Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is a raw diet more expensive?
Raw feeding can be as expensive as you make it. It can be more expensive than kibble at first until you find a reliable source for meat, commercial raw food can also be more expensive but this depends on the size of your dog. Or it could be dirt cheap to begin with especially if your doing more of a DIY diet. The price comparison also depends on what kibble or wet food you are currently feeding. Do not forget about all the money you will hopefully save on vet bills, including preventative treatments!
Q. How long can you keep raw food in the fridge?
Once defrosted raw food will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
Q. How much do I need to feed?
Raw is fed at 2-3% of the ideal adult weight, if your dog is overweight remember to feed them to their ideal weight not what they weigh now. Feeding the right amount and getting the right balance is very dependant on each individual, you will soon learn what your dogs requirements are. A balanced and nutritionally correct raw diet should consist of 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offal with 5% of the offal being liver. It is very important to make sure liver is given at 5% of the overall diet. By feeding these ratios you can be sure your pet is getting 100% of the nutrients he needs. You can add vegetables and/or fruit to your dog’s raw diet. This does no harm but is not essential. Dogs do not possess stomach enzymes capable of breaking down cellulose (vegetable matter) so mostly it just passes through, if you chose to add vegetables/fruit this can be taken from the meat percentage, making the meat 70/75% with 5/10% fruit/veg. Puppies will need more food, a guide to go with is 3% of their estimated adult weight, or around 8%-10% puppy weight and decrease the percentage with age. Remember to watch their waist line this is only a guide some dogs need more some less so its best to go on looks rather that exact quantities.
Q. Is it safe to feed bone?
Yes, provided they haven’t been cooked first. You should never feed your dog cooked bones as this makes them brittle and therefore sharp which potentially could cause serious damage to the gut. Dogs need to learn how to chew bones, so it may be best to hold on to them at first to make sure they chew it and don't just gulp it, also if the bone is bigger than their head there's a lot less chance of swallowing it whole.Chewing on raw bones also helps to clean a dog’s teeth. It is important when giving your dog anything to chew that you select an appropriate sized bone according to the size of your dog. You must supervise your dog to ensure no problems occur.
Q. Can I just feed the same protein?
You should avoid sticking to just one complete, variety is needed to cover all nutritional needs. You should be aiming to feed at least 5-6 different species i.e. Lamb, Beef, Duck, Chicken, Pork, Venison, Turkey etc.
Q. How many meals should I feed?
This is your choice to make....or your dogs. All dogs like humans are individual, what suits some may not suit others. A good guide to go off is the 'normal' 2 meals a day, one morning, one evening. This works great for some dogs. Others however may start vomiting foam or bile (purging, hunger pukes) this may be because they digestive the food quicker, so their stomach is empty. Raw food is processed a lot quicker than dry food in the stomach so can take time for the stomach to get used to the change. So if this is happening it may be worth increasing the amount of meals given in a day. Most dogs will be sick in the morning as they have gone all night with nothing in their stomach so a little extra food before bed may be the answer. Puppies and possibly ill or older dogs will need more meals a day.
Q. My vet says raw diets are bad for dogs and I should stick with processed food?
Vets are great at their job, but they are not nutritionist and are often mis-informed. Vets are subject to the same blanket advertising and sales pitches from processed food manufactures as the buying public (mainly Hills or Royal Canin). The media is a very powerful tool! Do your own research and make your own informed decision, after all it is your dog.
Q. If I feed my dog rabbit will they eat our pet rabbit?
No! It is not the same, it will not think some rabbit mince or dried rabbit ears are the same as your pet rabbit sat in your garden. The same goes for birds, or any meat. Most dogs have a natural prey drive, some more than others. Raw feeding will not change this.
Q. Can I mix processed and raw together?
It is advised not to feed processed and raw food together. This is due to the differing digestive rates of kibble and raw, one will be sat in the stomach longer than the other and this is where bacteria may start to develop. Feeding cooked meat also changes the pH level of a dogs stomach, it should naturally be around 2 to deal with raw meat and bone, kibble neutralises the stomach acid to a pH around 7. So feeding raw and kibble at the same time can upset the dogs digestive system as it tries to alter the pH to deal with both.
Q. What benefits will I see?
The first visual changes will be your dogs coat becoming shinier, healthier and hopefully moulting less. Any skin conditions or itchiness should clear up within a few weeks of switching. Their teeth should naturally become cleaner with plaque being removed by chewing on bones, also their breath should smell better. Raw fed dogs tend to have better muscle definition, as well as having more "useful" energy, without being hyperactive. Their poos will be smaller and not as smelly! This is a big, but very welcome, change from the sloppy messes you might be used to cleaning up. Some things that may change without you realising are that your dog becomes more settled, or chills out a bit more. This is usually because they feel more comfortable, kibble makes dogs bloated so they find it difficult to settle down. You may not think your dog is affected by this, but actually they might of just got used to the feeling, so will thank you for it when they can sleep better at night! After a while you will hopefully start to notice your dog isn't having as many, or any, upset tum days, your vet bills have decreased and your dog just seems generally happier and more content with life!