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Dog Nutrition Week | 5 Models of the Raw Food Diet for Dogs from Dr. Alinovi

Yesterday, I shared what I learned in my research about the raw food diet for dogs and The Honest Kitchen.  I discovered that there are differing models of the raw food diet for dogs.  I was chatting with Dr. Cathy Alinovi via email and she’s so excited about the research I’m doing.

Did YOU know that the raw food diet for dogs comes in different models?  Yeah, me neither (assuming that everyone reading this is say “NOOOOO”).

This is what Dr. Alinovi shared with me almost word for word…

Raw Food Diet For Dogs | Dogs are Wolves Model

  • Dogs are served a variety of meat (with ground bone and organ meats) and it is fed at 2-3% of their body weight.
  • There are several manufacturers of pre-packaged whole prey pet food; some people form a co-op and buy in bulk to make better purchasing scale.

Raw Food For Dogs | Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats: Simple Homemade Food

  • This diet is predominantly meat, a small amount of fruits and vegetables that mimic what was in the stomach of the wolves’ prey, and a very well calculated vitamin/mineral mixture.
  • The vitamin/mineral mix is time consuming to make, but once it’s made, the pet parent has it prepped for many, many meals to come.
  • The recommended vitamins are synthetic, but easily obtained.

Raw Food for Dogs | Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine Basics (Canine Wellness)

  • This approach looks for 33% meat, 33% fruits and veggies, and 33% legumes, grains and starches in the meals.
  • Balance is obtained through variety and treating the TCVM pattern of symptoms that the patient presents with.
  • I purchased this book; it’s $0.99 for the Amazon Kindle, and I’m excited to start reading.  Stay tuned for a review.

Raw Food for Dogs | Recipes from “Dinner PAWsible (contains grains and starches)

  • The meat can definitely be served raw.
  • There is no complex vitamin mixture to prepare as the variety in the recipes finish balancing the food.
  • These recipes are half the cost of grocery store pet food and use what we cook every day.
  • On the other hand, there are grains and starches in the diet – purists say this is not acceptable.

Raw Food for Dogs | Feed Dogs What We Eat  (most dangerous)

  • This is probably the most dangerous model as this method ends up being scraps – the part we don’t eat – that makes our pets ill in the long-run.

When it’s all said and done, it’s not impossible, but it is a bit daunting.  Tomorrow, I’m going to share what I learned about warming and cooling foods.


Do you feed your dog a raw food diet?  If so, please share your routine and if not, have you thought about switching to this diet?


  1. Kimberly, It’s so wonderful to see your excitement. Keep it up! Please remember bone is needed in addition to the muscle meats and organs, have fun.

    • I’m going to speak with our veterinarian contact about chicken; I’m thinking of trying beef bones this weekend.

  2. Once upon a time when I averaged 3-6 dogs under my care at any given time, I had my own concoction that worked very well. We used to use chicken quarters but found the meat/bone/fat ratios to be too protein heavy so we switched to chicken backs. HUGE DIFFERENCE. The increased fat and bone had a very noticeable effect on coat and skin.

    I would use a mixture of chicken backs, fresh green tripe, fresh local eggs, super premium kibble, and vitamin supplements. It would be based on a weekly diet plan so that a couple days might be meat only, then another day would be kibble alone, then another day of kibble with tripe, with a fast day included.

    Not every dog got the same thing and it based on what the dog was telling me it needed based on stool, appearance, and PERFORMANCE. At that time my dogs were working heavily and you could see if dietary issues were effecting performance.

    The only bad thing the dogs ate was hot dogs, and they ate A TON of hotdogs because all dogs underwent a daily training regimen. Never had any issues, dogs were healthy and relatively parasite free. It was a TON of work though and if you have never smelled it, let me tell you, fresh green tripe is one of the rankest odors I have ever come across, but the dogs LOVE IT. We used to work our litter’s hunt drive by stashing chunks of tripe throughout the woods and let them hunt for it. Super fun to watch.

    • Wow! Wow! Wow!

      We need to find an alternative to chicken, because 2 of our dogs have allergies. I’m starting to wonder if their allergies is really to chicken processed kibble and not the actual meat.

      I started playing a treat game where I stash the treats around our living room. The dogs love it, but I have to watch out for the number of treats due to calories.

      I’m really excited to learn more about the diet and I’ll have to talk to our veterinarian contact about the chicken.

      Where did you get your meat? A butcher?

      • You really don’t need to worry too much about calories with regards to the “hunt” game. Remember, you create the value the treat has, so something as simple as a small carrot piece dipped or rubbed with something yummy will suffice. For the dog its not that they are getting satiated from the treat but simply the reward of finding it and eating it is enough.

        The smallest piece will still work. Calories are a non issue if you use the right treat. My general rule is if its sold as a treat, im not using it!! The smallest piece of hotdog works as does little pieces of carrot that i would keep in a bag of hotdogs. Creativity can yield some low calorie and low cost ideas.

        With regards to meat, I used to go to a butcher, but then I lucked my way into an account at Sysco and used to pick up several hundred pounds of chicken backs at a time. I would sell enough to pay for gas and half of what I kept for myself. It was a GREAT deal but a lot of work.

        • Great tips about the treats. Our dogs love carrots and keeping pieces in a bag of hot dogs would make them lose their minds! I’ll try that this week!

  3. We have been considering the switch ever since we read Pukka’s Promise, believe it or not. We started doing some preliminary research and there is soooo much information out there, we just didn;t know where to begin. And honestly…we didn’t know who or what to believe in regard to the “best” raw diet.

    We are looking forward to reading more of your posts on this topic!
    Oz and Gina

    • I’m so glad that I did this then; it’s amazing how much information is out there. I know that some people believe that we just toss some meat out to our dogs, but the idea of having them eat messy raw meat in the yard isn’t ideal for us, because we want to monitor their diet and how they do with the change. Plus we want to make baby steps.

      After this week, I’ll continue to update everyone on how the dogs are doing and the details on the diet we choose and the cost.

  4. Interesting post! We tried raw for a bit but I thought it was a pain to remember to take the dang things out. I was mixing it in kibble. So off the raw on onto boiled chicken breast. He works well for him and he loves it. I know a lot of people who swear by raw though. Thanks for sharing!

    • I know a family who cooks their dog’s food every Sunday for the week. It’ll be interesting to see if we can manage their diets. The dogs loved the beef they ate this morning, but at 5 bucks a package, it’s not going to be a daily thing. I’m hoping that we find a great system that we can afford and that makes our dogs healthy and happy.

  5. I found your blog as I was searching for Chinese therapy cooling foods. I have been feeding my dogs a homemade diet from The Whole Pet Diet by Andi Brown for a few years, the change has been remarkable. No more allergy medicine, and their eyes and skin issues cleared up too. However, my oldest dog has had tremors for years, that after various testing, we believe is do to being over vaccinated. She’s a hot dog, regardless of season, so I have been looking into raw food models. She loves the raw beef and liver, also had given her lamd riblets (but they are a hot food). One thing I have come across repeatedly in my own research, is that you have to be careful which bones you feed. For example large weight bearing bones can break a dog’s teeth especially smaller dogs. Not all dogs are created equal to some bones may be fine for some dogs and not for the others, particularly with the raw meaty bones. Lamb riblets, as I mentioned before, are softer, edible and my dog loves them.

    in addition to my two dogs, I am currently fostering 7 dogs 5 of which a litter of stray puppies. Every weekend I make 4 batches of spots chicken stew from the whole pet diet and then I use the bones from the debone chicken to make a bone broth. The honedt kitchen is fantastic, but my dogs aren’t really into it, so it’s just a backup for me.

    The puppies, have gotten a variety of puppy kibble (Wellness Core Puppy), beef and bison meat and organs, The Whole Pet Diet, bone broth, and the honest kitchen. I have also been giving them all a newer product called Primal that they love.

    I am Not sure what area you are in, but in Northern California we have several pictures and companies that provide dog food for raw model diets. there are several websites where you can find meat suppliers too. I have also heard good things about a company called Darwin’s, but have never use them.

    • Hi Andrea – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I wrote this last year and since then I’ve switched our dogs to a raw diet. Rodrigo is our hot dog and the raw diet has really helped him.

      We have our own raw food recipe and we order food from Darwins – we feed half and half at our house. I love Darwins; that’s what we started on and I like having it as a back up.

      Our dogs love The Honest Kitchen treats, but they’re not crazy about the food; it’s the texture. But they do love Dr. Harvey’s. I keep Dr. Harvey’s on hand for when I forget to thaw out food. The Honest Kitchen treats, because our dogs love them. I use the Sojos veggie mixture for the raw food we prepare at home.

      We have a lot of great pet stores and I’m starting to discover a few raw food providers here too. But having so many dogs makes it expensive, but we’re managing :)

  6. Thank you for the reply and sorry for all my typos (phone freezing issues). I would LOVE to learn more about raw feeding cooling foods. The dog I mentioned is a 9.5 year old yorkie. I will do some more looking around on your blog for more ideas. There is a raw feeding facebook group where people have discussed lower cost options, some have meat processors that will even give tyem certain cuts, organs, etc for free. Some have bartered as well. Most reccomend a chest/upright freezer for dog food to maximize on good mear deals. There is a Savemart by me that every six weeks has mest packages for $5 each if you buy more than 5 and they aren’t all small packages either. Thank you again and I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog!


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