As Natural As it Gets.
I am a huge fan of raw feeding. It is the most natural way you can feed your pet.
You have probably heard a lot of myths over the years which will make you nervous to start.
In order to be a good raw feeder you must be able to have an open mind and a strong back bone. A lot of veterinarians hate raw
feeding, a lot of day care and training halls have a prejudice against raw feeding and will shun your dog. You MUST be able to stand
up for what you believe in. If you do not believe in raw and you will allow your vet and others to bully you, then give up the idea now
and stick with kibble.
You should stick to one type of feeding or another. Kibble is very processed and sits in the dogs system for up to 3 days, I know this
first hand because I have withheld food for surgery and still had totally undigested kibble in their system a full 2 days later. Raw is
all natural so it digests very quickly. When you feed the two you run the risk of kibble holding up the digesting process of the raw
and creating problems. Some people feed both with no issues but you should do so knowing the risks involved.
One of the first things I want to point out about Raw, how natural it is and why I believe in it so much is this. What other species on
this planet feeds it’s offspring a different nutritional diet than the adult counter parts eat? None. Wild canines make a kill and either
bring back the body or eat the flesh and regurgitate it for the young, wild felines do exactly the same thing. Birds whether seed or
meat eaters will eat the seeds or bugs, fly back to the nest and regurgitate it, they will carry worms back for the babies, you don’t see
a momma bird picking up a different variety of worm/bug for babies, it’s the same as mom and dad eat. Fish eat the same things as
their parents starting with small particles as they are tiny and growing into the full grown plants or animals they will eat as their
mouth grows. Even as humans, we start off with breast milk (just like dogs) and as we wean them onto solid foods we feed them the
same things we eat, fruit, vegetables, meats, pastas, we just take out the spices and mash it so they don’t choke, but we don’t
withhold foods or make sure they have a different nutritional diet than we have. They eat what we eat. Also look at today’s dog
food companies that have food for certain breeds and even has elderly dog food. Do you suddenly hit a certain age and feed
grandma and grandpa different foods? No. Do you think it happens in any species in the wild? No. So why do we as pet owners
blindly follow dog food companies and let them dictate to us. Simple, they have a great marketing team paid to make us want to buy
Raw is natural. Raw will keep your dog healthy. IF you ask for research on this I can not provide it, why, because there is no multi
million dollar company to back it up like there is with kibble. Almost all kibble is owned by huge million dollar companies, research it.
NestlePurina is responsible for manufacturing the following foods: Alpo, Beggin, Beneful, Busy, Chef Michaels, Deli-Cat,
Fancy Feast, Felix, Friskies, Gourmet, Just Right, Mighty Dog, Purina Beyond, Purina One, Purina Dog and Cat Chow, Purina Pro
Plan, And Purina Veterinary Diets. Take the time to google the net worth of Nestle and realize how much money they have to do
scientific research and have it conveniently weigh in the favor of processed dog/cat foods. I mean why would they pay to have
research done if it wasn’t going to be favorable.
Proctor and Gamble own Eukaneuba, Innova, Evo, California Natural, Karma, Health Wise and Mother Nature. We all know how big
a company Proctor and Gamble are, so think of how much money they have to pay for research.
Colgate Polmolive owns Hills Science Diet, another popular “vet recommended” kibble.
So keep a very open mind if you hit google for research on what foods are good and kibble versus raw. Take into account who is
doing the research and what they have to gain from it.
Any company, like Maple Lodge, who sells raw chicken, is marketing to human consumption only, so they are not going to spend
any money to try and convince anyone to feed it to their dogs. There is no profit in it for them, so you won't find any research.
Remember something else as well. When your Vet tells you they recommend the brand they sell, they get a kick back. They have bills
to pay and if you buy the food they sell they make a profit. So it is in their best interest to sell you the food from their clinic. Most vets
are not nutritional specialists so they cannot tell you how good every brand of food is. They have a very small generic knowledge
of nutrition. Just like you and I know we are supposed to eat so much fruit and Vegetables and that certain fats are bad for us, it is
just generic information. They are medical professionals NOT nutrition specialists unless they have gone on to further their knowledge
in that field.
So, lets talk about some of the benefits that you will see if you feed your dog a proper raw diet.
usually have tartar build up).
- Clean teeth, by chewing on soft raw bones your dog will have white teeth his or her entire life. (kibble fed dogs at just a year old
kibble fed animals.
- Strong jaw muscles, tearing apart a big natural piece of meat takes work, those are muscles not generally worked in regular
about it, which way to hold the carcass, where to put their feet, how to get a good hold on it. Feeding large hunks of bone in
- Tearing apart a large carcass is both mentally and physically exhausting for your pet. Eating takes longer and they have to think
meat helps wear your dog out mentally and physically.
so much less coming out. Raw stool is usually very small, much less smelly and if left in the yard it decomposes very quickly.
- Small bowel movements because you have so little processed unnecessary stuff going into your dogs body, you will have
to when you feed a cup of kibble and the dog poops out at least half of it if not more.
- Less thirsty, because the food is wet with natural juices you will notice your dog’s drink a LOT less water.
- Less food consumption, because the food is all natural when you feed 1 cup of food they are using almost all of it, as opposed
So how to get started.
You have two ways to feed raw, the expensive way or the cheap way.
If you want to have the no fuss expensive way, go to a pet store that sells pre-made raw, it is already ground up, contains meat,
organs and sometimes vegetables and vitamins. Because it is ground up you loose the benefit of large soft bones, think of us as
humans surviving on blended up foods in a smoothy. It’s still nutritional, but it lacks any fun and substance. This is often an easy way
to go if you have never done raw before and need help getting started. It's also the easier route to go if you have to leave your dog
with someone and they are squeamish about raw, but it is also a very expensive way to do it because you are paying the processor
to grind it and package it, then you are paying the store to stock it and sell it, so you have quite the mark up. The benefit is you don't
have to think about it, you don't have to go sourcing out a variety of meats and organs, you don't have to think about measuring anything,
it's one stop shopping made easy.
The cheap way.
You can feed raw virtually for free if you’re good! Call all of your friends and relatives, co-workers etc. Ask them to save all of their
freezer burnt meats for you. If you or your friends go fishing, keep everything you won’t eat including sun fish, gobie fish, heads
and tails etc. If you have friends who are hunters, ask them to keep all their scraps for you. If you have a butcher near you, ask them
if you can have (or buy) all of their scraps and bones that they cannot sell. When you buy a whole chicken for your family, cut it up,
take as much meat as your family will eat off the bones and save the carcass for the dog. So far this should all be free food for
your dog. Take everything people offer and if there is something you don’t want to feed your dog, such as extra spicy sausages,
just throw it away yourself. If you get picky on people they will stop offering you free food.
To buy cheap food keep your eyes open. Here in Ontario I go to Maple Lodge farms in Brampton for chicken backs and chicken
organs. You can call around to rabbit farmers and pig farmers to get different types of meat. Last day of sale is great if you want to
buy something different for your dog. There are a lot of places in Toronto that sell things you can’t find in small towns, take advantage
of cultural differences and scavenge for great deals!
Feed the food as whole as you can. I do not grind it up. Part of the value of raw is tearing away the meat from the bones and chewing
up the bones to be able to ingest them. RAW BONES ARE SAFE!!! The only bones that are dangerous are cooked ones.
They can splinter and perforate the intestines as they travel. Raw chicken and turkey bones are soft and will digest easily. Actually
the only other dangerous bone are what we call weight bearing bones. Think about how strong a cows legs have to be in order to
hold them up, they are very dense and your dog can not actually eat these. With close supervision I allow my dogs to chew on them
to get the meat but if they become too aggressive in their chewing they can and will fracture teeth. So I monitor my dogs to make sure
they are not going to cause damage. These are for recreational purposes only and really have very little to do with the actual diet
because they do not ingest much. They are also dangerous if your dog is a powerful chewer so if you give weight bearing bones,
you should always do so under very close supervision and take it away as soon as the chewing becomes powerful enough to
Fruits and veggies. You can or you can’t. I don’t find it matters at all and have not noticed any difference in my dogs health either way.
I have fed a diet to regularly include veggies and I have fed a diet with no veggies. Again I noticed no difference.
I do not normally add it as part of their diet because they usually ignore it and go for the meat. Instead I use fruits and veggies as
treats. My dogs all beg in the kitchen and I toss them pieces when I’m preparing things.
Some people like to make a leafy green mush. I did in the beginning but like I said I didn’t notice any difference so I stopped. When I
did it I went out once a week and bought Kale, spinach, alfalfa, brussel sprouts, romaine lettuce, green lettuce and then any fruits and
veggies that were on sale, lots of pumpkin in the fall, berries in the summer. I would put 2 cups of water in a blender, toss in a whole
mess of stuff, blend it all together and then freeze it in ice cube trays. The dogs would get these green cubes as treats 2-3 times a
day. They loved them but it is a bit of work and I didn’t notice a big difference in their over all condition. So it’s a very individual thing
to try. If you make raw feeding too complicated you will stop. So do what works for you. If you find the green cubes easy, then go for it,
it can only be better for the dogs to have a variety in their diet
I do feed a lot of dehydrated raw foods, I dehydrate chicken, beef, pork, both meat and organs ( no bones), liver is cheap this way,
I also dehydrate all my fruits and veggies, bananas, apples, strawberries, pumpkin, beans etc These are great training treats,
all natural and very healthy. I feed these treats no matter what diet I feed.
So how I feed raw.
Make sure you are feeding about 90% meat/bones (80% meat 10% bones) and 10% organs.
Too much bone will make the stool white and powdery and they can get constipated.
If this happens just add more meat with less bones to the next meal. I take a bowl, I toss in a handful of organ meats and depending
on the size of the dog 2-3 pieces of meat about the size of 2-3 chicken backs. It’s that simple. Play with it a bit.
Some dogs will like fish, others will take a while to get used to it. Keep offering things to find out what your dog likes. The more skin
on the meat, the more fat content so the more weight your dog may put on. I use chicken as my main food because it is cheap,
readily available, tends to be super easy to digest and the bones are easy to eat. Rabbit is my next most fed food because we
raise our own rabbits for meat. This is something you can do even in the city if you have the courage to process your own rabbits.
Not everyone does so it is dependant on your comfort level that way.
You can put an egg in their food, shell and all, some of my dogs like shells and others don’t. The ones that don’t I try and crush it up a
bit more to get them to eat it. Some still pick through it lol
Be cautious with chicken necks. If your dog is not used to raw, skip these for now. Look at the shape of them and compare it to the
shape of your dog’s throat. Dogs that do not take their time with their food can and have swallowed the neck whole and choked
to death. So as puppies or new raw eaters skip feeding necks. Once your dog is established and understands how to eat them
and isn’t gulping, then you can feed necks safely.
Once every week I like to give the dogs a big carcass. A whole chicken, a whole rabbit, a piglet, whole or half depending on it's
size, something they really have to work on for a long time. Something they will gorge themselves on. This is where I find I get the
most benefit, they really clean their teeth and really get exhausted from eating.
You can feed thaw or frozen, for dogs who like to gulp I like to give it to them frozen solid. Solves the gulping problem pretty fast and
cools them down on a hot summer day.
All in all, make it easy on yourself. Don’t over think it. We don’t generally count calories and percentage of protein in our own diets
so don’t fuss over your dog’s diet too much. If you make it really complicated then you will quit. Make it as simple as you can.
How much to feed depends on the dog. Just like it does with kibble. The more active the dog, the more he will need to eat of any
diet. The less active he is, the less he will need. Raw feeding is generally measured by weight and not volume.
Step one, weigh your dog. You need to know his weight. For a growing puppy I feed between 3 and 5% of his body weight,
this amount really depends on his activity level.
For an adult dog we feed 2-3% of their body weight a day.
You need to experiment and see if the dog is maintaining his body weight, or is he getting skinny or fat. We adjust as needed.
It's not rocket science and I do not make it complicated. I feed more or less as needed. Do not get hung up on numbers.
The numbers are a guide line ONLY. Everyone you ask will give you a different set of magical numbers that works for them.
So just go for it.
Just like kids, YOU decide what your dog will eat. No dog in the history of dogs has ever starved himself when food was put down.
He may hold out for a day or so waiting for something he is used to, especially if he’s an older dog, but if you want him to eat raw,
then feed him raw. Put it down where you normally feed him, give him half an hour, if he doesn’t want it pick it up and let him go
hungry. Offer it again at the next meal. After a few days of being hungry the dog will eat. If however you let the dog dictate that it
wants kibble, you’re letting your dog call the shots. I don’t let my kids tell me what they are going to eat and I don’t let my dogs do
So week 1.
Decide what you are going to try. I tend to start very simple, just chicken. Chicken wings ( if the dog is small enough not to swallow it
whole), chicken backs, and a few organs (liver, heart and gizzards). I want to know that my dog can tolerate each food so I know if I need
to avoid anything. Stick with just Chicken for 3-5 days. If your dog develops loose stool you want to increase bone/meat and decrease
organs. You need to learn what your dog does well on, what he likes and what he's going to turn his nose up at. So start slow.
Pick a second meat to try, still give the chicken but add something new, fish, pork, beef, it doesn't matter but add just one new thing. See
how the dog does on it. Does he go from solid to explosive loose stool? If so take the new meat away and try it again in a month or so.
You should be able to try a third meat by now as well as try a new item every 3 days, such as an egg or different organs. If you want to be
safe at the beginning of week three just do the chicken and a new meat again. See how the dog does. Adjust as necessary but after 2
days of solid add a new product such as the raw egg.
By the 4th week I am mixing things up more often. I'll add something new and see how they do for 2-3 days and then add something else. I
am mixing up the meats, more or less depending what is in my freezer. I'm not being as careful or fussy. If the stool is solid I'm taking
advantage and experimenting more.
YOU WILL NOT CATCH SALMONELLA.
Ignore every crazy person who tell you that you will catch salmonella from feeding raw. I have fed raw for years, tossed raw chicken
on my floor, I do not go around licking the floor so I won’t catch it that way, I wash my floor a lot with dogs anyway so if I toss chicken
down I just wash up after the dog. I wash my hands and counters after handling raw for my dogs just like I do when I cooking for my
family. Your dog is not passing a lot of salmonella in his stool, and if he is who cares, I’m not touching his stool with my bare hands
and I’m sure not putting it anywhere near my mouth. So how am I going to catch it? Dogs do not catch salmonella they are dogs,
their digestive tract is much different from ours. How many wolves and coyotes cook their food and avoid bones? None that I’ve
ever heard of and they certainly don't catch salmonella from eating raw.
Now if you have small kids who will be crawling on the floor and "may" be getting into contact with the germs on the floor, then
use some basic common sense and feed the dog in the crate or outside. Sometimes it just comes down to common sense.
Here are some visual aids to help you identify what's what in the raw food world.
These are extra's that you absolutely can add to your dogs diet. It will only benefit him in the long run.
As a side note. I personally know a lady who uses coconut oil. She did an experiment with an adult dog. Took her dog off the coconut oil and monitored shedding,
the shedding increased by 100%, she was able to brush out loose fur like she had never been able to do before in an adult dog who had gone through many
shedding seasons. She put the dog back on the coconut oil and the shedding went back down. So to lessen shedding, I highly recommend a daily regime of coconut
oil in your dogs diet.