After years of research and trying to find the very best food for our dogs I soon discovered that raw feeding is the healthiest choice. In the wild, a dog would not go and eat wheat, beans and fruits. they would go catch a rabbit, right? Well, it was a “duhh” moment for me. I began to research options. For a while we took the time to cut up chicken and organ meat to give them. It was a LOT of work and very messy.
NOW we found a new and easy ANSWER! I’ve tested both AnswersPetFood.com and Primal pet foods. Not only are they raw, but its easy to feed in little patties or pellets that are frozen and fresh. Take it out, let it sit about 20 minutes to thaw and feed. Answers is harder to find, but has the added bonus of being fermented to make it safe from the usual dangers of raw feeding like Salmonella. The more I read about raw, the more I liked so we tried it with our dogs. It was only a couple of weeks before I noticed their skin was smoother and softer. I noticed that the usual difficulty with ear yeast (common in floppy eared dogs) was clearing itself up. The teeth were cleaning themselves and the breath was better as a result. Its much easier to keep weight on with a raw diet as well.
Primal is easier to find and at most Mom and Pop pet stores. Most of the National chains don’t have a freezer, so they don’t carry the raw frozen foods, but independent pet stores do. Primal also has a dehydrated version of the same food that is great for traveling. The benefits of raw but easy to transport when you go on a trip.
Below is an article my friend wrote. She feeds raw meats still, but the truths still apply to any raw food diet.
Raw Feeding Benefits (by Janis Huskey)
A raw diet provides many benefits that a commercial dog food cannot provide. From my research here are some benefits discovered by raw-feeders.
1. Many Health Issues Heal/Disappear – An overwhelming percent of people who switch to raw feeding report that ‘health issues’ of their pet disappear or naturally heal on their own. This makes sense when you consider that God made our bodies (and our pets) to be able to heal. And with the proper nutrition (and lack of poor nutrition), the body has the fuel it needs to get better. Skin disorders, allergies, feet chewing, discolored fur, bald spots/thinning fur, digestion problems, food intolerance, unusual behavior problems, are just a few of many reported issues that have disappeared.
2. Skin & Fur Improve – A noticeable difference can be seen in many dogs’ skin and fur. The coat looks better and skin problems typically improve and heal. In our Boston Terriers, we’ve noticed a thicker coat, with shinier hair, and we switched to raw from a holistic commercial food (so they already looked great)!
3. No ‘Doggy’ Smell/Less Bathing – Once a dog switches to raw feeding, they don’t have nearly as strong of a ‘dog’ smell, some have none at all. With less smell, comes less baths!
4. Better Breath – Because the bones act like toothbrushes (to clean the teeth) and the food is processed correctly/naturally in the stomach, there isn’t usually the bad breath problems associated with kibble or soft foods alone.
5. Cleaner Teeth, Healthier Gums – No need for tooth brushes or teeth cleaning (with unwanted anesthesia) because the bones naturally keep the teeth clean and will slowly remove old tartar and build up from years of kibble eating. Gums will be healthier too because there won’t be the plaque buildup. It’s important to remove plaque buildup because at some point it can enter the bloodstream and become life threatening.
6. Very Satisfying – Dogs are canines and eating a diet of raw meaty bones is very satisfying for a dog (because it mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild) and will give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving. A dog who switches to raw may go through a transition process of a few days for their stomach to get used to eating the raw meaty bone meals. But anyone who has changed dog food brands probably knows changing foods may have a short transition period. A modern day dog has exactly the same digestive tract as a wolf. Raw meaty bones are perfectly suited for them and very satisfying!
7. Muscles Developed – The pulling, ripping, and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles in the dog. Commercial dog foods cannot be of any help in this important muscle development.
8. Less Overeating, Proper Weight – Because eating raw meaty bones takes longer and is more involved, the dogs usually are more satisfied and tend to not overeat. If your dog is too thin or too thick, very active or a couch potato, you simply add more or less until you find the amount his body needs.
9. Less Stools – Much less stools are produced, they don’t seem to smell as bad, and they are firm and turn chalky after a couple of days.
10. Decreased Vet Bills (or virtually non-existent) – Generally, because your dog will be healthier overall, you will save money and time at the vet.
11. Save Money – You will most likely save money at the vet and depending on raw meaty bone source, you could save money over commercial pet foods as well. Search for the ‘Liz List’ on [email protected] for lots of ways to find sources for raw feeding.
12. Development Rate – On a raw diet, puppies develop at an appropriate rate, quick growth spurts are avoided. This allows all systems to grow at the proper and natural rate.
13. Temperament and Attitude – Some people say that when their dogs were on a commercial diet they were hyperactive and unfocused or had behavior issues. Once the dogs switched to raw feeding, they were calmer and easier to train. Some sluggish dogs became more energetic once on the species appropriate feeding.
14. Arthritis has significantly reduced and/or disappeared once some dogs have begun raw-feeding.
Breeders note that their females managed their pregnancies better and that they have better weight and survival figures in their puppies.
Longer Life-Span – Because a dog on a raw meaty diet is eating a species-appropriate food and a diet free from the over abundance of salt & sugar (both added to dog foods to make the dogs over eat and want more), as well as fillers, additives, chemicals, scary byproducts included in many commercial pet foods, and carbohydrates (which a dog can’t process), he/she should naturally live longer. People have said their dogs are living longer on a raw diet than the age their previous dogs lived to be on commercial dog foods. It just makes sense once you add it all up.
Why did we switch? What have we noticed personally?
We switched our Boston Terriers to raw feeding in August of 2011. We took the plunge because after several years of feeding one of the top three dog foods in the world, we couldn’t keep the weight on our very active adult Bostons. I suspect there was a formula change because they all started disliking this high-dollar holistic commercial food at the same time. We did try a few other high-quality commercial pet foods (without success) but instead of researching another commercial dog food, we decided to go raw-fed because of all of the benefits we read about online – mainly the long life-span and the fact that most dogs love it.
Here’s what we’ve noticed personally.
*The switch was easy for us. There are just a few basic things to remember. Also there are so many people raw-feeding now and there are easy to follow guidelines and how-to’s, and plenty of help out there. We started at rawlearning.com, and then joined [email protected] .
*Immediately, within a couple of weeks, the Bostons who were a bit thin gained weight to their proper size.
*They ALL love the raw food!
*Also we had a rescued Boston who had stomach issues (would throw up most commercial foods except for one holistic puppy food). She would also throw up when she was upset or nervous. Once we switched to the raw feeding, she had zero problems keeping her food down. It was not a problem with her stomach, it was with her food! After a few months on the raw food, we were able to adopt her to a new family who has kept her on the raw plan.
*My daughter had a puppy that had 3 surgeries due to a prolapsed rectum. Once she switched her to the raw feeding, she had zero problems with her food and began gaining weight. Her output and her stool became normal, she was able to come off of the stool softener, and she’s a new dog!
*Our larger male Boston came to us from Alabama at 3 years old. He was gorgeous but had the worst breath and tartar build up on his teeth from the diet he was fed. His breath improved in just a few weeks and the build-up has slowly gone away. Also the hair on his ears was very thin and leathery looking. His ears and coat look fantastic now.
*Anyone who has owned Bostons probably knows they are known for their ‘gas’. Now that we are raw feeding, the ‘gas’ is rare, almost non-existent. It amazes me that the commercial food, even the one that was one of the top three in the world at $55 a bag, still gave the Bostons such bad gas. It was because of the carbohydrates, I believe.
*Our puppies that we’ve weaned from mama’s milk to a raw-diet, have stayed fatter instead of getting thin during the weaning transition. We are excited to start our babies out on a healthy path that could add years to their lives! Janis Huskey
Happy Raw Feeding!