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Today marks exactly four weeks from when I transitioned Maggie and Orbit to raw. I’ll be honest. I have gone into this with the highest hopes but there were moments when I was second guessing myself.
Because Orbit still broke out in rashes. And there was a day or two she had the pudding poops.
Fun right? #notreally
But I made a few adjustments and my one-month report card to myself is that we’re at a B. We’re not doing GREAT but we’re doing better than most when transitioning their small dogs to a raw diet.
I share the following “report” as a dog mom. I’m not a vet. I’ve taken a few informal canine nutrition courses and currently studying to become certified. I hope that our journey will help you in case you’re considering a transition to a raw diet for your Boston Terriers as well.
Overall my two look healthier. I can’t talk about their energy levels because they are super energetic to begin with. And it’s not as if I came from feeding kibble to raw – we moved from home cooked to raw which isn’t too far of a jump.
There have been three separate occasions her belly broke out in a red rash. At first I thought it was the raw turkey I was feeding her. I made some notes in my food diary and logged her activities that day.
But then the second and third time I realized it was because she was doing a belly crawl on the grass. See it’s spring time now and the lawns have come alive again in San Diego.
And Orbit will never go to a grassy area and not do a belly crawl. It’s just now done. She see’s fresh grass and it’s almost as if she’s compelled to have her belly scratched by it.
I also tested feeding just the turkey for half a week and no belly rashes erupted. So I feel safe stating that turkey wasn’t the culprit.
I will need a freezer: I thought I could get away with sharing a freezer with the two dogs but I’m realizing that if I want to be able to buy in bulk and save money I must buy a freezer for the garage.
Based on my current shopping habits for us, the humans in the house … there is no way I can do my once a month Costco haul as well as buy 60 pounds of food for the girls and have it all fit in my kitchen freezer.
I need to get used to defrosting every meal: Prior to feeding raw, I would defrost their protein which would be good for about 2.5 days. But because I am feeding raw and I don’t want raw to sit in my fridge for longer than a day – I have to defrost in advance of every meal.
I will admit some days I forgot and would have to use the microwave to defrost. Not ideal but at least I have that as a back up.
What’s vital when feeding raw is variety. Different meats have different amino acid and nutrient profiles. By feeding variety, you help ensure your dog gets all the amino acids, vitamins and minerals they need.
Different meats also have different fats and feeding variety will help balance the fats in their diets.
I’ve been watching videos where different raw feeders of larger dogs will have 4 to 8 different items they place in a bowl. But I can only feed my girls about 4.5 oz per meal so I have to be creative in how to add variety when I’m feeding such a small amount.
This is in comparison to my friends who have larger dogs feeding them two to three pounds a meal. Obviously larger dogs need more food but it also makes it easier for them when they can add things like chicken drumsticks, turkey legs and so forth. Those items alone exceed my dog’s daily intake so those cuts of meat aren’t options for my dog’s bowls.
It’s been a fun challenge to try to identify what cuts of meat or what animal parts I can use. So far this first month my go-to have been chicken and duck feet, duck necks, and rabbit feet for cuts that have bone. And then pork, turkey, and beef for my muscle meat.
Some people go the route in feeding commercially prepared grinds which means the bone is already ground up in the mix.
I’ve decided to follow the BARF model or ancestral diet model which means I’m “assembling” the cuts of meat, organ, bones, seafood, and vegetables into each bowl.
And because I’m doing it this way – that means I need 4 pieces of bone a day or 120 pieces of bone a month.
Luckily my monthly treat and subscription box had these items in them (although in smaller amounts) and I quickly went through my dried duck necks, duck feet and chicken feet that came in my monthly Real Dog Box. Luckily for me there is a 99 Ranch close by.
I bought myself a dehydrator so I could dry my own chicken feet. All two pounds of them.
Granted I could buy the chicken feet already dried or feed it raw. But buying it in bulk already dried would dry my price up. I also didn’t have enough space in my freezer to buy 10 pounds of chicken feet.
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.
Technically I’m still in the transition phase so “balance” isn’t the main focus. It’s making sure that their tummies can accept raw.
But being that I have been home cooking for a few years I already had a few supplements on hand.
You can buy this base mix on Amazon. It takes the guess work out of balancing. All you have to do is add water, your protein and your oil and you’re done. It is over simplified because in the category of protein you should also have organs and seafood.
I did use the base mix for about a week but then stopped to use it because I was adding calcium to their bowls through the duck feet. I also started to make my own green juju again thinking that this would be a better source of vegetables and enzymes.
As a raw feeder you MUST include fresh fish in your dog’s diet and then add Omega 3 capsules if your dog has allergies. I LOVE the supplements from Pawsomely Healthy. You can use our code maggielovesorbit to get a discount on your first order.
Kelp is an essential addition to any home made raw or cooked meal. I like the brand Animal Essentials – you can also buy this on Amazon.
Iodine is Important for control of the thyroid function and can benefit dogs who suffer from hypothyroidism. Kelp is also a good source of iodine.
Dogs with dry skin, skin allergies and alopecia (hair loss) can benefit from eating kelp. After a diet that includes kelp for at least six months, these animals will often have shiny, thick coats.
The protein content in kelp is effectively used to manage tissue repair in dogs. Three weeks or more of use can also control flea manifestations in dogs.
I add mushroom powder to aid in the fight against inflammation. It also has healing properties for those worried about cancer.
Maggie has a lump that is harmless. And I’d like to keep it that way so I add Doctor Harvey’s Solaris formula in their bowls. I currently have it on the subscribe and save from Amazon.
An ancient herb, milk thistle has healing properties for the liver. It helps to rid the body of toxins as well as support the liver. I’m new to adding this to their bowls. Their base mix had it included but since I’m not using the base mix regularly – I now started to add this on it’s own to their bowls. Milk thistle is best ordered online and you can find my link here.
Our dogs need enzymes to break down their food so that their bodies can better absorb it.
I’ve been feeding enzymes to my two for the past three years and I use the one from InClover Pets. It’s plant based and the one additional benefit is that it helped Orbit’s tear stains go away.
A small amount goes a long way and according to my shopping history on Amazon, I’ve bought it eight times in three years.
I was watching a video by The Dog Chef on TikTok and noticed he used a colorful powder for one of his cakes. After reading the comments and doing a little research I realized this bright pink powder was dragonfruit. And because Amazon carries everything I bought myself a bag.
It’s a supplement I use about once a week to give their immune system a boost.
Orbit had pudding poops once during this month. I think it was the Raw Vibrance that caused it.
I was feeding the amount I was previously when they were getting cooked food but in speaking to a canine nutrition coach about it – she suggested I decrease the amount of the base mix by 75% and when I did that, her poops went back to normal.
Most likely it’s due to the raw food having more enzymes than the cooked food as well as higher moisture content.
Luckily for me I keep slippery elm in my pantry. It’s so easy to make and it fixes them within one or two doses. I used to use the tincture but recently switched to the powder which you dilute in hot water.
I normally make a 1/3 cup water with 1/3 teaspoon of the slippery elm added to it. I spoon a portion of this into their bowls and then voila – the next day they are back to normal.
As I mentioned in our post last month I have started a canine nutrition course. I know that as time progresses I’ll make adjustments to their menus.
If you are interested in diving into the world of canine nutrition my recommended reading list is below.
I’ve listed in the order I would recommend you read them.
Feel free to send me a message via our Instagram if you have any questions at all. I think its important you have a friend you can turn to as you go down this path.
You can find us on our Instagram account @maggielovesorbit.
I know that feeding raw will give my dog’s health that boost they need to be healthier dogs.
I was listening to a podcast the other day by Rodney Habib and Dr. Karen Becker – and they were talking about the longevity of our pets. That through food we can equip and set up our dogs to live longer lives. Sure they can’t live forever but I would love to keep them around as long as possible.
And because I think it’s important for me to document my journey as a dog mom transitioning to raw I will continue to share our experience here with you.
To you dog’s longer life, better health and happiness.
This is So Wrong – Truth about Pet Food
The Failed Pet Food Regulatory System in the United States be sure to check out the PDF as well.
Hello my name is Hannah and I dance with my dogs. A self proclaimed Boston Terrier addict, (aka breed advocate) 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 my sensitive flower. Blow on her skin wrong (ok I might be exaggerating) and she breaks out in a rash.
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.