Putting the dogs on RAW food is something I’ve always wanted to try. I have heard so many good things about the RAW diet, it’s so popular at the minute and I feel like we are quite late to the party.
Having seen them at shows and on social media Cotswold Raw really stood out to me as it was a lovely local company and I also loved the name ‘Cotswold RAW’ which goes well alongside ours. So they were a great choice to work with on our transition over to RAW.
Unlike kibble where if you change brands you need to mix little bits of each food so your dogs don’t get an upset stomach, with RAW you move over all at once. Mixing RAW with kibble isn’t advised because they are digested at different rates, with kibble bloating in your dogs stomach.
It’s definitely a lot more time consuming at meal times, I keep the food in a separate freezer in the garage [It might be worth buying an old freezer to keep out there just for your dogs] so it’s not as easy to fetch out of a container indoors because it is kept frozen or chilled at all times. Then instead of just using a pre measured cup each meal has to be weighed out on scales. So per meal Woody has 250g & Wilma 125g of mince, they have this twice a day. Or if you’re a little uncomfortable scooping out the mince there’s also the option for sausages which have it all inside and you can just pop in their bowls without getting too mucky.
As well as being very helpful before and during our transition to RAW always answering my questions, we also got to meet Cotswold RAW at DogFest Bristol. This is where we found out their passion for the good ingredients that go into their food. All of their ingredients are sourced locally which I really love; because of this they don’t have a fish option but that’s understandable as we aren’t near the sea and there would be no local sustainable fish source.
So what is all the fuss about, what is so good about it that this is the best diet you could possibly give your dogs? In just a month these are a few of the changes I have noticed in the dogs. Chris from Cotswold RAW explained to us what is causing these changes and had all the nutritional information.
Diet is one of the main factors that effects a dogs coat. When I strip the dead hair from Woody it reveals a healthy undercoat, however this has now transformed into a beautiful glossy coat even shinier than before! For Wilma she wouldn’t really go shinier because she’s curly coated but her coat has become so much healthier & thicker. Starting out as a strip along her back then slowly covering her body.
Omega 3 & 6 are what boost the dogs coats. Some manufacturers get this from adding fish oil. We don’t, as we source our product regionally, we get ours from cold milled flaxseed and organic sea kelp. Many of the natural herbs in the food will bolster skin and coat.
So the first thing I tell absolutely everyone about when RAW comes into the conversation is the dogs poos! It might sound gross but I am fascinated by the transformation. Woody has never ever had a good digestion; first poo of the day will be solid then they’ll just go down a slippery slope from there. He now does 3 maybe 4 poos a day depending on the amount of exercise, before he would just do this in one walk! His poos would be huge and not very solid, but now they’re tiny little nuggets and solid every time! Plus the best thing is a RAW diet means that your dogs poo doesn’t smell [Hooray!]. Wilma always had small healthy poos, but now they’re absolutely tiny like rabbit droppings which is amazing! [The only downside being it makes them impossible to find and pick up when she goes to the loo in the distance]. I’m presuming it’s because they absorb more of the goodness from the food so that less needs to come out the other end? I wish i’d done before and after poo photos, but it is also probably a bit odd to include!
Smaller poo’s, Yes absolutely, no grain and very low in carbs so the dogs utilize and metabolize the food more efficiently. As animals do in the wild.
Some people feed DIY raw where you add in all the ingredients yourself with bits and pieces doing different things for your dog. But feeding complete meals where it’s all in a tub and you scoop it out was so much easier for us to transition over for the first time. Plus it saves so much time not having to sort it all out myself. Everything that the dogs need is in there so I don’t have to worry about adding in anything else to balance out the dogs’ diets.
We are ultimately bound by FEDIAF guidelines. We are members of the Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA) and our food is completely compliant with the European Pet Food Industry Association (FEDIAF) nutritional guidelines. These guidelines, which were designed for manufacturers of processed food that use very poor ingredients and add supplements. We use the highest possible quality of ingredients and we don’t have to supplement to meet guidelines. We have our products and batches laboratory analysed to make sure that we are hitting the right blend and quanitities of vitamins, minerals, protein, essential amino and fatty acids.
If you’ve met Woody you’ll know he has a nose like the sahara desert. It is so dry and has been all his life! [The reason he doesn’t have many close up photos] Without adding cream it can get very painful and bleed, the vets don’t know what causes it and could only offer for him to be on steroids for life which was something I wasn’t going to do. It doesn’t effect him at all and he still sniffs everything to his hearts content. I wasn’t expecting it but being on raw a miraculous change has happened, the bottom part of his nose is slowly healing. It’s only been a month and he’s had this his whole life so it’s not going to change overnight but if it does in the long run it will be absolutely amazing and he’ll finally have that soggy nose he’s always dreamed of.
The vets had no idea what caused it so we thought we’d see what Chris and the nutritionist had to say: Again it will be the lack of synthetic ingredients needed to be added in to a processed food to meet FEDIAF guidelines once the food has been cooked to high temperature or extruded (high pressure).
They also have a range of natural chews and treats which are great to feed alongside the dogs RAW diet. These are the dogs enjoying their marrow bones.
Suddenly the dogs have both become even more muscular. They’ve always been really fit little athletes because they’re always outdoors or training, but raw has made the muscles even more prominent.
A lot of dogs carry this “kibble padding” where they can’t metabolize all of the carbs present and it can convert to sugars. It is to do with the high level and bio-availability of protein, and the natural form it is found in raw.
So that’s our very first experience of RAW and what we noticed after one month. I absolutely will never go back, and if your circumstances suit it then i’d 100% recommend you giving it a go. I hope to blog a bit more about RAW along our journey, right now I’m still a total newbie so i’ll share everything we pick up along the way!
I’ve so much more to write about RAW feeding the dogs but I don’t want this to turn into a small novel! So i’ll be back with more posts in this RAW series.
Thank you for reading,
Megan, Woody & Wilma
Thank you to Cotswold RAW for working with us on this blog post.