Okay everyone, I’ve been feeding the dogs raw since September and I’m starting to feel confident enough about it to tell you.
If I’m being honest, I’ve always been low-key anti-raw. I was never outspoken about it, but my default answer whenever someone brought it up with me was always, “some dogs do seem to do very well on it, but it doesn’t work for my dog.” What I kept to myself was that I felt the benefits of raw were simply from fresh food, and that a cooked fresh food diet would provide the same benefits without the risks (and y’know what, as always I’m still open to that possibility). And yet, something about it always pulled me in from time to time and I’d give it another attempt. I had tried raw with Suki several times, each time with bad results. After the last attempt Jordon made me promise to never, ever try raw again. And I didn’t. For a while.
Enter Roe. The calorie burning machine. While at home the cooked fresh diet worked fine, when we took a trip I started to make the usual meatloaf muffins and gave up about an eighth of the way through because it was just way too much food to pack. We’re talking more food than could fit into our big cooler. We’d have to go with a commercial food for the trip. At the pet store I was eying up a popular brand of freeze-dried raw, but we ended up going with two boxes of dehydrated cooked food.
Guys… The. Gas. The pooping. I can’t even tell you guys about it. The quantity. The frequency. It’s henceforth been dubbed poopocalypse. We’re talking waking us up in the middle of the night because they needed to run outside and poop. Gas so noxious that we’d choke on it when we got back to the room from their nightly poop runs. When Suki started to get diarrhea I convinced Jordon to just try the freeze-dried raw, because it’s not like it could make things worse. He reluctantly agreed.
At this point in time Suki was still on Addison’s medication, but her sodium levels weren’t stabilizing. She needed a minimum of two teaspoons of extra salt each day, and she would still have the occasional focal seizure from low blood sodium levels.
Within a day of giving them the raw food she started to show signs of excess sodium intake, and I cautiously decreased her salt supplement. Within a few days she no longer needed any additional salt at all. She went from barely being able to walk a block to going for a six kilometer nature walk through the river valley. Even Jordon was tentatively sold on it at this point.
Roe had been a plaque magnet at this point. I brush their teeth daily, but he was still accumulating rock hard plaque on his molars and it was getting up to the gumline. I had tried to chip the plaque off with my fingernail, but it was no good. It was causing me a lot of stress, because it was looking like he would need a dental every six months or lose his teeth in a few years, and I’m not comfortable at all with anesthetic that often. Within a few days I decided to try chipping it off again. Guys, half of it just… Flaked away. Just one week prior to the switch I had tried to chip it off and it was like chipping at rock. Since then I’ve also started giving him raw meaty bones and frozen whole herring which have taken nearly all the remaining plaque off.
We continued the freeze-dried raw for a few weeks, then switched to the same brand’s frozen raw. Since then we’ve switched to another brand that doesn’t use high pressure pasteurization and uses less heart meat in their recipes, and the results have been even better. Suki’s eyes are brighter and her coat is blacker, glossier, and softer than it’s ever been. I’m forever the skeptic, but I’m feeling pretty good about raw right now.