The 5-Step Plan for Feeding Your Dog a RAW Diet

September 2, 2021
Posted in blog
September 2, 2021 Bryan Striegler

The 5-Step Plan for Feeding Your Dog a RAW Diet

Bernese mountain dog with hid in yogurt container

Introduction: What is a RAW Diet for dogs and How Does it Differ from Other Types of Diets?

A RAW diet, aka “Barf diet” (biologically appropriate raw food) is a type of dog food that consists of uncooked and unprocessed ingredients. Some people believe that this diet is healthier for dogs as it provides them with more nutrients. In this article, we will explore what a raw diet entails and how it differs from other types of diets.

What Raw Diets Can Do For Your Dog’s Overall Health & Wellness

There are many benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet. One of the biggest ones is that you are giving them more nutrients than you would if they were eating processed foods. Think about it this way. Would you be healthier eating something natural like chicken, fruits, and berries or some heavly processed food from McDonalds?

America is not a healthy country, and unfortunately, we have passed this along to our dogs. I’ve known several dogs with allergies, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Providing your dogs raw food helps to improve their health.

newborn Bernese Mountain dog puppies

After a few weeks of feeding your dog raw foods, you should notice some changes. You will also notice their fur will be shinier and healthier looking because their skin and coat will benefit from all of these extra vitamins and minerals.

Eating RAW Food is More Natural for Dogs

Dogs are carnivores and their natural diet includes raw meat. The United States Department of Agriculture has listed that it is not nutritionally advisable to feed humans raw food, but the same does not apply to dogs.

Think about what dogs did in the past. They hunted and they ate animals. Keeping their diet like nature intended will give them a healthier life.

What do you Feed a Dog in a RAW diet?

The first thing you need to know about the raw diet is what it includes and what it doesn’t. A RAW diet is basically what it sounds like. You are giving your dog RAW ingredients instead of the normal processed dog food. This usually consists of organ meats, raw meaty bones, and muscle meat. You can also include things like raw eggs, yogurt, and fruits and vegetables.

There are some versions that are a hybrid, so you also mix in kibble with the raw food. In general, though, a RAW diet would consist of no cooked foods.

Breakdown of a RAW diet for dogs

It might seem overwhelming figuring out a RAW diet for your dog. Once you understand the foods to include, the next big thing is how much to include. The general breakdown is 10% raw meaty bones, 70% muscle meat, 10% organ meats, and 10% fruits, vegetables, and dairy.

Where can you Buy Biologically Appropriate Raw Food?

A lot of the food that we feed our dogs and puppies can be found in the same grocery store that we buy all of our food. I shop the most at Sam’s Club because I was get things cheaper and in bulk, but you could also do Wal-mart or Target.

It is a bit harder to find the organ meat and some raw meaty bones. Most likely there is a butcher in your city that can supply all of those things.

Step 1: Do Your Research

Don’t simply jump into a raw food diet without doing your own research. You need to be a smart pet owner and make decisions that are right for you.

Reading this post is a good start, but read other articles, talk to pet owners that are currently doing RAW and some that stopped. After you’ve learned more, you can decide if this is the best option for your dog.

two Bernese dogs

Step 2: Choose the Right Bones and Foods that are Safe For Dogs

Dogs are carnivores, so giving them a diet that is mainly made up of vegetables and fruits is not advised.The best diets for dogs are those that have meat as their primary component with just enough vegetables and fruits to balance out the meal. We stick to ground beef, ground turkey, chicken liver, and chicken hearts for the meat.

Then, we also give them bones on a daily basis. It’s important not to cook the bones because that could lead to crystallization and splintering. We usually do chicken feet or chicken legs.

Step 3: Selecting Quality Supplements and Treats

It is important to find the right supplement for your dog. If you are looking for organic supplements, then it is necessary to know that organic supplements are very expensive and not all of them are great.

One of the best ways to find the right supplement for your dog is by doing research online. It will take some time to find a great supplement but it will be worth it in the end since your dog will be healthier.

Bernese mountain dog with hid in yogurt container

Finally, if you have any questions about organic supplements or how they work, don’t hesitate to contact an expert or veterinarian.

Step 4: Transition Your Dog with an Easy Plan

Transitioning a dog from one diet to another can be a difficult process. In order to make it as easy as possible, many people opt for a gradual changeover.

The first step is to find out what ingredients the new food contains and its intended use. This will allow you to know if your dog is going from an inexpensive food with high carbohydrates and low protein into a more expensive canned food that has higher protein and lower carbs.

Bernese dog playing with toy

The second step is to gradually change the diet over the course of a week or two, depending on how sensitive your dog may be. Begin by mixing 25% of the new food into their current diet and then increase it by 5% each day until they are fully transitioned onto their new food.

Step 5:Observe and Evaluate

Not all dogs are the same. It’s important to watch your dog and see if there are any positive or negative changes when you switch to raw meat. Some dogs might have allergies or react to certain foods.

Give it some time, though. Just because your dog got diarrhea once doesn’t mean you need to give up. It might take a few weeks or months to adjust to the new diet.

Problems with RAW food diet for Dogs

While I think a RAW diet is a great thing for dogs, there are still some problems with a RAW food diet. One, you want to make sure you are providing a complete and balanced diet. Kibble is manufactured and controlled, so it should have everything a dog needs. When you make your own food, you need to make sure they have all the essential nutrients, so the dog can be healthy.

Another issue is the cost and time involved. Feeding kibble is so much cheaper and so much easier. It’s a lot easier to buy a giant bag of food and dump it into a bowl. I have to go to the store at least once a week to buy new food, and I have to put it together at every meal.

Depending on the type of dog food you buy, a RAW diet might cost 2-3 times as much. I have two big dogs, so we spend roughly $50-$75 a week. When we were on dog food, it was about that for a month.

Does raw meat have harmful bacteria?

I think the biggest feature about switching to a raw food diet is that your dog will get sick. Raw foods will have bacteria, and we’ve always been told to wash our hands so we won’t get sick. While this bacteria can be a threat to us, it is not as big a risk for dogs. Their bodies are different and can handle things differently than us.

Think about all the gross things they eat anyway. I know I’ve seen dogs eat dead animals on the road and plenty of poop. While it is gross, they were fine afterwards.

Is it safe for Dogs to eat Bones?

The other part of that fear is that they might choke on the bones or the bones might hurt their intestines. One of my dogs is a bit food aggressive. She will swallow food in an instant. While I have seen her throw up, she has yet to choke on a bone. As far as the splintering, I’ve been told that as long. as you don’t cook the bones, you are safe. They have acids in their stomachs that break things down.

Is the RAW Food Diet Right for Your Dog?

I think the answer to this question is not so simple. All dog owners are different and switching your dog’s feeding to raw won’t be for everyone. While I do believe it will provide the most essential nutrients and help adult dogs live longer, I know it’s not possible for everyone. It can really add to your grocery store expenses and it takes time and energy.

My hope is that you choose to feed your dog the best pet food available, whether that be raw or store bought. Dogs are amazing friends, and they deserve the best we can give them.