RAW DOG FOOD FAQ
Still have questions? Just check out this handy FAQ section to find the answers you’re looking for.
IS MY DOG TOO YOUNG OR TOO OLD TO EAT RAW FOOD?
You don’t have to worry about waiting until your dog is fully grown before feeding him raw food.
The entire purpose of feeding raw food is that it is the healthiest possible diet for your dog.
So why wait?
The only aspect you’ll need to be careful about is transitioning your puppy onto raw food if he’s already been started on kibble. I know most pet food store staff and veterinarians will recommend mixing two types of food together during the transition process, but this is actually not a good idea!
It’s best to quit the kibble cold turkey when switching your dog over to raw.
The reasoning behind this is that cooked kibble and raw meat require different ph levels in the stomach for digestion, so if you start mixing them then you poor pups’ stomach is going to be very confused. The higher ph level required for cooked food will make him more susceptible to the bacteria present in the raw food.
Another tip is to start out with one protein source to get your puppy used to eating raw meat.
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Most experts recommend chicken because the bones are softer and the protein is more easily digested. After one week, if your puppy’s digestion seems to be running smoothly, then start introducing a larger variety of proteins.
At the other end of the spectrum, maybe you’re thinking your dog is just too old to start another dietary regime. Maybe he won’t like it or maybe it will be too tough on his system?
All I can tell you:
It is never too late to make a healthier dietary switch.
My only suggestion is to start with a milder protein like chicken, and monitor his bowel movements and digestion. At the same time, if he has dental problems then B.A.R.F may be a better option than feeding all those raw meaty bones that come part and parcel with the Prey Model.
After switching your senior dog you may be surprised when conditions you thought were just associated with age were actually due to an insufficient diet full of harmful additives!
HOW MUCH SHOULD I FEED MY DOG?
This can easily be determined by your dog’s weight.
I would suggest checking out this raw feeding calculator, which can be tailored according to your dog’s weight and what model of raw feeding you’re following (e.g., B.A.R.F or Prey Model).
A good rule of thumb is:
Feed your dog 2.5% of his weight every day.
This is for maintaining your dog’s weight so you can easily adjust this percentage up or down depending on if you want your dog to lose or gain weight.
Exceptions to this rule include puppies and active dogs.
For puppies, you would feed them 2.5% of their expected adult weight every day.
For active dogs, you’ll likely have to play around with the total amounts. You want to feed them enough to support their weight and energy levels without causing them to put on additional fat.
BUT WHAT DO I SAY TO CRITICAL FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS, AND MY VETERINARIAN, WHO ALL BELIEVE THIS IS A BAD IDEA?
Maybe your vet has told you that your dog will likely die from raw food, or they’ll puncture their intestines from all those bones!
Despite everything you’ve read and the numerous raw food advocates you’ve talked to, you’re starting to feel a bit embarrassed about pursuing this out-of-the box lifestyle for your dog. You’ve already seen some pretty impressive improvements to your dog’s health and you don’t want to give up everything you’ve worked for just because of the opinion of a few skeptics.
The following are some tips and tricks for how to navigate a sea of raw food refusers:
Your Vet: The simplest answer is to just find a new vet that is supportive of feeding raw. They do exist! One of the reasons your vet may be skeptical is due to a lack of training regarding the links between nutrition and disease. Much of what they’ve been taught has been supported by large pet food companies who strive to develop a relationship with vets so they’ll promote and sell their product to their customers.
Maybe you’re thinking, but what kind of health practitioner isn’t taught the importance of proper nutrition and its impact on health? And I would tell you, just think about your own doctor for a minute and consider the last time they talked to you about the relationship between heart disease, cancer, mental illness and poor diet (the answer for most people is never). It’s unlikely your vet is purposefully trying to lead you astray, they just might not know any better. If you can’t switch vets, then the best thing to do would be to keep mum on the subject of your dog’s diet.
Don’t try to win any converts or you’ll likely get into an unnecessary fight. At the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. Your vet will marvel at your dog’s vibrant health and attribute it to all those vaccines, when you’ll know it’s due to his diet.
Friends and Family: For extended family and friends, simply avoiding a charged topic is probably the best course of action.
So your Great Aunt Gertrude is horrified you’re feeding your dog raw meat? If you only see her at Christmas and Thanksgiving, then don’t fret over her opinion. Avoid the topic when you do see her and everything should be smooth sailing.
You don’t have to justify your actions to anyone other than yourself.
You’re not feeding your dog illicit street drugs so what you do with your pet should have no bearing on someone else. On the other hand, if you have close family members who are gravely concerned with the health of your pet, I would suggest meeting their concerns in a respectful, but firm manner. Show them a bit of research on the raw food diet if that will help allay their fears. And again, when they see your dog they’ll have to admit that Fido looks to be a much improved version of his former kibble-based self. At the end of the day, it’s best not to worry about the opinion of others.
It’s always nice to have everyone on your side, congratulating you on making a smart decision for your pet, but that shouldn’t be the motivating factor. You’re much more likely to win converts to the raw food movement simply by taking care of a dog that is happy and vibrantly healthy, rather than arguing at every social get together about the superiority of your pet care methods.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN TRANSITIONING MY DOG ONTO RAW FOOD?
Just because the raw food diet is the best method for ensuring your dog experiences excellent health, it doesn’t mean you can just switch from kibble to raw kangaroo with no minor hiccups.
Remember the last time you did that juice cleanse?
You probably weren’t feeling so hot while you were doing it, but you knew good things were happening to your body, which is why you pressed on.
Your dog may experience something similar in the beginning.
Remember, his system is not used to processing raw food, which means it might take a little bit before enzymes and digestion are up and running efficiently.
To make the transition process easier on your dog, I would recommend introducing an easily digested protein like chicken first. I know you may be excited to present your dog with a delicious bowl of wild boar, kangaroo leg, and some kind of exotic bird, but have mercy on his digestion.
To assess whether your pet’s system is accepting the new diet, monitor his stools. On a raw food diet, your dog’s stools should be smaller, firmer, and less smelly. If you’re noticing that your pup’s stools are runny, smelly, or soft then introduce new foods more slowly. If your pet has a history of digestive issues then it may be helpful to incorporate some enzymes into his food to give his digestive system a helping hand.