What to Feed and How Much?

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General guidelines

People who feed their pets a raw diet are essentially trying to mimic what their pet’s wild relatives eat in their natural habitat, while eliminating the unwanted ingredients of that diet/ lifestyle. Most variations of a raw food diet, eventually have more or less the same ingredients, the differences and variety can contribute to an even better balance in the diet. (Read more on diet variations)

The Ingredients

All advocates of raw food for pets agree that the diet should be based on RMB (Raw Meaty Bones). The basic principle of RMB is that the meat and bones are served together, in their natural form to promote the ripping, tearing, gnarling and chewing. There are parts with greater ratio of bone and there are meatier parts. Since feeding whole carcasses is part of the philosophy, feeding all the parts, meaty and bony will pretty much even things. If your pet is large enough to eat a whole carcass, or half (chicken for instance), that would be the perfect bone to meat ratio. Bones should make about 10-15% of the diet and the meat 60-75%.

  • Internal organs: offal is an excellent natural source of many nutrients your pet needs, and would naturally eat. The internal organs are very rich (especially the liver) and therefore should make only 5-10% of the diet.
  • Fruit, veggies (and/or table scraps): As carnivores in the wild also tend to eat the stomach contents of their herbivore prey and other food they can scrape, it is agreed that table scraps or fruit and veggies should make the rest 15-25% of the diet. These provide a wide range of minerals and other nutrients less common in meat, and give another type of balance to the diet. As carnivores eat much of thier veggies and fruits from the stomach content of others (and cannot digest them well themselves) it is always advised to mush or pulverize them.

These ratio guidelines are for dogs.


Body weight kg/lbs Protein Veggies & Fruits Total (2%)
Meat Bones Organs
2.5kg / 5.5lbs 30 – 37.5gr 5 – 7.5gr 2.5 – 5gr 7.5 – 12.5gr 50gr
5kg / 11lbs 60 – 75gr 10 -15gr 5 – 10gr 15 – 25gr 100gr
10kg / 22lbs 120 – 150gr 20 -30gr 10 – 20gr 30 – 50gr 200gr
15kg / 33lbs 180 – 225gr 30 -45gr 15 – 30gr 45 – 75gr 300gr
20kg / 44lbs 240 – 300gr 40 – 60 gr 20 – 40gr 60 – 100gr 400gr
25kg / 55.1lbs 300 – 375gr 50 – 75gr 25 – 50gr 75 – 125gr 500gr
30kg / 66.1lbs 360 – 450gr 30 – 60gr 60 – 90gr 90 – 150 600gr
35kg / 77.1lbs 420 – 525gr 70 – 105gr 35 – 70gr 105 – 175gr 700gr
40kg / 88.2lbs 480 – 600gr 80 – 120gr 40 – 80gr 120 – 200gr 800gr
45kg / 99.2lbs 540 – 675gr 90 – 135gr 45 – 90gr 135 – 225gr 900gr
50kg / 110.2lbs 600 – 750gr 100 – 150gr 50 – 100gr 150 – 250gr 1kg
 

Cats, which are much more strict carnivores, would have a significantly smaller percentage (2-10%) of fruit and vegetables, and higher RMB content to make up for it. Cats with IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) should not have any veggies or fruits in their diet. The principals though are the same.

How Much?

The general guideline is 15-20% of the pet’s ideal body weight a week or 2-3% per day.

Ideal bodyweight means that an overweight cat or dog should be fed 2-3% of the weight they should be, a day. A more active pet would probably require a bit more. Some small toy dogs also tend to have a higher metabolism and activity rate.

If the ribs are starting to get prominent (and it’s not a breed trait), start increasing the quantity. If they disappear, however, under a growing layer of fat, it is time to cut down on these portions.

For a mature healthy dog, the weekly quantity can also be divided by six, providing a day (some even recommend two non-consecutive days) of fast. Puppies and kittens should eat much larger quantities and much more frequently. They may eat from 5% of their body weight up to what they would as adults (depending on their age). In some cases, they should have unlimited access to food. Pregnant and lactating moms should also have extra food, 5-7% of their bodyweight per day, with extra bone content.

When?

Since carnivores in the wild are not getting meals served to them at regular intervals, the feeding schedule is usually determined by the feeder. Once or twice a day seems to work for most pets and owners.
The benefit of feeding once is the openness of the pet to try new things. Puppies and kittens should be fed up to 4-6 times a day.

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