The Best Raw Food for German Shepherds

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Best Raw Food For German Shepherds

At 6 months my puppy stopped eating. Today he’s the specimen of health. And in my opinion handsome too!

This is Zè, when he was a young pup he stopped eating.

From about 24 weeks (6 months) he just went off his food.

I tried every brand of food on my vet’s shelf…

But every time I’d fill Zè’s bowl with food he’d look at it and move away slowly like it was a loaded gun.

At one stage I was sitting on the floor, tears rolling down my face, trying to hand feed him.

I was a nervous wreck and he was loosing weight – fast.

If he did eat, it wouldn’t be long before he’d vomit it all up again.  And he had the most terrible runny tummy too. Plenty of it, and it stank!

In the background, I’d already started researching the best raw food for German Shepherds.  And the longer this drama continued the more I became convinced that something had to change.  But more about that in a minute…

I often get emails from German Shepherd owners dealing with similar issues.  These emails usually go something like this one sent in by Jeff recently…

“I have a 10 week old GSP (…German Shepherd Pointer…) that has lost interest in her kibble. I don’t have much confidence in the quality of the food and am looking into an alternative. Every time I think I’ve found a good brand I see negative reviews and it’s back to the drawing board. What would you recommend feeding my pup?”

Or comments from concerned readers like Donna…

“…She eats the same food but I’m changing it bc I’ve read horrible things about it on other sites and she has been throwing it up on occasion undigested hrs later.”

Nutrition is an important topic, so I’ve decided to share how I manage the nutritional needs of my dogs.  And from the title of this article you can already tell I feed my dogs a raw diet.

If the thought of feeding your GSD a raw diet is scary, you’re not alone. There’s a ton of information out there.  Some good, some bad and some dangerous.  And because you love your dog it’s natural for you to be cautious.

I was cautious too.  I needed to be 100% sure I was choosing the best raw food for my German Shepherds.

But the more I researched, the more scared I became of feeding my dogs kibble…

Use the links below and be magically transported to any section you’re interested in.

Quick Navigation Menu

  1. Why are Dog Owners Questioning Commercial Dog Food
  2. Why are Ingredients Important?
  3. Why I Feed my Dogs a Raw Diet?
  4. 9 Benefits of a Raw Diet for Dogs
  5. So What is the Best Raw Food for German Shepherds?
  6. Where to Find the Best Raw Food for German Shepherds
  7. RawPaws Pet Food Review
  8. Conclusion

Why are Dog Owners Questioning Commercial Dog Food

First, I want to say that this is not about making kibble feeders feel bad. I was a long time kibble feeder too. Feeding a raw diet might not be for you.  And that’s okay. You can still opt for kibble, but with a few changes…

  • Switch to grain free kibble.
  • Choose a kibble that’s certified organic and made with whole foods.
  • Go with a company that manufactures in small batches.  These foods usually have a shorter shelf life, which is good.

For years large commercial food manufacturers have been filling their products unknown to us.  Packaging it up all pretty.  And selling it as “a complete diet”.

But you’re not here to read about my rant.  You’re here to find the best raw food for German Shepherds.  Right?

Why are Ingredients Important?

Here’s a list of ingredients of a large breed puppy food from a well known high end dog kibble…

Chicken Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Oats, Whole Grain Sorghum, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Corn, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Fish Oil, Lactic Acid, Pork Flavor, Iodized Salt, Potassium Chloride, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Oat Fiber, L-Carnitine, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Natural Flavors, Beta-Carotene, Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries, Green Peas.

Firstly, anyone will tell you, the less ingredients the better.  More ingredients means the food has been messed around with and processed loads.  This list has 46 ingredients!

Also, the rule of thumb with any ingredient list is…

The higher up in the order, the more of it there is.  So let’s do a quick analysis…

Chicken Meal

Chicken meal makes up the majority of the food.  What’s Chicken meal?

Note: Chicken meal, or other animal meal, is fine if it forms part of the protein (not all of it).  So for example, if the ingredients were Chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzards, chicken meal.

According to the AAFCO meal “is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean chicken flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.”

And “Chicken meal is mainly used in pet foods.”

So what’s a rendered product?  According to Wiki, “Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials.”

So the majority of this kibble is made up of animal (in this case chicken) waste products.


Next up are grains…

We’ve got whole grain wheat, whole grain oats, whole grain sorghum, corn gluten meal and whole grain corn.  These ingredients are used as fillers.

Bulking up the food this way is much cheaper than using actual whole meats fit for human consumption.

Yes, these are also sources of protein but they are incomplete proteins and your pooch is not designed to need grains.

That tells you your dog is getting a whole bunch of stuff they don’t need and are not designed to digest.

Animal Fat

Next, we have pork fat…

I’ll admit, I love fried bacon.  And I especially love dipping my toast in to the fat. But why are manufacturers adding pork fat to our dog’s kibble?

Because it tastes good.

Of course, our dogs need fat, so I’m not dissing fat but I do question the quality of the fat used.

And here’s the kicker about fat…

It reduces the shelf life of any product dramatically.  So to keep that kibble from rotting it’s baked at insanely high temperatures.  This process makes the kibble sterile.

The next shocking ingredient is salt.  Seriously, they add table salt (iodized salt) to our best friends food.  Why would a dog need salt?  I don’t have the answer to that.  But I am sure that dogs don’t need it.

Okay, I’m not going to go through all the ingredients and in all honesty, I can’t even pronounce some of them.  But you get the picture.

Ingredients that Really Matter

Now check out the last 5 ingredients…

Apples, Broccoli, Carrots, Cranberries and Green Peas.  Those are the only ingredients that are remotely healthy, and they are right at the bottom of the list.

They don’t even feature in the greater scheme of things.  And even if the did, the kibble is still sterile and so are these ingredients.

Here’s a rundown from Dr. Becker from best to worst dog food types.

Why I Feed my Dogs a Raw Diet?

That’s an easy question to answer…

  • Simply because I want to control the ingredients that are going into my dog’s bodies.
  • Ingredients I can eat too – not that I’ll ever eat green tripe though!
  • I want ingredients that promote the optimal health of my dogs.

And unfortunately as you’ve seen, with kibble, that’s not always the case.

Now I want to move onto a positive note…

9 Benefits of a Raw Diet for Dogs

My 3 dogs have been enjoying their 100% raw diets for almost 4 years. And there are several amazing health and other benefits that I’ve noticed.

Healthy Coats

This is Lexi. She is a rescue who came to us with very poor health. Just look at her now!

My 3 musketeers have lush, shiny coats.  Sure, their coats had a shine while they ate kibble.

But not like this.

There’s a sheen to them now that is obvious even when they’re not in the sun.  Even the lighter, tan parts shimmer.

Their coats are sleek and soft to the touch.  The outer coat of the GSD tends to be naturally more rough.

This is because it serves as a waterproof to keep the undercoat dry. While the undercoat’s function is to keep them warm.

Grooming is easier.  Especially working with their undercoats because the hair clumps together easily so brushing them out is a breeze.

Healthy Skin

Keeping the skin of a German Shepherd healthy is extremely important.  And it’s more difficult to do than with dogs who have only one coat.

Charley my 9 year old GSD struggled a lot with her skin.  I’d regularly wake up to find her with swollen and inflamed hot spots on her hind quarters.  These had developed over night and were roughly the size of golf balls.

I tried a bunch of different natural remedies but once they showed up there was no getting rid of them.  The only solution was to treat the symptoms with conventional drugs like cortisone.

After changing her diet – and riding out the detox period (more on that later), Charley has had no hot spots since.

Although my dogs had regular grooming and bathing, they always had the ‘doggy smell’.  Especially when they were wet.  Since eating a raw diet I’m happy  tell you, they smell a whole lot better!

Bright Eyes

Ensuring your dog has healthy eyes is important because acute eye discharges can lead to blindness.  When Lexi my 18 month old GSD-Colllie mix turned up at my doorstep she had dull eyes covered in gunk. And the whites of her eyes were dark brown.

After eye treatment for a bacterial infection from the vet the gunk cleared up.  And I’m happy to report that those beautiful eyes are bright and shiny.

Clean Breath

Doggy breath makes me feel queezy.  And as much as I love my 3, I could never quite get used to them breathing anywhere near my face.

Now I can’t say their breath smells like nothing, because that’s not possible.  Even if a human’s breath doesn’t smell bad, it still has a smell.

I’m happy to say Charley, Zè and Lexi now have great smelling breath! So now I can enjoy those face kisses without feeling dizzy from the smell.

Clean Teeth

Dental health is one of the most important things to care for in dogs. Bad teeth cause gum disease which lead to other problems like heart disease.

And if you’ve ever taken your dog for dental work, you know how expensive it is.  Neither of my dogs have ever had dental work done. I don’t brush their fangs and they don’t eat those unhealthy dental sticks either.

Here’s a picture of Charley’s mouth.  For a 9 year old dog who ate kibble for the first 6 years of her life she has pretty healthy gnashers.

Dental Health From the Best Raw Food for German Shepherds

The 2 young ones have beautiful pearly whites too!

Increased Agility

Recently we had a visit to the vet for their yearly check up.  I was smiling from ear to ear when the vet listened to their hearts and said, “Geez, your dogs are fit!”

I’m not saying dogs who eat kibble are not fit.  But imagine if your diet was Burger King twice a day.  Would you be fit enough to do a minimum of 1.5 hours of exercise a day?  I definitely wouldn’t!

Healthy Gut

Zè was the one who struggled with his gut most.  Each month he’d either be vomiting or have a runny tummy.  There were a couple of mornings I woke up to find he’d puked all his food up during the night.

I can’t remember the last time he puked up his food.  The only time he pukes is when he’s munched on a plant in the garden!

Healthy Poop

Poop patrol is my least favorite thing.  But someone’s got to do it! Kibble poop was big, smelly and A LOT!  And often runny.

Sure, I have 3 dogs but I’m sure their poop was equal to that of 6 dogs!

Raw food poops are well formed.  They go hard and turn white within a day so they’re easy to scoop up.  And if I accidentally miss one, by the next day it’s turned to powder.

Okay, so if you’re still reading you’re interested to find out even more. So let’s dive into the in’s and out’s of raw feeding for your German Shepherd.

You might already know this, but there are a lot of myths surrounding raw feeding for dogs.  I won’t go into these here.  But if you’re interested, check out this article I wrote on a fellow bloggers site about 9 of these myths.

No More Poop Eating

Yes, my boy Zè was also a regular poop eater!  Yuk!

Poop eating is actually a thing, it’s called Coprophagia.  I literally tried everything possible to get him to stop. Pineapple and bitter sprays.

It also turned out he has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) which just made things worse.  But treatment and the raw diet keeps him healthy and the EPI under control.

I even scooped the poop after every toilet break but if I missed just one piece, he’d find it and eat it.  After switching him to a raw diet the poop eating stopped and we’ve never had the problem again.

So What is the Best Raw Food for German Shepherds?

Before you decide on the best raw food for your German Shepherd there are some ‘tricks of the trade’ you’ll need to know about first…

Different Kinds of Raw Diets

Essentially there are 2 schools of thought in the raw feeding community.

I’ll say right off the bat, there’s a lot of politics and bickering about which one is the best.

If you can give you any advice, don’t get wrapped up in it.  If you do, you’ll never make the change.  Just stick to the facts and focus on the benefits.


BARF is made from meats, veggies, fruits and herbs

The BARF Diet

I feed my dogs a BARF diet.  Although I do replace 2 meals a week with Raw Meaty Bones.

I know, the word BARF conjures up pictures that border on disgusting but don’t let that put you off.

The BARF diet was championed by an Australian vet named Dr. Ian Billinghurst.  In the beginning stages of BARF Billinghurst advocated a lot of bones.  But over the years the diet has been improved.  So if you come across websites with this information, ignore it.

Many moons ago BARF stood for Bones And Raw Food.  But today it’s known as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.

And that’s what it boils down to.  Food that’s appropriate for your dog based on their biological make up.

With the BARF diet all the whole foods are prepared by grinding them up.  This includes all the muscle meat, bones, organ meats, fruits and veggies.

The BARF diet also includes ingredients like;

  • Eggs and egg shells
  • Yogurt
  • Seeds (like flax)
  • Oils (like olive, cold-pressed sunflower and even coconut)
  • Herbs (like rosemary, thyme, parsley, alfalfa)
  • And root plants like ginger.

Although BARF feeders believe that dogs are carnivores.  In the wild, wolves are opportunistic hunters. But they will also scavenge, given the chance. This means they will eat what they can when they can.

Whole Prey Feeding Model

Whole Prey feeding is mainly whole or part of the prey animal

The Whole Prey Model

The whole prey model is just that, feeding your dog a whole prey animal or part of it.  For example a chicken.

Some prey model feeders will offer their dog the chicken with the head, feet, feathers, fur and all.

Other prey model feeders prefer to offer the prey animal already cleaned.  Similar to what you would buy for your own meal at the grocery store.

As a rule, the whole prey model does not include ingredients like fruits, veggies, yogurts, herbs and other root plants.

This is because whole prey feeders believe dogs are carnivores, biologically designed to eat only meat.

Interestingly though, wolves will sometimes eat whatever vegetation is left in the stomachs of their kills.

Raw Meaty Bones in a BARF Diet

My bunch ripping away at their Raw Meaty Bones

BARF v. Whole Prey

Like I mentioned before, there’s a lot of politics between the 2 groups. But I know of many raw feeders who successfully feed a mix of BARF and Whole Prey.

And in my opinion, it doesn’t matter which one you go with.  The end result is the same.  A dog functioning at their optimum level mentally and physically.

At the end of the day, all we want is the best raw food for German Shepherds.  Whether it BARF or Whole Prey is a personal choice and what works best for your GSD.

What's the Best Raw diet for German shepherds

Here’s what the end product of our BARF diet looks like

How Raw Feeding Works

The first thing to remember with raw feeding is, everything is balanced out over time.

Think of your own diet, do you painstakingly calculate the nutritional value of your daily food intake?  Probably not. You eat healthy, take enough water and your body takes care of the rest.

And the same applies to your dog’s diet.  Don’t split hairs over it.

That said, there are a few feeding guidelines to follow…

The calcium to phosphorus ratio should be 1:1.  Meats provide the phosphorus and bones provide the calcium.

Foods like eggs with shells, green tripe and whole chicken are pretty balanced in these ratios.  Some fish, like Salmon have a good balance too.  And of course, if you’re going to feed a whole prey animal, you’re guaranteed of a good 1:1 ratio.

Organ meats like kidneys and livers are important ingredients.  But these should only make up 15% of your dog’s diet.  Feeding too much of these meats can cause runny, black poop.

Feeding the yucky parts of prey animals are okay too.  Hearts, lungs, chicken or turkey feet and green tripe are all great ingredients.

I don’t feed fish or pork.  But you can.  If you do, just deep freeze these meats for at least 3 days.

Never feed the intestines of any prey animal.  If there are any internal critters, that’s where they’ll be.

Cooked bones are off limits.  Raw bones are great!  They are soft, flexible and easily digested.  The rule here is, the bone should be the size of your dog’s head.

Weight bearing bones are off limits too.  These bones are too hard and can damage your dog’s teeth.

ALL meals involving whole bone must be supervised.  And you should remove any bones when they start to break up. (To clarify here, if you’re offering heavier bones for entertainment, these must be taken away when they begin to splinter.) But if you’re feeding say for example a duck carcass, you can let your dog enjoy the entire thing.

Ready for a scrumptious BARF meal

The starting point is 3% of your dog’s IDEAL adult body weight

How Much to Feed

This is where I became unstuck…

When it came to feeding my dogs, all I knew was scooping the recommended amount of kibble from the bag and pouring it into their bowls.

But the feeding guidelines for raw are actually very simple!

The key is to always focus on ideal adult body weight.  And then adjust from there based on activity levels and age.

And the starting point is usually 3% on the IDEAL body weight.

So for example…

Lexi weighs 23 kg.  So 3% is 690 g of food per day.

Zè weighs 36 kg.  So 3% is roughly 1 kg of food per day.

When you’re starting a puppy on a raw diet your focus should be on their ideal ADULT body weight.

Raw Food Ingredients

Like I mentioned earlier, no one meal is complete.  But with healthy eating, a diet balances out over time.

Diversity is the key to balance, and it’s easier than you think.  And you’ll be happy to know that diversity equals a whole bunch of saving for you.

This is how…

Pick up whatever meat cuts, veggies and fruits that are on special. As long as you’re opting for human grade you’re good to go.

Muscle Meats

Muscle meats are the same meat you and I eat.  And these meats are your go to for a raw diet.  The great thing is your options are endless.

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fish (I pefer not to feed fish but you can add it as part of your dog’s diet)
  • Duck
  • Deer
  • Goose
  • Moose
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Greet Tripe

Organ Meats

These are mainly liver and kidneys.  I lump hearts in here too, although it’s a muscle meat.  The reason for this is because hearts can’t be fed exclusively as a muscle meat.


Yes, I’ve added grains here.  I don’t feed grains, but many raw feeders do.  The difference is that the grains are human grade and you can control the portions.  Your dog’s raw diet will still be made up primarily of meats and not grains.


Eggs are a super food when it comes to calcium. You can feed the shell and all.  Some raw feeders like to crush the shells.  But my dogs love eating them whole.

Seasonal Veggies are a great way to save money and nourish your German Shepherd

Veggies and Fruit

Picking seasonal fruits and veggies are a great way to save money and diversify. Dark green veggies are especially healthy for the same reason they are for us – vitamin B.

These super foods also help your dog to get the most from the food you’re nourishing their bodies with.

Your dog’s body can’t fully digest veggies.  So I put the raw veggies and fruits through the processor with the other ingredients.  But you can steam or juice them too.

It’s a fact that our bodies, and our dogs are designed to get the most nutrition from seasonal fruits.  And here you also have a ton of options.


Bones are not an optional extra, they are essential to your dog’s raw diet.  Remember that 1:1 ratio?  Well, bone makes up the one half.

You can feed whole Raw Meaty Bones (RMB).  But I send all the bone through the processor.

Bones are not only a great source of calcium, they also simulate your dog’s need to rip, tear, gnaw and chew.  Because of this, I substitute 2 meals a week with a big RMB.

What to Expect

Making the switch is not rocket science but there are a few things you can expect. It’s not to say these will happen, but I’ll give you a heads up so you don’t stress.

Firstly, fast your dog for 12 hours before feeding their first raw meal. This gives the stomach time to rid itself of the kibble and bring the stomach juices into balance.

Your dog might puke up their first raw meal.  This is normal so don’t split hairs.  If they do vomit.  Don’t feed them again until their next meal.  Charley and Lexi puked up their food but Zè kept his down.  So it really depends from dog to dog.

You might see detox symptoms.  This could possibly happen.  Charley experienced detox but my young ones didn’t.  I believe it’s because Charley lived on a kibble diet for the first 6 years of her life, while Lexi and Zè were on raw from 12 and 16 weeks.

Here are some of the detox symptoms:

  • Gunky eyes.
  • Smelly ears that needed regular cleaning.
  • Smelly coat, more smelly than usual.
  • Itchy skin, we managed to sooth this with natural dog shampoo.
Pre-Made or Home Made Best Raw Food for German Shepherds

Whether you choose pre-made or home made, you’re still getting the best raw food for German Shepherds

Pre-Made Raw Food v. Home Made

This is a decision only you can make.  Of course, it’s more convenient to opt for pre-made raw food.  And there are one or two trustworthy companies where you can buy your supply.

Opting for a home made diet is more work and more commitment.  It’ll also cost you an initial financial layout for equipment that can handle the job.  But you will save money by sourcing your own ingredients.  So at some point the equipment will have paid for itself.

Preparing a home made diet is what I opted for.  I make around 76 kg (168 lbs) per month.  Wow!  That’s a lot, I know.  But I’m in a routine now so it’s rote.  And I rope my hubby in to help!

So there you have it.  This is my personal take on the best raw food for German Shepherds.  As you can see, I don’t prefer the one over the other.  Like I said earlier, you get the same results via different routes.

Where to Find the Best Raw Food for German Shepherds

Okay, so you’re convinced that raw feeding is the way to go for you and your German Shepherd.

Now what?

You’ll be happy to know that you can get high quality, healthy meals delivered to your door.  Although, there are very few companies out there that can be trusted with the nutrition of your dog.

RawPaws is one of those companies…

I’ve checked them out from tip to toe and reviewed them for your convenience.

As a raw feeder myself I think there are a few must-haves when it comes to creating a nutritional meal plan for your dog…

Where to Start with a Raw Food Diet for Your GSD

Raw food recipes for dogs are all over the internet.  And dog owners like you can prepare their dog’s raw food diet from scratch with careful planning and time.

But like I mentioned, there are frozen raw diets on the market that help make raw feeding easier for you.

These diets are delivered frozen or freeze dried to your door.  Some have everything you need rolled into one. Ingredients like vegetables, vitamins and fruits already mixed in.  Or you can buy them separately.

RawPaws Pet Food Review

Best raw food for German Shepherds - RawPaws Pet Food

Who is RawPaws?

RawPaws is one of the suppliers that provides frozen raw food diets to dog owners like you. So let’s take a closer look at a few of their products.

All of RawPaws products are sourced from local farms that treat their stock ethically.  This means RawPaws is a small scale manufacturer.  What this means for you and your dog is healthy meat free from toxins.

RawPaws ship their food frozen in styrofoam containers filled with dry ice.  And it’s guaranteed to reach your door withing 48 hours – still frozen rock solid.

From my research, there have been no complaints about the food being thawed on arrival.

On a side note, their website is super easy to navigate with all kinds of great information.  There’s no guess work on your part when it comes to portion size or how to transition your dog from a cooked diet to a raw food diet.

I like the fact that RawPaws offer an auto-ship service.  This means you’ll never end up with an empty freezer and a sad dog, looking at a bowl of kibble!

You can get 20% off your first Auto-Ship by using this code: AUTO.  Plus you’ll get 10% off all your future auto-shipments.

And they offer free shipping all across the United States – that’s a serious bonus!

Transitioning to the RawPaws Diet

Are you on a budget?

Do you want to feed a mix of raw and kibble?

Are you unsure of how to create a nutritional raw diet for your GSD?

Does your dog have food allergies?

No problem!

RawPaws offer a free meal planning service where they will create a meal plan for you based the needs of you and your dog.

Click Here to Check out RawPaw Free Meal Planning Service. 

RawPaws also has some great advice on transitioning your dog to a raw food diet. Making it super easy for both you and your dog.  Start with a mixture of 75% current food and 25% raw food.

If your dog is particularly sensitive to food changes, you should start with a 90% to 10% ratio and increase incrementally. It could take several weeks to transition your dog to their new raw food diet, so be patient!

Although, here I have a different approach.  I believe in fasting a dog for 12 hours and then transitioning 100% to raw.

Many dogs vomit up their first raw meal, but that’s totally normal.  This is because they’re so stunned and excited about the raw meat.  Making them gulp down the meal. But at the next go, they take to it like a duck to water.

RawPaws Preparation and Food Safety

RawPaws have left no stone un-turned and give great advice on how to prepare and handle their raw food.  They recommend transferring the food into the freezer immediately.  And you should only thaw a portion for 3 days worth of feeding.

If you read between the lines here, you can tell their food contains no preservatives.  If it did, it would last much longer when thawed.  This is a fantastic and healthy benefit for your dog.  And a point of peace of mind for you.

When it comes to thawing, RawPaws suggests doing this in the refrigerator not on the counter or in the sink. Of course this ensures there’s no room for bacteria to breed.

Once the food is portioned for thawing, wrap the remaining food tightly and place back in the freezer.

Tip: Use separate cutting boards and utensils to prepare the food.

This, by the way, is the same protocol for handling the raw foods that we cook for ourselves and our families.

For storing food in the refrigerator, keep raw food stored in a plastic bag or a bin and store on the lowest shelf to prevent cross contamination.

After handling raw food, wash your hands and clean all preparation surfaces with a disinfectant such as bleach.

How to Serve RawPaws Pet Food

RawPaws suggests serving a raw food diet out of stainless steel bowls rather than plastic or ceramic. Stainless is non-porous and will never trap food or bacteria. You should feed your dogs on a floor or solid surface that is easy to clean and disinfect.

Once a portion is served, return any remaining food to the refrigerator. If your pet leaves any food over, place back into the fridge. If any food sits out for more than two hours, toss it.

Wash your dog’s bowl after every feeding, and disinfect any surfaces that have come in contact with raw food. Wash your hands often during the preparation and clean up of raw food.

Click Here to Find Out More About RawPaws Pet Food.

RawPaws Signature Blend Food

I really like the Signature Blend from RawPaws.  It’s great to serve as the main part of a raw food diet for dogs. And it offers balanced nourishment for your dog.

The meat they source is human grade, high quality and sourced from family owned farms in Indiana.  In fact, it’s probably healthier than the meat you eat every day.

Many commercial farms use growth hormones in their herds.  And some even use genetically modified growth hormones.

In humans these can cause all kinds of problems from developmental disabilities, reproductive issues, to breast and colon cancer.  And the same can be said for the problems caused in our dogs.

Antibiotics which are regularly used on commercial farms trickle up the food chain and contribute to antibiotic resistant super-bugs.

Click Here to Check Out the Variety of RawPaws Signature Blend Raw Food.

But RawPaws only use meats that are:

  • Grass fed.
  • GMO free.
  • Free range.
  • Certified organic.
  • USDA inspected.
  • 100% natural.
  • Preservative free.
  • Antibiotic free and hormone free.

Their foods also contain no fillers or additives.  And they are minimally processed. All of the beef used in RawPaws products are locally sourced from farms in Indiana.

Earlier I mentioned that mixing up the meats equals a healthy diet.  So I like that the Signature Blend comes in a variety of proteins like:

  • Chicken.
  • Beef.
  • Turkey.
  • Duck.

RawPaws has also taken great care to ensure the proper ratio of meat, bone and offal.  I can’t stress how important these ratios are to optimal nourishment.

Getting this wrong can cause problems so it’s great that RawPaws have taken the guess work out of it.

Click Here to Check Out the Variety of RawPaws Signature Blend Raw Food.

RawPaws Green Tripe

Green tripe is THE super food for dogs.  Tripe is the stomach lining of cows, bison, sheep and buffalo.  It’s called green because it’s unbleached and in it’s natural state.

Green Tripe contains enzymes and probiotic bacteria that aid these grazing animals to digest grass.  And it has great benefits for our dogs.

It helps with digestion, eases constipation and improves appetite.  Not to mention the benefits for your dog’s immune system.

And if your dog suffers from seasonal allergies Green Tripe is a natural way to help sooth their discomfort.

Tripe is definitely one of the foods that you DO NOT WANT TO PREPARE yourself!  It stinks!  And I’m not exaggerating!  But dogs LOVE it!  I recommend you use this product as a supplement to the signature blend.

Click Here to Find Out More About the RawPaws Green Tripe Mix.

RawPaws Raw Meaty Bones

RawPaws offer a nice variety of raw meaty bones (RMB).  This means you don’t need to try and source these from a butcher. Which can be difficult since most butchers remove all the meat from bones.

Beef marrow bones are a great source of protein, chondroitin, collagen, calcium and phosphorous.

Bone marrow releases adiponectin which is linked to decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  It also builds immunity, and supports kidney function.

Although I don’t recommend marrow bones for anything other than recreation for your dog.  They are too hard to break and can cause damage to their teeth.

Click Here to See the Variety of Raw Meaty Bones from RawPaws.

The other bone choices on offer are an excellent variety.  There’s everything from:

  • Lamb.
  • Chicken.
  • Goat.
  • And Duck.

And you’ll find everything from:

  • Necks.
  • Frames.
  • Backs.
  • Wings.
  • And quarters.

You can add these to your dog’s diet by substituting 1 or 2 meals a week with RMB which is what I do.  Or you can opt to feed your dog a prey model raw diet using these very meaty bones.

And like I mentioned before, RMB are wonderful way to stimulate your dog’s need to rip, chew and tear.  And not to mention the natural teeth cleaning RMB offer!

Click Here to Find Out More About RawPaws Pet Food.


I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…

Whether you opt for a ground BARF diet or a whole prey model, you’re heading in the right direction.  The only question on your lips should be “what are the best ingredients, and where can I find them?”

You can source them yourself.  Or you can go with a company like RawPaws to help you feed your German Shepherd the best raw food.

You can safely use this short checklist to find the best raw food for German Shepherds:

  1. The ingredients must be human grade.
  2. Food made with ingredients sourced from ethical farms.
  3. Preferably small scale farmers.
  4. Companies that are able to tell you exactly where their ingredients come from.
  5. Companies that manufacture their food in small batches.
  6. Foods free from additives and toxins.

I’m passionate about canine nutrition and I’m constantly studying new research and development in the field.  I’d like to help you if you have any doubts or questions.  So feel free to drop them in the comments below.

  • Deena muffley

    Hi Gabriella,
    I have a question ,as you are familiar with my puppy soldier and his health issues and Giardia I’ve thought about the raw diet for him but have concerns because of his issues and sensitivity.
    He’s on a gluten free dry dog food, it’s supposed to be a quality product, But I do have concerns about the quality of ingredients etc. My question is this first
    Due to the issues soldier has is a raw diet the best choice? And second is there a reputable already prepared dry food that contains everything he needs I think someone called it freeze dried?
    If raw isn’t the way to go are there certain things I can add to his kibble that he’s eating now? Without aggravating his existing issues?

    • Hi Deena!

      I’ve had a chat to some of my raw feeding friends some of whom have dogs with chronic Giardia. All of them are on a raw diet. And they have tried many kibble diets before hand. So yes, I do believe raw could be a better option.

      There is a company I reviewed in this article who I believe to be the best place to get prepared raw or freeze dried food. They also deliver anywhere in the US. Just use the navigation menu at the top of this article to jump down to my review so you can check it out before you make a decision.

      The also have a fantastic meal planning service that’s free. These folks are experts so they’ll be able to answer all your questions about their food. And they’ll help to work out a meal plan to suit Soldier and your budget. I highly recommend them. But I suggest first reading my review before you decide if you want to find out more.

      One friend also suggested adding Golden Paste and pro-biotics to Soldier’s diet. I’ve got a recipe for the Golden Paste and I’ll make sure to share it here in the next couple of days. Golden Paste is used a lot as a natural remedy for inflammation in humans and animals. I actually use it for Charley my 9 year old GSD who had hip surgery for Dysplasia. And I have noticed a difference.

      What I would suggest though is to change one thing at a time. We tend to change too many things at once because we want the best for our dogs and then it’s hard to tell what’s working.

      Hope this helps. I’m around for questions.

      Also, come and join the Private FB group. It’s a great place to share experiences, get advice from other owners and share pictures of our dogs. I’m around there most of the day to answer any questions.

      Here’s the link:

      See on the inside!

  • Catherine

    Really informative
    My GSD is 2 yes old and weighs 105 lbs. She gets fed 4 cups of Iams a day and is ALWAYS still hungry.

  • Ben

    My shepherd is 1 year and 2 months. He loves the raw meat; venison , squirrel, etc. I mix the raw with a high grade dry. Total is 4 1/2 cups/day and he’s about 95 lbs. I’m just trying to determine if this on the right track for him. We went through the whole phase of what you described of your gsd not eating. November I was butchering a deer and he helped…since then his diet has been primarily raw venison with dry. Thank you for any advice.

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I’m so pleased that you found the solution to your boy not wanting to eat! I’m sure he loves helping out with the deer!

      The rule of thumb with raw is to feed between 2.5 and 3 percent of adult body weight. Are you adding organs like liver and kidney? These organs are an essential part of a raw diet, even a half raw half kibble diet. You can play around with the amounts by doing poop patrol. If you see a very dark poop that means there’s too much organ and you can then adjust accordingly.

      Also, bone is essential too. And you can gauge how much bone is sufficient by his poop. If it’s hard and white there’s too much bone (calcium).

      I don’t feed a mix of raw and kibble but if I did I’d do alternate days. So one day raw and the next day kibble. That way it’ll be much easier to follow the 80/10/10 rule (80: meat, 10:bone, 10: organ) on the raw days. And it’s also, in my opinion, easier on the tummy. But I know some folks that feed raw and kibble together in the same meal without any issues.

      I hope this helps, if you’ve got any other questions, drop them here. I’m happy to help. :)


    I am confused about the raw bones. In one sentance you say Raw bones are great & easily digestible, but then you said when bones start to break apart they should be taken away. So is it specific to certain bones? If so what bones? Right now his chew toy is Buffalo Horns. Is that ok?
    I have a 10 month old gsd who is extremely sensitive. He is on dry dog food. Only lamb, no chicken or grains. My hubby tried giving him a raw egg every couple of days but then he started with the itching again. We tried introducing him to fish dry dog food. Didnt go well. Now he has become extremly fussy about food. He was never fussy. Poor baby. So now I fear feeding him anything but his dry lamb. I make a thick broth from Lamb shanks. Boil it for hours until bones fall apart & marrow slides out. I do this to TRY & ensure he is getting enough fat & protein. Funny thing is he doesnt have a problem with rice (grain). I did gradually introduce pulp of pureed veggies & fruits. He vomited it up & had some diarrhea the next day.
    He also has issues with acid reflux. We have to give him a little snack before bedtime & feed him by a certain time the next morning or he will vomit white foamy stuff. He is still fed 3 times a day with 4th late night snack. Total of 5 1/2 cups of food. Help.

    • Hi Valeska,

      Thanks for your great comment. Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve clarified in the article that if bones are given for entertainment they should be taken away when they begin to splinter (these are usually heavier bones. And I only give then so they can chew and tear off meat and work for the marrow.

      But a duck carcass, poultry necks or anything that can be consumed entirely is fine. Then you get the situations like with venison tail, where the first vertebra on the tail is hard. This one I remove. But the rest of the tail they eat entirely. As you become more comfortable with feeding bone you’ll get a feel for it too.

      The Sheps do tend to have sensitive guts. Mine can’t eat chicken at all. But they are fine with other poultry like duck and even ostrich. Have you tried a raw diet with your boy? It might be necessary to move very, very slowly when introducing him to new foods to avoid the vomiting. But a raw diet is worth a try, especially if he’s got such a sensitive gut. And feeding 3 times a day is still fine, also because of his sensitive tum.

      You’re doing great with the bone broth from lamb shanks. He’ll definitely be getting enough calcium and good, healthy fats that way. But it’s important to balance that with phosphorus from muscle meats. You could try adding some ground lamb and then just lower the amount of dry food for that meal. See how things go and hopefully his gut will settle in slowly.

      Buffalo horns should be fine as long as they are natural, have not been treated with anything and come from a reliable source. Elk antlers are also a healthy chew toys and filled with stuff like zinc, phosphorus and calcium. I wrote about them here.

      I hope I’ve been able to answer some of your question here. Let me know if you have any other questions. I know how it feels to have a doggo with a sensitive gut, I’m happy to help where I can. ;)

  • Valeska Parker

    Oh my goodness! Thank you so much for the reply, information & encouragement. It’s been hard to find a vet that will listen to my concerns. They all wanted me to wait &keep feeding him the same puppy junk. Everything I have done I have learned online from folks like you. He is a happy 94 lb,10-month old gsd pup. I knew nothing about dogs let alone a pup, he was kind of unexpected & I was ill prepared. But at his 9 month vet exam the vet himself was very impressed with how healthy he was. Impressed at how obedient, sweet & well behaved he is. So easy going, highly intelligent & happy pup _ with a shiney coat & sometimes still itchy skin. He uses a special shampoo with benadryl in it once a week. Then we rub him down with organic coconut oil. Unfortunately the itchiness starts whenever we try to introduce new food. I will try gradually adding the raw ground lamb you recommended. I expect to see some diarrhea but probably will lesson over time. My main concern is he will like it so much he will not want anything else. My budget can’t sustain that. Will see what time will bring. I figure God brought this little blessing to our doorstep, He will have to provide for us to care for him.
    Thank you again for your help.

    • Hi Valeska,

      I agree, doggo’s that have specific needs usually end up with folks who have the will, empathy and love to give them what they need! Coconut oil is great for the skin. Mine also get Coconut oil rubdowns for an hour before they have a bath. I like to wash the oil off after. But either way is fine.

      You could try out a more natural shampoo to see if that helps. Benadryl is great but it is an antihistamine so if possible, it’s better to use it sparingly say every other wash or so. I wrote about shampoos for sensitive skins and allergies here. Also, since the Shep has a double coat it can improve skin and reduce itching by helping them shed. Here’s a guide to help with grooming in the summer when they shed a lot more. And also my favorite grooming tools can be found here.

      It’s not a train smash if you can’t transition him to raw 100%. Just adding raw to his diet should bring a positive change. Once he’s comfortable with eating a little raw (like lamb) you can start shopping for meats on special which is something I do to keep my budget in check (of course always go for human grade meats). Take your time though, rushing will only cause tummy upsets. When you start adding organs (which shouldn’t be immediately) keep an eye out for black runny stools. If you see this, you’re giving too much organ meat. If you see hard white stools then there’s too much bone (calcium).

      You could also try and give him some green tripe at some point. Dogs love it, but humans don’t because it stinks to high Heaven. Although I’d wait with this for now until he’s got healthy stools.

      Keep in mind though, that stools from a raw fed dog will dry up fast, so it’ll help to do “poop patrol” when he’s out for a potty run to check on his stool color, shape and consistency.

      Feel free to drop me more questions as you go along. ;)

  • Angie

    We just got a 6 month old GSD puppy three days ago. He has had nothing but runny poop, not quite diarrhea, but close. I figured he was getting used to not being on mommas milk anymore. (he was weaned a few days before we picked him up, so we feed him the kibble that they were feeding him). I started researching this, and figure the food just isn’t right for him, and I want to make sure we start him off with a good strong healthy diet. So I’m very interested in raw food. How early is too early to start? Also, on the subject of bones, I’ve been seeing people who cut up chickens to give to their GSD’s, can they actually eat the chicken bones? I’ve always heard chicken bones were bad for dogs. I saw from a comment above that turkey necks are fine for them to eat, but the bigger bones, like knuckle bones are meant only for chewing. What other bones are okay for them to fully consume? When you mentioned processing the bones, do you mean that you put them in a food processor to grind them up? This is all very new to me, and I’m very excited!

    • Hi Angie,

      Thanks for your questions. And congrats on the new pup!

      A raw diet can be started from any age. Some breeders who feed raw as a rule, wean their pups onto it when coming off mom’s milk.

      Bones are great for dogs even chicken bones. As long as they are raw. Cooked bones are brittle and splinter which is where the problems come in. Raw bones are soft and pliable.

      I would totally avoid heavier bones like knuckle as you mention and any weight bearing bones. These are usually for entertainment. But can break teeth, especially small puppy teeth. So only consider these when he’s much older and only for entertainment for example ripping of meat and working out the marrow.

      Chicken necks and turkey necks are the safest for pups. They are small but not so small that he’ll end up trying to swallow one whole. Although, you should supervise all bone eating. Especially with new pups who are new to raw eating – they get super excited and need a little guidance.

      Mine get things like duck carcasses and venison tails. The duck carcasses are soft and can be consumed as a meal. The same goes for chicken carcasses.

      I do process some of their bone when I prepare their food by putting it through the grinder. You’ll need one that can handle bone. If you need recommendations let me know. But I do recommend feeding whole bone like necks and small poultry carcasses. It’s amazing for their dental hygiene. And it works magic to help their jaws and facial muscles develop to help those ears perk up. It also stimulates their natural need to rip, tear and crush.

      So I’d say start him off with chicken and turkey necks until he’s older and more experienced with bones. Then you can add things like poultry carcasses and venison tails. Chicken feet and poultry heads (like duck or chicken) are also great to try out now.

      You’ll also become more confident in feeding bone as you go.

      Let me know if you have other questions as you get into raw feeding, I’m happy to help. ;)

  • Via

    So I currently have a 3 year old Border Collie/ Pit bull mix male , 50lb.
    I’ve been feeding him Victor grain-free active dog and puppy dog food since I have been training him for agility(this rainy weather put a pause on that), he gets at least 2 hour-long walks a day, plus training and other miscellaneous things once in a while(hikes, park).
    We got him when he was about 4 months and fed him Rachael ray… , he started getting stomach problems when he neared his 1st bday; super noisy stomach at night, throwing up in the mornings a lot, hiccuping a ton after he ate and throughout the day. I figured it was him eating too fast(he eats really fast) and got him a slowfeeder(I washed each day). He got a little better, but began free feeding himself because he got bored of the slowfeeder. Now I’m not saying anything against free feeding but I just prefer not to for many reasons especially for a hyper and active dog.
    I switched to a piepan because if its spread around in a wide round piepan, he can’t get huge gulps of food in his mouth. I still am using it and seems to be doing well as far as eating fast(he still gulps his food down though but a little better). I switched his food to Victor(I’m feeding him now) because he has a really sensitive stomach, its grain free, and better than those cheapy dog foods at the local Wal-Mart(no offense anybody!! This is my opinion, and if the cheap dog foods work for you, than good!!) . The only downside is the kibble is small so he can eat it without chewing. The change of food helped with his hiccups but they just started coming back.
    I have researched a ton about the BARF diet and really like what I’ve seen. I think it would help his dandruff, hiccuping , his poops don’t look the best(ranges from moist brown poops to dark tiny stretched out poops that he strains to get out. He strains while pooping at all. And yes I’ve had his glands emptied for his first time), he has been pretty tired lately, drinking tons of water( a whole bowl at once. And yes it’s probably because of the winter season.). Anyway! The only things I’m worried about are;
    -transition. I’m sure everyone has this worry and it is probably pretty easy, but he is very sensitive and I don’t want to feed kibble and raw at the same time because of the bacteria bulding up. He gets sick super easy.
    -balance!!! I am frightened by the aspect of feeding my dog an unbalanced diet without realizing. Is there anyway I can follow the basic of what you feed and do with your dogs?? And how much do I feed him??
    -cost. This is related to the balance worry because, I’m sure if I basically know what I’m going to get or go for during that month/week, it won’t freak me out about the cost as much!
    My dad said I could get a freezer for my dog’s meats and such specifically, so if I buy bulk that would probably be better??
    I’m planning on someday owning a large dog rescue, based on BARF diets, and in a way in which the dogs are never stuck in small kennels and hear a ton of dogs barking(chaos) and such!!
    So yeah! I really want to start feeding him BARF and if you could answer , that would be awesome!!! Thanks!!

    • Hello Via!

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sounds like you’ve got a lot of good stuff going on with your dog – he’s a lucky boy!

      BARF is a great feeding regime and I highly recommend it. Right now, I’m not doing BARF but have switched to using chunks and whole parts. My dogs have gotten accustomed to eating this way over time and it saves on prep time. But BARF is still a super way to feed.


      Since your dog has a sensitive gut you might need to experiment to see what works best for him. The way I transitioned was to fast them and then fed a 100% raw meal. It worked fine for my crew. Except my older dog vomited up her meal after 30 minutes (this is very common) and likely because she inhaled her food that first time. If you don’t want to do a raw and kibble mix for a slower transition, and because he already likes to inhale his food, try fasting him for 12 hours and then offer half of his raw meal. Then a few hours later the other half. This might prevent the vomiting.

      The nice thing about doing a kibble/raw mix over time is also to introduce dogs to the new scents, tastes, and textures. Some dogs can take a while to adjust to this. So you’ll have to play things by ear and see what works best with your dog.


      Balance is always over time. Just like you don’t balance out each of your meals to make sure you get everything you need in each one. So the same applies to feeding our dogs. As long as he’s getting what he needs over time (I work on a 30 day period), he’ll be just fine.


      Usually, for an adult dog, it’s 2.5% of body weight for maintenance, 2% for weight loss and 3% plus for weight gain. A more active dog might need more than 2.5%, and since your boy does agility in the warmer months, you might need to up his food. But the best way is to keep an eye on his weight and adjust amounts accordingly.

      If you have any doubts, or you’re really worried about these points, I recommend you should find a vet that supports raw feeding in your area and chat with them. Not all vets support raw feeding but there are many, many who do so hopefully you can find someone in your area.


      Costs vary based on what you buy and where you live. If you can connect with hunters, that’s a great way to score high-quality parts at reasonable prices. Speak to local butchers and visit farmer’s markets. Tell them what you want to do and see what they have on offer. And definitely shop around. Sometimes I get whole duck at great prices and then I’ll stock up, but I won’t buy whole duck at regular prices. Then I’d rather go for rabbit or something cheaper. That’s just an example. It’s really about shopping around, stocking up on specials and being creative with the ingredients we offer our dogs.

      I highly recommend you join a group like The Raw Feeding Community on Facebook. They have a variety of raw food calculators in their “File” section. You can check them out and pick the one that is the easiest for you to use. Most of them work on an 80-10-10 basis which is ideal for calculating feeding amounts. There are a few that will break down the meat, bone and offal content of most items raw feeders offer their dogs.

      I hope this helps. Let me know if you have other questions. and all the best with your future plans – they sound amazing!


  • Melanie

    Thanks for this post…it really resonated with me because we have one 6 year old long haired German shepherd and a year and a half old Cattahoula Hound. With our German shepherd, Kaiser, we’ve had itchiness, hot spots, licking, and poop eating for years. We’ve tried so many things, supplements, changing his food diet, etc. We even tried doing a raw food diet for a short amount of time and he had massive diarrhea. I did a list of research because our vets here don’t know anything…they say it’s just allergies and give him antibiotics to stop his misery. Well we already know that antibiotics are bad for dogs when it comes to feeding yeast infections. Long story short, I stumbled across a forum that talked about dogs having yeast overgrowth. The symptoms were exactly what we’ve been dealing with with Kaiser. So I followed their recommendations and we’ve been giving Kaiser these supplements: liver cleanse formula, yeast/fungal detox, protease plus, and probiotic eleven. We also changed his food to no grain no starch, which is Wysong brand. The only brand out there with that requirement. We also add to Kaiser’s food: coconut oil, pumpkin, and a supplement called Nutra Thrive. He gobbles his food up in one or two minutes, but he’s constantly hungry. He still eats his poop and licks. However his licking is better, he still itches. But I will say that his itching used to be so bad that he literally licked and scratched patches of his fur off and had raw skin underneath. He’s also lost a LOT of weight. He looks healthier now…his coat is so glossy and his eyes are so bright, but he’s so skinny…bad skinny. I’ve looked to see what food we can add to his diet to help him gain weight and not be so hungry, but I get so many contradictory do’s and don’ts. I’ve wanted to do the raw diet, but I’ve been advised not to because I have kids that play in the yard and also the dogs lick them in the face. I’ve heard that if you do a raw diet, dogs will still have ecoli or salmonella in their mouth and if they lick you, you will get it too. So that turned me off of raw diet. Plus the raw diet is soooooo expensive…more expensive than doing what we’re doing and there’s also very limited meat and bone sourcing where I live. If this tells you anything, we’re paying around $300 a month for feeding our dogs…not including the supplements. My husband loves our dogs, but he’s saying we can’t afford to keep those kind of food expenses for our dogs. Please help me!!

    • Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

      You’re doing something right if you’ve managed to give Kaiser some relief from his itching. And I totally agree that antibiotics are no good unless there’s an infection that warrants giving them. I can’t comment on the supplements you mentioned since I’m not familiar with them. But my crew regularly get pumpkin in their meals. We love coconut oil too. Just keep an eye on how much you’re giving because it is fat (although a healthy one) and so should be given in moderation.

      I’m not a vet, so I can’t advise you from a medical perspective. But I can tell you what I’d do in your situation…

      There can be many factors to consider that might be contributing to the issues you mentioned. But I do recommend you find a good vet and have Kaiser tested for EPI. I’m not saying that it is EPI but your description of him looking “bad skinny” and being “constantly hungry” and persistent poop eating should be checked out.

      Also, German Shepherds are notorious for having sensitive guts. And there’s something that comes along with EPI that is known as SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth), it’s not always present and it can be present without EPI. And so it might be worthwhile finding a knowledgeable vet to investigate Kaiser’s gut health. SIBO might account for him being skinny and constantly hungry too since if there’s dysregulation in his gut, he might not be absorbing all the nutrients from the food he’s eating.

      A good vet will check for parasites too since these critters can be hard to detect and can cause malnutrition. The best way is to take a stool sample to your vet and ask them to check for parasites and eggs. I do these samples at my vet every 3 months because I get the results instantly and it also saves me from having to deworm them unnecessarily. If there’s nothing in their stool, I don’t deworm.

      In terms of raw feeding, there are a few things that could have caused Kaiser’s diarrhea. Some dogs need a slower transition to raw. And if it happens too fast, it can cause diarrhea. Even if you’re switching to a new kibble, it’s advised to do it slowly. And some dogs need the same slow process when switching to raw. Also, if there was too much organ in the food, that can cause black tarry diarrhea. And I’ve found that if I give too much veg in a meal, they can also have some diarrhea – but not massive.

      I’ve heard the myths about raw feeding, E-coli, Salmonella and other fearmongering. But here’s the thing…

      My dogs have been eating a raw diet going on 6 years now. And none of us have ever been infected with E-coli, Salmonella or any other pathogens that can cause issues. As long as what you’re feeding is human grade (it comes from an animal that’s certified for human consumption) and you keep strict hygiene protocols, just like you do when you’re prepping food for your family you’re good to go.

      If I’m doing raw DIY or even buying a premix, I make sure I buy from trusted sources and I also like to work with suppliers who can trace their products back to the source.

      Also, keep in mind that there have been many instances of kibble and even fresh produce that have been recalled for pathogens like E-coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.

      If you’re concerned about your kids, I agree, if the ingredients or food is not human grade it’s a concern. And extra care must be taken with hygiene protocols. I know raw feeders who separate their dogs and kids for an hour or so after feeding their dogs. And some even use disinfectant wipes to clean their dog’s around their mouths, front legs and paws. I can’t tell you not to be concerned about this, but I know a lot of raw feeders who have kiddies and I’ve never heard of issues.

      And then, of course, daily poop patrol to scoop their poop off the yard is essential too. But that goes without saying no matter what you feed.

      In terms of the costs of raw feeding, I know it can get expensive. So if you’re keen to give it another try, there are ways you can save money. I used to do premix only but over time and with experience I have found that DIY is cheaper. But for convenience sake, I do always keep some premix onhand.

      First, join a Facebook group and get chatting to other raw feeders. “Raw Feeding University” is a very popular one and most of the members are based in the United States. Often folks will share information about where to get good ingredients at reasonable prices.

      You’ll also learn about parts that you never thought of feeding. This can be a great money-saver.

      If you’re going to do DIY, then download the calculators in this group (it’s free) and start building the diet you want to feed.

      Next, make connections with local farmers, ranchers, and hunters. This is the top way I make sure I can find high-quality ingredients at reasonable prices. Sometimes it means I need to drive a distance to collect the ingredients but I try to do this once a month so there’s not too much up and down. Some suppliers will deliver though, so find out about that.

      Also, look for specials in the supermarket when you’re doing your regular shopping. You’ll be amazed at what you can find. And it’s a great way to save some money. Just remember to only buy ingredients from animals that are human grade.

      And, if you have space, consider raising your own prey animals like chickens, rabbits, and ducks. It’ll take some research on your part, to begin with, so you can learn what these animals need to be healthy in terms of shelter, food, and breeding. I’m not doing this right now but plan to in the future when I have a bigger space.

      I hope this has been helpful. Let me know how things go with Kaiser. :)

  • Peter

    I was wondering if you would be able to clarify a point about providing eggs. Would this be raw eggs, or should they be boiled first. Many thanks for all of the information – our Stanley is just six months and we have found your site extremely helpful. Greetings from the UK

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Peter!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment.

      I feed eggs raw. I do make sure the eggs are organic and pasteurized. The pasteurized eggs are safe to feed raw. If you’re not sure about whether the eggs you want to feed are pasteurized, then boil them first.

      Some folks wash the egg first and feed with the shell. I do that too sometimes, but mostly I dry them out on very low heat in the oven and then grind to sprinkle over their food a few times a week.

      Also, I only feed eggs about three times a week.

      Stanley sounds like a lucky boy!

      Let me know if you have other questions. :)

  • Nicola Lane


    You mention you process your own raw food and mentioned processing the bones. What equipment do you use and does this mean you can ‘blend’ the bones so it is not solid?


    • Hi Nicola,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes, once you’ve ground everything the bones will no longer be whole.

      You’ll need a grinder that is capable of grinding bone to make this work. You’ll need something with high wattage. No less than 1800-watt but higher is better. If you can get a 3000-watt grinder that should work fine.

      And stick to chicken, duck, fish and rabbit bones. They are much softer and pliable than other bones. A non-commercial grinder will not be able to handle bones from sheep, lamb, beef or bigger animals.

      Keep in mind that most non-commercial grinders will lose their warranty if you use it to grind bones. But I was happy to make that decision. Even if my grinder lasts 3 years, it’s still a valuable investment and in the long run, does save money making food at home.

      Hope this helps you. Let me know if you have other questions.

  • Natascha


    My GSD Gunner will be a year old next week. We recently found out that he has a terribly sensitive stomach and now has to have probiotics daily and ANY new food or treats ends up with terrible liquid/slimey diarrhea for 5-7 days.
    *Sorry for the T.M.I*

    We are planning to switch him to a raw diet and I honestly don’t know where to start. He’s 80lb currently – so I’m guessing 2.5lb per day, what meats/combo would you recommend starting him on? Can I just add the probiotics to the raw food? Do you recommend raw goats milk?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Natascha,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Raw feeding really changed things for my dogs. Especially my 2 thoroughbred German Sheps.

      If you’re going to go the DIY raw route, I highly recommend joining a Facebook group like Raw Feeding University. they have some excellent calculators available so that you can be sure you’re feeding the right ingredients in the right amounts. It’s important to get the ratios and nutrients right. Their calculators are Excel-based and very detailed and also free. Alternatively, you could work with a company like Raw Paws which I have detailed in this article.

      Many folks start with a premade raw and then later transition to DIY once they are more confident – that’s what I did. Now I di a mix of premade and DIY depending on my schedule.

      The amount you feed will depend on whether you’re looking to maintain weight, increase weight or weight loss. But Gunner is still considered a pup at 12 months since he’s a large breed dog. So you may need to experiment with amounts to make sure he’s getting the sustenance he needs.

      I know goats milk is very popular with some folks. But I prefer to use a plain Kefir for probiotics. If you go this route, be sure to get the plain one not anything flavored.

      Hope this helps. :)

  • brian weise

    would like to know your preference on bone grinder and mixer

    • Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your question.

      For grinders I’d recommend any of these, you can find them on Amazon:

      STX International 3000-MF
      STX International 3000-TF
      Weston Pro Series 22

      These will comfortably grind softer bones like chicken and duck. Although, tougher bones from beef, for example, need a commercial grinder. So I grind only duck bones because I don’t feed any chicken. And bones from lamb, beef, venison I feed as whole parts for dental hygiene and stimulation.

      If I’m making a small batch, I just use my regular Kenwood mixer to mix the ingredients. But if I’m doing a large batch, I’ll mix by hand.

      Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. :)

  • Talia

    Hi My GS is 6 y.o. And I’m looking to make a switch to raw food. He went from kibble (5 yrs on) to dehydrated food (Past 8 months) that we add water to, but I feel like we could be saving money and giving him better food. Since we already prepare his food, I would think raw diet wouldn’t be much of a change for us.
    My question lies in being able to prepare the food. Do you ever prepare food in bulk and freeze in portions so that you aren’t “fully preparing” food every day/buying raw meat every other day?

    • Hi Talia,

      Thanks for your question – it’s a good one.

      Over the years I’ve gone from grinding to preparing meals with chunks. So now depending on what my month looks like, I either prep in bulk, portion, and freeze. Or I keep my ingredients in the freezer, take out and thaw as needed.

      If you’d like, I can do an article on the steps I use to prep in bulk. A lot of folks new to DIY like to prep in advance. So let me know if you’d like me to share my steps in an article. :)

  • Jay Peltier

    Hello I have a 7 year old male GSD who at times has a sensitive gut. He’s currently on Royal Canine for Shepherds ( 4 years) I figured this was the best dry food for him because it’s, supposedly, taylored for shepherds. For the most part his poop is usually more soft than hard. And I have settled for that based on previous poops from other dry foods. Somewhat figuring this is the best it gets. He also eats cooked chicken , boneless skinless chicken thigh, as a treat in the morning and usually a piece of cheese at some point of the day. I started looking into the raw diet after reading about health/skin improvements associated with this diet. My dog has always had dandruff , more so in the winter, and itchy skin. He also seems to get sores easily that take what I think longer to heal than should. Overall he is in good health goes to the vet regularly , up to date on all shots. So I started the diet this past Monday. I made some my own stuff and bought some pre made BARF from a local meat market using both throughout the week. So far all has gone good until yesterday( Saturday) morning. It is now Sunday morning and my poor boy has had diarrhea every 2-3 hours for the last 24 hours. Other than having the runs he appears to be in good spirits, shows no sign of any discomfort other than whining at me when he needs to go out. My question is, is this part of the detox you talk about, is this normal if transitioning to quick and should I continue with the raw or go back to kibble. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    • Hi Jay,

      Thank you for your question.

      Congratulations on being proactive and looking into feeding your boy a whole food diet! It really is the best you can do for him. Poops should always be well-formed and reasonably firm but not hard or crumbly.

      I don’t think diarrhea every 2 to 3 hours is a detox symptom and ideally, this should not be happening.

      It sounds like what might have happened is too much of a good thing too soon. This happens especially if a wide range of proteins are introduced too soon and the intro of offal too soon can cause this too. If his poop is black and tarry, it’s a sign that he had way too much offal.

      Some doggo’s, especially the ones with sensitive guts need time to transition. And age can also play a role in how fast or slow transition takes place. But it’s not a train smash, and I definitely don’t think going back to kibble is the answer.

      My one main concern is that your boy might be dehydrating if he’s got constant diarrhea, especially since he’s a senior boy. Losing fluids and not replenishing them affects everything from the body’s pH to nerve function. So I’d definitely keep an eye on him and take him to the vet immediately if you see any of the signs in this article:

      In fact if I was in your shoes, I’d get in touch with the vet anyway and let them know what’s happening. And also get some electrolytes to mix into your boy’s water which will help greatly to balance his minerals and help him feel better sooner.

      When my dogs have the runs, I feed a diet of cooked white meat, boneless and skinless with a small amount of rice and a type of pumpkin or squash as their meal. This is by no means a balanced meal, so it’s not for long-term feeding but it’s bland and does help bind up the tummy. Since your boy is a senior I wouldn’t let him skip a meal and I’d offer a bland meal at his next mealtime.

      The other thing that comes to mind in terms of what caused this bout of the runs, is what is the quality of the BARF diet you bought at the market? Is it balanced to NRC or AAFCO standards? Was it hygienically prepared? And is the meat used human-grade? Any of these factors can lead to an upset tummy.

      It sounds like you’re keen to do DIY raw, I do too, and love the control I have over what goes into my dog’s bodies. If you’d like me to help you out with a diet, feeding amounts and such, feel free to drop me an email using the email address here. I’m happy to help you get your boy onto a well-balanced whole food diet.

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