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Views on raw food diet for dogs(44 Posts)
I'm considering changing my 5 month old Labrador puppy's diet from dried food to the raw food diet, I'm interested to hear your opinions or advice please, would you advise it ?
Thanks in advance xx
My 5 month old puppy is raw fed and has been weaned on raw so knows no different. We feed her nutriment complete which we get delivered once a month. Her coat is super glossy, never had a upset tummy, poo's are firm and twice a day. Mine is a miniature breed so she only has 200g a day so cost is around £30 a month which is less than my last dog (she was a large breed on james well beloved kibble)
Theres been no negatives for me as yet, I'm not particularly squeamish but even so the nutriment is just like mince to look at!
I've not gone down this route because DDog comes into contact with someone very elderly and hence medically vulnerable, and sometimes likes to sneak a lick of my face. I also don't have the freezer space!
Tbh I'm not sure raw is that much better than a good non raw diet
I have seen dog kennels that state they cannot accommodate raw diets. This also might be a consideration even with just individual dog boarding at the pet sitters house.
Something to consider depending on whether you expect to use such services.
We tried ours on raw and he wasn't interested in it whatsoever.
We feed a high quality wet food mixed with grain-free kibble. He wolfs it down and the vet is always complimentary about his health, teeth and weight.
Like @BiteyShark said lots of kennels and daycares can't/won't accommodate a raw diet.
My dog boarder (who home boards) is fine with raw but as the others say its definitely worth checking. We have a small fridge in the boot of our car when we go away to keep the raw food in, again no problem so far but admittedly more of a faff than kibble in that respect
Ours also showed no interest which I'm thankful for because it smells vile and they will happily leave their food all day if other things interest them.
Mine had raw food for a while. He was fine initially but then developed bloody stools. The vet said his bowels were inflamed and treated it but it kept coming back. We switched to a dry food and he has been fine ever since.
Shame though, he loved the raw stuff!
I tried raw with mine but he wouldn’t eat the commercial ‘nugget ‘ type and the only actual raw real thing he would eat was chicken wings so not a balanced diet , he will eat all meats cooked but that defeats the object . He is particularly fussy though and often looks at me as if I’m trying to poison him when I feed him things .
Also tried raw but dog wouldn't eat it, it was a waste as you can't just leave it out,
Raw is also pretty expensive and you need a decent amount of freezer space for it as well. Plus if they don't eat it, you have to chuck it, you can't just leave it out or save it for the next meal.
We feed tins (Lily's Kitchen) plus grain-free Harringtons biscuits and it costs us around £30 a month. We buy in bulk and he only gets fed once a day so it works out really well. 12 tins are £25 from PaH and last 24 days. We then get Harringtons (normally on offer for about £7 a bag) and a huge 7k bag lasts us a couple of months. He has good solid poos, his teeth and gums are fine and he's a healthy weight too.
Lots of vets disagree with raw feeding, simply put dogs and cats can get the same food poisoning issues we do, just because they’re animals they aren’t immune. They can get a single deadly dose of food poisoning or long term IBS. Also grain free chased dilated cardiomyopathy
My dog has raw, she eats the (defrosted) frozen nuggets. She hates any kind of dry food but hoovers up this in seconds, also she’s a tiny dog so it doesn’t work out too expensive as she only eats six nuggets a day, I imagine it could work out very costly using pre prepared raw with a big dog. The brand she has (Country Hunter) do a cooked version of the food in pouches which she eats instead of the raw when we go away, and she doesn’t seem to mind switching between the two.
The main downside is with her teeth, she’s not getting to chew so they’re not getting “cleaned” by her food. I supplement her diet with things like dried ox tails for her to chew on.
I feed raw. Mainly because my first dog has huge allergy issues. If she’s only eating the raw then I know exactly what she’s having.
I wouldn’t put tripe in my own freezer so the dog does need their own.
If she doesn’t eat it (rare) it goes in the dog fridge for the next meal.
It’s been revolutionary for us. No more itchy feet and constant ear issues.
But not all vets support it, you do need to ensure the balance is right (meat, organs, bone) and holidays take a bit of planning.
Whatever you choose aim for the best ingredients you can afford. Have a look at all about dog food. Much pet food is filled with rubbish!
Lots of vets disagree with raw feeding
To be fair, most vets haven't got a clue about pet nutrition. I wouldn't ask my vet for advice on what to feed my dog - most of them sell what they're paid to sell. There's a reason most vets sell either Royal Canid or Hills Science Plan!
We feed raw. My dog can't have offal (Dalmatian, so secreting organs are a no). We're also discovering he has allergies so he's down to a turkey / tripe / pork diet for his meat then we top up with fruit, veg, eggs etc. He's a healthy, fast growing dog who is now 9 months.
I don't find it too expensive. I have a great local supplier and get his base meat for £2 a kilo so £14 a week. There are other more expensive meals available.
I buy weekly and Lee his in his own drawer in the bottom of the freezer or in the bottom of the fridge.
Once upside is that It's made his pops much smaller and more easy to pick up!
I've fed my dogs raw for years. They're on a complete raw food, I used Nutriment in the UK and now use an equivalent Canadian brand, and they also get a selection of chicken wings, portioned rabbit carcasses, lamb ribs and whole mackerel for variety and for their teeth. I believe it's the best diet for them but what suits one dog won't necessarily suit another, so as long as they are feeding a good quality, appropriate, balanced diet I don't push any particular way of feeding on clients (unless it's medically indicated).
We use house sitters if we go away but we also take them camping a lot. If it's just a few days I bring their food in a small cool box full of ice packs and it's fine. If it's longer and/or we're hiking in I use a good quality cold-pressed dry food; they're fine switching for a few days.
We were advised by the vet to switch our 9 week old pup from Purina Beta kibble to raw, almost 5 years on (plus an addition of another puppy who was weaned on raw) and haven't looked back at dry food. We are now with a vets practice that massively supports the raw diet - they do exist, just a bit harder to find when most vets are happy endorsing Royal Canin and Hills.
I'd encourage anyone to give it a go - smaller, firmer and less smelly poos, no farts, no anal gland expression issues, lovely white teeth. They never get bored of their meals as they get a variety of different proteins (be sure to slowly introduce different meats at first, to ensure your dog is not sensitive to certain proteins), they eat what they're given and the bowl is always licked clean - no fussy eaters here! I like knowing exactly what's in their food - no fillers, no preservatives, no mystery meat! DIY raw can be a bit daunting for newbies so I'd suggest going with 80/10/10 completes - all the ratios have already been done for you, you just need to weigh out and serve.
It's a bit extra effort - we have an extra freezer in the garage just for dog food and you do need to remember to take food out the night before to defrost.
I have fed raw for years; it has always suited my dogs and is very cheap compared to feeding commercial food. As others have said it's a little extra effort but it suits us well.
- quite a lot of (albeit anecdotal) evidence of better health and behaviour
- you can get complete foods in the same way you do wet food and kibble so no need to try and balance nutrients yourself
- poo is definately more pleasant
- good anal gland health because of the firmer poo
Things to think about
- the need for freezer space
- if you get it delivered, a problem order can be a massive headache when you have to get rid of 20kg of already defrosted raw meat
- viral shedding and an increase on bacteria load in the dog's body fluids (e.g. saliva). Especially worth considering if the dog comes into very young, old, ill or otherwise immune system compromised people
- can be tricky to go away on holiday or visit other people if you take raw food with you
- the need for a bit more care cleaning up after you, much like you would handling raw human meat products
- some vets are anti raw but most vets I have spoken to tend to have a balanced view - but these also tend to be the vets that approach animal care as a partnership with the owner, vs the older school "do as I say" type.
Cost wise I found cooked vs raw food to be about the same when I did the comparison for my dog. That was comparing good quality raw complete food with a good wet/kibble mix. It would be more expensive than kibble alone, though - which tends to be the cheapest format.
In the end, I went with wet/kibble but this was mainly because I am quite risk-averse as a person and there just isn't isn't the scientific evidence to back raw right now. I'll be watching with interest if and when it comes, though.
Raw was the only thing my German Shepherd showed enthusiasm for. I used to buy chunks from Yorkshire Raw in Dewsbury but I can't recommend them as their service is terrible.
Now I only have Small Dog and he loves and thrives on Paleo Ridge raw. I find complete minces much easier for a small dog (he maintains 4.5kg body weight on about 170g/day because he's pretty active) than trying to weigh out 17g of organ. The teeny-tiny poos are great, and the relative lack of smell is a definite bonus.
Paleo Ridge is mostly under £5/kilo. It's pure meat, no vegetables, and comes very well packed so it's still frozen when it gets to me (it's sent overnight by courier). I get a kg pack at a time out of the freezer and let it defrost in a plastic container in the fridge and he gets that for six days until it's time to defrost the next one. I don't worry about it going off because it takes a couple of days to defrost completely so it's still very cold in the middle while I scrape the defrosted bit off the outside.
Just a warning that the tripe mixes do stink! The smell stays in the box though and doesn't permeate the fridge.
We feed Bella and Duke raw mixed with Skinners working dog dry to bring the cost down (lots of people in the raw feeding community are horrified by the idea of mixing raw and kibble but it is not an issue for us or our breeder who feeds her flyball dogs this way). It seems to preserve the benefits of raw (hard, inoffensive poo, glossy coat, clean teeth). When we go away we feed the Bella and Duke dry raw plus usual skinners, or sometimes high quality wet food. We notice his poo usually gets a bit softer and smellier on canned wet but no real digestive upset.
I like feeding raw as it's just a lot less processed. Never had any issues with bugs etc but we are all very robust. With frail family members etc it might be different.
We changed our GSDs (sadly now deceased) to raw following the onset of Canine Epilepsy. We did a lot of research into additives/preservatives and the actual content of commercial popular branded foods and decided to try a completely natual food. He loved it and there was a definite improvement in his general condition. We kept him going for a further 5 years before the Epilepsy became too much for him. We rescued a small mix breed terrier about six month before we lost him. She also is raw fed and is a very healthy little dog.
I think you need to do your own research and consider all the options.
Bella and Duke were doing ‘chugger’ style door knocking in our area the other day which frankly is enough to put me off buying anything from them .
I have fed raw for many years. It is economical for my dogs, and easy to do. I have never had the issue of them not eating it and what to do with the food.
If I go away I usually take raw or buy from local suppliers but also give them eden kibble on occasions when away. (No it is not a problem giving raw fed dog kibble as many people think).
I would never kennel my dogs but home boarders are very happy to fed the dogs raw.
How you fed your dogs is a very personal thing and you need to do your own research to see what if right for your family.
For me the really small non smelly poos mean I will stick with raw for ever!