If you’re like me, you are always looking for ways to give your dog a longer and healthier life. I lost my last two dogs’ way younger than I should have. One to cancer and one to seizures. Did you know both of these ailments can be managed through proper diet? After a lot of research and multiple courses on canine nutrition, I decided to switch my dog to a raw diet.
This is actually a somewhat controversial topic. I didn’t realize that until I found myself looking for a new vet. There are a lot of conventional vets that do not agree with feeding raw. All I wanted to do was feed my dog REAL food and not kibble from a bag.
I wanted to make the switch as seamless as possible for my dog, so I started adding raw in with her kibble. I did this for about ten days, adding in more raw food and less kibble each day. She did have minor diarrhea at the beginning but I just stuck with it. Laila had always been super picky but absolutely loves her raw food.
Benefits of Feeding Raw
There are so many benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet but I’m going to share with you what I saw in my own dog, Laila.
I honestly didn’t even know she was overweight. I thought she looked great, but she actually dropped ten pounds in 4-6 weeks. Raw diets are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates compared to processed pet foods. This is one of the reasons so many dogs are obese.
I understand more energy isn’t always a good thing! Laila is almost 8 years old and acts like a puppy at times. I just think of that extra energy as stamina, strength, and overall vitality. You just know your dog feels good!
Cleaner teeth & fresher breath
I hate to say it, but I thought bad breath was just normal for dogs. Laila refuses to get her teeth brushed, so I was always worried about her dental health. When I switched her to raw I also started giving her raw meaty bones. She regularly gets raw turkey necks, chicken wings, and chicken feet. The chewing and crushing of the bones and connective tissues naturally cleans her teeth. *Beef bones are hard and can break teeth so stick with softer bones. *
Fewer allergies & less itching
The high carb content of pet food is responsible for a lot of canine allergies. Many commercial foods use filler ingredients like corn and wheat. So many of my dogs have had chronic ear infections and I really feel it is linked to kibble.
This one was easy to notice! When a dog eats a raw diet there is less waste, because their bodies are able to utilize more of the food. Smaller, firmer, and less frequent bowel movements is something everyone can get on board with. Along with less poop… less gas. We all know dogs can clear a room but that significantly improves with a raw diet.
Check out my post: Commercial Pet Food: What You Should Know
How to Switch Your Dog to a Raw Diet
Actually, making the switch to a raw diet can be overwhelming and confusing. There are a few different ways you can go about it. I wanted to take the guesswork out of it in the beginning so I opted to start with a premade raw mix. Now I meal prep for my dog and assemble her meals for the week. Here are a few of your options:
Premade raw dog food
There are several raw pet food companies out there that walk you through the process. They will answer all of your questions and calculate how much raw food your dog should eat. You need to feed your dog a balanced diet and they have already done the measurements for you. And as a bonus, most of them will deliver straight to your door. It’s a good way to see what your dog likes and how much they will be eating. This option does come with a price tag though. It isn’t cheap, but if you don’t want to meal prep for your dog it is definitely the way to go.
Freeze dried raw
I know plenty of people that just can’t stand the idea of their dogs (or cats) eating raw meat so they stick with kibble. Dehydrated mixes and freeze-dried meats are a great option for the squeamish. The animals still get the benefits of a raw diet and it cuts out the ‘gross’ factor.
It sounds far from appetizing, but BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. It consists of:
70% raw muscle meat
10% raw edible bone
5% other organs such as kidney, spleen, pancreas
5% fruits, nuts, and seeds
It seems complicated but with this type of diet you will balance your dog’s meals over time. Meaning it gives you daily leeway. Maybe you feed liver 3x per week and give another organ meats in between. Some days they get more vegetables and no fruit etc.
Prey model raw diet
The prey model diet is much like the BARF diet, but prey model feeders don’t give their dogs fruits or vegetables. The breakdown looks more like this:
80% raw muscle meat
10% raw meaty bones
5% other organs
I do give Laila fruits and vegetables because she loves them! She eats bananas, blueberries, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and cucumber to name a few. It just depends on what your dog likes. As with anything, there is a learning curve. Don’t get overwhelmed and give it a try. Whichever method you choose, your dog will greatly benefit from eating a natural, unprocessed diet.
Author Bio – Angela Silverthorn
Angela has always been a dog lover and overall animal advocate. After losing a young dog to cancer, she wanted to try the more holistic approach with care and nutrition. She holds
certifications in canine massage and raw feeding.
You can follow her blog here: ourlifeindogyears.com
Follow Our Life in Dog Years on Pinterest
Follow Our Life in Dog Years on Instagram
Do you feed your dogs raw? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments below.
You May Also Like: