This is a non exhaustive post, about what is raw diet, and the reasons why we chose to feed Luna raw.
You may see it all over the social media, raw diet is definitely a trend and becoming more and more popular. With all the positives and negatives from a trend, I wanted to document our point of view. We switched Luna to raw diet when she was 6 months, just after her spay surgery. We were thinking of making the switch for a long time. At that time she became bored by her kibbles and was eating less and less, so we decided it was time to switch. We would never go back to kibbles!
Disclaimer: we are not professionals, so in this blog post you will only have our honest opinion. Reach out to your vet or your local pet store for more information.
What is raw diet?
Okay, so we get it, it is all over social media and pet store, but what is raw diet? A lot of clichés would be that raw diet is a dead rabbit that your dog went hunting today. No, that’s not that haha. I don’t go hunting every day for two hours. Raw food is basically raw meat, that has not been cooked, bones, organ meats, raw eggs, veggies…
What is a balanced raw diet?
Raw food offers you a tons of possibilities for your dog’s meals. There are so many different proteins to feed: Beef, Pork, Duck, Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Kangaroo, Rabbit… The most important thing for raw diet is to have a balanced diet. You should not feed your dog the same protein all the time, or he will not get the nutrients he needs to be in good health. Which is probably why you chose to switch to raw diet in the first place, so you gotta do it right.
For Luna, we rotate her proteins almost daily. Big Country Raw makes it easy for us. Luna eats 1lb a day. BCR offers 1lb containers, so it is very easy for us to rotate proteins daily. Of course your dog will have some preferred proteins. Luna’s favorites are beef tripes, salmon and duck. Her least favorite is turkey, and she would sometimes fast herself because she does not want this protein. So we found a way to get her to eat her turkey, which is to mix it with beef tripes, her most favorite one. Sure enough it does the trick, she eats everything and does not leave anything since we tried that 🙂
So the deal is to find a way that works for you to rotate the proteins for your dog, to get him all the nutrients he needs. It will also keep your dog interested in his food, like “what’s on the menu today?”. You would not like to eat the same brocolis chicken every single day of your life? Well now think that this is what your dog does when he’s on kibbles. Raw diet offers the variety needed.
What are supplements?
For a raw diet to be complete, and your dog to be healthy, you will need to add supplements to his diet. We personally find that it also helps keeping Luna entertained with her food, as she always has different supplements in different forms.
Here are Luna’s supplements:
- Green lipped mussels: this is a powder that we add to every single meal. It prevents and helps with any joints pain and inflammation. This one is especially important for us, as Luna runs a lot, we need to make sure her joints are perfectly healthy.
- Herring oil: this is also on her daily meals, for the Omega 3’s. It helps reducing the shedding, for a shiny coat, and maximizes the absorption and distribution of nutrients.
- Goat milk: you may have seen in our instagram stories this little molds of goat milk. It helps for a better digestion, and improved immune system.
- Pumpkin purée: can be added to add fibre, taste and texture. The pumpkin purée is great to treat diarrhea or constipation. And I can tell you it worked more than once for Luna!
- Coconut oil: helps with digestive issues, prevents infections, and is amazing for the dog’s skin
- Bone broth: preserves good joint health and reduces inflammation, as it contains gelatin. Gelatin is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur, which is good for the bones and takes pressure off the joints
What are the benefits of Raw Diet?
Shiny coat: I can tell you we’ve seen the difference since we started raw food 6 months ago. Luna’s coat is much softer and shinier.
Cleaner teeth: the raw food and raw bones are excellent for the teeth. We used to brush Luna’s teeth when she was a puppy, we don’t need it anymore. When she has something on her teeth we just give her a raw bone and she would chew on it and clean her teeth. You will hear from numerous raw feeders that they never brush their dog’s teeth and the vet said they have excellent teeth.
Smaller stools: oh yes! Luna poops only twice a day now, when it used to be way more than that per day. And her stools are smaller. We realize that when we meet with other dogs who are kibbles fed and we see the difference of their poop compared to Luna’s ones.
Less drooling and water intake: Luna never really drooled. For the water intake, as we started in the winter, I can’t really tell. We will see how she does in the summer.
Relief from food allergies: this is a sensitive one. When you feed raw, you have to be careful. As I was saying, rotating the proteins is really important. It is much more important as you do not want to create allergies in your dog. If you feed them too much chicken all the time, you take the risk to create chicken allergy in your dog. So be careful in rotating your dog’s proteins often.
Less vet trips: this one is a big YES!! We realized that one day. Luna had a bad diarrhea for a few days. Which would normally have worried us and we would have take her to the vet. But this time, we decided to try to add a bit of pumpkin puree to her food. And that was it, the diarrhea was gone the next day. I feel like since you control what your dog eats, you are able to assess the issue and correct it yourself. Of course if the diarrhea would have keep going, we would have taken her to the vet, but this time we successfully corrected it.
What are the drawbacks of Raw Diet?
There are a lot of anti-raw food out there. It became so popular these past few years, that kibble industry and vets started to criticize raw food. Some vets because of the incentive of selling the kibbles. Find a vet that is pro raw food! Our vet is not pro, but she does not really say anything so that’s fine. But yes, there are a few drawbacks, if you are not ready to go the extra mile for your dog’s nutrition.
Yes, raw food is more complicated than just feeding the same amount of kibbles everyday, and is asking for more organization. First, as raw food is frozen, you need to think about thawing it! At the very beginning of feeding Luna raw, we had countless days when we forgot to thaw the food and poor Luna had to wait a few hours before she had her meal. We used to place a piece of paper on the door so we think about it the night before. Now we are way better, but there still are some days we would forget.
As I said previously, you need to rotate proteins to keep your raw diet balanced. This also asks for organization. We established a weekly meal plan, with the protein rotations, to make sure her diet is balanced. For example, on Mondays and Tuesdays she would have a mix of beef tripe with pure turkey. Then it would be chicken and pork, then duck, then salmon.
So yes, raw diet requires some organization skills, but once you figure out what works for you it is very easy to handle.
What about road trips, camping trips with your dog, when your raw food is frozen? Well, let’s talk about a few options. I will make a full blog post about travelling with your dog soon, which I will detail more.
First, if you leave for a week or just a weekend, look for pet stores that sell your raw food in the area. If it’s a holiday weekend, check the hours of this store as well.
Then, if you are staying with friends or family, ask them if you can use their freezer. If you are staying at a hotel for a few days, I always ask to have a fridge in the room. It is only if your trip is just a few days. This way your food will thaw in the fridge and you can keep it for 3 days (according to each brand and each proteins, the days can vary).
For the trip itself, if the trip is more than a few hours, use a cooler to keep your raw food frozen.
If you are going on a camping trip and will have no access to a fridge at all, then this is where dehydrated food would come handy. We personally did not have a chance to try it out yet, but we have a bag of dehydrated food for the day we would have no access to a fridge. You just have to add water and your meal is ready. It comes very handy. And if your dog is carrying a hiking backpack, he can even carry his own food!!
The main drawback we here from people who are against raw food for dogs, is about bacteria and risks of being sick because of the raw food. Well, how do you handle your beef meat before you cook it? You prepare it on a specific surface that you clean afterwards? Surprise, do the same with your dog’s raw food and you will have no issue!! Dogs handle bacteria pretty well, so they do not risk anything. For humans, just take extra precautions when preparing the food. We allocated a specific spot in the kitchen where we prepare Luna’s meal, and we make sure to clean up the area after each meal.
When they eat raw bones, you would have a few options. Either you give them the raw bone in your garden. Or if you don’t have a garden I have seen a lot of people feed them the bone on a towel. I personally don’t like this idea, I feel like the towel is not good for bacteria. So we give Luna her bones in a specific area in the living room. We taught her the imaginary limits of this area when we started raw food, and now she knows exactly that she is not allowed to go past this imaginary line. Once she is done, we would clean up the area with an anti bacteria wipe.
Why we chose it for Luna
So now that you know all about it, why did we chose raw food for Luna? Well, we’ve heard about raw food really early on social media, but were afraid of trying it. We were lucky to have really nice friends that helped us out with all our stupid questions, and this is what social media is for, helping each other. We had heard about the benefits, and were really thinking about it. Then when Luna got spayed, and even a bit before that, she began to be really picky with her meals and started not to finish her kibbles, which we were concerned about her not having enough food. She was not interested in her food anymore, so we decided it was the right time to switch.
We chose to feed Luna raw food because of how active she is. If you follow us on social media, you can see that we go hiking every single weekend. She is also an athlete in training. Just like any athlete would have a specific diet, just like we as runners adjust our diets when we prepare for races, we wanted to provide our running dog with the best balanced food, to make sure she has all the nutrients and proteins she needs to be on top.
We also like that raw diet is a much healthier option than the kibbles. Have you ever seen the Netflix show “Pet fooled”? Well after seeing this show, we are much happier that we chose to switch Luna to raw diet.
Are you thinking of switching to raw food? Do you have any questions? Please let us know and we would be happy to help!!
I know that raw food is different in the US, so please let us know in the comments how is the raw food for you!