Pre-prepared raw food contains minced bone in the right quantities, if you were feeding this alone then your dog would be getting the correct amount of bone but wouldn’t get the benefits from chewing on a meaty bone. It is a good idea to switch between a complete pack and a plain minced meat pack and meaty bones. Problems can arise if you are feeding too many bones which can lead to constipation or even impaction where the faeces are stuck in the colon or rectum. Always make sure to look at the bone content of packs of mince as some ‘economy’ packs may contain 40% bone!
Different dogs can also have different bone tolerances for example some older dogs can only cope with less than 10% bone and ill or recuperating dogs, and those taking certain medicines such as tramadol may find it difficult to deal with bone. It is best to start with smaller amounts of bone and monitor the faeces, if your dog is straining to pass faeces and it is very hard, crumbly or white then lower the overall bone content, the next day feed a boneless meat or meat mince and some offal.
2. Too much variety too soon
Even though your dog may love eating raw food it is important to stick to one meat protein at a time, we would recommend gradually introducing one new protein per week. This gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to get used to the new protein, highlights intolerances and prevents diarrhoea and an upset tummy!
3. Feeding the wrong amounts
This is bound to happen when you begin to raw feed as it is difficult to know the exact quantity of food an individual dog will need. Use the guidelines as a guide but keep an eye on your dog’s body condition and don’t be afraid to adjust the overall diet up or down. If your dog is becoming fat, then feed less within an overall balanced diet, fat is essential to dogs for their brains, cell growth, and nervous systems. Be wary of cheaper brands of food that usually have a high fat content and can lead to weight gain.
6. Adding in too many supplements
Supplements can be very confusing. If you are feeding a well-balanced raw diet, then your dog should be getting all they need from their food. It is best to ignore supplements until you are happy with the basic raw diet, then you can start to explore, and see what is of use for your dog. If your dog has an illness or condition, then we can advise on appropriate supplementation.
7. Too little variety in the longer-term
Variety is an important longer-term aim, ideally you want to rotate around at least four staple proteins. Appropriate raw diets are trying to replicate the balance of nutrition which can be obtained from a variety of whole prey. Different meats, cuts and proteins provide different nutrients.
8. Offal issues
Offal, for example liver and kidney, are great bowel-movers, it is an important part of a balanced raw diet. You can feed a bit more of offal if your dog is constipated, conversely if you feed a lot of offal, your dog will get extremely soft faeces. Offal makes up 10% of the diet, start with small amounts. Most pre-made raw contains 10% offal so you do not have to source it yourself.