Can my puppy eat raw food?
Simple answer, yes! Puppies can start eating a raw diet as soon as they’ve been weaned off of their mother’s milk (following the raw weaning method). But even if the breeder or rescue centre hasn’t started on raw, you can start them on a well-balanced raw food diet from 8+ weeks old!
Puppies need both the right type, and the right amount of food during their development, so it’s important to avoid poor feeding practices whilst puppies are growing to avoid skeletal problems.
Can I mix raw food with dry food?
Yes and no. We don’t recommend feeding your dog a raw food diet alongside your regular commercialised kibble as they digest at different rates and will contain very different ingredients that may cause digestive upset.
My dog has a sensitive stomach. Will switching to raw food help?
Virtually any food substance you can think of can generate an allergy or sensitivity in a dog. This can include even the most common and harmless ingredients such as wheats, corn and grains. By cutting these out of your dog’s diet you resolve their sensitivity issue.
It’s a well-known fact that dogs fed on a commercial dry diet have more allergies than those on a more natural one that contains less ingredients. Therefore feeding your dog a high quality and properly planned raw food diet can reverse sensitivity problems.
What are the benefits of a raw food diet?
Where do we start? Here are just some of the benefits of feeding raw:
• Better oral hygiene
• Shinier skin and coat
• Improved Digestion
• Increased food enjoyment
• Increased energy and stamina
• Fewer and better formed stools
• Boosted immune system
• Less allergies
We could go on…
How do I switch my dog to a raw food diet?
There are a number of ways to switch your dog over to a raw food diet but it’s very much dependent on the dog. Are they quite sensitive to food transition?
METHOD ONE – COLD TURKEY
There are significant differences in the digestive process and speed of digestion between raw and (in particular) dry kibble. However, if your dog doesn’t have a sensitive stomach then many owners believe in just making that immediate switch as they’re less prone to digestive upset that typically results in diarrhea (yuck!).
Every dog is different and some dogs do easily make that immediate switch with no fuss. But we would only recommend trying this method if you have a puppy or a younger dog. We also suggest keeping an eye on your dog and their stools for the first few days of making that immediate switch. Look to see whether they’ve adjusted easily or need to transition a little slower and try either method 2 or 3.
METHOD TWO – PHASE IT
When switching from other food a method that most dog owners tend to use is the phased approach. This is a particularly good method for dogs who have sensitive stomachs, as changing their food from one to another can cause gastrointestinal upset. In particular if your dog was previously being fed dry commercial kibble then they could potentially have poor gut bacteria, suppressed digestive enzymes and a weakened immune system. This all stems from eating artificial and grain-based processed foods.
To get your dog’s digestive system back up and running and decrease the risk of GI upset, we personally suggest gradually adding a small amount of new food to make up roughly 25% of the meal. Increase gradually over the course of 7 days until you’ve fully swapped.
METHOD THREE – TREAT TO BOWL
This method is a healthy medium between the immediate switch and the phased approach. It’s popular amongst owners who prefer to test the waters with their dog first before making that change. And it’s as simple as it sounds. Use the raw food as a ‘treat’ on the first day and keep an eye on the condition of your dog’s stool. Increase the amount of raw treats over the next few days and continue to monitor their stool. If the stool is normal then replace one whole meal with raw. Over the next couple days if your dog’s stool remains healthy then stop the old food and switch completely to raw.
My dog poops less often, is this normal?
Yes! When feeding your dog a raw diet you’ll soon notice that their stools are smaller, better formed and that your dog is pooping less. Why? Because raw food is easy to digest and your dog is able to absorb pretty much all the nutrients, so what you’re left with is, well… not much!
Why is raw better than dry kibble or cooked can food?
Commercialised dry kibble and canned dog food is typically cooked at a level where a large percentage of nutrients are lost. In standard dry dog food there are also a number of non nutritious and unnatural ingredients such as wheat, grains, Butylated-hydroxyanisole (BHA) or butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). These are typically used to bind the biscuits together, bulk out the food and/ or prevent spoiling.
A raw fed diet (when fed properly) not only ensures your dog is getting all natural ingredients but that those simple ingredients are providing 100% of their nutritional needs. There are no fillers, no unnatural colourants, flavourings or preservatives. It’s just simple, well balanced and highly nutritious meat, bone offal and veggies.
Aren't bones dangerous for my dog to eat?
Cooked and dehydrated bones? Yes, because they’re brittle and can splinter as the moisture has been removed. But the ones used in raw feeding, whether you’ve done your research or you’re purchasing pre-prepared complete raw meals are safe.
Raw bones are soft, chewy and easy to digest. They’re an essential part of a raw diet as they provide your dog with essential fatty acids and minerals as well as helping to stimulate the production of saliva to prevent plaque build up.
What about salmonella?
In short, ideally your dog’s gut can handle the bacteria no problem as they’re built to prevent harmful bacteria (such as salmonella) from invading the body. Their stomachs are highly acidic and contain natural digestive enzymes to process and help break bacteria down without getting ill.
The main reason most people are fearful of the bacteria is for the dog owner, not the dog. But just as you take hygiene protocols when preparing and cooking meat for your own meals, you take the same steps when feeding your pet.