Dog Owners Experience with Raw Food for Dogs

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Raw Food for Dogs, Darwin's Pets, Keep the Tail Wagging

We switched our dogs to raw dog food in April 2013 after months of research and the encouragement and support of friends.  I started with a raw / kibble diet – raw in the morning, kibble in the evening.  This is an affordable way to ease into a raw food diet and I was hesitant to change our dogs’ food cold turkey.  By June 2013, our dogs were on a full raw food diet, which I ordered from Darwin’s Natural Pets, located in Seattle, WA.

Why Raw Dog Food?

I first learned about raw food for dogs when friends told us what they fed their dogs.  They were raving that their dogs’ allergies went away, their dogs didn’t smell, they barely had to pick up dog poop, and on and on.  I was intrigued, but knew that it wasn’t as easy as tossing a whole chicken in a dog bowl.  So I set out to learn more.

I learn by reading (see my reading list below) and talking to dog lovers who feed raw, I learned that the benefits to raw dog food are…

  • Healthier, shinier skin and coat
  • Allergies clear up
  • More energy, lowers hyperactivity
  • Healthier digestive system; smaller, less smelly poop
  • Better appetite
  • White, clean teeth
  • Decreased dog odor
  • Healthier weight
  • Fewer vet visits

Raw Dog Food Resources

There are several raw dog food books that I recommend to anyone who is interested in making the switch:

  • A Quick-start guide to Raw Feeding by Louise Chapman
  • Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog by Carina Beth Macdonald
  • Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals by Lew Olson
  • A Quick Start Guide to the Raw Dog Food Diet by Caesar Owens
  • All Natural Raw Dog Food by Angela Phillips and Dyan Kidd
  • 10 Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes by Lindsay Stordahl (fellow pet blogger)

All of these can be found on Amazon.com and all of these are available for the Kindle.

Raw Food for Dogs, Darwin's Pets, Keep the Tail Wagging

Our Experience Feeding Raw Dog Food

I’m happy to say that the above list of all the great things about feeding raw is true!  Our dogs are healthier, happier, and I couldn’t be happier.

  • Rodrigo has a sensitive tummy, which led to occasional soft stool, was allergic to chicken kibble, licked his paws obsessively, and had a rash on his lower back.  All cleared up.
  • Sydney was overweight and was the first one to get that doggy smell.  All cleared up.

One of the things I was warned about was that our dogs would get salmonella poisoning if we fed them raw – this didn’t happen.  The humans in the family are fine too (we wash our hands).  If you handle raw chicken when cooking for your family, then you can handle raw food.  Another warning is that our dogs would become wild and aggressive – nope, didn’t happen.  We’ve had nothing but a great experience with the raw food diet for our dogs.

Feeding raw isn’t as simple as I had been told, but it’s not complicated once you get into the groove of the diet.  The questions I get most often are…

  • What do we feed?
  • When do we feed?
  • How much do we feed?
  • What do we add? and
  • How much does it cost?

I will try to answer each of these questions.  Keep in mind that this is one dog owner’s experience and when you start comparing notes with other dog owners, the answers will vary based on the dog breed, the dog’s size, and the food being fed.

Rodrigo and Sydney are Australian Cattle Dog mix, 3-1/2 years old (they’re littermates) and weigh approximately 80-85 pounds.

What do we feed?

We feed our dogs the Zoologics line by Darwin’s Natural Pets.  It’s delivered twice monthly (every other Friday) in a box with dry ice to keep it frozen.  Our dogs eat all of the proteins: chicken, duck, turkey, and beef.  Rodrigo hasn’t had any trouble with the chicken recipe, although he had an allergic reaction to chicken kibble.

The Darwin’s Natural Pets is a premade food that lives in our freezer (I take 2 packages out each night to thaw in the sink).  The food is 70% meat, 30% veggies, contains no grains or fillers, and the meats do not contain hormones, steroids, preservatives or other chemicals.

When do we feed?

Our dogs eat in the morning and evening; basically before and after work.  They eat in the kitchen out of stainless steel dishes; making clean up easy.  On the weekends, our dogs are fed raw, meaty bones and other raw meat treats on towels.

They eat on hardwood floors, not carpet.

How much do we feed?

I’ve read so many feeding recommendations.  We started with 2% of their body weight daily thinking that this was ideal; it actually helped our dogs lose weight (they look so good today).  Now we feed them 2.5% of their body weight daily.

I cuddle with the dogs each evening partly because they’re so adorable and partly to become very familiar with their body so that I quickly find anomalies and I can make sure they are maintaining their weight.  We increased their serving to 2.5% when we felt that they’d lost enough weight.  We’ll cut back if they start gaining; mostly we’ll be cutting back on treats, not food.

What do we add?

Every morning, our dogs also get Wag Lifetime Joint Care supplements (broken up and mixed into their food), fish oil (one caplet each), a teaspoon of ground flax seed for seasonal allergies and fiber, and a dollup of 100% pure pumpkin for digestion.  I’m looking into adding Turmeric to their food too; this acts as an antioxidant and some say that it’s a cancer preventative.

How much does it cost? 

Our raw food budget is slightly less than $400 a month for 2 dogs.  I know plenty of dog owners who spend less than $200 for 3 dogs so don’t let the price scare you away.  Buying premade food is expensive and when it’s shipped, it costs even more.   $70 of the number I shared is for shipping (Fedex).

Once I got over the sticker shock, I noticed that we haven’t been to the vet since we started feeding raw; we used to go a few times a year for various ailments.  So far, any health issues we’ve experienced have been very mild and managed at home – mostly seasonal allergies that are treated with an all natural, healing cream by Dr. Harvey’s.

Interested in switching to raw food?

I get emails all the time from dog owners who are interested in feeding raw and I advise them to do their homework, speak with their vet, and check out Facebook groups for raw feeders.  It takes multiple sources to help you with your choices, because not everyone has the answer, but everyone does seem to have an opinion.

Ultimately, the choice is yours to make, so don’t be bullied into rushing into this decision.  Take your time so that you can be sure that it’s the right option for you and your dog.

There are 56 Comments

  1. jeff says:

    Hi! I also feed raw. I prepare it at home for my dogs. I just wanted to mention something that I learned when I started the raw diet and that is the need to add calcium to the raw food. Maybe it is already added to the food that you have delivered, though. I can’t remember exactly why it is so important other than it is necessary to offset or create a balance with the amount of phosphorous that is in the raw food. Anyway, after trying the raw diet and seeing the results, their is no doubt in my mind that it is the best for dogs. The website that I first learned about raw feeding is http://www.pet-grub.com. Very good information, easy to understand and also free.

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  2. Kimberly Gauthier says:

    Hi Jeff – Darwin’ Pets includes ground bone in the food and we give our dogs raw meaty bones for their teeth (supervised only).

    When I tried to make the food myself, I was surprised that I couldn’t find bone meal locally and had to order it online. People only heard of the bone meal for gardens (not for dogs).

    Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

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    Ruth Webster Reply:

    You can buy bone meal at PetSmart.

    Also, I won’t be getting a dog until this summer, but can dogs have raw pork??? I can buy it very cheaply at the grocery store by buying the “leavings” off of a particular cutting.

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    Minette Reply:

    I believe raw pork can cause severe problems for dogs like it can for people. I would ask your vet to find out for sure!

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    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    And if you do consult a vet, make sure that it’s a holistic vet who has experience with raw feeding. Traditional vets still have hesitations for good cause – they see too many dogs come in who are malnourished, because dog owners aren’t doing their homework when it comes to creating a balanced diet.

    A holistic vet can not only advise you about feeding pork and when it’s safe to remove it from the freezer (2 weeks, 3 weeks?), but they can also help you develop a balanced diet that works with your dogs, your schedule and your budget.

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Hi Ruth – my understanding is that pork is fine, but it needs to be left in the freezer for 3 weeks before feeding it to dogs. I know at least 20 people who feed their dogs pork regularly and have had no issues.

    Personally, I choose not to feed our dogs pork, because I worry about the risks. Although I’ve been assured many times that it’s safe, there are so many other proteins out there that I’ve decided to leave pork off the list for our dogs.

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  3. Cheng says:

    Hi, I had a 2 year old mini bull terrier. His weight is 14 kgs.
    Can I mixed minced beef 70% and 30% vegetables of carrots and apples for him to try.
    May be I start with 150 gm per day.
    Kindly comment on my above plan.
    Best regards,
    Cheng .

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Cheng – I’m not a dog nutritionist, so I can’t advise you on what to feed your dog, but I do highly recommend that you join a couple raw feeding groups (there are several on Facebook) and ask questions there. I learned from others and by doing my own homework. There are tons of books on the subject.

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    Amiche Reply:

    Just some things I learned while feeding raw (source is a great book by Juliette de Bairacli Levy ‘the Complete Herbal Handbook for Dog and Cat’, which gives great info on treating any ailment at home apart from advice on what they can and should eat) which may help any of you getting started.
    I will not only give food items and amounts, but esp. the reasoning behind choices. It makes for tl/tr maybe, but it comes from a dog-loving and health-caring perspective 🙂 And sorry for grammatical errors – not native English.

    Minced meat is not advisable, give them something to chew! Plus you don’t know what is in the ready mince from the butcher. Veggies need to be cut so small (machine rather than knife) they look like the mash in a prey’s stomach – for that is the natural way canines acquire their veg. Their digestive system is not built for dealing with fresh and fibrous veg, but with partly digested pulp from a prey’s stomach. Be careful with raw carrots, only feed that occasionally in tiny tiny slivers; rather cook them slightly and mash. Regular potatoes are of no benefit, yams can be cooked like the carrots. Great are raw celery and parsley, as well as any green-leaved veg. I usually add some brocolli/cauliflower and/or baby corn or beetroot to the green leaves in the mixer. I do not feed them fruit except for occasional blue berries or added grape-juice, as I am afraid their digestion is not capable to deal with too much sugar. Every other meat-feeding (see below for schedule) I add liver or kidneys, as organ meat is particularly good for them, but I do not want to overdo it. In stead of meat I also give them fish, like salmon and cod, often in combination (fish is too expensive to do a full meal).
    I add cod liver oil to the meat-veg mix, 1 teaspoon fine egg-shell (extra calcium but also includes more minerals), occasional turmeric (great to deal with lumps and cysts) and occasionally some sea-salt. Raw meat is bloodless as the butcher lets is bleed out, so it lacks calcium and salt, but is high on phosphorus, which could be toxic if not counterbalanced. Raw bones do the trick for calcium, but I cannot always obtain them and with 5 dogs cannot have them chew too long for fear of food-fights; I stick to chops, ribs and chicken-legs, which are gone in no time :).
    REMEMBER!!! Bones must always be RAW – any cooked bones will splinter and can cause damages.

    Following Juliette’s advice I gave my dogs oat-porridge at noon (cooked with water and coconut-milk, as dairy can upset them) and meat/veg at 6 pm. Realising that they do not have enough exercise for 2 meals like that (due to them not being socialised enough to have big walks with the whole pack) AND not being able to implement a fasting day (which is really something you should do as their dig.syst. is build around few, but large meals) I changed to having meatless days (sort of). At 5-6 pm I give them porridge one day, followed by some meaty bones, and a full meal the next. I end up giving them organ meat twice weekly.
    For treats I make some myself (recipe Juliette on wholemeal cookies)and on porridge days I give them paddywacks or pigs ears around noon. For training purposes I use small pieces of cooked beef.

    Recently I learned that apparently onions and grapes/raisins are toxic for dogs. I never knew and have given them a small bit of leek as a veg sometimes – which is related to onion – and even onion when it was part of a homemade veg.soup, but it never caused problems. Maybe one should beware of that.
    I also occasionally added 4-5 raisins (or dried cranberries) to their porridge, along with some sliced almond or chopped walnut, and/or a seed mix. Raisins seem to be so toxic that they can suffer kidney failure within hours of eating even a handful of them. I don’t know about grape-juice, but they do warn for the fresh fruit. Mine have never had any problems with either raisins or grape-juice. Mild symptoms could be diarrhoea and/or vomitting, which they never have/do.
    What research into this did not establish (or even look for) is the combination of these food items with either a raw diet (strong bodies) or dry food/cans (compromised health). Just be careful and alert!

    Any parasite problems (a proper diet will give their bodies the immunity to fight off infestations, but if you don’t slaughter and grow yourself you can never be sure there is no issue with the food) as well as flee/ticks I try to treat conform Juliette’s therapies. If all fails I will go for the vet tablets/drops, trusting that their bodies are strong enough to tackle the side-effects of synthetic meds. It is always a balancing act 🙂

    Now for the amounts given. After experimenting for a long time this is what I do. NO FREE-FEEDING EVER!!!

    I have 5 dogs and 1 cat. Now cats are strictly meat-eaters so no need for veg, although my cat loves some grape-juice and a little bit of cucumber now and then. Getting a cat towards any new meal is challenging. Mine does not like bones, not even fresh unpealed shrimp, so I need to top up her meat with egg-shell and for taste with pouches or tuna. I weaned her off the dry food, when it was explained to me that dry nuts are the reason for dehydration (cats do not drink as much as dogs) and they are also very addictive, so leaving them out will make the cat eat too much. Since she does not like all the meat I give her I kept the pouches as top-up and now she is finally more accepting of raw meat. She’ll get 1 pouch in the morning and approx 100 g meat/fish (same as what the dogs get) in the evening, mixed with a bit of tuna (canned) or 1/3 pouch. I tried different oils, which she did not care for, but she did settle for the codliver oil (few drops). Unfortunately my cat does not care for organ meat. On the porridge days she will get a bit of that mixed with another pouch.
    BTW she is free to go out whenever she pleases, day and night, so she does get plenty exercise.

    For all the animals I have approx. 1.4 kg of meat/fish (that would be incl. the organ meat), so per dog that would be 200-240 g servings. Per bowl they get 2 tablespoons of raw minced veg. Meat choices: stewing beef – stewing lamb – chicken or turkey fillet – lamb’s liver or kidneys – lean pork chops (I avoid too much pork and if I do get it combine it with salmon). I spent approx. 1.50 euro per animal per day all in all.

    My routine is still not ideal and could be even healthier, but for now it is affordable, works as a routine and all the animals are happy, lean, shiny and never see the vet!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Wow this is so amazing. I’ll download the book you suggested to my Kindle. The thought behind mince meat is brilliant. We’re thinking about transitioning from premade to meat in 2014 after we get a freezer. This will be a fun change for the dogs.

  4. Deborah Allen says:

    I have been making my dog’s food since I got her two years ago and I appreciate how healthy she is, how easy and fun it is to make her food, and NOT participating in the commercial pet food industry.

    For calcium in her diet I have been gently hard boiling a dozen eggs and blending them up SHELLS INCLUDED in the vita mix before adding to the big pot I mix in. I prepare her food several weeks in advance and freeze it in tubs good for four servings each. I have been adding our left overs, nutritional yeast, anything that strikes my fancy on that day like protein powder I bought for myself and don’t like, out of date vitamin pills (I soak them and throw them in the vita mix). I will look into the bone meal idea.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Thanks for the tip about the boiled eggs. I never thought to boil them; I’ve always just put raw eggs and crushed shell in their food and blended.

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  5. Martha Young says:

    I also feed raw, and after months of research, I now rely almost entirely on rawfeeding@yahoogroups.com. The key is to educate yourself very well before beginning raw feeding, but the results are SOOOO worth the effort!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Thanks for sharing the Yahoo group!

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  6. Luann Johnson says:

    Thank you for this information. I’m in the process of switching all my dogs to raw food. This information is very useful. It was very confusing to find the right combination in making the raw food myself. I will look into the resources that you had listed. Also I noticed that making my own raw food and freezing it for convenience is also less expensive then buying dog food…which is processed and quality of quantity saves money and even vet bills.
    Thank you again,
    Luann

    [Reply]

  7. Reïne says:

    Hi, I have been feeding my puppy – golden retriever – raw food formulated by a local vet with all the bits and pieces that they need for 2 months now; I also started her off on raw venison with grated veggies and either rice, oats, millet but then the balance was probably not right and it took too much time and was expensive – I then chose to go over to the Hills diet…after one large pack (as expensive as the raw diet I had been feeding her)…she was not interested in eating it any more, so we went to the next pack of pellets from the vetshop, a bit cheaper and she lost interest here as well – that is when we went back onto raw food which we hide in hooves all around the garden so she enjoys looking for her supper 🙂 its really beautiful to watch her excitement (beats sitting waiting for her food for 5 minutes). Best of all is that she no longer baffs (farts) a huge bonus and she poo’s less / once a day and her coat is shiny and she is the perfect weight 🙂 Happy parents. (South Africa)

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    I love the idea of having your dog hunt for their food! That’s pretty cool!

    [Reply]

    Reïne Reply:

    Hunting food is very very cool. It stimulates the senses and she gets some excercise because she runs all over the show in her excitement.
    She also gets a very healthy egg a week from our permaculture garden chooks….its so lovely to watch how gently she handles it, slowly slowly making a hole and licking out the contents after which the shell gets eaten.
    She is a very happy dog. oh yeah! (as my 8 year old always says!…just like in despicable me)

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  8. Liz Smith says:

    We have fed our dogs on raw meat since they joined our family and they love it. When they have a raw bones, once a week, they usually skip a meal as the bone fills them. The bones are great for their teeth, will amuse them for hours and they will go back to them all week (they are only small dogs). We tend to avoid the rib bones as we had a few splinter. We are lucky to be able to purchase meat and bones at a local store along with a few other treats all made from raw meat. Can’t get them to eat the chicken or turkey though, think its because it’s a finer grind than beef. They have dined on beef, lamb and Al Paco but beef always remains the favourite.

    Also once or twice a week they get a can of sardines which they love. The oil in sardines are good for their bones and coat.

    We have also tried them with elk horn and although expensive they last forever and “our babies” love them. Just have to watch when the horn gets small for obvious reasons.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Our dogs LOVE sardines – I pick them up in bulk at Costco. The antlers are just so expensive, but when you compare how long they last, it’s worth the price so thanks for the reminder. I need to pick a few up.

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  9. Jeannette says:

    I have been feeding raw for years. I have a 115lb GSD rescue.

    If you make your own food, it’s even easier to prepare your pets raw food meals.

    The fresh veggies has to be pureed and mixed in with his meat or he will pick out the tiniest piece. I drink a green smoothie every day, so he gets a green smoothie every day.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    That is so cool, Jeannette – what goes into your smoothie?

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    Jeannette Reply:

    For the green smoothie just about anything green from the produce isle will do, or even powdered wheat grass when out of fresh, add a half an apple or yam and it’s good to go. Very simple. I mix it into ground beef, ckn or turkey so he can’t avoid it.

    For calcium, he gets chicken or turkey necks, wings, and ground egg shells.

    When our apricot tree drops fruit, he sniffs around and finds one that is not rotten, eats the flesh and spits out the pit. Same with avocado’s he steals from our neighbor’s tree if he gets out. He will eat the flesh and leave the pit and skin and if it’s over-ripe or green he won’t eat it at all.

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  10. Dolores says:

    I would like to know what you think about Stella & Chewy’s raw freeze dried dog food.
    Please let me know. Thank You

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    I know a lot of people who feed Stella & Chewy’s – I buy their freeze dried for treats, but that’s all. Our dogs aren’t fans of it as food.

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    Patricia Reply:

    My dogs love it. I crumble it over their wet food. They love it! Also, when I was making my own food I used ground egg shells in place of bone mill.

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  11. Cathy CVT says:

    Independent studies have been done on most of the raw food diets and over 95% of them have been shown to contain bacteria including salmonella. I would never put my dogs on a raw food diet. It’s a myth that seems to keep going around that your dogs will be healthier. Not true.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    There are definitely different opinions when it comes to a raw food diet. I’ve worked with two holistic vets during my research and I trust them. Plus the breeder who introduced me to the diet has been feeding raw for 20+ years and her dogs are gorgeous, healthy and have never had any health issues. I only know one person who had a negative reaction to raw and it’s because she didn’t do her homework first. I do believe that it can be dangerous if you just go to the store and give your dog raw meat – it takes education.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. Lois says:

    I have been making my dogs food for about 2 years now. She is allergic to the world it seems. I make it from venison, potatoes and use tums for calcium. She is only 10 lbs, so only gets 1/3 cup twice a day. Am still having some soft stool issues, but spend a lot less time and money at the vet’s office!

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    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    That’s great to hear, Lois

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  13. Eileen says:

    I feed my dog 1/2 raw and 1/2 very high end ( no grain ) kibble as well as supplementing with fish oil; my dog’s coat is shiny, not greasy, and she has a tiny doggy breath. I am thinking about a buying club to get bones and raw meat to give my dog what I don’t eat myself. Then go full time raw. I’ll check out Darwin’s. As it is, other than a few acupuncture treatments, I take my dog to the vet once a year for lab work and the required by law vaccines (yuk).

    Raw food doesn’t bother me because I handle raw meat just about every day.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Love reading about your experience; we started 1/2 raw 1/2 kibble too and transitioned over.

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  14. Patricia says:

    This is in reply to Kimberly. I make my own dog food too. Grind egg shells to use in place of bone mill.

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  15. kelly says:

    I’ve been playing with the idea of feeding raw for a couple years now and have done a ridiculous amount of research on it as well. Finally got my dachshund on 100% raw and he loves it. I can’t afford to feed my 50lb mixed breed totally raw but he joins in on weekly chicken backs and beef ribs for his teeth. I’m currently feeding Primal frozen raw and for an 11lb doxie it’s costing me $60 a month. Someday I’d really like to make my own in the form of real food, not premade (because of cost) but am a bit scared that they’ll be missing some vital nutrient. We live in Minnesota and there is a place called Woody’s Pet Food Deli…haven’t been there yet but they specialize in raw and it’s supposed to be affordable…

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Kelly – you should definitely go there to get the knowledge. One thing I’ve been doing is studying the extra stuff needed when we make it ourselves and figuring out where I can get it at a good price. It looks like I’ll have to do one big order online, but everything will last a while.

    I also watch YouTube videos that show people making the food. It’s interesting to see what they add.

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  16. Stuart says:

    We feed our cockapoo Instinct Raw Bites from Natures Variety. We buy the frozen food bags from our local pet store and rotate through duck, lamb, beef, chicken and venison varieties. We also put a little digestive enzymes in the meal and a little olive oil from time to time. Puppy is almost a year old and thriving well.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Did you start your puppy off on raw? We’re adopting a puppy this month and we want to start them with raw right away.

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    Stuart Reply:

    We got our puppy at two months old from a breeder and she came with a bag of puppy kibble for pups under 1 year old. Our previous dog (who died) had been on canned Instinct and homemade raw so we knew the brand was good. We tried a small bag of the raw from the pet store to see how she would react. She scoffed it right down. She has been on the raw food since with a sprinkle of kibble until it runs out in a week or two and we won’t buy any more kibble.

    There’s also a holistic vet, Dr. Becker, online at http://www.healthypets.mercola.com who wrote a book on raw food nutrition that we got but found the Raw Bites so much more convenient and diverse. Hope this helps!!!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    Thanks so much, Stuart. This is very helpful. I follow Dr Becker too; great videos on YouTube.

    I’m excited to start our new puppy on raw.

  17. Barbara says:

    Hello all I have a 3.5 year Shep/lab mix with hip displaysia and progressive arthritis. 6 months ago he was on pain meds 3x times a day and had to get Adaquan shots twice a month just so he would be able to walk outside to potty. He has been on the raw foods for about 5 months he no longer requires daily pain meds or twice monthly shots. He now is able to go outside and play,run or walk for hours on hours. His aggression stopped because he is no longer in pain. I prepare his raw foods myself including Chicken,turkey,venison,rabbit,goat,beef and lamb. It took a few months for me to feed him the poultry bones but I got over the fear and he eats them fine. I also make sure that he gets organ meats 3 times a week and I have begun my first attempt at homemade green tripe. Very nasty to do it yourself but where I live in Va it is Deer season until March so why let it waste. I feed very little veggies since he eats the tripe. Good luck to all of you that make the switch. I am a believer in the RAW diet. Commercial kibble needs major improvement.

    [Reply]

    Larry Bier Reply:

    We have Leena, a Corgi/Aussie Shepard mix.. Last year, our Vet said she could lose 5-6 lbs,..was 31 lbs.. we cut her dog food back to 1 cup per day.. less than the recommend on label .. now she is plus 6-8 lbs.. I’m interested in trying the raw diet.. I’ll research more.. but from what I’ve read.. do you grind the meat..? .. because when I give Leena a piece of meat for a treat, she just wolf’s it down (pardon the pun).. no chewing just gulps it down… I’ll stay tuned and get more interesting info… Thank You … Larry .. Little Canad, MN

    [Reply]

    Barbara Reply:

    Larry, I started my dog Chipper on thawed ground beef mix. Then fed frozen patties once he got the concept of chewing down I just cut portions that he will chew at the bowl and not drop on the floor. Even then he sometimes will carry a larger cut to his bed and knaw on it for a while. Frozen meat requires lots of chewing and this helps keep teeth pearly white
    Good luck with the switch and I am positive you will see a healthier Leena.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    We order our dogs’ food from Darwin’s Pets and it’s ground up and easy for them to consume. I have purchased ground beef and ground turkey for them. Our dogs haven’t tried chicken pieces yet, because I worry that they’ll wolf them down too 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    That is amazing, Barbara – our dogs developed arthritis early and used to be on pain meds and now I have them on raw and a good supplement and they’re doing great.

    I’m blown away by your success.

    [Reply]

    Barry Reply:

    I have had my rather large Folden on raw for roughly a year now…and the results have been fabulous!!. I buy it frozen in tubs from my local pet store and have never looked back. I was at one point de thawing chicken neck treats. Now I just give them to him frozen…loves them! Although, I have been fortunate with his hips, he is almost 9yrs old and has been slowing down a wee bit…However, a friend put me onto a product from the USA called Longevity…made by a company called Springtime. It is a powdered supplement I add to his meals daily…To make a long story short, one month after adding this to his diet…he no longer drags his a** behind me on walks…he actually prances like a puppy ahead of me…amazing stuff I would recommend to anyone who’s dog is “slowing” down…. I believe it’s good for cats and other animals too..they have a website.

    Great product!!!

    I also toss in off cuts of raw veggies into the mix when I remember…keeping in mind Brodie is basically a garbage disposal when it comes to eating…but a very healthy one.

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  18. emma Dowdeswell says:

    I feed my cocker k9 naturals which is a raw frozen mix along with a chicken neck daily and a bigger frozen bone once a week. also gets a tripe mix every couple of days. extremely healthy boy who maintains ideal weight and only sees vet for annual jabs. check out the website http://www.k9naturals.com though as has a faq that show you should just sharply transition to raw due to stomach ph levels

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  19. Jen says:

    Raw dog food has been a life saver for us!
    I adopted a skinny 8 month old shepherd mix from a local shelter almost two years ago. His previous owners fed him home cooked meals; everything from bacon and eggs, to steak and potatoes. Not exactly feasible for the on-the-go lifestyle of a single girl who barely cooks for herself. I tried EVERYTHING with him; at least 4 different brands of kibble (Taste of The Wild, Acana, Holistic Select, etc) canned food, tripe, adding freeze-dried liver to kibble, you name it. On top of having a sensitive tummy (diarrhea was a huge problem for a long time) he didn’t have much of an appetite/interest in these conventional foods. Expensive visits to the vet revealed nothing wrong with him, and the only advice we got was to feed him the vet’s brand (Hill’s) of kibble, which is full of undigestable corn and animal by-products – yuck!

    It wasn’t until we tried raw with him that we found something he gobbled up with enthusiasm! He’s a big boy (over 90lbs and slim), so it’s not cheap to keep him fed, especially because he won’t eat (and is possibly allergic to) chicken, the cheapest meat. However, I’ve never seen a happier, healthier dog, and he absolutely loves it! We feed primarily Carnivora brand patties; which contain ground meat, organ and bone. We get them without vegetables and supplement with scraps/peelings from our fruits and veggies (apple peels, outer leaves of lettuce, carrot scrapings, etc). We have no concerns regarding safety; we handle his food as we would our own raw meat, ensuring everything (including his bowl) is washed after every meal. He’s gained a few pounds (we feed a lot of high calorie organ meat or “offal” to help him gain weight) and the first time, his ribs, hips and spine don’t stick out! His poop is firm and very small, his teeth have never looked better (I’ve heard enzymes in raw meat help keep teeth clean or at least, it doesn’t leave behind particles as kibble does)and best of all, he actually eats and enjoys his food without hassle, worry or coaxing!

    I’d recommend raw to anyone with a picky or sensitive dog, or frankly, anyone with a dog!

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    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    This is such an amazing story, thanks for sharing, Jen. When we were feeding kibble, we had to do so many things to it to keep the dogs interested; not so much with the raw. They can barely contain themselves at meal time. What a difference.

    We have one dog with a sensitive tummy; he’s done great on raw.

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  20. Aurora C. says:

    Learn to make raw diet at home from someone who has been feeding raw diets for over 43 years http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/rawpaws/ RawPaws on Yahoo Groups. Marnie has been mentoring DIY raw diets online for 15 years now. You can feed two large dogs well for under $100 per month and when sourcing meats yourself that added peace of mind because you KNOW exactly what you are feeding.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    You’re the second person to mention a Yahoo group – I’ll have to see if it’s the same one.

    We tried to do it ourselves, but we couldn’t find hunters and our butcher is crazy expensive. So we went with premade. We’re lucky, because the company sources the meat locally from humane farmers, which is important to us.

    I know lots of people around the country who work with local hunters to get their meat and bones and they just ground it up into meals and store it into a freezer. I have one friend who feeds 4 labradors on $125/month. Amazing!

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  21. Brenda says:

    I think raw diets are great for dogs. Unfortunately, with 3 large breed dogs I can’t afford it. I attempted feeding completely raw, grinding and mixing the food for 3 months, but the time, cost, and lack of freezer space made it extremely difficult for me. I would eventually like to be able to do it again for the health of my pets. They do get raw beef marrow bones twice a week though and they love them. I always freeze any raw meat or bones for 24 hours to kill any bacteria first.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    I completely understand, Brenda – we have two big dogs and we’re in the process of adopting a third. Were it not for my writing and blogging, I wouldn’t be able to afford the diet either.

    Meat in our area is just as expensive as going premade, but I still want to try someday. We need a second freezer first.

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  22. Kimberly Gauthier says:

    Thanks for sharing the link. I’ll be interested to see what they advise for transition.

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  23. Nancy Houseman says:

    I think this is incredible but we do not have a lot of money.

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    Kimberly Gauthier Reply:

    That’s the trouble with the diet. Some people are able to do it for so much less than we do, because they live in an area where they have more access to affordable meat. We don’t so for now my writing covers the cost of our dogs’ raw food.

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  24. Deb Thomas says:

    Brenda freezing does not kill bacteria. Cooking, disinfectants and antibiotics kill bacteria. I work in a medical lab and we freeze bacteria to store it. At -70° bacteria is still viable years later. Deb Thomas

    [Reply]

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