Why feed your dog raw?
You might be thinking, Why raw?
Simply, because real, fresh food is healthier for dogs and cats and a healthier diet will improve their quality of life. A raw diet contains more nutrients than cooked food, and dogs and cats are naturally designed for eating raw meat.
If you give raw feeding a try, you’ll see some of the benefits for yourself!
5 reasons to give raw feeding a try for 30 days
If you’ve ever considered switching your dog to a raw diet, an easy way to go about it is to commit to feeding raw for just 30 days and see how it goes. Just mentally create your own 30-day trial.
When I switched my Lab mix Ace to a raw diet, I committed to a 90-day raw feeding trial. I said I was going to feed my dog raw for just three months, and after that I could go back to feeding cooked food if I wanted. (Turns out, I preferred to feed him raw but I did switch back and forth a few times to save money.)
Here are some reasons to consider feeding your dog raw for 30 days as a test:
1. A 30-day trial is less overwhelming.
A lot of dog owners are interested in feeding their dogs a healthier diet but they feel overwhelmed about the cost and whether or not they should make the food themselves (vs. buying pre-prepared raw food from a company).
Looking at it as a 30-day trial is far less overwhelming. After 30 days you will see the health benefits from the healthier diet and that will help you decide if the trial was worth it. (More on that below.) If not, that’s OK too!
Tip: It’s MUCH easier to start feeding your dog pre-made raw dog food from a company vs. putting the meals together yourself. That way you don’t have to worry about the meals being balanced, there’s no planning involved and there’s no worry about bacteria.
You can always switch to homemade raw dog food once you’re more comfortable (or some sort of combination).
Darwin’s even has a trial offer for new customers where you can get 10 pounds of raw food for just $14.95. No code required. Click here.
2. A raw diet is healthier for most pets.
I believe a balanced raw diet is the healthiest way to eat for most dogs and cats, and you can see the benefits for yourself if you try it for just 30 days.
Some of the health benefits of a raw diet for pets include reduced allergies (many pets have allergies to the grains and other ingredients in kibble) and improved digestion since raw food is more natural.
When you feed your pet a raw diet, some of the first changes you will notice include healthier teeth and gums, healthier looking skin and coat and less poop!
Other raw feeders also report seeing their older dogs and cats have increased energy and an easier time maintaining a healthy weight.
3. Committing raw food in your budget for 30 days is not so bad.
Cost is the main barrier I hear about for switching to a raw diet, but when you commit to just one month of raw feeding, you can plan it in your budget and then decide if it’s something you’re able to continue long term.
See our post: Raw dog food on a budget.
If you have a hard time affording raw food (the case for many people), consider feeding raw once a week or one meal a day or whatever works with your budget. Make it your goal to feed the healthiest food you can afford.
Also remember that a healthier pet means fewer visits to the vet in general and fewer vet bills. No, you can’t control everything but what our pets eat does play a major role in health and quality of life.
4. You can always go back to feeding your dog cooked food instead of raw.
It’s OK if you decide raw feeding is just not for you. That’s what a 30-day trial is for!
You can always go back to feeding homecooked or dry dog food. For me, it was much less overwhelming focusing on a short-term trial and then deciding what to do based on how that went.
I decided raw feeding is the way to go, and I think you will too. (I do mix it up with homemade raw, commercial raw and also dry dog food.)
5. Learn about raw dog food as you go.
Pet owners will tell me they are interested in feeding raw but they don’t know enough about it or they need to do more research first. I see that as an excuse! (I know, because I did the same thing.)
Yes, of course it’s good to do some research before changing anything in your dog’s diet. However, you don’t have to spend weeks or months or years preparing. Start with a few articles on my blog. Most people make raw feeding much more complicated than it needs to be.
We’re all still learning and trying different recipes with our dogs. That’s OK!
Do you have questions about raw feeding or the special I mentioned?
Just let me know in the comments and I’ll get your questions answered.
Sunday 19th of February 2017
Commercialized Raw in AK is expensive. If I only had the 8lb Maltese I probably would be all for it. As it is, with her age and heart murmur we are headed to a home raw diet to get rid of as much sodium as possible! Both of ours get their veggies: carrots and broccoli. I might start adding some frozen blueberries... good treats... :-)
Thursday 16th of February 2017
....I have been feeding my 2 pooches raw for years... less vet bills, no doggy smell, smaller poops, softer coats, better breath, cleaner teeth .....dogs are designed to eat raw meat, bones and organs....they don't need anything else!!!...don't add veg/fruit/rice, they can't digest it properly, no need for supplements, and don't switch back and forth....they made it thru all these millions of years without our help, so I don't interfere/process/chop/grind with what I feed them...and a BIG plus?...because the food is completely digested, there is nothing in the poop that is still edible, so poop eating stops immediately!!!!!!....if you feed a dog a carrot, it poops orange, right?....there's visible proof that they can't digest anything else but meat properly!!!.... .......I feed prey model raw....2-3 % of their estimated adult weight is what they should get, with 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ meat, with most importantly 5% being liver, and if you get it right over a month, you are doing great!!!...my 11 pound mini dachsie gets 3-4 ounces, and my 100 pound Bernese gets about 3 pounds a day..... ......There's a fabulous Yahoo group for rawfeeding, every question you may have is answered logically and sensibly...raw truly is the best, those teeth are designed for it, and I NEVER have to worry about what poisons the so-called "dog food" companies are putting in to maximize their profits...
Thursday 16th of February 2017
Raw food are the healthiest indeed! I do this with Digo at home. And it really goes well with him. Also I added a health supplement from a trusted brand. And Digo is sure thing healthy.
Wednesday 15th of February 2017
Switched to raw after trying dehydrated, still too much carbs, no problems at all. My dogs are good chewers so bones are great. I have an in closed patio so they are fed there. Also found 2 good sources that deliver! I feed prey model ground and add processed vegetables some blueberries, goat milk kefir occasionally and make most of the treats.
Tuesday 14th of February 2017
HI Lindsay, great article. I feed home made food plus kibble. How do you know how much to feed without the kibble. In my home made food I put ground turkey, rice, beans, carrots, Apple, berries and eggs. Right now they get 2 cups of kibble and 1 cup of cooked. I have a grinder and I am able to grind the turkey myself. We buy the largest turkeys we can get, then I can make up to 2 months worth of food and freeze it in containers that holds about 3 days of food. I have a GSD and 3 Rotties plus the Chihuahua. Not sure how to figure the cost either. I have heard to feed less with raw is that true? Thanks for another great article.
Wednesday 15th of February 2017
With raw the recommendation is around 2-3 percent of the dog's ideal body weight so with cooked food it's probably somewhat similar. I have to say, I don't do any math I just look at my dog and if he's looking a little heavy I feed a bit less, if he's looking a little thin, I feed more.