The concept of a homemade meal for your dogs may seem daunting but it is actually quite easy. Think of creating a prey animal. This is mostly raw meaty bones, some muscle meat, some offal, and a small amount of predigested vegetables. You don’t have to worry about each meal being complete and balanced. Balance over time and variety are your goal. If your dog is healthy you can include a fast once per week. On the fast day provide free access to water but do not provide any food.
Raw meaty bones are bones that are small enough to be consumed. As opposed to recreational bones such as a marrow bone that is only for chewing and entertainment. Depending on the size of your dog raw meaty bones can be chicken wings, necks, backs and carcass; turkey wings and necks; lamb rib cage; whole dressed rabbit. Offal can be liver, heart, kidney, unbleached tripe and tongue. The vegetables should be primarily fresh leafy greens that are pulped to make them digestible. A raw egg (both white and yolk) from free-range hens can be added once or twice per week. It is important to note that cooked bones should never be fed to your dog. Cooked bones are too hard. They are a choking hazard and can cause an intestinal blockage.
Ground meat or fish can be added to the vegetable dish both for the nutrient content and to make it more palatable. Ideally the meat should not exceed 10% fat. Ground beef, venison, goat, chicken, quail, turkey and occasional lamb or duck are good choices. Canned salmon without added salt and sardines are good choices for fish. When buying sardines choose non-smoked, unseasoned, with the skin and bones, packed in water. Smelt, a small fish that can be fed raw, is an occasional treat that I purchase frozen from an International Market. Bone broth is also a healthy addition.
The ratio of raw meaty bones to vegetables changes as your dog ages. Puppies and adult dogs should be fed about 60% raw meaty bones and senior dogs need about 50% raw meaty bones.