Let me start this post off by saying that our dogs are NOT exclusively raw fed, and this post is more about my own experience and opinions on a raw diet. I just don’t have the time or money to strictly raw feed them right now. It’s in the plans for the future once I am producing enough livestock to sustain them, but for now, its just an additive to their diet, which they love.
There is a large amount of controversy over raw feeding. Many people will not recommend it due to possibilities of salmonella, not just in your dogs, but also the possibility of yourself or other humans whom your dogs come in contact with contracting the illness. I have never been worried about this, I have a strong immune system and my dogs don’t make contact with people without my presence or knowledge.
We choose to supplement our dogs kibble diet with raw meat, eggs, and veggies. It helps cut down on the cost of kibble (right now we are paying $40/28lb bag for natural, grain-free dog food) and the dogs love it. I have noticed that since we have started feeding them a partially raw diet, their teeth look fantastic (from munching bone, skin, and cartilage), their skin and coats are gleaming, they have a ton of energy, and they are quite happy little creatures.
There are multiple methods of raw feeding including whole prey (feeding entire animals – ie. hair/feathers, feet, heads, innards, etc.), dressed out, and supplemental.
The way I do it, our dogs have kibble for breakfast, always. They are fed 12 hours apart to even out hunger & nutrient absorption (at least in my mind anyway). For dinner, some nights they have kibble with additives such as veggies, egg, coconut milk, or yogurt, and other nights they have no kibble and only consume meat in the form of either organs, dressed out carcasses, or muscle. Some of their favorite things include:
– coconut milk & coconut oil (helps bad breath, shiny coat, digestion)
– plain whole milk yogurt (probiotics)
– raw eggs from my chickens (good for their skin & coat)
– sweet potatoes (good for their teeth & gums)
– asparagus (fiber, vitamins A,K)
– green beans (fiber)
– liver (vitamins & minerals)
– rabbit & chicken feet
– whole rabbit, duck, & quail
– fish such as salmon, trout, or catfish (wild caught)
I try to vary the types of meat that I feed them, a full raw diet is about 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% organs & 5% liver at a general amount of 2.5% of their total body weight (ie. if I was raw feeding Brantley entirely, he weighs 70 lbs, so he would need a total daily intake of 1.75lbs in the following increments: 1.4 lbs meat, 0.175 lb bone, 0.09 lb organs & 0.09 lb liver). Considering that a dressed out rabbit usually weighs between 1.5-3.5+/- lbs, his daily intake is pretty small.
Whenever we go to the vet, I always receive complements regarding how great my dogs look. Their weight is always on par, they have little to no tartar buildup, they have healthy, shiny coats, and they are also well behaved with a great demeanor. I attribute this to my feeding system, and I would never go back to feeding solely kibble. I can’t wait to move forward in the future with a full raw feeding system, and I encourage you to look into the diet if you have questions regarding your pets!