Warning: Never feed cooked bones.
What is Raw Feeding?
Raw feeding is not a new fad diet! It is an attempt to return to the type of food a dog would naturally eat. Obviously a dog can not be allowed to kill its own prey as his wild cousins do, so we have to give him the constituents to make up the varied meals that hunting and scavenging would provide.
During Great Grandma’s time “dog food” came into being, It was a processed mixture made up largely from the waste products of the bakery trade. Thankfully commercial foods have improved greatly since then but they are still very different from the raw food that dogs evolved to eat. Evolutionary change occurred over thousands of years. Great Grandma lived only a hundred years ago. Yet, commercial dog food has become the norm and is what most dogs are fed on today.
Doing it Naturally....
All animals on earth have spent millions of years evolving to their environment, and will be perfectly adapted to their natural diet. Simply by copying this diet we can make a nutritious and fully balanced diet for any species of animal, though often we have to make do with sensible alternatives to the real thing. For example, Cats are hunters that consume prey such as Rabbits and Birds. Whole live prey would be a perfect food and strictly speaking anything other than a whole, live animal is not 'natural'. In practice we will choose we as humans will choose more convenient and more socially acceptable alternatives- This is where Nurturing by Nature steps in!
Feeding a Cat a dried, pelleted food full of cooked cereal is about as far from ideal as possible, though it may be cheap and convenient. Moreover such diets can lead to all sorts of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, digestive upsets, bladder stones. These diseases are often slow in developing, and this is why we tend to see them as something our pets happen to get, rather than something that has been caused by feeding a less than perfect diet.
Even foods from major pet food brands can cause such diseases, so much that they even produce diets to help try and correct these problems. You can purchase diabetic diet, urinary diet and more corrective foods from your vets!
Our aim is provide you with a natural alternative to the commercial pet foods, we can help to prevent these problems from even happening in the first place. We Raw feeders almost always find our pets to be healthier, with greater vitality and often better behaved than those on the commercial foods.
Pets with chronic diseases that have failed to respond to modern veterinary treatments will often be much better simply by feeding them a Raw diet. Diabetic cats are a perfect example of this.
In order to feed a natural diet it is important to understand the needs of our pets. For example Cats are 'obligate' carnivores, this means that they only need to eat Meat based diets, in fact they should only eat 'tiny' amounts of starchy foods if any at all.
Dogs are different to Cats, they are 'facultative' carnivores, that are primarily prey eaters, they will scavenge and eat vegetable matter, particularly when times are hard. This is why we feed the fruit and veg mix with our dogs food, it replicates the ground vegetable and grass matter that is found in the stomach of the prey animal adding extra vitamins and minerals.
How do I Feed Raw?
We have two methods that we advise, both of which work very well, but it is up to individuals to decide which is the most suitable way for them.
Please keep in mind the following –
- Most dogs will loose weight in the first week or so as their bodies loose fat. Muscle will start to build but takes longer to do so than the fat loss.
- The correct amount of meat for each dog is very individual and will vary depending on the dog’s age, breed type, exercise amount and attitude.
- Do not mix raw and commercial diet in the same meal.
- Allow approximately 12 hours for a commercial meal to pass out of the dog’s stomach before feeding a raw meal.
- Allow at least 4 hours for a raw meal to pass out of the dog’s stomach before feeding the next meal.
- Dogs quite often fast themselves and do not naturally feed at regular times every day – if your dog refuses his meal take it up, refrigerate it and offer it again at the next meal time.
- Bone firms the dog’s faeces and you will notice they are much harder and less offensive.
- Do not leave food down.
- Feed fruit and vegetable mix to tolerance, some dogs love them while others do not.
(These are the same for either method)
We usually start with plain minced chicken as most dogs seem able to cope with this meat very well and it has some fine minced bone in with the meat.
Take the approximate ideal weight of the dog.
For every 10 Kg of the dogs weight allow 100 grams of meat. This is just a starting weight, the general recommended feeding amount on a Raw diet is 2-3% of the animals bodyweight in meat/bone per day. This will also vary with your pet's Metabolism, Weight, Age, Exercise and Breed/Size.
Please remember that each animal is very different, just as we humans are.
Method ONE - By Degrees
AM - feed one sixth of the dog’s daily meat requirement and a small spoonful of fruit and vegetable mixture
P M - Feed a normal meal (1/2 of daily requirement) of the dog’ s normal food
A M - Feed two sixths of the dogs daily meat requirement and two small spoonful’s of fruit and vegetable mix
P M - Feed a normal meal of the dog’s normal food
A M - Feed one half of the dogs daily meat requirement and four small spoonful’s of fruit and vegetable mix
P M - Feed a normal meal of the dog’s normal food
AM – Repeat AM of Day Three
PM – Repeat AM of Day Three
From Day Five to Day Ten
Repeat Day Four
Gradually you can increase the meat to twice the amount if your dog seems to want more and is still loosing weight.
Method TWO - 100%
A M – feed one sixth of the dog’s daily meat requirement and a small spoonful of fruit and vegetable mixture
PM – repeat of AM
A M – feed two sixths of the dogs daily meat requirement and two small spoonful’s of fruit and vegetable mix
PM – repeat Day Two AM
A M – feed one half of the dogs daily meat requirement and four spoonful of fruit and vegetable mix.
PM – Repeat AM of Day Three
Day Four to Ten
Gradually increase the amount of food to up to twice the previous daily amount if your dog still seems to be looking for food and is loosing weight
Day Ten onwards
From this point the methods become one.
You should not allow a cat to go without food for more than 24hrs.Introduce as many varieties of raw foods as possible using the chicken as the base meat.
Please do not leave food down for the cats to graze during the day - it is important to establish meal times.
This being the case we recommend that a small amount of raw food is offered at breakfast time (just a teaspoon full to start with) If the cat takes to it and eats it all - offer another small spoon full. Repeat this again in the evening.
Next morning offer a little more and gradually increase the amount over the next three days to be feeding 100g per cat per meal. From then onwards adjust the quantity to the individual cat. Try to get the cats to accept a good variety of different meats and after a week or so offer larger portions of whole food - chicken wings are ideal.
Some cats can be a little more difficult to be convinced that raw is really good for them.
One of the problems is due to the naturally occurring sugars which are a by product of processing tinned or pouched foods. Cats can become addicted to these sugars.
If your cat will not even try the raw mince chicken put the usual food along side it in the same dish. Repeat this again in the evening offering the raw on it own first. Continue to do this every day, twice a day, for the next week.
It does mean that you may have to throw a bit of raw away each day (a dog can be very useful here in disposing of any leftovers for you!) But do not be tempted to leave it down for any longer than 10 minutes (or until your cat has walked away from its meal) and do not try to offer the previous raw meal later in the day or the following day.
Cats need fresh food and their lives depend on it - unlike dogs who are designed to eat stale (even "off" food)
After a week, loosely and gently fold the raw and processed foods together. Your cats should still be able to pick out the bits they want to eat.
Once your cats are eating a bit of the raw, along with the processed food, mix it together more.
When they are happily eating the mix gradually decrease the commercial food and increase the raw portion until you are feeding just the raw food.
After introducing a new meat go back to the chicken so this gives you something to compare to.
Do feed a mix of meat with offal in moderation, two or three times a week, but remember that offal make the motions looser.
As you and your dog progress with raw feeding try to feed the meat in as natural a form as possible i.e. whole rabbit with fur on or a fully feathered pheasant! Any part of the meal that is left can be refrigerated for the next day.
A word of advice here - you may want your dog to eat this sort of meal outside in the garden!
Q: We are considering a change of diet for our Chocolate Labrador, he is 35 kilos in weight. We are thinking of feeding him the minced chicken and a vegetable supplement to go with it. How much would you recommend we feed him a day and could you give us a rough guide on how much this would cost to feed him per week.
A: An adult dog will need to eat between 2-3% of their body weight. If your dog is overweight your can feed as little as 1% to get them to their optimum weight. It is recommended you should feed to your dogs ideal weight rather than their current weight if they are too fat or too thin. If that is 35kg then he will need 700g to 1kg of meat per day plus veg.
Our minces start from £1.19 for 700g of Minced Chicken to £3.32 for 700g of Minced Chicken and Game (Rabbit/Venison) so realistically you will be looking at spending about £1.50 per day when you feed a mixture of meats, veg and bones.
I recommend popping into one of the stores if you are local and this will give you a good idea of what’s available.