By Susan Moss
All The Best has been hosting “Home-Prepared Diets” seminars at various stores, demonstrating some of the myriad possibilities for serving your pet minimally processed real food. While both cooked and raw recipes are covered and available in our informational handouts, most of the questions have been about raw food. Here are a few:
I’ve been told that raw and dry food shouldn’t be mixed together because it can cause digestive problems.
That’s a common theory among raw food purists - that the dry food takes longer to digest and would cause the raw to spend too much time in the digestive tract. While there’s no research about this, most of our customers who feed their dogs mostly dry but add a little raw food as a nutritional booster report no negative results. If your dog is gassy, has some skin issues or does poorly in some other way, try feeding the raw and dry separately and see what happens. Or increase the raw and make a whole meal out of it.
My cat isn’t going for the raw food. Do you think it’s because it’s cold when I serve it?
Cats are temperature sensitive about food, and they don’t like it cold! Taking the chill off it by dipping a baggie with some thawed raw food in warm water will speed acceptance. It can be a little more work, but it’s truly transformational! They gloss up, drop weight, get muscular and act half their age. If you’re already feeding wet food, you’re halfway there. For the complete lowdown on getting cats to switch, pick up our informational handout “Transitioning Your Cat to Canned or Raw Food” at any store.
Is it okay to feed my dog raw food while it’s still frozen?
According to Steve Brown, who created the first commercial AAFCO-approved raw dog food, there’s no nutritional drawback to serving raw food frozen -- it thaws in the stomach. Especially in the summer, dogs like their “whole meal popsicles”, and many owners report that it slows down dogs who eat too fast.
I tried feeding my dog a chicken wing once, but he threw up the pieces so I never did it again.
The bony parts of young poultry, like wings, necks and backs, are referred to as “meal replacement bones” and are a terrific component of a varied diet -- they contain the minerals from the bone, protein from the muscle meat, fat from the skin, and a host of other valuable nutrients from the marrow, connective issue, etc. Thousands of raw feeders use them every day, but some dogs need a little practice, and throwing up the first time is common. Once they realize that no one’s going to take it away and they can take their time, things go better. Dr. Ian Billinghurst, author of “Give Your Dog A Bone”, says that dogs who grow up chewing on raw bones do it “with intelligence” but any dog can learn. You might want to start with necks (we have chicken, turkey and duck) because the vertebrate bones are especially soft and easy to digest. Another option is feeding ground turkey necks or chicken backs, available in our freezers.
I’d like to put my two big dogs on raw food, but I’m concerned about the cost.
You aren’t alone. That’s a lot of meat, and meat costs more than dry food. But any amount you feed can make a difference. A foster mom for rescued Shar-pei recently told me that her rescues arrive in pretty poor shape, and even a chunk of raw per meal seems to improve their coats and put a gleam in their eyes! Another way to make raw more affordable is to mix it with brown rice, oatmeal or another low-gluten grain. Or mashed potatoes. These are low cost healthy extenders. Still another option is to make your dog’s food at home from ground turkey necks or chicken backs, less than $2 per lb. (less than some high end dry foods, and carb-free to boot). ROAR brand ground bones are available in our freezers and we have recipes in our handout ‘Home-Prepared Diets”.