New To Fresh Raw Pet Food Feeding? Start Here
Raw Food Pet Feeding Basics
An Important Read – At Least Once)
If your dog (and/or you) are new to raw food feeding let us first congratulate you on this massive improvement you are making in your dog’s life. Second, allow us to sincerely thank you for trusting us. We are honored by your trust and will do everything in our power to make this one of the greatest thing’s to happen to your dog. (Probably only second to being chosen by you to be your dog). If your dog is like most that get this feeding upgrade, they will feel and you will see wonderful improvements within 30 days.
This is a guide to help you and your dog (or cat) enjoy the transition.
- First, your dog is a unique one of a kind, never before, and never again model.
- Second, He or she didn’t come with an owner’s manual and so what might be the right way for your dog might be totally wrong for another dog.
- We are going to make some general suggestions, help you choose which way to proceed, be there to support you with knowledge and experience when you need it, and stay out of the way when you want to steer a unique course. We know that no one knows your dog like you. You know better, their moods, quirks, and even their facial expressions (of course they really have them). Maybe with a little help from us, you by intuition will lead your dog to better nutrition.
Now the first point we need to get out of the way is “Habituation.” Sometimes, people will say, “I tried it but he didn’t like it – took one sniff and walked away, guess he just doesn’t like it. Oh well.” Now if your human baby didn’t want to eat anything but candy would you say the same thing? Of course not!
- Good nutritious food is much better for them than junk food, but if they’d been taught to eat Sugar Frosted Flakes for years they might not recognize good nutrition if it stared them in the face. And this is where you’re special knowledge of your dog comes into play.
- Like the Dad who plays airplane with the baby in the highchair or Mom who Pops her eyes open to get the baby laughing you might need to associate this new food with love or happiness or fun. Make this a good experience for them.
- REMEMBER OUR GOAL HERE. The nutritional value of our raw food is so superior that it IS worth your effort. (To prevent or heal your dogs health problems, make them suffer less, live longer, be fitter and happier, not to mention, diminish your vet bills and waste cleanup). So let’s get to it.
- The sicker your dog, the slower you transition.
- The older your dog, (more habituated) the slower you transition.
- The more sensitive your dog’s GI tract, the slower you transition.
- Bowel movements tell us a lot.
- Some diarrhea or constipation is common initially. Pumpkin is a natural balancer.
- Having to push a little is OK (say goodbye to many of those anal gland squeezing vet visits).
- Some kind of mucous coating or discharge with the poop is OK at first. (Like a bottle brush, raw food scrapes clean the inside of the intestinal wall thereby allowing the future coming nutrients to be absorbed. )
- *Bloody diarrhea is NOT ok.
- Don’t panic, but closer observation is necessary.
- It’s probably not really from your dog but instead pass through of undigested unabsorbed raw food. If it is from your dog is it red? The nearer the rectum the brighter color red it’ll be.
- It could be a hemorrhoid from the new pushing. No problem, it’ll pass. They might have scratched their intestine with a small piece of bone which will probably be ok. BUT, common sense needs to be used here.
- If your dog has repeated bouts of diarrhea and it looks like it has blood in it – take them too your vet. This is very very rare, not to be expected, nor is it an acceptable reaction.
- We recommend a 3 meal per step transition.
- Start with 1/4 raw and 3/4 of your current dog cereal.
- If things are going well, progress to 3 meals of 50% raw and 50% kibble and then to
- 3 meals of 75% raw food 25% kibble.
- Finally (ta-da) they eat raw.
- Remember, you can transition faster or slower.
Want to Try Making Your Own Raw Food?
When we first contemplated how we were going to feed our dog Marlin, we planned to make it ourselves.
We bought and read Dr. Karen Becker's Book called
"Dr. Karen Becker's Real Food For Healthy Dogs and Cats: Simple Home Made Food"
By Beth Taylor, & Karen Shaw Becker.
It starts out being simple enough but then as the book progresses and she goes into making the food balanced and complete, it, in our opinion, gets too complicated. Not that we couldn't do it but making a high quality raw food that is balanced and complete like Marlin's Endurance Blend for example is at the very least super time consuming.
We do encourage you to read her book and go for it if you have the time and like to do this kind of work but must tell you that we have had homemade raw dog food feeders present to our store with dogs that started having seizures which turned out to be due to a missing nutrient. With a complete and balanced diet the seizures stopped and never had another episode.
Some people attempt to just buy their dog raw meat (like 40# boxes of chicken wings from discount grocery stores) and add some vegetables. They tell us how their dogs are fine. We feel that it might work but are concerned about the lack of assurance of that "complete and balanced" bit. To aid in this, we offer a number of different vitamin pack additives. Some are natural and obtained from vegetables (some dogs are allergic to certain vegetables) and some are synthetic (which are less expensive but not as well absorbed). In our final analysis, considering the time and effort (difficulty and trouble obtaining all the ingredients) it isn't much if any cheaper to buy a high quality fresh frozen pre-made food like that offered here at Marlin's Raw Superfoods. Whichever you choose, we are happy to support you in any way that we can. Because we know that you truly love your animal and understand the value that a species appropriate raw food diet will have on the overall health of your dog and cat.
Dr. Mark, Carol, Erin and the rest of us at Marlin's Market.
Cooking our raw food is a NO NO! Whole prey raw food typically has bone in it and cooking the bone makes it turn from edible and digestible to sharp, brittle and dangerous. Heating the food is risky for the same reason. BUT, a good bit has been written about
- “Prey Warm”. As it would be sometimes in nature.
- I put the tea kettle on the stove when I prepare dinner for my dog. His food will be thawed but usually still cool to cold. Just before I feed him I often pour just a tiny bit of hot (not boiling) water on his meal and stir it in just enough to take the chill off.
- I put Marlin’s food on a pie plate or a bamboo paper plate. And spread it out a little. This way if there is something he wants (by smell or taste) to avoid, he eats around it instead of rejecting the whole bowl because he can’t distinguish one part from the rest.
- I give Marlin about 30 minutes to eat. Sometimes he wolfs it down in 30 seconds and sometimes he starts and stops.
- If your dog is hungry. . . they’ll eat when given the opportunity. But remember, they are discerning enough to hold off for YOUR meal, so if you want your fur baby to “eat their vegetables” you can’t give them their dessert until they do.
- Predators in the wild don’t catch their prey twice a day every day – sometimes they miss a meal, it’s very OK, it’s natural and even healthy.
- FASTING. In the wild, predators (your ancestral dog) typically fast a day a week, eating nothing or very little. This is GOOD for predators in that it gives the gastrointestinal tract a chance to rest, cleanse and repair. So if your dog or cat doesn’t eat for a day or two (by their choice) it’s ok. Examine their food, does it smell . . . different than normal (yes, believe it or not you’ll get used to the smell and recognize when it’s off), If that’s the case, by all means throw it out and make their next meal a fresh one.
- We will pick up what’s left after 30 minutes (90% of the time it’s an empty bowl) and Saran Wrap it and fridge it for the first offering of next meal. If they reject it a second time, then we put down new fresh the next meal and discard the rejected leftover (it might be prominently kidney and your particular pet child might just LOATHE kidney – pronounced lima beans in my own case).
- Remember to pick up the food bowl AND THE WATER BOWL and get them in the wash with hot soapy water. It isn’t diseased or dangerous, but like raw hamburger, common sense handling is expected of you.
- Take tomorrow’s out of the freezer when you clean their dishes. If you need to and put it in the fridge for a 24 thaw or on the counter for a 8-10 hour thaw.
- In the refrigerator. We recommend that you keep it on a bottom shelf (that way if any were to drip, the drop wouldn’t land on your food.) Furthermore, we keep it in a sterilite container. A pitcher works great for chubs because you can stand the plastic bag up so it doesn’t leak. Thawed but kept in the fridge your dog food will typically last 3-4 days but will depend on;
- 1. How cold you keep your fridge (40* max.)
- 2. W2. Where you keep it in the fridge (if you put it in the back on the bottom on the freezer side of a side by side.
- 3. How many times a day do you (or your kids) open the fridge door and how long do you leave it open.
- Leftovers, especially if you made it prey warm. One meal.
With all that being said. You can trust your senses a little. Senses of sight, smell and of course your common too. (common sense). It should be said that raw feeding is not for everyone. If your choices are made for the sake only of convenience than a bag of dog cereal is easier. Try to remember that freshness of dog cereal is only promised when you first open the bag – the fact is that the oils (omega 3,6 etc. once the bag is opened go rancid within a few days). As your pet returns to his roots you will begin to see a truly beautiful thing happen. Their teeth, gums, eyes, ears, coat, muscle/fat ratio and host of other things improve. You will know that this is the right thing and probably wonder how the clever marketing people ever convinced the public that feeding meat to A CARNIVORE was wrong, or dangerous but feeding A CARNIVORE “dog cereal” was right. If you can do this, your dog will very probably live a healthier happier longer life and you will probably, like us become a raw food enthusiast. Carol and I will help you and your pet through the transition. If you need help you can call Marlin’s Market. Our staff is convinced of the “Rightness of Raw” and will do their best to help you succeed in your quest for a healthier happier pet. Sincerely, Dr. Mark and Carol D’Amato
It's Worth It - You'll See A Difference in 30 Days
We have research showing puppy litters divided into groups. 1/2 were fed a fair quality kibble and the other 1/2 were given a raw food diet and when they were tested, the RAW FOOD FOOD FED PUPS TESTED TWICE AS INTELLEGENT as their kibble fed litter mates. The breeder did the same thing with another litter and got the same results!
Turns out that the Whole Prey Raw contained among other body parts - brain which had components in it which were able to cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) and improve development of the pups brains' .