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I recently received a few questions about when I transitioned Rodrigo and Sydney to a raw food diet. People want to know…
- Did you start with commercial pre-made raw or DIY?
- Did you mix the raw and kibble together?
- Did you gradually increase the raw and decrease the kibble?
- How soon after starting a partial-raw diet did you see health improvements?
- How soon after starting raw did switch to DIY raw feeding
- Why did you choose FrankenBARF?
- What do you recommend for people who can't feed raw yet?
1 – Did You Start with Pre-made Raw or DIY?
I started my dogs with premade raw by Darwin's Pet Food. I still remember the day when I made that call. Their customer service was fantastic about working with my budget and helping me transition my dogs to full raw at my pace. Today, 5 years later, I still have a standing order for lamb tripe and beef.
2 – Did You Mix the Raw and Kibble Together?
No. This happened one time with our dogs and Rodrigo nearly destroyed the sofa with his frat-boy vomiting. There are a lot of theories about why we shouldn't mix raw and kibble together. My theory, based on experience, is that for a dog with a sensitive digestive system, it's just too much going on and it makes them sick.
Instead, the dogs ate raw in the morning and kibble in the evening until we ran out of kibble.
3 – Did You Gradually Decrease the Kibble?
No. I fed the same amount of kibble in the evening meals that I fed prior to incorporating raw into my dogs' diet. Instead of two meals a day, my dogs received one meal a day and I didn't increase or decrease that meal. When we ran out of kibble, that second meal became a raw meal and I followed the guidelines provided by Darwin's Pet.
4 – How Soon Did You See Health Improvements?
I began seeing an improvement in Rodrigo's health in less than two weeks. The impetus to transitioning to raw was a gnarly rash on his back that included huge welts following a history of health issues. He had just come off of a round of antibiotics and I realized that everything his vet was doing was making him sicker.
In less than a week, Rodrigo's rash cleared up. In less than two weeks, he lost the yeasty smell to his ears and skin. It took longer for his gut to heal and he'll always need supplements to support his gut health due to all of the antibiotics, however, he's a much healthier dog than his first vet predicted he would be and he's lived longer.
5 – When Did You Switch to DIY Raw Feeding?
Nearly a year after I transitioned my dogs to a raw food diet, I switched to DIY raw feeding because commercial raw was too expensive with four dogs. I had no idea what I was doing and I started buying meat (mainly chicken) at the grocery store and grinding it up and mixing in chicken liver and The Honest Kitchen base mix.
- I didn't know about raw food co-ops.
- I didn't know that Asian markets were a good source for raw feeders.
- I didn't know that you had to go easy on organ meat for puppies (Scout and Zoey were only a few months old) because it's rich and will cause diarrhea; explosive diarrhea.
I spoke with a holistic veterinarian who had experience with raw feeding and she helped me get the diet right. And I met with a local raw feeder and she helped me with sourcing and introduced me to the local raw food co-op.
6 – Why Did You Choose FrankenBARF?
I choose to feed my dogs a modified version of a BARF diet because I believe that all diets should be tailored for each dog and I believe that vegetables offer cancer blocking anti-oxidants and other nutrients our dogs need. Today, I ferment vegetables for my dogs, an easy process, to give them the added benefit of natural probiotics while mimicking the stomach contents of prey.
I don't think Prey Model or the original BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) Model of raw feeding are wrong, I just choose a different path for my dogs.
7- What About People Who Can't Feed Raw Yet?
Did you know that the Google search for a variation of “raw feeding for dogs” has tripled over the past year or so? More and more pet parents are researching raw feeding, however, they aren't making the leap yet. If you fall into this camp and want to improve your dog's current diet, I suggest adding fresh food to each meal.
- Bone broth
- Golden paste
- Fresh vegetables that are safe for dogs
- Fermented vegetables that are safe for dogs
- Fermented fish stock
- Raw goat's milk or kefir
- Cook for your dog – pressure cook some meat and vegetables and mix into their current meal.
Scout and Zoey were transitioned to raw cold turkey. They were eating kibble in the morning when we picked them up and raw in the evening when we arrived home. Today, my dogs eat a raw diet with no kibble. I do mix in a few premade commercial raw brands that I trust, but most of their food is made in my kitchen and sourced from a local raw food co-op.
Have more questions? Share them in the comments below and I'll respond.
Easy Raw Dog Food Recipes
If you're interesting in slowing incorporating raw into your dog's diet, I post basic recipes on Fridays.