Frequently asked questions for the new raw feeder:
Isn’t raw feeding difficult?
A) There is more to raw feeding than scooping a bowlful from a bag, but it is easy to learn. Raw feeding is a formula. There are many styles of raw feeding and you will find out the best style for you and your household. It can be very convenient and easy (all commercially prepared and measured) or you may find you get quite involved in sourcing the best and coolest food for your dog (butcher shops, abattoirs, friend’s freezers…). Raw feeding becomes second nature as you see the benefits for your pet carnivore. Be sure to do some research and talk to the raw feeding experts at Buddie’s Natural Pet Food to get you started.
Is raw feeding going to be expensive?
A) Just like your food bill, you can spend a little or a lot on fresh food for your pets. Generally, the more convenient the food is to serve, the more expensive it might be. If you are willing to do more work the more money you can save. Shop the sales, plan ahead, get a deep freeze; all the same things you’d do to save money on your own food.
Remember that you are already spending a certain amount of dog food, so you only need think about how much extra raw feeding might be. Some people find that raw is less expensive than high end kibble in the long run. And let’s not forget that you will likely spend less money on trips to the vet for skin, ear, teeth cleaning, and digestive problems. The benefits will pay for themselves. If you have a budget, the crew at Buddies can help you stick to it and help you get a balanced menu ready.
But my dog is small. Can it eat raw food?
A) What you have there is a dog, Ma’am. No matter the size, your dog is a carnivore. You may need to adjust the size of the whole bones you feed, but your little dog will appreciate being treated like the real dog she is.
But aren’t bones dangerous for my dog?
A) Raw bones are generally very safe for your dog to eat and chew on. Cooked bones of any kind are always a no-no. There are some precautions though. Large weight bearing bones like beef femurs can be so hard that some dogs can break their teeth on them and the circular soup bones can get caught around the lower jaw. Soft bones for crunching and consuming include chicken necks and backs, turkey necks, pork breast bones, lamb necks, and fish carcasses. Not only are they safe to eat, but they are easier to digest than cooked foods and your dog will clean her teeth while crunching through their deliciousness. When you start feeding raw whole bones, pay attention to see how your dog does with them. Try to feed larger bones so your dog is forced to chew on them rather than be tempted to gulp them down whole (!)
My dog won’t eat the new food. Can I cook it?
A) You can cook boneless products, but never cook any bone-in dog or cat food. Cooked meat is actually harder for your carnivore to digest than raw meat and bones. Dogs and cats don’t have the digestive system to break down cooked meat like we do. If your pet is refusing to eat, try getting creative. It is safe to skip a meal. Just put it in the fridge and let your dog get hungry. Sometimes dogs don’t recognize fresh food as food, put some in his mouth to taste (nicely, let’s not traumatize her!). You can mix into the raw food any of these: Tuna juice, salmon juice, green tripe, ground dried liver treats, a favourite canned food, a tiny amount of crushed cat kibble (tiny!). If your dog begs at the table pretend you’re eating the new food and let your dog “clean the plate”. Borrow another dog, competition can increase appetite quickly. You can also try warming the food up by putting it into a plastic zip bag and setting the bag in hot water (no microwaving!)
I have small children in the house. Is it safe to feed my dog raw around my children?
A) You will need to use the same common sense with your dog’s raw meat as you do your own. Use proper hygienic techniques; clean your dog bowls and any surfaces the dog’s food may have touched. Your dog’s muzzle can be wiped down with a cloth that has been soaked in a 10% vinegar solution after she eats. A dog’s saliva does have some anti-bacterial properties, so just keeping your tot away from the dog for a half hour or so should do the trick. And your child shouldn’t be grabbing your dog’s mouth anyway, that’s how bites happen.
Remember that most commercial kibbles contain salmonella and should also be kept safe from toddlers mouths…