I’ve been a dog mom for 3 years this month (May) and I’ve been hearing about the raw
food diet for dogs for more than 2 years. At first I thought it was a silly fad; dogs don’t eat raw food, they’ve evolved beyond that. But the more people I encountered who raved about the benefits (less poop, better coats, less shedding), the more curious I became.
After a few months of research, last month (April) I decided to pull the trigger and make the switch.
But I didn’t switch all the way to raw and this is why we chose a raw + kibble diet for our dogs…
1. We didn’t know what we were doing. Even with the guidance of a holistic vet, books I found online, and fellow raw feeders, I was still nervous about the switch. When you’re about to feed your dogs raw food, all of a sudden you wonder…
* Should I warm this up?
* Is this messy; should I feed them outside?
* Will they become aggressive with each other?
* Are they getting all the nutrients they need?
* What if I forget to thaw the meat out?
* How much does this cost?
And on and on the questions came so I thought starting slow with a morning raw meal would work and evening kibble meal. Many people will argue that still keeping kibble in their diet is dangerous, because the kibble digests more slowly allowing the raw food to decompose in their tummies, making them sick.
I learned that it takes up to 5 hours for raw to digest and up to 10 hours for kibble to digest. They eat kibble in the evenings (5pm) and by the time they’re ready for breakfast (5am), the kibble is out of their system. Our dogs have been eating raw for three weeks and no one has gotten sick.
2. We weren’t sure if the dogs would like it. I didn’t want to rush our dogs into a raw diet and many people recommended a gradual shift to raw, not a cold turkey approach.
The dogs love their raw food. They’ve been very clear on which meat they don’t like (duck). We feed them a premade raw meal delivered 2x monthly from a local provider.
3. We wanted to account for when I couldn’t feed them. I’ve spoken with other raw feeders who keep kibble on the menu for when they’re traveling, when they’re running late, or when they forget to defrost the next day’s meal.
What we’ve found is that this isn’t much of a worry, especially when using pre-made raw meals. Another option raw feeders are using is freeze dried raw meals; this is a great back up when even the phone reminder doesn’t work (because the phone is in the other room, on vibrate).
The raw food community is huge and very supportive. As more people make the switch to raw food and see the benefits of this diet for their dogs (less poo, less smelly poo, better skin and coat, more energy, cleaner teeth, less vet visits), the more we’ll see our options grow. Feeding raw does cost more than feeding premium kibble, but I’m convinced that this cost will come back to us in fewer vet bills. And pre-made raw provided by a local company takes the nutrient-worry away! We’re well on our way to feeding fully raw.
If the raw food diet is something you’re considering, don’t allow anyone to pressure you. Take your time and do your homework and do what is comfortable for you and safe for your pets. Ask other raw feeders about their experience and look into what’s holding you back and how you can get over that barrier.
Best of luck!
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Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging where she shares dog care tips from her perspective as The Fur Mom to three rescue pups. She writes about dog health, nutrition, training and behavior; taking inspiration from Rodrigo, Sydney and Blue. Kimberly lives with her boyfriend, there three dogs and two cats in the Pacific Northwest.
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