Switching My Dog to Raw Feeding
My dogs were in good health so switching my dogs to raw feeding was a tough decision. One or two minor health niggles (for example a little dry skin, Jarvis being prone to gaining weight, occasional loose stools (and windy bottoms!), combined with reading about the many health benefits of raw pushed us to take the plunge. Here is our experience of the switch.
We decided to order Bella and Duke complete mince. This is because we have limited freezer and storage space and only some knowledge of canine nutrition. Other wonderful producers also deliver complete mince, we just found the information on their website really helpful and easy to understand. The ethical sourcing of their human grade ingredients was really important to us, and the price was competitive. We got 50% off the first order, so for both dogs in the first month it cost £34.50 but the normal monthly price is £69.
We start by gradually decreasing the kibble and increasing the meat by 10% each day. Advice says that is is fine to switch to 100% raw but with delicate whippet tummies we were cautious. We start with 90% kibble and 10 % meat. Turkey and chicken to begin with.
Rookie error- not enough freezer space on delivery so we had to hound (pardon the pun) the neighbours and rush out and buy a second small freezer!
Having read about the switch we were prepared for a battle, predicting that our dogs would turn their noses up or just be completely baffled by us putting raw meat in front of them. We nervously served the first feed, desperate to see the response- we didn’t have long to wait. Within seconds they tucked in and absolutely loved the food! So relieved. So we stuck to chicken and turkey for the first week.
By the beginning of week 2 we are up to 70% meat and its going well. Stools are much smaller and less frequent. Who’d have thought dog poo was so interesting!
Day 10 and we are 100% raw. The whippets are delighted and super excited each meal time- literally shaking with excitement. We have now gradually introduced beef and white fish too with no problems at all.
The dogs already look leaner and their coats are shinier. They seem really hungry however, so we contact Bella and Duke for some advice. Within hours, they reply and advise more food each day than we have been feeding. We feel dreadfully guilty having underfed for a week and dutifully weigh out the new portion. The whippets gobble it up and snuggle down for the night- bless them!
We have now introduced most of the flavours. They are still super-keen on this food and we are really happy to see them eating so well. As their eating speed has now increased so much (particularly Jarvis who was affectionately nicknamed the snail at feeding times), we are having to carefully supervise. They both try to finish and head to each others bowls to look for more.
Having been 100% raw for 3 weeks now we can see their waists shrinking. Now, the dogs were at good weights before, but their body shape has altered. Their waists are really tucked in. Jarvis is also so playful. He is getting toys out and throwing them around which is really not like him but so nice to see.
We hit our first hiccup this week when we introduced duck or salmon (we are not sure which didn’t agree) to Finn. He had an upset tummy for a couple of days. Back to the ‘tried and tested’ flavours for him and he is well again. Luckily, the Bella and Duke subscription is easy to alter, so these two flavours have been taken off our order for the time being. We will perhaps try and reintroduce them at a later date.
All back to normal in the tummy department and we have happy, silky dogs. They are still most definitely less windy and their poo is so much easier to pick up- no more embarrassing sludgy messes in public places! I haven’t noticed the dogs being more calm but they are definitely more energetic.
There is less sticky build up on their teeth since feeding raw. This is a blessing as I struggle to keep Finn’ s teeth clean and take him for a teeth cleaning treatment on occasion, in addition to brushing at home.
This process has been much easier than we expected. There is no denying that the food takes a little more of our time. Time spent on cleaning, ordering, organising deliveries, etc. It is a little more expensive than the kibble we bought (about £10), and you do need plenty of freezer space. However, having already seen benefits, we am happy that we have made the right choice for our dogs and will be continuing on the raw journey.
Each dog unique:
I feel that it is really important to emphasise that each dog really is different and unique when calculating the amount of food. The food calculator is a good starting point, but the owner must also consider the dogs lifestyle and personality and carefully monitor them.
Based on their ages and weights, guidance was that our smaller dog required 20g less food than the larger. He is smaller in size, weighs less, is less of a runner, but is more anxious. Having weighed him after 3 months of raw feeding he had lost over half a KG and was looking a little too thin! We have now adjusted him to have slightly more food than the larger dog and hes looking just perfect.
Next steps for us:
We feel more confident about what to feed the dogs now and they are loving the occasional raw egg as a treat- we may try a chicken wing or two! With our limited space, I think the ready mixed subscription works well for our family and will continue with this. Many companies also offer raw compatible dry food which will be great to use when we are travelling with the dogs.
Top Tips for switching my dog to raw feeding:
- Have enough freezer space in preparation for your delivery.
- Wash the feeding area and bowls thoroughly after each meal.
- Be organised- many of these company’s have an online subscription account where you can alter delivery days and amounts as required.
- Weigh your dog before making the switch and regularly after to check that you are feeding the right amount.
- take a photo (side on) when starting raw so that you can see the benefits.
- Consider your own situation and what is practical and affordable when deciding to switch.
This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own. If you want to order from Bella and Duke however, using the code 45xb35 at the checkout will give you 50% off you first order. I would also receive an introductory credit to my account.
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