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in Allergies, Boston Terriers, Dog Food, Raw Food

Why I Switched My Boston Terriers To Raw Food

  • March 14, 2021
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit.com
  • 0 Comments
Why I Switched My Boston Terriers To Raw Food

Most vets don’t approve of raw feeding.

Most dog owners don’t approve of raw feeding.

The common fear is that feeding raw will give my dog salmonella or I’ll do it wrong and make my dog sick.

Even I stopped feeding raw once upon a time….

So why am I switching back?

What Made Me Feed Raw in 2009?

Let’s start off with the back story circa 2009.

My first Boston Terrier Zoey was going to Dog Days at the time. And I noticed that Dog Days had freezers with dog food. This was new to me. I was feeding kibble at the time and I had never seen commercially prepared raw food before.

I asked Tammy (the owner) about the Instinct Raw she stocked.

She replied by saying: “You camp right?”

To which I said: “Yes all the time.”

Tammy continued, “Well you know the camping food that comes in a bag and you just add water to? Kibble is like that. It’s highly processed. It’s still food. But probably not the best food to eat every day for the rest of your dog’s life.”

I was immediately convinced and I promptly bought a bag from her and never looked back.

Zoey never had allergies or health issues. Sadly she was attacked by a dog so she only lived until she was four years old.

Maggie Enters The Picture

We brought Maggie home in the summer of 2015. She ate a mix of Instinct Raw, Taste of the Wild kibble and a few home-cooked meals.

what to know before bringing a boston terrier puppy home

I wanted to prepare her own raw food at home but I didn’t have enough information and I didn’t have a mentor to help guide me.

Sadly she started to have allergy symptoms at around 8 months of age.

Orbit Comes Home

Orbit joined our family at about this time. Her breeder fed all her dogs raw and Orbit was weaned onto raw.

ways to be a responsible boston terrier puppy owner

She gave me her recipe and I switched to DIY raw when Orbit joined our family.

Looking back I admit that I wasn’t:

  • Adding the correct and appropriate level of Omega 3
  • Adding supplements
  • Feeding enough organs

Both of My Dogs Get Allergies – Fresh Food Will Help Them Get Better

Unfortunately both of my dogs got allergies. Orbit’s ended up getting so bad she also got yeast.

I saw three vets, got allergy tests done, had a detox program for the girls and they got better. I’ve written 20 articles chronicling our allergy journey.

Allergies are complicated. Part of the problem also is that it’s hereditary and then your dog’s lifestyle and food factor into the expression of that allergy. Allergies never truly 100% go away.

Boston Terriers are a breed known to be prone to allergy issues.

But with the right approach the goal is to get them less allergic over time.

I Switched To Home Cooked

Poultry seemed to be the culprit that triggered their allergies and all of my raw recipes used chicken as the base. This was because I was grinding leg quarters to get the bone content levels to where they should be.

I eliminated poultry from their diets but I also stopped feeding raw.

My holistic vet advised us to switch to home cooking. The girl’s allergies and yeast problems went completely away.

If outbreaks happen I am able to manage it and get their rashes down in a week or less.

I stayed with home cooking because I was afraid that if I switched back to raw their allergies might come back.

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Taking A Deeper Dive into Dog Nutrition And Learning How Food Can Help Against Allergies

I’m an avid student and I wanted to make sure I was formulating my dog’s meals correctly.

I wanted to verify my home cooked meals… and I also wanted to explore raw meals.

What I noticed is that raw feeding has become more complicated this third time around for me.

It used to be that the four main ways to feed your dog raw was:

  1. Pre-made commercial
  2. BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)
  3. Whole Pray (feeding whole animals to your dog)
  4. Ratio Diet (80/10/10 – Meat, Bones, Organs)

Recently a new group of dog nutritionists have come to the scene who:

  • Follow NRC guidelines
  • State that the only way to feed your dog is through recipes that meet NRC guidelines through a certified nutritionist.

I bring this up because recipes formulated to “NRC Guidelines” seems to be a common requirement by a growing group of dog nutrition specialists.

My question to myself was … do I need to learn how to formulate for the NRC Guidelines too?

So my first question was … who and what is the NRC?

The NRC (National Research Council)

The NRC is in independent research group that the FDA turned to when Congress said they had to develop guidelines for the pet food.

And so guidelines were developed in 1986 and 1986 and then updated in 2006. Sounds good right?

Well not so fast because there are a few red flags:

  • The NRC has ties to the pet industry and GMO (Monsanto)
  • The NRC guidelines haven’t been updated since 2006
  • The board members associated at the time with guidelines have a conflict of interest. Board members came from Nestle, Monsanto, Cargill, General Mills, and Novus.
  • The formulations set the MINIMUM requirements for what dog food is meant to be.
  • The formulations allow synthetic ingredients to be used (as opposed to fresh food).
  • The formulations are for dry dog food (aka kibble) .

You can read more about what makes this questionable here: This is So Wrong – Truth about Pet Food

With So Many Different Ways to Feed Raw … Which One is Correct?

My biggest fear is that I will go back to feeding raw and make my dog’s allergies worse.

And there is SO MUCH INFORMATION out there that I didn’t know who to listen to.

dog food meme

Unfortunately most of the dog food studies are to support kibble diets.

Raw feeding (as well as home cooking) is fairly new and science based studies are lacking.

But there were a few pieces of information that was building the case to move me back to raw feeding.

In Dr. Conor’s book, Feeding Dogs I learned an alarming fact that AAFCO (who is now in charge of overseeing dog food) state the minimum levels of protein your dog needs is only 18% and the basis supporting this figure is based on two feeding trials using a handful of caged beagles fed a dry, ultra processed diet.

That the NRC’s guidelines appear to me to have been formulated to benefit the dry processed pet food industry.

It’s like breaking down the nutrition requirements in cereal and saying I need to formulate my home cooked meals based on the requirements for processed food.

I came to the realization that the dog food industry has programmed pet parents to accept that dogs can only be fed food that is highly processed and formulated in a lab.

But we don’t feed our families that way. And we don’t feed our children that way.

Food for thought…..

Why is that a woman can give birth to a child, bring it home and raise that child on food she prepares at home but we’re not allowed to do the same thing for our dogs (meaning vets will push a kibble/processed diet) instead of arming us dog parents with the information they need to feed a clean, whole food, fresh, real diet.

So my take away here is that ……

  1. I don’t believe the guidelines set by the NRC and supported by AAFCO are the OPTIMUM guidelines for FRESH food. It’s a minimum level based on dry food.
  2. I don’t need an NRC nutritionist to bless and approve my menus.
  3. I can learn how to formulate my dog’s raw meals.
Why I Switched My Boston Terriers To Raw Food
My Boston Terrier Eating Her First Rabbit Foot

So When Did I Decide to Switch To Raw

I decided to start feeding Maggie and Orbit raw again on Friday, March 12, 2021.

The tipping point was that in doing so it might help strengthen their immunity system so that they have less allergies.

I had just learned about a group of vets in Helsinki studying raw feeding.

This study looked at diets vs. raw feeding. Their initial result shows that dogs fed a high-protein raw diet have shown to be anti-inflammatory and beneficial for dogs suffering from allergies. You can read the full study here:
The Effect of Atopic Dermatitis and Diet on the Skin Transcriptome in Staffordshire Bull Terriers

So basically … if I went back to raw, hypothetically it will strengthen their immune system and they will be less allergic.

Reading this study as well as the book Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats and Feeding Raw convinced me that I was not only capable of feeding my dogs raw food but also could help my Maggie and Orbit have a stronger immune system so that they could have a better response to allergy triggers.

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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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What Will Be Different About My Raw Meals This Time Around?

I’ve learned so much about dog nutrition as well as spending countless hours discussing nutrition with others who already feed raw. Some guidelines are:

  • Meals will be balanced over time (period of a week) as opposed to every meal being 100% nutritionally complete.
  • Variety will be important so my two will get five proteins a month by eating beef, pork, turkey, eggs, and fish.
  • I’ll feed meats cut in chunks because it helps their stomachs to work and digest their food. If I use grinds (such as right now I have ground beef and ground turkey) I’ll add the Raw Vibrance Base mix from Doctor Harveys mainly for calcium, kelp, and fiber.
  • I’ll add single ingredient minimally processed air-dried chews from Real Dog Box for bone content or dry my own. I recently bought a dehydrator that I absolutely love.
  • Since my two suffer from allergies they will regularly get oily fish in their diet and I’ll add Omega 3 supplements by Pawsomely Healthy as well.
  • I’ll continue to add a digestive enzyme from InClover Pets.
  • I’ll continue to add in mushroom supplements from Doctor Harveys (called Solaris) as it has anti-inflammatory characteristics to help my two as well as help combat Maggie’s non-cancerous lump on her shoulder.
  • I’ll add a variety of proteins (2 to 3 more) through the treats and chews from Real Dog Box
  • Just like in home cooking – every meal needs to have organs (liver and kidney or liver and spleen). Since I don’t like to source and cook this – I’m using the air-dried organ treats from Real Dog Box.
  • For taurine, I’m drying my own treats using pork hearts that I source from the local Asian market.
Why I Switched My Boston Terriers To Raw Food

Will It Cost Me More Each Month?

No. Actually it will be cheaper. Interestingly enough the meat that I purchased ended up being a two month supply.

Normally what I buy lasts just a little over a month because I lose about 30% in weight because of the water lost when I cook. But since I’m not cooking I ended up with more food.

What would normally been 5.5 week supply of food ended up being food enough for 64 days.

I packed all their meals by day in little zip lock backs.

Tracking Our Journey

I’ve taken a few dog nutrition courses but they are not accredited. My plan is to get my canine certification in the near future.

I’ll be sharing their meals every Friday on our Instagram as well as in our stories through out the week.

If you’re not already following us there find us on our Instagram account @maggielovesorbit

Final Thoughts

I’m excited to embark on our raw feeding journey. Granted this will be the third time I’ve forayed into raw feeding but this time around I feel equipped with the tools and information to make sure I feed a properly balanced raw diet.

If you want to dive deeper yourself to see if raw feeding is for you, then I recommend you start reading from the thought leaders.

Below is a list of all of the books I have read and own listed in the order I would recommend you read them.

  1. Feeding Dogs
  2. Raw and Thriving
  3. Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats
  4. Foods Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food
  5. Raw Meaty Bones
  6. Raw and Natural Nutrition for Dogs, Revised Edition: The Definitive Guide to Homemade Meals
  7. Canine Nutrigenomics
  8. Yin and Yang Nutrition For Dogs
  9. Four Paws, Five Directions: A Guide to Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs
  10. Pukka’s Promise
  11. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats
  12. The Canine Thyroid Epidemic Answers You Need For Your Dog

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.

There are a lot of Facebook Groups out there on raw feeding as well. I would recommend when you join them more for a support system as opposed to looking for experts in the group.

We already know as humans that we ourselves benefit from clean eating which means less processed food and less processed ingredients.

When we apply this same concept to our dogs we can only help them live longer and healthier lives.

At the end of the day we each have to make our own decisions on behalf of our dogs and there are many ways to prepare a meal.

My hope is that you prepare the best and healthiest meal you are able to but know that the most important ingredient of all is that you love your dog.

To you dog’s longer life, better health and happiness.

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

  1. Why I don’t feed my dogs kibble
  2. Knowing which Omega 3s to add to my dog’s food
  3. How to help my rashy Boston Terrier

Resources:
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.

The Effect of Atopic Dermatitis and Diet on the Skin Transcriptome in Staffordshire Bull Terriers

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, March 14, 2021
Fear-Based Health Care
The Unlearning
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