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Reader Questions

How To Feed My Energetic Dog Raw?

Last Updated : 13-Nov-2022

It is always gratifying to read about a vet who recommends a raw diet for dogs.  Olive is 18 months old and I have been feeding her raw meat and bones (from frozen blocks). In the mornings just a little raw meat plus cooked sweet potato and squash (apparently raw not is good?) and, in the evenings most of the raw meat/bone allowance with a tablespoon of a raw grated carrot, cucumber, apple, broccoli and celery mix.

My questions are :

  1. A question about the weight of food for her massive energy. She usually walks 5 miles a day.  Is 3.5 in grams times her body weight a reasonable equation?   (i.e. 16kgs x 3.5 = 560 grams)
  2. Would love to give her greens but which would be best in the blender? And are you are saying equal greens to meat? That sounds quite a lot.
  3. For her teeth we have given her antler and bones with marrow in. Raw chicken wings seem to go down in one mouthful?  Worried about blockage.

It is almost impossible to find someone locally (South Devon) to advise on raw feeding. I also have been giving her 1/2 teaspoon twice a day of your PET Plus.  She weighs 16 kilos.

PET Plus Vet Reader : Sarah

Dr Susanna's Response

In general, don't mix carbs (fruit and root veg and squashes) with meat and bone, offal and organ meats. Only mix blended green leafy veg like spinach, broccoli, celery, parsley etc.

Maybe one-third to one-half by volume in the bowl. See what suits her. I make green juice every morning for myself and, when I had dogs, I used to give them the pulp mixed with their meat etc. Great nutrients, micronutrients and bulky fibre. Great for supporting probiotics and keep guts healthy and clean.

Sweet potato, carrot and squashes are great as a whole meal together, but not with the meat and bone etc. Feed some whole to chew, some grated and most blended as dogs aren't great at chewing their vegetables ... or anything apart from your best shoes!

Chewing broccoli stalks, cauliflower stalks, carrots etc are excellent for teeth cleaning because fibrous texture keeps it whole while the teeth are scraped clean. Biscuits just shatter and are no use to anyone! Gnawing raw meaty bones also great for teeth, but must be big bones with plenty of meat and must be RAW! Never feed cooked bones as they are indigestible, fragile and cause blockages and constipation.

Don't worry if she swallows chicken wings virtually unchewed. The stomach acidity in carnivores is very strong. Bones just vanish! But for her satisfaction, bigger bones would be better for her to gnaw on. Try chicken drumsticks. Try chicken carcasses whole. That's really good fun! Whole wild raw rabbit is the best. If she manages to catch a squirrel, that's delicious!

Do you have other dogs? Is she anxious that someone will take her food or steal it or something? I has two black and white collies. Beautiful intelligent dogs aren't they. One was slow, gentle and calmly ate her food. The other was always a bit anxious and gobbled up as much as she could cram into her stomach, then she'd trot out into the field to a quiet place, vomit it all and eat it again, chewing it more slowly! She used her stomach as a shopping basket!

It sounds like you're giving her loads of food, but she looks fabulous, so the amounts are just right. There are no guidelines better that watching what happens to her! If she ever slows down (mine didn't until 18 years old!) or starts looking a bit fat, just reduce the amount or use less fatty meats and bone mixes. Tripe is great, but has no bone ...

Does that help? Please feel free to ask more questions.