Ruger's Raw Food Struggle

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When I decided to switch Kona to raw when she was around 6 months old, it was easy. I just stopped feeding what she was on prior and then next day fed her raw. There were no struggles to her adjusting to the switch.

Then when Cali came to us, right away I fed her raw, and again she had no issues adjusting to the switch.

Ruger came home with me on a Friday and for a couple days he ate the raw I made for him. He didn’t seem overly interested in food. I rolled up his raw into balls to feed as rewards during each meal time so I could work on training him while giving him his food. As I noticed him appear a bit underweight and it becoming a challenge to get him to eat his full meals, I was concerned. I took him to the vet to make sure everything was ok. Overall, he’s in good health, just a couple pounds under weight. My vet and I decided I would have him eat Primal Pet Freeze Dried Nuggets as he did show more interest in that. He is eating 4 times a day. 20 nuggets a day to get weight on him. I am not facing any challenges to get him to finish off the freeze dried nuggets. 3 times a day he is also eating a raw chicken foot, which he LOVES.

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After some time passes and he gains some weight, gains more confidence and fully adjusts to life here, I will make another attempt to put him on home made raw that Kona and Cali eat.

Having this happened has made me think, for those switching their dog to raw, this is what I would have done differently to make the switch easier. His food prior to coming to me would have been chicken based protein. I would have made all his raw meals chicken based to have made the switch easier on him. The reason I didn’t just switch from the beef raw to chicken raw was because that he was showing so much disinterest I didn’t want his meals to be incomplete. The raw I make is not ground up to have things like liver and kidney mixed in the beef. So if he decided he was done with his food and say the liver or kidney didn’t get touched, that’s him getting an incomplete meal which at this stage, being so young, it’s crucial he gets everything need to grow strong and healthy. 

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Ruger is eating Primal Pet Freeze Dried Nuggets in Pork. You add water and mix. I sometimes will add Primal Pet's Goat Milk or Bone Broth too. This is also what I feed Kona and Cali when we travel or go camping. 

Home Made Raw

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I recently started making the dogs food myself. Prior to this I was buying pre-made raw from our good friends at Raw Feeding Victoria. In addition, I've fed food from Pet Lovers' Choice and Red Dog Blue Kat

I've been asked what I feed now that I am making their food myself. Before changing your dogs diet, I recommend doing your own research and if possible talk to a pet certified nutritionist. 

Currently, I am making their food weekly in order to watch the dogs weight and make the best determination of how much to feed. Now this can change and vary based on activity level. Kona and Cali are already extremely active, but some months may be more active due to competitions. 

Some great resources for feeding raw are Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib, Planet Paws on Facebook. I've been using the Perfectly Rawsome website as a guide, as well as, guidance from Raw Fed and Furry on Instagram. 

Below, I've added a great video by Dr. Karen Becker and Rodney Habib showing a great recipe for first time home made raw feeders to ensure you don't miss out on important nutrients. 

I feed the dogs a BARF diet, which includes fruits and veggies. Perfectly Rawsome has a feeding calculator. My maintenance percentage is 2.5% for Kona and 3% for Cali. 

The meals I create will vary, but typically a meal will consist of: Ground turkey, pork or beef, chicken or beef heart for the muscle meat. Beef liver. Beef or pork kidney. Veggies, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and fennel. Fruits, such as blueberries and raspberries. For bone, I really like giving chicken feet. Another favourite is lamb neck, which I usually feed at night because it takes the dogs longer to eat, so it gives me some down time. I avoid weight bearing bones as the dogs can be tough chewers. 

Here is a great website to help calculate bone. 

In addition, I add Cod Liver Oil, cinnamon, ginger, wheat germ, kelp and seeds. I also like giving goats milk, bone broth, kefir, and quail or chicken eggs with shell. Shells are typically crushed and mixed in the food for better digestion and for dogs who don't always like eating shell. 

I also make molds in silicone ice cube trays I get off amazon. Molds will be coconut oil with fruit. Kefir. Goats Milk. Coconut oil with spirulina and chia. I've also done coconut oil with Dr. Dobia Greenmin and Soulfood. 

Recently, I watched some great videos of Karen and Rodney speaking at an event. I learned about the nutrients commonly missed from a raw food diet being complete. I learned a raw food diet can be deficient in Manganese, Iodine, Zinc, Copper, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Iron, Potassium, Selenium, Thiamine B1, Folate B9. What we can add to the diet to ensure are dogs are deficient in these nutrients are by adding ginger, wheat germ, kelp, oysters, beef liver, cod liver oil, seeds, blood, veggies, and kidney.

How I prep: I bought food containers in bulk. All containers will be set out on the counter for the amount of days I'm prepping for. First this I prep is the veggies. As per the advice of @rawfedandfurry, I put them through a blender to chop it all up. I take a bit of each veg and place into containers. I then add kelp, cinnamon, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and chia, and mix together. All meat is weighed into each dogs meal amount and added to the containers. I topped it off with hemp seed oil and berries. Then I place all containers in the freezer. 

As I feed the dogs, I will add the bone of my choosing, cod liver oil, and anything other, like Primal Pet goats milk, bone broth, coconut oil, egg, etc. 

As always do your own research and what you are comfortable with. Knowledge is power, so constantly strive to learn more when it comes to your dog. 

Camping Raw Options

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On a daily basis when we're at home the dogs eat raw. Given we go camping quite a bit we can't always bring raw food with us. If we go truck camping and will only be gone a night or two, I pack a cooler with their food that I've prepped prior to leaving and portioned out their food in containers so I don't have to do any cleaning of bowls. Now if we go on longer trips or backpacking we feed an alternative. There have been a few different raw alternative brands we have tried that have been alright, nothing that we've really disliked, but also nothing we've loved either. Some examples of things we haven't loved are, too many ingredients, unnecessary additives, some being too sloppy and messy, and one resulting in the dogs burping a lot after eating. 

For the last handful of camping trips we have been taking Bixbi Rawbble and have been very happy with it. Rawbble is freeze-dried. Not only have I used it for feeding the dogs while camping, but also as treats when I am training. Since using Rawbble there have been no negative effects on the dogs. They have had the Fish, Beef, and Duck Recipes.

When camping I feed about 2 cups per dog, per meal. Always when camping they will get more food than usual because of the energy burned during any given trip. 

Remember when handling Rawbble, raw alternative or raw food to wash your hands, and bowls after each feeding. 

We always stay away from any food, including treats that contains animal meal. If any ingredient listed on the bag has any kind of animal meal, I do not buy, nor feed it to the dogs. 

Bixbi Rawbble will be something I will continue to give the dogs when camping. 

In addition to food the dogs have tried for raw alternatives when camping has been LifeFORCE. Everyone likes to have choices. This is another option to feed your dogs. 

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LifeFORCE is air-dried dog food. So far I have fed the dogs their Raw Lamb and Squash and they loved it. How this food works is you add water to the food to hydrate. The package says to mix equal parts LifeFORCE and cold water. Stir well and hydrate for 15 minutes. Serve or store in refrigerator. Now obviously when camping we wouldn't be storing this in the fridge. First time I prepared this for the dogs, I waited 15 minutes. There appeared to be no change to the food absorbing the water. I gave it to the dogs and they ate the food and drank up the water mixed with it. The times I have used LifeFORCE when camping, I have added more water than directed on the package to ensure the dogs are getting enough water. It ends up looking like a soup with food chunks. This doesn't bother me and it sure doesn't bother the dogs. Based on the guide on the back of the package Kona and Cali are recommended 1/2 cup. That they eat this when camping and backpacking I feed them up to a cup each because they have burned a lot of energy on such trips.

Always make sure you have plenty of fresh water available to your dogs. 

LifeFORCE is made in Canada and uses ingredients you can read and understand. 

This is another great raw alternative I will be happy to continue to feed my dogs on camping trips.