Raw feeding Cooper

I'm pretty obsessed with our new dog right now. He is so freaking cute!

Sorry if you are friends with me and you are already sick of my Facebook updates.

We bought Cooper home on last Monday, and on Tuesday I took him to the vet for a check up and was told that he had a fever. Nothing too serious, but he needed antibiotics :0(

Being a GAPS family, I don't like antibiotics, but sometimes they are necessary - and I'm told you don't mess around with a puppy who has a temperature.

So along with the antibiotics, we gave Coop some homemade probiotics - raw milk kefir.

The result?

One happy puppy.

Some people have been surprised to hear that I fed our dog Kefir. I understand. Before we started our real food journey my family had a dog who was fed on kibble - but that's not how we feed Cooper.

Raw feeding just makes sense. Dogs are designed to eat raw, meaty, bones and organ meats. They're carnivores. As I've discovered that I don't want to feed my (omnivore) children grains, I have no intention of feeding them to my (carnivore) dog. He just wasn't designed to eat that. Interestingly, I know a friend who has worked extensively with 'problem' dogs and he is convinced a lot of the difficult behaviours are diet related. You don't feed a kid with ADHD a tonne of e-numbers, but most people wouldn't think twice about giving that hyperactive puppy whatever comes in the packet!

You can check the ingredients on any commercial dog food, there's barely any meat, and it's not lamb, it's 'lamb meal' - mechanically stripped, processed and heated until there is no nutrition left in what was the only nutritious part of the dogs food!

By its not just a nutritional ideal that made me want to feed Cooper raw.
Here are just a few of the benefits that raw feeding your dog provides:

* improved teeth, oral health and breath - avoiding 'doggy breath' is nearly enough to convince me on its own!
* improved digestion
* improved skin and coat (raw fed dogs don't get eczema!)
* less poop! The dog uses more of the food so there is less waste, and it doesn't smell so bad
* it's stimulating - working the neck and jaw muscles hard to strip meat from a bone keeps a bored puppy from finding furniture to chew...
* reduced vet bills as the dog is less likely to get sick
* improved temperament

Just a word of advice, vets don't love this diet. Well, doctors often don't like GAPS.

I learned very early on in my family's journey toward health that if something has to be advertised, it's not real food. Pet food companies market their food at veterinary clinics, I don't consider my vet to be unbiased in this matter.

Amendment: we saw the same vet a week after we started feeding Cooper raw food. He had put on 25% of his body weight in 7 days (he was underweight before) and was fit and healthy for his vaccinations! I did tell the vet about raw feeding and his response? 
Whatever you are doing, keep doing it. This puppy is thriving on it!'

As a general rule, a dog should eat 2-3% of his ideal adult body weight in raw food - a puppy needs this split into four small meals, but an adult can eat it in one go in the morning. We try to base Cooper's diet on proportions that would be available to him in nature, so cutting up an entire rabbit carcass to feed him over two days, using organ meats for treats etc... (thank goodness for my dehydrator!)

There are tonnes of great websites that can help you learn more about raw feeding. Here are just a few:

Raw Food Vets
UK Raw Meaty Bones
Raw Fed


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