By: Roiya Lohrmann // Owner/Head Trainer, Canine Chemistry
Every morning at precisely 6:17 AM, my husband and I start feeling 2 sets of paws jump up on our bed. Soon, the paws prance with more urgency, light whines fill the air, and a third set of paws gracefully enters the scene. By 6:30, the symphony of whines has turned into woofs—it’s time to rise and shine!
While most people’s dogs may be making a b-line for the yard to relieve themselves, my dogs run immediately to their crates staring longingly at their food bowls.
What’s in a Raw Diet for Dogs?
This morning’s menu includes ground 80/10/10 (muscle meat/bone/organ) beef, a duck egg, cooked green peas, coconut oil, and a variety of supplements. By the time we’ve prepped 3 meals, our dogs all have drool running down their silky coats. And 5 seconds later, their bowls are licked clean with immaculate care. Not a drop of this stuff ever goes to waste in our house!
How to Decide If Raw Feeding is Right for Your Pup
We were first introduced to raw feeding 4 years ago. Our oldest dog Zuko had just turned one and I was OBSESSED with him (fun fact: I still am!) I was dedicated to making sure Zuko was the healthiest dog around, so he could live a long life by my side. After his bi-yearly vet visit, I quickly realized Zuko was overweight! I couldn’t believe it! We exercised him daily, and he was fed the recommended amount of high-quality kibble. Why wasn’t he losing weight?! He was also starting to itch himself constantly. I started looking at the ingredients on the label of his food and diving into what ingredients like “beef by-product” were. 6 hours later I was tail-deep in a dog nutrition worm hole online.
The information I found was shocking, to say the least. Chemicals, pesticides, food coloring, ANTI-FREEZE, and literal garbage were just a few of the ingredients commonly used in dog kibble. Hidden under clever names like “fish meal” or “chicken by-product”, these hazards were basically invisible to the average eye. I tore my eyes away from the screen just longer enough to glance up at my husband to say, “WE NEED TO SWITCH ZUKO’S FOOD.”
Pros and Cons of a Raw Diet for Dogs
The process was slow. The first few days we added a scoop or two of our new freeze-dried raw dog food to the old kibble. Even though Zuko was only a year old, he experienced mild detox symptoms like mucousy stool. Within a few days of completing the transition, we could tell he was happier, more energized and completely slimmed down within two months. When we added our second dog, Hermes, to our pack we immediately started him on a freeze-dried raw diet. The boys were in HEAVEN. Our checking account, however, was suffering.
Raw diets are more expensive then kibble. Period. They are more expensive because they are full of REAL, WHOLE foods. Quality ingredients come at a price. By the time we added Fionn, our third dog, to our pack, we realized the freeze-dried food (for 3 pups) was now out of our budget. So, it was back to the drawing board for this helicopter dog mom.
Find a Feeding Plan That Works for You
DIY raw diets for my dogs seemed to be the next logical step. I did my research (check out perfectlyrawsome.com), joined Facebook groups (Raw Feeding Community), and reached out to fellow dog lovers. I tried sourcing all of the individual meat components from farmers markets, but that was too expensive and time consuming.
I then stumbled across Texas Tripe, which is a company based in Texas that sells bulk ground meat in the correct ratios for the diet we were adhering to. It was cheaper, easier, and the dogs love it. The only drawback is the $60 FEDEX shipping we pay.
It has taken nearly a year to iron all of this out. We went from pre-portioning 180 meals a month to simply defrosting enough for a few days every time and weighing out meals every morning and evening.
It still isn’t easy. I won’t lie to you. Dogs NEED a certain percentage of nutrients, so you can’t just wing it. I ferment veggies for the boys, add supplements, fish, eggs, etc. It’s a lot of work. But knowing that my dogs aren’t ingesting harsh chemicals just for the sake of MY convenience allows me to sleep soundly at night.
I have 3 happy, healthy, and incredibly special boys. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters!
Roiya Lohrmann is the Owner/Head Trainer, Canine Chemistry in Durham, NC
IG - @caninechemistry
Website - https://www.caninechemistrytraining.com/
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