Keep the Tail Wagging
I began blogging about my journey as a raw feeder because I found it complicated and overwhelming. If you ask a question in a raw feeding group, you'll get 50 responses and their all different. Want to add vegetables? Some will tell you that vegetables are filler foods, others will say that they are a great source of fiber, while others will say vegetables are necessary to balance a dog's diet. My thought was that if learning about raw feeding was difficult for me, then others may have the same experience. Therefore, I began to share what I was learning through this blog.
Now, let's get to the basics.
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Hi, I’m Kimberly
I started this blog in December 2011 to share my experience raising littermate puppies. In 2014, I changed the focus to raw feeding for dogs and raising dogs naturally after raw feeding saved one of my dogs.
Today, I feed five dogs a diet of raw dog food and I share what I'm learning on my blog, social media, and books available on Amazon.
I'm not a veterinarian and I'm not a nutritionist. I'm a pet parent who is nuts about my dogs and shares what I learn about raw feeding and more on my blog.
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
- No More Allergies – A raw food diet boosts immune system health, helping dogs combat allergies.
- Gorgeous Coat – The healthy fatty acids and nutrients in a raw diet for dogs improve their skin and coat health.
- Cleaner Teeth – Enjoying raw meaty bones satisfies the chew drive while cleaning teeth and freshening breath.
- Healthy Weight – Raw fed dogs eat natural, unprocessed foods and have more energy and focus.
- Smaller Poop – A raw diet is easier to digest, dogs absorb more nutrients, leading to smaller poop.
- Fewer Vet Visits – Switching to raw reduced vet visits from every other month to annual check-ups.
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 (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 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.
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.
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.
How I “Balance” Raw
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.
Learn More About Raw
My blog is one of many resources available to new and experiences raw feeders. Here are a few more:
And visit the following Resources Page for people, pages, groups, books and more on raw feeding and raising pets naturally.