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!

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. 


Raw Review: Nutriment

First off, a big thank you to Nutriment, we’re thrilled to have them on board for this little project. As we’ve started many times before; our aim is to help show people that raw feeding can be an easy and inexpensive alternative to kibble and to encourage people to make the change to raw. We would not be able to do this without your support, so thank you.  To our readers, please remember this is just our opinion and our only aim is to promote raw feeding and help people choose the right supplier for them.With that covered, on to our fifth supplier: Nutriment.

Nutriment is the last of the big three suppliers that we will be trialling. Nutriment have been at the forfront of raw feeding since they opened in 2013, they produce a staggering 180 tonnes of raw products a month and their products are available in dozens of pet shops up and down the country. They pride themselves in buying British wherever feasible, working alongside like-minded local businesses for design, printing, copywriting etc. and supporting the local community in which they operate. Their long term relationships with leading breeders, vets and trainers mean they’re well versed in dreaming up, fine-tuning and preparing nutritious, well-balanced pet food brimming with appetite appeal. They’re constantly evolving their range of bold, fresh flavours and pioneering meal formats, appreciating that dogs come in different shapes, sizes and life stages.

Conducting the review, for those of you that aren’t regular readers, are Colin and Rhapsody. Colin is an 18 month old miniature poodle-border collie mix who weighs 10.1 kg, we have had him since October 2014 at just 8 weeks old. He has been raw fed since he was weaned off his mother’s milk and can be a little fussy about what he eats. Rhapsody is a miniature poodle weighing in at just 5.2 kg, we adopted her in January 2015 from Colin’s breeder. She has been raw fed since she was about a year old and I have never seen her refuse anything edible!

The two gorgeous testers

We received a selection of 500 g complete mince tubs in Beef, Duck, Chicken, Salmon and Turkey varieties and supplemented this with three 1.4 kg mince chubs and some meaty bones from our local pet shop.

Pup appeal: how much Colin and Rhapsody liked the food (9/10) – Nutriment mince went down very well in our house. The mince wasn’t the best we’ve ever had but it wasn’t too far off. They especially liked the Turkey and Salmon minces, thankfully the Salmon did not have the same windy effects of some other fish varieties we have tried! We have fed Nutriment bones since Colin was a puppy as they were available in our local pet shop and they continue to be a hit. 

Poop rating: what it says on the tin, how good their poop is! (5/5) – I cannot flaw Nutriment at all based on the pups’ bowel movement. From day 1 they were nice and firm, we didn’t have a single loose stool the entire trial.

Packaging rating: how easy the food is to use/store and labelling (4/5) – Nutriment mince comes in either 500 g tubs or 1.4 kg chubs (big sausages of mince). The 500 g tubs are great, they stack well in the freezer and we had no leaking at all when defrosting which was great. If you do not use the whole tub in one sitting you can just pop the lid back on and put it back in the fridge. The chubs were a bit more of a challenge, once they are open you need to decant them into a plastic box which was interesting the first time but once you’ve got the technique down it’s not an issue! We defrosted them in ziplock bags as we assumed they would leak but we’ve had no leakage so far! Nutriment does not have specific bone percentage on their packaging which could make using their mince tricky for those that follow a DIY raw diet. 

Price: value for money (8/10) – if feeding the 500 g tubs Nutriment works out to be in the middle of the field price wise; they range from £1.50 to £2.90. You can also buy multipacks of the 500 g tubs which work out at better value that buying individual tubs (10 kg for £32.00). The chubs are where Nutriment comes into it’s own, if you have multiple dogs or large dogs then the chubs work out at fantastic value, in fact we have only found one supplier online that can beat them on price per kg of meat. For a 1.4 kg chub prices range from £3.40 to £6.70, if you’ve got a large doggy family they are definitely worth trying! The bones from Nutriment are on the expensive end, they are of a good quality but a little too pricing for our liking.

Quality: quality of the mince; quality of bones (8/10) – the minces were generally of a high quality. We found a few of the varieties was a little too bloody for our liking but overall the minces were fairly chunky and did not seem over processed. Additionally, Rhapsody had suffered from a dry nose since we got her, we always just assumed that it was just the way she was but, three days into our Nutriment trial, her nose was suddenly nice and wet as it should be! Clearly she was missing something in her diet that Nutriment provided. The bones from Nutriment were fairly average, they were quite meaty but not the best we’ve had. 

Variety of products (4/5) – Nutriment stocks a wide range of different proteins across their mince ranges. Their Adult range has nine different protein varieties including venison and duck as well as all the more widely available proteins and they also offer Puppy, Senior, Just.. and Dinner for Dogs ranges. Their bones are more limited in range, they have a variety of necks available but only four other bones.

Delivery and ordering: ease of ordering and quality of the delivery (4/5)  – the Nutriment website is simple and easy to navigate. Shipping is determine by the weight of the food you order, 5-12kg is £6.50, 13-24kg is £9.00, 25-36kg is £11.00 and over 37 kg is free, all ordered are shipped for next day delivery. Their products are also available at dozens of pet shops around the country, their website has a retailer locator so you can locate the nearest Nutriment stockist to you. This is very useful if you do not have the freezer space to store large quantities of food!

Overall we were pleasently surprised by our Nutriment trial. Of the three main suppliers we found their mince to be of the best quality and, especially when feeding the chubs, it was also the best value. With the added bonus of Rhapsody’s dry nose clearing up, the pups thoroughly enjoyed the food that Nutriement had to offer and we would definitely recommend their food to friends and family. Nutriment is great for humans that want to feed their pooches a complete raw diet with as little faff as possible but I think it might be difficult for those experienced raw feeders that like to DIY due to the lack of specific bone percentages on their packaging.

 Website: www.nutriment.co

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrimentraw

Instagram: www.instagram.com/nutrimentraw

Twitter: twitter.com/NutrimentRaw

Raw Review: Natural Dogs Direct

Before we start this review we would firstly like to thank all the suppliers that have got on board with this project. The aim is to help show people that raw feeding can be an easy and inexpensive alternative to kibble and to encourage people to make the change to raw. We would not be able to do this without your support, so thank you.  Secondly we would like to say that we realise that there are people who do not support this project. We understand that and everyone has a right to their own opinions. This is just our opinion and our only aim is to promote raw feeding and help people choose the right supplier for them, if you have a problem then please just don’t read our reviews. With that covered on to our first supplier: Natural Dogs Direct.

NDD is a small, family run business based in Staffordshire UK. It is run by a husband and wife team, Sureyya and Efdal, who run the whole NDD operation as well as looking after their two little girls and chief tasters, Kaiser the doberman and Pug. They are working very hard behind the scenes to make NDD the best in raw feeds and we certainly think that they are well on their way! They work out of an industrial unit in Burton-on-Trent in East Staffordshire and all their products that are used in the production of their products are sourced from local human grade meat suppliers in the local area. They have ensured that all the statutory standards required for the production of pet foods (DEFRA/AHVLA – 37/009/8009 ABP/PTF GB286R3013) have been met and approved. Their philosophy is that “Your pets are just as important as your children and deserve a healthy and nutritional diet” and we wholeheartedly agree with them.

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Raw Feeding Project

We are super excited to announce our first major project. The aim is to compare the raw dog food avaliable from different suppliers in the UK and hopefully find the best complete raw food for our pooches. I decided to start this project as I have found that many people would like to fed raw or are interested by raw feeding but don’t know where to start or where to source their food from. Hopefully we will find the best source of a complete raw dog food and be able to share our finding with you! Of course these will just be our opinions and every dog is different but by posting our honest thoughts and photos of the products we receive we hope we can help encourage people to take the leap of faith and start feeding raw!

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