How to Feed a Dog Raw Food

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How to Feed a Dog Raw Food. With commercial pet food recalls and questions about the best nutrition for dogs, many people are choosing to feed their dogs a raw diet. The staple of the raw diet in its various forms is raw meat from various animals. Proponents argue that the diet is closer to what wolves eat in the wild and thus, more species appropriate for dogs.

Research the various raw diets that individuals use for their dogs. The two most common methods used are the BARF (or Bones and Raw Food) and a whole prey model. Typically, BARF diets include raw meat, vegetables and supplements. The whole prey model concentrates on feeding raw meat, bones and organs from different animal sources, but does not include grains or other carbohydrates.

Decide on the method that you are most comfortable with. The debate between the models can be as strong as the debate between kibble and raw in some cases. You'll need to decide for yourself, or through discussions with other raw feeders, about what you feel is the best method.

Locate food sources. You can find pre-packaged raw food at some pet supply retailers, which follow the BARF method in most cases. For raw meat, you can typically find various sources in local grocery stores, meat buying groups and butcher shops. You may also be able to grow or raise your own food for your dogs.

Incorporate meats from different animals in order to provide better nutrition and interest for your dog. Beef, pork, chicken and turkey are often available without too much searching. You can also incorporate wild game, fish and other animals. Organ meat, particularly liver, is an important food source as well. The whole prey model often uses about 10 percent organ food, including at least 5 percent liver.

Make the switch with your dog. Many people recommend that when you begin feeding raw that you stick to only raw food as the digestion time can be shorter than for kibble. Some dogs can eat kibble and raw with no apparent problems, however.

Go slow with the food variety and gradually introduce new meats. You may want to stick with one protein source for several weeks before slowly introducing new ones. This will help your dog adjust and help avoid stomach upset which can also happen when individuals switch from one variety of kibble to another.

Monitor your dog in the immediate and long term so that you can adjust the diet as necessary. If your dog gulps the food down, you might try larger pieces. You can also adjust the amount fed if your dog appears to be gaining or losing too much weight.

Tips & Warnings

  • You'll want to consult with books, websites and other materials to learn how much to feed your dog. This is based on your dog's ideal adult weight and each raw method will have a different approach to meeting the feeding guidelines.

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