Raw food diets by definition are diets comprised of nothing but raw food. These can take many forms and the most popular of these is a BARF diet. BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw food or bones and raw food. This dietary model is based on the evolutionary diet animals would have eaten in the wild. Evolutionary raw diets are made up of fresh raw meat, offal, crushed meaty bones, vegetables, fruits and other healthy ingredients.
For more information on a Raw food diet for dogs – visit, “Evolution for dogs and a species appropriate diet”
Raw food diets are different for dogs and cats as they have different and unique dietary requirements.
Big Dog has a range of raw food diets in our range:
Core Range – this is a flavour based raw food diet comprising of many different protein types. Using different protein sources allows for a wide variety of amino acids and is the range that best mimics an evolutionary diet where animals would have consumed varied types of prey.
Single Protein Allergy Range – this range is for pets with allergies to certain proteins including beef or chicken and each product is made only from one protein source.
Scientific Range – these products are for pets with specific health requirements and contain specific proteins and additional ingredients for pets with health issues.
Small Dog – smaller portion sizes and finer mincing for smaller digestive systems make this product perfect for puppies and small dogs.
Cat Range – specifically designed for cats with higher protein levels and taurine, an essential amino acid for cats.
All Big Dog raw diets are 100% natural, no synthetic vitamins and minerals, artificial chemicals, colours, flavours or preservatives are present. All Big Dog diets are raw and uncooked to best preserve the quality and nutritional value of the proteins.
For more information on our dog range, see our products for dogs here.
For more information on our cat range, see our products for cats here.
We always recommend slowly introducing raw diets over 2 weeks. The reason for this is to minimise any potential for stomach upsets which can happen if a change in diet is sudden. Some pets will have no issues with a quick changeover in diet, however to be sure, we do recommend slowly introducing the new food.
Day 1-3: 20% New 80% Old
Day 4-6: 40% New 60% Old
Day 7-9: 60% New 40% Old
Day 10-12: 80% New 20% Old
Day 12+: 100% New Diet
We have a useful feeding calculator on our website which will help guide portion sizes based on weight and allow the calculation of the % of new and old diet during the transition period.
This calculator is found in the product information section of each product in our range.
We recommend feeding adult dogs (12 months +) 2% of their body weight daily. We recommend puppies (generally 12 months and younger), pregnant and lactating dogs or working dogs 4% of their body weight daily. This is based on the nutritional content of our foods.
We recommend feeding adult cats 2-3% of their body weight daily (this is based on an average sized 4kg cat) and kittens 4-6%.
However, our feeding guidelines are a guide and your pets’ metabolism, breed, size, age and activity level may affect their overall nutritional requirements. Many people wish to replace a raw meal with an appropriate serve of meaty bones for dental health which is an important part of ensuring a healthy raw fed pet. Also taking into account treats as part of the daily energy from food being provided to your pet has an impact.
The important thing to focus on ultimately is that your pet is within a healthy weight range.
It is fine for younger animals (especially puppies) to have extra fat (aka puppy fat) sub 6 months of age. As they grow into adults, it’s more important to fine tune their diet to suit a healthy weight. A healthy weight can be measured in a number of simple physical ways. Ribs shouldn’t be prominent but should be able to be felt with a thin covering of fat over the top. There should be a visible abdominal tuck and when you look at your pet from above, they should have a visible waist. If the ribs can be seen, increase their daily food allowance, if they no longer have a waist and look like a log from above, decrease their daily food allowance until their waist returns.
Cats are obligate carnivores, Big Dog Raw Food Diets for Cats are formulated to be higher in meat and lower in plant material. Big Dog Cat Food is also higher in amino acids that are essential for cats, meaning they need these solely from their diet. Arginine and taurine are the key essential amino acids to ensure are in cat food in appropriate amounts. Because cats don’t produce these amino acids the way dogs do; which is why they need higher levels in their diets. Big Dog Raw Diets for Cats are formulated with ample arginine and taurine for healthy growth and development in cats,
We wouldn’t recommend this in the long term. Whilst it is fine in the short term, cats require additional taurine (as essential amino acid for cats) in their diet and Big Dog Food for Cats has been specifically formulated with ingredients high in taurine to ensure adequate amounts.
If your cat prefers our dog food, you can continue to feed this, however we would recommend adding a few chicken hearts to their meal every day to ensure dietary tauring is aqequate.
Taurine is an essential amino acid in cats and must be obtained in adequate amounts in the diet to prevent deficiency.
According to the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats by the National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Animal Nutrition, Subcommittee on Dog and Cat Nutrition, the daily dietary taurine requirements for cats for growth and health maintenance is 320mg/kg of food per day and we easily meet these needs.
Big Dog Raw Diets for Cats are formulated with the following levels of Taurine per kg of food and easily meet these requirements.
Rabbit – 381.7 mg/kg
Kangaroo – 411 mg/kg
Turkey – 440.5 mg/kg
The only time you may wish to supplement with additional Taurine would be during gestation and lactation where requirements increase to 450mg of Taurine per kg or food. Feeding a few chicken hearts additionally per day is a great natural way to achieve this.
Garlic in appropriate amounts is perfectly fine for dogs. In fact, it’s an amazingly healthy inclusion in dog’s diets. Like many things, garlic in large amounts can certainly lead to toxicity, but the amounts we add to our food are well below levels that can cause issues and is very safe and beneficial.
Garlic is included for its tremendous health benefits which include:
When it comes to the controversy regarding garlic, this is because it belongs to the Allium family and it contains a substance called thiosulphate, the ingestion of which has been known to be harmful to dogs. The key though, is in the quantity required to do any harm. In fact, there have been studies that show that a 34 kg Labrador would need to eat five full heads of garlic or about 75 cloves of garlic in each meal before there would be any adverse effect on the red blood cells. Similarly, a dog weighing a mere 4.5kg would need to eat 25 grams of garlic – about half an entire head of garlic, or about 6 to 8 garlic cloves in every meal to experience any adverse effects.
Dogs Naturally Magazine has an interesting article on this topic for further reading http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/garlic-for-dogs-poison-or-medicine/
For more information on garlic and the other superfoods we include in our diets – visit, “Clean eating and superfoods for dogs” and check out the video below!
Absolutely not, at Big Dog, when we say 100% natural we mean 100% natural. This means no added preservatives, no modern preservation methods like irradiation which impact the nutritional quality of the food nor do we add any synthetic additives such as vitamins and minerals, colours or flavours.
Our preservation method for our food is freezing and once our product has been thawed ready to serve to your pet, it will last up to 3 days when kept in the fridge.
Whilst our food may last longer than 3 days, be sure to keep an eye out for signs of deterioration of the product like ballooning of the packaging. If this occurs, do not serve your pet and dispose of the product.
Big Dog healthy raw food diets are based on evolutionary dietary principles of cats and dogs (also referred to as BARF – Bones and Raw Food, or Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). Our diets consist of 80% muscle meat and offal, 10% crushed real bone, 5% fresh vegetables and fruit and 5% other healthy ingredients.
Read our article to learn more about the superfoods we add to benefit your pets – “Clean eating and superfoods for dogs”
Check out the video below to learn more!
If your puppy was weaned onto a raw food diet, you can generally transition straight to a 100% Big Dog diet.
If your pup was weaned onto cooked or processed food (canned food, dry food or cooked rolls) then we recommend to transition more slowly.
A raw food diet is very different to a processed cooked diet and any sudden change of diet can create stomach upsets and gradually transitioning helps to minimise this.
Please follow these guidelines, whilst monitoring your puppy’s stools. You should begin to notice smaller, less smelly stools as you transition towards a 100% raw food diet. Loose stools are OK during the transitioning period, but do make sure there is no persistent, watery stools.
Day 1-3: 20% New Diet 80% Old Diet
Day 4-6: 40% New Diet 60% Old Diet
Day 7-9: 60% New Diet 40% Old Diet
Day 10-12: 80% New Diet 20% Old Diet
Day 12+: 100% New Diet
Additionally, we recommend the following amounts to be fed based on the weight of your puppy:
Puppy (3 – 12 months or until fully grown): 4% dog’s body weight
Adult (12 months or when fully grown): 2% dog’s body weight
Keep in mind that feeding guides are general and optimal feeding amounts may vary with age, size, breed, and activity level. Increase or decrease the calories your pup consumes daily to ensure a healthy weight is maintained.
If your puppy has no known allergies or health conditions, then you can start them on any flavour from our core range (Beef, Chicken, Combo, Fish, Lamb and Rabbit). Most people choose chicken as it is highly palatable, especially when starting off on raw food for the first time.
Alternatively, our Small Dog Combo diet may be most suitable, especially for smaller pups. Our small dog recipe is minced more finely and is portioned into smaller patties which can help reduce wastage in the transition phase or in smaller breeds.
If your puppy does have allergies or skin conditions, we recommend either our Single Protein Allergy Diet – Turkey or our Scientific Diet – Sensitive Skin. We do not recommend our Kanga or Wellbeing diets due to their low fat content. Fat is important in a growing pups diet.
For more information on each product, see our products page for dogs.
Occasionally, pets may struggle with change and transitioning to a new, unfamiliar food. This is especially the case when transitioning from processed diets. Imagine going from eating processed fast foods all your life then being presented a meal with fresh, unprocessed, uncooked ingredients… it may take a bit of getting used to in the beginning. However, we do have a list of suggestions to help the process.
Generally, the least popular method is usually the quickest and most effective but also the most difficult for us as pet parents. This method is to offer the food for no longer than 10-15 mins and if not consumed, put in the fridge to try again for the next meal. This tough love method usually gets results within a day but is not to be continued for longer than 2 days. It is rare, but some pets just don’t like some food despite how much you may want them to eat it. Ultimately, it’s more important to have a pet eating something over nothing.
Yes. All Big Dog diets are made with only 100% human-grade, fresh Australian ingredients. Nothing but the best for our furry family members.
Big Dog has a product suitable for dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Our core range of diets are flavour based, mixed protein diets that provide all the macro and micronutrients your dog needs to be healthy and happy. These include protein, amino acids, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), moisture, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, fibre, phytonutrients, active enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals. Mixed protein raw food diets, most closely represent an evolutionary diet. The predominant protein source in each of our core diet range represents the flavour of that product. Our core range consists of Beef, Chicken, Combo, Fish, Lamb and Rabbit.
Our single protein, allergy range is formulated for dogs with food intolerances to certain meats, most commonly being beef and chicken. As a single protein diet, our Kanga and Turkey diets contain only muscle meat, offal and bone of these species. Additionally, Kanga may also be suitable for overweight dogs, with a fat content of only 4%.
Our Scientific range has been formulated to address dogs with health conditions, assisting from the inside out. The Sensitive Skin diet contains an abundance of natural anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids designed to promote healthy skin, coat and a stronger immune system, as well as long term healing and reduction of potential future skin issues. Our Wellbeing Diet has been specifically formulated for overweight dogs and dogs with common chronic health conditions including arthritis, pancreatic issues, liver problems, renal conditions and some cancers. It is lower in fat with a mixture of traditional healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health-promoting herbs.
For more information on each product, see our products page for dogs.
And visit the following links to learn more:
Our Big Dog for cat’s range consists of Kanga, Rabbit or Turkey flavour, mixed protein diets that provide all the macro and micronutrients your cat needs to be healthy and happy. These include protein, amino acids, taurine, healthy fats (including omega-3 fatty acids), moisture, antioxidants, probiotics, prebiotics, fibre, phytonutrients, active enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals. Mixed protein raw food diets, most closely represent an evolutionary diet and the predominant protein source in each product represents the flavour of that product.
For more information on each product, see our products page for cats.
Nature always intended dogs to eat raw, hence their bodies are biologically adept to process a raw food diet, along with the naturally occurring bacteria. The highly acidic pH of their stomach and accompanying short digestive tract assists passing of pathogens, without any health concerns. However, to be safe please ensure proper storage and handling methods are followed to avoid development of harmful bacteria. For more information, visit – Bacteria And Raw Food.
Our Wellbeing and Sensitive Skin Diet contains higher levels of dietary fibre, which naturally promotes a healthy intestine by adding bulk to their stool and helping the stool pass more quickly through the intestines. All our raw diets have a high moisture content to combat dehydration, which can be a common cause of constipation.
Our Big Dog Probiotic blend may also assist in improving intestinal function and combat constipation by introducing good flora (bacteria) to help draw water into the intestines and properly digest food. For more information visit – Probiotics and Health.
Adding dietary oils like coconut oil, flax oil, fish oil or hemp oil can help combat constipation.
You may want to consider our Front Runner oil – containing Cold-pressed Flaxseed Oil, Cold-pressed Rice Bran Oil, Fish Oil, Natural vitamin E and Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. Learn more about Big Dog Front Runner – here.
Daily exercise and allowing access to plenty of fresh drinking water can also help to alleviate constipation.
Yes, Big Dog healthy raw food diets are very beneficial for pets with Type 2 Diabetes. Pets with, or at risk of Diabetes require a high quality diet that is complete and balanced. Big Dog is moisture-rich, balanced, species appropriate nutrition consisting of high quality protein, healthy fats and low-starch (sugar / carbohydrate) veggies.
It is vital to control a diabetic dog’s sugar levels by feeding consistent meals, with the same amount of calories and ingredients at fixed times each day. Our Big Dog range makes feeding your diabetic dog easy, with our calorie levels readily available and ingredients of each flavour labelled clearly on our boxes. Not only do our patties come in ready to eat, conveniently proportioned packaging, they are also made from the highest quality natural, raw ingredients and are a complete diet.
If your dog needs to lose some weight, Big Dog Wellbeing and Kangaroo recipes are lowest in fat and great choices for helping control weight.
Some helpful links to explore further include:
Pets with kidney disease require high quality, highly digestible protein, with increased water content and bioavailable nutrition. The entire Big Dog range is beneficial for kidney health due to the presence of raw, high quality real meat as the protein source in addition to a high moisture content.
For dogs with more serious kidney issues our Wellbeing diet is the most suitable product in our range. Wellbeing is slightly lower in protein and phosphorus than other products in the Big Dog range which provides excellent nutrition while lowering the burden on the kidneys. In addition to this it is higher in moisture and contains a mixture of traditional healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health-promoting herbs, including nettle. Nettle is a herb traditionally used for kidney health as a natural detoxifier, blood purifier and diuretic.
A quality omega supplement such as Big Dog’s Front Runner, can be added to the Wellbeing diet to increase levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This will help to decrease inflammation and reduce kidney pressure. Learn more about Big Dog Front Runner – here.
Be sure to work with your vet to understand the signs of acute renal failure to ensure you take appropriate action if you see any warning signs.
Some helpful links to explore further include:
Dogs with pancreatitis require a high quality, highly digestible, low fat diet, with anti-inflammatory properties. We recommended our Wellbeing diet, containing only 6% fat and the highest quality natural, raw ingredients. This product has the added benefit of a mixture of traditional healing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and health-promoting herbs to support digestive and immune health.
As an alternative, our Kanga diet is our lowest fat variety at 4% which is a great option to give your dog some variety while on a low fat diet.
A helpful link to explore further:
Yes, Big Dog raw food diets are very beneficial for pets with Arthritis. Our diets exclude poor quality ingredients such as processed wheat products, rancid fats, salt and any other inflammatory arthritis aggravating ingredients. What our diets do include is healthy, high quality nutrition from natural sources. All of our raw food diets contain crushed cartilage and bone which contain the building blocks for maintaining healthy joints.
Fresh bone and cartilage are packed with calcium and other vital minerals, such as glucosamine, chondroitin and collagen as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids which promote cellular health, decrease inflammation and help with healthy ageing.
Our most suitable diets would be our Sensitive Skin diet and our Wellbeing diet. Our Sensitive Skin diet is our highest omega-3 containing product loaded with fresh Tasmanian Salmon. This diet helps improve joint health through its anti-inflammatory properties which are boosted by the herb turmeric which is also used in this recipe. Our Wellbeing diet is great for joint issues that are driven by weight. Being a lower fat diet, it naturally assists in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight which will decrease additional pressure on the joints. Both our Sensitive Skin and Wellbeing diets contain cold-pressed coconut oil, shown to have many health benefits for our pets, including weight control, anti-inflammatory properties, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
A quality omega supplement such as Big Dog’s Front Runner can be added to the Wellbeing diet to increase levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This will help to decrease inflammation around the joints.
In conjunction with our raw food diets, consider Big Dog’s Revive supplement. This is an all-natural ingredient combination for joint health. It offers easily digestible and bioavailable forms of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, enzymes, prebiotics and phytonutrients to help reduce inflammation. Key ingredients include, glucosamine and methylsulfonylmethane which directly assist in decreasing inflammation and improving the body’s ability to repair and strengthen joint tissues.
Learn more about our supplements – click here.
No. Big Dog food is based on an evolutionary diet so all of the products in our range contain crushed bone as a source of important vitamins and minerals. Because of this, our food cannot be cooked. Not only does cooking reduce the nutritional value of the fresh healthy ingredients, cooking bone results in it becoming brittle, potentially splintering and should not be digested by your dog in this state.
Because Big Dog food is made using 100% natural raw ingredients our food is naturally high in moisture, approximately 70%. In comparison, dry pet food has only around 10% moisture content. If your dog or cat has recently transitioned to a raw diet, they will have increased their water intake significantly, simply via food alone. This is one of many reasons raw food is great for kidney health. It is normal for pets on a raw diet to drink less water and if they are healthy, energetic and have normal toileting habits, then it is not a cause for concern. However, if they seem unwell, or if you notice unusual toileting behaviour (such as passing urine more often, or in inappropriate places), get them checked by your vet.
Cats in particular benefit from having more moisture in their diet. They do not have a high thirst drive, and struggle to drink enough water on a dry diet to keep them adequately hydrated.
All of our diets are suitable for pregnant bitches, except Kanga and Wellbeing due to their low fat content. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, food requirements generally do not change, although it is recommended to increase the frequency of feeding with a minimum of twice a day. In the third trimester, we recommend not limiting her food intake, allowing her to consume as much as she wants. It is also important to ensure raw meaty bones are added to optimise calcium intake.
Additionally, our Muscle Up supplement has been formulated to provide your pet with high levels of essential proteins. Proteins provide the building blocks for muscle growth, repair and recovery. Feeding Muscle Up may assist whelping bitches in ensuring they receive adequate levels of protein and are properly sustaining, developing and holding the condition of their muscle during and after pregnancy.
Learn more about our supplements – click here.
Yes. Our sourcing, manufacturing and quality assurance systems all meet the Australian standards for the manufacturing of pet food. We are independently audited twice every year in order to assess our compliance to the code and pass with flying colours.
We have two varieties that may assist in helping your dog to lose weight – Kangaroo at 4% fat and Wellbeing at 6% fat. These products should help, but if your dog needs to drop a lot of weight and fast it might be best to stick to Kangaroo for a while.
For best results, make sure to increase your dog’s daily physical activity and limit their treats.
For more information on each product, see our products page for dogs.
Because Big Dog raw food diets contain crushed bone, it’s important to wait until puppies and kittens are at least 12 weeks old before introducing our diets. In extremely small breeds, it may take even longer. We recommend kittens and puppies need to weigh at least 1 kg before introducing a diet containing real crushed bone.
It’s also important to get the digestive system used to raw meat by introducing raw mince as part of the weaning process. Once the puppy or kitten is tolerating a balanced diet including raw mince and is the appropriate age and weight, then slowly start introducing Big Dog raw diets over a 2 week period.
We have more information about transitioning to a Big Dog raw food diet in a separate FAQ titled “How do I transition my pet to raw food?”
At Big Dog, we use only human grade meat. The human grade meat processing industry contains significantly more quality process check points for things such as parasites than exist in the pet grade meat processing industry. This close monitoring means there is only as much risk of contaminated meat as you would find in your supermarket or local butcher.
In addition to sourcing quality, human grade ingredients, we process then freeze our food as our only method of preservation. The freezing process kills the vast majority of parasites that are at risk of being found in raw meat in Australia. This further reduces the likelihood of contamination with our products.
We also don’t use high risk meat such as wild boar in our facility as the risk of infection and cross-contamination is too high and we don’t want to take any chances.
However, all of these measures don’t overcompensate for the need for pet parents to regularly worm their pets as there are other sources of risk for pets when it comes to parasites (faeces of other animals in a dog park for example).