Why Feed Raw?
Updated: Jun 5
All three of our dogs eat raw, and each of them for their own reasons, so I will explain why we do and the benefits that we see from our switch!
I first made the switch to raw food in the summer of 2019 for Reese (he was the only dog I had at the time). In June we found ourselves at the vet for an ear infection that caused Reese to scratch so hard at his ears he bled. Our vet notified me that we visited almost exactly a year ago (within a week) for the same issue with Reese and he said it was likely seasonal and allergy related.
Reese has a horrible time in the summer with hives and dry skin. I would bathe him, put cream on him, and give allergy pills when necessary (directed by our vet). Sensitive skin is very common in Pitty breeds and it caused Reese to lose some fur and he had very small bald spots all over him, it upset me so much to see him be so uncomfortable.
While at the vet I asked him if there was a food he could recommend that might be best for Reese; I had done research on food for Pittys previously and had Reese on Taste of the Wild which is a great kibble option! It was then that my vet asked me if I ever considered Raw food; which I have looked into but didn’t truly know where to start. He gave me some direction that I took home with me to do my research.
I looked into many options including buying different meat from the store and including vegetables and supplements, as well as pre-made raw food from pet stores. The option that I felt the most comfortable with and had a wonderful rating was Mega Dog Raw from Jollytails and they have a loyalty program! I felt very comfortable with making this switch after doing a lot of research and reading reviews. I was also pleased with how convenient it was! They come in patties that I simply have to thaw and for Reese’s weight he got exactly one patty per meal- you gotta like that!
The Bully Benefits
I was noticing a difference in Reese’s skin and coat within weeks of switching him to raw food. He has short fur but did it ever feel thicker and softer! His bald patches started to disappear and it was evident that he was less itchy and uncomfortable. Also he was thrilled with his new meals. My dog who was not eager to eat his kibble and would often skip meals was now gulping down his food (a bit too fast I should add - I encourage you to purchase a slow feeder for the doggos that like to vacuum out their food bowl).
Reese stayed on this food for about four months without issue. He loved it and I loved what it did for him! Obviously he was simply not getting what he needed from his kibble, his body was giving such clear signs, so of course I would want to do something about that! When Rey came into our home I knew I would eventually get her on raw food as well, but I like to do a lot of training around feeding time so I kept her on our vets puppy kibble for the first few weeks. Then when Riley, our Golden, moved in he was on his kibble Royal Canin, so feeding time was busy trying to prepare three different meals for our three dogs.
I asked David to look into raw food for puppies and if there was anything to look out for; if it were different then feeding an adult dog. He was hesitant at first to switch Riley to raw food, mostly because of the cost, as feeding raw can be a bit pricey. However, as he looked into raw food for Rey he also dug into it for Riley.
A Golden Testimony
A specific story that he read was about a thirteen year old Golden Retriever that was struggling with arthritis and they were considering putting him down. After a discussion with friends, they made the switch to raw food for their dog. The changes in their dog were incredible. He was able to walk as he used to, he would sit up attentively where he would previously lay down on his mat, and most signs of arthritis had disappeared! They thought they only had weeks with their beloved pet, but with this change brought new life to their dog and a chance for him to live longer and more comfortably with his family.
This was when the light bulb came on for David. The benefits of raw food were more obvious to him and he could make that kind of change for his dog that could prolong Riley's life, potentially prevent injury and drastically improve his overall health and quality of life. Golden Retrievers, as well as other pure bred canines, are prone to a number of health problems, and prevention is key!
Big Country Raw
David knew that he wanted to make the switch, and through his research, we decided we were also okay to switch Rey to raw food as well with calculating the proper portion size for each meal. One of the brands that he found was Big Country Raw; the reviews and the quality of the food were outstanding, so we decided to make the switch.
We buy Big Country Raw from Pet Valu who also provides a loyalty program, they're slightly more expensive than Ren's Pets, but Pet Valu in Sackville is closer to us right now and during a pandemic we don't want to travel further than necessary. Also Ren's Pets limits the quantity we can buy right now and wouldn't allow us to buy the amount that we needed for our three dogs and we would have had to go back in less than a week to purchase more. We get it, it's a pandemic and they have to control how much food is purchased, so for now we shall go to Pet Valu who lets us buy our three boxes of Raw food every two weeks. *cries*
Our Meal Plan
Our meals look like this, all items from Big Country Raw:
Dinner Deal, either Chicken, Turkey or Beef Thrive Herring Oil * an all-natural pet supplement
Thrive Green Lipped Sea Mussels, a whole food joint supplement (specifically for Riley's breed prone joint health)
We also treat our dogs to BCR Frozen Free Run Duck eggs, antibiotic, and hormone-free. They eat the shell too! This treat is an excellent source of protein.
Our dogs love strawberries too so we throw some frozen berries in with their meals too!
*Noticeable benefits of Thrive Herring Oil include healthy skin, shiny coat, decreased shedding, and increased mobility.
**Thrive Fortify is a blend of essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fast, various greens, and natural enzymes
Big Country Raw Grab n' Go boxes have 18 pounds worth of food in them; 9 containers, each 2lbs. The containers can be left out to thaw and then stored in a fridge for no more than 3 days. We generally take out two days worth of food, and each morning we thaw a day's worth of food that will then go into the fridge. So at one time, we have 2-3 days worth of food in the fridge.
How much to feed your dog?
The amount of food your dog needs is dependent on their age, activity level, and weight.
A general guideline is to take your adult dogs weight and calculate it by 2-3%
- If your dog is inactive or needs to lose weight 2% is a good amount
- If your dog is moderately active/ should maintain current weight then 2.5%
- A very active dog or a pet that needs to gain weight should get 3%
Riley is 78 pounds and is fairly active but should maintain his current weight.
78lbs x 2% = 1.56lbs This is his daily amount, divide by two if you feed twice a day.
Each meal Riley is fed 0.78lbs, however, we use grams on our scale so 354 grams per meal.
Raw Feeding a Puppy
You can start raw feeding a puppy the day you bring it home!
Big Country Raw provides great details HERE but I will outline a few key points:
8-12 weeks: Anticipated adult weight x 1.5% = DAILY food portion
12+ weeks: Anticipated adult weight x 2% = DAILY food portion
Highly active puppies or large puppies may require 2.5-3% of their anticipated adult weight. You can look for signs that your puppy should be fed more such as an overly visible rib cage, a huge sign! Gulping their food may also be a sign, however, be careful with that, my puppy would gulp down 50 lbs of food, easy. Again, consider a slow feeder!
Raw food is not for everyone and that's okay :) This is our story and why we choose it.
Does your dog get raw food in their meals? A mix of raw and kibble? We want to hear about it! Let us know how you feed your dog, it just may be useful to other dog owners out there and we'd love to tell others about it.