so you've been following along, looking at pictures, reading...but just when you think you are ready to begin you take a step back and realize you have no idea where to start!
well, the good news is...i really did not either. you read so much about all the "rules," balance, variety and so on...and it freaks you out. you start getting nervous. i get it, and it is okay. i am still learning too. i enjoy learning and try to expand my knowledge every day.
where to start:
start adding to your dog's kibble (it is that easy!)
- you can simply start by adding fresh whole foods such as different ground meats (cooked or not), eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, pulverized veggies, kidney, hearts, sweet potato etc.
- you can also purchase commercial raw and add that in as well if you think that is going to be easier (i personally fed primal, vital essentials, answers pet food)
- you can mix 50/50, but really it is up to you
- add some fish oil! EPA 180mg DHA 120mg
switch to commercial raw
- do away with your kibble entirely (YES!) and start with commercial raw. you will find that the "complete" diets (generally patties or nuggets) are the most expensive. they may range from $30/bag all the way to $60+. you'll want to vary your meats...so this certainly (in my opinion) is NOT the most cost effective way to do things but it may be convenient and easy and give you a great starting point
- you can also add fresh foods (like the ones listed above) to your "complete" diet...however it is not really necessary (look at the ingredients first)
- add your fish oil!
switch to commercial raw, save a little money and add your own supplementation
- look at purchasing raw in 5lb logs (they have smaller as well)
- the logs are not advertised as "complete" diets so you can add fresh whole foods (obviously not meat though) - you should read the ingredients so you know what is in them
- you should still add fish oil and perhaps supplements. i choose to get my supplements from a company called b-naturals. i add the immune blend.
do it yourself!
- when/if you're ready you can have so much fun with this!
- find a meat market (or order) and look for muscle meats, organ meats and raw meaty bones
- if you cook the meat, animal protein should make up 50-75% of the diet (you will need to add calcium to the diet in this case (900mg per pound of food given)
- if you are feeding raw, you can split up the organ meat/muscle meat for one meal and raw meaty bones for the other. that should give you the 40-50% of calcium the dog needs
- you can add some other whole foods (animal protein is what a dog needs though!)
- get some fish oil/supplements
the general rule is 2-3% of a dog's body weight...depending. if your dog is underweight obviously you may need more. if your dog needs to loose weight switching to raw alone may help because the quality is so much better...but you need to remember to take it slow and not just cut their food in half. perhaps cutting back by 10% per week may be a good place to start.
if you need some help, i am happy to assist. do not let someone fool you into paying them for nutrition services for your dog. as always, if you have specific challenges or questions you can consult your veterinary professional. do what you are comfortable with.