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7 Things Switching To Raw Taught Me About Fear

  • June 11, 2021
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit.com
  • 0 Comments
7 Things Switching To Raw Taught Me About Fear

Deciding to feed my dogs raw food feels like I’ve crawled into an outrigger without a paddle to trek across the ocean in a level 10 storm.

I decided to make the switch at 3 am on March 12, 2021. I was scared, nervous, and excited all at the same time. It’s been 3 months since. I realize now that I had a lot of unfounded fear. 

I’m hoping that by sharing my as a dog mom as to how I overcame my fear in raw feeding, I can help you work through any hesitation you might have in deciding to feed your own dog raw food.

I am not a vet. My story is shared for your own information as to how I feed my own dogs.

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DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you, and as always I only recommend products I have tried and trust. Maggielovesorbit, Ilovebostons is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
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IRRESPONSIBLE: Allergies flaring up 

Maggie and Orbit suffered from environmental and seasonal allergies, yeast infections, and food intolerances. I had been cooking for the last 3 years, and their symptoms had drastically decreased. 

My fear:  The last thing I wanted to do was feed them food that would worsen things.  

AHA moments:  I’m currently studying to get a certificate in canine nutrition, and I’ve learned that: 

  • Gut health impacts my dog’s ability to handle allergy triggers.
  • Enzymes are essential to gut health.
  • Raw food contributes to a healthier gut.
  • Protein builds protein and quality protein that my dog’s can absorb help build a healthier skin and coat.
  • Omega 3s reduce inflammation.
  • Cooked fish was good. Raw fish is exponentially better.

90 Day Results:  Orbit is thriving. She used to have some spots on her leg she used to chew, and her coat was thinning. But since the transition to raw, her fur has filled out. Her coat fills thick, and her belly skin looks rash-free!

Maggie, on the other hand, has had two outbreaks. Both occurred after she was sunning on the grass and another after a hike. Her belly looked like she had been bit by insects. We treated her by cleaning her belly with Dechra wipes and applying Vetericyn, and she healed in less than a week. 

Conclusion:  The girls are more resilient on a raw diet. Even though Maggie had an outbreak, she bounced back twice as fast as she used to. I attribute it to the raw food and the amount of raw fish I add to their daily diet. 

7 Things Switching To Raw Taught Me About Fear

INCAPABLE: Balancing it wrong

Most vets disapprove of a raw diet. I won’t go into the reasons here. And most dog health articles push that a processed diet is healthier than fresh ingredients.   

My fear:  I wouldn’t know how to balance my dog’s meals properly and end up causing more harm than good.  

AHA moments:  I have a sixth sense when fear is being used as a persuasion tactic and realized that is what is going on in the dog advisor industry.

For whatever reason, we’ve been convinced that although we are capable of feeding ourselves, our families our children, we are completely incapable of learning how to make meals for our dogs.

Let me put this another way – a woman can give birth to a baby and go home, and society accepts that this woman, a new mother, is capable of feeding her child from infancy to adulthood.

Doctors trust us to feed children. 

But … Vets don’t trust us to feed dogs??????

Does this seem as if those in power are taking your power away because that’s what it felt like to me?  

Guess what?

You, me, we …. are fully capable of feeding our dogs. All you need is a healthy dose of curiosity and time to read and take notes, and voila, you can make a meal for your dog.  

There’s also another fear tactic that you need to be “good enough to balance” each bite of food your dog puts in their mouth.

Well, we don’t eat this way, and we don’t feed our children this way. We can balance their meals over a period of time; it won’t hurt them if you get a meal or two wrong or if you run out of ingredients.  

90 Days Later:  Even though these were my initial opinions, I found a group of vets who support raw feeding and assuring pet owners of the same:

  • That you CAN make your dog their own food.
  • That if you feed variety, it’s hard to get it wrong.
  • That you shouldn’t overcomplicate things. Feed one main protein a week at a time. Ignore the bowls that have umpteen varieties and focus on simplicity and variety.
  • Remember to add fur through items like rabbit ears or legs.  

An Easier Way

  • You can use pre-made commercial raw. You’ll save in time and most of the work will be done for you but you will have to pay more
  • Or my favorite – you can use a base mix. I still use one some nights and I LOVE the one from Doctor Harvey – the Raw Vibrance version. All I have to do is add protein, organ and fish.

Conclusion:  I’m following a foundation recipe compliments of Real Dog Box & Feed Real Movement. Basically, this recipe has the following components. 

7 Things Switching To Raw Taught Me About Fear
  • Feed protein, bone, liver, other secreting organs, fur, and seafood.  
  • Look for nose to tail parts (I get that through my monthly subscription)
  • Feed a variety of proteins over time.  

WASTEFUL: Spending too much money

The first few weeks, I found myself paying $2 to $5 per pound. I was worried that I was overspending. But I kept hearing that other raw feeders didn’t spend that much – what was I missing? 

Fear:  Not knowing how to shop.  

AHA Moments:  I needed to join a co-op and buy a freezer to put all my purchases in.  

90 Days Later:  I’ve bought a 3.5 chest freezer on Amazon, which allowed me to buy meat through the co-op. For those that don’t know – a raw feeder’s co-op allows you to purchase your dog’s food as a group at lower prices.

Based on my purchase habits and the size of my dogs I have found that this size freezer would suffice your dog up to 40 pounds and if your dog is 70 pounds go up to the one that is 5 cubic feet.

I also compared what I purchased to options at Home Depot and Walmart and found for not that much more money I could have it delivered to me instead of me having to pick it up myself.

Conclusion:  Joining the raw feeder’s group in San Diego connected me to other local raw feeders, which drastically accelerated my research time and lowered my monthly protein expenses. I’ve also purchased food from Real Dog Box for $1 to $2 per pound.  

Maggie and Orbit eat 1/2 a pound a day, and they consume about 15 pounds of food a month.  

I also chose to feed DIY instead of a commercial raw to save money.  

My total average costs are currently running between $2 and $3 per pound.

BLIND SPOTS:  When you have an active dog

I overfed my two for the first two months. I miscalculated their needs because I was going from cooked food to raw food.  

AHA Moments: Raw salmon had more oil and more calories. This, in addition to the chicken or duck feet I was adding to their bowls, was increasing their caloric intake. 

The last thing I wanted to do was have overweight dogs that put unnecessary pressure on their joints, increase cancer risk, and shorten their life span.  

90 Days Later:  I decreased their portions going into month three. Luckily they are small, so it was easy to do, and I saw the results fairly quickly.  

Conclusion:  Maggie and Orbit are 18 and 19 pounds and do well when their portion is approximately 2% of their ideal body weight. Initially, I was feeding 3%, but that’s too much for them based on their activity level and age.  I’m also feeding food rich in natural chondroitin and glucosamine as well as supplementing with Active adult Pro from Pawsomely Healthy Dogs (use code Maggielovesorbit for 15% discount)

NAUSEUS: Weird animal parts gross me out 

I made a mistake in buying 5 pounds of liver to get it at $1 per pound. I quickly realized that one pound of liver equates to 106 servings because my dogs only need .15 oz per meal.  

AHA Moment:  I could feed organ meat dried and didn’t have to cut this up myself. I buy mine from Real Dog Box.  

90 Days Later:  I go through the organ meat treats in my box sooner than the next box arrives. I’ve learned that I need to plan ahead of time and buy more from the secret shop that Real Dog Box has.  

Conclusion:  Even though I do DIY, there are companies that provide items I don’t want to prepare myself. I also did buy 20 pounds of elk/venison commercial raw so that some nights would 

PRIDE: Ignoring traditional vets

I am fully aware that traditional vets do not support raw feeding. I know that by choosing to feed my dogs this way, I am taking their health into my own hands.  

AHA Moments:  Vets are schooled in dry commercial kibble diets. I’m studying the same textbooks that they do in a nutrition class at vet school, and all of the references points towards the NRC and AAFCO models. I’ve since found out:

  • Kibble is cooked 6 times at high heat, and nutrients are burned off. To compensate, minerals and vitamins are sprayed on at the last stage to check off all the boxes.  
  • What if I burned my steak on the grill, and then baked it, and cooked it and applied more heat for a total of 6 times? I’d have dry food that no longer looks like what it used to look like. This is what is done to food to make kibble.  
  • That raw diet cannot be formulated using a dry kibble recipe.
  • That the food trials for NRC and AAFCO reference two studies where 6 dogs each passed (no weight was lost) over a period of 6 to 12 months. These are extremely low standards to set our dog’s diets on.
  • That I DON’T have to follow the NRC and AAFCO model.  

90 Days Later:  I’ve also started to study human nutrition, which at least doesn’t throw stones at each other. Those in human nutrition know that there are different approaches to healthy eating.  

Conclusion:  A fresh food diet is the best thing I can do to help my dogs thrive and live healthier lives.  

7 Things Switching To Raw Taught Me About Fear

STRENGTH: I’m stronger than fear 

I don’t know why I was so afraid. I fell victim to the fear I allowed instilled in me. 

I’ve jumped out of planes, I’ve run marathons, I’ve traveled the world by myself, but even those decisions were easier than making the jump to feed raw.  

AHA Moment:  But in the middle of the night on March 12, I built up enough courage to try.  

It really was nothing more than a leap of faith.  

So here I am, and I honestly wish I started sooner.  

90 Days Later:  My dogs are healthier and thriving.   

Now that I am officially a student in canine nutrition and all of the research I’ve done, I know deep in my heart and soul that processed food will never be healthier than a fresh food diet for my own dogs. While other dogs do fine on processed dry kibble, my dogs needed a more nutritious and fresh food diet.  

Conclusion:  I realize that by making the change, I am in the driver’s seat in their wellness journey.  

I knew that I could cook for myself, my family, and my nieces and nephews. And so I knew I was fully capable of learning how to make my own dogs their food.  

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

Thank you for reading this far, dear friends. To your own dog’s health and happiness. Best of luck in your journey. Stay steadfast and curious as you gather your own information and form your own opions in what’s best for YOUR dog.  

Liked this Article? Here are five more that you might enjoy:

  1. Why I don’t feed my dogs kibble
  2. Deciding to feed my Boston Terriers Raw Food
  3. Knowing which Omega 3s to add to my dog’s food
  4. How to help my rashy Boston Terrier
  5. One month after transitioning to raw

Resources:
This is So Wrong – Truth about Pet Food

Feeding Dogs – a book by Dr. Conor Brady

RAWPETMEDICS – a group by 3 vets that support raw

Canine.Care – for information on how to feed your dog

The Failed Pet Food Regulatory System in the United States be sure to check out the PDF as well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hannah Zulueta and her two dogs Maggie and Orbit

Hello, my name is Hannah and learning about Boston Terriers and canine nutrition has become my life’s work. 

First and foremost I am a dog owner, a Boston Terrier breed enthusiast and a seeker of the truth.

I started this blog because there isn’t enough space to write on our Instagram.

My mission is to equip Boston Terrier owners and dog owners alike with the knowledge I have so that your dog will live a longer life and better health.

I have two dogs.  Maggie is my socially awkward one; which I find highly relatable because I am completely out of place in large groups myself.  And Orbit is the freebird. She used to have terrible allergies but since she started eating fresh food she’s been symptom free.

You won’t read about cats here… but you will get a fairly large dosage of articles dedicated to the Boston Terrier.   Read more about us. 

By MaggieLovesOrbit.com, June 11, 2021
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