Last month, lucky Tripawd Hannah won our contest for a free copy of the guide to raw food nutrition for dogs. “Going Raw’r” by Maggie Rhines. Her Momma Kim was kind enough to submit the following guest blog post about how raw feeding is helping Hannah bounce back from a former life of neglect and keep the rest of her pack strong.
One Dog Owner’s Journey to Feeding Raw
by Kim Carr
I am not a dog nutritionist, I am passionate about learning and doing what I feel is best for my five beautiful rescue dogs, one of those being a tripawd German Shepherd. My tripawd was born with a rear leg that was completely straight underneath her and had to be removed, her existing rear leg was deformed due to what the vet says was poor nutrition in her wee baby stages. She was rescued by a local GSD rescue and I was the lucky one who volunteered to foster her (and ended up adopting her), so a high quality diet was going to be a must for her.
I have never been a fan of kibble, my brain could never wrap around a complete and balanced food in a bag, how can you eat the same thing day after day and expect to stay healthy?
My First Steps to Raw Feeding
Our dogs are pretty resilient though and some do ok, but I wanted to do more than ok for my dogs. So many, many (many) years ago, I started my dogs at that time on a home made diet, of meats, veggie mush and organs.
I had never heard of feeding the food raw, so I cooked all the meats and organs, cooked the veggies and mushed them up in the food processor. I knew that a variety of fresh foods was better than a processed food in a bag.
I did buy commercial supplements to add to the food and did rely on high quality kibble as a sort of supplement as opposed to the kibble being their main diet.
A few years ago, I started to hear more and more about people feeding their dog’s raw food. I started to investigate this raw food thing for myself. I started searching on line for more information, I joined a few on line raw feeding groups to acquire additional knowledge and quickly started to realize that if raw feeding meant buying a side of beef and putting it out in the back yard and letting my dogs have their feel (this is a slight exaggeration but not by much), I wasn’t going to do it, that is just not something I can do, not that there is anything wrong with it. I am also a believer that dogs benefit from veggies in their diet; a lot of raw feeders do not believe this is true.
But thanks to people like Maggie Rhines, who wrote the e-book Going Raw’r, which is a simple and precise summary of what raw feeding is, how beneficial it is for our dogs and how easy it is to feed raw.
Switching the Pack to a Raw Food Diet
I had started a gradual switch to raw before receiving the copy of e-book Going Raw’r (Thank you Tripawds for choosing me as the winner in the contest). I really didn’t think since my dogs have always eaten a home made diet, that the switch would be that difficult. My goal at this point was to feed one raw meal a day and their 2nd meal would still be cooked.
Wasn’t I surprised when my girls, my two biggest dogs and the only two dogs that still received kibble as a supplement to their meal, threw up after their first raw meal and their 2nd raw meal…how can this be?
After reading Going Raw’r, I realized that this is a very normal process of detoxification. But I didn’t know this at the time, so I continued to feed the girls their cooked meal, but instead of the kibble I put in a spoonful of the raw product. I did this for about a week, each day adding an additional spoonful of raw and removing a spoonful of cooked. Now my girls were keeping down the meal and successfully eating one raw meal a day.
Bones, Bones, Everywhere!
Next bones! I have always had a fear of bones, not sure why, I had never had any personal tragedy with bones and dogs, but needless to say I was afraid to give my dogs raw bones. I got brave one day and decided to try bones by giving a raw rib bone.
Being a multi-dog household I knew that raw bones could be reason to fight (even though I know my dogs and didn’t feel that they fit into this category, it is always a possibility), so that made me nervous.
The rib bones I purchased did not have any meat on them, so this was going to be just an experiment of how my dogs do with an edible bone.
I am happy to report that I survived that first bone giving experience and my dogs did too.
What shocked me as the weeks have gone on, is how much joy that I get from watching my dogs chow down on these bones, they all go to their separate corners and once they start chewing their eyes glaze over with pure joy, it feels good to watch dogs be dogs!
Learning the Ins and Outs of Raw Meaty Bones
I still wasn’t confident as to how much bone is too much? There was ground bone in the product I feed, how often I could also give a bone to eat, so I err on the side of caution only giving one raw edible bone a week. After reading Going Raw’r, I am relieved to learn that there is no harm in bone, (unless they swallow a chunk that is too big that can not pass) the bone will pass, which I have noticed, the stools of my dogs after eating bone are white and firm little (or big depending on the dog) nuggets!
In my research, I had come across the term raw meaty bone, but I really wasn’t all that familiar with what it was or what part it plays in a raw diet, or truly what even constitutes as a raw meaty bone. I was having difficulty finding any clear answers on this topic. At this point, I have felt pretty good about my dog’s one raw meal a day and their one raw bone a week, they seemed happier and I know I have enjoyed having some freedom from cooking food for 5 dogs!
Through reading Going Raw’r, I have learned just how important a raw meaty bone is and what exactly a raw meaty bone is. That is next on my agenda to find some raw meaty bones to add to my dog’s diet. The bones I purchase from the butcher are just an assortment of different bones, some edible, some recreational, some meat, some no meat, these bones will be used more as a treat as opposed to a meal for my dogs.
My journey will continue with the feeding of my dogs. My goal is to get my dogs on a raw meal twice a day. After reading e-book Going Raw’r, I now have the knowledge of what steps I need to take on my journey to reach this goal.
Many thanks to Kim for this terrific description of your raw feeding journey. If you would like to submit a guest blog post about your Tripawd’s nutrition plan, supplements or other diet-related recommendations, contact us today!