We asked some of our customers in a questionnaire why they chose to put their pets on a raw food diet and what benefits they have seen after going raw. Here are their responses, and we hope they give you more insight into the raw food diet for pets:
Owner: Heidi S.
Dog Breed: Borzoi
Weight: 65 lbs.
Diet: PMR (Prey Model Raw)
Duration: Her whole life
Reason For Raw Diet: It’s healthier for dogs.
Example of Raw Food Meals: Bone broth or dehydrated meats
Benefits You’ve Seen: She is very energetic and has a beautiful coat.
Owner: Megan B.
Pet: Two pugs, one mutt, and a Maine Coon kitty
Weight: 21 lbs., 30lbs, 37 lbs., 14.5lbs.
Diet: Hybrid 80/10/5/5 with whole food supplements
Duration: About 2 years for the dog’s 1 year for the cat
Reason For Changing Diet: Health reasons. Both of my pugs had cancer. We use raw feeding to help lessen the chance of tumor recurrence. My female pug also no longer has chronic ear infections. My cat had major digestive issues on kibble which was cleared up on raw.
Example of Raw Food Meals: My animals get a lot of variety daily. I feed at least 3 proteins, 2 secreting organ sources, an egg source, a bone source and a few veggies/ other whole food supplements per meal.
Benefits You’ve Seen: My pets energy levels have increased, coats are much more shiny and softer, smaller and less frequent bowel movements, healthier and cleaner teeth, the list goes on and on!
Owner: Melissa M.
Pet: American Bully
Diet: PMR (Prey Model Raw)
Duration: 5 months
Reason For Changing Diet: Allergies.
Example of Raw Food Meals: Beef, beef liver, beef heart, duck neck
Benefits You’ve Seen: Allergies are slim to none!
Owner: Sharon O.
Pet: English Bulldog
Weight: 75 lbs.
Diet: PMR for 5 years, BARF for 3+ years
Duration: Since he was 4 months old
Reason For Changing Diet: degenerative changes from old R cruciate ligament injury and food sensitivities
Example of Raw Food Meals: I provide a variety of RMBs, muscle meat, organs, and offals as well as seafood, mostly small oily fishes and mollusks (cephalopods and bivalvia). I also give my dogs plant-based oils, greens, herbs, and fruits (mostly berries).
Benefits You’ve Seen: In conjunction with homeopathy and healing herbs, we were able to control and manage pain issues without surgery.
Owner: Mallory E.
Pet: Standard Poodle x Giant Schnauzer mix
Weight: 50 lbs.
Diet: PMR (Prey Model Raw)
Duration: I have been feeding him raw snacks for over a decade, and have been feeding full raw for 1.5 years.
Reason For Changing Diet: Mild arthritis and cataracts. Teddy was slowing down a bit, seemed more sore, and was getting cataracts. I was hoping switching his diet might help improve his quality of life.
Example of Raw Food Meals: Breakfast: muscle meat (pork, beef, fish, chicken, duck, lamb, venison, eggs); dinner: frozen liver/kidney/spleen cubes and chicken, turkey, or duck bones, and supplements (bone broth with pureed veggies and kefir or greek yogurt with Berte's green blend, zinc, vitamin E, green lipped mussel powder, and fish oil when needed)
Benefits You’ve Seen: Raw feeding has made the stiff movement and sore behaviors almost entirely subside, and his cataracts have greatly improved (he is 12 years old, so I do not expect for them to ever go away entirely, but he definitely sees much better and his eyes are much less cloudy). It has given my older boy Teddy more vitality and greatly improve his mobility and sight. All of my dogs have benefited from cleaner teeth, and soft and shiny coats, and they don't affect my trigger as much as they did on kibble.
Skeptical about the raw food diet for your dog? Let’s dispel some of the most popular myths spreading around:
Myth #1: Feeding my pet raw food? That’s unhealthy!
Some pet parents believe that feeding their pets raw food meals won’t provide the daily nutrients their furry friends need to lead a happy and healthy life. The most important part when you begin the raw food diet is to ensure that you get the right information and the accurate amounts of nutrients, supplements, and food types your pet requires each day. Once you know more about the raw food diet, you’ll feel more confident about giving your dog raw meals. Even veterinarians like Dr. Karen Becker follow the raw food diet to keep their furry friends healthy for life.
If you’re following the BARF diet, you’ll have mostly raw meats and meaty bones, but also other food sources for your pet to eat. Your dog’s body and digestive system will be different than a human’s, so don’t apply human anatomy knowledge to your pet; they can handle a mostly raw meat diet like their ancestors. Dog owners who have put their pets on a raw food diet have also reaped the benefits, from healing allergies to having healthier skin and shinier fur.
Myth #2: It’s too expensive and time-consuming!
The costs of a raw food diet depend on various factors, such as how many pets you own, what raw food ingredients you need to make the meals, the supplements you’ll need for your dog, how much your dog needs to eat per day, and more. The costs (both time and money) can be expensive if you do everything yourself (e.g., meal prepping, buying 100% grass-fed, organic meat), but you can also cut costs when feeding your canine a raw food diet by making smarter spending choices, such as buying meat in bulk and using a deep freezer for storage, and more efficient time-saving systems, such as buying your dog’s raw food meal ingredients while you grocery shop for yourself.
Feeding raw meals should be equal to or slightly higher than a common commercial food diet if you do it right, and you can use pre-made freeze-dried commercial raw meat treats or pre-made raw food meals that are designed specifically for your dog based on weight, breed, and other determinants. (Psst! Barker’s Kitchen is your place to go for all things raw.) If you’re worried about costs, though, ask yourself this: would you rather have more money in your wallet, or would you rather have a healthier pet?
P.S. For anyone considering mixing commercial, packaged foods with raw food meals, this can cause major digestion problems for your pet and worsen their health. Don't let this stop you though from adding raw and other functional foods to kibble if your dog cannot fully transition. Adding fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kvass and sauerkraut will help maximize gut absorption of nutrients and safely digest raw food for your dogs. These fermented foods have millions of good bacteria that can help your dog attain lower stomach ph level.
Myth #3: Dogs live longer when fed processed foods. Why stop?
Packaged dog food isn’t the reason dogs live longer in today’s world. It’s actually due to better medical and dental care, better homes, and care from pet parents (for most dogs), and better diets (though not always based on commercial foods). We’ll let this story about a 27-year-old Australian cattle-bull dog terrier cross fed kangaroo, emu, and rabbit meat as well as “scraps off the table” to live such a long, healthy life: https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2004-07-13-oldest-dog_x.htm
Myth #4: Raw food doesn’t digest well.The only times raw food may not digest well is if you 1) mix raw food with dry commercial dog food without adding probiotics or 2) your dog has a specific allergy to an ingredient and 3)your pet has gastrointestinal or other health issues that impede normal digestion. Your dog’s stomach is designed to digest raw meat and to lesser degree fruits and vegetables. If you're having a hard time switching your dog to raw, consult a holistic or integrative veterinarian that will support your raw feeding and provide you guidance on your dog's journey to improved health and quality of life.
Myth #5: There are plenty of premium, all-natural packaged dog food available.
Why bother with raw food meals? Although there are more all-natural kibble, it’s still processed dog food that won’t benefit your canine as much as a raw food diet will. Packaged kibble is overcooked and are missing vital enzymes that your pet requires for ideal gut health. Also, many commercial dog food brands contain too many carbohydrates, which your dog doesn’t need in excess. Even if you don’t see the effects of a generic diet has on your dog now, they accumulate and the signs and symptoms will appear later. With a raw food diet, you know every ingredient that goes into your pet’s meals and that your dog will be able to enjoy and digest the food easily.
We hope debunking these raw dog food diet myths have helped clear up the air and give you a better perspective of this alternative diet for your furry friend!