Our First Raw Fed Dog.
Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Dougie. My first raw feeding, natural and holistic pet care experience.
3 years ago I picked up my Mini Dachshund puppy, Dougie. I was only 20, so it was a big responsibility having my own dog and like any new dog owner, I researched everything! Dog food has been a growing passion, or more of an obsession of mine for the past 7 years whilst working in the pet retail industry. Each time I looked into what food I was going to feed I gravitated more and more towards choosing a natural lifestyle for my pup. I wanted to do the very best for him and the more I looked into it the more I realised that actually all commercial dog food is basically the same, it is all highly processed, using cheap meat and bulkers, full of sugar and chemical preservatives, how else can it sit on a shelf for potentially years and still be ok to feed? Yes, I would happily live off McDonald’s and processed foods, but that’s my choice, Dougie had to eat what I chose to give him, so I only wanted to give him the best. The pressure was on, and that’s when I decided to go for a fully raw diet.
Once looking into it and how it can help prevent or even eliminate the chance of him developing a lot of health conditions, how it would ensure he grew correctly, how it would help his teeth, and how even though he’s only a Mini Dachshund, his tiny digestive system is designed and prepared to cope and thrive off raw meat and bones, I was sold. And still to this day I believe it was the best decision I have made. Obviously... I’ve just opened a shop selling the stuff!
So Dougie was picked up at 9 weeks old. And from that day he was a raw fed dog. He had his first chicken wing that week, he had a shin bone bigger than him a few weeks later and was eating Natural Instincts for every meal. Now I’m not going to lie and say he loved his food, he didn’t, he’s a fussy bugger, but he loved it for the first few meals at least! I did have a few wobbles at the start, which I have come to realise everyone has. He wasn’t eating as much as he should of been, he only seemed to enjoy his chicken wings, and chewing on bones, but he was stealing other dogs dry food! It took a while to get used to my self maintaining dog.
Just before Christmas 2015, when he was only about 6 months old, Dougie caught kennel cough. By now he was only eating every other day or so, but he was still fit and healthy and a strong pup. But as any mother would, I panicked and just wanted to get food into him! So I went and brought a can of lily’s kitchen wet food, which I knew he liked as he always stole it from Elsa when she came to stay! He greedily ate it and with regret I thought to myself I had done the wrong thing, that I had a dog that just didn’t like raw food, and I thought that was my natural pet care journey over. Dramatic I know! This lasted all of 1 day, half a can, and he had gone off it. Yep, I just have a fussy dog! So back onto the raw it was, and with horrendous amounts of honey, zero vet treatment and lots of rest the kennel cough only last a couple of weeks. That was my one and only blimp away from raw. But we all have one!
Since then I have done more research, and learnt a lot about my dog. He is very good at self maintaining, thanks to hormones... more about that later! He kept himself at the perfect weight, by eating just what he needed. He was full of energy, fit and had great muscle definition. He has only ever had one vet flea treatment (another blip of mine) and one vet strength worming tablet which he threw straight up so I never bothered again. He has never had fleas, and he has definitely been around dogs with them and he has never had worms, and he eats some gross stuff! I honestly put all this down to a raw diet. I also chose not to vaccinate him, he had his puppy ones at 10 and 12 weeks, but that was all, I didn’t give in to the red letters from the vet saying I was putting my dog at risk. I know I am, but I would be doing so if I did vaccinate him and that’s my informed, educated and massively over researched decision to make. But more about that another day!
Over the past year Dougies dietary requirements have changed, or at least he thinks so! He has been chemically temporarily castrated, and like all of us, now he’s stopped thinking about finding a girlfriend he has let himself go, plods around and eats as much as possible. So he’s on a constant diet which has been a big change from force feeding him to feeling like I’m starving him! But I’m sure that will go back to normal when he gets his hormones back in balance!
Raw feeding has changed my life massively, I can’t say its changed Dougie's as he has never known any different. But I will never go back, no dog of mine will ever be fed processed food, and I stand by my decisions to not give preventative treatments, to not vaccinate and to treat any conditions he may develop in future as naturally and holistically as possible. I will keep you updated if I change my mind as new research comes about, and if my experiences change. I am always willing to learn, develop and am open to new ideas. All I ask is that you do the same. Research everything, keep an open mind, and do what you believe is the very best for your best friend. They only have us to rely on to look after them.