quickly and efficiently.

Featured Image Credit: manushot, Shutterstock

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