For years, I have been feeding all my dogs dry kibble (with the odd time of adding in wet food, specifically if one of them had dental work done). Recently though, I’ve started transitioning all my dogs to a primarily raw fed diet.
Before I go into the reasons why, I want to say the following things:
I 100% understand the reasons why some pet owners are unable to feed raw. Not everyone has the option (both cost wise and location if you are based in a rural and remote area) to feed your pet raw. And that is OK! There are people out there who think if you’re not feeding raw, you’re a bad pet parent and you are “killing” your animal. There is more than enough judgement in the world and when it comes to feeding your pet, as long as you are feeding them, that is a good thing. Do what works for you!
Being involved in animal rescue, any food donations we get are greatly needed. We focus on feeding animals first and foremost. I would never expect someone who is fostering a dog to make the transition to raw.
I am NOT a veterinarian so I’m not here or able to offer any sort of medical advice.
I am also aware that not all dogs can eat raw as I know someone who’s dog consistently throws up any time they give him raw, so they make and cook his food instead. So once again, do what works best for you.
So why did I start feeding my dogs raw? Well, it’s quite simple. Max and Freckles literally did not want kibble any more. I had been feeding them Acana Pacifica and then switched to Orijen Tundra earlier this year and found they both were indifferent when it came to their food. So I decided to start adding in some freeze dried raw (such as Stella & Chewy’s Meal Mixers and Open Farm) to their food and found when I did that, they devoured their meals.
I eventually decided to try freeze dried raw patties from Stella and Chewy’s and Primal nuggets as well to see how they did. While both ate them up, I noticed Freckles would have a bit of an upset stomach if I gave her too much. So, it has been a slow transition for her.
I then started reading a bit more about the benefits of raw such as better digestion, shinier coats, healthier skin, better immunity and smaller stools just to name a few. I had noticed that all the dogs would occasionally deal with very smelly and loose stools from time to time when feeding just kibble but noticed as I started adding more raw food to their diet, the stool quality drastically improved (because there is nothing worse than trying to pick up a runny stool on grass).
I also found following accounts such as The DIY Dog Mom and Holistic Pet Radio helped me out significantly when it came to questions I had regarding feeding my dogs raw. They are not only great educational resources, they are also very supportive and are both willing to answer any questions you have in a very non judgmental way (which to me, is super important). Amanda of Holistic Pet Radio even has an episode called “Super Charge Your Kibble” for people who choose to or can only feed kibble to their pets. Adding things like raw goat’s milk, blueberries, broccoli and a pre & probiotic can really go a long way in enhancing your dog’s food.
The wonderful thing about raw is that it comes in so many different forms as well. If the raw meat options gross you out (which I totally understand) or DYI (do it yourself) seems overwhelming to figure out, you can get raw in freeze dried form, air dried (I really like Ziwi Peaks) and commercially prepared raw you can find any most pet food stores.
Right now, I am using the commercially prepared raw for all my dogs. Max and Freckles are currently rotating between irRAWsistable and Primal and seem to do the best with duck, lamb, turkey or beef. Dolly’s been a big of bigger challenge to switch over to raw food through due to her allergies (as she can’t have any sort of bird, beef, pork or wheat). Thankfully, she does well with venison and rabbit. I have found raw kangaroo at Homes Alive and not only does she love it, she’s doing amazing on it.
I found adding a pre & probiotic to every meal (I personally love Adored Beast Apothecary’s Healthy Gut) has also made for a much smoother transition.
For Dolly though, she still does get her Zignature kangaroo as she’s been doing really well on it. Eventually, I plan to have her on complete raw but am slowing transitioning with her as I need to be very cautious of her allergies and make sure something does’t flare them up (as I found she does well with one brand of venison but will have a flare up with another brand). When she does get kibble or a mix, she will always have goat’s milk, veggies and a dehydrated rabbit ear. I know there are many people out there who will be horrified by my feeding kibble and raw but it’s what works best for us.
I’m still in the learning process of everything there is to know about feeding raw but from what I’ve seen from my dogs, I feel I made the right choice. I plan to take a few courses over 2019 to help me learn and understand a little bit more of the science of it as well as I hope to help educate and support other dog others if they chose to also make the transition to raw.