Making The Switch To A Raw Food Diet For Dogs?

We’ve been intrigued with all the talk about the raw food diet for dogs. We wanted to get a first-hand account of a pet parent who feeds their dog this diet. And the first person we thought of was Kimberly Gauthier. A blogger and insightful pet parent, we’ve been following her journey as she switched her dogs’ over to the raw diet. Here are her advice and tips if you’re thinking of making the switch.

Don’t Be Pressured to Switch to a Raw Food Diet for Dogs

That’s a pretty shocking title for a dog mom who spends her blog earnings on premade raw dog food for three dogs. I launched a second blog specifically to write about what I’m learning about the raw food diet for dogs. So why aren’t I telling you that you need to switch your dog to raw dog food RIGHT NOW?

Passionate People Can be Scary

I belong to a couple of raw food groups; I joined for the support and learning opportunities. But I’ve been on the receiving end of harsh judgments and I’ve seen others experience this as well. I appreciate the passion, but that tactic doesn’t work with me.

I think the raw food diet is the best option for our dogs and I realize that (1) not all dogs can handle a raw diet and (2) not all families can afford a raw diet. Pressuring someone doesn’t help change their mind or circumstances.

Always remember that although you may reach out to others for their wisdom or opinion, your dog’s nutrition is your choice and your business.

The Pros of a Raw Food Diet

If you’ve heard about raw food for dogs, then you probably heard about these pros and I will confirm that they are all true! This is what we saw immediately with our three dogs…

  • Smaller, less smell poo
  • Less shedding
  • Healthier skin and coat; skin rashes cleared up, no more ear infections
  • More energy and playfulness
  • Better digestion
  • White, clean teeth

Every dog is different, but I’ve heard others who have seen the same changes in their dogs and more.

Do Your Homework

Before you run to the grocery store (like I did) and buy a cart full of raw meat (I only bought some), do your homework. You should take the time to determine…

  • Do you want to feed only raw bones, raw meat and organs?
  • Do you want to add fruits and veggies to their diet? Do you know which are safe?
  • Where will you feed your dogs?
  • How will you handle clean up?
  • What breed is your dog? Some breeds have trouble processing organ meat.
  • Is your dog healthy? If your dog has a compromised immune system, raw meat may not be a great idea.
  • What’s your budget like? Can you afford to stock up on meat each week and where will you store it?
  • How big is your dog? How many dogs do you have? We order premade, because we don’t have the time to make raw meals for 3 dogs so we’ve had to make adjustments to our budget.
  • And although not all veterinarians are on board with the raw diet; I think it’s important to make them aware of your diet, because they may have information that may help.

You Don’t Have to Go Cold Turkey

We started in late April 2013 by feeding our dogs raw in the morning and kibble in the evening. I took a little flack for this, because some feel that if you’re going to do raw, then you should go all the way. I chose to seek counsel from the brand we chose (Darwin’s Natural Pets) and they explained how we could do this successfully.

Raw food takes about 5-6 hours to digest. Kibble takes up to 10 hours to digest. Keep in mind that these are just estimates that I’ve learned in my research. The reason why we don’t mix raw with kibble, is because the slower digestion of the kibble keeps the raw food in our dog’s digestive track longer and it can make them sick. Something my boyfriend learned firsthand when he mixed them. Rodrigo showed him the error of this method all over our sofa.

We fed our dogs the partial raw diet until June, when they were fully switched to raw. The transition was smooth (with the exception of the sofa incident).

And if You Decide Raw Isn’t for You

If handling raw meat isn’t for you, you can try dehydrated and freeze-dried options or you can cook for your dog. I think it’s more important that we do our homework and make an educated choice that will work for us and our dogs, because in the end, it’s your business and it’s your dog. I believe that sharing and support help to make us better dog parents.

If you are interested in what I’m learning or what to share what you’re learning about raw dog food and don’t want to feel pressured, feel free to visit my new blog Raw Dog Food Reviews.

Kimberly Gauthier is the blogger behind Keep the Tail Wagging and Raw Dog Food Reviews. She shares dog care tips from her perspective and experience as a dog mom to three dogs. Kimberly lives in the Pacific Northwest with her boyfriend, three dogs, and two cats. When she’s not blogging or hosting a radio program (to premiere September 2013), Kimberly loves reading, movies, and hanging out with friends.

Kimberly Gauthier
Kimberly Gauthier

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