What exactly is a raw diet for dogs.
Well a raw diet for dogs, as the name implies involves feeding your dog completely on a raw diet. Namely raw meat, bones and offal. One of the main reasons why natural feeding makes good sense is that dogs and wolves are the same species, the only difference being that dogs have been domesticated.
Some people believe that because dogs have been domesticated they no longer have the propensity to be able to eat a raw diet. They argue that the dogs digestive system is changed due to domestication.
Even though, dogs may have been eating a certain amount of cooked food for the last 8,000–20,000 years but it has only been a percentage of their diet, it is has only been a percentage of domesticated dogs and it hasn’t been long enough for them to change the way their bodies digest and absorb nutrients. Dogs and wolves have the same digestive system and they will need to be fed Kibble for a lot longer than this to change their system.
I for one do not believe that dogs or wolves ever ate kibble in the wild unless it was foraged. I reckon if you offer your dog a piece of meat versus a dog biscuit, very few would choose the dog biscuit.
Feeding a balanced raw diet
There are many ways to feed your dog a raw diet, the video above explains a D.I.Y method, but complete meals can be bought online from suppliers such as Prodog,but there are many others and a simple search online will bring up a virtual cacophony of suppliers both subscription and one time purchases.
On this page a helpful calculator lets you input your dogs weight and gives you a rough guide on how much to feed to feed your dog. You know your dog best and will know when changes begin to happen.
Benefits of feeding a raw diet
- A solid poop!
- Shiny, smooth, oil-free coats
- Flake-free and itch-free skin
- Chronic allergies and infections subside and/or disappear
- White teeth, free of tartar and dental disease
- Decreased visits to the vet
- Odorless breath and body
- Improved energy and vitality
- Mental stimulation from working at mealtimes
The first thing you will notice is in your dogs waste. On a raw diet the waste is firmer and a lot less than kibble fed dogs. If like me you are used to your dog pooping out as much as went in, this a great bonus.
Skin & Coat Improvements
Despite what you see portrayed on the endless sea of bags and cans at the pet store and on TV commercials, many dogs that are fed commercial diets have a dull, lackluster appearance to their coats. Just as our hair can be damaged and take on a lifeless look, proper care and treatments can leave it luxurious and smooth. The same is true for your dog’s coat. But, instead of fancy salon treatments, feed them a raw diet!
A raw fed dog’s coat will be smooth and shiny. Dogs fed canned or kibble typically have oily and smelly coats. We have all encountered dogs like this and they generally leave you with a greasy film on your hands that you can smell for hours. Not good for either party.
Thankfully, even these dogs will see an improvement in their coat once they transition to a raw diet. The oily feeling and odor will subside over time and a much nicer-smoother coat will emerge.
Another common problem that many dogs on traditional diets are skin problems. Many of them have dry-flaky skin much like dandruff in humans. And, others have itchy skin that they just can’t seem to stop itching or licking, in turn, driving their owners mad.
While not all skin issues are a result of diet, dogs eating a raw diet will have a more robust and healthy immune system. This will lead to improved skin and coat.
Whiter teeth and healthier gums.
Feeding a dog raw meaty bones cleans their teeth and keeps plaque and tarter down. Raw chicken on the bone act like natures toothbrush.
There are many sites describing the best way to feed bones to dogs and of course which ones. One such article here has all the info you need to get started
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN SWITCHING YOUR DOG TO A RAW DIET
There are two general approaches to switching dogs to raw foods quickly and slowly. Healthy young dogs, should have no problems with the quick way. This method is typically the simplest and most successful.
However, for older pets that have been eating commercial foods all their life or dogs with gastrointestinal problems, a slower transition is recommended.
A lot of people like to make the switch quickly. That is one day feed their normal food, next day change to a raw diet. Others leave a day with no food in between and then feed a raw diet for dogs.
The most successful slow way method to a raw food diet is to begin switching your dog gradually over 7 day period. You may find your dog may need anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks to make the full transition, depending on age, weight and activity level.
Start the process by providing one feeding of their regular diet to one feeding of the raw diet of your choice. Be sure to keep each feeding separate as both products are consumed and processed at different rates and should never be mixed. Over the course of a few days gradually decrease the amount of dry food and increase the amount of raw until your pet’s diet consists of 100% raw food.
If you are noticing loose stools early in the process, cut back on the amount of raw food being fed and increase it at a slower rate. The final result should be small and firm stool consistency, which is a direct result of better nutrient absorption.
Make sure the meat you are feeding is fresh and good quality!
Cooking Raw Food
Some say you can lightly cook the food to keep the interest of dogs that can be a bit picky with their food. Just cook the food and then gradually cook it less and less as you progress.
Detoxification is a natural process in where the body releases toxins through the outside of the body as a way of cleansing internal organs and tissue. Some dogs can and do go through a period of detoxification, where their system clears the toxins accumulated from their former diet. During this time you may notice some loose or mucous in the stool, runny eyes, and excretions through their ears.
In some cases, they may lose some of their coat – to make room for a healthier new one; all of these are good signs that the body is ridding itself of toxins. The detox period should last for a few days, after which your dog will look and feel much better. If however the symptoms persist for more than a few days, please contact your vet and have them checked over for medical problems.
Switching Saber to a complete Rw Diet For Dogs
I had zero problems switching Saber over to a Raw Diet as since he was a puppy I have given him raw meat as a treat, plus since he got his second set of teeth he has had raw chicken thighs, chicken quarters and drumsticks to chew on.
I always felt though that while he was on kibble (and I tried many) he never enjoyed his food, ate sporadically or just flat refused to eat it. To test out how he would take to a complete raw diet for dogs I took advantage of the many offers of cut price raw diet for dogs. Such as variety boxes, free food for a week and so on. All these of course are for first time customers only, so going back to one will see you paying the full price.
I quite often build my own meals for him, from beef mince, beef chunks, chicken and of course offal and bone. Most recommendations are for the diet to balance out as 80% muscle meat which is the main ingredient plus 10% offal and 10% bone. These don’t have to be given at every meal, so long as it balances over a week or so.
One thing to bear in mind is that I am no expert and only changed Sabers diet to raw feeding after doing much research. I found the food he likes best by trying different brands and making him up a diet. He often throws a spanner in the works and refuses to eat but most times meal times are a happy place for him to be. I certainly have noticed a difference in him. The best part is not having to pick up as much as I feed him.
Good luck with your journey to a raw diet.