Why I feed Raw

And why I will never go back...

Everybody meet Bosun. He is a 6 month old yellow labrador puppy and he is a massive pain in the bum. But I love him <3



The Beginning

When we first got Bosun three months ago, we were at a loss as to which brand of food we were going to choose to feed him. When we picked him up, he was being fed Iams puppy food, so we bought a bag of this and carried on because it was the easiest thing for the time being. He was a boisterous, energetic little puppy. Bouncing off the sofas, chewing things, running round like a lunatic and just generally being a puppy. We started approaching the end of our bag of Iams puppy food and I began to search "which dog food is the best for my puppy?",
Bosun is going to be a working labrador so I was looking at brands of dry kibble such as Skinners but I thought...well...it must be boring mustn't it? Eating biscuits each and every day for the rest of your life? And then I came across a whole community of BARF feeders!

BARF???

It's not what it sounds like... BARF stands for Biologically Accurate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food depending on who you ask. The theory behind this of course is that dogs are carnivores. In the wild, there would be nobody cooking their food for them, putting it into tins and adding e-numbers to it! No. They would be running for miles every day hunting down their food and chowing down on raw flesh, bones, antler offal and whatever was available and this is what we should be feeding our dogs to keep them fit and healthy and to give them the best possible care. 
This school of thinking appealed to me on so many levels as there are so many health benefits to feeding your dog raw. 
  • Healthier shinier coats - because they're getting all the nutrients they need.
  • Breath less smelly - because they're not getting all the e-numbers and sugar that's added to commercial dog food brands so their teeth are in better condition.
  • Less number twos (and they're firmer and less smelly too!) - because the canine digestive system is designed to cope with meat, bones and natural things!
And these are to name but a few.
So I had decided that Bosun was definitely going to embark on a raw journey but where to start? hmm? Where to start. How do I switch my dog to raw food? So many questions. Do I just plonk some raw meat in front of him? Do I mix it in with his biscuit to ease his system into it?
What I needed was some experts!

Barf Feeding Help and Support

I joined a helpful and friendly group on facebook called Barf Feeding Help and Support. I asked them all the questions I could think of, even if I think they sounded a bit stupid. They gave me the tools and the knowledge that I needed to safely move my Labrador puppy onto raw food. So I did it. I took the plunge and I tell you, I would never look back. 
Here are a few tips and tricks that I have learned through articles, friends and my own journey.

Ellie's Guide to Feeding Raw

  • Your dog is never too old or too young to start raw feeding. Any dog will take to it. Don't be scared, just do it!
  • Never mix raw meat with kibble. Kibble digests at a slower rate than raw meat. If the two are consumed at the same time, the kibble will cause the meat to move more slowly through the gut, potentially allowing infection to build up. I left twelve hours between Bosun's last commercial meal and his first raw meal just to be safe.
  • Bones are good. Bones are your dogs friend! But only raw, never give your dog a cooked bone as they can splinter and cause damage to the throat and intestines. Raw bones do a fantastic job of cleaning your dogs teeth so that they don't need all these pedigree chum dentastix and all that rubbish. Start them off on a nice easy bone like a chicken wing or a thigh. Bosun now gets venison bones, beef knuckle bones, lamb ribs and all sorts!
  • Start them off on a nice easy to digest meat such as minced chicken and then give them a good variety. Bosun now gets offal, venison, pigeon, beef, fish and whatever else I can get my hands on. I order from www.nurturingbynature.co.uk who deliver to us. Fantastic products!
  • Don't be alarmed if your pooch's digestive system is a bit iffy for a day or two. They are getting used to it, but it will settle down very quickly. 
  • When they are a puppy, you should start feeding about 10% of their body weight per day. (so a 6kg puppy would receive 600g of meat per day.) As they get older you want to start feeding them about 2-3% of their adult weight. Bosun we estimate will be 30-40kg when he grows up so we are feeding him 700g of meat a day plus a bone. We also mix vegetables in with his minced meat like carrots and broccoli. Each dog is different however. Bosun will be a working dog when he grows up so during the shooting season, he will probably require more feed when he is working hard. If you can see your dogs ribs starting to show, up the feed. If you cannot feel the ribs, you can afford to feed them a bit less. 
  • All this is of course on top of a good exercise routine. Dogs need walking every day, sometimes twice a day...but I digress. Dogs and their exercise will be a completely different blog post!
An example of what I feed Bosun. He gets this amount every day, half in the morning, half in the evening.
yummy!


After we started Bosun on the raw diet we found that he calmed down a hell of a lot too. Upon further investigation it turns out that a lot of commercial puppy food is packed with sugar. Imagine your toddler on a sugar high. Hmmm. Now imagine that toddler with fur and teeth! Yep! We thought he was just being a puppy, but no he was just constantly high on sugar. Of course he still plays, he is still a puppy. But he's not bouncing off the walls and trying to tear the curtains off the rails. So it benefits us all round.

To finish, here's a few pictures of a happy, healthy Bosun playing on one of our walks.





Well there you have it, I hope that I can convert at least ONE person out there to start feeding their dogs a raw diet.
Do you have any questions about feeding raw? Or do you have an experience to share?
Leave a comment!
Happy Feeding!


2 comments

  1. Oooh, that IS interesting!!! Of course, it makes sense that tanned good with preserving sugar will make him hyper!! Just out of interest, how do the costs compare of raw v tinned? I haven't had a dog for 27years so I forget!

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    1. It completely depends how you do it. I'm a bit of a sucker so I do spend a lot of money on Bosun. I just bought two months of food for him for roughly £100. You can get it a lot cheaper from various butchers etc, they're only too happy to get rid of scraps for free rather than have them professionally disposed of which would cost them money. Sometimes we go out and we shoot a few pigeons for him, which doesn't cost anything! xx

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