In this article, contributor Lulu Trask shares her experience about feeding her dog a raw diet.
Raw feeding is gaining traction with pet owners as they strive to keep their four-legged friends’ diet as close as possible to its natural roots and staying away from those nasty preservatives. So two years ago, when we took our puppy, Tillie, to dog obedience training, the first class was on the benefits of raw feeding. So, we thought we’d give it a go.
First things first: raw feeding is not black and white, by any means. There are two main options to choose from, which vary in time and cost. As a pet owner you can take full responsibility and quite literally go out and buy the raw meat yourself; the challenge here is ensuring your pooch is getting the right balance of nutrients, and that’s a fairly hefty responsibility.
Another option is to get pre-portioned food from a manufacturer – choose from all sorts of minced doggie delicacies (lamb, duck, beef, chicken, venison, turkey – you name it, they have it), and the manufacturers ensure it has all the right nutrients (and even small bits of bone – uncooked bone is good for your dog’s teeth; cooked bone, however, splinters, and is a big no-no).
We chose this option, and have been raw feeding Tillie for nearly three years now. So, what have we noticed? Her teeth are sparkling white and her breath doesn’t smell; nor does her coat, which also happens to be incredibly glossy. We regularly get compliments about how happy and healthy she looks from other dog owners, and some people can even tell by looking at her that she’s on a raw diet.
Let’s not forget her poos. Say goodbye to holding your nose and looking away when your little pooch has done the deed. Because your dog is only eating natural food, the poos smell less, and are much smaller. And, because your dog’s on a natural diet, over time the poo completely disintegrates. Have you ever been on a dog walk and seen a dog poo-shaped white chalky substance? That’s a raw poo that’s decomposing back into the ground.
But raw isn’t for everyone. First off, raw is expensive – without a doubt there are cheaper ways to feed your dog. And, if you want the best for your pooch, you can still feed them an all-natural diet, whether that’s dry or wet food. Just do your research and ensure you’re giving your pooch natural ingredients without any preservatives.
Second, some people simply don’t like the idea of handling raw food – while it will make your pooch’s breath much more pleasant, the smell of the food itself isn’t particularly nice.
Third, you can’t just store raw food in the pantry, so you have to ensure you have a lot of room in your fridge or freezer. And, on that note, you’re likely going to have to buy in bulk; at the moment you can’t get raw pet foot at your usual supermarkets – you’re more likely to have to order online or go to a specialist store, where it’s always easier to bulk buy.
So would I recommend raw? Absolutely. I love knowing we’re feeding Tillie ingredients as close to what she would have in her natural environment. And, crucially, she’s happy and healthy.
The above is based on one experience – if you’re considering starting your dog on, or switching your dog to, a raw diet, you must first consult your vet.
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