By Dr. Karen Becker, DVM
I’ve had several dozen clients that either learn what’s really in their pet’s food, or realize the brand they’ve been feeding is actually quite terrible, and they go home and throw it out. Owners then seek out and purchase a human-grade raw food, and their pet loves it.
But then the dog or cat becomes sick after a few days, and off they go to the veterinarian. Here’s where raw dog food starts to get a bad rap! Most vets erroneously blame all cases of diarrhea on the bacteria in the raw food versus the sudden dietary change, causing the veterinarian and the owner to panic unnecessarily.
Also, dogs and cats process raw foods and kibble very differently. Raw food is processed as a protein, held in the stomach for an acid bath, unlike kibble, which a dog or cat’s body views metabolically as a starch. If raw foods are added to dry foods for a meal, there can be digestive confusion, resulting in gassiness and belching.
When introducing any new food to a pet with a healthy gut, I recommend using the new food as a treat for a day, and keeping an eye on the condition of the stool. Increase the number of new food treats over the next several days and continue to watch the stool. If the stool remains normal, replace one whole meal of dry food with raw food. Do this for several more days, and if the stools remain normal, it’s safe to discontinue the dry food and feed only the whole fresh raw food.
RAW DOG FOOD AND COMPANY SUGGEST TRANSITIONING YOUR PUP WITH A BLEND WITHOUT ORGANS DURING THE TRANSITION PHASE. Once you have transitioned your dogs from kibble to an all raw diet you will want to begin introducing the blends that are complete with organs. Organs are an important and vital part of the raw diet. Organs like liver, kidney, spleen and testicles, contain the essential vitamin and minerals needed for a healthy diet. However during the transition phase dogs are less likely to have loose stools when introduced to a raw diet without the organs.
SPOON OUT small, medium or large meatballs depending on size of your dog.
Day 1 – Feed (1) meatball as a treat. In between kibble meals. Reduce kibble by meatball amount.
Day 2 – Feed (2) meatballs as a treat. Reduce kibble.
Day 3 – Feed (3) meatballs as a treat. Reduce kibble.
Day 4 – Feed (4) meatballs as a treat. Reduce kibble.
Continue this method until you reach the amount your dog’s daily raw feeding amount.
When puppies are four to six months old, they require a great deal of food and a little extra edible bone as they are building their adult teeth. Do not let puppies get too thin (no ribs showing) at this important age as their energy demands are tremendous when cutting new teeth.
Larger breed puppies need to grow at a slower rate for bone and joint health. Never allow puppies to become roily-polly or too skinny. All puppies will need constant supervision and weekly weigh in’s so you can adjust their food up or down.
If puppies poop is runny this may be an indication that you are feeding too much raw food at one time. Try spacing the feedings out to 3-6 times a day.
Yes Puppies Need Bones Too
Puppies adapt quickly after they are weened. From about three weeks of age they start to take an interest in what their mother is eating, by six weeks of age they can eat chicken frames, rabbits and fish.
During the brief interval between three and six weeks of age it is advisable to provide ground chicken, or similar (the meat and bone should be ground together). They should also have access to larger pieces to start to encourage them to rip and tear to build jaw strength. Meat off the bone can be fed, but only for a short time, until they can eat meat and bone together — usually at about six weeks of age.
From six weeks of age, you can feed chicken wings as the bones are soft enough for puppies to build up jaw strength. Chicken wings should have the wing tip cut off at the third joint so as not to become a choking hazard. Make sure to add in muscle meat to bring up the 80-10-10 ratios. Some raw fish is also a good starting food for puppies as the bones are soft and pliable.
Many veteran raw feeders give their puppies spilt or whole knuckle bones and allow the puppies to chew themselves to sleep. This builds up jaw strength and teaches them to chew. We always advise to monitor your puppy with any bones.
Between four and six months of age puppies cut their permanent teeth and grow rapidly. At this time they need a good variety of proteins. We suggest the “Prey Model” blends plus raw meaty bones of suitable size.
Choose any of the Prey Model Blends. The Raw Box Tripe Blend has 5 different proteins and has the green tripe mixed in. Green Tripe is a wonderful natural probiotic and balances the Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratios.
You will want your puppy up until 6 months old to have 15% bone ratio in his diet. Most of our blends are 10% so feel free to at 5% more bone per meal. Supplement with Chicken Feet for extra bone. Give 1-2 feet per day.
Feel free to experiment with different proteins. You can start out with one protein like chicken or beef but we suggest that you don’t continue to feed the same protein for longer than 3 months.
If you feed blends that don’t have the tripe included try feeding Sardines to balance out the Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratio’s. Feed 1 ounce of sardines per 50lbs of your dogs weight. Adjust accordingly for puppies.
These blends have the meat, organ and bone already mixed for you. We know you are busy and may not have the time to gather, grind, calculate and mix your own raw dog food. So we have taken the mess, fear and guess work out of it.
Simply go to our shop and click on Prey Model Blends. There is a wide variety of proteins to choose from.
Our favorite blends for new feeders will be the ones that contain tripe like the All Star Bully, Wolf Run Plus, Rabbit & Tripe, Chicken Tripe Complete, Goat Tripe, Sheep Tripe and all the blends in the Raw Box Tripe . If you just can’t stand the smell of tripe, another great option is our Raw Box Prey Model.
Both of the Raw Boxes are 80/10/10 meaning they have the meat, organ and bones already mixed in.
If you are purchasing the Prey Model Blends without the tripe, we do suggest you purchase Sardines to balance the Omega 6’s in the animal meat with Omega 3’s in the Sardines. When Omega 6 & 3 aren’t balanced inflammation can occur in your pup. (Read more in our section on Why We Suggest Adding Sardines and Mackeral).
Our favorite is Sardines
Fish in general is a great source of protein, calcium, selenium, niacin and Omega-3 fats for your dog. They contain a wealth of nutrients as your dog eats the brain, eyes, organs, thyroid, stomach, bones, muscles and much more. Many coastal wolf populations have been observed eating raw fish as a majority of their diet. More importantly, giving whole fish is a much better way to give your dog Omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil, which is very unstable and can easily become rancid.
Feeding small wild caught fish will help you avoid heavy metals in your dog’s diet. Larger fish that are higher up the food chain can be contaminated with toxins like mercury and PCBs (carcinogenic chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls), and should be avoided.
The solution is to give your dog the smaller fatty fish like sardines, smelts, herring, mackerel and anchovies. Our suppliers freeze them for a minimum of two weeks before selling to customers, to avoid any parasites that may be in some fish.
You can feed these fish whole and raw, frozen or thawed depending on your dog’s preference.
Many raw dog food experts suggest feeding your dog a whole meal of just fish once a week.
As a treat: Sardines/Mackerel feed 1 ounce per 50lb weight of dog. Per day. One ounce of raw fish contains about 50 calories.
Here’s tip: The stinkier the better. Dogs primarily use their sniffers not their pallets to make eating decisions.
Purchase any blend with Tripe or purchase straight green tripe and add to blends that don’t contain tripe.
Note you can feed our tripe as a meal all by itself a couple of times a week.
Other reasons for picky eaters:
1. Pet parents are nervous about dogs eating habits and the dog picks up on the owners anxiety. Understand your dog can go 48 hours without eating and be fine. Many owners fast their dogs at least once a week for 24 hours to promote longevity and gut health.
2. When starting a raw diet your dog may not know what do to with the new food. Try this. Change the bowl, change the place and change the time of feeding. Believe it or not this very often will SNAP them right out of it.
3. Parents expecting too much too fast. Don’t give up if they don’t devour the food right away. Give them time and experiment with different proteins.
Remember if your dog has been on a dry dog food for a long time, chances are he/she may be addicted to the sprayed on sugars, salts and other flavor enhancers. Yes I would love to eat donuts and ice cream all day, and I may live but I seriously doubt I would be healthy!
It happens from time to time. Especially with older dogs who have only ever known kibble their entire lives. Some don’t like the texture of raw after their hard kibbles. But don’t fear there are many options:
1. Dogs like foods that stink! We suggest transitioning your dog with only Green Tripe for the first week. But get ready cause it does smell bad to you but great to your dog!
2. WARM it very lightly in the pan, not enough to cook it, just enough to give it a juicy smell and texture. We do this on a daily basis for our German Shepard. Slightly warmed food aids in the digestion process.
3. Use a different bowl, feed at a different time and in a different place than where you have been feeding kibble meals. This way they don’t associate their new raw food with the former kibble high carb food.
4. Tough love (unpopular with owners, yet unlike a cat, a dog will not starve itself, it will eat what is given eventually).
Dogs that refuse raw are usually objecting to the texture and strange smell. Give it time. Experimentation is the key. Change your protein until you find something that lights your pet up! We have many blends and proteins to choose from.
If your dog has a fever (normal is 101 – 102.5) or is dehydrated (To check: pull skin out from behind the front leg by the ribs. If it bounces back that is good if skin stays in the pinched position your dog is dehydrated) or if your dog has low blood pressure (To check: press on gums right above the canines, it will turn white on pressure and return to pink when you stop pressing if dogs blood pressure is normal) or if your pet becomes lethargic or disorinented please see your vet right away.
When dogs are fed a high carbohydrate diet (which all kibble is, yes even premium kibble) then the digestive enzymes needed to break down protein turn off. They need time to turn back on. This process typically takes between 7-14 days. That is why we recommend the meatball transition method.
Here are 5 common reasons why vomiting and or diarrhea happens when starting to feed raw:
#1 Dogs that have been fed kibble for many years, may have less stomach acid due to the high carbohydrates in kibble. Kibble does not require as much acidity to be digested. Try feeding smaller amounts, more often, while they adjust. Also purchase a human grade digestive enzyme and add to their food to support their gut and the digestive process of raw food. This is why we suggest the “Meatball Method” for transitioning your dog to raw from dry food.
#2 Too much food at one time and over excitement about new food – Solution: feed smaller amounts over more meals. With larger cuts of beef or bones hand feed so that they gnaw on it while you hold the other end until they relax and understand this is their new food now.
Just because a dog wants more food doesn’t mean they need more food. Pet parents must be responsible owners and be cogniscent of how much your dog should weigh and then feed accordingly.
#3 Too much fat in diet- Solution: keep fat ratio’s at approximately 10% to start. Prey model blends are 10% fat. If you feed chicken necks take the skin off or feed skinless chicken. Some lamb and sheep can be high in fat. Read the fat content to be certain of what your dog needs. High performance and working dogs like Vizsla’s and German Shepard’s may need a higher fat content for energy and stamina in the field. Our Shepard Blend has 25% fat and some of our Duck and Lamb blends also have higher fat contents.
#4 Too much bone can cause dogs to throw up- Solution: reduce bone content – no more than 10% to start and typically no more than 15% for adult dogs on a consistent basis. Prey model blends contain 10% bone.
#5 Too many additives thrown into the diet by pet parents. For example eggs, yogurt, coconut oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, treats and all types of supplements can cause a dogs system to go crazy. More is not always better. Keep it simple and only supplement for issues that actually present themselves. For example if your dog has been on raw for at least 3 months and his coat is dull and dry, more than likely your dog needs a digestive enzyme to help them utilize fat and proteins better. But unless your dog is showing signs of being deficient in a certain area be cautious about throwing in the kitchen sink with each meal!
Pets need unadulterated, fresh, whole foods that are moisture dense. They don’t need grains, fillers, artificial preservatives, colors, additives, chemicals, byproducts, or processed foods. Although animals can eat some processed foods, they aren’t designed to consume a lifetime of dry or canned diets. The best food you can feed your pet is the freshest, most natural food you can afford to support your pet’s overall health, well-being, and vitality.
Cooked food and dry kibble have very little moisture content and require your pet to drink and drink and drink water in order to digest those hard dry kibble and bits.
Much research into raw diets show that the moisture content of a raw food diet has a positive effect on maintaining healthy kidneys and bladder in our pets. This is especially true for cats, who are prone to kidney problems such as feline urilogical syndrome due to eating a dry food/kibble diet.
It’s all to common to hear a vet tell someone their pet is dehydrated but all you see is your dog or cat constantly drinking water. Drinking water from the bowl does not necessarily mean your dog or cat is not or cannot be dehydrated. But once your dog or cat begins to get its moisture content from the primordial diet it is eating, the chances of your pet getting dehydrated or coming down with kidney disease is greatly diminished.
Oftentimes, after one to three months on a fresh food diet, pets go through a detoxification process. This is totally normal and is actually something to celebrate.
Detox for your pet will happen through the bowels and skin. During a detox, your pet will act completely normal. He’ll be happy, bright, and alert. But you might find that he’s shedding a tremendous amount of hair. Pets shed out their old, dead, dull hair, and begin growing a shiny, soft coat. You might also see a lot of earwax or debris being produced from the ear. That needs to be cleaned out. And some detoxing pets will pass blobs of mucus in their stools.
These symptoms of detoxification will pass on their own. They’re nothing you need to worry about, but are something you should anticipate or it might freak you out. Pets on a fresh food diet also consume far less water than pets eating an entirely processed diet. You need to anticipate that your pet’s water intake will diminish.
Many people throw out a chicken thigh or a scoop of raw hamburger meat and call that the raw diet. Wrong! That would be unbalanced and your vet would be right in his comment. But with the correct species appropriate ingredients, 80% protein and fat, 10% organ and 10% fat, raw diets produce amazing results and drastic changes in the lives of pets. In 17 years of feeding raw I have seen major relief from allergies, leaky gut, irritable bowl syndrome and yes even life threatening diseases disappear after starting the raw diet for dogs and cats.
Many vets just aren’t educated in nutrition. I know that may be hard to believe but we personally watched our daughter go through vet school and most nutrition classes were put on by Purina, Science Diet, IAMs or any number of the big commercial pet food manufacturers. How they can make a case for dead food that is full of additives, preservatives, aflatoxins and a whole host of synthetic crap is beyond me. But they do. And the worst thing is we as responsible pet owners don’t even question that line of reasoning. We just follow like sheep to slaughter.
Here are 3 Questions to ask your vet when they start down the usual path of “the raw diet is unbalanced, unhealthy and full of bacteria”.
1. Ask what the difference is between handling raw food for pets and raw food for humans. Most families eat at least some meals at home each week that are prepared from raw ingredients, including meat.What’s the difference between preparing raw ground beef to barbeque on the grill, and preparing raw food for the family cat or dog? Why are there no policies discouraging humans from handling raw food purchased at the grocery store?
2. Ask why supposedly high quality pet foods including the vet prescription diets are allowed to contain fish oils that begin to go rancid as soon as the bag is open (which causes inflammation in dogs and cats plus releases free radicals that can lead to cancer and all types of disease) plus aflatoxins, GMO ingredients and synthetic vitamin and minerals that come from China? – China has very loose safety regulations. China’s pet food products are responsible for over 8000 pet deaths).
3. Ask your vet why dogs need carbs? Dogs get their glycogen from protein and fat. They weren’t not born to eat high carb diets that are the leading cause of diabetes, obesity and cancer. But carbs are cheap and dry pet foods need carbs to make the kibble stick together in the rendering process. Carbs have nothing to do with your dogs health. Read this!
4. Ask what percentage of carbs is their prescription kibble diets? Anything over 7% is too much. If they don’t know how to calculate it that is a red flag. So here is the formula: Add the protein percentage plus, moisture, plus ash, plus fat. Then subtract that number from 100. That is the percentage of carbs in that brand of dog food.
5. Ask how does a dog eat poop or dead animals and not get sick? So why would they get sick from human grade species appropriate raw proteins that are void of aflatoxins, synthetic unregulated vitamins and minerals and premixes from China plus fish oils that become toxic and rancid soon after opening the bag and being exposed to air?
We also suggest clicking on Busting the Myths About Raw Dog Food. Make sure you read the one regarding Vets and the Raw Diet.
Also listen to the Podcast How to Talk to Your Vet and What Questions to Ask
Here is another must read The Dangers of Commercial Pet Foods and What Vets Really Know About Pet Nutrition
Don’t forget to also get enough bone in your dogs diet. You can do this through purchasing any of our raw meaty bones.
What Do It Yourself’er’s need to know:
80% Muscle Meat
Raw muscle meat from a variety of sources should be fed daily. You can feed heart as a muscle meat yet not exclusively. Muscle meat is a great source of protein, and protein contains essential amino acids, the building blocks of your dog. Muscle meat also contains a lot of phosphorus and is low in calcium. When fed with 10% bone you have the exact ratios of calcium to phosphorus required by a dog. Free range grass-fed meat is also rich in omega 3 and beta-carotene.
Organ meat – 10%
Organ meat such as liver, heart, kidneys, brains, lung, pancreas, spleen from a variety of meat sources should be fed for one or two meals per week or 10% of the diet. Liver is particularly important and should form 5% of the overall diet as it is the main source of water-insoluble vitamins in organs that a dog needs. Organs in general provide an enzyme-rich mixture of protein, B-complex vitamins, vitamins A and D, vitamin E, some vitamin C, and essential fatty acids EPA, DHA, and AA, along with minerals such as manganese, selenium, zinc, potassium and copper. Like muscle meat, organs contain a lot of phosphorus (and potassium) and are low in calcium.
Minimum 10% Bone
Raw bones are living tissue composed of living cells and just like any other part of the body, they are a complex source of biologically balanced minerals, especially calcium, yet also copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, zinc, and manganese. It is highly probable that bones in a dog’s diet play a similar role to fibre, that is, a role of bulking out the food, thereby removing toxins and promoting general bowel health. The easiest way to provide balanced calcium is by feeding raw meaty bones that have around 10% edible bone in them – such as whole chickens, halves or quarters, with perhaps some extra meat added in to allow for the bird having being processed (i.e. the innards missing) – a whole processed chicken is considered to be 33% bone, with some parts higher in bone content such as the wings (46%) whereas the bone-in breast portion is lower, perhaps 20%.
Common bones can include chicken frames, wings and necks (or even whole carcasses), pork necks, turkey necks, pork ribs, beef rib bones, any meaty bone that can be completely consumed by your dog. If you are feeding meaty parts then you can feed them alone, if your choices are bonier (such as chicken backs, pork necks, wings or ribs), then you will need to add meat or heart to correct the ratios. Basically, you are trying to replicate whole prey, so look at what you’re about to feed and visualise the actual bone content – if a third or even half of it would be bone, then you know you need to add more meat. Remember you are aiming for at least 10% bone, although for robust dogs there is some tolerance for slightly higher bone content.
Friends Don’t Let Friends Feed Kibble
With raw food you know what is and isn’t in your dog food. With kibble, any kibble, even premium kibble, you don’t know what all those ingredients (that you can’t pronounce) are even good for. (Mostly nothing!)
Raw Dog Food and Company is making it easy for you to feed a species appropriate, nutrient rich raw diet. Dogs need a mixture of muscle meat, organs and bones. Choose the Prey Model Diet or the BARF Model Diet. Take the guess work out of feeding raw and feel confident in providing the best nutrition for your pet.
It’s so easy! Just look for “Prey Model Compliant” or BARF Model Compliant listed on the products in our online store. We’ve got everything you need from bones to treats! We provide many varieties of proteins in 2lb, 10lb, 20lb, 40lb and bulk cases.
Buy bulk and save a bundle!
Don’t wait another day to start your best friend on the purest raw and best species appropriate diet delivered right to you! If you have any questions just email us DeDe@RawDogFoodandCompany.com or give us a call.
Your Pet’s Health Is Our Business!
We also have (3) delivery locations on the Thursday Nights before the Saturday delivery.
That being said we will help you sell your unused food to either a local rescue or you can reach out to people at your stop and sell your food to them. Typically if you will discount the food you will sell it in a SNAP!
You will see all of our episodes and you can listen on demand anytime. Make sure to hit the follow button and you will be alerted each time a new episode is posted!
Read Raw Dog Food Myths so you can talk confidently about the raw dog food diet and know that you are doing what is best for your dog or cat.
What Pets Lose On the Raw Diet:sugar, salt, synthetic vitamin, minerals, additives, preservatives plus formulated sprayed on food pallentants to make them eat what they were never meant to eat!
What Pet’s Gain On the Raw DietGreat Health Is as Easy as 1 2 3
Species Appropriate Fresh Whole Food
Pets fed the way nature intended!
Natures Whole Vitamins
Whole Natural Vitamins A, C, D, E & K Ensuring Maximum Health & Vitality
Important Minerals & Trace Minerals
Crucial for blood, bone and ligament health. Includes: Calcium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorous, Potassium and Zinc.
VITAMIN B1 (Thiamine)
Promotes growth, improves mental attitude, aids digestion, helps strengthen nervous system and prevent stress. MEAT SOURCES: Liver, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Needed for red blood cell formation, aids growth and reproduction, promotes hair, skin and nail growth. Important in the prevention and treatment of cataracts. MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Essential for proper circulation and healthy skin. In- creases energy, aids digestion, helps prevent migraines. MEAT SOURCES: Rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines, tuna.
VITAMIN B5 (Panothenic Acid)
Enhances stamina, prevents anemia, helps wounds heal, fights infection, strengthens immune system. MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.
VITAMIN B6 (Pyridoxine)
Needed to produce hydrochloric acid. Aids in absorption of fats, and protein. Mildly diuretic, helps prevent kidney stones. Helpful in treating allergies, arthritis, and asthma. MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.
VITAMIN B9 (Folate, Folic Acid)
MEAT SOURCES: Liver, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.
VITAMIN B12 (Cyanocobalamin)
Helps prevent anemia. Protects nervous system, improves concentration, aids digestion. MEAT SOURCES: Liver, heart, kidney, rabbit, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, goat, ostrich, buffalo, egg, beef, salmon, halibut, haddock, sardines.