If your dog has been eating mostly kibble, the easiest way to start them on a raw diet is by using 1 of the 3 methods below. Add digestive enzymes & a probiotic to each meal. Our favorite product is Spark by PetWellbeing; it’s formulated for dogs & has all supplementation needed by dogs including digestive enzymes, probiotic, multi-vitamin/minerals, omega 3 essential fatty acids (http://www.petwellbeing.com/). Next is Great Life Enzyme Pro+ (Amazon & other online sources); it has both digestive enzymes & probiotics & is also formulated for dogs. Another way is to use Mercola Digestive Enzymes for Pets (www.mercola.com) along with their pet probiotic powder. These are 2 different products & you need both if you don’t use Spark or Great Life +. Adding these prevents gastrointestinal problems & diarrhea. You can use human products, but we didn’t have the same success. If you do use human supplements, be sure it has no sugar or any type of sweetener when giving to animals. Using these products resulted in NO diarrhea for the rescue dogs & they were put on 100% raw food immediately. Adding a heaping teaspoon (regular type, not measuring) of raw goat milk keifer to each meal also helps; stir into the raw meal with the supplement you choose. You can add some raw vegetable to these meals daily as long as they’re in tiny pieces; running through a food processor is the best way – or you can skip veggie until your dog is fully adjusted to the raw meat & bones diet & then start adding them. We give raw veggie to all new dogs & it’s never been a problem as long as we add 1 of the above supplements.
1. Use chicken or rabbit frozen ground raw dog food. These are the easiest to digest. Add the pet digestive enzymes & probiotic to each meal. Give the dose recommended by the product you choose to every meal. If you use a human supplement instead, give 1/3 of the human dose in every meal. Human doses are based on a 150 lb. adult. Keep the dog on whichever meat you select for 6-8 weeks. If there are no issues, the dog can then be given raw meaty bones of the same meat type without the supplements, if you choose. Giving these supplements for the rest of their lives is excellent & recommended. Feed this for 4-6 weeks & then add some organ meat to the diet; giving the digestive enzymes & probiotic with organ meat prevents diarrhea/digestive upset. Start with 1/2 tsp a day of organ meats & work up slowly to 1 tsp per day; this is the correct amount for small dogs (4-7 lbs). Stay on this regime for another 3-4 weeks. Then change to another type of raw meaty bone such as turkey or rabbit. Stay on this meat for 4-6 weeks. After this amount of time, the animal’s digestive system should be able to have different meats on a regular basis. I often feed a different meat at each meal with no problems. Feed & supplement what you can afford. You’ll save money on vet bills with the raw meat/bones diet & natural pet rearing.
2. Feed the dog cooked chicken & a vegetable for 10 days. Add the digestive enzymes/probiotics to each meal. On day 11, make their food 75% cooked food (cooled to room temperature) & stir in 25% raw chicken or ground raw chicken. You can also use a commercially-made raw chicken dog food instead. Keep them on this for 2-3 days. The next 3 days, make their diet 50% cooled cooked food & 50% raw food. After this, they should get 100% raw chicken dog food or ground raw chicken; give the digestive enzymes/probiotics in each meal & stay on this for the next 4 weeks. If the dog has no digestive problems, you should be able to discontinue the digestive enzymes/probiotics IF you choose. If you can afford it, it’s best to continue these for the dog’s lifetime. Continue to feed raw chicken for another 2-3 weeks. If there are no problems, switch to raw meaty chicken bones (neck, thighs, parts of the back with plenty of meat attached – no drumsticks yet). Keep them on this for 2 months. Then start to add a little organ meat & stay on this regime for another month. Start very small with the organ meat – 1/2 tsp per day & work up to 1 tsp a day for small dogs. Thighs or drumsticks are now ok to feed. After this amount of time, change to another meat; we recommend rabbit or turkey. Stay with this meat for 4-6 weeks. It should then be fine to give the dog any other type of meat & organ meat, & to change it frequently with no problem.
3. Get some ground raw chicken & give a tiny bit to the dog as a treat twice a day. Keep doing this for 3-4 days, then very slowly increase the amount of raw meat treats every 3 days while decreasing the amount of kibble the dog is eating. If there’s any diarrhea or gastrointestinal issue, be sure to give the digestive enzymes & a probiotic with every raw treat & meal. You can also give the dog canned pumpkin (the type with NO spices added) – 1 tsp to 2 tbspns per meal. It treats both diarrhea & constipation. It should resolve in 1-3 days. NEVER feed raw & kibble at the same time as these digest at different rates & can cause problems for the dog.
As Dr. Pitcairn (well-known & well-respected homeopathic veterinarian) says, “It’s not people food – it’s real food for real dogs/cats.” We all are what we eat. The better the food/nutrition your animal gets, the better their health will be, the longer their life…& you’ll spend a lot less on vet bills. God put every species on this earth with all they need to sustain life & to thrive. There are no canned dog food trees or kibble bushes. Animals can’t cook & make fire; they don’t have pots/pans. They don’t naturally eat rice, oatmeal, barley, etc. These are NOT their natural, normal foods. We need to feed our pets the food that’s closest to what they eat in nature without human intervention to give them great health. Raw meat, meaty bones, a little veggies/fruits, & some healthy oil are what they need & what’s right for them.
If your dog has a health issue, please consult with a homeopathic vet or animal nutrition expert before you begin raw feeding. I didn’t say “consult with your vet” because conventional vets are NOT experts on nutrition & have only minimal instruction on this subject in veterinary school – about 1 to 3 hours on this utmost important factor for health! Most of them don’t understand that diet is the foundation of good health & that without the right foods, good health isn’t possible. Conventional vets believe that kibble & canned pet foods are good & are nutritionally complete. This isn’t true. Naturally trained nutritionists & veterinarians have hundreds of hours of study on this & are a wealth of knowledge on this vital subject. Vets & veterinary schools are also subsidized by pet food companies so they push those products. See what this honest, independent pet food group has to say about these brands: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/.
Good fat is important in a dog’s diet (for humans, too). Dogs utilize protein & fat as energy sources. Fat is needed for the brain, joints, skin, hair, kidneys & more. Puppies need higher levels of protein & fat than adult dogs. Senior dogs also need a good amount of protein; contrary to what conventional vets are taught. Don’t give a senior dog less protein just because it’s older. The brain utilizes fat the most of any part in the body – 60% of the daily fat needed is for the brain alone. Dogs are carnivores; they need a diet that’s 20 to 30% good fat for optimal health. Don’t be afraid of good, natural fats. They’re essential for good health for both dogs/cats & humans.
Fish like anchovies, cod, mackrel, salmon, sardines, trout, etc. & raw eggs (with yolks) are super nutritious. These are excellent protein sources & provide the omega 3 fatty acids essential for good health. Feed wild caught fish only, never farm raised. Farm raised fish are high in mercury & don’t provide proper nutrition. They live in artificial environments & don’t eat their natural foods. The best wild cod & salmon is from Central Calif to Alaska – really cold waters. Salmon must be “hard frozen” for 3 weeks before fed raw. This is to be sure any possible parasite sometimes found in salmon is killed. Hard frozen means it’s solidly frozen, hard like a rock. Feed these raw fish 1-2 days per week to provide these nutrients. Food in the whole form is far superior part of the food & supplements. To give our dogs the essential omega fatty acids they need, we mix a raw egg & give 1 tsp daily with their raw meat & bones meal. There’s more on this in Part 1. Store the remainder in a glass container in the fridge.
In the wild, dogs get calcium from the tiny pieces of bone they consume when eating their prey. They chew the meat off the bones & eat the bones/marrow as well. Calcium is needed to balance the phosphorus they consume. If they don’t get enough calcium in relation to the phosphorus they eat, their bodies will take it from their bones. In order to balance the phosphorus & calcium in their diet, the prepared raw diets use either tiny pieces of bone or add powdered calcium. However, the best nutrition is obtained when the dogs eat & chew on the bones – getting the nutritious marrow inside the bones. When the dogs chew on meaty bones, it cleans their teeth, exercises their gums, & strengthens their jaws/necks. All the chewing action also stimulates their saliva, which aides in digestion. Dentals aren’t needed by dogs who eat raw meaty bones on a regular basis. Raw fed dogs also don’t get arthritis, diabetes, or many other health problems. Attached is a photo of my oldest Yorkie eating a raw, organic chicken leg; it takes him 30-40 minutes to finish. If a bone is too big for him (say a joint bone from a drumstick), he’ll just leave it & I throw it in the trash. He LOVES his raw meaty bones; he has sparkling white teeth, luminous hair, beautiful skin & bright eyes.
At meal time, do NOT heat or warm their food before giving it to them. This will destroy enzymes & nutrients. Simply put their food in their dish & allow it to sit on your kitchen counter for 15-20 minutes. It’s then ready to be given to the dog. My friend feeds her dogs frozen raw meaty bones & hasn’t had any problem. I’m not comfortable with this so I give only thawed pieces & also give only room temperature spring water. You want to give them quality filtered water; not tap what that contains chlorine & fluoride.
If pasture-raised, grass-fed or organic meat isn’t affordable, feed what you can afford. All raw meat & bones diets are much better than pet foods, even high-end brands. Smart & Final is an inexpensive source for meats; their brand is “First Street.” They sell a 5 lb. chub of frozen ground turkey that has no additives/seasonings for about $7; that’s $1.25 per lb. Chicken is frequently on sale for $1 per lb or less. Buy meat that has no salt added; a little salt is fine but the amount found in meats that have salt added isn’t good for them. It will tell you on the package if salt has been added. Ground beef at this store is about $2.49 per lb. They have a “must sell” meat bin where everything is reduced by 25 to 50%; this meat is totally fine for the dogs, even if it stays in your fridge for a few days more. We’ve found wild-caught fish from Florida for as low as 60 cents a lb. Non-organic ground beef may cause the dog to itch because of the antibiotics, & other products given to cows (anti-parasite chemicals, vaccines & more). Mother’s Markets, Sprout’s & Whole Foods Markets also carry many pasture-raised & organic meats. Check with the butcher to see if he has any meat that’s being thrown away, is spoiled or is marked down; these are excellent for the dogs, completely safe for them to eat, & very affordable. Fresh or frozen veggies are easily found for 50-99 cents per lb. Hispanic or ethnic markets are another great source for inexpensive meat. It’s a little more costly to feed this way but it will save you lots of money in vet bills down the road.
You’ll find many videos on raw feeding dogs on YouTube & more info on www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com.
This independently-owned & run website rates many of the frozen raw pet foods that are sold. The 5 star rating is the best: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/raw/.
If your dog makes kidney stones or calcium oxalate stones, this diet is recommended by an Austrailan holistic vet: http://www.vetsallnatural.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=115&Itemid=131. You can also search online for “the Fuzzer diet.” It’s a miracle for these dogs & not only dissolves the stones, it prevents them from ever forming again. This diet saved my friend from having to do an expensive surgery on her 2 dogs who had this problem – saving her over $5,500. Remember – raw is THE only correct diet for dogs.
http://www.darwinspet.com/liver-support-for-dogs/ – liver support, Darwins raw dog food for dogs with liver issues
http://www.darwinspet.com/kidney-support-for-dogs/ – kidney support, Darwins raw dog food for dogs with kidney issues
Here’s to their incredible health & a long quality life, with less vet bills for you.