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Since the release of A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs, I'm getting a lot of questions from people who are ready to switch to raw – Yayyyyy!!!!! Not long ago, I wrote a blog post sharing five steps to transition your dog to raw, and I go into more detail in my book.
This is great for people who want to start with DIY raw, but what about those who would prefer to go a bit slower?
Transitioning My Dogs to Raw Dog Food
When I transitioned Rodrigo and Sydney, I wanted to go slowly because…
- I was nervous.
- I wasn't sure if I could afford it.
- I wasn't sure where I would store it.
- Rodrigo's gut was so wonky that I didn't know if he could switch cold turkey.
So I started with a pre-made raw brand (Darwin's Natura Pet Food), and three months later, I transitioned to 100% pre-made raw, less than a year later, I was starting DIY raw and today, I do a combination of pre-made and DIY raw dog food.
Benefits of Taking it Slowly When Transitioning to Raw
I was told by a lot of people that switching cold turkey is easy and better for my dogs. Just fast them for a day and then start them on raw. Back then, I was shocked by the idea of cruelly withholding food from my babies, and I still didn't know if they'd eat the raw food. Turns out that following my gut and going slowly was exactly the right choice.
1 – Going Slowly Allows You to Plan – I was able to take the time to figure out storage, sourcing, and my budget. I didn't feel pressured to buy a meat grinder or freezer right away. I was able to connect with local raw feeders, discover our local raw food co-op, and get my boyfriend on board with the plan. He saw the benefits right away and has been supportive since.
2 – Going Slowly Gives You Time to Learn – I spent a year soaking up as much knowledge as possible on raw feeding. I spoke with holistic veterinarians, I read tons of books, blog posts, and even took a local raw feeder out for coffee.
3 – Going Slowly Acclimates Your Dogs – at first, my dogs weren't down with cold food, and I couldn't figure out how to feed them whole raw without them taking the food to various corners throughout the house. I learned that raised dog dishes worked better for my dogs and grinding their food was easier for them to eat than whole raw (at the time).
4 – Going Slowly Acclimated Rodrigo's Gut – I'll never know if Rodrigo could have handled cold turkey or not; I've seen some dogs with similar gut issues have trouble while others did great. By the time we switched to 100% raw, Rodrigo was doing much better than he was doing when he ate a diet of dry dog food.
Top 5 Raw Brands that Deliver for Novice Raw Feeders
If you want to follow my lead and slowly transition your dog to raw by starting with a premade raw brand (or raw meat mixed with a base mix), I recommend the following sources that will deliver to your door.
1 – Darwin's Natural Pet Food
Of course, Darwin's Natural Pet Food is at the top of my list because this is where I started. This is a Seattle based company that delivers nationwide. They offer several recipes and the following proteins: chicken, beef, turkey, duck, lamb, green beef tripe, and green bison tripe. I usually order the lamb and the bison tripe for my dogs.
2 – Answers Pet Food
It's not fair for me to put Answers Pet Food on the list because they don't deliver – yet. However, soon we'll be able to order Answers online, so I'm being proactive and crossing my fingers that we'll be able to order their food online by the end of 2018. I like Answers because their food is fermented, which means that if a dog has an intolerance to a chicken, for example, they may be able to eat Answer's chicken recipe.
Answers offer several recipes and the following proteins: chicken, beef, turkey, and pork. I order their fermented fish stock, kefir, and I recently started buying their cheese with turmeric treats.
3 – Raw Feeding Miami
Raw Feeding Miami is a brand that a lot of people order from, and I've only heard good things. They're too far away for me, so I've never placed an order with them, but if you live on the east coast, this is a fantastic option. Raw Feeding Miami is practically a one-stop shop for raw feeders, providing food, bones, organ meat, treats – everything a raw feeder needs to feed a healthy, balanced (over time) diet.
4 – Raw Paws Pet Food
Raw Paws Pet Food is a brand I was introduced to a couple of years ago, and I have been a huge fan because (1) they offer free shipping and (2) they offer regular sales on food and treats. I joined their mailing list a long time ago, waiting for things I need to go on sale before placing an order. For me, Raw Paws Pet Food is a great source of goat and smelt.
5 – My Pet Carnivore
My Pet Carnivore is another brand that I've heard a lot of great things about, but I have never ordered from this company. Similar to my local raw food co-op, there are set pick up areas for your raw order. They also offer the option to pick up at their headquarters, or you can have your order delivered via FedEx. My Pet Carnivore offers nearly everything you'll need as a raw feeder.
6 – Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow
I know the title says “5,” but several readers have pointed out that Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow is a great source of raw. Hare Today ships all across the country and they offer a Rewards Program with several ways to earn points to be used towards free food. As a raw feeder with four big dogs, a cat, and the dream of a fifth dog, I'm always looking for ways to save money and Hare Today offers a few things that may not be common and will benefit dogs with a protein intolerance: alpaca, bison, goose, elk, goat, and llama caught my eye.
Learn More About Raw Feeding for Dogs
Want to learn more about how I feed my dogs? Check out my book A Novice's Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs where I share how to transition dogs, the pros and cons of the models of raw feeding, answers to many questions about raw, as well as a few recipes.
- CLICK HERE to order my book on Amazon today!