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In 2014, I decided to start sharing my journey as a raw feeder. I had been feeding my dogs a raw food diet for a year and wrote about what I had learned as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Looking back, I cringe at how little I knew about raw feeding and decided to update each of those blog posts in 2018-19.
I combined questions I've had about feeding raw dog food, questions people have asked me about the diet, and I reached out to my friends and asked them to give me some questions they have about raw feeding.
How did you transition your dogs from kibble to raw dog food?
When we first transitioned, we fed our dogs raw in the morning and kibble in the evening. We didn’t mix the raw and kibble together (it made our dogs sick). We did this until we settled on a company to go with (Darwin’s Pets) and we ran out of kibble (2-3 months); then we feed 100% raw.
What are your thoughts on Salmonella?
While salmonella and other harmful bacteria can lead to illness in humans and dogs, I believe that the most risk is to people and animals with a compromised immune system. I have never gotten sick after handling raw meat because I'm vigilant about washing my hands and cleaning the kitchen after meal prep. Our dogs have never gotten sick from eating raw meat because their system can better handle the bacteria. A dog has properties in their saliva that kills bacteria, they have a shorter digestive tract that processes their food quickly and their gut is acidic and not a fun place for bacteria to set up camp.
Won’t your dogs go feral once they taste the blood?
Nope; our dogs didn't go bloodthirsty after their first raw meal. There isn’t a switch in dogs that turns them into wild, blood thirsty beasts that will kill us in our sleep. When I mix up raw meals, I make sure to pour the blood into the mix as well because it contains nutrients too.
How many different meat sources need to be included in a raw diet?
I feed our dogs multiple meat sources because I'm fortunate to have access to a lot of variety where we live. However, when asked this question, I think two or three meat sources are just fine and most people stick with chicken, beef, turkey, and pork because these are commonly available. What I think is more important is to source from quality businesses and farms.
Where does your meat come from? Do you know how the animals are treated?
We get our raw through a local raw food co-op and Darwin's Natural Pet Products. All of the meat is sourced from humane farmers.
What if I don't know enough to feed our dogs raw?
This is easily remedied by getting your raw food through a pre-made brand. This is more costly, but there are ways to cut back on the cost.
Are raw food diets balanced?
Raw food diets can be balanced, but it does require us to take the time to learn about our dogs' nutritional needs. I start with a base of 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 5% offal (secreting organs), and 5% liver. From there, I add Omega 3 fatty acids (sardines, carp, phytoplankton), zinc (oysters), and iodine (organic ocean kelp). You can learn more about what I feed my dogs by checking out my Easy Raw Dog Food Recipe posts and my Supplements page.
Do you have questions about raw? Leave them in the comments below and I will try and answer each one.