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Why do we make raw feeding so complicated?
When I discovered social media, I found a way to make new friends, connect with like-minded people, and reconnect with old friends. “This is fantastic,” I thought. I used to post whatever was on my mind, share interesting memes and articles, and genuinely have a great time. And then I started blogging about dogs.
Good Lord People Be Crazy!!!
I hate posting sometimes because everyone uses every status update as an opportunity to prove to the world how smart they are and I see this every day when we’re talking about raw feeding.
It’s not that complicated. Don’t believe me? Then I’ll show you.
Transitioning a Puppy to Raw Dog Food
We recently added a fifth dog to our family. Apollo is an 8-month-old Goberian (Siberian Husky/Golden Retriever) puppy who is a truckload of happiness and affection with a cup full of naughtiness tossed in to make life interesting. He was also eating a diet of kibble, crappy treats with mystery ingredients, and no fresh food.
I transitioned him to raw cold turkey.
It was just that easy. After going through the transition period a couple of times, I realized that I was always overthinking the diet.
With Rodrigo and Sydney, I transitioned them over a three month period. With Scout and Zoey, I transitioned them cold turkey. In both situations, my dogs were fine and despite that, I STILL came up with an unnecessarily complicated plan to transition Apollo to raw dog food.
Thankfully, Apollo's puppy energy and the immediate change to our household zapped my brain and it was just easiest to put raw in the bowl and place it in front of Apollo to see what he did – he ate his food.
It was easy.
Meal Prep in a Multi-Dog Household
Meal prep is another thing I see people overthinking and I get it. We see images on Instagram of 25 containers lining a counter and containing individual meals for all the dogs in the house and we feel that we have to do the same.
Nope! NO NO NO NO NO!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that what works for that person may not work for me. And what works for me may not work for you. So I suggest getting ideas from multiple places and fashion up a plan that works best for you and your dogs.
When it comes to meal prep, what works for me is using a base mix of Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm (or Raw Vibrance), but I don’t use it the way most pet parents would expect. And, I think the way I incorporate Dr. Harvey’s into my dogs’ diet is easier because based on the emails I’m getting, people are overthinking this part of raw feeding too:
- Aren’t you just supposed to add meat to the Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm? Why are you adding all of the other ingredients?
- Aren’t you risking vitamin toxicity by adding all those other ingredients AND Dr. Harvey’s Raw Vibrance?
- What percentage of your dogs’ diet is the Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm? 20% 25%
- Do you add Dr. Harvey’s to balance your dog’s diet?
These questions have been coming on the regular so it’s time for me to address how much Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm (or Raw Vibrance) I use when making raw dog food. Hopefully, this will give you some ideas that will make raw feeding easier, less costly, and more nutritious for your dog.
Adding Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm During Meal Prep
When I do meal prep, I pull everything out of my freezer that I need for my dogs, including 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ meat. 80/10/10 is not how I balance a diet, but it is the foundation of my dogs’ raw diet and gives me an idea of what I need to thaw. After pulling out those ingredients, I give thought to what else they need:
- Sardines or fermented fish stock for Omega 3 fatty acids
- Fermented vegetables for fiber and probiotics
- Boiled canned oysters for zinc
- Additional pork heart for Vitamin B
And, finally, I grab my bag of Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm (or Raw Vibrance).
I typically make 40 quarts (five 8-quart bowls) of raw dog food when doing meal prep. This equates to 5 to 7-1/2 cups of Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm (or Raw Vibrance), which is about 1 to 1-1/2 cups per bowl.
Once I add the oil and hot water (per the instructions) to hydrate the base mix, there is a nice amount in the base of each bowl. Then I add everything else, in equal amounts, mix it up, transfer the food to freezer safe containers, clean the kitchen, then go chill on the sofa.
Am I Feeding Enough Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm?
Hell Yeah! How do I know? Because I am familiar with what nutrients my dogs need in their diet and I pay attention to my dogs (their coat, their poop, their behavior). The fear, in my opinion, is that we’re not going to feed our dogs a balanced diet when we feed raw, but I don’t share this fear any longer because I’ve realized a few things:
- No one really knows what our dogs need in their diet. People have an idea and we’re using tools and resources that are going to get us close to meeting our dogs' nutritional needs, but, ultimately, no one knows.
- Every dog is different and to say that I have to follow a set of guidelines created eons ago in order to feed my dogs a balanced diet doesn’t ring true to me.
That being said, I believe balance is important, I just don’t think that it’s necessary to get all stressed out about it.
Alternating between Dr. Harvey’s Paradigm and Raw Vibrance has made raw feeding a little easier for me, especially as I’ve transitioned to DIY. I buy fewer supplements, I need fewer ingredients, and a bag will last me long enough that I’m able to take advantage of specials when they come around.
When it Comes to Dr. Harvey's, You Do You (or Me or Both)
If you're feeding one of the bases mixes offered by Dr. Harvey's, don't feel like you have to do what I'm doing. It's not necessary. This is what works for my dogs and my budget. If it sounds like something you want to try, go for it. If you'd prefer to follow the directions on the package, go for it. Or if you want to do a combination of the two, go for it.
Ultimately, when we take control of our dogs' diet, we have to do a lot of trial and error before we find what works for our individual dogs.
You can order Dr. Harvey's Paradigm and Raw Vibrance on their website: