So I am realizing that implementing raw (or transitioning to home-cooked or raw), while certainly is not challenging, can be very overwhelming at the start. I am going to try to breakdown some of the most important pieces of how to begin. (Which primarily is...just begin).
While there are certainly many components to raw, you can not focus so much on getting everything perfect that it deters you from starting at all. So, let's start with some basics: simply adding food to your dog's current kibble or freeze-dried meal (or whatever you feed). Some raw is better than none.
Implementing Raw - Adding to Your Dog's Current Diet
1. Just start. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be exact, just start.
2. Add animal proteins - it is what your dog needs (eggs are great too!)
3. Rotate proteins, variety is a good thing (different flavors!)
- Red meat, poultry, organ meats, cultured dairy (I like to give goat milk), eggs
- For beginners, it is very easy to pick up name brands of patties or nuggets (say Primal, Stella & Chewy, etc) and add that. OR you can save by going with 2lb or 5lb logs (say Primal, Vital Essential, etc). OR if you have healthy leftovers from your dinner (obviously and hopefully cooked...you can add that too).
4. Feed your dog its regular meals (of course you can adjust the amount) and add in your choice of protein (from a butcher or grocery store is an option too if you opt not to use pre-packaged stuff. Fresher is better, of course....depends on cost too). You CAN follow the weight chart somewhat on the packaging, however...FEEL YOUR DOG! Are they fat? Are they skinny? Do you want to maintain? If you are giving scrap or going to a butcher, a food scale eventually can be helpful. BUT to keep things easy, start with pre-packaged and then get creative and brave.
5. If you give a pre-packaged raw you can easily just throw that into the bowl and not worry too much. If you are NOT giving ground bone or raw meaty bones (as you get more into raw), you need to supplement with calcium (most pre-packaged raw food WILL have bone in it...read the ingredients)
6. Start giving fish oil capsules to your dog
This is a pretty good and easy start. In no time you will realize how easy it is to full transition into using pre-packaged meals, or getting brave and going to a butcher and exploring more into supplementation.
I like to get my supplements from B-Naturals. Not to mention, there is GREAT information on this website and also wonderful newsletters and also information on a good starter book.
Olson, Lew. Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2015. Print.