We have been raw feeding Archie our Border Collie for a few months now. There are a number of claimed benefits to raw feeding dogs and I would like to discuss these as well as some things you might want to consider before taking the plunge and doing it for your dog(s). First though I will give some background as to how we started to feed Archie a raw food diet.
Back in the summer of 2017 Archie developed a scratching habit. We knew he did not have fleas and initially believed it was some seasonal allergy. When summer turned to autumn the scratching carried on and so the search for the cause continued. Initially the vet prescribed Apoquel which worked well the first time. The second prescription though seemed to have limited effect. We were also prescribed Malaseb shampoo which we still use to this day.
The next course of action was to look at Archie’s diet and he was given a Hypoallergenic kibble. The thinking was that Archie could be allergic to proteins. The prescription diet was basically a vegetarian diet with the protein derived from soy. The proteins are hydrolyzed which we were told meant they were so small that the immune system would not detect them. It felt strange to be feeding Archie a kibble that was cheaper than the premium Orijen brand we had been using. Archie was not a fan of this new diet. After 3 weeks the scratching continued and we then decided to look at what raw feeding dogs could offer. Vets would say that these prescription kibble diets need to be maintained for 8 weeks to see any improvement. We were convinced after 3 weeks they would not be the answer.
Raw Feeding Dogs – The Claimed Benefits
Even if raw feeding Archie should fail to cure the scratching, our research into it seemed to show lots of other benefits. The mains ones often quoted are:
- Raw feeding dogs results in stools that are much firmer and the amount will be less.
- Raw feeding dogs leads to less flatulence (less gassy).
- The dogs coat should be in better condition and glossier.
- Your dog’s breath should improve and their teeth stay whiter.
Raw Feeding Dogs – Our experience
We have definitely experienced all of the above. Archie does still scratch sometimes but it has reduced. Sometimes when we buy our raw food we will ask that beef or chicken not be included to test if he could be allergic to either. Vets have said we could get blood tests to try and reveal what the allergy may be. It’s expensive and would mean claiming on the insurance. We are not convinced it will resolve the problem. Such blood tests can be helpful when they reveal a food allergy. They are just as likely however to reveal nothing or show that the allergy is to something in the environment which you cannot remove.
Regardless of Archie’s scratching we have decided we would not return to commercial pet food. Archie has never been a fussy eater but he really does look forward to his food more since changing to raw. A couple of my dog walking clients also raw feed their dogs. If a dog is exclusively raw fed you can tell instantly from the droppings.
Raw Feeding Dogs – Some considerations
Raw feeding does take more thinking. The best quality commercially produced kibble aims to include all the vitamins and minerals a dog needs. It’s also clearer how much you should be feeding based on the weight of your dog. With raw food the onus is on you the owner to ensure they are getting all they need from their food. Raw meat, which is often sold in packets of frozen mince actually provides almost all that a dog needs. You do however also need to feed a small amount of offal from time to time so that they get vitamin D. Eggs can also be added to your raw diet. Yoghurt is also popular with those who raw feed their dogs but we use Kefir instead.
Raw feeding dogs is not difficult once you do some basic research but it’s certainly not the lazy option compared to kibble. The biggest thing we noticed was that initially we were having to shop every 3 weeks due to the space available in our freezer. We have since purchased another freezer just for Archie’s food so that we can now go 2 months between shopping trips. You can imagine how much space raw food would take if you had 4 or 5 dogs in your household! Another potential concern for some might be cost. We have found that the cost compares well to Orijen which admittedly is one of the most expensive kibbles you can buy. Compared to some cheaper brands of kibble raw feeding is more expensive. I would say the benefits are worth it however.
Raw Feeding Dogs – More Information
If you would like to research raw feeding dogs in more detail you might like to visit the following links:
If you happen to live in Northampton and want to buy raw food locally for your dog there are a couple of places we can recommend. I buy Archie’s food from Northampton Raw Dog Food. Andrew who also works self employed for me raw feeds his two dogs and two cats and buys his from Collins PetFoods.