This post may contain affiliate links.
This is an excellent question that was raised in my raw feeding group and just as I was about to respond “this represents a balanced raw diet,” I realized – I don't know.
While I couldn't find WHO came up with this ratio, it didn't take long to figure it out why we feed 80/10/5/5.
Who Came Up with 80 10 5 5 for Raw Feeding?
The 80/10/10 or 80/10/5/5 ratio for raw feeding represents whole prey. If a dog were to eat a whole animal, it is believed that on average…
- 80% of the animal would be muscle meat,
- 10% would be bone,
- 5% would be liver, and
- 5% would be offal (or secreting organs).
Many people have been named as the founder of the 80/10/10 ratio, however, I haven't been able to get close to an origin story until now!
What is Whole Prey Raw Feeding?
The 80/10/5/5 ratios are the jumping off point of whole prey raw and what followers believe most closely resembles the diet of a wolf or wild dog. Of course, the ratio isn't right for every dog, which is why I said it's a “jumping off point.” I started with these figures and adjusted each of my dogs' diets until I was meeting each of their needs through nutrition.
Whole Prey Raw, as I understand it, is the practice of feeding whole foods, following the ratio provided above, and balancing over time; or feeding whole animals if available. Devotees to Whole Prey Raw only feed foods that wolves would eat in the wild, so many people don't feed salmon because they say wolves don't eat salmon, and instead, choose to buy grass fed/finished animals (or hunt for wild animals) because they have lower levels of the Omega-6 fatty acids. It's the grain-fed animals that add higher levels of Omega-6 fatty acids to our dogs' diet, requiring the fish (Omega-3) to provide balance.
Wolves Do Eat Salmon!!!
Thank you, Michele, for sending me the link to this video! Mind Blown!!!
Why I Balance Raw Dog Food Over Time
I used to calculate the 80/10/5/5 when I put together meals. I would do the math, thaw the food that I needed, and spend half the day grinding meat and bones, pureeing vegetables, and mixing everything in several 8-quart bowls. When I was finished, I transferred everything to the freezer, thawing food as I needed it.
It was a lot of work, it took a lot of time, and it was easy to do. But there was a better way. Instead of balancing per meal, I could balance over time, which is what I do today.
Balancing over time is easier because instead of spending 1/2 a day calculating and mixing up meals, I spend 15-30 minutes grinding food. I thaw food from the freezer (ground duck wings, whole duck necks, venison, and organ blend – for example) to feed the dogs. I don't worry about amounts beyond how much a full meal weighs for each dog because I know that over time, their diet will reach balance.
How do I know?
Because I order and feed what my dogs need; muscle meat, bone, liver, and offal.