BEGINNERS GUIDE TO RAW FEEDING
New to Feeding Raw?
If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you have decided to make the switch to a raw diet for your four-legged friend – and we applaud you! The choice for fresher food for Fido isn’t a simple one, which is why we are here to guide you through it. If you’re afraid that he might get an unbalanced meal from raw food or possibly choking on bones, well we’re here to say that we’ve all been through this transition, and our dogs are healthy, lively and thriving!
Before we begin, it’s vital to remember not to rush the transition process and that every dog may process changes to their diet at varying rates.
We’ve worked closely with raw specialist veterinarians to help you understand what should go in your dog’s diet. And these points are the gateway to understanding raw feeding:
- Dogs require nutrients from various sources of protein, vegetables and seeds
- Different offals of an animal provide different types of nutrients and vitamins
- Once your dog is used to raw, it is advisable to rotate the protein every now and then, or even mix the proteins in 1 meal.
How to Feed your Dog Raw?
Let’s begin! Assuming your dog has never tasted or seen raw meat then the safest method would be to slowly introduce it to him. Start out with minced meat or small meaty bones. During this transition it is advisable to stick to one type of protein, preferably lean white muscle meat, such as turkey or chicken. Too many new foods at one time, may cause stomach upset.
That being said, it is almost “normal” if your dog might get diarhoea from the first few days of introduction. Observe their stools and behaviour, and feed accordingly. Again, even though 1 dog might be leaking watery stools and the other shows no problems, this is no cause for alarms as long as they are behaving normally. Those with a healthy gut system would be able to transition cold turkey, which means switching their food completely to raw. We have covered an easy-to-adopt transition process in an earlier article that can be found here.
When to Feed your Dog Raw?
Another common concern is feeding for different life stages. There is no right time to start feeding your dog raw. And there’s a better chance to provide a high quality of life for when feeding geriatric dogs a raw diet. Puppies on the other hand require different level of nutrients, such as more calcium in their diet to support bone health for their development. The amount is dependent on their breed and size. A good source of calcium are raw meaty bones. If the puppy is still on its baby teeth, they can start off on soft bone and graduate on to a larger meaty bone when they have understood the gnawing action. Important point to note is that the bone shouldn’t be too small for the puppy to swallow whole. Even adult dogs may try to swallow their food whole, so it’s always best to supervise.
For senior dogs, assuming they have low activity, they would require less food in ratio to their body weight. However, the proportions of each food type shouldn’t differ from their adult stage. Unless they have specific illnesses, which will be covered in a different article. We have also covered ‘Senior Dog Food For Your Older Pet’ to address age ailing issues.
However, when would you determine that your dog has reached seniority? Your dog's breed is usually a good estimation of his lifespan, so it may get a little confusing. A number of things, such as fur discoloration and decrease in mobility may indicate that your friend is entering the golden years of his or her life. However, it’s generally reasonable to use the following rule of thumb based on your dog's weight:
- Small dog (below 20lbs/9kg) - age 11+
- Medium dog (21-50lbs/9-20kg) - age 10+
- Large dog (51-100lbs/21-45kg) - age 9+
- Giant dog (above 100lbs/45kg) - age 8+
Monitoring your Dog’s Diet Through their Poo
A clear indication of how well or poorly your pup is dealing with the change in diet is by monitoring their stools. A firm, dry poo that is easily picked up in a bag is a good sign that he’s digesting everything well and on the other spectrum we have water-poo that has absolutely no form. Everything else in between could be modified by adding more bones in their diet or a squeeze of Animotics – a premium Probiotics paste.
Still not convinced? Here is a list of benefits:
- Your dog will be better hydrated from the raw food and would drink less water
- Better stool consistency that is easily cleaned up and has little to no smell
- Better breath and less or no tartar build up
- Softer skin and fur; dogs that have had a history of dry, flaky skin would show a significant improvement
- Improved gut health, thus less chances of stomach upset if accidental consumption of random matter
- Overall better immune system
- Less chances of your dog facing liver, kidney or pancreatic failures in their senior year