Health and Nutrition

General Feeding Guidelines for Raw Food

– by Dr. Larry Siegler

There are varying opinions about the amount of raw food to feed, and the amount can very quite a bit with the metabolism and activity level of the animal. The recommendations will also vary by manufacturer. The best way to determine how much to feed is to closely watch your animal’s weight for the first month to six weeks on the new diet by either weighing them once or twice per week or checking them physically (feel ribs, hips etc.) for signs of weight gain or loss and adjusting your feeding practices accordingly. Here are some general guidelines:


  • Dog: Feed approximately 2-3% of your dog’s weight daily, and split this between two meals. So a 50 lb dog would receive ½ to ¾ of a lb PER MEAL. A very active or working dog may need more. A less active “couch-potato” dog may need less.
  • Cat: Feed approximately 2-3% of your dog’s weight daily, and split this between two meals. So a 10 lb cat would receive 1.5 to 2.5 ounces per meal. Again, this will depend on the individual cat’s activity level and metabolism.
  • Puppies, Kittens & pregnant or lactating females: Feed at least 5% of body weight daily (about ¼ lb per 10 lbs of animal). This can be split into at least 2 and preferably 3 meals per day.


The length of your animal’s transition process onto raw food will depend on their overall health, digestive issues, and how “finicky” they may be.

A healthy dog with no signs of digestive issues (chronic vomiting or diarrhea/loose stools) could be transitioned within a week — just gradually adding more raw food and less of the previous diet to each meal.

Cats may take longer since they tend to be more particular about their food and become habituated to dry food in particular. Cats on dry food only should be transitioned to 2 meals per day of canned food first, then slowly transitioned to raw starting with as little as ¼ – ½ tsp of raw mixed in with their canned food and gradually increasing the amount of raw over the course of 2 -3 weeks or more. Some cats may prefer the raw on it’s own, and you can offer them a teaspoon or so before offering their regular meal to see if they show interest.

Animals with digestive issues will need a very gradual transition. It may be best to very lightly cook the food for the first week also, then gradually cook it less and less until you are feeding raw. Start with no more than 1/8 of one meal as raw or lightly cooked raw, and increase gradually over the course of at least 2 weeks.

Mixing with dry kibble or canned

Most manufacturers recommend that you feed raw food separately from dry or canned food. If you are feeding kibble or canned along with raw, you might consider making this the morning meal and raw the evening meal. If you are switching to raw due to any health issues such as allergies or inflammatory bowel disease, etc., then it is highly recommended that you transition to a completely raw food diet for at least 1-3 months — the longer the animal has been ill, the longer the only-raw diet should be. After the initial time on raw, then try a gradual addition of canned, kibble or dehydrated or freeze-dried and see how the animal tolerates it.


We highly recommend you rotate the raw formula you feed (unless otherwise directed for your companion who may be ill). Just as with any type of food used, feeding a variety of protein sources can help optimize nutrition and wellness. If the raw diet you use does not contain organ meats, rotating organ meats into the diet several times a week is a good idea.

Article Provided by Only Natural Pet Store 

Note: This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website is intended as a source of information only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional care. Always consult with your Veterinarian about health related matters.

— is an Amazon Associate as well as a participant in various affiliate programs, as such fees are earned from qualifying purchases.