It was September 2015 when we made the choice to switch Lula’s nutrition to a raw diet, we didn’t the impact of that new step for her, for our cats, of course we ignored how that affect ourself too. In that time we couldn’t imagine how our life are changed, and the new things and routines today we do, all that we learned and well, it has deeper than we though two years ago.

Instead it was a new way for all the family, a good one we hadn’t other idea, we knew, but in the opposite side we felt all that transition period was for us quite though. Many doubts, many questions but a deep feeling about our responsibility with Lula well-being and her health, it was overpowering for both, the fear to do something wrong, ¿are we making a complete and balanced diet? is there any lack of nutrients? ¿how much food my dog has to eat?… today we want to help you step by step because we had been in the same position as you, so are you ready to solve all your questions?

How many intakes need your dog

The diary food amount has a strong relation with your dog age, activity level, previous corporal condition or other issues as chronic disease, stage of life, etc.

Commonly, a lot of raw feeders have chosen two intakes, one at breakfast/lunch, the second at dinner time. Maybe as result of a previous routine with commercial foods as kibble, a routine that continues with raw diet. But really is not a rule, there are dogs eating in a unique diary intake or for example others three, or more, depend your four-legged, and maybe you could fit to a health issue or condition may has.

Making numbers: calculate a correct food quantity

The diary food amount has a strong relation with your dog age, activity level, previous corporal condition or other issues as chronic disease, stage of life, etc.

Many dogs with a raw diet follows a rule that says a dog needs between 2%-5% of its live weight, understanding the live weight as the optimum weight for your pet. It is possible if your dog is a beginner to start over a 3% or 4% if your dog is really active, but 3% is a good way to start for most dogs that has a common life or is plump.

For example Lula live weigh is over 14 kg – 30.9 lb, and we follow right now a 3%, that means Lula eats 400 gr – 14 oz divided in two intakes.

Are you still thinking it is not a correct amount for your dog? Would you like start with 1 or 2 points upper? or, do you like your dog loss weight with a diet and reduce until 2%? Well, it is not a bad idea increase or reduce the percentage of food, but if your dog is new in raw diets our recommendation i is wait a little until your dog and all of its body are fully adapted to the new diet. After a transition from dry food to raw diet, after that and when your dog will be feed with a variety of food you could schedule a healthy loss of weigh or a specific nutrition programme for your athletic dog.

*We don’t like to confuse with some stage of life, where the percentage is totally different, that is the case with puppies or pregnant dogs. their nutrition requires a big amount of nutrients, in every stage, including with a variation between weeks.

Food percentages

In your dog’s diet you must to give some amount of edible bone and meat, offal, veggies, fruits, suplements, it is not a unique correct way to do it. You could choice different lines about percentages in a pet diet, your will see how affect depending if you give more or less bone, if there is too much liver for its organism for example and will consider how to fit the diet to him or her. Many of us need to reduce the amount of edible bone, increase fats or make a variation about the offal intake diary a little or every day one kind.

Happy Life Pet project

Should I prepare a complete meal with all the nutrients in it? diary? or maybe could do it during the week? The answer is easy, you could any of them, you only have to find the better way to your dog, and your lifestyle.

In our case we calculate for a complete week, and then divided each day the amount of edible bone and meat, veggies, fruits and extra foods, and altering different offal. For us is better like that in may ways: go to market,  storage, menu weekly schedule and serve, but overall Lula is going great with this scheme.

Looking for a correct and balanced diet

One of the biggest concern when you are starting is the fear about mineral and vitamin deficiency in our dog body, causing a disease or a serious problem in our dogs. Of course it is a risk in cases where only provide to our pets food without idea of what they need, or only serving a protein type, but don’t worry, for that reason commonly raw feeders help each other or share information. In any case you have in mind that in the transition period we can’t cause a deficiency, only need to know as principal guide:

    • Variety is key in balance diets. It is important to provide different proteins, we recommend a minimum of three different types of them, different cuts too, blue fish, seasonal veggies and fruits. Of course you could add eggs, diary products as kéfir, yoghurt, some grains or suplements with a specific benefit for your dog.
    • Forget to be scared by raw bones! Bones in diet is incredibly important element, thanks to them our dog will has minerals as calcium and phosphorus, don’t remove from your pet’s diet because you could cause imbalance in its organism. If you are really worried about the choking hazards, or your dog dentition has troubles you could grind edible bone, or including look for a commercial raw food.Only in specific situations bones are best to be removed from the diet, like in kidney diseases because we must to reduce phosphorus, but including here we need to find a good option for calcium intake.
    • Suplements. It is not necessary to add a big amount of suplements to diet, including when you are starting, look for these ones that  really gives benefits and means a plus in your dog health, or helps in a treatment or disease.

Raw or cooked

We know this seems a controversy questions, specially if you are already raw feeder. As we are talking about BARD o raw diet, we don’t see sometimes that there are more situations and dogs, not all dogs accept raw food immediately so cooked food or slight cooked is a good alternative for them, then step by step you could be serving food almost raw until totally raw. Remember raw food is the best to your dog organism to use all the nutrients, and your dog as a GI prepared to proceed raw meat, organs and bones.

In addition when we cook food, we apply heat, mechanical process and obviously that change the nutritional compositions, reduce the water content or almost we can speak about destroy important micronutrients.

‘Be careful: Bones always be given raw, never cooked’

Your first menus

We would like to make a special post  during the followings weeks to treat the transition diet from kibble or canned food to raw diet, but we are going to give you some clues before, maybe you have seen some of our dog menus, in fact it will be easier to start the first month than you imagine.

The goal for you and your dog it is a smooth transition, reactivate the GI system as be in optimum condition, and making in a middle term a fresh and balanced raw di

You will see incredible pictures with stunning raw food menus, looking great as we’ll, but all of us we had started following the same way, or should be like that, with chicken or turkey protein, a couple of veggies and adding and altering new proteins with cautions and schedule to detect allergies and give to your dog stomach time enough to proceed all this new diet.

At this point you should be an important matter to know, all meat and bone pieces must be appropriate to your dog’s jaw and its size to avoid unnecessary risks. Maybe is one of the most important thing to have in mind.

Teaching your dog to eat properly

Until now, your dog has been eating commercial pet food and he or she doesn’t know or see what it is a chicken carcass, a tight or rack. That fact isn’t an obstacle although you see when you leave the bowl with a big chicken piece inside and your dogs look at it or the opposite situation eat as fast as he/she can without chewing.

Anyhow, you should teach your dog to chew food. Give it the food from the bowl and hold a part of the edible bone or meat, you don’t have to push or fight the food, only keep holding and leave your dog try to eat at its own way until find the better way.

We desire at that moment you feel more confortable with raw diet and inspired to start soon, every week we will be talking about different aspects about foods, increasing our knowledge, however before close this post, we would like to share some keys that could help you in this new diet:

    1. Observation, a great ally for you. Look small signals everyday will be a powerful tool that allows  us to fit and making a perfect diet, learning about dog physiology and looking for the best to them, also we will stay alert in case to see something strange or a sign of disease.
    2. Keep a easy journal about your dog nutrition. You can take notes about basic information, and all significative things that could occurs, how your dog assimilate food, some intolerances,  GI disorders, etc. All of that could be a helping matter in the short term, and tracking your dog health.
    3. Ask to your vet for a blood test before star the new diet. It’s good to know if your dog’s health is good and all is in order. As well,  a complete hemogram and SMDA test, you will know where are starting and will be valuable during your dog lifespan including yearly test to check its condition and making changes in diet according to it.