When I switched the dogs over to raw, I was so worried I'd do something wrong, inevitably give myself salmonella and feed the dogs the wrong kind or amount. It's actually a lot simpler than you think going in, so in this installment let's look at everything I wish I knew when I started.
You will need freezer space. We are lucky enough to have deep freeze space, but you can make it work in a regular fridge/freezer too, you may just need to take it out of the box.
Raw meat rules apply - if it goes on the ground or counter, if you use bowls, knives etc it all needs to be washed properly to avoid bacteria growth. It will also go bad if you leave it thawed too long.
Generally, I take out 2 days worth of meals at a time to go in the fridge and place them in a separate tub and then wash that tub at least once a week.
The switch: a healthy adult dog should be able to swap over easily, but if your dog is a puppy/senior or has some health issues you should plan to switch their kibble for raw gradually. It is important to note that kibble and raw food digest differently so can cause upset tummies if mixed. If you need to make a gradual swap, an example of how that would look is below:
Now, as I'm sure you've heard me talk about 183 times, I don't wait for my pucks to thaw the whole way. Mine are usually still half frozen and I just send the dogs outside with them whole. Your dog might be pickier than that... I know lots of people who's dogs will only eat it if it's a certain texture/consistency, so don't be discouraged if it's not gobbled down right away, you might just have to play with it a bit.
Bonus: you can easily manage your dog's weight on raw. When we started, my father-in-law had fattened Hudson up while we were away in Thailand and I couldn't get the extra lbs on him to save myself. Like all food, it comes with a suggested serving and you can bump the amount up or down depending on how your pup is lookin'. Lucy needed to gain, Hudson needed to lose, and it was all easily accomplished within a month of them being on their new food.
Do not cook the patty. It contains bone, which can splinter if cooked and cause some mega damage to your pups insides.
If your doggo is one of these picky eaters there is tons of great stuff you can add to their food to encourage them to eat it - blueberries, carrotts, bone broth, tripe, eggs (with shell), and the list goes on. You'll obviously be using a bowl then, and it should be washed properly after every meal - protip: when I was using bowls for them, we had a designated dog bowl scrubber under the sink away. You can read more about why you need to wash your dog bowls in this article I wrote for KelownaNow.
Your dog also might be picky about (or sometimes allergic) to the protein source. We get a variety pack, but you can get straight turkey or fish or cow or whatever else. My dogs will literally eat a stick of butter off my counter if I don't hide it well enough, so they aren't picky, but my neighbours have to get only salmon or their pup won't touch it... unless my dogs walk into the house (lol sorry Charlie).
I also found (and this could just be my dogs because they're savage) if I placed a whole puck into their bowls, they would pick it up and drop it on the floor which created a lot of extra clean up. I would suggest cutting it into more manageable sized pieces to avoid the issue, or if it's thawed out enough you can mush it up.
"Uh, is their poop supposed to look like that?" is my favourite text to get after someone switches to a raw food diet, and the answer is HELL YES. Get excited, people, your dog's poop no longer stinks and is half the size. It's a whole new, magical world. Because their body is actually using the nutrients from their new diet, instead of pumping back out a bunch of sh*t fillers (literally), their poops will dry up and decompose a lot faster than what we are now used to. It will literally crumble and turn to dust if you leave it. Like I said: magical.
The other concern I had and hear often is having the dogs eating raw meat and then spreading germs to the fam. Well, what timing, researchers in Finland just conducted a survey of over 16,000 pet owners in 81 countries and know what they found? "99.6% of households feeding their pets raw food did not report any pathogens being transmitted to humans by the uncooked meat." so I guess we're in luck. I probably wouldn't let them lick you in the mouth after a meal, but that's gross anyways, stop letting them lick you in the mouth.
I would LOVE to hear updates from anyone who is switching. I got this text from my mother-in-law about 2 weeks into switching their Chihuahua Terrier cross
*insert happy dance*