Dogs are carnivores and thrive on a prey based diet. A dog will survive, but will not thrive, on large amounts of vegetation and small amounts of meat. Given the option any dog will choose a steak over a banana! If the raw dog food diet is something new to you, you are not alone. Once you do some research and educate yourself on how to feed your dog a natural diet, you will be surprised at how easy it really is.
Processed dry dog food (kibble) is a relatively recent invention, only being around since the 1930s. Many commercial dog foods are laden with preservatives, dyes, salt, and have far too many carbohydrates in them. There are high and low quality kibbles and it’s important to note that commercial diets (dry or wet) are only as good as the quality of ingredients they use. When selecting a dry food, look for one with the first ingredient being a whole meat and steer clear of any meat/poultry by-products, added sweeteners, artificial colors and artificial sweeteners such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin.
BENEFITS OF FEEDING A RAW DOG FOOD DIET
Smaller bowel movements – Your dog uses more of this quality food, so there is much less waste. Stool is firm, easy to clean up, decomposes faster and has very little smell.
Less “doggie” smell – Some dogs can have an unpleasant odour, and often leave a dirty feeling on their hands after touching them. They aren’t supposed to!
Less bad breath – Foul smelling dog breath is the sign of an unhealthy mouth and gut. The raw diet encourages healthier teeth, gums and gut.
No fat dogs – Some dogs will just not lose weight, no matter what “diet” kibble they are on. Dogs can lose weight much easier on a raw diet, and tend not to be overweight in the first place.
Fewer allergy problems – Many dogs are allergic to certain ingredients in processed dog foods. Since raw food has no fillers or additives, it is often a better option than kibble for dogs with allergies.
Decreased vet bills – Raw fed dogs are simply much healthier! (I have a 14.5 year old raw fed dog to prove it!)
SWITCHING TO RAW
If your dog has eaten kibble for a long time, a slower transition to raw can be helpful. One meal can be raw and the other can be kibble for a week or so until your dog’s stomach gets used to the transition. Do NOT mix kibble and raw together in the same meal. Using digestive enzymes containing protease and lipase can help your dog’s gut adjust to the new food. This can be found at most pet stores.
When you switch over to raw food, you may notice some changes in your dog before you see all those benefits of natural fed. This is known as “the healing event” and is a perfectly normal occurrence. Stinky breath, upset digestion and soft stool are all normal reactions while the body does some much-needed housekeeping.
WHAT TO FEED
A good starting point is a mix of 60% protein (ground meat and bone or raw meaty bones), 30% tripe, eggs, fish and 10% organ meat such as liver and/or kidney.
Protein: There are many different kinds of meat you can feed your dog, including chicken, beef, turkey, bison, lamb, venison, rabbit and duck. It will depend on what meat your dog does best on, but keep in mind that variety is KEY. We do not recommend buying meat from the grocery store and feeding it raw, as that meat may have been sitting out for more than a few days. Usually the selection is frozen when you pick it up.
Raw meaty bones: Turkey necks, chicken necks, chicken backs, lamb necks, fish carcasses. NEVER feed your dog cooked bones.
Tripe: Full of beneficial bacteria, digestive enzymes and the perfect calcium/magnesium ratio, tripe is a near perfect food for dogs; you can’t feed too much.
Eggs: Raw shell and all if your dog will eat it, eggs are another near perfect food for dogs.
Fish: Perfectly safe for any healthy dog, raw fish (bones and all) is nutrient dense. Canned fish, although cooked, makes a nice addition to your dog’s diet for variety.
Fruit: Only a minimal amount of fruit is recommended since fruit is high in sugar. Fruit should be fed at least one hour before a protein meal because fruit simply doesn’t digest as well with protein. On its own, fruit exits the stomach quickly. When you feed fruit with protein, it sits in the stomach much longer.
Supplements: Many raw feeders add in a green vitamin powder to their dog’s food daily, as well as salmon oil, which is great for skin, coat and joints. Other options are Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and digestive enzymes. For more information on supplements, check out the links below.
*Thank you to Debbie Wood, Certified Carnivore Nutritionist for helping with this information.
HOW MUCH TO FEED?
This varies from dog to dog. A dog that is more active and has a higher metabolism needs more, while a less active dog or one with a slower metabolism needs less. Puppies typically eat more than adults since they need to fuel their rapidly growing body, and can eat between 4.5-6% of their body weight. The recommended food amount for an adult dog is 2-3% of the dog’s desired body weight per day. So for a 100 lb dog, you will be feeding 2-3 pounds of food a day, depending on his activity level.
Example: A 55 pound dog who should be fed an average of 2.5% of his body weight daily. Below are the converted calculations in pounds and grams.
55lbs = 24,970g
2.5% = 1.375 lbs. or 625g per day (spread over 2 meals)
I encourage you to do some research of your own before you make the switch to raw. Some great websites that will provide you more information are:
The food I have been feeding my dogs for more than 15 years comes from Pet Lovers Choice in Cobble Hill BC. They have a variety of meat, bones, carcasses, treats and even cat food. (Yep, your cat wants meat too).
READY TO ORDER?
My dad, Ian Andexser, is the Nanaimo Distributor for Pet Lovers Choice and carries a few freezers full of meat. If you would like to see a price list, or if you want to place an order, please email Ian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250.758.7594. While I live in Powell River, I am in Nanaimo at least once a month and can bring any orders placed back with me. With enough clients, I may decide to distribute this raw food more permanently in Powell River.
Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have, I love talking about this raw dog food diers and all of its amazing benefits!