The feeling that I am doing something wrong..."how will I figure out what works for my dog (or cat)?...There are so many things out there to feed!". These are the thoughts that I feel like most raw feeders do not talk about. The thoughts of error, especially when someone is a beginner at raw feeding, Error is inevitable, improving on mistakes is important, and trial and error is possibly one of the most important things to consider when starting your pet on a new diet. This does not just include switching your pet to a raw diet, it includes all diets (kibble, canned, cooked etc.).
When switching to a raw diet, it is likely that you will change, whether it be slight or drastic, the way you raw feed your pet (grinds, cuts, whole prey etc.) throughout your entire career of raw feeding your pet. Dogs change throughout their lives, cats change throughout their lives, animals get picky and build intolerances. There are so many factors related to what you feed your pet...you cannot simply know everything your pet will love and eat their entire lives.
For example, when switching to a raw diet, your pet might tolerate one type of protein for a few weeks and then simply will not eat that same protein (even if you are providing variety in the diet). This has happened to me with one of my dogs, Flik and one of my cats Smooshie. Flik started off tolerating everything and anything, however as he grew into his 2 year old phase, he started to not tolerate certain bone cuts - he would digest duck feet but not duck wings. Smooshie started off eating fully raw, and now cannot tolerate anything poultry (she will throw up duck, chicken, turkey etc.). This seems trivial, however it can be frustrating for a raw feeder who has been feeding this way for a very long time and their pet has been thriving, and all of a sudden the pet doesn't tolerate the food or simply won't eat it. It is hard, as a pet parent, to accept that what you've known to be plentiful and healthy for your pet, is not ideal for them anymore.
This is why variety is so so important! Rotating different protein types and bone types can help decrease the prevalence of, for example, digestive intolerances. However, sometimes, since every animal is different, varying the food is not a complete prevention to a drastic change in diet for your pet.
When you feed something to your pet that doesn't necessarily agree with them, even though you did everything in your power to do it correctly (ex: they get diarrhea, vomit, won't eat), it is hard not to blame ourselves. It is difficult to accept failure, because the food you give your animal, defines, to a high extent, the health of your animal. It is important to remember that error to some degree will happen, but the severity of that error can be diminished by adequate research before switching, being educated on your pet's needs and being open to many different options of raw feeding and not just one type of raw feeding.
All of these meals pictured above are previous raw meals that I have fed my dogs over the past 3 years. They are all different (to some extent), and provide a varied way for my dog's to eat. This doesn't just mean grinds, whole prey or cuts of meat. It means different proteins, different extras (if you add extras), even different amounts of food for each meal. For me, I have found that varying EVERY aspect of my animal's meals has contributed greatly in their raw diet success.
DISCLAIMER: It is always important to do your own research first in regards to raw feeding or feeding fresh foods for your pet (dog or cat). Every animal is different! What may work great for some may not work great for others. It is important to know that if you are a beginner at raw feeding, there are tons of ways to feed fresh raw foods to your pets (commercially prepared, freeze dried etc.). Starting out can be a little difficult, so if you do your research accordingly, then you'll have more knowledge about EVERY aspect of raw feeding. Remember, if you are not ready to feed a raw diet to your pets, wait to transition and utilize the help of experienced raw feeders, connect with integrative veterinarians, read books geared towards a holistic dog diet and gain knowledge from all of your research so you can effectively give your pet the nutrition it needs to thrive. "The Raw Fed Pet" site is only for informational/educational purposes and is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical conditions.
Did you know?
GREEN LIPPED MUSSELS ARE GREAT FOR JOINT HEALTH?
"In addition to their inflammatory healing properties, these mussels are considered a superfood because they contain a huge variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, Omega-3 fats, antioxidants, enzymes, and many more nutrients" (source).