The Dog's Dinner - by Ann Ridyard

Raw feeding for dogs

Any old bone...............?

 It is of great consequence which type of bones you choose to feed your dog.


    Bone is a very important componant in the diet, but it works best when fed in the correct ratio to meat.

                      70-80% meat : 10-20% bone 

Just like we have correct formulas for baking say a cake - with just enough flour to mix in with the other ingredients - imagine what would happen if we doubled or even tripled the amount of flour we added..............

 - that would be one very dry cake !! 

The same will happen to your dog's faeces if you don't pay attention to how much bone his diet contains.        

 Not only this - you will upset his bodies balance between calcium and phosphorus  (SEE HERE for further reading about how the two work hand in hand)

 ..........This is something that you need never concern yourself with - IF you stick to the 'rules' and guidelines..........but if you don't and you stray from the safe parameters then potentially you could cause your dog a whole heap of problems  


Well firstly for the newly swapped dog, feeding too much bone is going to over challenge his newly awakened digestive system - by feeding too much bone, you will overwhelm a system that is trying it's hardest to remember it is carnivore 

Not only will he have the challenge of coping with a new diet plan............

(which must be remembered is a MASSIVE thing - it is a very sad state of affairs when dogs have to be gradually introduced to their species appropriate diet - but this is the position WE have put them in - so it's important to make this transition as easy as possible)

If you don't choose your bone addition wisely, you will make him constipated, which could then go on to cause impaction of the the bowel -  and if you make a good enough job of overfeeding bone and this WILL require surgery to clear           

  Am I trying to put you off, or what??  

............NO, I'm not  !!!    I want everybody to feed their dogs a raw diet - but I want them to do it SAFELY

It's all well and good if you are feeding 'mostly RMBs' (raw meaty bones) IF your choices are actually MEATY - if they are not - then I will guarantee you are out of 'safe parameters'

Most dogs will build a tolerance for bone and then you can increase the amount you feed within safe parameters as talked about  HERE


Feeding too much bone is not good for dogs who are already fed a raw diet either ......

MEAT should always make up the greater part of the diet whether your dog is newly swapped or not.               


Feeding too much bone is not good for dogs who are already fed a raw diet either ......

MEAT should always make up the greater part of the diet whether your dog is newly swapped or not.

I thought it would be helpful if you could see the amount of bone which is contained in many of the popular feeding choices.

Not all bones are the same and generally the ones which come without skin attached have the highest bone content of all......  

 Item choice Bone percentage
Chicken neck without skin75% bone
Chicken carcase60% bone
Chicken feet60% bone
Duck feet60% bone
Chicken wing46% bone
Lamb ribs45% bone
Pork ribs45% bone
Chicken back44% bone
Turkey neck42% bone
Chicken neck with skin36% bone 
Turkey wing33% bone
Chicken quarter28% bone
Chicken leg27% bone
Chicken thigh21% bone
Turkey leg17% bone

It should be pointed out that the larger the chicken, the greater the meat to bone ratio - the figures above for chicken parts are taken from broilers or fryers - these are immature birds who will be plumper when fully mature.

It is also worth pointing out that birds who are not designed to fly have a different meat to bone ratio than those that don't.  They generally have heavier, denser bones.

You should also consider when looking at nutritional analysis for 'whole' birds - that they are not actually whole - by that I mean their intestines and other parts are removed prior to the analysis taking place - this would all add to the 'meat' content of a chicken.

So you can see from the above chart the choices to watch and be careful not to feed too many of.

Interestingly and as usual, I found conflicting analysis from different sites, lets take for example the innocent chicken wing - a popular choice to feed, cheap and readily available - but by feeding too many of these, you could easily go outside safe parameters.

According to that chart up there - chicken wings are 46% boney  but then I found a site that stated it was actually lower than this

The above site shows an analysis of an average chicken wing -  

Total weight meat skin
Chicken wing 89 grams 30 grams 26 grams


So based on those figures if we add the meat and skin together this gives us a total of 56 grams per wing, if we now minus the weight of the meat & skin from the weight of the whole wing we are left with 33 grams of bone.

              56 grams of meat &skin : 33 grams of bone

This knocks the theory that chicken wings are 46% bone as shown in the chart taken from the Nutrient Data Laboratory  site.  It actually shows the bone content being a lower content at around 38%.

Again this shows that not all wings are equal - it is worth remembering that a whole wing has 2 joints in it and 3 sections, the last section being the meatiest.  If you are using wings with just one joint and two sections then your bone content will be higher, back up to 46% or more........

Assuming that we are feeding an average 25 kilo adult dog at 2.5% of his bodyweight daily - this equates to around  625 grams of food per day

If we break this down into our safe ratios this means that we should be feeding : All figures approximate........

                              70-80% meat : 10-20% bone

Which equates to : 

           437.5- 500 grams of meat : 62.5-125 grams of boneIf we are using minced meats - it is important to check the bone content - but again assuming our mince contains 10% bone - your average pound or 454 gram bag of mince would then contain around :   


                   1.  Our meal weighs 454 grams                                            

     90% or 408.6 grams of meat : 10% or 45.4 grams of bone

............Now if we add one 2 joint/89 gram chicken wing to the meal - look at the effect this has on percentages 

         2.  Our meal now weighs : 543 grams and contains

 85.5% or 464.6 grams of meat : 14.5% or  78.4 grams of bone

You can immdiately see that by just adding one wing, we have lowered our percentage of meat and increased our percentage of bone.

Lets add another 2 joint/89 gram wing to the meal.......

         3.  Our meal now weighs : 632 grams and contains

82.5% or 520.6 grams of meat : 17.5 % or 111.4 grams of bone

You can now see that the bone content is even higher - in fact it is getting close to our safe parameter of 20%

Scenario's 1, 2 & 3 are all acceptable and fall within the safe guidelines - obviously with scenario 1. you would need to feed the whole 625 gram allowance using minced meats.  Scenario 1. is the safe option for newbies to the diet.

I just wanted to demonstrate how a little bone, goes a long way 

You would think that the best bet would be to stick with minced meat and while it will serve your dog well nutritionally - if you add the other important componants, a dog should always have fresh raw bone incorporated into its diet - to benefit his teeth and gums

...........and further his enjoyment 

Lets play around with those figures a little and imagine we were feeding the same dog, this time we decide to feed 3/4 of a pack of mince.

                     1. Our meal weighs 340.5 grams 

    90% or 306.45 grams of meat : 10% or 34.05 grams of bone

Obviously we do not have enough weight in food, so we decide to add 3 chicken wings - the same 2 joint/89 gram type.

                    2. Our meal now weighs 607.5 grams

  78% or 474.45 grams of meat : 22% or 133.05 grams of bone

Whilst our meat level is acceptable - our bone level is getting to the point were they are entering the danger zone (25% or more)

I have used a 2 joint type wing for this demonstration, but if you are using the 1 joint type, with no meaty third section, then you are going to step into dangerous territory if you feed a similar weight in these type of wings to the ones in the above scenarios.

Don't be afraid of feeding bone - just be aware of the choices you make and the quantities you feed them in - stay safe  


.................... If you do choose the ones with very high percentages of bone, please take care to off set this with enough meat to bring your ratios in line: 

                          70-80% meat : 10-20% bone