Tuesday, November 4, 2014

That Was...Fun While It Lasted?

Hey, y'all! Today's post might be a bit of a ramble, so sorry in advanced!

After much worrying, thought, debating and figuring, I've decided to take the Duo off of raw. I know, I know: I sounded so gung-ho about in my prior posts, and there are some incredible benefits to raw. However, my two have expressed some not so pleasant side effects that I initially brushed off as detox, but now seriously concern me and have brought me to the conclusion that raw is not for us.

It is so incredibly easy to join raw feeding groups or talking to others who feed raw and get caught up in this...near cult religion of raw feeding. All you hear is how much better raw is than anything else, all these insane benefits ranging from a glossier coat to damn near immortality (some raw feeders are a bit, uh, extreme), all the diseases and parasites it supposedly "prevents" (there is not evidence that I've found to support this), and the list goes on and on. I joined one Facebook group for raw feeders and got sucked in. For the most part, they seemed like a wonderful bunch with amazing stories of raw  feeding and lots of encouragement. That is, in the beginning.
Any time you switch food, for most dogs anyway IME, you're going to deal with some changes. It varies from dog to dog and how dramatic the switch was of course, but that's the general consensus when you have dietary changes. In the beginning I brushed off the less than stellar things I was noticing in my dogs as part of the raw "detox" (looking back though, my dogs didn't have much -if anything - to detox from. They were coming off of home cooked for Nola and Orijen kibble for Pike). As we approached week 4 of raw, and symptoms were still persisting, I went onto the Facebook group and queried fellow raw feeders. This is where things started to go down hill. I was either ignored, brushed off, or had people explaining that raw was "better than anything else no matter the symptoms". Uh, okay. Sure. Whatever you say. Or not! I do not think there is a single diet that is appropriate for all dogs. There just isn't. The majority of raw feeders seem to think it's raw or nothing, and if you ask me that's a dangerous mentality.

I've given it over two months, and I have seen some very nice changes in my dogs. Pike lost three of his retained canine teeth due to chewing bone. Nola is softer and even shiner than before. Poop is for the most part tiny with next to no smell (more on that in a bit though). I like being able to see exactly what they're eating. Pike has interest in food for the first time in his life. It's less intensive to prepare than home cooked.
That's where the good ends for us. Both dogs have watery and gunky eyes. This is more concerning with Nola to me; Pike has had watery eyes on occasion his whole life (although he's never, ever had staining from it like he has on raw), but not once has Nola experienced this in her four years on earth. Nola gulps the raw so fast it scares me. Nola's had frequent bouts of constipation, and Pike has infrequent diarrhea. We're currently dealing with some serious cannon butt from him. Not pleasant with those fluffy legs and behind, let me tell you.
Raw is insanely expensive, and I was feeding Pike high quality kibble before. My area is poor and uncultured, so I have to order the vast majority of their meat, and shipping on top of the meat price itself is staggering. I worry about balancing it correctly. I worry about Nola choking when she inhales it. I worry about salmonella; not for the dogs, as it isn't terribly dangerous to them, but to myself and my human family. These concerns are much smaller factors than their physical symptoms, but they still play a role.

I know that raw works for some dogs. Mine just didn't happen to fit in that group.

I'm not quite sure what I will do with their diet next. Pike is almost certainly going back on kibble, although I'm not yet set on brand. I'm unsure if Nola will go back on homemade or on to something like The Honest Kitchen. I'm still researching and will let you know when and what I decide.

Please, no rude comments. If you have a suggestion on food, please feel free to share. Must be grain free. Mostly I'm looking at kibble recommendations for Pike, as Nola is more specific.

Dachshund Mommy


  1. I can't see why anyone would leave a rude comment. They are your dogs, feed them the diet you are most comfortable with. I would recommend Great Life kibble (http://www.doctorsfinest.com/), It comes in many varieties and has the benefit of a freeze-dried raw outer coating, so you get some of the benefits of raw w/o the negative side. I use it when I travel and as training treats, and fed it before I went raw. I feed the pre-packaged raw that has already been balanced as I agree with you it is hard to be sure when you do it yourself. And, yes, ridiculously expensive!

  2. Previous paws was on a raw food diet when she came to us but it never did her digestive system any good. In the end we went on to kibble and cooked chicken, so much better for her. I think you have to find something healthy and suits your dog and not all dogs are the same !
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  3. Bottom line is you have to find what works for your dog. You gave raw an honest effort and it just wasn't working. Like Taryn said, there is no need for rude comments as they are your dogs and you know what is best. For food we have Tucker on Taste of the Wild. He has done great on it. But again ... what works for one doesn't necessarily work for others. Good luck!

  4. I feed the honest kitchen with a small amount of good grain free kibble, I like the taste of the wild. I did review a product last year called I and Love And you that was dehydrated or they had kibble. Grain free. Kinda spendy but it seemed very awesome.

  5. When we first brought our Chinese Crested, Pepper, home, she had been on raw her entire life. She looked good and it seemed to agree with her, but there was just something missing that I couldn't put my finger on. After she was with us for a couple of weeks, she just wasn't interested in eating the raw food any longer and started skipping meals. She especially disliked chicken. Amber and Max were eating Grain Free Fromm Game Bird kibble and I was very happy with that. Plus, Fromm has never had a recall in all the years the food has been in production. So Fromm might be considered for your duo...Pepper has been on the Fromm for more than a year with very good results.

  6. I give Blueberry Acana - Lamb and Apple in the morning with some canned organic pumpkin and in the evening, the Acana with about 3 tablespoons of I and Love and You In the Raw Beef - just add water to it - easy peasy. I've been doing this for several months and she has done very well on it. I can't imagine anyone leaving an evil comment here because you aren't going to continue with the raw diet. If it isn't working for your dogs, it isn't working. I can't imagine continuing to give Blueberry something that didn't agree with her! I'm sure you'll find what works for both of them and your budget. :)

  7. I completely agree with you on the extremist raw culture. It's crazy. In the end you have to do what you feel is best for your dogs and if raw isn't working it's okay!

  8. Dogs here were on raw for a long time. Some for their entire lives. When Bella came 5 years ago, she was just on high quality kibble and was in fantastic shape. It was so much easier AND you know they're getting all the minerals they need, so we switched to kibble. After a few problems...Daisy had an allergy to the grain, we switched to No grain. The dogs are in great shape. We just have raw bones, chicken necks, etc plus veggies or cottage cheese on the kibble because SHE thinks kibble looks naked.

    You gave it a good trial, so don't feel guilty about it. The dogs will thrive on whatever you find and all the love you give them.

  9. I agree that there is no one right food for dogs - it is an individual dog's needs that determine what is right. I think you were wise to try the raw, like the saying goes "you never know until you try".

  10. Every dog needs the diet that is best for them. Kudos for trying this diet and realizing it wasn't for your pups.

  11. You are so right - you have to critically assess whether a diet works for your dog and change it, if needed. I am really leery of "cult" type things, like the raw feeding world tends to be.

    I think that there are tons of great grain-free kibbles. I happen to be very opposed to Natural Balance foods because one of their grain-free foods poisoned R back when all those recalls occurred.

    We feed R a home-cooked diet, which we started after his poisoning to try to get his health back on track. We feed Shyla a grain-free kibble.

    Good luck with your changes. To figure out the best diet for my dogs, I used a vet who is trained as a nutritionist (https://www.petdiets.com/). Her name is Rebecca Remillard. She used our dogs' vet records and discussions with us to recommend diets for both of our dogs.

  12. Really interesting. Our friend stopped the raw for almost the same reasons. We'll stick to kibble, as we are always trying to find the best kibble
    Lily & Edward

  13. I appreciate your honest comments. We've been in that undetermined gray area on the subject. Our dogs didn't do well on it either, but it seems to work so well for other dogs. I'm interested to know what you will switch them to.

    Monty and Harlow

  14. I currently use Zignature (GF, chicken, potato free, etc.) for my poodle I found that cutting out potatoes stopped his tear staining. Maybe that will help Pike? Though i don't think Orijen has potato either.


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