Everything You Need To Know About Raw Dog Food
No dried kibble. No unidentifiable ingredients in food from a can. Raw dog food is wholesome, natural whole food delivered in the way your pet’s body likes it best.
What does it mean to feed your dog a raw diet?
A raw dog food diet is just what it sounds like. Your dog eats meals made of real, minimally processed, uncooked food that consists of muscle and organ meat from animals, vegetables, fruit, eggs, prebiotics, probiotics, and healthy oils.
Have you ever wondered why your dog begs for “human” food under the table at every meal while they reject most dried, industrial pet foods? Dogs strive for whole food diets, just like humans do.
The concept of a raw dog food diet for our furry best friends shouldn’t be revolutionary. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that all mammals need, dogs included, all come from whole foods like the ones we mentioned above. In contrast, the process used to make kibble includes a protein rendering process followed by baking which destroys most of the nutrients that raw food naturally includes.
Dogs have been domesticated for at least 20,000 years, and they have evolved to eat whole foods similar to the ones humans eat. Kibble has been around for less than 100 years. If you do that math, the idea of feeding your dog a raw dog food diet is only natural.
Why is a raw diet good for dogs?
Research shows that dogs love lightly cooked and raw diets and they are highly digestible (1). A raw dog food diet is also great for your dog's health; feeding your dog raw food diets in the right ingredients reduce blood triglycerides, support gut health, and maintain the quality and chemistry of your dog’s waste. In fact, one of the earliest noticeable differences when switching your dog from kibble to raw food is that their poop is more firm and smells less. This is a sign that your dog's gastrointestinal tract is starting to process their food in a more natural way.
Kibble formulations can vary greatly, and so can their effects on your dog’s health. In general, however, most commercial kibble contains dyes, additives, and ultra-processed ingredients that can increase your dog’s risk of developing diseases and can shorten their lives (2).
If you do the research, you can prepare your dog’s own raw diet. But at Outpost Dog Food, we’ve done the research for you by working with experienced Animal Nutritionists to create optimized recipes that are prepared in food-safe facilities, using human grade ingredients, and delivered to your door in portioned score sheets.
How is raw dog food made?
Raw dog food is made by blending together raw meat, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other nutrient-boosting ingredients in a way that is easy to eat and appetizing for dogs. The ideal proportion of ingredients for dogs is about 95% meat and 5% plant ingredients.
Not all raw dog food is made the same, however. Quality dog food comes from the right proportions of quality ingredients.
Food quality for raw dog food diets is no different than identifying high-quality ingredients in foods you would use to prepare meals for your family: choose free-range, grass-fed meats and nutrient-dense, and locally sourced fruits and vegetables.
At Outpost Dog Food, our dog foods are made of 100% quality ingredients. The poultry source is humanely raised in a low stress environment. Conventionally-raised chicken is linked to hormone disruption, and it has a higher chance of being infected with salmonella (3, 4).
The beef we use in our raw dog food recipes is grass-fed. Grass-fed beef is better for your loyal friend’s heart; it is up to five times higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), heart-healthy vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants (5).
We finely grind up bones in several of our recipe’s because they are an important source of calcium and minerals and because, honestly, what dog doesn't like bones? For more information we highly recommend reading the book “Give Your Dog a Bone” by Dr. Ian Billinghurst.
We also care about the environmental impact of sourcing our food, so the majority of Outpost Dog Food ingredients (90%) are sourced locally.
Outpost Dog Food chefs don’t have a need to add nutrients back into the food. Since the ingredients are never cooked, nutrients are kept intact in their natural form within the food.
How much raw food should I feed my dog?
The amount of food you need to feed your dog on a raw diet depends on age, weight, and activity level.
As a general guideline, we recommend you give your adult dog about 2-3% of your dog's weight in raw food and your puppy dog about 5-10% of their weight in raw food. Since puppies are growing and developing, they need more food relative to their weight.
As an example, for a raw diet, if your dog weighs 50lbs, you should aim to give your dog about 1 to 1.5 pounds of dog food in a day. We recommend spreading this out into two meals for adults and three meals for puppies.
However, if your dogs are active or have a faster metabolism, they may eat more.
The best way to determine how much food to give your dog on a raw food diet is to start with the recommendations above and monitor your dog's appetite, energy levels, and weight.
What's the best way to feed my dog raw dog food?
When you receive your delivery of the Outpost Dog Food recipe you’ve chosen, they will arrive scored in ¼ lb squares and frozen. You should keep this box in the freezer.
You can give your dog the frozen squares of food or you can thaw them before giving them to your dog.
Whether you give your dog frozen or thawed raw dog food will depend on the size, age, preferences, and the physical limitations your dog may have.
For example, smaller dogs and puppies usually prefer their serving of raw dog food thawed out. If you choose to thaw your dog’s food remember to use proper thawing techniques to keep the food free from bacteria.
Adult and larger dogs often prefer the frozen dog food. Not only is it delicious and fun for them to eat, as they bite through the food it will help to clean their teeth. Proper dental hygiene is important to the lifelong health of your dog.
What are some of the benefits of raw meats in a raw dog food diet?
Outpost Dog Food uses chicken, turkey, beef, and tripe in our dog food recipes. Each of these have unique nutritional benefits from which your dog may benefit.
- Chicken: In the wild, dogs would have a diet rich in poultry since it is easy for them to catch. As a result, chicken is easy for all breeds to consume. In addition to being a mostly lean protein, it also delivers important nutrients like Vitamin A, B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12), Vitamin K, antioxidant Vitamin E, digestive enzymes, minerals calcium, potassium, and iron, and natural antioxidants.
- Turkey: Turkey is a great option for dogs with chicken allergies, or if you want to mix up their menu a bit. Like chicken, it is a great source of lean protein Vitamin A, B Vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12), Vitamin K, antioxidant Vitamin E, digestive enzymes, minerals calcium, potassium, and iron, and natural antioxidants.
- Beef: Most pups love the taste and smell of beef, and it is a great source of protein, vitamin A, B vitamins (B3, B6, and B12), Vitamin D, antioxidant Vitamin E, and the minerals Iron, Zinc, Selenium, and Phosphorus. Since our beef is grass-fed it is also high in Omega-3 heart-healthy fats. Dogs fed raw food diets with beef may benefit from mixing in some chicken as well. Ask our experts for more information.
- Offal (organ meat): Outpost Dog Food includes tripe, beef heart, and beef liver in our recipes. Beef heart is very high in iron, and beef liver is naturally very rich in over a dozen vitamins and minerals. Tripe is rich in protein and is also very rich in vitamin B12, minerals, and zinc.
What are some of the Outpost Dog Food recipes?
You can choose from four raw dog food recipes and one raw cat food recipe, all of which were developed by Animal Nutritionists exclusively for Outpost Dog Food. They all contain at least 95% meat (muscle meat and offal) and 5% vegetables, fruit, and nutrient-boosting ingredients. Outpost Dog Food is crafted in small batches in Langley BC, using only the best ingredients: 100% raw, natural, and free of any fillers.
Our recipes include:
- Chicken with Liver & Veggies – ground chicken (bones-in), beef liver, eggs, carrots, molasses, apple cider vinegar, parsley, sunflower oil, garlic, nutrient boosters, and MSM and glucosamine for joint support.
- Turkey with Liver & Veggies – turkey (bones-in), beef liver, carrots, molasses, apple cider vinegar, parsley flakes, sunflower oil, garlic, and MSM and glucosamine for joint support.
- Beef with Liver & Veggies - beef meat, beef heart & beef liver, chicken (bones-in), eggs, apples, pumpkin, bananas, molasses, apple cider vinegar, Sunflower oil, and parsley with MSM and glucosamine for joint support.
- Tripe & Liver - 60% Tripe, 30% Chicken and 10% Beef Liver
- Outpost Raw Cat Food – Chicken with Liver and Veggies: Made with ground chicken (bones-in), beef liver, eggs, carrots, molasses, apple cider vinegar, parsley, sunflower oil, garlic, and nutrient boosters.
Health and Nutrient-Boosting Ingredients in Outpost Dog Food Recipes
In addition to whole meat, fruit, and vegetable ingredients, Outpost Dog Food recipes also include nutrient-boosting ingredients to promote your pup’s overall health through a raw dog food diet. These include:
Glucosamine and MSM: Many dog owners are familiar with glucosamine and MSM and they might give it to their dogs as a supplement. Glucosamine and MSM work together to support the joint health of dogs of all ages.
Prebiotics and probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms that support your dog’s gut health. Prebiotics are essentially “food” for probiotics to make sure the probiotics stay healthy and happy in your dog’s digestive system.
Kelp: Kelp is high in antioxidants that neutralize against free radicals that can lead to disease. These antioxidants include carotenoids, flavonoids, manganese, and zinc.
Eggshell powder: Made from finely crushed eggshells, eggshell powder is a natural calcium supplement that supports your dog’s bone health.
Vitamin C: A natural antioxidant that works as an antioxidant vitamin in your dog’s body.
Why is it important to get your raw dog foods from dog nutrition experts?
Raw food diets are the best diet for your dog’s health and longevity (and their taste buds will thank you!) but it is important to choose your raw dog food diet distributor carefully.
First, dog nutrition experts know what the nutrient needs of dogs are. Sometimes, these nutrient needs will vary from breed to breed in different stages of their lives. When you buy raw dog foods from dog nutrition experts, you know that the health and wellbeing of your pup are supported by recipes with ingredients that are backed by research.
Second is the importance of food safety. Working with raw dog foods is even a more delicate process than dealing with raw food for humans since it doesn’t have a cooking process that could kill bacteria.
At Outpost Dog Food, we take every measure to make sure your raw dog foods are safe. These measures include:
- Regular Salmonella testing is done at an independent lab.
- Thoroughly disinfecting the facilities after every batch.
- Food is produced in small batches to ensure that it is always fresh when delivered
We freely share what is in our raw dog food recipes. Some people might want to even recreate our recipes by themselves. However, when you buy from Outpost Dog Food, you are ensuring that you’re getting high-quality ingredients made in clean and safe facilities that have been tested for cleanliness.
You are buying dog food from people who love dogs and are committed to keeping them healthy and happy through the nutrition they evolved to enjoy.
- Kiley M Algya, Tzu-Wen L Cross, Kristen N Leuck, Megan E Kastner, Toshiro Baba, Lynn Lye, Maria R C de Godoy, Kelly S Swanson, Apparent total-tract macronutrient digestibility, serum chemistry, urinalysis, and fecal characteristics, metabolites and microbiota of adult dogs fed extruded, mildly cooked, and raw diets, Journal of Animal Science, Volume 96, Issue 9, September 2018, Pages 3670–3683, https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky235
- Amy Dyk. 20 Dog Food Ingredients to Avoid. Home Alive Pets. https://blog.homesalive.ca/bad-dog-food-ingredients-to-avoid
- Ahmad S, Ahmed I, Haider S, Batool Z, Ahmed SB. Daily consumption of commercial chicken feed and meat lead to alterations in serum cholesterol and steroidal sex hormones in female rats. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2017;30(1 Suppl):257-261.
- Rick Young, Anthony Szulc. The Trouble with Chicken. PBS. May 12th, 2015. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/trouble-with-chicken/
- McAfee AJ, McSorley EM, Cuskelly GJ, et al. Red meat from animals offered a grass diet increases plasma and platelet n-3 PUFA in healthy consumers. Br J Nutr. 2011;105(1):80-89. doi:10.1017/S0007114510003090