UPDATED in 2017!
I’ve fed my dogs a variety of different commercial kibble in the past, from puppy chow as puppies to a short stint with vegetarian kibble (and yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that). Personally, I don’t really eat meat and haven’t since I was in 8th grade. I hate the thought of eating another animal with similar characteristics to my dogs. It also gives me the heeby-jeebies knowing what goes on in the meat industry and how bad factory farming is for our environment and it affects animals on every level – the sick factory farmed animals we feed our dogs does not give our dogs proper nutrition. For humans, we can get by just fine with a plant-based diet. Dogs are carnivores and NEED on a high protein, low carb diet with ALL parts of the animal mixed in their food in order to survive and thrive. That means bone and organs.
When I Knew Kibble Wasn’t Working
I continually wasn’t satisfied with feeding my dogs kibble for many reasons. First, their health wasn’t as great as I knew it should be. Second, aside from Izzy who would eat anything, they didn’t love their food. Third, the more I learned about the commercial dog food world, the more I hated it, just how I felt about the meat industry. I couldn’t trust commercial dog food. From recalls to unnecessary and controversial ingredients, why would I feed my dog these things?
Some of the most common, household dog food brands use the following unnecessary ingredients, even posing as ‘all natural, high-end’ dog food companies:
-Sodium selenite (an inorganic compound that can be toxic in high doses)
-Glycerin (a sugar alcohol compound typically used to make soaps or used as a laxative)
-Corn gluten meal (a filler that is a cheap carbohydrate, corn often causes allergies in dogs and is difficult for dogs to fully digest)
-Whole grain wheat, wheat bran (Wheat is very cheap to produce, causes allergies and is also hard for dogs to digest properly)
-Sulfur (Today, almost all elemental sulfur is produced as a byproduct of removing sulfur-containing contaminants from natural gas and petroleum)
-Added salt (Additional or too much salt can cause increased thirst and affect adrenal glands)
-L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (known as a cheap, feed-grade source of Vitamin C; Blue Buffalo recalled a few of their products due to toxic levels of Vitamin D in their dog food, in the ingredients list they note a “Vitamin D3 Supplement”, read about it here.)
-Added natural flavor (but what chemicals could these flavors consist of?)
-Caramel (not a natural substance for dogs)
I could go on about the so-called “healthy, all-natural ingredients” in commercial kibble, but I found out it’s unhealthy because my dogs’ health spoke for itself. At four-years-old, Izzy needed a dental and was continuously licking her paws. We had already switched from lower grade kibble to a “higher grade” one but I still wasn’t impressed. I could already see decay on Hudson’s teeth too, and he walked with a gait because his hips bothered him after little activity – and he was only three. I was not ok with any of this.
Support from a Holistic Veterinarian is Key
I wasn’t getting what I needed from the veterinarian we were going to. I was constantly questioning kibble and seeking help to start feeding my pups raw food or something of a higher quality. Luckily, I found our life-changing veterinarian, a holistic wellness doctor who advocates for a raw diet. The stories she could tell you are unreal… about dogs with allergies, teeth decay, arthritis, etc., who went from commercial grade kibble diet to raw and are now 100% healthy. Cancer reversal with raw food – yes, CANCER REVERSAL!!
Get Started Feeding Raw
Raw feeding was tough for me at first. I had to start handling raw meat, which I had never really done before. Over time, it has become a lot easier to handle and feed and the benefits for my dogs have been amazing. As a soon to be eight and seven-year-old, Izzy and Hudson have amazingly shiny white teeth and neither of them
Mylah was diagnosed with diabetes at 10-months-old, and that is a blog post for a later time, but she has always had some teeth decay because of her diabetes. However, the raw diet helps curb anything from developing further. Before Mylah switched to a raw diet, her diabetes was near impossible to control. The raw diet literally saved her life. Because Mylah is a special needs dog, she is fed a different raw diet that works for her. It was trial and error at first, but she is doing amazing with the right combination of raw food
A typical raw diet breakdown is…
80% meaty parts of an animal- skin, muscle, ligament, tendon, sinew, cartilage, tripe, fat (make sure not too much fat is served only 10%). Heart, gizzards, and lung are also considered muscle meat.
10% organs – liver, pancreas, kidney, spleen, testicles, brain. Make sure to not overfeed any of these.
10% bone – Bones that naturally come from parts of the body that are attached to the other meaty parts. They need to be edible. Never feed bones that are cooked, ever. Make sure bones are the appropriate size for the dog.
You want to make sure your dog is not being over or underfed and this calculator from Perfectly Rawsome can be super helpful. Click here for the calculator.
Here’s what I feed my dogs:
Izzy & Hudson: Raw beef, turkey or pork with edible bones, liver, organ meat and tripe. Both get a raw egg every other day (I only feed the eggshell if the egg comes from a local farmer I know who does not clean their eggshells with chemicals. We get this raw beef mixture from a small farm in Wisconsin and I am sourcing meats from other local places.
Mylah: Vital Essentials Raw, beef or turkey patties. We lightly cook these patties in the oven because she has a sensitive stomach and tolerates them slightly cooked much better. We purchase Vital Essentials from a boutique pet supply store. * Mylah no longer is fed this diet as of 2017. Click here for her diet.
In the cover picture at the top, you can see I added a cup of Lamb Bone Broth Soup as well. You can find this immune-boosting bone broth recipe here. I try to make it for them at least once a month. I also switch up the proteins throughout the year feeding some Vital Essentials duck or rabbit as recommended by my vet.
With or without Lamb Bone Soup, my pups hoover their food now. They get so excited for breakfast and dinner they can’t contain themselves most of the time.
Cost of Raw Food
Cost – a lot of rumors out there that feeding raw costs a ton of money, that isn’t really true. It all depends on the type and where you purchase from. The food we get from the farm is more affordable than most bags of food in the long run. Plus, we’ve saved money on vet visits because their overall health has improved. Look for raw food co-ops in your area! Just make sure the source of the meats is humane and free of nasty preservatives. Whatever preservatives or chemicals are used on the meat animals are going to affect your dogs when you feed that meat to them.
As with any raw food for humans or dogs, wash your hands after handling and sanitize any countertops that come into contact with raw food. I only use stainless steel bowls for feeding raw. I’ve been feeding my dogs raw for over four years now and have never had any issues with myself or dogs getting sick from raw food contaminants. We make sure to keep it nice and clean around here!