Woof, Dexter here to talk about Feeding Raw...
We first published this post in May 2015 and have now updated some of the links.
Raw Feeding, also known as Raw, BARF, Meaty Bones - there are lots names you might see people use for this (in case you're worried, BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). But overall, they all mean the same thing - uncooked, meat, bones and offal.
I've been on raw food for about a year now and Jo first tried me on it because I'm quite an allergic dog and I used to get a sore tummy, paws and ears (you can read more about that here).
After lots of going backwards and forwards to our vet and then the special vet for doggy allergies and with not much success (we didn't like the thought of monthly injections or taking lots of tablets forever) another vet in our practice recommended we try a raw food diet as they had seen it have great success in other dogs.
Jo was happy to try it but didn't really know where to start - should she just go out and buy a chicken for me? Could I eat everything, even the bones? Was it dangerous (actually, the opposite could be true)?
Ball is my favourite game
Would I need any supplements? If it was so good, why didn't all vets recommend it?
But after a long talk with the vet she gave a company called Honey's Real Dog Food a call. This isn't an advert for Honey's - we don't sell their raw food (even though Charlie, Maisie and I are very happy customers) and there quite a few suppliers now.
Our vet recommended Honey's and one of the things they were really helpful with was taking the time to talk to Jo about why I needed a raw food diet and what she wanted to achieve (I am actually looked after by the poorly dogs team at Honey's who recommend and make special meals for doggies who need a little bit extra help) - they made sure to spend time talking all about a raw food diet, how it might help me and where to start.
And that was really important as we needed to get started quite quickly (I was poorly) and we didn't know enough to do it ourselves. They also work out how much I need each day and it comes frozen in a handy tube (we had to get another small freezer that lives in the shed as Jo's wasn't very big).
So, one year on RAW food and I love it (my bowl is licked clean every time). It can be a (little) bit more expensive than dry food (depending on which one you buy) but not much and it's pretty convenient too. My food is delivered monthly but you can also buy some makes in pet shops.
Some things Jo has noticed about me are that my coat is really shiny, I've got lots more energy and I'm not sick after eating anymore which are all good things.
On the other paw though, Jo did need to get a new freezer to keep all my food in (you might not need to but hers was small) and she needs to remember to get my food out every night so that it is ready for my breakfast (I've had a few "brunches" when she forgot).
I weigh 25kgs and that makes it easy as well. My food comes in 500gr tubes which is the exact amount I need to eat each day so it's simple, half for breakfast, half for my tea, (but Charlie weighs slightly less than me so he doesn't eat as much which means that one tube lasts more than one day and Kate has to remember not to give him half for each meal). I also have the occasional raw egg and some sardines as treats.
Useful Links and Info
We started me on raw quite quickly once we'd make the decision and we are really happy with the advice we got, but if you prefer to do more research yourself beforehand, here are few handy places to start....
Honey's Real Dog Food (even if you never become a customer, they'll be happy to answer your questions)
Your Vet (but don't be surprised if they aren't super enthusiastic. They may recommend their preferred food, which they will stock)
When we adopted Maisie, she switched to raw food as well. She was a bit underweight when she joined our pack but has put on a fantastic 5 kgs in 2 months and is now a healthy 21kgs.
If you're thinking of trying your woofer on raw food, we hope this has been useful.
From my experience, its been great and Jo wouldn't change me back, but every dog and situation is different and it's important to make the right choice for you.
If you've got any questions, ask them in the comments box below and Kate & Jo will do their best to get them answered for you.
OK, that's enough from me - and I think I can smell a nice meaty bone that needs my attention!
Thanks for reading, Dex