It has been almost two years since I started feeding my dogs raw. I am so amazed and thrilled as I continue to learn more and more each day and love finding out new ideas of how diet impacts daily life so much. I have found that most people are not very familiar with raw and really do not understand all the truths and myths that surrounds it. Some people are not even open to researching it to find the truth. That is okay - it will always be an uphill battle, especially for as long as a kibble company sponsors the nutrition sector in vet school (a super short course).
I am discouraged when I continuously hear some of routes people have been advised to take with their dogs, resulting in no changes at all and potentially making the problem even worse (or certainly putting the dog through a lot). Like I always say, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. My goal is to educate people and put the message out there about proper diets so people begin to do some of their own research. It is all about planting the seed. Different dogs and different challenges NEED different diets. Not all dogs are the same. But raw (or home cooked definitely allows you to control that).
Fresh whole foods (the ones the kibble companies try to advertise as going into their cooked food) are the best thing you can give to your dog. Think about yourself. Going to McDonald's for a "complete" meal, or home cooking proper foods without fillers? Raw allows you to take out ingredients from the food and give them in a fresh form WITHOUT all the added junk (which causes a lot of the issues people spend $$$ on trying to fix such as excessive itching or spend on "special prescription" diets). And you have WAY more control doing it yourself ESPECIALLY for a dog with challenges. Think about going to a restaurant for example - so many additional things are added to the food to make it taste good. When you do it yourself...you know exactly what you are eating and where it is from. From personal experience and my OWN diet I can certainly attest to making certain changes and adding in and taking out certain foods and how it has impacted me personally. Diet is a lot of trial and error - but it is better than trial and error with medications not even being able to diagnose the exact problem.
Recently, I have "graduated" raw a bit and am moving up to the next level of my commitment to my dogs and helping them live the healthiest life possible. When I started raw I started with commercial raw diets (it is a great way to start in my opinion as all of the information can be overwhelming at first). Prepackaged patties or nuggets, then on to 5lb logs of food so I could better control what was in it (feeding supplements separately).
Here and there I would toss my dogs something extra, but primarily I was feeding strict protein (especially due to my female's incontinence) rotating meats. I finally felt ready to do it on my own though! So I went out on an excursion looking for organ meats, muscle meats, raw meaty bones, and some other things I could add such as sardines, cottage cheese, goat cheese, sweet potatoes, and some other various veggies.
I have so much fun meal planning for my dogs (and when I say meal planning I do not mean taking extreme amounts of time figuring out or preparing their food). I just mean I really enjoy creating their meals and putting together variety. I have the option of what to feed and how I want to feed it. One of the myths surrounding raw feeding is that it is too time consuming. It really is not. Even the way I am doing it now - when I grocery shop, I shop for everyone. What to feed for what meal becomes second nature. Luckily I am trying to eat a lot of the same foods I am feeding my dogs (I just need to cook my meats!) so it makes it easy.
I hope you consider doing some research and looking more into this ESPECIALLY if you have faced certain challenges with your dog (itching is a GREAT example, so is being overweight, or joint issues). Even for those who may have had ongoing or continuous challenges with something and just cannot solve it. Diet COULD be the answer you are missing. There are some really great resources out there and I am SO happy to provide guidance to anyone looking to make this beautiful change for the benefit of their dog!
I look forward to continuing my researches, and I hope this may be a new beginning for you.