7 things You Need to Know Before Starting Your Dog on Raw Food

Thinking about raw feeding your dog, but not sure where to start? At Kernow Pet Supplies, we often get questions about raw feeding from people visiting our Saltash and Plymouth pet food shop. We’ve put together this guide to explain the basics. Read on to find out more about raw feeding and whether it’s right for you and your dog. 

What is raw feeding?

Let’s get the obvious out the way. Raw feeding your dog involves feeding him or her a diet of raw food instead of, or alongside, the usual cooked dog foods. But what exactly are the raw ingredients that make up a raw food diet for dogs? 

The raw ingredients 

As you probably guessed, a canine raw food diet includes raw meat, such as muscle meat. Raw bones are also important, as well as organs or offal, providing essential minerals and vitamins for your dog. 

However, raw feeding isn’t just about the raw meat. A balanced raw dog diet also involves feeding your dog certain raw vegetables and fruits, oils, and even certain seeds to ensure they have everything they need.

Should I feed my dog a raw diet?

Long before the advent of modern, manufactured dog food. Your dogs' ancestors had to fend for themselves. And you guessed it, they chowed down on raw diet. So in many ways, a raw diet is a more ancestrally natural, biologically appropriate diet for your dog. 

Benefits of raw feeding

There are many reported benefits of raw feeding, with owners claiming their dog’s coat, skin and teeth are healthier because of this natural diet. Dogs on a raw diet tend to have smaller poos, because they’re eating less filler, which many of our customers view as a benefit! 

Balance is critical

Remember that a raw food diet needs to be carefully balanced to give your pet what they need. Homemade raw diets for dogs can harm your pet if they don’t include the right balance of vitamins and minerals. This is one of the reasons homemade raw dog feeding is not recommended by vets.

Commercial complete dog food products are considered by vets to be a better option than a DIY raw diet. This is because they ensure your dog is not missing out on ingredients essential for their health. We stock a range of pre-packaged raw foods such as Nutriment’s range of complete raw formulas . They take the headache out of raw feeding by providing your dog with everything he or she needs. 

Is raw feeding right for me?  

Many people who start their dog on raw food never go back. Still, feeding your dog raw may not be practical for you. Storing raw food requires extra freezer space (make that an extra freezer if you have large dogs!), and you’ll need to remember to defrost your dog’s raw food ahead of dinner time. Feeding will also take more time than it takes to fill a bowl with kibble. And you’ll also need to thoroughly clean up afterwards. Handling raw food safely is extremely important for both your safety and others in your household. 

If all that sounds a bit much, relax. Raw feeding isn’t for everyone. There are some excellent cold pressed and wet complete foods such as Gentle and Forthglade, which will give your dog a healthy, grain-free diet without the additional work. 

Feel free to dabble 

If you’re in two minds, you can always try raw feeding alongside your dog’s current dog food. Despite what you may have heard, dogs are fine on a combined raw food and kibble diet. So feel free to test out how your dog handles raw feeding before committing. 

How do I transition my dog to a raw diet? 

Starting your dog on a raw food diet will be a significant change for them, and it’s best to take it slowly. Some dogs take to raw diets instantly, but some can find the change gives them an upset stomach and increased gas. As dogs get used to raw food, their gut flora, stomach acidity and pancreas enzyme production will adapt, and any symptoms of indigestion should diminish.

One protein at a time

Introduce your dog to one protein in the first week. Depending on how he or she gets on, you can then introduce a second in the following week. White meats such as Natural Instinct Chicken are a good choice in the first weeks because your dog will find them easier to digest than other proteins. 

Depending on how your dog gets on, you can try a red meat protein the following week. Once your dog’s transition to raw feeding is complete, introduce new proteins and mixes one at a time so you can easily identify which ones they get on with.

Can I mix brands of pre-made raw dog food? 

Once your dog is used to raw feeding, you can absolutely mix raw food brands. Remember to introduce new brands and products one at a time, so you can see if they agree with your pet. At Kernow Pet Supplies, we only stock dog foods from brands belonging to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA). So you, (and us) can be safe in the knowledge we’re feeding our dogs food from trusted, reputable companies that are experts in canine health.  

Is raw feeding hygienic?

Feeding your dog raw food is as hygienic as you are. That’s because you’re the one responsible for cleaning up! It is extremely important to thoroughly clean up after handling raw dog food for the same reasons you would after handling raw meat for the Sunday roast. Bacteria in raw meat can be very dangerous. 

Pre-packed, complete raw food products are a much more convenient alternative for homemade raw food, with many allowing you to serve the food directly into your dog’s bowl, minimising contact with both you and your home’s surfaces  ̶  and making it easier to clean up. 

For a handy guide for practicing better hygiene when raw feeding, check out the PFMA guide to handling commercial raw pet food safely

Where will I get my dog’s raw food?

Where you source the food for your dog’s raw diet will depend on whether you opt to make it yourself or choose to purchase pre-made balanced raw food products that will give your dog everything they need.  

Whichever you decide, as a local raw dog supplier to Saltash, Plymouth, and everywhere in between, we pride ourselves in stocking a range of raw dog foods to cover you for all your dog’s raw diet requirements. 

To see our full range of frozen raw food products, including Nutriment, Natural Instinct, Nature’s Menu as well as a wide selection of raw bones and treats click here.

For those set on a DIY raw dog diet, we stock turkey necks, chicken carcasses, as well as Nature’s Menu Freeflow minces and mixers, which you combine with other foods to make a “complete meal” for your dog.

Find a local supplier with reasonable prices and fast free delivery 

Because raw food is often frozen, having a local, dependable supplier that can provide speedy delivery with short waiting times can be very handy. At Kernow Pet Supplies, we provide free delivery for raw dog food to Plymouth, Saltash and close surrounding areas on orders of £20 and over. See the delivery areas we cover here

Hopefully this guide has helped you understand a bit more about raw feeding diets for dogs, what they entail, and healthy alternatives. With the variety of pre-made raw dog foods available, why not give it a go? You can always switch back to conventional dog food if it’s not working. 

Need a little help? We’re always here!

We pride ourselves in helping our customers find the right diet for their dog. Drop by our Saltash shop, Kernow Pet Supplies, or just get in touch by phone or email. We’re here to help!