I am a lifetime dog lover who has recently moved away to college and am owner-training a service dog, Ariel, with the help of an amazing personal trainer. My trainer expects her clients to be on the best food so they can be as amazing as possible. Ariel is currently on Nutro, which is not my first choice but a good product for the price.
I started to research raw diets as Ariel has intermittent bouts of intense diarrhea which I am convinced comes from the ingredients in commercial dog foods. I was overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet. It seems like everyone has an opinion on what is right and what is horribly wrong, so I figured I’d ask some real dog owners.
Ariel is a 40 lb. spaniel mix that is about ten months old and just about fully grown. She is always starving, despite giving her a little more than the recommended amount of food. How did you guys begin feeding raw? Are there specific resources that are helpful? What is your tried-and-true? If you have the time, I’d love a novel on raw dog food for beginners. 😉
Intermittent bouts of diarrhea and always starving sounds more like it could be worms or parasites. Or, possibly, her getting into something naughty in the yard or house. Have you brought in a stool sample?
Good luck with the training. It sounds like an awesome experience!
I made the jump to RAW a couple years ago and could not be more happy with the decision. My dogs are healthier and happier and never leave any food in the bowl at feeding time. I honestly have not had a sick dog since I made the switch on one dog that had been diagnosed with cancer prior to the switch is still with me and doing great.
Books I would recommend for thinking about making the jump would be as follows:
Canine Nutrigenomics by W Jean Dodds, DVM and Diana R. Laverdure. This is the book that finally got me to make the switch after thinking and researching the idea for a couple years. This book has become my Bible so to speak.
Give Your Dog a Bone by Dr. Ian Billinghurst
Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs by Lew Olson, PHD
Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
The Dog Cancer Survival guide by Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM
There are more but these are the books I keep handy when looking to make any changes to my dogs diet.
She was fully dewormed as a puppy (not too long ago) and I mentioned these problems to the vet but she didn’t think it sounded like parasites. We most often have diarrhea issues when she has any new treats.
Thank you for the resources!
Hi Katie C,
There definitely is LOTS of opinions on right from wrong with raw feeding. I think there are three really important factors and everything else is just opinion — 1. No matter what you decide to feed, minimally processed food is always going to be an improvement over highly processed food. 2. The diet MUST be balanced. That said, except for calcium/phosphorus, the balance can happen at every meal or over a weeks time. 3. Variety in the diet (even if feeding commercial prepared, balanced foods) is absolutely a must.
I’ve been feeding raw to about 35/40 dogs over the last 11 to 12 years (my own and foster dogs). I’ve weaned pups onto raw and fed 19 year old seniors raw. I personally don’t feed grains or many starchier vegetables but if the pup isn’t having specific issues these can help keep the diet financially friendly. 🙂 I personally DO like small amounts of fruits (about 5% of total diet) and veggies (about 15 to 20%). They are not necessary, I will totally agree, but they do add a lot of nutrient bang for the buck when properly processed. Since our pups live in a somewhat toxic environment those extra antioxidants etc can only be beneficial in my opinion. I live pretty clean but my pets are exposed to formaldehyde in a few pieces of particle board furniture in my house as well as the anti-stain coating on furniture and rugs. I don’t spray my yard but my neighbors do. Then there’s car exhaust and………
I mostly feed commercial raw, right now I have more money than time. But I do buy meat on sale and use a premix to help balance it. I also have freeze dried raw, and even kibble, on hand for those days I literally run in to feed the dogs and run back out, or maybe I’ve got the flu and don’t even want to get out of bed let alone dish up meals for seven dogs.
There are recipes in books and online that you can use but, as mentioned, I don’t think it’s good to rely on one recipe all the time. Dr. Karen Becker has a book with recipes called “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats”. She uses a few supplements but, in my opinion, it’s better to use supplements (even synthetic ones) than to omit that vitamin / mineral from the diet all together because of a bias. Balance IT website is another place where you can create recipes using ingredient you chose and then use their supplement mix to balance the diet. You also DEFINITELY CAN balance over a week but you have to be way more committed to finding and using harder to find ingredients/foods.
To recap, best thing you can do is not get too wrapped up into what is wrong or right and just strive for balance using whatever fits best into your lifestyle, price range and belief system.
My 4 years old maltese eats raw organic meat and turkey necks for 4 years now. I start from day I bought her . Start with chicken breast and later necks. She is very healthy dog. She loves carrots, apples ,banana I also start giving her Shark liver oil, yougurt, egg yolk , chlorella. She just got 2 female puppies 2 weeks ago. They are growing fast and very healthy too. My dog don’t have bad breath, her teeth is white. And I will never feed her cooked food.
Is your dog eating bones as well?
Yes she does, and also I forgot to wright ,she also eats raw cow liver, just a couple of pieces, for some reason she doesn’t like chicken liver, hart, and gizzard, but she also eats chicken wings, and necks. People said, she will have worms, but she didn’t. I give her every day carrots, pumpkin seeds- this is keep worms out. Also I would like to start Bentonite clay . I do not used any chemical spray for flees. I make my own natural spray, and it is work perfect Plus I give her raw garlic too, which also keep worms flees away. We don’t go to the vet. She is healthy doggy.
Curious… do you not go to the vet at all? Because most if not all states require (by law) that dogs need to be registered and you cannot register a dog without a rabies vaccination.
I’m not the person you were asking but not all people do rabies and some do it at vaccine clinics not the vets.
Wow I did not know that!
I live in California and in my county you are required by law to have your dog vaccinated against rabies. In addition, you are required to get your dog licensed 30 days after the first rabies vaccination and you must renew the license every 1, 2 or 3 years.
I have found this blog informative regarding vaccinations, even the comments are helpful (imo)
Also, some science-based information about raw included in this blog:
More Nonsense from Holistic Vets about Commercial Therapeutic Diets
Posted on July 20, 2016 by skeptvet http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2016/07/more-nonsense-from-holistic-vets-about-commercial-therapeutic-diets/
If you are interested….
It is required everywhere in the US but there are people who choose not to. (I’m not one of them)
I took my maltese 4 years ago to the Vet. For check up, because, people who sold me my dog told me , I must take my puppy to the Vet. and send them paper from the Vet. that my puppy is healthy. Later I took her for a rabies shot, she got so sick ,and that was the end.
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