Frequently Asked Questions
Will eating raw food make my dog vicious and increase "blood lust"?
This is possibly one of the greatest myths of raw feeding. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that eating a raw natural diet will make a dog vicious or blood thirsty. Whether a dog is vicious or likes to kill other ‘prey’ animals has everything to do with the dog’s temperament and possibly his environment, and nothing to do with what he eats. A dog is not going to see a chicken or a sheep in a field and think “Ah, that’s what I get fed every day, might as well catch my own food today!”
My vet says I should never feed a raw diet to my dog!
There are a growing number of vets that are seeing the benefits of a correctly formulated and complete raw diet, and fully support raw feeding under these circumstances. However, there are many vets that believe only in the training they received at veterinary school given by the commercial dog food companies. It is not in the best (financial) interests of these commercial dog food companies to promote anything except dried kibble, and the education is skewed in that direction. In addition, there are unfortunately many pet owners that, despite wanting to do the best for their dogs, do not have the required knowledge to formulate a diet that has all the required nutritional building blocks needed by dogs to sustain a healthy life. When things go wrong (and they very often do) the vet ends up having to deal with the serious problems that this type of feeding can cause. This often causes the vets to lump all raw feeding into the same bag. This is why it is vital that you choose a company that knows what it is doing, has a proven track record, is registered as a dog food supplier with the authorities, and produces a correctly formulated raw food. Like Raw Gold! More and more evidence exists to show that humans should be eating non-processed foods, fresh and wholesome ingredients, raw vegetables etc. Open any magazine on healthy living and it is full of articles on whole foods, the evils of preservatives, colourants, processed foods. So why is it okay for most dogs to live their entire lives without being offered any fresh, whole, living foods?
How do I safely handle Raw Gold?
At Raw Gold we really care about you and your pet. That’s why we follow very strict hygiene practices when we prepare each bag of Raw Gold. We also have our food tested on an ongoing basis by an independent laboratory to ensure there is no micro bacterial contamination. It is important, however, to ensure that you follow the steps below when preparing your pet’s food:
- Store your pet’s food either in its original sealed packaging or in an airtight container in your home freezer until you need to defrost it;
- Defrost either in your fridge for about 12 hours, or at room temperature, in a sealed container;
- Thoroughly wash your hands, the counter surface and any utensils you have used. White vinegar is perfect for disinfecting naturally;
Dispose of the Raw Gold packaging in a safe way. We advise that you rinse the bag and place safely in your garbage, or return to your freezer until garbage collection day. Do not allow your pet to have access to any empty bags as these could become a choking or suffocation hazard.
Why do you only use free range chicken in your chicken products?
We care about the lives and health of the chickens we use, so all our chicken products are from free range chickens, raised in a spacious, stress-free environment, free to roam, forage, peck and dust-bathe outside during the daytime. They are fed a high quality, grain-based diet containing no fish meal and no animal by-products. They are never given growth promoters or routine antibiotics. Chicken is the best protein source for dogs, is an exceptionally good source of natural Glucosamine and Chondroitin, and contains all the essential fatty acids a dog needs for a healthy life.
My dog drinks way less water now that he is on Raw Gold. Is this normal?
Yes, this is perfectly normal. Because Raw Gold is a raw diet and not a dry dehydrated kibble, there is a lot of moisture in the food. However, even though he will not have the same thirst as a dog on kibble does, always ensure that there is a plentiful supply of fresh clean water for your dog as he still does need to drink.
I'd love to start my dog on raw food. How do I go about it?
There are 2 ways that you can go about changing your dog onto a raw food diet; 1) “Cold turkey” from one meal to the next, or 2) gradually over a few meals. Because the dog has been designed to eat a raw natural diet, changing over from a commercial food to a raw diet is usually tolerated very well. Some dogs that are more ‘picky’ with their food, those that have a tendency to gastric upsets or weakened digestive system, and older dogs may do better if you change over gradually, increasing the amount of raw food fed and decreasing the amount of pellets over a period of a few days or weeks until they are eating a completely raw diet.
Can I mix dry kibble with Raw Gold?
It is better not to mix kibble and Raw Gold in one meal. Dogs have a very short, very acidic digestive tract, which sits at a pH of around 1.5 – 2, which not only makes it impossible for harmful bacteria to exist (bacteria cannot exist in highly acidic environments), but at this highly acidic level, bones and raw meat are digested optimally. Feeding commercial kibble to dogs raises their gut pH to around 3 or 4 and this is where potential issues come in when mixing raw food with kibble. The gut pH will be too high to properly digest the bone and can lead to blockages and constipation. If you are wanting to feed both kibble and Raw Gold to your pet, we suggest that you split the 2 types of food into 2 separate meals, about 12 hours apart. While there may be a good reason for you to want to keep feeding your pet a kibble meal (you travel a lot, the boarding kennels don’t feed raw etc.) you will not see all the awesome benefits of feeding Raw Gold to the same extent as you would if you fed Raw Gold exclusively. We have also found that a high percentage of our customers that try the half/half way of feeding call us to tell us their dogs refuse to eat the kibble! Our dogs really DO know what’s best for them!
How much do I feed?
This will vary with your dog. A dog that is more active and has a higher metabolism will eat more, while a less active dog or one with a slower metabolism will eat less. The normal ‘rule of thumb’ for feeding an adult dog Raw Gold is to feed between 2% – 3% of the desired body weight per day. Active dogs would need about 4% – 5%, or in some cases even more. Initially you would need to play around with amounts until you find the percentage that is right for your particular dog. Some breeds tend to have a very high energy requirement (e.g. some Boxers, and most Border Collies) and they may eat well over 5% of their body weight per day – even up to 7% for some of the really active ones! You need to find the right percentage for your own dog to maintain them in lean, muscular condition. Puppies will typically eat more per body weight than adults, since they need to fuel their rapidly growing body. Depending on their age and size, puppies are fed approximately 5% – 10% of their current puppy body weight per day, broken into 3 meals. If your dog is underweight, work out what they SHOULD weigh, and feed 2% – 3% of that IDEAL body weight per day. If they are overweight, determine what they should weigh, and feed 2% – 3 % of the weight you want the dog to be, in other words, its IDEAL weight. Check out our page on Raw Gold Feeding Guidelines for more information.
I'm worried about bacteria with a raw diet. What shall I do?
Remember that dogs have a completely different digestion system to humans. They have a very short digestive tract and have a very high level of hydrochloric acid in their stomach. Bacteria cannot survive in an acidic environment. Dogs are quite happy to eat things that would most likely kill us (like bones they buried 3 weeks ago!) and their gut and digestive system is very capable of handling a level of bacteria that we would never be able to. You will find bacteria everywhere. E-coli, salmonella, etc. are found on raw chicken, but those nasties are also found in your fridge, in your sink, on your floor, in your garden, in your car, down at the park and even in your local supermarket. Dogs have an amazing immune system specifically designed to eat all manner of bacteria, and a healthy raw fed dog manages those bacteria without a problem. But when you are preparing your dog’s meal you must take the necessary precautions for your own health by washing your hands thoroughly afterwards and washing all utensils that you used. White vinegar is an excellent disinfectant. Do not store your dog’s raw food where your own food is stored. A dedicated freezer, or shelf in the freezer is a good idea.
My dog’s poop seems a lot harder on Raw Gold. Is he constipated?
Due to the fact that Raw Gold contains only raw, natural goodness, with no added fillers, colourants, or ingredients that are foreign to a dog, almost all the food they eat is used by the body with very little wastage. This means that their poop will be firmer, drier, less smelly, won’t attract flies and is easier to pick up. The firmer poop also greatly assists the anal glands to express themselves naturally, leading to less anal gland issues. As long as your dog isn’t constantly straining to poop without actually managing to poop, it is likely that he is just doing his business the way he should be.
Isn't it dangerous to feed your dog bones?
Dogs and their ancestors have been eating raw bones for centuries. Dogs have very strong stomach acids and bones dissolve to smaller pieces before they move into the intestines. The same applies to seemingly sharper bone fragments. Dogs have evolved having very strong stomach and intestinal walls, and the fear of intestinal perforation is generally unfounded. However, it is important to only feed RAW bones.
- There are 2 types of bones: edible and recreational. Edible bones are chicken necks, carcasses, wings etc. while recreational bones come from larger animals and are therefore larger, contain marrow and usually have meat and cartilage still attached.
- Edible raw bones provide a highly digestible source of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals, while recreational bones don’t supply significant dietary nutrition for dogs (they are not designed to be chewed up and swallowed, only gnawed on), but they do provide mental stimulation and are great for a dog’s oral health. When dogs chew on a raw recreational bone, especially a meaty one with cartilage and soft tissue still attached, their teeth get the equivalent of a good brushing and flossing. This helps to break down tartar and reduces the risk of gum disease.
- The following guidelines must be observed when a dog is fed a raw recreational bone:
- The dog must be supervised closely while working on a bone. That way an owner can react immediately if their dog happens to choke, or if they notice any blood on the bone or around their dog’s mouth from over aggressive gnawing. They’ll also know when their dog has chewed down to the hard brittle part of the bone, making splinters more likely. When the bone has been gnawed down in size it must be thrown out. The dog must not be allowed to chew it down to a small chunk he can swallow.
- Dogs in a multi-dog household must be separated before feeding bones. Dogs can get quite territorial about bones and some dogs will fight over them.
- Don’t give bones to a dog with a predisposition to pancreatitis. Raw bone marrow is very rich and can cause diarrhoea and a flare-up of pancreatitis.
- Don’t give a recreational bone to a dog that’s likely to try to swallow it whole or bite it in two and eat it in huge chunks. Bones must match the size of the dog and a recreational bone should be of a size that allows gnawing but not swallowing.
Dogs are designed to eat and digest bones. BUT, you must always feed the bones RAW. Never cook the bones. In fact, you should not cook anything you feed your dog. This is a RAW natural way of feeding.
My dog swallowed a whole chicken neck! Should I worry?
No, not at all. As we mentioned above, dogs are designed to digest raw bones. They have a short digestive tract that is very acidic and this aids in the digestion of raw bones. While it is better if they actually chew these edible bones before swallowing, it really is not a problem if they’ve swallowed a bone whole. As long as the bones you feed your dog are raw, and not cut by a butcher’s saw, then there is nothing to worry about. It is always a good idea to supervise your dog when they are eating a bone.
I see commercial food contains grains and carbohydrates. Shouldn't I add grains to my dog's diet?
Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains and carbohydrates. Most commercial dog foods contain more than 50% grains, even those fancy expensive ones! Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. If your dog suffers from allergies, the best thing you can do is get him off a commercial diet and onto a Raw Gold diet. For optimal health, animals must eat what they evolved to eat. Earthworms eat earth, cows eat grass, dogs and cats eat meat. You would not feed dirt to a cat, or kibble to a worm. So why is it okay to promote it in a veterinary setting? Because dogs have adapted over the last 200 years to process a starch-heavy diet, most conventional vets see this as proof that carbs/kibble are good for dogs. Dogs did not evolve to eat carbs. They adapted to fit the situation in which we, the humans, put them in with the food we provided.
Must I feed my puppy a different way to my adult dogs?
No. This is the beauty of a raw food diet. Because it is based on the way nature intended our dogs to eat, you feed puppies, young dogs, adults and senior dogs the same way. In the wild all the wolves feed on the carcass of the prey animal that they have killed. Seeing as we feed a raw natural diet that closely resembles this, all our dogs can be fed the same food. The only variation is really the percentage of body weight you would feed per day. The younger or more active the dog, the higher the percentage of body weight fed. The older, and less active the dog, the lower the percentage body weight per day.
Can I feed Raw Gold to my Miniature Schnauzer?
Miniature Schnauzers as a breed are more prone to hyperlipidaemia (pancreatitis) and high cholesterol than most other breeds, so care must be taken with feeding them a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Raw Gold mince Rabbit with Vegetables is an ideal food for Miniature Schnauzers, as its crude fat content is 3% on wet matter basis. Research has linked the consumption of high-fat diets, for example fatty table scraps etc. to a heightened risk of pancreatitis. It is important that the food fed to an at-risk Miniature Schnauzer is kept as constant as possible, as a change in diet can make them very sick. It also appears that females are more prone to the disease than males. If your Miniature Schnauzer is genetically at risk of contracting hyperlipidaemia, or has ever been diagnosed as having some form of pancreatitis, always discuss their diet with your vet. Regular blood tests should be performed to ensure that there is no fat in the dog’s blood. This is simply a case of drawing blood, leaving it to stand, and making sure there is no layer of fat sitting on top of the blood.
Can I feed Raw Gold to my Dalmatian?
Dalmatians suffer from kidney stones and urinary issues related to the inability to break down purines in their diet. They can eat raw, but must be monitored closely to ensure that they drink a lot of water. They can eat chicken and turkey, but not beef. They must have green leafy vegetables in their diets. Additional bones should not be added to their diet. Raw Gold mince Rich in Free Range Chicken is actually a very good diet for Dalmatians being low in purines, and containing green leafy vegetables, as long as the owners are vigilant with regards keeping an eye on the pH of their urine and doing urine analysis regularly.