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The Fur Mom is Switching to a Raw Food Diet for Dogs

Well, a raw + kibble mix to start…

I’ve been researching and writing about the raw food diet for dogs for a few months now and today I finally made the switch after Amanda’s great article about making the switch.  I found a book for the Amazon Kindle (A Quick-start guide to Raw Feeding by Louise Chapman) that helped me create a menu for our dogs.

This was our first day on a raw diet….

Raw + Kibble Diet

Louise Chapman provides a raw/kibble menu plan (covering several weeks) in her book.  Because kibble can take up to 12 hours to digest, we feed kibble in the evening (4:30-5:30 pm) and raw in the morning (5-5:15 am).  It takes 4-6 hours for raw to digest.

Today’s Raw Food Menu

We decided to feed the dogs chicken.  I’ve mentioned previously that Rodrigo is allergic to chicken, but now I’m wondering if it was his kibble and not the chicken. I decided to give raw chicken a shot, because in my research, I learned that many food allergies are connected to the ingredients in the kibble, not necessarily the meat.  Rodrigo always had an immediate reaction to chicken kibble, but never a reaction to actual chicken.

  • ground turkey
  • boneless chicken thighs
  • boneless chicken breast
  • chicken hearts
  • it all amounted to 1-1/2 cups of food for each dog

I got the meat from the grocery store, which now carries an expensive brand that promises no hormones, no sodium, no funny business in the poultry.  I didn’t mix in any vegetables or supplements.  I didn’t give them raw bone.  We’re tiptoeing into this new diet.  The dogs loved it and ate every bite.

What Did We Learn?

  • It’s important to cut things into small bites – everyone had trouble with the chicken and I had to cut the pieces up smaller to make it easier to chew and swallow
  • Don’t feed near carpet – Rodrigo and Blue kept taking bites to a carpeted area to investigate; at one point, Blue took a heart to the sofa to save for later.

What Did the Dogs Think?

  • They loved it; I decided to feed them later than they were used to so that they wouldn’t be too picky.  They didn’t wolf the food down, but they investigated, started eating, then they wanted mor.
  • We didn’t experience any food guarding or aggression.  We fed the dogs 5 feet apart from each other, on a surface that could be easily cleaned (they removed some of the food from the bowl when they couldn’t eat it – remember, small bites).

What Did the Humans Think?

  • My boyfriend couldn’t stop talking about the dangers. He knew I was researching this option and even found a butcher we could buy from, but when it came time to make the switch, he was kind of a pain until I finally said that he needed to trust me and that I didn’t want to ruin our Sunday with arguing.
  • Clean up was important to my boyfriend so I cleaned the counters and where they ate with a water-bleach mixture and I cleaned their dishes thorough.  I think I washed my hands 10 times during the entire process of mixing their meal and preparing food for tomorrow.
  • I’m tempted to try prepare raw from a local company – it might be easier (and cheaper).

Tonight’s Dinner

  • Halo Purely for Pets kibble, 1 cup each
  • FreshPet Deli Fresh food rolls, which received 5 stars on, 1/2″ each

I’ll be updating you each Sunday on our progress.

Please share your experience and knowledge with me in the comments below – I’m stunned by how much information is out there so I’m a little overwhelmed.


  1. I think this is so cool that you are doing this! I tried this awhile ago using The Paws Café in Redmond and then a brand I purchased at the pet store. Ultimately, it was too expensive and I’ve switched to a freeze dried brand of raw food. I like that you are doing this using just regular food you buy at the Gstore. Do you have a comprehensive list of things we absolutely shouldn’t use? I saw something about bones in your post …

    • I wanted to get started so I went to the store. I’ll buying from Darwin’s Pets (local company) and checking out a butcher to see the cost. Darwin’s Pets is crazy expensive, but they have a start up deal with no obligation that I’m going to give a try. This will give me the time to visit the butcher in Snohomish or Standwood to see if I can get a better deal on food.

      I’m not feeding them bones yet, because this is so new and the book I read recommends no bones the first week.

      I’m pretty excited :)

      • HI!! I fed my dogs Raw.. they have been on it for about a year!!! I can not tell you how happy I am with it! I feed my dogs Chicken quarters, chicken hearts, Liver, Kidney, and Chicken feet. As for the clean up I use a Vinegar/water mix… I leave the spray bottle in the kitchen while I prepare their food. I spray my hands down and wash the counters with it… I use stainless steel bowls which I also spray down with the vinegar! Just wanted to let you know since you are not feeding them any bones yet.. their poop may be runny, just don’t panic. I am sure you know that part since you did your home work. There is a group on FB called Benefits of raw feeding. Great place to ask questions! Good luck!

        • Thanks for stopping by, Kimberly – I really appreciate it. We’re going to start the dogs on bones this weekend. They’ll get chicken wings and beef ribs to start. So far, they’re loving the food and aren’t having any weird reactions. Poo is solid. This is only day 3 on raw. I went over and found the page you recommended. Thanks!

  2. Had to laugh at them carrying off things to the sofa for later. Yup, that’s exactly how it goes.

    Your post says you’re switching to raw, so I’m a little confused… is the raw+kibble a transition phase for you (them)?


    • Ahhhh, thanks for the reminder. I wanted to note that at the beginning of the post. Yes, it’s a transition, because Johan is on board with the switch, but not with getting involved. I want to show him the benefits while finding a routine, vendor, butcher, etc that’ll work for everyone. I’ll be speaking at BlogPaws in mid-May and worry about my boyfriend and the raw diet while I’m gone so I placed an order with a local company – it’s expensive, but I’d rather spend the money so that I can make it easier for him to keep the dogs on a schedule.

      My June, we should be fully on raw. Maybe July :)

  3. I’m so thankful you are being the “guinea pig” for us on the raw food diet. I want to do it, just not prepared. I’m anxious to read your experience and hope it inspires me!

    • Great! I hope that our experience helps others. I’m already documenting everything for this Sunday’s post. I’ll be taking notes every day.

  4. Hmmm…interesting. I think I will need this since I am thinking of changing my dogs diet. They seem to be weak and thin with their previous diet. I am going to try this out and see if they will like it.

    • Best of luck. If your dogs are week, they definitely aren’t getting enough nutrition and you might also want to contact your veterinarian for some feedback on the food their currently eating. Best of luck!

  5. I’m so excited for you! I had the same issues with my husband – he was freaking out about the dangers, the mess etc. He also hates handling raw meat. But now that he’s seen the benefits, he’s a big advocate for raw feeding. The great thing is that you know exactly what you’re giving them. In kibble, I was always worried that I didn’t know what was in that. Also, my dogs always had dandruff, bad teeth on kibble and lost their appetite. Now, they love their raw and look pretty good. Don’t stress too much about bleach/disinfectant etc. Most of the forums I’ve read suggested that the dangers of raw meat on surfaces are exaggerated and a simple wash of your hands with soap and water will do and simple wiping down of surfaces as you would usually do.
    Also, a hundred articles will tell you to feed the raw in a hundred ways. Don’t get too hung up on it; if they’re getting a variety of meat and fish, they should be fine and gauge the amount by their weight. Also, their poo should be dry and chalky after feeding raw for a little while. If it’s too loose, feed more bones. If they’re constipated, feed more organs, eg a little bit of liver. I feed them outside in the yard so no mess. There’s no perfect way to do it. Otherwise, good luck with it! Looking forward to reading the updates.

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement! I’m really excited. I ordered from a local company, because I want to try it that way too to see which works better for the dogs and our schedule. Tonight, I’ll be cooking them something and I’m really excited about their reaction. I tried to mince the meat and ended up making a nasty puree – now it’s going to be a chicken loaf with meat and organs and I’m going to add brown rice and veggies.

  6. Glad to hear it! BTW: Fresh Pet Rolls are cooked. Raw and kibble are digested by different enzymes. Kibble take a long time to digest and the raw goes fast! Maybe you might consider doing 1 meal raw, 1 meal a kibble. Remember, meat from the grocery store is great but there is no ground bones.

    • That is what we’re doing. We feed raw in the morning and kibble/food rolls in the evening to give each time to digest. We’re going to introduce bones in a week. We’re following a 3 week plan that I found in the book I mentioned :)

  7. Very interesting, Kim. Dexter was switched to The Honest Kitchen along with Dr. Harvey’s veg to bowl and some added meat for texture. He loves it.

    • I so wanted to do THK, but our dogs just weren’t fans and after a couple of weeks, we were throwing away food so we switched them back to their kibble until we could find a new alternative.

  8. Can’t wait for the updates on this!

    I’m particularly interested to see how Rodrigo does with the chicken!

    • So far so good. I tried to mince up the chicken and ended up making a red puree so I poured it into a pan and made a chicken heart/liver/breast loaf. They love it. It’s only been two days, but Rodrigo hasn’t started the licking that he had with chicken kibble, which would start up immediately. They’re getting beef tomorrow.

  9. I’m so glad this is working out for you. You should join the yahoo group – they have alot of resources as well as sources of meat. I also have several companies I will be trying in the near future that make driven deliveries to a multi-state area once a month. I’m planning my first order in May, so if all goes well and I’m happy with it I’ll definately send their info your way.

    • Thanks, Amanda

      All the raw feeders are coming out of the woodwork and helping me out. I’d love some referrals. I found to local companies and I’m trying one in May and then one at the end of May.


  10. My hubby was the most vocal stumbling block to us switching to raw and now the BIGGEST convert. He tells anyone with a dog who will listen. It’s good to see the transition and results were that obvious that he’s like “Duh, why weren’t we always doing this?!”

    I giggled at the cutting up of the meat…that too you can phase out in time! We had to teach our dogs to chew properly by “sectioning”, but not cutting their foods so they learned to chew it apart. When we fist introduced bones, I had to hold them while Kolchak chewed so he would CHEW and not “swallow whole”. Now I can give them their meals whole and the prep is MUCH MUCH easier.

    We use Oregano Oil as our clean up and I love that I don’t have that awful bleachy smell anymore. Like you I was really worried and freaked out at first, but now, I’ve calmed down. I still treat their meals with respect, but I figure I cooked for decades in that kitchen before we switched to raw without making anyone sick, why should I start doubting myself now?

    Good luck with your transition! Can’t wait to hear what you have to say!

    • Thanks for the support. After doing several things over this past week, we’ve decided to go with a prepared raw diet. It’s more expensive, but the benefits outweigh the cost at this point and we have seen an immediate improvement. I’m stunned. It probably helps that our dogs are young, but so many things have changed. I can’t wait to write about it tomorrow!

      • It’s amazing, isn’t it? It’s one of those things where until you experience it yourself, you’d never believe it. I thought Kolchak was pretty healthy on kibble, but we were suprised at how vibrant he was after the switch. Can’t wait to hear how your fur kids are doing!


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