You’ve heard about it, thought about it, and maybe even did some research on your own - raw food is all the rage right now. We hear about it through friends or family, someone you maybe just met at the dog park or even an ad online. With 2018 just around the corner, is making the switch to raw food the best move for your best friend in the new year?
The bullet points on the pros of raw feeding are endless: less stools, nicer coats, brighter teeth & ears, less allergies, and more. The cons are also there: bacteria in your home, more clean up, handling raw meat, etc. It sounds scary, how do you know if it’s even worth it? Before you can answer that question for your pup, you need to understand what really takes place when you make the switch. It can seem daunting and it is a big change for any dog if they’re use to being fed kibble or home cooked meals.
I thought about switching for months. I googled raw feeding and read anything & everything I could on the topic. I was so torn because my dog is everything and more. I really wanted what was best for her, not just what was the new ‘it’ thing. My girl was in relatively good health, some ear infections every couple of months, and she would occasionally throw up her meals but nothing that seemed totally out of the ordinary to me. I got complimented on how good & strong she looked often, and I thought maybe the kibble I had been feeding her had ultimately been a good choice.
Throughout my reading online I came to realize that the ‘ignorance is bliss’ plays a big part in what we feed our dogs. It seemed people who had switched had learned a lot in the process and through this came to believe raw feeding was the best way. It looked like not everyone online felt this way: articles about raw food poisoning dogs did give me obvious pause. After another week of sitting on the fence I jumped over to the raw side. I was nervous but something about the way the diets were put together and how dogs bodies are put together really resonated with me.
I brought home the food, defrosted the portion of raw and when dinner time came, I put down her bowl in front of her, gave her the okay and…..nothing. She sniffed it, looked at me and walked away. Now if I was anyone else I might think "well I tried but my dog doesn’t like it," except I know my dog can be tricky. She can be very sassy if there’s something she doesn’t want to do or I make some kind of change. This was a huge change for her; I just switched up the food she had eaten, free fed, on her own terms, every day for 4 years. Luckily, I’m just as stubborn as my dog so I persisted. It took 3 full days of her not eating anything. She would pick up a delicious looking meaty morsel in her mouth and drop it on the floor in front of me (the equivalent of a big middle finger). When she finally ate on the 4th day she was hesitant at first then quickly went to scarfing down her bowl. After that, it was all love for the new food, she now follows me into the kitchen for meal time and sits and drools in front of her bowl before eating and she hasn’t missed a single meal since the switch.
The changes I personally witnessed after the switch were over a few weeks time: no more random vomiting, the ear infections ceased, and she was like a spritely 8 month old pup again. It was strange for me that I didn’t see these things prior to switching as something that I could fix, now they didn’t seem so normal. Her eyes brightened up in a way I’d never seen, her coat gleaned and was softer to the touch. She leaned out, built up more muscle naturally and everything about her become the absolute picture of health. This for me was incredible but her love for the food is my favourite part: she gets more excited for it then anything, she loves trying new protein blends and last year's holiday pork blend was one of her favs (I can tell - there are different levels of the drooling!).
It’s been four years since I switched my first girl and I now have both my dogs on the Rawco raw diet. At their check ups, my vet is in awe of how they look and how healthy they are - it seems she almost can’t believe her own eyes. I want my girls around for as long as possible, I want them happy, I want them healthy and I want them to live their best life. They remind me all the time how important this is for me so this is the least I can do for them.