I can’t believe it’s only been three months since I began offering our pups raw dog food because the raw diet has already become such an integral part of our daily lives; however, it wasn’t until early June of this year that Missy & Buzz got to experience “real”, unprocessed food.
Since then, I have delved into the mystery of raw feeding and while I have already learned a lot, I do realize that there’s much more to soak up!
Darwin’s Natural Pet Products
Darwin’s is located in Seattle, Washington, but ships their raw dog (& cat) food throughout the entire continental US via UPS. Every shipment has arrived safely, on time, and in great condition. They use dry ice to keep the food frozen, and it has worked phenomenally even on those crazy summer days when the temperature has been in the high 90s/low 100s (30-40 C) here in NC.
Their raw food comes pre-packaged in 2 pound entities consisting of four 8 oz packages. Each of those packages can be opened easily with their easy-peel opening, making measuring our pups’ portions a breeze!
Side Note: Both of our pups get fed twice per day; Buzz eats a little over 1 lb per meal, and Missy about 7.5 oz per meal. In order to make the Darwin’s last as long as possible (it’s $131.66 for 24 lb, which includes the shipping cost), I supplement half of each pups’ meal allowance with organic meat from the supermarket.
I am therefore always on the lookout for meat deals at our local supermarket (Food Lion), and am usually able to find value priced meat every single week. It’ll be less expensive because its expiration date is very near (same or next day), so using it pronto or freezing it is necessary.
–> You may have noticed the frying pan being used to cook some of the raw food. This is for Missy, as she has been regurgitating the raw food, only to then re-eat it. I wrote in more detail about it on the blog:
Raw Paws Pet Food
The other online raw dog food company I just recently found out about & tried is Raw Paws Pet Food. They are located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and also ship throughout the entire US.
Their shipments go out via FedEx Home and are also kept frozen in dry ice. We received their first package last week on a 95 F (35 C) day and the contents arrived in impeccable shape/frozen consistency.
I ordered 5 lb of different protein sources (duck, lamb, chicken, beef) which came pre-packaged in long tubes (except for the lamb which came in a plastic bag). They took longer to thaw than Darwin’s packages which makes sense because of the 3 lb difference in volume. Once opened, the contents of the tube needed to be transferred into a storage container, which we do have a large variety of, so that was easy enough to do!
Incentives For First Time Raw Customers
Both companies offer incentives for first time raw customers; Darwin’s “Trial Offer” consists of 10 lb of raw food for $14.95, which I began with before ordering larger amounts.
Raw Paws Pet Food offers $10 in free chews (we got Jumbo Bully Sticks, which the pups LOVE) and waves the shipping costs on the first order over $99.
I spent exactly $99.96 for the total of 20 lb of raw dog food mentioned above.
Knowing How Much To Feed
The formula to follow to figure out how much raw food your dog needs per day is a very simple one: He should be fed between 2-3% of his adult dog’s ideal body weight. Divide that into however many meals your feed your pup(s) per day, and you’re off to a good start.
It has taken a combination of following that formula, the raw food company’s feeding guidelines and observing our pups’ body condition in order to come up with the correct amount of food to feed.
We started with 1 lb per meal for Buzz, and 9 oz per meal for Missy. 1 lb wasn’t enough for our active big boy, and once his ribs were noticeable when he was lying down, we adjusted his allowance per meal. Now he gets about 1.15 lb per meal.
Missy was starting to fill out a little more, which was the perfect indicator to lower her per meal allowance to 7.5 oz. Now their bodies look perfect, featuring nice waistlines and glowing coats!
Measuring Food With A Kitchen Scale
Based on the exact amount of food I mentioned, you probably already guessed that I’m using a food scale to measure out Missy’s & Buzz’s meat allowance.
I began measuring the food with a manual kitchen scale, and was recently able to get my hands on a digital scale which I have been using ever since. It’s a Weight Watchers scale and can measure in both pounds and grams! Very convenient raw dog feeding tool I do not want to miss!
How To Thaw Frozen Raw Dog Food
It’s important to understand how to thaw frozen dog food in order to keep all of its nutrients. Basically, you can either take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge, which can take anywhere between 1-2 days, depending on the volume.
The other method is to emerge the frozen dog food in a bowl with cold water and let it thaw that way. I have noticed that this method is much quicker than the fridge method (about 12 hours), but will only work for smaller amounts of frozen raw (such as the pre-packaged Darwin’s – unless you have a gi-normous bowl!).
NEVER USE THE MICROWAVE TO THAW FROZEN RAW DOG FOOD! It will kill the nutrients!
Raw With Veggies Or Without?
Whether or not to include veggies & fruit when feeding a raw dog diet seems to be the question of the century. Some raw feeders are advocates of raw with veggies & fruits (B.iologicallyA.ppropriateR.awF.ood omnivore style, animals who eats foods of both animal and plant origin), while others take the stand of dogs being carnivores (Prey Model, animals who eat only other animals) and therefore must not be bothered with anything but meat, organs, and bones.
I personally like the idea of adding some veggies to the pups’ meals because a) prey in the wild would have contained veggies and b) the pups really enjoy snacking on some veggies (& fruit)!
Darwin’s raw meals consist of 75% meat (of which 10% are organ meats), and 25% vegetables with a small nutrient mix of important trace minerals from natural sources.
Raw Paws Pet Food follows what is known as the “80/10/10” rule, meaning their complete meals consist of 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ (they also offer just ground meat, as well as meat & bone). They do not include veggies in their meals.
If you’re interested in saving 10% on Dr. Harvey’s products (and who doesn’t want to save??), head over to MyDogLikes.com, click on their Dr. Harvey’s ad in the left sidebar and use their code “MDL915”!
Do you feed a raw diet? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!