Do You Have a Dog with Allergies or Digestive Issues?

Have you heard of raw feeding for dogs?

 

I switched Rodrigo and Sydney to a raw food diet in 2013 after nothing else worked to ease Rodrigo's allergies and digestive issues.  Within two weeks of switching to a partial (or Hybrid) raw diet, I saw improvements in my dogs' health, digestion, and mobility.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  If you'd like to learn more, keep reading or check out my books available on Amazon.com.

Book 1: A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs

Book 2: 100 Questions Pet Parents Ask About Raw Feeding for Dogs

Book 1 (start here)Book 2 (next step)

What is Raw Feeding?

Raw feeding is my attempt to replicate a natural and biologically appropriate diet for dogs.  I’m not under the misconception that my dogs are wolves and that I need to feed them like wolves, despite what the Internet says about raw feeders.  My dogs are domesticated canines, they are facultative carnivores, and while they were surviving on a kibble diet, they are thriving on a diet of fresh food.

Facultative Carnivores – Dogs are identified as facultative carnivores (not omnivores) because while they can survive on a plant-based diet, they thrive on a carnivorous diet.

Benefits of Raw Feeding

Raw feeding is my attempt to replicate a natural and biologically appropriate diet for dogs.  I’m not under the misconception that my dogs are wolves and that I need to feed them like wolves, despite what the Internet says about raw feeders.  My dogs are domesticated canines, they are facultative carnivores, and while they were surviving on a kibble diet, they are thriving on a diet of fresh food.

Facultative Carnivores – Dogs are identified as facultative carnivores (not omnivores) because while they can survive on a plant-based diet, they thrive on a carnivorous diet.

Why I Switched to Raw

I switched my dogs to a diet of raw food after one of my dogs, Rodrigo, kept getting sick.  He was put on several rounds of antibiotics and racked up a high vet bill and we still didn’t know why he kept getting sick.  He had food sensitivities, environmental allergies, digestive issues, skin rashes, recurring ear infections, he licked his paws until they developed sores, joint pain/arthritis, and he was aggressive (probably because he felt like crap).

When it became obvious that the veterinarian didn’t have a solution and after he predicted that my dog wouldn’t live long past his third birthday, I switched our dogs to raw.  I saw an improvement to his health within the first two weeks; most of the issues that he was experiencing cleared up. 

Raw Feeding Models

BARF Model

BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model Raw Feeding is a raw food diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and supplements.  BARF Model raw feeders believe that vegetables are an important part of a dog's diet and provide many nutrients that are beneficial to our dogs' health.

Prey Model

Prey Model Raw Feeding is a raw food diet that includes meat, organ meat, and bone.  This model more closely resembles what wolves eat in the wild.  Prey Model raw feeders believe that vegetables and fruit aren't necessary for a dog's diet and only serve as fillers.

80/10/10 Plus/FrankenBARF

This is the model that I now feed to my dogs. It starts with a base of 80% muscle meat 10% bone 5% offal 5% liver and I add vegetables, raw goats milk, raw eggs, and supplements – all added to build a nutritious diet and satisfy each dog's specific needs.  Read: The FrankenBARF Model of Raw Feeding for Dogs

NRC / Science-Based Model

NRC is a guide that many commercial pet food companies use (in part) to make sure that the food they produce is nutritionally balanced.  There is a growing group of raw feeders who also follow the NRC guidelines because they believe this is the most accurate way to feed a nutritious diet.

Transitioning to Raw 

I transitioned two of our dogs to raw via a Hybrid Diet, which means that I fed my dogs raw (premade, commercial raw from Darwin's Natural Pet Products) in the morning and kibble in the evening. I did this to make sure my dogs did well on the new diet and it gave me time to figure out my budget. Premade raw isn't cheap.

Ten months later, I joined a local raw food co-op, which made raw feeding more affordable by cutting my budget by 50%. Over the years, we've added more dogs to our family and I've been able to cut my budget further because I feed DIY raw. For five dogs (55 lbs – 75 lbs), I spend, on average, $300/month. Our other three dogs were transitioned to raw cold turkey.

Read: Transitioning Dogs to Raw Through a Hybrid Diet

Read: 5 Easy Steps to Transitioning a Dog to Raw

Read: Transition Your Puppy to Raw

Find a Local Raw Food Co-Op Near You (US Only)

Feeding a Balanced Diet

There are a lot of people who are concerned about balancing a raw food diet. I don't believe that this is a concern because (1) there isn't one way to feed dogs; every dog is different and (2) there hasn't been a long term study conducted to show us what is necessary for raw fed dogs.

That being said, I worked with a friend to create a spreadsheet using NRC figures. The spreadsheet helps me better understand the nutrients in my dogs' diet.

Balance Over Time

I choose to balance my dogs' diet over time because this makes sense to me – I don't eat a balanced meal three times a day every day (nor do wild dogs), so why would I feed my dogs this way?

How I Feed 80/10/10 Plus

I don't use a calculator. Instead, I estimate the 80/10/10 because that's an estimate.  I mix the meat/organs/bone with Dr. Harvey's Paradigm base mix and other nutrients. And I toss in fermented foods (fermented fish stock, vegetables, seeds) for natural probiotics to boost gut health.

Need Help with Raw Feeding?

Check out the following resources.

Raw Feeding 101

Raw Feeding Course / Coaching

Meal Formulation

by a Pro-Raw Holistic Veterinarian

Meal Formulation

 by a Certified Nutritionist

Got Questions?

I love connecting with raw feeders and exchanging notes – where do you get your food, what model do you follow, what have you learned over the years?

Let's chat!

Premade Raw Brands I Buy

Most of the food I source from local farms, however, I also source food from reputable brands that I trust.

GreenTripe.com

Columbia River

Darwin's Natural Pet Products

Answers Pet Food

Dr. Harvey's

Wild Coast Raw

The Thogersen Family Farm

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