Raw Diet Plan For Dogs

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Raw diet plan for dogs? Although planning a raw diet for your dog seems rather difficult to accomplish, it is actually quite easy. If you are not convinced that your dog deserves the best and the healthiest diet, read on to find out how raw foods can help your dog live longer and healthier.

Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks

Are raw food diets for dogs an ideal meal plan or a dangerous fad? Experts weigh in.

Raw dog food diets are controversial. But the popularity of the diets — which emphasize raw meat, bones, fruits, and vegetables — is rising.

Racing greyhounds and sled dogs have long eaten raw food diets. Extending those feeding practices to the family pet is an idea proposed in 1993 by Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst. He called his feeding suggestions the BARF diet, an acronym that stands for Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

Billinghurst suggested that adult dogs would thrive on an evolutionary diet based on what canines ate before they became domesticated: Raw, meaty bones and vegetable scraps. Grain-based commercial pet foods, he contended, were harmful to a dog’s health.

Many mainstream veterinarians disagree, as does the FDA. The risks of raw diets have been documented in several studies published in veterinary journals.

Potential benefits of the raw dog food diet that supporters tout include:

  • Shinier coats
  • Healthier skin
  • Cleaner teeth
  • Higher energy levels
  • Smaller stools

Potential risks include:

  • Threats to human and dog health from bacteria in raw meat
  • An unbalanced diet that may damage the health of dogs if given for an extended period
  • Potential for whole bones to choke an animal, break teeth or cause an internal puncture

Since Billinghurst’s book,Give Your Dog a Bone, was published, several other types of raw dog food diets have emerged, including commercially processed raw food diets that are frozen or freeze-dried and combination diets that use blends of grains, vegetables, and vitamins that are mixed with raw meat purchased by the owner at the grocery store.

Raw dog food recipes and meal suggestions are readily found online and in books. 

Raw dog food diet: What it is

A raw dog food diet typically consists of:

  • Muscle meat, often still on the bone
  • Bones, either whole or ground
  • Organ meats such as livers and kidneys
  • Raw eggs
  • Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and celery
  • Apples or other fruit
  • Some dairy, such as yogurt

Are raw food diets for dogs an ideal meal plan or a dangerous fad? Experts weigh in.

Knueven specializes in holistic medicine and also consults for Nature’s Variety, a Lincoln, Neb.-based manufacturer of frozen raw food diets as well as cooked dry and canned foods.

Barbara Benjamin-Creel of Marietta started giving raw food to her three dogs after Scooter, a German Shepherd, was diagnosed with cancer. The diet change came too late to help Scooter, she says, but the other dogs are thriving after two years on raw dog food. The 11-year-old dogs seem more energetic, and one with chronic digestive problems tolerates the raw diet better.

“The change in the coat was pretty immediate,” Benjamin-Creel says. “Also, their breath was much better.”

Benjamin-Creel makes the food herself, giving yogurt in the morning and raw ground pork, turkey, or beef mixed with some rice in the evening. To cut costs, she stocks up on ground meat when it’s on sale. “It’s not cheap,” she says, “but I think we’ve avoided a lot of old-age issues.”

The cost of a raw dog food diet varies with the ingredients used and how it is prepared. 

Raw Dog Food Diet: What the research shows

Lisa M. Freeman, DVM, PhD, headed an evaluation of raw dog food diets published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association in 2001. She cautions pet owners against them, saying that many dog owners are choosing raw diets based on online myths and scare tactics about commercial pet food.

For pet owners who want to avoid commercial food, Freeman advises a cooked homemade diet designed by a nutritionist certified by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

A nutrition professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Freeman says that many of the benefits attributed to a raw food diet for dogs, such as a shinier coat, instead are the result of the high fat composition of the typical raw diet. High-fat commercial foods that would produce the same effect are available, she notes, without the risk of an unbalanced diet. Supplements can also be used as an alternative to increasing fat in the diet.

Concerns Overblown?

Supporters of raw dog food diets are quick to point out that commercially processed pet foods can contain harmful bacteria, as can raw meat offered for human consumption.

“The whole concern about bad bacteria is overblown,” Knueven says. “When people are feeding a raw diet they know it’s not sterile, and they’re more careful about washing their hands. Feeding a raw meat diet is no different than cooking chicken for the family you have to clean up the counter and your knife.”

A simple three-step plan

Our straightforward feeding plan for adult dogs is a summary of decades of experience and it rests on three basic ingredients (all raw):

  1. meat
  2. bone
  3. vegetable

The plan itself can be distilled into three simple steps:

  1. Take any meat (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, whatever) minced or diced.
  2. Grate vegetables into it (anything but potato) so that it is roughly 2/3 meat and 1/3 vegetable (you can put the vegetable through the food processor if you have one).
  3. Get some meaty bones from the butcher and give your dog one every day or two.

For portion sizes follow the instructions below. Vary the types of meat and vegetables you use.
That’s it.
The rest of this article contains supplementary information, tips and various refinements but the simple diet described above is difficult to improve upon.

Do all dogs thrive on a natural diet?

With only a very, very few exceptions all dogs thrive on raw food.

Indeed, the only dogs that shouldn’t eat a 100% natural diet are those with a compromised immune system or that have recently had bowel surgery. What’s more, a well-planned raw diet can really help dogs with health issues. If you would like to know more about how raw food can benefit a poorly dog see the separate section on this website.

Remember, too, that Honey’s Chief Veterinary Surgeon is available to supply dietary advice, free of charge and without any obligation on your part.

What dogs need from their food and how they get it

Food has two core functions. It provides energy and it helps the body to remain healthy. With regard to energy the amount required will depend on a variety of circumstances, including how old the dog is (growing dogs need more, elderly dogs less), the amount of exercise being taken, whether the dog is pregnant or feeding puppies and the temperature (weirdly, dogs in really hot climates can need more energy as panting uses up more calories than you would imagine).

Interestingly, dogs do not need a lot of carbohydrates or simple sugars for energy (although a small amount of complex carbohydrate can provide useful fibre), as they can’t digest it. Their core dietary requirements are fat (it provides energy and protection and it enables the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins), essential fatty acids (Omega 6 and Omega 3), protein (with essential amino acids) and a wide range of minerals and vitamins.

What a dog needs for energy is obtainable in its natural diet. All processed dog food companies are trying to do is replace what dogs ought to be eating with low-quality, inadequate, adulterated and inappropriate ingredients.

Suitable ingredients

Below is a list of all the different things you can feed your dog. An asterix (*) means that this is vital to your dog’s health. The other ingredients are more by way of providing additional nutrition.

  • Lean muscle meat*
    Chicken, beef, lamb, venison, rabbit, turkey, pork &c. Can be minced or diced.
  • Internal organs*
    Heart, lung, liver, tripe &c. Liver should never be more than 10% of the total diet. Don’t feed beef liver where the animal has been fed rape.
  • Fish
    Any fish but especially fatty fish such as herring, salmon, pilchards and sardines. If you can’t find fresh fish then once or twice a week you may like to add a tin of pilchards or herrings to the food.
  • Dairy
    Cheese, probiotic yoghurt, goat’s milk and/or small amounts of cottage cheese.
  • Eggs
    Any type of whole egg, as an egg two or three times a week is an excellent source of protein, vitamins and omegas.
  • Bones*
    Ideally raw, meaty bones and including chicken/turkey carcasses.
  • Leafy vegetables*
    Spinach, winter greens, broccoli, cauliflower &c.
  • Root vegetables*
    Carrots, parsnips, swede, turnips &c. but not potatoes, which are high in starch.
  • Fresh fruit
    But not grapes or avocados and be sparing with dried fruits as they have a high sugar content.
  • Vegetable extracts
    Brewer’s yeast, kelp and/or a modest quantity of molasses.
  • Extra oil*
    Once or twice a week you may care to add some cod liver, safflower, hemp, flax seed or sunflower oil.

You will notice that we are vague on the amount of, say, cod liver oil to add. Use your own judgement. For a small dog a teaspoonful will be enough, whereas for a really large dog you may like to add a tablespoonful.

Some useful tips

  • The easiest way to meet your dog’s nutritional needs is to serve them meat, offal and vegetables in their bowl and give them raw, meaty bones on the side.
  • There is no magic proportion when it comes to the percentage of meat, offal and vegetable. I recommend 2/3 meat and offal and 1/3 vegetable. Others will suggest that 90% meat and offal is better, with just 10% vegetable. Treat dogs as individuals and take their likes and dislikes into account.
  • Any raw meat will do – beef, lamb, pork, chicken, rabbit, venison, tripe, squirrel – anything, in fact, so long as it comes from a reputable source.
  • Grate in the vegetable or put it through your food mixer. Any vegetables will do, but not raw potatoes.
  • Vegetables should always be fresh. Vegetables really begin to lose their nutritional value a week or so after they have been picked.
  • Mix the ingredients up well, as some dogs have a small child’s aversion to vegetables.
  • Don’t forget to buy your dog raw, meaty bones. These contain vital nutrients, ensure healthy teeth and keep their stools firm.
  • If you are going to make your food up yourself, you will probably find it saves you a lot of time to prepare a decent supply in advance and freeze it. One good way to do this is to shape it into rough patties or hamburgers

Raw Diet For Dogs: 6 Steps To Get Started

Step 1: Balance The Fat & Protein

Protein & Fat Rule

The staple of your dog’s meal is meat. You can buy meat from the grocery store or from the butcher. The fat content should be between 10% and 20%, including any oils you add to your dog’s meals. 

All of your dog’s energy requirements come from just three sources: protein, fat and carbohydrate. These macronutrients are the only source of calories (energy) for your dog.

Protein is made of building blocks called amino acids. Amino acids are important not just for energy, but to assemble tissues in your dog. They also make enzymes that fire important metabolic processes.

Fat is a rich source of energy. Pound for pound, fat contains double the amount of calories as protein. So you need to watch the amount of fat that goes into your dog. But make no mistake … fat is an important nutrient. It protects your dog’s cells and it’s used to make hormones and fat-soluble vitamins. 

Both protein and fat are essential nutrients … that means your dog will literally die without a steady supply. But carbohydrates aren’t essential … your dog will do just fine without them. 

This doesn’t mean some carbohydrates aren’t valuable. Some forms of carbohydrate can boost your dog’s immune system and reduce his risk of cancer and other diseases. But not all carbohydrates carry this benefit … and we’ll circle back to that in a bit. 

The foundation of your dog’s raw diet is proteins and fat. This makes up most of his meal. It’s as simple as buying ground meat or chunks and putting them in your dog’s bowl. But balance is important. 

This means feeding a diet that’s about 10% to 20% fat total, including any fats like fish oil that you add to your dog’s raw diet. The remaining foundation of your dog’s raw meals will be protein.

It’s important to keep your fat within this range when feeding a raw diet for dogs. Here’s why … 

Too Much Fat

Fat is relatively devoid of vitamins and minerals … and it contains a lot of calories. This presents a challenge if the raw diet is too high in fat.

If your dog’s diet contains more than 20% fat, it will cannibalize his vitamins and minerals. The resulting diet can be nutritionally incomplete. This is especially important for puppies and older dogs, who need more nutrients than adult dogs.

Too Little Fat

If the fat dips much below 10%, you’ll start to see dry, itchy skin in your dog. This is one of the first signs of fat deficiency. So try to stay within the 10% to 20% range most days. 

Here’s a list of the typical fat percentage in common meats you can buy at the butcher or grocery store:Fat Content Of Common Food

So step 1 is finding the proteins for your dog and making sure the fat content is not too high or low. But before you choose the proteins your dog eats, it’s important to understand that your dog needs minerals.

Bone is an excellent source of many minerals, so that means you need to choose some meats that have the bone in. And if you don’t, you need to find a bone replacement. Let’s look at this step next …

Step 2: Get The Calcium And Minerals Right

Calcium Rule

10% to 15% of your dog’s total raw food diet needs to be bone. Puppies need at least 12% and up to 15% bone.

Your dog needs a steady supply of minerals and trace minerals. Along with enzymes from proteins, minerals are important cofactors that fire all of the metabolic processes in your dog’s body. If your dog is missing minerals, things can go very, very wrong. He can develop crippling joint disease, heart issues, seizures and more. 

That might sound frightening, but it’s easy to get this step right with bones.

Bone is about 65% minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium and zinc … and most importantly, calcium. Calcium and phosphorus work synergistically in your dog’s body to move his muscles and control all of his body functions. So your dog needs a steady supply of these minerals.  

Meat without any bone at all contains a lot of phosphorus and very little calcium. 

If you fed your dog an all-meat diet without calcium, he would pull all of the calcium from his bones to get enough to move his muscles and control body processes. So if the diet is too low in calcium, you’ll often see bone and joint disease … especially in growing puppies. 

So raw feeders add bone to meals to ensure there’s a steady supply of calcium and other important minerals.

If your dog were a wolf in the wild, he would eat whole animals like deer and rabbits. This type of wild prey averages about 12% bone with little variation. In fact, even eggs are 12% shell (another source of calcium).

So 10% to 15% of your dog’s total diet needs to be bone. Puppies need at least 12% and up to 15% bone to support their skeletal growth and development of adult teeth.

PRO TIP

It’s important that your dog’s bone is raw … cooking bones will cause them to dry out and this can create dangerous sharp edges.

Raw Dog Food Foundation: Minerals

To keep your dog’s bone content in the 12% to 15% range, you need some of his meats to have the bone in them. Start with the meaty bones you can find at your butcher or local pet store.

It’s important to make sure the bone matches the size of your dog. A 10 pound Chihuahua won’t be able to chew through a beef rib bone, but a 100 pound Rottweiler certainly can.

If your dog can’t eat all of the bone, then it’s not a good source of minerals. Make sure your dog can completely eat the bone.

You’ll also want to stay away from pieces your dog can swallow whole. If your butcher cuts up his ox tails into 2 inch pieces, your dog will swallow them whole and might not be able to digest them. And they might cause an intestinal blockage.

Try to choose bones that have a lot of joints, like necks, tails and feet … and bones that aren’t weight bearing. Weight bearing bones can break teeth or get stuck in the digestive tract. Meaty bones with a lot of small bones and joints are the safest choice for your dog.

PRO TIP

Dogs have a built-in mechanism for bone safety. If your dog swallows a piece of bone that’s too large to digest, he’ll often just throw it up for a second pass!

Typical Bone Content For Raw Dog Food

Here’s the bone content of common meaty bones you can find at your butcher or local pet store:

Chicken

Turkey

Duck

Pork

Beef

Rabbit

Lamb

Obviously, if you fed your dog nothing but bone-in meats, he would get too much bone. So, in order to give your dog 10% to 15% bone, you need to mix the above bone choices with his meat.

You can do this with a little guesswork, or you can do the math.

Find The Percentage Of Bone

The simplest way to figure out how much bone is in your dog’s diet is to know the percentage of bone in the foods you feed.

Let’s say you feed your dog a half pound of meat in the morning and a half pound of chicken necks in the evening. Using the above numbers, you know that chicken necks are 36% bone. So if they account for half of your dog’s food, then his diet would contain half that amount … or 18%. That’s a bit high, so if you fed your dog 2/3 pound meat and 1/3 chicken necks, now he would be eating 12% bone, which is perfect!

Here’s another example …

Let’s say you bought duck feet on sale at your local pet store. Using the above list, you know that duck feet are 60% bone. If you feed duck feet as half your dog’s meals, his bone content would be 30% … too high! But if you half that again, your dog would get 15% bone. Perfect! So you would feed 3/4 meat and 1/4 duck feet to get to 15% bone.

This is usually all you need to do … it’s fine to estimate the bone content since you don’t have to be exact with the amount of bone to feed. If you’re a bit off, your dog will be just fine. Just make sure you have at least 12% bone for puppies … they need a good supply of calcium to support their growth.

If you’re more of a math kind of person, here’s how to calculate the amount of bone in your dog’s raw diet:

How Much Bone In Raw Dog Food?

The amount of bone in your dog’s raw diet doesn’t have to be exact. But if you like hard numbers, then here’s some simple math to determine the percentage of bone in your dog’s raw diet:

Adult dogs: 12/ Percentage in food = % of diet

Puppies: 15/ Percentage in food = % of diet

Example math: If you go to the grocery store and find chicken necks, you know from the above table that they’re 42% bone. If you want to feed your dog 12% bone, then the calculation looks like:

12/42 x 100 = 29%

So 29% (or a bit less than 1/3 of your dog’s diet) should be chicken necks. So you can feed chicken necks every third meal to make it easy, or you can eyeball it and make chicken necks look like 1/3 of the diet. The math looks exact, but you don’t have to be all that exact with calcium. Just make sure you get 10% to 15%.

Calcium Replacements

If your dog is too small to consume bone or you have a dog who struggles to crunch through bone, you can give a bone substitute. 

Many raw feeders use eggshell powder, but it’s missing magnesium, so it’s not a balanced choice for puppies or for any diet that contains more than 10% fat. Seaweed and coral calcium have a bit more calcium, but the same rule applies.  The best bone replacement for raw diets is bone meal. Give 2 teaspoons bone meal powder per pound of food for adult dogs. For puppies and pregnant/nursing moms, view this calcium table and important information.

PRO TIP

If you’re using a calcium replacement, use bone meal. It’s the most natural replacement for bone since its actual, real bone. Feed 2 teaspoons per pound of food for adult dogs.

OK, if you’ve followed the first two steps, your dog’s basic protein and mineral requirements will be met. Next, you’ll want to make sure he gets enough vitamins.

Step 3: Add The Organ Meats

Organ Meat Rule

Liver should be 10% of the diet. Heart should be 5% of the diet. These organs are essential.

You should also try to get kidney, pancreas, spleen, lung, eyes, brain, sweetbread and green tripe. These can be an additional 5% to 10% of the diet, if your dog can tolerate it.

When raw feeding dogs, you need to remember that not all proteins are made the same. Some are richer in vitamins and minerals than others. Enter the organ meats … they’re Mother Nature’s multivitamins!

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to get enough vitamins and minerals in the raw diet without organ meats. And the organ that supplies the most, pound for pound, is the liver.

Add Liver

About 10% of your dog’s diet should be liver. This will supply most of his vitamins (such as vitamins B and C) and many of his minerals including copper and folate. 

The main mistake raw feeders make is only adding liver. There are many other organs you should feed your dog … and your job is to source as many of them as you can.

Here are some organs you should try to get into your dog’s diet:

Add Heart

Heart is a major source of taurine so should be included in your dog’s raw diet. Not all dogs can make enough of this conditionally essential amino acid, so taurine must be in your dog’s raw diet. Taurine deficiency can cause heart disease.

Feed about 5% of your dog’s raw diet as heart.

Kidney, Pancreas, Spleen

Feeding your dog organs isn’t just for nutrition. Glandular therapy is based on the principle that organ meats support the corresponding organ in your dog.

For example, pancreas is rich in enzymes. If your dog has pancreas disease, he will have trouble making enzymes. So feeding pancreas will supply him with the enzymes he needs. 

Another example is brain. Your dog needs DHA for healthy brains and nerves, especially puppies. And brain as an organ meat is rich in DHA, so it supports healthy brains and nervous systems. 

Kidney, pancreas and spleen can be about 5% of your dog’s raw diet.

If you have trouble finding these organs at your butcher, you can buy them in powdered form. Make sure your powdered organs are freeze-dried so they aren’t harmed by heat processing. 

Lung, Brain, Eyes, Sweetbread, Green Tripe

These are other organ meats you can try to find when raw feeding dogs. These other organs can also be about 5% of your dog’s diet. If you buy tripe, try to get green tripe from grass-fed animals. If the animal is fed corn, then pass on the tripe, as it will be too rich in unhealthy omega-6 fats.

Adding Organ Meats

Because organ meats are so rich in nutrients, they can cause digestive upset if you add too much, too soon. Start with about 5% of the diet as organs and gradually work up to 20% if your dog can tolerate it.

Step 4: Balance The Fats

Fat Balance Rule

Fats should be 10% to 20% of your dog’s diet. But not all fats are created equal!

There are two fat properties you need to consider with the raw diet for dogs:

  1. Saturation (this just refers to the number of double carbon bonds in a fat)
  2. Omega family (whether the fat is an omega-6 or omega-3 fat)

Saturated Fat

There are three main types of dietary fats: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The meats you feed your dog will have a combination of all three, but mainly saturated and polyunsaturated.

In the wild, grazing animals would normally eat grasses, while most birds would eat grasses, seeds and insects. But the animals we feed our dogs today typically eat a different diet that’s rich in grains. And that’s not good for your dog.

Grain-fed animals will contain more saturated fat than their grass-fed counterparts. Too much saturated fat can cause an imbalance of your dog’s gut flora or microbiome, so you need to limit the amount your dog gets.

Keep Saturated Fats Low

To limit the saturated fats in the raw dog food diet, follow these tips:

  1. Try to source grass-fed animals
  2. If that’s not possible or affordable, mix beef and poultry. Poultry is naturally higher in polyunsaturated fat and lower in saturated fat.
  3. Feed low fat meats and add polyunsaturated oils.
  4. Avoid coconut oil, which is saturated fat. 

Omega Fats

There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats. Both fats help control the immune system and inflammatory response. Omega-6 fats tend to increase inflammation and omega-3 fats reduce it.

Just as grains change the amount of fatty acid in meats, they also change the omega fats. While wild animals eating grasses contain equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, animals fed grains contain a lot more omega-6 fats. If this isn’t fixed, it can cause chronic inflammation in your dog, which is a major cause of chronic disease.

Here are some tips to balance the omega fats in raw diet for dogs:

  1. Trim the skin off poultry. It can contain 30 times more omega-6 fat than omega-3.
  2. Avoid feeding pork if it’s not grass-fed. Pork has a lot of fat in the meat and can contain large amounts of omega-6 fat.
  3. Make sure you feed both poultry and ruminants (such as beef, lamb and goat).
  4. Add a source of omega-3 fats. My favorite sources are ahiflower or hemp (a good source of a healthy fat called GLA) and green lipped mussels (a sustainable and clean alternative to fish and marine oils that carries several beneficial omega-3 fats).

PRO TIP

Rotating your protein sources will not only help balance the fats and nutrients, but it can help prevent protein sensitivities and allergies.

Step 5: Raw Dog Food Needs Vegetation 

Vegetation Rule

Add fruits and vegetables as 10% of the diet and choose organic if you can afford it. Broccoli, kale and especially broccolo sprouts are a good source of cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Blueberries have a special affinity for the brain and nervous system, and cranberries add bladder and kidney benefits … but most berries are a good choice.

Most people who are raw feeding dogs stop at step 4 … and that’s a mistake. Research shows that vegetables reduce the risk of cancer in both humans and dogs. This is because fruits and vegetables have important immune benefits. 

All fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols, which are bioactive substances that play a role in health and immune function. Polyphenols can’t be digested by your dog. They pass through his small intestine to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria that live there.

Polyphenols have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and have been extensively studied for their role in preventing and treating chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. 

Their immune benefits come mainly from short chain fatty acids … which are byproducts when bacteria consume polyphenols. So it’s important to have the right balance of fats in your dog’s microbiome, which makes it worthwhile to follow Step 4. 

It’s important to note that these valuable polyphenols only come from plants and not from animal sources.

While fruits, berries and vegetables are an important addition to the raw diet, starchy carbohydrates like grains and legumes aren’t. They feed the wrong types of gut bacteria and are linked to chronic inflammation. You’ll also want to avoid high sugar fruits and use low sugar berries instead.

Step 6: Balance

Macronutrients Rule

Many raw diets are deficient in two key nutrients: Vitamin D and Manganese. To boost the vitamin D content, feed whole raw fish, egg yolks, vitamin D rich mushrooms or green lipped mussels. Green lipped mussels will also increase manganese levels, as will oysters and shellfish.

If you follow the first four steps, your dog’s raw meals will be reasonably balanced. But you’re giving your dog a raw diet because you want the ultimate in nutrition! This last step will make sure your dog gets enough of the two micronutrients that are most likely to be lacking in a raw diet.

Vitamin D

Your dog can’t make vitamin D from sunshine like you can … so he relies on his food to supply it. The problem is, many food animals are raised indoors and might be deficient in vitamin D. So there should be a source of vitamin D in the raw diet.

You’ll want to avoid vitamin D supplements because too much vitamin D can damage your dog’s kidneys. Here are some of my favorite food sources of vitamin D for the raw diet for dogs:

  1. Mushrooms: When mushrooms are exposed to sunshine, they can product vitamin D, just like animals. 
  2. Egg yolks: Yolks from pastured hens raised in sunshine and eating a proper diet are rich in vitamin D. You can feed eggs several times a week. 
  3. Mussels: Green lipped mussels and other mussel species are rich in vitamin D.
  4. Fatty fish: Salmon, sardines and mackerel are all rich in vitamin D, as is cod liver oil. This isn’t my favorite source of vitamin D however, because fish is not sustainable and contains heavy metals, dioxins and PCBs. 

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