So, you’ve heard about the raw diet for your dog, you’ve been told all about its benefits but unsure of where to start, well - we can help!
Raw is such big news as it is the fastest growing food product for dogs right now.
When we opened Woofs a Daisy one of the main reasons was our frustration at not being able to buy good quality raw dog food. We now stock and continue to look at the best suppliers in the UK to keep us at the forefront of allowing you to buy good, healthy, premium quality food for your dogs.
What do the experts say about our raw dog food?
The move towards natural raw food diets is unstoppable. More professionals such as vets, nutritionists and breeders are all recognising the value that a raw food diet has on the health and general wellbeing of our pets. Many enlightened vets are now promoting raw food diets as a way to fight against skin disease and allergies, gland issues, obesity and diarrhoea, joint and digestion problems.*
Our customers enquiring about changing to raw tend to fall into 3 categories -
- They have just bought or are about to pick up a new puppy and the puppy has been weaned onto raw and they wish to continue as the breeder cannot speak more highly of a raw diet and they want the best for their new baby!
- Eating and knowing that a fresh, varied, balanced, nutrient dense diet is far better than any highly processed diet they have often felt a bit sorry for their dog eating the same old dry food year after year. Or having spoken to Bertie's owner in the park now know his shiny coat, boundless energy and perfect teeth are down to a raw diet and they simply want some of that!
- Their dog has health issues that are idiopathic meaning no obvious reason. Often skin issues fail to register any obvious cause despite intensive allergy testing and the dog continues to suffer, as does your wallet. Or they have digestive issues again that fail to respond or improve despite making changes.
We can help!
Here at Woofs a Daisy we have a vast array of raw food and recipes for all doggy palates. We also understand that this type of diet can seem overwhelming, so we are always on hand to help you choose the right raw food for your dog.
Top 10 Tips to starting raw -
1. What to start with?
Start with a 'complete' - this is a word you may have heard a lot. All it means is that a complete raw food contains a balanced and species appropriate amount of food for your dog's health, well being and growth. With a complete food you can be reassured that you do not need to add anything at all.
Generally a complete will contain meat, organ meat and bone in the ratio of 80:10:10. We have lots of variety in completes and if you have any concerns you are choosing the correct one just please ask. Some completes have added beneficial vegetables and botanicals (herbs and seeds). Some people prefer not to feed vegetables and botanicals and the jury is out on whether this is essential or not. The benefit is in that extra vitamins and minerals are taken on board but also seeds like pumpkin help clear the gut of parasites and keep a healthy gut biome.
2. Which Flavour/Meat?
We recommend you start with one protein, there are many varieties of meat available and especially if your dog has had allergies or an itchy coat they might react to one protein. By introducing one at a time you will soon find out if they are sensitive to a particular meat. Chicken or Turkey are great starting points, milder, easy to digest and the bone tends to be slightly softer. Sticking with one protein for 5 to 7 days and if all goes well start introducing another protein, variety is the ideal once proteins have been introduced.
3. How Much?
Most raw food suppliers suggest a starting point of feeding your dog based on their weight - 2% of adult weight. For puppies, depending on their breed and likely adult weight this percentage can go up to 6-7% always check. We have dogs that tend to get overweight easily and they are fed just 1% and are perfectly healthy. Start with 2% and you will soon see if your dog is getting a little chunky or seem hungry. As with any food you have to look at lifestyle, age, activity levels to get it right for your dog.
4. When To Feed?
When you feed your dog depends on what suits you and them. Young puppies stomachs are so small they typically need 5 then 4 meals a day, as they grow you reduce that to 3 meals and then down to 2. Again you get an instinct as to what they need and when. Most people feed morning and evening, we feed after the morning walk and then again just before we eat in the evening. Many people feed once a day, that can be dictated by your dog. If they go off a feed it does tend to be the morning one. Feed to suit you as long as your dog is getting what it needs each day. Remember in the wild dogs had no idea when the next meal would come along, by feeding at exactly the same time every day can train them to expect food - there is nothing wrong with varying the times. Some people also fast their dogs, giving the digestive system time to rest and clear.
5. How to Feed
You can just put the bowl down and watch the food disappear but enriching your dogs feeding time makes their life so much more interesting, they need to use their natural instincts and it makes them appreciate and get more from feeding times. You can fill a Kong or other container with raw this makes them lie down, take time and work out the intricacies of getting every little bit of food out of the container. Freeze the Kong and the effort required takes even longer - great to do in the summer out in the garden. You can also use Lickiemats a great invention to give your dog entertainment and you some peace! Any extra challenge your dog needs to do to get his food means the serotonin in the brain is getting released and is calming him, ready for a nice snooze after dinner!
6. Storage and Stocking Food
Once defrosted raw food will keep up to 3 days in your fridge. Unlike meat that we eat you can refreeze raw dog food - make sure it has not been at room temperature for any significant amount of time. This means you can buy in bigger quantities and save money. Raw food can be given frozen, we do this in the summer but only outside as they tend to grab the food and run all over the house!
NEVER feed cooked bones! We all hear horror stories but cooked bones are brittle, sharp and dangerous, don't do it.
Bones are full of calcium, selenium, magnesium and zinc they have fibre and cartilage. Compete raw food has bone already ground up in it. Feeding bones is a good idea and complements raw feeding as this is what also keeps your dog's teeth clean and keeps them busy. Starting out you might want to go for softer options such as duck feet, trachea - both have glucosamine and chondroitin in which helps your dogs joints either as a growing puppy or a working dog or even an elderly dog. Moving on you could introduce chicken or turkey necks, then onto maybe lamb ribs and marrow bones.
Stay with your dog when introducing bones.
8. Treats when feeding Raw
You can give many different types of treats, some raw feeders will insist that their dog should only have raw treats but in our opinion the odd biscuit (with the best ingredients of course) is just that - a treat! Dried meat for training cut into tiny pieces is preferable to processed sausages or frankfurters that used to be encouraged for training. Cheese now and again but not as a 'go to' - once again this comes down to common sense and your wish for an overall healthy diet for your dog.
We stock skin and hide products that are air-dried, they are chewy, leathery, long lasting and again give your dog some time to do what he is supposed to do - work for his food. Hooves are also good and can be stuffed as long as they are air dried are great for teeth cleaning, great for keeping your dog busy. All this chewing releases relaxing hormones from the brain, soothing and calming and cleaning teeth.
Avoid 'rawhide' the highly processed, chemical and glue 'treats' made to look like shoes or bones see Rodney Habib's scary video here.
9. Extra Precautions
Other than common sense there are no special requirements when feeding raw. Just as you would with any raw meat or fish in your kitchen you keep the area clean, you wash your hands and you store in the freezer or fridge safely in a sealed container. Most suppliers pack in containers that can be re-sealed if not a plastic container dedicated to your dog's dinner would work.
10. Things to look out for
Within a few days you could notice a change in your dog's coat, you can see that the good nutrition is getting through and making a difference. You might well see a change in behaviour, dogs have been known to be easier to train when eating raw, calmer and more relaxed and less 'hyper' - a lot of this is relevant to what has been fed before. Stools will be much smaller and harder.
Constipation - if your dog seems constipated or their stool is very crumbly and/or white they might be slow in adapting to the bone in the diet or there might just be too much bone, find a boneless protein and feed that every other meal or day for a couple of days and things will soon right themselves.
*Source: Benyfit Natural