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Switching from Commercial Raw to DIY Raw Dog Food


When I transitioned our dogs to a raw diet; I fed partial raw.  Today, I know that this wasn't necessary, but I'm glad that I did it, and I believe it's a viable solution for many people who don't have the time or finances for an entirely raw diet.

Benefits of Feeding a Partial Raw Diet

Feeding a partial raw diet…

  1. Allows you to take the time to research your dog's new diet.
  2. Allows your dog to slowly transition and for you to see what does and doesn't work for him/her.
  3. Can be less expensive, allowing you to fit premade raw into your budget (I recommend Darwin's Pet or Raw Paws Pet).
  4. Is an easy way to add fresh food into your dog's diet.
  5. Is less time consuming and complicated while being more convenient.
  6. Requires less storage and no need for multiple freezers.
  7. Takes away some of the worry about feeding a balanced diet.
  8. Allows others in the house (or a pet sitter) to feed the dogs too.

I fed our dogs partial raw, because I wasn't sure what our budget would look like, we had an enormous bag of Halo Purely for Pets that I wanted them to finish, and I was nervous.

How I Fed a Partial Raw Diet to My Dogs

I got the idea of feeding a partial raw food diet from a book I found on Amazon: A Quick Start Guide to Raw Feeding by Louise Chapman.

Based on what I read in this book and after a consultation with Darwin's Pet, I chose to change one meal a day to raw food.

Morning (5:30am) Raw Meal Raw Meal Raw Meal Raw Meal Raw Meal Canned Green Tripe Canned Green Tripe
Evening (5:30pm) Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food Dry Dog Food

This was the feeding schedule for our dogs for 2-1/2 months.  Once we ran out of dry dog food, we switched the evening meals to raw dog food.

Don't Mix Raw and Kibble in Same Meal

One thing I learned during this time was never to mix the raw and kibble together. This is a discussion that some raw feeders disagree about – I've often seen raw feeders share pictures of meals that contain raw meat, vegetables, and kibble.  They add kibble to make sure their dog is eating a balanced diet.  I was warned that mixing kibble and raw in the same meal would make our dogs sick, because kibble takes longer to digest than raw.  While the kibble is digesting, the raw remains in the dog's digestive system longer and starts to decompose, which causes digestive upset.

Is this true? I honestly don't know.  Sounds right, but I've heard different things from various people, including someone who tested it out and received opposite results (kibble digested faster).  Either way, I'm not about to test it on my dogs.

J did test the kibble+raw theory (not on purpose) and Rodrigo vomited like an over-served frat boy on half the sofa.

Transitioning Our Dogs to a Full Raw Diet

When we were out of dry dog food, I increased our monthly shipment from Darwin's Pet and we were raw feeders.  It was so easy.  We started seeing the benefits of a raw diet the first few weeks, when the dogs were only eating 50% raw.  I was excited to see the health benefits with a full raw diet.

Feeding premade raw is easy to do – just open the package, dump food into the dog dish, and add supplements.  It's not rocket science; it's just expensive.  When we became a four dog home, I had to make raw on my own and that's when I had to work through protein allergies, streamlining supplements, and creating a balanced diet.

Making raw at home isn't hard.  I use The Honest Kitchen as a base mix, I mix in raw meat (and organ and bone), and supplements specific to each dog.  Many days, I found myself over thinking our dogs' diet, because I was listening to the well-intentioned advice of other raw feeders.

Feeding a Balanced Raw Diet to My Dogs

Now that I'm 100% responsible for our dogs' nutrition, I can quickly respond to health issues that come up by making a change in our dogs' diet.  Raw isn't the answer for everything, but so far, it has been the best decision for our dogs; especially Rodrigo.

Chronic ear infections Every other month Rodrigo hasn't had an ear infection since switching to raw.
Licking paws until they develop sources All the time Only when hair gets tangled between his toes and it's irritating – trim the hair, licking stops
Environmental allergies Spring – Fall, after the lawn was mowed Rodrigo still has environmental allergies, but symptoms are less frequent – soaking paws in Epson salt and rubbing with coconut oil helps.
Protein allergies Could only eat salmon kibble Raw offers more protein options for Rodrigo that he can eat and there are no hidden ingredients (i.e. chicken, turkey, beef).
Digestive issues Daily soft stool/diarrhea Soft stool a few times a month; diarrhea rarely.
Skin issues Monthly rashes, itchy/dry skin Rodrigo hasn't had a rash since switching to raw; his skin and coat are healthy.
Joint issues Daily pain in front leg Rodrigo is a happy, active dog who races around our property and loves long walks.
Our Dog Rodrigo is Raw Feed for 2-1/2 Years

Rodrigo is a Border Collie / Blue Heeler Mix


If you're interested in feeding raw, but a little nervous about getting started, try a partial raw diet. Although there are raw feeders who disagree with this option, I think that any raw is better than no raw.  Personally, once I started replacing processed foods with fresh foods in my diet, I felt great, and I lost 10 pounds in 4 months.  I still eat the occasional french fry or soda, but for the most part, I prefer natural unprocessed foods.  And so do my dogs.

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