YOUR STARTER GUIDE to RAW FEEDING
It’s great to hear that you’re considering making the change to raw feeding! This guide is designed to help you with the transition by clearly explaining the benefits and process.
Why Choose a Raw Diet?
Raw feeding will nurture and fuel your dog’s wellbeing by providing:
- Cleaner teeth and fresher breath
- Improved digestion
- Reduction of allergy symptoms
- Increased mobility in older animals
- Strengthened immune system
- Better weight control
- Shinier, healthier skin and coat
- Harder, smaller, less smelly stools
- Increased energy and stamina
- Improved liver, pancreatic and bowel health
- Fewer veterinary appointments – resulting in financial savings
Transitioning Over to RAW
Transitioning to raw feeding is seamless. We recommend that the best way to change from your dog’s existing diet to raw feeding is to go completely ‘cold turkey’ by doing a straight swap. The reason we don’t advise mixing raw with anything else (such as kibble or tinned food) is to prevent digestive and tummy upsets. For a raw diet your dog needs a highly acidic stomach to be able to easily digest the bone. To start, feed the last meal of your dog’s current diet in the evening, then start afresh with raw food the following morning. Follow your dog’s established feeding routine as before.
How Much Do I Feed?
Adult (over one year old): Feed 2-3% of your dog’s current bodyweight. If you want your dog to lose or gain weight then feed 2-3% of target bodyweight. Feed once or twice a day. For example: a dog weighing 30KG should be eating between 600 – 900grams per day. If fed twice a day each meal would be 300 – 450grams per meal. When identifying the feeding quantities consider the amount of daily exercise and activity your dog does. A working dog being active for the majority of the day would burn more energy than a dog that is a pet, and therefore would require a higher percentage feed. Each and every dog is unique, and their diet should be tailored according to their individual needs. Raw feeding is easy to adjust as you can add or takeaway the amount of their feed according to your dog’s requirement.
Puppies (under one year old):
Raw feeding your puppy will provide them with all the
nutrients they require to flourish and thrive. We would recommend you raw feed on the basis of the bodyweight of your puppy at specific age milestones, as follows:
- 2-4 months: feed 10%-8% of their bodyweight
- 4-6 months: feed 8%-6% of their bodyweight (by 4 months of age commence feeding your puppy from three times a day to two)
- 6-8 months: feed 6%-4% of their bodyweight
- 8-12 months: feed 4%-3% of their bodyweight
It’s important to note how your puppy is responding and adjust accordingly. Like adult dogs, treat the raw feeding of your puppy on their individual dietary, digestive and activity needs and requirements.
What Do I Feed?
To feed a balanced raw diet we suggest following the 80/10/10 rule. This means 80% muscle meat, 10% bone and 10% offal (or combine 5% liver with 5% other offal). You can approach raw feeding in two ways:
- DIY: whereby you chop and weigh chunks of each required percentage
- Complete mince or dinners prepared to the required balance percentages
Whatever your approach to raw meal preparation, either way is great, but for ease of transition, we suggest using already prepared complete minces. Pre-prepared completes ensures that your dog is getting a balanced diet and gives you the chance to adapt to the new way of feeding without the worry.
During the transition period you need to feed one type of protein a week for each meal for the first 5 weeks. This approach helps your dog get used to different types of meat and also gives you a chance to identify and eliminate any allergies. After the 5 week transition period the best way to give your dog all they need is variety – at least five different proteins a week, but if you can do more, that is even better.
- Introducing raw frozen fish and a raw egg with shell twice a week will give them all the nutrition they need.
- If you decide to include vegetables, it is recommended to slightly steam them then blend into a pulp so as to break down the cellulose wall. Feed vegetables on top of your dog’s specific meal allowance so it doesn’t dilute down the 80/10/10.
- If possible, always feed organic vegetables as these will not contain pesticides which can be very harmful especially if the veggies are fed raw as treats.
- Vegetables such as spinach, kale, squash and pumpkin are nutritionally beneficial; however, avoid onion, corn on the cob and raw potato.
As part of the one protein a week for the first 5 weeks, for ease of digestion, start your dog on a bland meat. During the first week add green tripe (beef or lamb) as this helps dilute the bone, and helps the PH balance of the stomach to adjust with the bone effectively. Following this, introduce a new protein each week until they have had 5 different types of proteins. A recommended guidance is:
- During the first week feed chicken or turkey complete (80/10/10) mixed 50/50 with tripe.
- Each week thereafter, add another meat complete (80/10/10) such as duck, beef, lamb, veal. Introduce fish, eggs, whole bones, chicken feet and other raw food options after week 5.
How Do I know Im doing it right?
The best gauge in knowing how your dog is getting on with raw food is by their stool. The ideal stool should be firm, not too hard or too soft. If the stool is white and crumbly, or your dog is straining when toileting then there is too much bone present in the diet. To counteract this, increase the tripe content in their diet. If stools are too loose and runny then reduce the tripe and increase the bone content.
Other things to note
- As all dogs have their own unique dietary requirements and needs the percentages are a guideline only. Content percentages are dependent on your dog’s metabolism, activity levels, amount of exercise, food preferences or intolerances, and sensitivities. Some dogs may need a higher percentage of bone than others. Additions and alternations based on your dog’s requirements are easily adapted into their raw feeding.
- Your dog’s thirst and the drinking of water will reduce considerably; this is to be expected as there is a great amount of natural moisture in raw food.
- Stool frequency and size will reduce dramatically. Again, this is perfectly normal, as there is fewer waste products in the raw food for them to eliminate.
- During the night some dogs may wake and bring up yellow foamy bile known as ‘hunger pukes’. If this occurs then feed your dog a small treat last thing at night and this should resolve this. There is absolutely no need to starve your dog the following day as they are hungry.
- Not all vets prescribe to raw feeding, but most are fine if it is done correctly and your dog receives a nutritionally balanced diet.
The team at The Raw Dog Food Company have the knowledge and experience to help in guiding your dog’s transition to raw feeding, and will continue to provide support once you are established. Do not hesitate to contact us.