It's been one year since I've started Cookie on raw. I am following the BARF model (meat and some veggies and fruits). I try to add as much variety as I can (chicken, beef, turkey, fish, lamb). I feed meat, bones and organs. I add eggs and plain yogurt.
It doesn't take much more of my time to prepare raw meals than it did to feed my dog kibble (I did feed kibble for 6 years). Once a week I go to the market and buy fresh meat, I cut it into peaces and put them in bags, then in the freezer. I wish I had more space in the freezer but I don't see it happening any time soon.
I will only write about my experience and the changes I have noticed on my dog.
No changes noticed on:
* Coat (it's shiny and healthy as it was on kibble; shedding twice a year, in spring and fall).
* Teeth (white with no tartar; I don't brush that often though. Great teeth for an almost 8 year-old dog!)
* Stool (much less stool, more firm. No diarrhea or vomiting issues! When I fed kibble, those happened pretty often - once or twice in 2-3 months)
* No bad breath or flatulence!
* Orthopedic issues (Over the past years Cookie had a fair share of orthopedic issues - 2 ACL injuries, one of which required a surgery, and elbow dysplasia, diagnosed in August 2012. He used to limp on that elbow occasionally (maybe once a month), regardless the fact that he was on glucosamine & chondroitine supplements and restricted exercise. Since we started the BARF diet, the problems disappeared, like magic. I don't supplement his food anymore. He gets natural glucosamine from chicken and turkey necks, chicken feet and beef trachea)
* He developed nice muscle tone (No matter how much exercise he got, how much protein the food he was on had, he never had such a nice muscle tone)
A year ago
* Blood panel results improved. Please not the Calcium (Kalcijum) and Phosphorus (Fosfor) levels. This makes me very suspicious of "complete super premium dry foods"
September 2012 (Super Premium dry food)
September 2013 (raw)
As you can see, the levels of Calcium and Phosphorus were "off" when the dog was fed kibble, but were completely normal when the dog was fed raw. This is for all of you who have concerns about whether you can make a balanced meal when home-preparing your dog's food and put too much faith on the bag labels. Also in 2013. the dog got Piroplasmosis (Babesiosis) twice. The drug used to treat Babesiosis is very harmful to the liver. I was glad to see that there was no damage done and that the liver levels weren't too off. They were off while the dog was on kibble too, but nothing worrisome.
* No more hyperactivity! Where did my hyper Marley go? Maybe there is some truth about dogs and too much carbs in kibble. The dog is still energetic, but not hyper.
I would also like to add that I feel more comfortable with feeding real, fresh food to my dog than with feeding kibble and putting faith in labels and kibble manufacturers. Feeding real, natural vitamins and meat proteins, without worrying whether 30% or 40% protein is too much or too little. I do feel it is more healthy for him and I am happy to see him happy and healthier than ever!