PetCorps Pawdcast Episode 1: Is it safe to feed my dogs a raw food diet?

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Is it safe to feed my dog a raw food diet?

With Special Guest Kimberly Gauthier from keepthetailwagging.com

One of your pet's most basic needs is food. With so many choices, what is the best way to feed your dogs?

In recent years, holistic and integrative veterinarians have encouraged the use of a "species appropriate diet."

Dogs fed a kibble diet are experiencing cancer, allergies, joint issues, and behavioral problems.

How long have you been feeding raw and what made you switch from kibble to raw?

In 2013, Kimberly Gauthier switched her dogs to a raw food diet when her dog Rodrigo was experiencing chronic allergies, ear infections, skin rashes, itchy paws, digestive issues, joint issues, and behavioral issues. This all happened within the first three years of his life, and he was constantly going back to the vet for treatment.

Soon after that, she heard about the raw food diet. She did some research and when Rodrigo developed another rash, she made the switch thinking she didn't have anything to lose if she tried.

She started feeding Darwin's Natural (https://www.darwinspet.com/) and began to see a major difference in Rodrigo's health within two weeks.

What reservations did you have when starting out?

"The only thing I was concerned about was the cost," Kimberly said.

Premade raw is more expensive than homemade raw

Is it possible to feed raw on a budget?

"I made some sacrifices," Kimberly said. She changed her buying habits in order to shift her financial resources towards caring for the dogs.

Raw food co-ops can help save money.

In Washington and Oregon, Kimberly works with WAzzuOR (http://www.wazzuor.com/)

Co-ops can get the best deals from pet food and meat distributors and local farms. The best price is achieved by buying in bulk. This is the main advantage of being a member of a raw food co-op.

What are your dogs like today, after feeding raw for 5 years?

Rodrigo and Sydney are 8 years old.

Rodrigo's prognosis five years ago was to have a leg amputation and a short lifespan. Today, he is active and happy as he races across their five-acre property. His behavior is better and he is more receptive to training.

Sydney had a partial cruciate tear a few years ago, as a result, she has some joint issues. While she is overweight due to her health issues, she is getting healthier and her partial cruciate tear has healed.

Scout and Zoey started eating raw when they were six weeks old. Both have been exceptionally healthy.

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Strategies for Starting Out

  1. Start feeding fresh food.
  2. Make your own treats.
  3. Add supplements in the form of whole foods. Raw sardines are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Duck feet and chicken feet are an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Oysters provide zinc, selenium, manganese, and magnesium. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. She also uses raw goat's milk.

Recommended Supplements that Kimberly Uses

Kimberly recommends In Clover Optagest for daily digestive care and immune support. (https://amzn.to/2He7ny4)

Kimberly also recommends FullBucket Daily Dog Probiotic Powder (https://amzn.to/2H929b7)

What is the best strategy for transitioning from kibble to raw?

You can go cold turkey. With Scout and Zoey, when they were picked up they were eating Purina in the morning and by the time they arrived at their new home, they were immediately eating raw.

Rodrigo and Sydney were slowly transitioned. They ate kibble in the morning and raw in the evening until the kibble was gone. Then they were fed 100% raw.

The easiest way to transition is by feeding premade raw. This is raw food prepared commercially. It can be more expensive, but it saves a lot of time and adds a layer of convenience.

You can do DIY raw, which is less expensive but will require a bigger time commitment. If going this route, start with a "fast day" or "light meal day."

Start with something easy and small, like a chicken wing or duck wing for a small dog. Or try chicken quarters for a larger dog.

Do that for a week. Then add another piece of meat. And then repeat the process again, adding a new piece of meat each week.

Go slowly to acclimate the dog's digestive system to the new food. Going too fast could cause diarrhea and GI upset, which might make you rethink going raw.

If diarrhea does happen, go back a step and stay there a little bit longer.

What about a balanced diet?

While a balanced diet is important, it isn't necessary to get hung up on balancing the diet from the beginning. The important thing is to simply get started and balance the diet over time.

Why should pet owners be cautious of a kibble diet?

The major problem with kibble is the ingredients. The ingredients are questionably sourced and are not ideal for the dog's nutritional needs. The extrusion process cooks out all of the natural nutrients. Manufacturers add back in synthetic vitamins and minerals which are not easily metabolized by the dogs.

Regarding kibble, Kimberly said, "This is really bad for dogs. It's especially bad for cats. I honestly, though, I think it's criminal to actually sell kibble to cats."

What about people who can't switch to raw?

Start by making batches of bone broth and add it to your dog's kibble. To add moisture and nutrients to the kibble. It will make the meal a whole lot healthier. Consider adding vegetables too.

Get Kimberly's bone broth recipe at keepthetailwagging.com/bonebroth

Kibble vs. Raw Comparison Chart

https://petcorps.net/show/episode1.pdf

12 episodes available. A new episode about every 13 days averaging 26 mins duration .