We are so excited for this week’s theme: The Raw Truth. We’re dedicating the entire week to raw feeding from the do’s and don’ts to constructing an affordable diet so that you, too, may observe the incredible benefits of a raw diet. When we first heard of raw feeding, we often saw people feeding whole rabbits, baby chickens and so forth. To two vegans who were uneducated in dog nutrition and feeding a “high-quality” kibble to our dogs, it was extremely morbid to us. We couldn’t understand why or how people could feed their dogs in this manner.
It wasn’t until this past Spring that we began taking more note of raw feeding–particularly ones that didn’t feature whole animals. As we began to do deeper research while also following various raw feeders on Instagram, we realized just how much our dogs were missing out on. Kibble began to look more and more like fast food (no pun intended) in comparison to a natural, whole food meal. We knew we had to transition our dogs; the only regret we have is that we hadn’t educated ourselves sooner.
Please keep in mind that we are still quite new to raw feeding and we’re only sharing what we’ve learned and experienced thus far. It’s important to do thorough research for the safety of your pets when transitioning to a raw diet. There are also a variety of ways to feed a raw diet–and not everyone will agree on certain diets. We choose to feed a Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (B.A.R.F.) diet, which means we are not opposed to feeding fruits and veggies in addition to meat. At the end of the day, it’s most important to put your dog’s interests first and therefore make the decision you feel will benefit them to the greatest degree.
We jumped into raw feeding feet first… so our transition is not one we would necessarily recommend, given our limited knowledge at the time. Since then, we’ve learned that it is best to start with one bone-in protein (such as Chicken Wings, Drumsticks or Leg Quarters) for the first week. You can then begin slowly introducing additional proteins, followed by liver and finally offal (organ meats). The best indicator for your dog’s health on raw feeding is by taking note of their bowel movements. Diarrhea or dark stool can indicate too much offal, while constipation and white stool can indicate too much bone.
When feeding a raw diet, it is important to make certain that the diet is well balanced. The best tool we have found for calculating our dogs’ needs has been the app, Raw Dog. This tool allows you to select your dog’s weight and the percentage of food they need. It is recommended 2% be fed for weight-loss, 2.5% to maintain weight and 3% for weight-gain. Keep in mind that these percentages are basic recommendations and do not take into consideration high-energy and working dogs, who need more sustenance than the average dog.
While switching to a raw diet can be intimidating, it’s important to do your best and remember the benefits of eliminating processed, cooked food filled with preservatives and other fillers. With hard work, dedication and practice, you can and will succeed. I highly recommend saving this informative poster for reference when shopping, prepping and keeping track of the changes in your dog’s stool. We have also found it helpful to follow @rawfeedingcommunity on Instagram for meal ideas and joining Raw Feeding groups on Facebook. We hope this week’s articles will give you the confidence transition your dog to a well balanced and biologically appropriate diet. Please feel free to share your own insights and experiences in the comments below! There’s nothing better than combining our knowledge and experiences with one another to new ones embark on their own journey.