How We Formulate Our Raw Dog Food

More than just great ingredients.

How We Formulate Our Raw Dog Food

There’s more to a great diet than just quality ingredients. How the recipe is formulated is just as important. A great recipe improves overall health, reduces inflammation and is easy to digest. The shiny coat and firm poos are the icing on the cake!

Tory and I are accredited canine & human nutritionists. We have taken great care in formulating and perfecting our recipes so you don’t have to. Whoa Nelly! contains everything your pup needs to thrive - it’s an amazingly healthy diet for your dog!

Here’s how we formulate our food:
???? No nutritional gaps
???? Lab tested ingredients
⚖️ Balanced fats & minerals
???? Fermented probiotics for gut health
???? Functional foods like turmeric & blueberries


Nutrition standards

A great diet starts with good nutrient guidelines. These guidelines outline the required nutrient levels for optimal health, as well as the ideal fat and mineral balance. While they are not perfect, standards help to avoid deficiencies and health problems down the road.

We formulate our food to be AACFO “complete and balanced”, and to meet the much more precise NRC standard. Most vets require the diet to be complete and balanced as a minimum.

Here’s a simplified version of the NRC guidelines.


NRC nutrient guidelines, per 1000kcal


We formulate our food using only whole foods. It would be easier to meet the guidelines using vitamin and mineral supplements, but the nutrition in whole food is better absorbed by the body. Great nutrition will always be whole food based.

To be able to meet the standard, we need to know the nutrient profile of our food. We’ve had our ingredients tested by Symbol Labs so that we know their exact make up when formulating our food. It means we can be very confident about the nutrition in our food.

High quality meat

High quality animal protein is the biggest part of the diet, so this is where our recipes begin. We use a variety of ethically sourced proteins in our food, including grass fed beef and wild sourced kangaroo, buffalo and venison. These meats have different nutrient profiles which effect how the recipe is formulated. 

For our non-hypoallergenic recipes, we also use bone-in organic chicken. This provides the the calcium and phosphorous content in it’s most bioavailable form.

Read more: Can My Dog Eat Buffalo?

Sustainably sourced fish

The next addition to our recipes is fish. We use sustainable sourced sashimi-grade salmon. Because fish contains a relatively high amount of fat, it is quite calorically dense. Canine nutrition is measured by energy, not by weight, so we add the higher calorie ingredients first to make the balancing part easier later.

Fish contains the essential fats EPA & DHA which cannot be found in other sources. These fats are really important to your dogs health, so all dogs need to eat fish. We use fish in all of our recipes.

Read more: Can My Dog Eat Fish?

High quality organs

The next addition is organs, which are incredibly nutrient dense foods containing lots of vitamins and minerals. It is extremely difficult to formulate food without using organs. We use organs that are the same as the main meat where possible - so beef organs in our beef recipe.e

This completes the animal protein in the recipe. All together we are aiming for the meat, fish and organs to be about 75%-80% of the total recipe. 

Organic fruit & veg

Fresh produce is an important part of a healthy diet. This is because fruit and veg contain phytonutrients - compounds that have health benefits for dogs.

For example, green veggies contain chlorophyll which has been shown to help delay the onset of symptoms of liver cancer caused from consumption of aflatoxin contaminated grains.

In addition to their beneficial properties, fresh produce is needed to meet the nutrition standard. We also use fresh produce to to meet the nutrition standard - its quite difficult to do using only meat.

Whoa Nelly! is made with locally sourced organic fruit and veggies.

Fermented probiotics

With great gut health as our primary aim, it’s important to have a source of good bacteria (probiotics) in the diet. We make our Nelly Belly and Baby Belly fermented foods to add these beneficial bacteria. A healthy gut is the key to a better immune system, healthier coat and healthy firm poos. 

Read more: Why Healthy Dogs Have Healthy Guts

Balance the fats

Fat is a very important and often overlooked part of the diet. It is critical to have the right level of fat in the diet. Our recipes are between 8% and 12% in total fat content as this is the optimal range. Beware very low or very high fat diets! 

There are several types of fats and it’s important to have all of them in the food. The ratio between these fats is important to immune function and reducing inflammation so we are very precise with how we balance our fats.

We’re looking to have a relationship between Omega 3 and Omega 6 of about 1 : 3. This helps to reduce inflammation and promote the proper functioning of the immune system. 

The way to achieve this obviously depends on the fats that are in the diet. Beef, chicken, kangaroo and buffalo all contain different fats so need to be treated differently. We use organic chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil and sunflower seeds to precisely balance the fat in our recipes.

Balance the minerals

Mineral balance is also an important consideration. We are primarily focused on the relationship between calcium and phosphorous. We’re looking to have it at a ratio of about 1 : 1.3. To achieve this, we can change the amount of chicken or fish bone, or we can add a pure calcium powder we make with left over egg shells. This is an often overlooked part of recipe formulation and has a big impact on health over the years.

The other issue is that minerals like calcium are not excreted, so if there is too much they will accumulate and likely cause serious health problems down the line. It’s important that just the right level of minerals is present in the diet.

Functional foods

Despite all that has gone into the recipe so far, it still isn’t nutritionally complete. We need to add additional ingredients so that there is adequate iodine, vitamin E, selenium, manganese and more. To do this we use superfoods like organic kelp and wheatgrass.

We also use ingredients that have scientifically proven health benefits, which are called functional foods. These ingredients have a positive impact on health beyond just nutrition.

For example, spirulina helps to provide relief from allergies. Each recipe is formulated differently, using different functional foods that work together.

Here’s the blend we make for Beef & Chicken:

  • Organic Blueberries (antioxidants, improve cognitive function)

  • Organic Turmeric (reduces inflammation)

  • Organic Reishi (beta-Glucans, immune & gut support)

  • Organic Flax (omega-3 fat balance)

  • Organic Wheatgrass (magnesium, Zinc, Vitamins E, B2, B3)

  • Diatomaceous Earth (improves nutrient absorption and anti-parasitic)

  • Organic Kelp (iodine)

Australia’s healthiest raw dog food!

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