If you’re reading this post, you’re probably thinking about how you can change your dog’s diet in order to give them a better quality of life. You’ve come to the right place, because raw feeding your dog can lead to a variety of benefits that you can observe with your own eyes—like increased energy levels, a shinier coat and better ease of movement due to healthier joints, just to name a few.
The concept of raw feeding dogs is simple, with a philosophy that basically boils down to a key point: natural is best. That means keeping meat in its original state instead of denaturing some of its components by cooking it, and avoiding all the fillers that serve to cheapen pet food but offer scarce nutritional value.
But, while raw feeding dogs certainly isn’t rocket science, the concept does tend to give rise to a lot of questions. After all, pet parents want to make sure that any change they make to their pet’s diet won’t cause adverse side effects or trigger previously unknown allergies. For specific advice relating to your individual pet, the vet is always the best place to go.
However, if you’re looking for the basics of raw feeding dogs, in this blog post we’re going through the major points.
Step #1: Test for allergies
Even healthy changes are sometimes best taken one step at a time. Drastically changing your pet’s diet from one day to the next is not advised. In part, that’s just because your dog’s body may need time to adapt, but it’s also because you’re exposing your pup to new food that they could be allergic to.
We recommend a simple allergy-testing method that involves raw feeding dogs a sole protein for one week at a time—starting with turkey and then moving on to duck, chicken and beef—and keeping them under close observation for allergy symptoms such as yeasty ears or goopy eyes. For more information, check out our raw guide.
Step #2: Learn about balance
Say what you will about kibble, you have to admit that it’s pretty convenient. You never have to think about balancing your pet’s diet, because the variety is (supposedly) baked into the pellets. By comparison, raw feeding dogs does require a bit more effort, but we promise it’s not as complicated as it may seem. The most important thing is to include foods from each of the following groups in your dog’s regular diet.
The broad category of muscle meat should make up at least half of your dog’s raw food diet. To make sure your pup is getting plenty of variety, we recommend incorporating different kinds of meat such as poultry, fish, rabbit, beef, etc.
Raw meaty bones
A raw food diet wouldn’t be complete without raw meaty bones. Chewing on bones can improve your dog’s dental health by dislodging plaque, and they’re also a source of crucial minerals such as calcium.
Organ meat has a special place in a balanced raw food diet because it tends to be rich in nutrients, including certain vitamins and minerals that are less abundant in muscle meat. Beef liver, for example, provides high levels of the minerals copper, iron, choline and selenium (and lots of vitamins, too).
Step #3: Observe and tweak accordingly
So, let’s say you’ve already found out which proteins (if any) your dog is allergic to and you’ve purchased raw food belonging to each of the three key categories described above. The next step is to keep observing your dog and tracking their progress. If your dog suffers from lethargy and sore joints with no improvement after a month or two on a raw diet, that may be a sign that you need to tweak their meals (for example, by adding joint-protecting salmon).
Step #4: Add supplements if desired
If you have a healthy dog and you’re feeding them a balanced diet, you really won’t need a lot of supplements. That being said, if your pup has a specific health problem or if you’d just like to give them an extra nutritional boost, there are some natural options that are known to be very effective.
For instance, turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to prevent a wide range of health issues associated with old age. And raw goat’s milk is a good source of probiotics and prebiotics, which may help strengthen your dog’s gut health and immune system. Find out more or purchase all-natural supplements here.
If you’re ready to make the switch to a species-appropriate diet, you can stock up on raw food at this link. Or, if you have any questions about our products, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you.