If the idea of raw dog food has your tail wagging, you’re in the right place. Feeding your four-legged friend raw food brings with it a whole host of benefits, such as better (and less messy) digestion, shinier fur, and healthier skin. But exactly how do you make the switch?
Raw dog food might not be as simple as slicing open a supermarket can, but with a few pointers under your belt, you can easily incorporate preparing raw dog dishes into your daily routine.
Make sure you check out our Raw Frozen Feeding Guide to get the right weight of food for your dog before you get started.
Preparing Raw Frozen Dog Meals
By far the easiest way to feed raw food is to use pre-prepared raw frozen meals. Meals such as our Wilsons Premium Raw Frozen range have been specifically formulated to be a nutritionally complete and well-rounded meal. Wilsons source high-quality ingredients so you don’t have to, taking the hassle out of making the switch.
Despite that, there’s still a few extra steps to follow. As the name suggests, once you’ve received your raw frozen food, ensure you keep it frozen; handle it carefully like you would any other type of raw meat.
The night before feeding, take the tray out of the freezer and place it into the fridge to defrost slowly. Come the next day, the food should be ready for serving. We’ll explore more serving options next, but once defrosted, raw frozen food can be served much like regular dog food and placed in a bowl.
As you initially make the switch, make time for a transition week, where you gradually ease your dog over to raw food. Start on day one by adding 25% of the new food to your dog’s current food, and as the week progresses, increase the food gradually until you’ve swapped over completely. It’s important to note that you should not mix raw food with kibble however, as this can lead to stomach knotting.
By this point your dog will likely be running around in circles desperately waiting to dig into their new food!
Serving Raw Dog Food
With the preparation out of the way and your dog drooling, now we can focus on the serving. If your dog is quite happy munching on his or her food from their favourite bowl, there’s no reason why they can’t do that with raw food too.
The amount you should serve depends upon your dog’s bodyweight, and as a general rule, owners should feed around 2% of their dog’s bodyweight in food. So if your dog weighs 15kg, feed them 300g. Emphasis on the ‘general’ though, as other factors such as your dog’s breed, health and activity levels should also be taken into account.
You can serve raw food on its own or with cold pressed raw food mixed in; a cold pressed option such as Wilsons Premium cold pressed features the same high quality ingredients as Wilsons Premium raw frozen, and as such it breaks down in your dog’s stomach at the same speed. As noted earlier, don’t mix raw food with kibble, as this increases the risk of stomach knotting.
The Alternative - DIY Raw
Instead of buying pre-packaged raw meals, it may surprise you to learn that you can actually make your own. By sourcing your own ingredients, you can create unique recipes for your dog packed with meat, bone and vegetables.
The DIY option has its pros and cons, and it’s important to note these before choosing to go down this route. On the positive side, you’d have absolute control over the food you give your dog. You would have free rein to tweak the ingredients as you see fit, and you’d know exactly where they come from. You’d also be reducing your use of packaging, depending upon how you source your ingredients.
But while DIY raw food brings with it a lot more control, there’s plenty more work involved. Before buying your ingredients, you’d need to research which meats and vegetables are suitable, and how much to include. You’d also need to find a butcher who can help provide the right cuts of meat, such as scraps, offal and bones that would otherwise go to waste. Of course, you could simply buy fresh cuts of meat intended for humans, but that would significantly increase the cost of feeding your dog.
Ultimately it’s up to you, but it’s clear that buying raw dog food from a dedicated provider such as Wilsons can provide almost all of the same benefits, without the extra work. Our 80|10|10 Core raw frozen range is designed for the DIY feeder. a simple mix of meat, bone and offal, ready for added vitamins and minerals, this range can be fed alongside your dog's favourite fruit, vegetables and supplements.
Beyond The Bowl
It’s time to think outside the bowl now though, as there are plenty of other ways to serve up raw food. If your dog is particularly anxious, unruly, or wary of trying new foods, turn the experience of switching to raw food into a fun one with a Lickimat or slow feeder.
These receptacles make mealtimes an activity and a source of enrichment, encouraging a dog to eat more slowly, while exploring their natural instincts for food. A Lickimat allows you to spread raw food out across a flat grid, requiring the dog to lick their food from it. This stimulates your dog, reducing anxiety and the frustration that can result from boredom.
Finally, with one very contented pooch, it’s important to note that as raw dog food includes raw meat, always wash your hands after serving, and wash bowls thoroughly.
Now you know how to get started, it’s time for you and your four legged friend to embark upon your raw food adventure.
By following these simple tips, and by transitioning your dog across slowly, in no time at all they’ll be loving their raw food, and you'll be loving how much goodness they’ll be getting from their raw meals.