Raw feeding can be a touchy subject, especially with media outlets continually warning readers about the dangers of feeding their dogs raw meat. So, why would I try and write a blog post about such a heavily debated topic you ask?
Well, after owning Cosmo for a little while, I discovered that not only did he have allergies, but that Dalmatians also have very particular dietary requirements — as do many breeds. Raw feeding seemed to be a solution to all his problems, as I would know exactly what was going into his bowl.
However, I was quite honestly petrified of the prospect about switching Cosmo to a raw diet due to everything that I had been hearing. Would he get sick from the raw meat? Would I get sick from handling it? Would I be able to meet his nutritional needs? These were just some of the questions I worried over.
Let me start by saying that I won’t attempt to guide you about the process of switching to a raw diet (I’ll leave that to the experts!) However, this blog post will aim to alleviate some of the worries of those who actively agree with the concept of raw feeding and want to try it out, but feel a bit overwhelmed.
IS IT GOING TO MAKE YOUR DOG SICK
I’ll start off with this concern, as it’s the one that people seem most worried about. Unlike humans, a dog’s genetic make-up is very different to ours and a raw diet has proven invaluable to many of our canine companions.
However, dogs aren’t indestructible and they can contract parasites and diseases from improperly kept food — this is why it’s very important to research health and safety guidelines about how to prepare, freeze and defrost the meat to keep it as safe as possible for your pet.
Equally as important, disinfecting the surfaces and washing your dog’s bowl after each meal (just like you would when preparing your own raw meat) will prevent bacteria from spreading. I personally feed Cosmo outside, but you can just as easily get a plastic mat to put under your dog’s bowl in case of any splashes or spills!
IT SEEMS COMPLICATED…WILL YOU MUCK IT UP?
I used to look at photos from raw-feeders on Instagram and think that the meals they prepared looked good enough for me to eat! From steamed vegetables to prime cuts of meat, these pups had gourmet doggy dishes that made raw-feeding seem rather intimidating.
However, unlike us, your dog doesn’t really care what their meal looks like! The important thing is that they get the right nutrients through the ingredients you choose. Whether you opt for ready-made complete meals, or the DIY route, you first need to look into your breed’s dietary requirements. As an example, Dalmatians can’t consume liver or offal due to the high purine levels, so I pick complete meals without these ingredients. To replace the nutrition that Cosmo might be missing out on, I add extras such as eggs, cottage cheese, and leafy greens.
It can seem overwhelming at first, so it’s important that you spend time planning and finding the right brands before you start. From the correct way to introduce your dog to raw food, to the amount of raw your dog should eat, to the balance between meat, bone, and offal, get researching so you feel comfortable and confident. There are some amazing groups on social media that are run by raw feeding experts who provide advice and guidance that I still find invaluable.
IT SOUNDS LIKE HARD WORK, CAN I DO IT?
It can sound intimidating, but preparing your dog’s meals soon becomes second nature (especially with handy “complete” pre-made meals available). For me, the benefits outweigh the additional time it takes to prepare our boy’s meals, namely, that Cosmo adores dinnertime!
Secondly, he seems healthier — his teeth are cleaner and his breath is odorless, plus he’s lost a bit of extra weight that he was carrying. As mentioned, Cosmo suffers from allergies, so an elimination diet meant that I could introduce new proteins one by one and monitor his reaction to each. Cost-wise, I haven’t found it any more expensive than the vet prescribed kibble he was eating before.
Of course, not all dogs like raw meat and a high quality kibble or cold-pressed food can be a worthy diet for our companions. There are so many great brands out there producing delicious alternatives, so don’t be disheartened if raw feeding just doesn’t seem right for you or your pup! The main thing is that you are comfortable with what you are feeding your pet and that they are happy and healthy.
What do you feed your dog? How do you feel about raw diets? Let us know in the comments!
Hi, I’m Gaby (better known on Instagram as Cosmo’s momager)! We are an inseparable pair from the UK, sharing a love for snuggles and adventure in equal amounts. What can you expect from us? Top tips, stories and of course a spot of silliness too!”