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The Chew: The Raw Diet

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark & Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

I first met Saphy, Vega and Boudreau on an in-home registration. It was hard not to fall in love. Saphy, the oldest of the three dogs, is blind and follows you with her nose. Vega is light brown and small. She wears a constant look of concern on her face. Boudreau is the largest dog with dark patches on his white fur and the attention hog of this Pit-bull crew. They’re three of the most wonderful dogs I’ve known and the first I’ve cared for whose meals are based on the trendy raw diet, specifically, Primal Pet Food.

The first thing I noticed about these dogs is how healthy they are. Each is the perfect weight for their frame. All of them have the shiniest fur I’ve ever seen. They’re strong and athletic. Although she can’t see, Saphy jumps around like a puppy at playtime. Their feces are small and compact with no odor. Did their raw diet have anything to do with it?

Raw Diet Theory

The theory behind the raw diet is to feed your cat or dog food closest to what they would be eating if they were still in the wild. All proteins, usually muscle meat often still on the bone and organ meats such as kidneys and livers are 100 percent human grade, meaning the product is legally suitable and approved as nourishment for humans, as well as antibiotic and steroid free. All fruits and veggies, for example, kale, carrots, squash, broccoli and apples are certified organic with no preservatives added.

Benefits for dogs and cats include better intestinal health, healthier teeth and gums, shinier coats, weight loss, smaller amounts of feces with less offensive odors, urinary tract health and increased energy. Using a ready-made product saves you time in preparing meals from scratch and they are complete diets containing all the essential vitamins and minerals your pet needs. The feeding amount is usually smaller per meal meaning less food is needed.

The Decision

Thinking of my pets, I wondered if a raw diet could help one of my cats that’s overweight as well as my beefy dog? Would it improve the overall health of all three of my cats and dog?

When I was told one of the new products our retail store would be carrying was Primal Pet Food, I decided to make the change. Before trying a raw diet with your pet it’s important to first discuss this dietary change with your vet. My own vet was very supportive of my decision, especially for my dog. Your vet can guide you on how to ensure your pet will receive a balanced diet and remain healthy through the transition.

Transitioning to a Raw Diet

It’s important to start your pets off slowly when moving to the raw diet. Read the transition instructions the company provides on the back of the packaging. Each pet’s needs will vary depending on size and how much he or she normally eats. Gradually increase the amount of raw food until your pet is eating a full diet of raw products. Take as much time as your pet needs. The Primal Pet Food website has a great feeding calculator to determine the amount your pet should be fed. If your pet has a sensitive stomach, you may want to give him a digestive enzyme. Speak with your vet about recommended dosage.

Future Results

I begin the transition this week and will keep a journal to report any changes in my pets from their raw food diet. I will share my results over the next few weeks.

If you already use Primal Pet Food products or would like more information, we sell them at competitive prices in our retail store and Bark + Boarding (formerly Dog Paws n Cat Claws) staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Sitting Manager and Company Writer

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