Raw Feeding: DIY or completes?

Since bringing Colin home as an 8 week old puppy we have been a raw fed household. As someone who knew admittedly little to nothing about raw feeding before I decided to bring Colin home, I was absolutely terrified that somehow he would not get all the nutrients he needed and so, I decided to feed him complete minces. Complete minces are available directly from a number of different companies (our favourites are Poppy’s Picnic and Benyfit Natural) and many pet stores, including Pets and Home and Pets Corner are beginning to stock a variety of raw food. It is an incredibly easy way to feed raw without worrying that you’re missing any vital elements whilst still seeing most of the benefits of a raw diet (more on this later!).

Although I was very happy feeding complete raw meals, I have always wanted to have a go at preparing my own meals for Colin and Rhapsody. It took me joining the Facebook group ‘Rants of Raw Fed Dogs‘ last month to finally convince me to give it a go. But I was still worried that I would miss something and would end up causing the dogs to have some kind of deficiency. Thankfully, Aniforte have the answer to this – their BARF complete supplement mix! The supplement contains all the essential nutrients and minerals essential for a health life. These include; eco-marine algae, malt germ, brewer’s yeast, seaweed meal, natural eggshell powder, flaxseed flour and a herb mix with milk thistle fruits, nettle leaves, blackberry leaves, chamomile and dandelion root. Armed with the knowledge that I knew I would be covering all the bases I decided to give it a go!

The basic rules for DIY prey-model raw feeding as as follows:

  • 80% muscle meat (heart, lung, stomach and intestines all come under this category)
  • 10% bone
  • 10% organs (half of which should be liver, half other such as kidney, brain, spleen, etc.)

The biggest challenge for me was working out the bone content. All raw feeders will tell you that if the bone content isn’t right, you will know about it as your dogs’ poos will be far too soft. As most bones are within muscle meat it can be a struggle to work out how much they need to make up the 10% bone requires, luckily Perfectly Rawsome has an awesome resource which tells you what percentage of each food item is bone.

Let’s do the maths. Colin eats 300g of food per day. Which means he needs 30g of bone to keep everything running smoothly, all good so far. Let’s say I am going to use chicken wings to make up the bone content in his meal. Chicken wings are 46% bone. To work out how many grams of chicken wings he would need I divide 30 by 0.46 which tells me he needs 65.2g of chicken wings to make sure he gets his 10% bone. If I were using a cut with less bone, for example chicken thigh which is only 21% bone I would need more to make up the bone content, 30 divided by 0.21 = 142.9g. Phew. Hard bit done. I have been preparing multiple meals at once and then freezing in portions so that I don’t have to think about these things every day, for my two I can prepare a weeks worth of meals in under an hour.

Ok, so let’s say I have 65.2g of chicken wings in each of our bowl/tubs for Colin’s meals. Next I would add the organ meat. I cheated slightly on this one (yes, I know, not totally DIY) and use a pre-made “Just Offal” mix from Nutriment as honestly I hate handing raw meat and organs are just a step too far for me at the moment. Anyway, I would add 30g of the offal mixture to each bowl or tub and then I top it up to 300g using muscle meat.

Before serving each meal I would then add supplements on top of the meals I had prepared. Both dogs get Aniforte Salmon Oil and the Aniforte BARF supplement granules mixed in with their meat and Rhapsody also gets Aniforte Green-Lipped Mussel Powder for her joints. For more information on the reasons we use the other supplements, please check out our previous blog post on them!

In a raw diet it is important to feed a range of different proteins, I rotate ours with my weekly meal prep as well as trying to feed a range in every meal. Currently in our freezer we have chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, salmon, veal, venison, sprats, duck and pork all of which the dogs get on a regular basis. Occasionally our local farm shop also has more exciting meats in stock such as pheasant and rabbit so the dogs do sometimes get treated to those too!

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Example bowls; chicken necks, salmon, pork mince, chicken hearts, veal offal plus supplements.

My dogs are always super keen for their dinner and, of course, nothing has changed since I swapped them onto their new DIY diet. The main benefit I have noticed of feeding a DIY diet over the complete minces is that both of their teeth have improved dramatically just from having bones every day. Unfortunately if you only feed completes you will not get the same oral health benefit! In the long term, I am fully aware that I will not always have the time/energy to prepare their meals myself so I will endeavour to find a healthy balance between convenient completes and DIY meals, mainly for the oral health benefits.

This post was kindly sponsored by Aniforte UK, all views and opinions remain our own despite this partnership. 

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