To Raw or Not

So, here we are after a few months of consistently feeding our new foods and, I’m telling ya, Mia is doing fantastic! Praise God 🙂 Bear with me a bit here as my intent is to share with you the process I went through to better serve my pups. I say, bear with me mainly because I must confess, as excited as I am about Mia’s progress, I am also heartbroken at the audacity of Chewy.com recently. I love-d Chewy.com, but they just jumped on the bandwagon of bully business practices for socio-political control and I am *NOT* going to support such things. <sigh> But I really did love Chewy.com. I will address that more specifically in the next post, but for now you can catch up at my other blog SimpleTruth7.com. The article titled, Chewy On This. For our purposes today, let’s go over the decision to change to raw or not.

Raw Reality

Lots of folks over the past few years have changed their dogs over to raw diets. Some make their dog’s food from scratch, which can be quite costly and fail to provide necessary nutrients. Not to mention is incredibly time-consuming. But for those who do not mind squishing slimy flesh foods in proper amounts and for those who do their research to assure proper levels of nutritious things, that’s fine. Me? I am a vegetarian. So, the less I have to handle fleshy stuff the better!

Oh, but the guilt trips! Those that consider themselves to ‘know better’ tend to impress upon others their thoughts, as if wrestling a fresh turkey daily is the only way to go. Reality says dogs are largely carnivores, but have adapted well to various forms of feeding. Now, I will never go off the ridiculous deep end and subject my pups to a vegetarian diet. That’s ludicrous! However, to shame others for not feeding all raw is just as ludicrous. Not all dogs do well on fully raw diets. I discovered that as I toyed with my pups’ meals.

Dr. Becker is one of many I studied a bit during this journey. I mentioned her also in my previous post. Although she advocates raw diets, she states sensibly to feed as much raw as you can afford. This means a high-quality kibble topped with raw food is as much a good choice as feeding entirely raw–depending on your pooch. One of the keys here is hydration. Yes, water. Even kibble… Or, we should say, especially kibble needs water. Dogs cannot digest adequately without proper hydration.

After playing around with several types of raw, some in-depth research and monitoring how each of my girls faired, it became clear that Mia needed much more raw than Hanani. In fact, Hanani (my Dutch Shepherd) did not fair well after weeks of much raw–which I’ll explain below. The point here is that the raw reality of raw foods is very specific to your pup.

Even the many varieties of raw foods can be daunting to one who simply wants to open a bag and dump it in a bowl, assured that their pups are eating well. The basic forms of raw choices are:

  • Fresh
  • Freshly frozen
  • Freeze-dried

There are companies that deliver fresh, raw combinations of foods to your door weekly. There are also companies that will deliver the freshly frozen to your door in bulk. For those that prefer to shop with their pooches at the pet stores, there are fresh, frozen and freeze-dried options available.

Mia’s Maze

Figuring out what was best for Mia was a bit like searching a way out through a maze at first. Particularly since I had never before truly researched the raw sector of our dog food community. Initially, I took her off everything–no treats or extras, no dog food–for a few days. She straightened right up after the first day–a clear indicator that there was something about the food upsetting her. As I mentioned in my previous post, during those days she was fed only baby food (chicken and rice), with occasional goat milk, yogurt or something similar. No more puking right out of the gate.

As a side note, I truly believe that if alarm clocks used the sound of a dog puking, more folks would be instantly bright-eyed!

Anyway… I did my research, most of which I shared with you in my January 26th post. While I did so, I searched for foods based on these criteria:

  • Nutritious, 100% USA sourced and made
  • If not 100% USA sourced, at least nothing from China (or similar countries with little to no quality control)
  • Ease of use
  • Cost-effective

Not an easy task, I’m tellin’ ya! That stuff is expensive! My husband is so old school it is literally not funny. Sure, he thinks he’s funny, but trust me…it’s not. He tells tales from “back in the day” when dogs were fed pretty much anything and… Brace yourselves… “were fine.” So, yeah. We are entirely opposites on this topic and he is not too happy with the amount we now spend on dog food.

“Feed as much raw as you can afford.”

Dr. Karen Becker

Let me stop here for a moment and let you know, to my humility, what I was feeding my dogs. I already mentioned why I went to Diamond not-so-Naturals way back several years ago. It was only last year that I found PetsumerReport.com, but until then I was topping off the kibble with wet varieties of Rachel Ray’s Nutrish. Though I hated the name and all the hype, from the information I had available to me then I found them to be an alright choice. Until, that is, Mia started this bout of puking often. When I found Petsumer Report, I immediately looked them up and found that their “supplements” are sourced mainly from China!

It took me a bit to get a hold of myself because I truly believe we just dodged a death sentence with Mia.

Thus, I began the search for foods that were solely sourced and entirely created here in the US. Would you believe that there is not one company that I could find that does not obtain at least a few ingredients elsewhere? Believe it! Since I was forded to scale down on that criteria, I did find that with the better quality US based companies at least sourced only the more exotic items (duck, lamb, quail, etc) from other countries. I find it wholly unnecessary to feed my dogs exotic foods, and my dogs find it all too rich and often greasy. In the end, I was able to find two brands that are entirely US-based and only one of them sources from other countries–and that is only for the exotic stuff. There are more companies that fit these criteria, but I went with Bixbi (aka, Buckley’s) and Primal Raw.

Why Kibble and Raw?

This is important when trying to forecast the cost of feeding your pooch. If a company cannot provide clear, basic and plain language information about their product, it gives cause to wonder about the actual intent and quality of their product.

For the first few weeks, I fed Mia only the raw. Before deciding on Primal, I did try Nom Nom and Farmer’s Dog (both deliver fresh, weekly). These have many visible ingredients, all fresh. This seems good to most folks at first.

Mia did not think it was so good! About 20 minutes after eating this it came right back up. Again, for me that is a true indicator that there was something about it her body wholly rejected.

In short, I settled on Bixbi (kibble) and Primal (freeze-dried/frozen raw) mainly because they each met all criteria (noted above). Primal, mainly because they are plain and clear about feeding suggestions. Unlike the more ‘posh’ sites that request all your information so they can tell you how and what to feed your dog, Primal just puts it out there for you to decide. This is important when trying to forecast the cost of feeding your pooch. If a company cannot provide clear, basic and plain language information about their product, it gives cause to wonder about the actual intent and quality of their product. And, as I just shared with you, Mia puked it right up. Go Mia!

At the same time, let us not forget that we are a two times four-legger family. Hanani, of course, went along well with all the changes at first. After a few weeks, however, she was getting a bit loose (stools). After adding some kibble and decreasing the raw, she is doing fabulous. Mia, on the other hand, gets more raw than kibble. I do give Mia kibble also, just a very small amount, only because to feed only raw does not seem to satisfy her enough. While I fed Mia only raw, I found myself feeding her 4-5 times each day. Not only does that get overwhelmingly expensive, it makes for very long days of getting little to nothing else done.

Below I copied pages from Petsumer Report of each of the foods I now feed my dogs to show you how that crucial resource is and how it works. Too, you can see for yourself that each meet the criteria I set out to guide this journey.

You can find more about Bixbi at https://bixbipet.com And, yes, I have tried their freeze-dried raw also. It is fabulous. My girls just seem to prefer Primal, which you can learn more about them here https://primalpetfoods.com/pages/our-story

Primal’s founder, Matt, was inspired to create his company based on first-hand experience with his own four-legged love.

Support USA

In the end, while discovering much about the dog food world, I am better able now to not only feed my pups higher-quality, nutritious foods, I am supporting US born and grown businesses. That, I believe, is quite a monumental achievement 🙂

If you have any further questions after doing your own research, feel free to holler at me below. I check messages daily and am blessed to help out!

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