Feeding & Handling

Feeding Instructions

Raw meats contain between 65 to 75% water. At Big Dog Natural, we take most of that water out of the food during the drying process. Although Big Dog Natural can be fed dry, we highly recommend rehydrating our products. Dogs are not the best drinkers and adding water to the food helps them intake the water they need in a more natural way. Typically, 1 lb of wholesome air-dried and fermented Big Dog Natural has the nutritional value of 4 lbs of fresh food.


To calculate the amount of food your dog needs based on their size and age, please check the Feeding Calculator.

  1. Put the needed amount of BDN in the bowl and top off with moderately warm water. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.

  2. Stir well before serving. Wash hands, food surfaces and utensils thoroughly after handling this product.

  3. Refrigerate promptly or discard any unused, leftover wet pet food. Refrigerators should be set at 40º F.

  4. Dry products should be stored in a cool, dry place—under 80º F. If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed.

 Asked Questions

Does Big Dog Natural need to be frozen or stored in the refrigerator?

No need for extra freezer space or lugging coolers when traveling. Big Dog Natural is naturally shelf stable and should be stored in a cool, dry place out of sunlight.
We don’t recommend refrigerating the food when it’s dry, because this can introduce moisture.
Once you’ve added water to the dehydrated food, you should feed it, or promptly cover and refrigerate un-used portions.

What is the shelf life of Big Dog Natural?

We add a “best by” date of 12 months from the production date. This does not mean that the food is going bad after that date. If kept cool and dry, Big Dog Natural stays good way beyond that time.

How is Big Dog Natural packed?

All Big Dog Natural food gets packed in easy-open 2 pound sleeves, which may be purchased by themselves, or in multiples of 3, 5, 10 or 20. The larger the unit, the more economical the price per pound.
This also allows us to offer variety packs. Now you can have a variety with a reasonable amount of food. Now you can enjoy a variety with a reasonable
amount of food. It’s also easier to handle and to store.

How do I open the bags?

The individual 2 lb bags have a little notch on the top. Just tear the bag open, no scissors needed. You can then pour out the desired amount and transfer the rest into an airtight container or use a clip to re-close.

How do I measure the right amount of Big Dog Natural?

On our website, in the menu under Support, you’ll find a handy-dandy feeding calculator that will tell you how much DRY Big Dog Natural you need per DAY.
Of course, if you feed several times a day, you will have to split that amount up between the different meals.
We suggest that for the first few days, you actually WEIGH the recommended amount. Later on , you can kind of eye-ball it once you know how much it fills up the bowl.
If you measure in cups, you may get different weights, depending on the consistency of the food, how tightly it’s packed in the cup etc. (a cup of rice weighs more than the same cup with cornflakes, for example.)
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can still use a cup measure of course.
On average, Big Dog Natural contains about 4 cups per pound, or 8 cups per 2 lb bag.

How much water do I add and could I use cold water or no water at all?

No need to measure here! Just pour the desired amount of dry Big Dog Natural in the bowl and top it off with rather warm water but not boiling! Boiling water would “cook” the food and destroy some very valuable vitamins and enzymes. But the warmer the water, the faster it will reconstitute the food. Don’t add too much to start, you can always add more later. Just barely cover the food with water, stir and let it sit for at least 10 minutes until desired consistency. Stir again and serve.
You can certainly use cold water, it will just longer to get the same consistency. This is convenient when traveling for instance.
Although one would perfectly be able to feed Big Dog Natural dry, we certainly don’t recommend this. Dogs are not the best of drinkers and as every living creature, dogs needs fluids in their systems to let the organs function in an optimal way. Raw meats have about 75% water in them and provide plenty of water to the dog’s system in a natural way. At Big Dog Natural we designed a dog food that mimics this situation and by adding water you give the dog the change to get enough water into the system in a natural way.

Can I prepare Big Dog Natural in advance?

You sure can! Once you’ve added water to Big Dog Natural, you should treat it just like any other fresh meat product. If you don’t use it right away, you should cover it and refrigerate immediately. The fermentation process, we have in place at Big Dog Natural, makes sure you can safely keep it this way for up to a week covered in the refrigerator.
You can also make several meals at the time, which is especially helpful with smaller dogs because they require such a small amount of food per meal.
A TIP for dog parents who are busy in the mornings: rehydrate the food overnight in the fridge. Scoop some out the next morning and add a little warm water if needed.

How do I transition my dog from his current food?

Big Dog Natural is all natural and will be recognized by your dog’s system as such. In most cases they will just take to the food without any problems. In our experience, they’ll go nuts for it immediately. You will probably have to put it out of their reach while it’s rehydrating because of the enticing smell.
So you don’t need to “slowly” introduce Big Dog Natural or trick your dog by disguising it, just go “cold turkey”.
However when you switch from kibble or canned food to Big Dog Natural, you may see some detoxing while adjusting to the consumption of proper nutrients. This is nothing to worry about. It’s just the dog’s system getting rid of the build up toxins in the body. For some period the dog might look a bit sluggish.
Depending on factors such as age, how long they have been fed commercial pet food, or immune system health, detox may last from a couple of days to several weeks or most of the time NOT AT ALL.
The most common symptoms of detox include vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, and itchy skin.
Remember to hang in there and know it’s only going through a transition period and come out of it much, much healthier.

Can I mix Big Dog Natural with other foods?

Big Dog Natural has everything your dog needs, and there is nothing in Big Dog Natural your dog doesn’t need. Big Dog Natural is the perfect stand-alone food.
That doesn’t mean you can’t spruce it up with extra add-ins or toppers. You can also switch it up with your own home prepared raw meals or treats. However we don’t recommend mixing Big Dog Natural with other kibble like dog foods in the same meal. Kibble is highly processed and needs more time to properly digest than Big Dog Natural does. This could cause digestive problems  when feeding together. Big Dog Natural is highly bio-available and easily digested, whereas kibble stays in your dog’s system much much longer. Often twice as long.
If you want to use up what you have left from your current dog food, you can feed it at different mealtimes. For example, Big Dog Natural in the morning and the kibble in the evening.
There is absolutely no problem feeding Big Dog Natural together with other raw or minimal processed products.

Why is Big Dog Natural so convenient for travel, 
pet sitters, emergencies and daily life?

Away from home, whether it be traveling or taking your dog to the pet sitter, dog training or a dog show, Big Dog Natural is super easy to take along. To prepare, all you need is a bowl and some water. Big Dog Natural is lightweight, packed in 2 lb sleeves, there is no need to lug around huge bags of dog food, or coolers to keep it frozen .
It’s also great to have on hand in case of emergency, if you have to leave your house or get unexpected dog guests, etc…


Our innovative approach in creating good, honest and natural food helps dogs live longer and healthier lives.