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The Ultimate Guide to Feeding a Raw Diet to Your Dog

Are our dogs getting unhealthier based on what we feed them? Nobody wants to say it out loud - certainly not the vets who may be interested in pushing you towards the 'obesity management' products of major pet food manufacturers. But what is really going into our pets' bowls and are all the fillers, binders, and by-products safe for long-term consumption?

If you had enough of feeding your pet processed food and want to find an alternative, then this comprehensive guide will lead you through the nuances of raw feeding, debunking common myths, and equipping you with practical knowledge.

From understanding the nutritional benefits of a raw diet to learning how to safely prepare and balance your furry friend's meals, our goal is to ensure your dog reaps all the rewards of a natural, ancestral diet while maintaining optimal health and vitality.

Whether you're a seasoned raw feeder or just getting started, this guide is here to support you every step of the way on your canine's journey to a happier, healthier life.

Guide to Feeding a Raw Diet to Your Dog

Understanding the Raw Diet Basics

Before delving into the specifics of raw feeding, it's crucial to understand what constitutes a raw diet for dogs.

A raw diet typically includes muscle meat, bone, organ meats, raw eggs, and some dairy, such as yogurt or kefir.

Fruits and vegetables may also be incorporated to provide essential vitamins and fiber. It is modeled after the diet of wild ancestors, aiming to mimic a natural eating pattern.

However, it's not merely about providing raw foodstuffs; it's about balancing these components in appropriate proportions to meet your dog's nutritional needs. This balance is essential in preventing nutrient deficiencies or excesses, which is why education is the first and most crucial step in the process of switching to a raw diet.

Find a raw dog food calculator or consult with a veterinary nutritionist to determine the appropriate ratios and portions for your dog's specific needs. It's also important to note that raw feeding is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and adjustments may need to be made based on factors such as age, activity level, and health conditions.

Myths and Misconceptions

One major hurdle when considering a raw diet for dogs is separating fact from fiction. There are persistent myths, such as the idea that raw food is inherently dangerous due to the risk of bacterial contamination, or that it is too difficult to provide a balanced diet with raw food.

Common misconceptions: feeding bones is unsafe and can cause choking.

In reality, when done correctly and with appropriate supervision, bones are a healthy part of a dog's raw diet, promoting dental health and providing calcium and other minerals. It's essential to debunk these myths, ensuring you are well-informed and comfortable with the diet you choose for your pet.

Transitioning Your Dog to a Raw Diet

The transition to a raw diet should be gradual and carefully managed to ensure your dog's digestive system adjusts without issue.

The change should be gradual.

Begin by substituting a small portion of your dog's current food with raw food, gradually increasing the raw percentage over time. This method helps prevent gastrointestinal upset as it allows your dog’s digestive enzymes and gut flora to adapt.

During the transition, it’s important to monitor your dog's weight, appetite, and stool quality. Any drastic changes in these parameters may indicate the need to adjust the transitioning process.

Patience is key, and the gradual change not only ensures a smooth transition but also helps you learn what works best for your dog’s unique dietary needs.

Preparing Balanced Raw Meals

Preparing balanced raw meals requires understanding the nutritional requirements of dogs.

Each meal should contain the right ratio of meat, organs, and bones, with a mix of fruits and vegetables. It's recommended to follow an 80/10/10 guideline, which represents 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs (with half of that being liver).

To augment nutritional completeness, especially for certain vitamins and minerals that may not be sufficiently present in raw ingredients, supplements can be incorporated.

It's advisable to consult with a veterinary nutritionist to specify the right supplements based on your dog's health profile.

Guide to Feeding a Raw Diet to Your Dog

Raw Diet and Puppy Growth

Feeding a raw diet to a puppy comes with an extra layer of diligence, as puppies have specific nutritional requirements for their rapid growth and development. Protein is crucial for muscle and tissue growth, while calcium and phosphorus must be balanced correctly to ensure proper bone development.

To accommodate a puppy's growth, the diet must be highly digestible and energy-dense, providing the necessary calories without feeding large volumes.

Managing portions and monitoring a puppy's growth rate is imperative to avoid potential under or overfeeding, which can lead to health issues down the line.

Handling and Safety

One of the critical aspects of raw feeding is safe handling and hygiene. Raw diets can harbor pathogens that are harmful if not handled correctly. This includes storing raw food at proper temperatures, using separate utensils for raw food preparation, and thoroughly cleaning all surfaces and bowls after feeding.

Furthermore, it's essential to source your raw ingredients from reputable suppliers who adhere to high standards of quality and safety. By following these precautions, you can provide your dog with the benefits of a raw diet while minimizing the risks associated with raw food consumption.

A healthy pet diet starts here

Feeding a raw diet to your dog can be a rewarding and beneficial experience when done correctly.

With this guide, you should feel confident in navigating the world of raw feeding and providing your furry companion with the best possible nutrition for optimal health and wellness.

Remember to always consult with a veterinary professional before making any significant changes to your dog's diet and continue learning about the latest research and recommendations in raw feeding for dogs.


Jenny Kakoudakis

Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.



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