Fresh Food is Better for Dogs

In 2004, Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker, shocked the country with his film Super Size Me.  At the time, McDonald’s had the option to Super Size orders and in a nation with an obesity epidemic, Morgan decided to only eat McDonald’s, super sizing his orders when given the option, for a 30-day period.  We watched his health decline sharply and quickly over the course of the film and we saw that a steady diet of fast food and over eating is unhealthy.  In fact, it’s dangerous.  In that 30-day period, Morgan gained 24 pounds, developed a fatty liver and increased cholesterol, experienced mood swings and other mental and health issues.

While I never believed that it was healthy to eat fast food on a daily basis, seeing the rapid decline in the filmmaker’s health was a shock.  Today, more than a decade later, why are so many pet parents resistant to the idea that feeding their dogs and cats a daily diet of processed foods made with rendered meat and high levels of carbs, starches, and synthetic (laboratory created) vitamins?

What is Raw Feeding for Dogs?

Raw Feeding for dogs is our attempt to replicate the diet of the Grey Wolf, a distant relative of today's dogs – yes, even your Chihuahua.  People who feed raw understand that dogs aren't wolves – they have adapted over the centuries to be our companions and family members.  We also understand that the internal makeup of a dog is still very similar to a wolf and therefore feed them as follows:

  • 80% Muscle Meat
  • 10% Bone
  • 5% Liver
  • 5% Offal (secreting organs like kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and testicles)

Many raw feeders also add whole food supplements to their dogs' meals to account for nutrients not found in the meat and bone.  I add raw sardines for Omega 3 fatty acids (joints, brain health, and skin and coat health), raw goats milk and kefir (gut health), raw eggs (multi-vitamin), spirulina (immune system), kelp (iodine), oysters (zinc), vegetables (fiber and other nutrients).

Keep reading for an example of what I feed to my dogs.

Why I Switched My Dogs to Raw Feeding

For Rodrigo's first three years, he experienced chronic health issues and his veterinarian couldn't help him.  He prescribed antibiotics and pain medication, both of which only served to make Rodrigo's health issues worse because the problem was his diet.

  • chronic ear infections
  • itchy paws with sores
  • skin rashes
  • yeast infections
  • loose stool and diarrhea
  • behavioral issues
  • food intolerances
  • environmental allergies
  • joint pain and arthritis
  • and so on and so on.

Nothing helped Rodrigo.  Not prescription medication.  Not the many changes to the kibble we purchased.  Not his veterinarian.  What finally helped was switching to a raw food diet.

Benefits of Raw Feeding for Dogs

Raw feeding is biologically appropriate for dogs and the reason it worked so well for Rodrigo is that he was no longer on a diet that promoting an inflammatory reaction in his system.  Other benefits include:

  • healthy skin and shiny coat
  • clean, white teeth
  • fresh breath
  • healthy digestive system
  • stronger immune system
  • decreased allergies
  • healthy body weight and muscle mass
  • no doggy odor
  • smaller, less smelly poop

And the bonus of raw feeding is that many health issues can be resolved with diet.  Small things that used to be a call to the vet are now a small shift in my dogs' raw diet.  And raw feeding has inspired me to find other natural solutions for flea repellents, grooming products, laundry detergent, and more.

Transitioning to Raw Dog Food

When I first transitioned my dogs to raw, I was terrified.  I was worried that I would make them sick, that they wouldn't get the nutrients they needed, that I couldn't afford it, and I didn't think it could be as easy as everyone said that it was.  So I started my dogs on a premade raw brand, Darwin's Pet Food, feeding raw in the morning and kibble in the evening until I ran out of kibble.  

When we became a four dog family, I couldn't afford to feed 100% premade raw and sought ways to save money with DIY raw feeding.  A fellow local raw feeder introduced me to our local raw food co-op, I invested in a meat grinder, and I purchased our first dedicated freezer.  DIY raw feeding is a lot easier than I thought it would be thanks to the help of our online community of raw feeders.

Choosing a Raw Feeding Model

There are two main models of raw feed, the Whole Prey Model and the BARF Model.  The Whole Prey Model of raw includes whole pieces of muscle meat, bone, liver, and offal; some raw feeders will feed a whole animal, with fur (for fiber) and all.  The BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model includes vegetables, fruit, and whole food supplements (eggs, raw goats milk, vegetables); some raw feeders also grind the food.

I feed my dogs a modified version of the BARF Model of raw feeding that I call FrankenBARF.

Easy Raw Food Recipe

Today, I feed my dogs a diet based on the BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model that I call FrankenBARF.  I share recipes every Friday (Raw Foodie Friday) that will give you an idea of what you can feed your dog.  I also often do live prep videos on Facebook (see the videos section; I also do FB Lives) and YouTube.

Proteins

Proteins I Feed to My Dogs

  • Duck
  • Quail
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Elk
  • Buffalo
  • Emu
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Rabbit
  • Green Beef Tripe
  • Green Bison Tripe

Organs

Offal/Liver I Feed to My Dogs

Offal and Liver

  • Pork Kidneys
  • Pork Liver
  • Venison Liver
  • Turkey Liver
  • Liver/Offal/Green Tripe Blend

Organ Meat (fed as Muscle Meat)

  • Pork Heart
  • Venison Heart
  • Turkey Heart
  • Duck Heart
  • Duck Gizzards

Bones

Bones I Feed to My Dogs

Raw Meaty Bones

  • Duck Necks
  • Duck Frames
  • Lamb Necks

Recreational Bones

  • Beef Knuckle Bones
  • Buffalo Knuckle Bones
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