It has been a big step for someone who is a vegetarian since the day she had learned where the meat comes from... - so way longer as it has been popular to be one! 🙂 But I feed raw for over 2 years now and love it - could never go back, so I wanted to update on another question I often get, on what I feed my dogs. - In case you need a little encouragement for a switch 🙂
It always made sense to me that real food must be better as highly processed food like kibble, but being vegetarian my whole life, the thought of having to touch and prepare meat was just too heavy... Until La's cancer diagnosis. Reading about cancer and cancer diets, I decided I have to do it. I can still only touch meat with gloves on, but it's not all that bad as I'd thought - raw meat has very little smell so I actually handle it much easier as grilled or cooked meat!
I still use kibble for tricks (no, not giving meat from my bare hand any time soon!) or for occasional meal when impossible to take raw with us.
But 99% of their food is raw now and yes, I switched from one day to another, all dogs at once, without a single problem. They handle it perfectly, have not had a single diarrhea problem ever since, not even if I feed whole meal of organs - what I actually always do as it's easier for me to feed just organs one day, just meaty bones the other and just meat on other days.
I mostly feed venison from wild caught deer to, as much as possible, avoid supporting keeping animals in bad conditions. And, obviously, I feed parts that are not popular for human consumption anyway and would go to waste otherwise.
From that reason, what I pay for food now is actually much LESS as what I paid for kibble - just an info for those thinking it's expensive to feed raw. It's indeed crazy expensive if you feed commercial raw dog food, especially in Slovenia where they put crazy margins to it and charge you 3 times as much (no, I'm not kidding - the prices are just crazy) as for the same thing in Germany for example. So I just prepare it all myself - and those things that are hard to get here OR, like with tripe, I don't want to have anything else to do with it as open the package (outside, never in the house) and put it in a bowl 🙂 - I order some frozen pre-prepared things from Germany. And yes, they arrive frozen and are together with shipping still much cheaper as if buying the same thing in Slovenia!
I originally fed prey model, but since we had plenty of vegetables from our garden, I started to include some steamed vegetables too, mostly kale, chard, butternut squash, sweet potato, zucchini etc. I also add eggs from our chicken and some kefir.
As for effects I see - I see no difference in coat quality or energy level that some people report. I do see a huge difference in amount and consistency of poop that is telling me that they can definitely use raw food much better - while kibble just passes through. Also, To was always super skinny and had problems building muscle despite all the work on it and was eating the most from all my dogs. - But after I switched her to raw, she built great muscles and actually eats very little now. And of course, I can also see the difference in how white their teeth are!
And no, I don't think there is a magic cure for cancer - but avoiding processed food as much as possible definitely makes sense to me. - And it's easier as I thought when I was still feeding kibbe and fearing to have to have anything to do with real meat! - It's not that bad at all and it just feels sooo much healthier that I could never go back.
Glad you had a good experience switching! I have fed raw for over 15 years (as long as I’ve had dogs) and could never understand feeding kibble. I certainly wouldn’t want to eat the same processed pellets every day! I do use kibble for backpacking (tried dehydrated raw, but too messy) and also for treats. And since they don’t get it all the time, it’s pretty high value for them ;).
Well, I certainly understand simplicity of it! 🙂 Raw is definitely more time consuming, especially if you don’t have any reasonable priced prepared raw food option in the country and have to find sources, go there to get it, cut it all (that was a real project when we tried that with knives we had -- knives spoiled with cutting spinach only ha ha!), freeze it in appropriate portion for 4 dogs etc. -- not quite as easy as opening a bag of kibble! 🙂
But happy to know your dogs still like kibble! I was afraid how dogs who never ate it take to it… -- I know To’s puppies weren’t impressed by kibble at all!
Haha, yes if you have to do all of that it is quite time consuming! I’m part of a co-op where I can buy bulk, but I generally just have to portion it out before freezing, not cut it all too! When I first started, I used to grind the chicken backs but that was REALLY messy and time consuming so that didn’t last long!
And yes, my dogs like kibble as much as I like potato chips so I think they consider it junk food 😉
Is there any reason to grind chicken backs? I just give them in one piece?
Only if dogs cant tolerate bones. Like my oldie goldie, with sensitive stomach. Or when teeth are old or dog does not have manny teeth left or some super crazy food eaters who just swallow everything down too fast. Otherwise no need for grinding bones.
Great that you like it so much- we are really happy for your dogs 😉
I have been feeding my dogs raw since almost 17 years now- feels nice to know what they eat 🙂
Yes! To the degree that I really don’t like minced things as I can’t see exactly what it was! 🙂
I had a similar experience with Benji like you describe with To. He also gained muscles and proceeds the food much better!
Both my dogs still love kibbles 😀 .
I also like the idea very much, that I know exactly what they eat and that it is “real” food 🙂
So you have one organ day and one meaty bone day, and no bones on the other days? Do you feel there is a need to take it easier on moving the day you feed bones/the day afther, or are you working as much all days? Are you using any supplements?
In 10 days, I have one organ day and 4 meaty bones days (chicken backs, turkey necks, rabbit skulls -- so not just bones, but bones with some meat too) and no, I pay no attention what we we are doing those days -- they seem to digest it without a problem. They eat twice a day.
And oh, yes, I’m adding salmon or krill oil regularly -- and some joint supplements occasionally.
Can you share the Germany source you are ordering raw? I agree here in Slovenia the prepared diets are quite expensive. I feed with raw Lola in her last year of her life and Demi, too. As you reported, no problems. But while Demi was not “pregnant” after raw diet, the vet made me scared that the one among ” sources of the evil” was also mine “wrong ” rations in raw, even I tried prepare “prey model”. So she was on a kibble 10 month before puppies and I have to report her condition was worse, gaining more weight, coat was not so shiny anymore and the wore she got back all tartar back on her teeth… now I combine cold press kibble with raw and vegetables and try to use more and more raw again.
Yes, most vets here don’t like raw… But well, To was on raw when she got pregnant with 7 puppies in like 2min 🙂
I order tripe (and some other stuff, but less&less) here: http://frostfutter-perleberg.de/
Many thanks! I know regarding most vets including mine sister, but when Lola was very bad and can not process even cooked rice with chicken mine sister told me: give her that damned meat, she can not get worse anymore…” and actually she got much better
Pretty amazing they can handle the switch so well even after 18 years on kibble!!!
I feed raw for 2 years now, because I wanted to have my Nuki-puppy bussy with food in the office. I did not want to feed kibble and raw so I switched. Astra was over 8 when we changed our feeding system. We also switched from one day to an other day with no problem. They love it and they also love kibble. We only had some problems in that winter because it was really cold and Astra was getting thinner and thinner. I realized that she did not get enough fat. I changed it and everything is ok now. :). We feed a lot wild animals as well and they have not very much fat in their meat. That was the only problem till now we had. Last weekend I was on a seminar and they told us that dogs especially in Agility need carbohydrates for sprint work and fat for endurance work. So I am thinking to give them some potatoes or something with their vegetables. The VET did not say don`t feed raw but keep an eye that dogs need 10% carbohydrates. Hm. Someone have expirience about it here?
Yes, not much fat at all in venison I get, so I then buy beef fat and add that. I feed very little carbs, but they do get some sweet potato that I think is really good source.
Hah, the whole raw diet craze is to me so funny, since I was raised on a farm our dogs ate everything from the farm. We butchered our own meat, so they ate everything. I hated butchering day and was also a vegetarian because of it, but our dogs always ate raw meat and eggs and compost and chewed on the cow horns and hoofs and chicken heads and feet. For my whole life and I’m 54. So it always seemed funny to me when the rest of the world thought it was so special. It’s just what our dogs ate.
Now I don’t live on a farm that butchers animals, but next to one so I get plenty of meat, plus we have hunters on our property who bring us deer meat. And then I just buy beef, turkey, chicken and meaty bones from the regular grocery store. It’s pretty cheap! Easy! Can’t say my dogs are any healthier than any of my friends dogs who eat kibble, though. It’s just how I feed my dogs because it’s how my family always did. They also get lots of left overs, cooked. My dogs eat alll kinds of things!!! They are dogs!!! 😀
Yes, it’s different if you live on a farm. For a city girl that never touched meat like me however, it was quite a big deal! 🙂 And if I bought it all in a grocery store, it would actually get REALLY expensive, so I’m very happy I have some very good sources now!
Interesting. Wonder why it is so expensive at the regular store? I do prefer to get wild caught meats, but those are SUPER expensive unless we find someone to give it to us. We have coops like Channan uses, but i have found the local grocery/butcher has meat for cheaper. People around here love the coops because the food has supplements/additions that make it supposedly “nutritionally complete”, but my experience is to give a variety of foods and it isn’t a big deal and my dogs are super healthy. I just make sure to feed all kinds of things. I do give some supplements, but nothing specific.
The farm dogs ate everything and anything and certainly didn’t have a “balanced” diet. I don’t remember EVER taking our farm dogs to the vet. They never were sick that I can remember? And lived to be very old.
I can imagine it being gross at first for a city girl. I can’t say it was much fun having to help out during butchering day. But, the thing that always helped me was knowing the animals lived a nice life instead of in a horrible cage. And we sent away the cows and pigs. We only did the chickens and turkeys.
Glad you have over come your meat handling issues. It is gross, I think, no doubt, but dogs are gross sometimes, LOL!!! And I LOVE dogs!!! And. They LOVE their meat. One of my MinPins would eat so many of those big green grasshoppers during late summer I figure it was about 25% of her diet. LOL!!! She LOVED them. Ew!!!!!
Yes, I don’t think balanced diet is a very exact science and I never weigh anything, just dose it by feeling. I think it’s expensive in a store because they only have the pretty parts. I feed not so pretty parts that they cut off before sending it on to stores and that is super cheap. So venison would be super expensive normally -- but the “cut offs” they end up and sell for dogs are 2eur/kg, so really cool price! And yes, dogs can be gross 🙂
Uhhh I live on the farm. I have many beef and pork sources. But mine is alergic or intolerant to both…so venision, chicken ( luckly I have some good sources that give me for free old hen and roosters and some I buy in store 50% off price due date, sardines and sometimes a sheep. She gets Inflamex for joints, Omega 3 and due to omega tri I need to add E vitamine as well, she is also on some vitamins for imune system and probiotics, oh and Tranqui chem for her damn nerves. She has some other alergies so I need to read all the labels on vitamins. Now I just stick to known. I had to read 20 different labels for kibbles before I could fint the ones that are Ok for ocasionaly meal.
Sounds complicated! I never had a dog with an allergy.