Raw Feeding Myths Debunked: Separating Fact from Fiction

In recent years a growing number of pet owners have turned to raw feeding as a means of providing their dogs with a diet that closely resembles that which their ancestors would have consumed in the wild. 

Raw feeding, also known as BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) or PMR (Prey Model Raw), involves feeding dogs a diet primarily composed of raw meat, bones, organs, and occasionally fruits and vegetables.

This shift in feeding practices stems from a desire to prioritise the health and well-being of our beloved pets, recognising that nutrition plays a crucial role in their overall vitality. As more pet owners become increasingly conscientious about the ingredients in their pet's food, raw feeding has gained traction as a natural and minimally processed alternative to conventional commercial diets.

Today we will take a look at debunking some of the common myths, join us as we explore the principles of raw feeding, separate fact from fiction, and embark on a journey toward optimal nutrition and well-being for our beloved canine companions. Whether you're a seasoned raw feeder or considering making the switch for the first time, this blog aims to provide valuable insights and guidance to support you on your raw feeding journey. Let's dive in! TLDR

Raw Food Is Unsafe for Dogs

The concern about bacterial contamination in raw dog food is one of the most common myths associated with raw feeding. While raw meat can indeed harbour bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, it's essential to understand the factors that mitigate these risks:

Dogs have highly acidic stomachs with a low pH, which helps them handle and neutralise harmful bacteria more effectively than humans. Their short digestive tracts also minimise the time bacteria have to multiply.

Dogs have evolved to consume raw meat in the wild, developing a natural resistance to certain bacteria. While not immune, they are generally less susceptible to bacterial infections from raw food compared to humans.

Practising good hygiene and food safety measures when handling raw meat significantly reduces the risk of bacterial contamination. This includes washing hands, utensils, and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw food to prevent cross-contamination

Choosing high-quality, fresh meats from reputable sources reduces the likelihood of bacterial contamination. Additionally, freezing meat before feeding can help kill parasites and reduce bacterial counts

Regular vet check-ups and monitoring your dog's health for any signs of illness are essential. While bacterial contamination is possible, the risk can be managed through responsible feeding practices and observation of your dog's well-being.

Raw diets lack essential nutrients

This is another common misconception that warrants clarification. While it's true that improperly balanced raw diets may lack certain nutrients, a well-formulated raw diet can provide dogs with all the essential nutrients they need for optimal health:

Raw diets typically consist of raw meat, bones, organs, and sometimes fruits and vegetables. These ingredients are naturally rich in essential nutrients such as protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals, which are crucial for a dog's overall well-being.

A balanced raw diet emphasises variety in protein sources, ensuring that dogs receive a wide range of essential nutrients from different meats and organs. Incorporating a variety of proteins like beef, poultry, fish, and organ meats helps ensure that dogs receive all the necessary amino acids and micronutrients.

While raw diets can provide many essential nutrients, supplementation may be helpful to ensure completeness. This may include adding vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids to the diet to address any potential deficiencies.

Raw diets often include raw bones, which are an excellent source of calcium and phosphorus. Proper balance of these minerals is essential for bone health and overall growth and development in dogs.

Raw bones are inherently dangerous for dogs

This is another myth that we should also dig into. While it's true that improper feeding of raw bones can pose risks, when given safely and appropriately, raw bones can offer several benefits for dogs' dental health, mental stimulation, and nutritional intake. Here's why raw bones are not necessarily dangerous for dogs:

Raw bones, particularly raw meaty bones such as chicken necks or turkey necks, can help promote dental health by naturally cleaning teeth and gums as dogs chew. The abrasive action of chewing on raw bones can help remove plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of dental issues like periodontal disease.

Chewing on raw bones provides dogs with mental stimulation and enrichment, satisfying their natural instinct to chew and gnaw. This can help alleviate boredom and prevent destructive chewing behaviour while providing a healthy outlet for excess energy.

Raw bones are a natural source of essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals that are important for bone health, muscle function, and overall well-being. When consumed as part of a balanced raw diet, raw bones contribute to a dog's nutritional intake in a natural and biologically appropriate way.

While raw bones can offer benefits, it's essential to take proper safety precautions when feeding them to dogs. Choose appropriately sized raw bones that are large enough to prevent choking hazards and supervise chewing sessions to ensure dogs are chewing safely and not attempting to swallow large chunks of bone.

Some types of raw bones, such as weight-bearing bones or cooked bones, may pose greater risks of splintering or causing gastrointestinal obstructions. However, raw meaty bones from appropriate sources are generally safe when fed under supervision and as part of a balanced diet.

Raw Feeding Is Expensive and Inaccessible

Many individuals think that raw feeding is prohibitively expensive and unrealistic for most pet owners, assuming that it requires purchasing costly ingredients or specialised products.  While it's true that raw feeding can require careful budgeting and planning, it can be made affordable and accessible with the right strategies:

While the initial investment in raw feeding may seem higher than purchasing commercial dog food, raw feeding can offer cost savings in the long run. This is because raw diets often contain fewer fillers and unnecessary additives found in commercial pet foods, meaning that dogs may require smaller portions to meet their nutritional needs.

Purchasing raw food in bulk quantities can help reduce costs per meal.  Many raw feeders find that buying larger quantities of raw food can be more economical compared to buying smaller portions.  With Bulk buy discounts and free delivery, the savings soon add up.

Making homemade raw meals for dogs can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made raw food products. By preparing meals at home using fresh, whole ingredients, pet owners can control the quality and quantity of ingredients while saving money on commercial processing and packaging.

There are many affordable protein sources that can be included in a raw diet, such as chicken, turkey, pork, and beef heart. Incorporating less expensive cuts of meat, organs, and bones into the diet can help lower overall costs without compromising on nutritional quality.

While supplements may be necessary to ensure a balanced diet, there are budget-friendly options available. Pet owners can prioritise essential supplements like fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids and calcium for bone health while minimising unnecessary additives or expensive speciality supplements.

Raw Food Is Not Vet-Approved

While opinions among veterinarians may vary, there is a growing number of veterinary professionals who support and advocate for raw feeding when done correctly. Here's why raw food is not universally considered disapproved by vets:

Over time, there has been an increased acceptance and understanding of raw feeding within the veterinary community. Many vets recognise the potential benefits of raw diets, including improved coat condition, dental health, and overall well-being.

Some veterinarians argue that raw diets better align with a dog's biological needs as carnivores, emphasising the consumption of fresh, whole foods over highly processed commercial diets

Vet's opinions on raw feeding often vary based on individual circumstances. Some dogs may thrive on a well-balanced raw diet, while others may have specific health concerns or dietary requirements that need to be addressed through alternative means.

Veterinary schools and continuing education programs increasingly provide resources and courses on pet nutrition, including raw feeding. This education helps veterinarians better understand the complexities and benefits of different dietary approaches.

Vets who support raw feeding often emphasise the importance of consultation and monitoring. Consulting with a veterinarian experienced in raw feeding allows for a personalised approach tailored to a dog's specific health needs.

TLDR:

Debunking the myths surrounding raw feeding is essential to provide pet owners with accurate information and empower them to make informed decisions about their dog's diet. While misconceptions such as the safety of raw food, its nutritional adequacy, the risks associated with raw bones, its perceived costliness, and its approval by veterinarians may deter some from exploring raw feeding, it's crucial to separate fact from fiction. 

Raw feeding can offer numerous benefits, including improved digestion, dental health, coat condition, and overall well-being for dogs. By addressing concerns about bacterial contamination, nutritional completeness, bone safety, affordability, and veterinary approval, pet owners can better understand the principles of raw feeding and make choices that align with their dog's health needs and their own preferences. 

Through proper handling practices, balanced formulations, safety precautions, budget-friendly strategies, and collaboration with veterinary professionals, raw feeding can be a viable and rewarding option for pet owners seeking to optimise their dog's nutrition and well-being. By dispelling myths and providing accurate information, we aim to support pet owners on their raw feeding journey, promoting the health and happiness of their beloved canine companions. Let's continue to explore, learn, and advocate for the best possible nutrition for our dogs, one raw meal at a time.

The Many Uses of Pate

Discover Its Versatility, High Value, and Cost-Effectiveness as a Treat

When it comes to treating our pets, finding something that is both versatile and nutritious can be a real game-changer. Pate, a delightful and flavourful treat, fits the bill perfectly. Not only is it a favourite among pets, but its versatility, high value, and cost-effectiveness make it an ideal option for pet owners. In this blog, we'll explore the numerous uses of Pate and why it has become a go-to choice for pet lovers looking to spoil their furry companions with a treat that satisfies their taste buds and health needs.

The Irresistible Flavour that Pets Love

Pate is renowned for its rich and delectable taste, making it an instant hit with pets of all ages and breeds. Its smooth texture and mouth-watering aroma make it an enticing treat that our four-legged friends can't resist.

A Versatile Treat for Training and Enrichment

One of the greatest advantages of Pate is its versatility in pet training. Its soft and spreadable consistency makes it easy to stuff into interactive toys, such as Kong’s or puzzle feeders, providing mental stimulation and enrichment. Additionally, Pate can be moulded into smaller pieces, perfect for rewarding good behaviour during training sessions.

Perfect for Medication Administration

Administering medication to pets can be a challenging task, but Pate can come to the rescue. Its smooth texture allows for easy hiding of pills or supplements, making the process of giving medication a stress-free experience for both pets and their owners.

Ideal for Special Diets

For pets with specific dietary requirements or sensitivities, Pate can be a saviour. It is available in various protein sources, making it suitable for pets with allergies or on restricted diets. Grain-free and hypoallergenic options ensure that even the most sensitive tummies can enjoy this delectable treat.

High Value and Rewarding Treat

The high value of Pate as a treat makes it an excellent choice for rewarding pets during training or reinforcing positive behaviour. It’s delicious taste acts as a powerful motivator, encouraging pets to learn and perform tricks or commands effectively.

Cost-Effectiveness and Long Shelf Life

Pate treats stand out in the market for their exceptional value for money. Unlike many other treats that may be consumed quickly or require larger quantities to be effective, Pate treats offer a cost-effective solution. A little of this delectable treat goes a long way, making it an excellent choice for training sessions or playtime with your furry companion.

Nutritious and Balanced Ingredients

When choosing Pate from reputable brands, you can be assured of its nutritional quality. Look for options with high-quality ingredients, essential nutrients, and no artificial additives or fillers, ensuring your pet receives a healthy and balanced treat.

Bottom Line

Pate is not just a treat; it's a versatile and valuable addition to your pet's diet and lifestyle. Whether you use it for training, enrichment, medication administration, or simply to show your furry friend some love, Pate offers a wide range of benefits. With its delicious flavour, nutritional benefits, and cost-effectiveness, it's no wonder that Pate has become a favourite treat among pet owners. So, next time you're looking for a treat that ticks all the boxes, consider Pate and indulge your pet with a delightful and satisfying experience. Visit Natural Treat Shop if you want wholesome, 100% natural dog treats for your four legged friend.

Dog Days: What to look out for during the hot summer months

Dog Drinking Water

As the summer sun graces us with its warmth, it's essential to remember that our furry companions, too, need extra care and attention during the hot months. As the temperature rises, our dogs can be susceptible to various heat-related issues that could pose a risk to their health and well-being. In this blog, we will explore some crucial tips to ensure your four-legged friends stay safe and comfortable during the dog days of summer.

Keep Hydration a Priority

One of the most critical aspects of caring for your dog during summer is ensuring they stay adequately hydrated. Dogs can easily become dehydrated in hot weather, so always make sure they have access to fresh and clean water throughout the day. Consider carrying a portable water bowl and a water bottle when you take your dog out for walks or outings.

Avoid Peak Heat Hours

When the summer sun is at its strongest, typically between late morning and early afternoon, the ground can become scorching hot. This can burn your dog's paw pads and lead to overheating. Plan your outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, and seek shaded areas whenever possible.

Never Leave Your Dog in a Parked Car

The interior of a parked car can heat up rapidly, even on relatively mild days. Leaving your dog inside a parked car, even for a short period, can be life-threatening. On a hot day, the temperature inside a car can rise to dangerous levels within minutes, leading to heatstroke or worse.

Recognise Signs of Heatstroke

Knowing the signs of heatstroke in dogs is crucial for early intervention. Symptoms include excessive panting, drooling, rapid breathing, weakness, and collapse. If you suspect your dog is experiencing heatstroke, move them to a cool place immediately, offer water, and seek veterinary assistance promptly.

Create a Cool and Comfortable Environment

Ensure your dog has a cool place to rest indoors. Use fans or air conditioning to maintain a comfortable temperature, especially if your dog spends a lot of time indoors. You can also place cooling mats or damp towels for them to lie on to help regulate their body temperature.

Modify Exercise Routines

During hot weather, adjust your dog's exercise routine to prevent overexertion. Shorten the duration and intensity of walks or playtime to avoid excessive strain. Engage in water-based activities, such as supervised swimming, as a fun and refreshing way for your dog to stay active without overheating.

Grooming and Sun Protection

Regular grooming not only keeps your dog's coat healthy but also helps with heat regulation. However, avoid shaving your dog's fur too short, as their coat provides insulation from the sun. Additionally, consider using pet-safe sunscreens on exposed areas, such as the nose and ears, to protect them from harmful UV rays.

Bottom Line

As we enjoy the sunny days of summer, let's remember to prioritise the well-being of our furry companions. By following these tips and being attentive to our dogs' needs, we can ensure they have a safe and enjoyable summer. So, get ready for some fun in the sun with your furry best friend, and make lasting memories together while keeping them cool and comfortable throughout the dog days!

East Anglia Raw Pet Food Bank

We love our customers!

The whole reason we launched Primal Raw and Natural Treat Shop was to give our four-legged customers a healthy alternative to commercially bought wet pet food and ultra-processed kibble or treats.

It saddens us greatly to hear stories of owner who just can’t afford to continue feeding their beloved pets.

More information about East Anglia Raw Pet food Bank

The cost of living crisis I affecting us all, we are all struggling and there is no shame in asking for help.

People who previously had no problem feeding their pets are now finding that their disposable income has been reduced while the price of every day essentials are on the rise.

Pets are so important during times of worry and stress, helping to reduce anxiety and even warm your toes on a cold winter’s night.  We are already at risk of having the largest influx of rescue pets nationwide due to post-covid, while the cost of living crisis is sure to exacerbate this further.

 We are here to help so please do not feel afraid to ask!

We are setting up East Anglia Raw Pet Food Bank, where our amazing customers and general public can donate frozen raw food and pet treats either in the shop or online when they are placing an order.

 Every time a donation is made, we will match it, doubling the amount of food available for anybody in need.

We will also be in contact with all of our suppliers asking for donations.

For anybody who does need help, all we ask is that you contact us by email info@primalraw.co.uk and we will discuss your requirements.

Then all you will need to do is come into the shop at your convenience and collect your order.

Please help us get this message out by sharing it on social media, pet support forums, community groups and anywhere else where you think other people might be able to assist.

To Give A Donation:
In person             – Just tell a member of staff which items are for the Raw Food Bank
Online                  – Please leave a note on your order telling us with items you are donating.

To Receive A Donation:
Email us on info@primalraw.co.uk and we will discuss your requirements, we will then place an order for you to collect at your convenience

Rabbit Ears with Fur – Health Benefits

Rabbit Ears with Fur

Rabbit Ears are a popular novel treat that have recently taken off in the natural dog feeding community.

Rabbit Ears usually come in two different types, with fur or without.  They can also be either frozen or air-dried, with the air dried variety being crispy and crunchy treat.

Rabbit ears with fur are high in protein and low in fat, which in turn is (and not limited to) good for hair, skin and muscles.  Not only are they nutritious, but they also have several anecdotal benefits for your dogs:

  • Low Fat - These are an ideal snack for dogs that are over weight or dogs with pancreatitis.
  • Oral Care- Rabbit ears are quite abrasive when they are chewed, helping with the removal of plaque and tartar.  They can also assist in the removal of any left over food or debris stuck in the dogs teeth.
  • Hypoallergenic - Great for sensitive pets.  Rabbit being a novel protein, it is very unlikely that your four legged friend will react to it.
  • Natural De-wormer - The fur on Rabbit Ears can act as a fine brush to flush the worms from within the stomach and clear the digestive tract.
  • Chewing Aid - Dogs love to chew, and chewing produces endorphins in dogs that can help reduce anxiety and help improve the mood of your dog.
  • Fibrous - Very good aid in the clearing of anal glands.

 

Please remember that these are just treats and should be fed as part of a balanced diet, two or three times a week should be more than enough for you pet to feel the benefits on this unique and exciting treat.

With all treats, please make sure you have fresh clean water available for them and always supervise your beloved canine while they are eating.

They're great for puppies too and can be fed as young as three months, as long as they have begun to loose their puppy teeth.  It also helps to reduce the itching dogs can feel while new teeth are coming though.

 

 

 

Apple Cider Vinegar And Its Benefits

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar and its benefits...

 

Commonly referred to as ACV, this product is made from fermented apples, and contains a variety of acids including acetic (which in understood to have antiseptic properties), lactic, citric and malic acids, all of which play their part in making this an all round boost for good health and digestion.

The use of ACV can actually be traced all the way back to Hippocrates in 400BC! There is not much by way of scientific reporting on its benefits but numerous anecdotal reports mention its great benefits.

It is known to provide a healthier skin and coat, lessen the occurrence of allergies and improve gastrointestinal health and therefore digestion. If feeding ACV, one should always dilute 50/50 with water.

ACV has proven useful in treating dogs with ongoing UTI problems, bladder stones, and poor digestion, it helps to re-balance the bodies pH balance and to break down fats, proteins and carbs. It is also an effective cleaner and disinfectant.

To use topically, again, dilute 50/50 with water and use as a wash, bath or spray.

Dogs who have problematic ears, itching and recurring infections can be safely treated with ACV (as long as there are no open wounds or sores present, as this would most certainly sting).

Dilute 50/50 with water, soak a cotton pad in the mixture, wring it out well, and use the damp pad to clean out the inside of the ear, use a fresh pad for each ear.  ACV helps as it will dry out the ear and will combat yeast growth.

An itchy dog can greatly benefit from an ACV bath, well diluted in warm water, again ensuring your dog has no open wounds or sores, the acidity helps to restore pH balance in the skin and the acids provide anti-septic and anti-bacterial properties to soothe irritation and inflammation. We would suggest spot testing on your dogs skin prior to using this method.

A 50/50 ACV and water mix can also be used in a spray bottle, and used as a leave in treatment after shampooing your dog as a natural insect repellent!

Another wonderful use for ACV is in the making of Bone Broth. Bone Broth is a true super food, it is great for elderly dogs who may not eat as well as you would wish, dogs that are recuperating from illness or injury, and works wonders for dogs that have struggled with ongoing problems that develop due to leaky gut syndrome, such as allergies and poor digestion, as well as being a fabulous natural joint aid!

Always ensure you purchase a natural ACV that is organic and with ‘the mother’ for best results.

Can I Raw Feed My Cat?

can i raw feed my cat

Can I raw feed my cat?

The simple answer is yes! 

However, cats are a very different thing to dogs and can be a lot harder to persuade that raw is a good idea.  Outdoor, bird chasing, semi feral types of cat will be simple, and are probably raw feeding themselves when they are out on the prowl, indoor cats who have been raised on kibble can be trickier and most definitely more stubborn than the average dog when it comes to changing their food and feeding routine.

The first type of cat mentioned can be easily transitioned onto a raw diet.

First, stop free feeding/grazing and get your cat used to set meal times, so you put out their kibble 3 or 4 times a day for 15/20 minutes at a time.

can i raw feed my cat

Once your cat has become accustomed to eating at set times introduce the raw food.

Start with a single protein, around 10% bone, Rabbit, Quail or Chicken are good starters.  After 5 or 6 days, introduce a red meat, again around 10% bone.  Begin by adding a little of the new meat to the original food, progressively increasing the % of the new meat included each day.

can i raw feed my cat

After 10/11 days , you can introduce your first offal meat, not liver yet, something like kidney is ideal.

This should be in tiny amounts, around 2-3g maximum, it needs to be around 5% of what your cat is eating.

Your meals should be 85% meat, 10% bone and 5% offal.

The next step, after around 2 weeks of the new diet, is to introduce liver.

Again, a tiny amount of 2-3g, no more than 5% of the overall diet.  Your meals will now comprise of 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other offal (kidney, pancreas etc)

You can now look at adding some fish to your cats diet, small oily fish like sprats are perfect, keep the fish content to around 10% of the overall diet.


With the pickier cats, who are not impressed by your loving efforts to improve their diet, a slightly longer winded approach is often needed.

  • Again, start by ceasing free feeding/grazing. 
  • Food should be only available at set meal times.
  • If the cat is purely kibble fed, start adding wet food to the kibble.

Start with 25% wet and gradually increase the % of wet to kibble until the cat is eating 100% wet food, at set meal times only.  Now you can begin introducing a small portion of raw meat (rabbit or chicken perhaps) to the wet food.  Start with a maximum of 10% raw to 90% wet food, increasing the % of raw slowly but surely until the diet is 100% raw. At this point, follow the transition steps outlined above.

Once the cat is transitioned, and happily eating raw, you can address the balance of the meals.

Firstly, is the cat getting enough Taurine?

Cats needed a little more than dogs, so most of our cat owning raw feeders cover this by adding some chicken turkey or duck heart to the diet, 2 or 3 a day is sufficient.

Dark turkey meat is also a great source of Taurine.

The average adult cat would be eating around 3% of its bodyweight per day, however your eyes and your hands will tell you if your cat is eating sufficient quantities of food.

 

 

 

can i raw feed my cat

Your common sense will take you a long way so don’t get too hung up on percentages when it comes to quantity to feed.

 

can i raw feed my cat

Kittens need a greater percentage of their bodyweight than adult cats, up to 4 months they need 10-13% of their weight per day, up to 8 months, 6-10%, up to 12 months, 3-6%, over 12 months feed as an adult.  Certain breeds of cat do need a little more even in adulthood, the Sphynx cats and other hairless breeds have higher calorific requirements as their bodies are constantly using energy to keep warm.  These cats can need up to 6% of their bodyweight per day to maintain their ideal weight.

With the larger breeds, like Maine Coons, Norwegian Forest Cats, Ragdolls etc these usually take a little longer to reach their full size, so will need to stay on kitten rations a little longer than their smaller cousins.

Processed cat foods were not created until 1958, and that was tinned wet food, kibble for cats appeared in the late 70s, produced by the same manufacturer that created the first tinned cat food.

Cats are obligate carnivores, this means they really do not need anything other than meat, no carbs are needed as the nutrients they require are not found in carbs and their bodies do not possess the physiology to digest plant matter.

Giant Breeds & How They Eat

giant breeds

Giant breeds, and how they eat!

 

Experience with customers who own Great Danes
(including Primal Raw owner Lucy Reeves!),
Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs and other Giants, has taught us that big dogs do eat a little
differently than their small to medium sized canine cousins!

giant breeds

Quite often, these big dogs are not great fans of mince, particularly very finely processed mince.  Their bigger mouths, often loose jowls, and larger teeth cope better with a larger
gauged, chunky type of mince.

You can try mixing finer minces in with some of the more dry chunky minces as this creates a lovely consistency.

They also really enjoy chunks!

Tripe Chunks, Beef Chunks, Chunked Chicken Breast or Thighs are great! Turkey Wings, and Necks are also very successful for the big boys and girls, as well as Carcasses, Duck Carcasses being a good option as they are larger and often meatier than a Chicken Carcass.

But, ALWAYS supervise any dog that is eating whole bones of any description. If you are worried about choking, you can hold one end of the bone with pliers the first few occasions until you are satisfied your dog will chew/crunch sufficiently before swallowing.

When it comes to adding Offal to this type of diet, you may have to experiment a little to find what works for your dog.

Some dogs will happily eat chunks of Liver, Kidney, Spleen, Pancreas etc, some dogs don’t appreciate the texture of Offal chunks and need it to be more finely diced and spread throughout their meals.

It is quite common for them to completely refuse Offal, chopped or diced. In the case of refusal you can look at blending it, or purchasing offal mince.

giant breeds

Companies such as Paleo Ridge, and The Dogs Butcher produce pre-prepared balanced Offal mixes that you can stir in with your chunks and bones, or even defrost, refreeze into ice cube trays and feed as treats!!

There is always a way of getting that 10% Offal into your dog somehow!

 

The final consideration with Giant dogs and feeding is % of bodyweight to feed.  Now we know that the basic guidelines for a healthy adult dog are 2-3% of their bodyweight per day.  We go low with older or neutered animals, and high with younger, entire animals.  With Giant breeds, once fully grown, we find the most successful method is to feed according to appetite, and some do prefer to eat only once a day with a snack at breakfast or lunchtime.  The largest breeds very often simply cannot manage to eat 2.5-3% of their bodyweight.  If your Giant breed dog is only managing 1.5%- 2%, and they are happy, healthy and shiny then they are eating what they need!

Their appetite may vary according to activity and weather and they will surely let you know if they are hungry!

 

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

Simple answer, yes.

If your new Mum is already raw fed, then you probably have some grasp on how the raw diet works, and feeding your puppies on raw shouldn’t be too difficult.

Start out with a finely minced, boneless meat, mashed well with milk.  You can use raw organic goats milk for this,  or you may prefer a puppy replacement milk.

For the first couple of days, the pups will probably wade around in it, wear it, swim in it, pretty much everything but eat it! Don’t worry about this at all, what you are doing at this point is giving them the opportunity to learn how to eat.

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

You want them to be hungry when you offer them this mixture, so do keep Mum away for a good hour or 2 prior to offering them food.

You should also try to offer the food at room temperature, if it’s cold, that can put them off.  It might seem obvious, but do not leave them alone with the food.

You will find that the puppies are usually ready for their first attempt at solids at around 3.5 weeks.

A good indicator is noise!

If they suddenly switch from content, quiet little puddings, to a flock of squawking seagulls, then they are experiencing hunger and are ready to try real food!

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

So, for the first few days, offer them the boneless mince/milk mixture a couple of times a day.

Remember, you are not feeding them as such, you are giving them a chance to try it out so don’t worry if they don’t seem keen, some litters pile straight in, some are more reluctant.

Smaller litters, in particular, can take a little longer to really go for solids.

Once you notice that the pups are getting keener, and are actively eating the food; this will probably be when their teeth are in, you can start to introduce mince with bone.

Stick to a nice fine mince or raw puppy food, and add it into the mix you are already using.  You can slowly reduce and remove the milk after about a week, still keeping to well minced, wet food that doesn’t have large pieces of bone in.

By around 6 weeks, they can be eating 3 or 4 different proteins, for example, Chicken & Tripe, Turkey, Beef and Duck are all fine.

They should now be eating 4 meals a day, aim to feed them around 10% of their bodyweight per day.

Between 6 and 7 weeks, start to introduce offal.

You can do this by adding small amounts of complete mince, to the mince they are already eating.

Don’t swap straight to complete as you may find this can cause diarrhoea in some litters.

My dog has had puppies, can I wean them on raw?

Aim for the pups to be fully eating complete at around 8 weeks, this means you can send them off to their new homes with a week or so worth of food that their new parents can just defrost and feed!

The simpler it is for new owners to feed raw, the more likelihood that your pups will remain on a natural, healthy, raw diet!

If your new Mum is not raw fed, then we do not recommend switching her to raw during pregnancy, or whelping, however, you can still wean her puppies on raw, then switch Mum over when the pups are fully weaned.

What age can I start raw feeding?

Image by kim_hester from Pixabay

We often hear from people who have been told by vets, sometimes breeders, or friends that they should not raw feed their puppy/dog until it reaches a certain age, commonly 12 months.

Such advice can safely be disregarded, as puppies can be fed raw as soon as they are old enough to be weaned from Mum.

If you have been super lucky and your breeder is an experienced raw feeder, then they should send you home with a sample of food to get you through the first few days and all the info you need to continue to feed your puppy on a natural, species appropriate diet which is designed to keep him in good health for life.

If your puppy has come to you on a diet of processed food, then you will need to be able to safely transition him/her onto a raw diet yourself. You can do this pretty much straight away, although we do suggest you begin on an empty stomach so start the next morning, after his first night in his new home.

 

We are going to assume this is a healthy, well reared puppy who has a good bodily condition.

So at 8 weeks of age, you will be feeding your puppy 10% of his bodyweight per day, so your first task is to get puppy weighed!

(which you can do here if  you're local).

What age can I start raw feeding?

Once you have established how much you will need to feed per day, you then need to get the right products for the transition phase into raw feeding.

Initially, you will be feeding 3-4 times per day, so you will split your daily amount over those meals.  Start off with a simple plain chicken and tripe mince with around 10% bone (do not use complete or minces above 10% bone), this is easily digested and the tripe, particularly, helps to prepare the dogs digestive system for a raw diet.

You would want enough to last around 3 days, after which you can introduce a new meat, such as beef, again for about 3 days, then again, introduce a new meat, always keeping to around 10% bone content.

What age can I start raw feeding?

It is important to only add one new thing to the diet at any time, so that any reactions can be pinpointed!

Once puppy is happily eating 4 or 5 different meats, it is time to introduce offal, most people do this by beginning to feed Complete minces which are pre-balanced for you, so that you know your pup is getting the right amount of meat/bone/offal.

Do bear in mind that puppies around 10 weeks to 6 months are prone to digestive upsets for numerous reasons, they eat literally anything that they find lying around, they have recently moved from their breeder to their new home, they have probably had vaccinations and numerous flea treatments and wormers!

All of these things combined, mean it is not unusual for pups to have loose stools! We suggest keeping Tree Bark Powder on hand as this is a super product to help in this situation, and also, please do research on the side effects of overdoing flea/worm treatments.

Your puppies loose motions may well be nothing to do with his diet and everything to do with all the other things going on in his life/body at that time.

Feeding Bone Broth can really help at this time, as it has many wonderful nutrients that can really boost your pups general well being!

How do I start raw feeding?

Transition Guide

This is the process that we follow with new customers.

Other Groups/Shops may suggest a slightly different method, however we have been following this method with great success for a number of years now.

This guide is aimed at healthy dogs with no known allergies.

How do I start raw feeding?

Once you have worked out how much to feed per day based on the dogs ideal bodyweight, and age,  along with whether or not the dog in question is neutered (neutered dogs can need around .5% less than entire dogs) we recommend following this process to enable your dogs digestive system to efficiently adapt to the raw diet.

How do I start raw feeding?
How do I start raw feeding?
How do I start raw feeding?

Puppies

  1. Chicken and Tripe mince with approx. 10% bone.
  2. Chicken and Beef Mince with approx. 10% bone.
  3. Chicken and Lamb Complete.
  4. You can now go through the Completes, adding one new meat at a time, for example:
    • Chicken and Lamb to Turkey and Lamb, Beef and Lamb, then perhaps Duck and Tripe, Turkey and Tripe.
    • Feeding a new flavour roughly each 3 days.
    • Once your puppy is happily eating 4 or 5 different varieties you can go wild and try all the different flavours available from all the different brands in stock.

 

Always remembering to only introduce one new thing at a time, so that any issues can be identified easily.

For adult dogs, follow the same guide, but up to 5 days each on steps 1-3

 

For senior dogs (7+)

  1. Begin with 1-2 days on Lamb Tripe, (Furry Feasts or The Dogs Butcher) then follow steps 1 to 3 above
  2. 5 days in each step.
  3. Senior dogs often need less bone in their diet, so if the dog does become constipated add boneless tripe to the diet to dilute the bone content of completes.

Once fully transitioned, you can then add a raw egg to the diet a couple of times a week, then you can add raw fish. We prefer to feed raw fish frozen, as there is a much lower likelihood of regurgitation when fish is fed frozen.

Puppies at 8 weeks, require approximately 10% of their current bodyweight per day.

  • From 10-16 weeks approximately 8%
  • From 16-20 weeks approximately 7%
  • From 20-24 weeks approximately 6%
  • From 24-36 weeks approximately 5%
  • From 36-56 weeks approximately 4%
  • From 56-68 weeks approximately 3.5%

 

Once fully grown, which can differ by breed, the average adult will require between 2-3% of their bodyweight per day.

How do I start raw feeding?

Be guided by the dog in front of you, if the dog is overweight reduce the amount, if the dog is underweight you can increase the amount.

All dogs have different metabolic rates, just like humans so whilst one dog may thrive on 2.5% of its bodyweight per day a dog of the same breed may need much more, or even much less.

Help! My dog won’t eat!

Help! My dog won't eat!

This is probably one of the single most common pleas for help that we get on a daily basis.

We have actually had customers in tears over dogs that refuse food for days on end.

This situation commonly crops up with young males, between 6 and 18 months, some of the working breeds like German Shepard Dogs and Huskies, and dogs whose owners are routinely over feeding.

 

Help! My dog won't eat!
Help! My dog won't eat!

So, our first question is always, is the dog underweight?

If the dog is regularly refusing food, yet maintaining a healthy bodyweight then you are offering your dog more food than they need, and they are self regulating.  This is the answer in the vast majority of cases.

These dogs are often very picky eaters and will only eat certain foods, they can afford to do this because they are being offered much more food than they need; so if little Buster is a big fan of Lamb but not fussed with Turkey he can turn his nose up at Turkey meals knowing full well that you will soon offer him his favourite Lamb and he can fill up on that.

We often see dogs who are around the 12 month mark still being fed the quantities they needed as a puppy with lots of growing to do, its time to cut back, get your dog weighed, and re-assess the amount you are feeding.

So,  if a calculator or guide tells you your dog needs 600g per day, yet he only eats 500 and maintains a good bodyweight, he only needs 500!

Dogs, like humans, all have their own metabolic rate, some can eat until you fear they may explode, yet maintain a trim athletic appearance, others need only sniff an extra gram and they put on weight, so you feed the dog in front of you.

The calculators are a very useful tool, they will give you a starting point, a guide to work from, but then it is up to you to use common sense, and apply it to the individual animal.

Help! My dog won't eat!

If he is fat, feed less, if he is thin, feed more.

At meal times, your dog should begin to eat immediately when his food is placed in front of him.  If he does not, he is not hungry and you should remove the food, place it in the fridge, and offer nothing more until his next meal time.

Stick to your guns, a healthy dog will not starve itself and you will find that once your dog accepts that he is not going to be offered anything else, he will eat when he is hungry.

Naturally, if you have a dog who is refusing food, and losing weight, you would seek veterinary advice.