Raw Food Diet for Dogs | Our Thoughts After 2 Weeks of Feeding Raw

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Raw Food Diet for Dogs, Keep the Tail Wagging

You can read our start on the raw food diet for dogs HERE and thoughts after the first week HERE.

We have now been feeding the dogs a part raw (am) part Halo Pets kibble (pm) diet* for two weeks today.  We switched from mixing up the food to ordering from Darwin’s Pets, because…

Please note: the morning raw food meal takes 4-5 hours to digest; the evening kibble/soft meal takes 10 hours to digest – neither meal is mixing in our dogs’ digestive system.  Mixing kibble with raw in one meal can cause dogs to be sick, because the kibble takes longer to digest, keeping the raw in their system too long (allowing it to rot).

Darwin’s Pets provide quality meals (no hormones, steroids or chemical preservatives) that are human-grade

  • They worked with to develop a diet (beef, turkey, chicken) that is affordable
  • Our dogs love the food
  • Their customer service is amazing and I was able to call, ask questions, change our order; I can even advance or postpone an order easily

What I Learned This Second Week

Sydney is spoiled and it’s my fault.  There were a few days when she refused to eat unless I fed her.  Then Rodrigo and Blue wanted to be fed too.  Pretty ridiculous and I was late to work twice (not the end of the world) feeding our little monkeys.

The dogs like their raw food warmed up.  I toss it into the microwave for 30-45 seconds to take the chill off, but no longer, because I don’t want to cook the food and kill the nutrients (the entire reason we went raw).

The pre-made raw food contains ground raw bone in it and the dogs took a second to get used to crunching on it, but then they liked it really go for their food with gusto.

Sydney love a little ground turkey tossed into her meal so I bought a bulk package at Costco and will give her some as a treat some days.  Of course, the boys want some too.

Raw Food Diet for Dogs, Darwin's Pets, Sydney Eating Darwin's Pets

Not Everyone Thinks the Same 

Another thing I learned is that the raw food community is a passionate bunch.  When I was a Life’s Abundance rep, I was told that if someone said they fed their dogs raw, don’t even bother trying to promote Life’s Abundance food to them, because they are passionate about their diet choice.  Even the Life’s Abundance people didn’t discount the raw food diet, which is something that I respect about the company.

I have found a couple of very supportive groups on Facebook…

Last week, a woman told me that if we’re still feeding kibble, then we’re not really feeding raw.  I disagreed.  Not everyone I meet is feeding a fully raw diet, because they want the flexibility that a premium kibble can offer (on vacation, late getting home, forgot to thaw out the raw) and more people commended me on making a partial change, because at least I’m heading in the right direction.

I think the occasional criticism is worth it, because I’m learning so much.  The critics are just passionate about dogs and it’s important to separate their “tone” from their words, because they have a lot to share with us novices.

What About the Poop, Coat, Energy Level?

The dogs are pooping about 1/3 less than they used to; I was going to take a picture of my bag of poop, but that’s just gross.  I used to scoop poop every other day, now I do it every three days.

Their coats are shiny and gorgeous, but they always had nice coats.  The biggest difference I’ve seen is in the skin.  Rodrigo had a skin rash on his lower back (in the area before his tail) and it would only clear up after a bath with the Paws on Earth Shampoo bar, but reappear about a week later.  It hasn’t returned since we switched to raw.  So the combination of the shampoo bars and the raw diet is really making a difference with their skin.

Energy level has improved, which is great and kind of sucks.  Blue is our most active dog and now we really need to exercise him to get him settled down in the evening.  Rodrigo can keep up with Blue more and helps us.  And it’s been great seeing Sydney running around and playing like she used too.  Both Rodrigo and Sydney are also taking Wag Lifetime Joint Care and are currently arthritis pain free!

 

So that’s it!  I don’t think I’ll continue with the weekly updates, but I’ll be sure to fill you in on any additional changes we make and why.  It’s been amazing and I’m so glad that we finally just went ahead and make the change.

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24 Responses to “Raw Food Diet for Dogs | Our Thoughts After 2 Weeks of Feeding Raw”

  1. Diane Says:

    I know you probably know this, but Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried is great for traveling or when you don’t have time to make the dogs their meals. I read that mixing kibble and raw can upset the digestive systems of some dogs, but whatever works for you is what you should do. I don’t think there’s one way to feed a dog. But raw does work for us. I’m pretty anti-preservative, corn, etc. for my dog. She eats better than we do! (i have no affiliation w/stella & chewy’s, just love them!)

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    • Kimberly Says:

      Thanks, Diane

      We actually just connected with a freeze dried vendor and we’ll be trying out their food with the goal of using it when we’re traveling. We don’t actually mix the kibble with the raw and I should clarify that in the post. They eat raw in the mornings and it takes 4-5 hours to digest and kibble/soft in the evenings, which takes 10 hours to digest. So neither is mixing in their digestive system.

      And I know what you mean about them eating better than us. Anything for our fur babies!
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  2. Jen Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with starting off on the raw diet! I am still in the process of researching raw and your posts have really helped. One of things that deterred me from starting the diet was that a few people advised that I shouldn’t mix kibble and the raw. I wanted to start off slow like you and feed one raw meal and one kibble meal but was told that the kibble would hold in the bacteria from the raw. I’m so glad you shared about your success with this and the next time we go to our holistic vet I am definitely going to ask him about this!
    Thanks also for sharing the Darwins Pet link. I have been looking for duck and I haven’t been able to find many options for this and the price seems good too!

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    • Kimberly Says:

      My pleasure. It’s been fun and the dogs are doing great. As I type this, they’re eating kibble mixed with soft and salmon (canned with skin and bones). They love it. We haven’t had any sick dogs. Some people feed raw at night, some in the morning. I’ve received a lot of criticism from people for doing it this way, but I’ve also met loads of people who do it this way. What convinced me was the book A Quick Start Guide to Raw Feeding; it was easy to understand.

      You can also do a mix of raw and freeze dried. I’m going to be writing about that next.
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    • Connie Says:

      Quote: was told that the kibble would hold in the bacteria from the raw.

      I’d love to know who told you that as it really isn’t based in science.. if anything it would be the other way around, since kibble has a lot more bacteria and other toxic substances on it like aflatoxins..
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      • Kimberly Says:

        Thanks for stopping by, Connie

        I couldn’t tell you specifically who told me this, but I can tell you that it wasn’t a scientist or a veterinarian. Many of the things I learn are from reading books downloaded to my Kindle about the raw diet, from other pet owners who are feeding raw, and from the websites of raw food providers. From what I’ve read and have been told, since it takes twice as long for kibble to digest than it does raw food, by feeding them a mixture of kibble + raw, the raw is staying in our dogs’ digestive system longer, which can lead to a dog getting sick. There may be other reasons to not mix them and there may be people who can mix them without having any issues. I’m sharing what I’ve learned to explain the choices I’ve made for our dogs.

        Thanks for the comment.

        Kimberly
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        • Connie Says:

          Actually, was replying to Jen’s comment.. :)

          I have done a boat load of reading on raw, on nutrition in general, in the power of the gut and the digestive tract and a lot of the ‘theories’ out there, and a lot of things like the raw will contaminate the kibble is bogus. As I said, kibble is often far more contaminated than raw..

          And while I admittedly know nothing about the dog’s digestive tract, I can talk to you all day about the cat’s and my own ;)
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          • Kimberly Says:

            So the idea that raw and kibble shouldn’t be fed together, because the slower digestion (which I was told was 10 hours) would keep the raw meat in our dogs’ digestive tract 2x as long is wrong? This is one of those things that makes dog health and nutrition so fascinating and complicated to me; the idea makes perfect sense to me and I’ve seen this repeated several times. It would be interesting to read an alternative. Mixing raw and kibble has made our dogs sick in the past; this is before we knew it was a bad idea; we would never do this today. So I looked to that experience when I learned about this one and thought “of course!”
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            • Connie Says:

              I don’t know if what you were told is true or not (about digestive time) but does it make sense to you? Do your dogs defecate four hours after a raw meal and 10 hours after kibble?

              Did your dogs get sick in the past because you mixed kibble and raw because of the nature of what kibble and raw are and the different digestion times, or could it be that the kibble had bacteria on it that rapidly multiplied when given moisture and food it needed to grow and THAT cause the issue? why would mixing meat and carbohydrates cause this much of an issue, since that is the nature of all pet food..

              what I do know is the digestive tract is dynamic and the structures that digest the food as well as the bacteria in it do an amazing job
              http://huntgatherlove.com/content/everything-rots-your-colon-and-its-not-bad-thing-all

              It is asking the questions and looking for different opinions that help us learn what works best for us. I have yet to find all the answers, heck I haven’t even found a number of the questions I need to ask to get the answers I really want.. but I keep reading and keep asking :)
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  3. Jana Rade Says:

    While I think that feeding exclusively raw is better, I don’t see a big problem with feeding some of this and some of that, particularly when done the way you’re doing it. We (the people) eat some stuff raw and some stuff cooked.

    JD presently gets some freeze dried raw and some kibble too. Jasmine was on home-cooked but I did give her some things raw.

    Not sure about the microwave, though, I’m not a fan at all. Long time ago I used to warm up Jasmine’s food it it too, but then we got rid of it. I don’t know how well founded the information preaching against it is, but I am not one to take changes where I don’t have to.

    So when I had to warm it up I’d just do it slowly on the stove.

    I know this poses a dilemma, because they do like it better at least room temperature and one doesn’t want to let it sit around on the counter either.
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  4. Kolchak, Felix & Jodi Says:

    Oh, you’re only hitting the TIP of the iceberg with criticisms! LOL, passionate doesn’t even begin to encompass how nuts people are about pet food. I have gotten legit hate mail from kibble feeders who think raw feeding makes my dogs “menaces to society” and flak from raw feeders who think my treat bakery is an “anti-raw” message. I’ve had pet food companies argue that the diet is unsafe and unbalanced (without any info about how or what I actually feed) and raw feeders criticize me for ensuring it is balance. (Apparently “Nature knows what she’s doing. She might, but I don’t, so I’m careful!) At the end of the day, there are ALWAYS going to be critics. You’ve seen the difference and that’s all that matters. Keep doing what you do!

    (PS – We always have a bit of freeze dried or dehydrated raw on hand for those days when I’m an irresponsible Mama and I forget to defrost something. It’s GREAT for travelling with – lightweight, easy to handle – though it took us a few kicks at the can to find a brand my dogs really loved.)
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  5. Human Rescues Dog Says:

    Love these updates – it sounds like it’s all going very well. Best thing about raw is the smaller, less smelly poops. Also, less ear infections. Worst thing? Yup, the increased energy levels – but I think it settles down after a while. Thanks for keeping us posted :)
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  6. Chris and Charlie Says:

    This is something I was going to post about today actually! The skin is also the biggest difference I noticed with Charlie, he doesn’t scratch as much. How much do you end up paying monthly for there food? Charlie was eating so much that it’s just to the point that I won’t be able to afford it unless I get a raise at work!
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  7. AJ Says:

    I am thinking about putting my king charles on a raw diet. I’m glad you are getting good results with it! I used to feed my dog Life’s Abundance dog food. He loved it then got tired of it haha!

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  8. Amir Says:

    How much of the raw food are you giving them?

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    • Kimberly Says:

      Hi there! Our dogs eat 4 pounds a day of Darwins Natural Pets. Combined, they way about 200 pounds; for active, large dogs, I was advised to feed them 2% of their weight per day, which is 4 pounds.

      Our dogs had the same experience with Life’s Abundance and most kibble. I think they just get bored having the same thing day after day. We ended up stopping with Life’s Abundance, because Rodrigo was having a reaction to the kibble; we thought he was allergic to chicken, but it looks like it’s something in the chicken kibble, because he had similar experiences with other brands.
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  9. Connie Says:

    I have been feeding raw to my cats for years, and I don’t have dogs. I also have been going through my own journey with food.. and I have heard that ‘don’t mix x with y or the x will rot in your stomach’ argument many times, and the science just does not hold up. For what is worth I have left raw out many a time, sometimes all day and my cats go back and pick at it and we have never had a problem.

    the reason I would suggest not to mix raw and kibble has more to do with the kibble. a lot of grain has aflatoxins on it and when wet in a non acidic environment it can proliferate and cause some serious problems… it is why you shouldn’t mix canned food and dry. If the pets eat it quickly it isn’t an issue, but if they eat slowly it could be. More pets have died from the bacteria on kibble than they ever have on raw.. not to mention that unless you are feeding organic kibble chances are you are feeding CAFO protein and GMO plants..

    My cats were not fans of deydrated food either, but the stella and chewies they like as is aka unrehydrated.. it is good for treats and what not.. at least in my house :)

    as for cost, I believe I am actually spending less. With seven cats I buy in bulk in raw, and I am fortunate that the ones I buy come in larger sizes. where as canned cat food only come in 5-6 oz or 12 oz cans (which is VERY hard to find in the better foods) I also am using far less litter and it is keeping my two cats with history of urinary crystals from having to go to the vets with blockages and when I had a diabetic cat it did wonders for her insulin need. The old saying goes, you can spend more on food now or you can spend more at the doctor later.. :)

    I love that you are blogging about this and I wish you all the best with what ever decisions you make for your pets – because I know they will be made with love.
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  10. kim kalman Says:

    I switched my dogs and cats from commercial pet food to human grade raw in Dec/Jan after many health issues could not be “fixed” w/drugs or because the cause was unknown.
    I’m currently working with Pat McKay who is a nutritionist/homeopathist. Her web site is http://www.essentials4all.org and her nutritional info/consultations are free – lots of great info on the site in the ebooks (1-3 page topics). She does have 3 or 4 products she invented & promotes and her own line of human grade raw food. She’s in NV and had been involved in the field since the 60s.
    Many of the health issues have either disappeared or are in process of healing – from unknown sources of bleeding to infections to thyroid issues to allergy “symptoms” of hot spots, excessive chewing/licking. My dogs, who are 3-15 years old, have more energy, love the diet and look great! There is no waste – what the cats don’t eat, the dogs will.
    And no extra trips to the pet store – I buy their food when I shop for myself.
    Human grade does not have ground bone, which can be detrimental to the intestinal track and/or stomach of the dog or cat.
    I am anxious to see how the raw diet handles the flee & tick season coming up…

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    • Kimberly Says:

      Thanks for the site. I’m always looking for resources on raw. Our dogs have never had fleas – we started with topical treatment when they were old enough, then we switched to a natural product, and now we use the natural + raw diet and I’m hoping that’s the reason we’ll have fleas. I thought we just had low flea seasons, but a friend who lives nearby kept getting infested last year. Fingers crossed!

      Stay in touch so we can compare notes.
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