Hey y’all! I asked about this post on Daine’s page and got lots of requests for it so here it is! Today I want to talk about a raw diet, why we picked this for Daine, how we are doing it, and some basics! But first let me start off with this.
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a vet, I am NOT a nutritionalist, I dont even play one on TV! The views expressed in this post are simply my own opinion and what is working for us. Please use your brain and best judgement about your pets diet. Thank you!
Okie dokie! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, lets talk a little bit about the WHY part of Daine’s raw diet. There is a very simple reason we decided to put Daine on a raw diet, she wasn’t eating. I’m not talking skipping the occasional meal, something that can be fixed with a little tough love, I’m talking full on refusing food of any kind… unless it was straight up meat. At first we were cooking it, but I knew that wasn’t the best way to go, so I started doing research, and in the meantime we started her on a freeze-dried raw diet. She ate it up (literally!!!) and started to regain some of her old self, her ‘pre-ibd’ self, she was happy and playing again! We were thrilled! We’d finally decided we’d stick with the freeze dried when the crazy storms or whatever happened and our food shipment was late, and Daine didnt have anything to eat, so I said ‘Hey lets try the raw diet’. Its something we had discussed at great length and after oodles of research (I’ll get to that in a second) I was finally ready to say ‘I can do this’.
We bought some drumsticks, some wings, some gizzards and hearts and a kitchen scale and went home… I figured we’d start small just in case she wouldn’t eat it. I couldn’t have been more surprised when she gobbled up the gizzards (pun intended) and started chowing down on a drumstick! This was the dog who was so picky about what she ate that if you gave her something she didnt like she would literally just chose not to eat!! I didnt get my hopes up, or I tried not too anyway, figuring if she ate it the next few meals THEN I would get excited.
Everyone warns you on a Raw Diet that there is a detox period where some dogs (most dogs) get AWFUL gas and tend to have the runny poos of doom, Daine skipped that all together, I think in part because of the freeze dried diet and in part because it had been so long since her body was getting what it needed. Within 48 hours we saw a difference, she wasnt lethargic anymore, she begged to play, she wasn’t hiding in her kennel for hours a day just sleeping. MY DAINE was back!
I’m not gonna lie, it has taken some adjustments! Its a little creepy to hear the crunchy of bones at first, and youve got to get over the ‘ick factor’ (I personally recommend buying a box of vinyl or latex gloves) but if I can do it you can do it!!
Step 1: RESEARCH! Read as much as you can!! You might not agree with it all, but its worth a read anyway! You should always research as much as possible! (again I’ll post a bunch of links that helped me at the end)
Step 2: Find and be-friend a local butcher, if you dont have one find a good ‘for less’ kind of store (ours is actually called Food 4 Less) where you can get things at a discount price! Shop around! Look for sales! Dont be afraid to snap some pics of the ‘per pound’ pricing and do the math! (Yes, I actually did math!)
Step 3: Find some groups! I’ve got 4-5 groups on facebook Ive joined, find a place where you can ask questions without being treated like an idiot, if you need suggests shoot me an email!
Step 4: If you feel ready now its time to shop, I recommend a small kitchen scale, some zip lock freezer bags, some gloves (the meat will be cold even if you dont mind the ick factor I still recommend them), and a sharpie. I recommend labeling the packs with date you packed them, what meat is inside, and how much it weighs. But at the least you want to put the date on it.
Step 5: I suggest starting with chicken, how much is determined by how much your dog weighs, the biggest mistake you can make is feeding ‘too much too soon’ or too many different meats at once, it can cause upset stomachs. The rule of thumb is 80/10/10 = 80% muscle meat 10% organs and 10% EDIBLE bones (thats non-weight bearing bones that the dog can fully eat). Your dog will need 2-3% of their ideal body weight, so if you wanna cut down on the weight this is the time to factor that in, if math isn’t your strong suit just go to google and type it “2% of x” or “3% of x” = and it’ll give you the answer. If your dog is really active start at 3% if your dog is a bit of a couch potato then start with 2% and adjust as you go : )
Step 6: Feeding your dog. You should skip at least 1 kibble meal before starting this as kibble digests at a different rate than raw food and you dont want to create a blockage. You want to use METAL BOWLS or CERAMIC bowls only, plastic is really too hard to get clean and shouldn’t be used for dog bowls anyway… but thats another story. I suggest feeding in a kennel or in a room without carpet or furniture as most dogs will remove the meat from the bowl. (Or you can feed on a cookie sheet or pan, thats what I do with Teddy) Give him/her 15 minutes with the meat, if they dont even try it take it back up, cover it and refrigerate till the next meal, dont give him/her any snacks between this time… At the next meal time offer the same food again. Watch your dog eat to make sure he/she doesn’t try to gulp the food out of habit, you want it to take a longer time than kibble food would because they actually chew their food now.
Step 7: wash, rinse, repeat!
Its easier than it sounds, and you really do get in the hang of it. If you buy in bulk you can separate each meal/day into a ziplock and freeze and then thaw as needed, enough practice at this and you should just need 1-2 buy/wrap days a month and you’ll just have to grab a bag!
Right now we’ve got both Teddy and Daine on the raw diet and next month we plan to move Beka and possible Kaiser over as well! There are so many benefits and if we should actually save a little money! I expect to see more long term benefits such as: clean teeth, smaller poops, more energy, less fat, leaner bodies, less sickness, healthier fur and nails and so much more! Its really going to be worth it in the long run, my only regret is that I didnt start sooner!
This isnt’ a complete list but its a start! And again you might not agree with everything you read, but you should read it anyway! Knowledge!! If you aren’t ready to go as far as making the food yourself there are many high quality ‘prepared’ dog foods out there! Check out this list here ! And if you aren’t ready to even go that far please just make sure your dog is on a really good quality food, it will help!
If you’ve got any questions or feel I missed anything please just let me know!