1. How do I choose what I should offer my dog?
Our most popular raw feeding FAQ. If your dog is healthy (no known food allergies) and you are considering a raw diet we would recommend to start with a rotational diet of our Chicken, Beef and Turkey. We recommend a rotation of one protein for 1-2 days before introducing another option. However, we do provide assistance for clients when necessary to help create a meal or menu plan that meets your dog’s dietary requirements or restrictions and your food budget. Please contact us by phone at 519-915-9933 or through our Contact Us page.
We offer Windsor’s largest selection of raw! Here’s a bit about our offering:
- Big Country Raw
- Our Best Seller! We highly recommend their wide variety of proteins and convenient packaging! We love BCR!
- Tollden Farms
- Tollden pre-mixes the Omega-3 Fish Oil! They offer 1/2lb patties all the way to 5lk bulk. They also carry a line of Botanicals!
- Iron Will Raw
- Iron Will is based out of Welland Ontario. They offer a variety of items with or without vegetables added, and also offer 1lb, 2lb and 4lb resealable containers. Their 3lb bags of Chicken Backs, and large Beef Knuckles are very popular!
- Mega Raw
- Similar to Big Country Dinners, Mega offers two variety boxes (24lb each) – a Chicken & Beef Box and a Non-Chicken Box.
- Great for cats! We offer the Goat, Llama, Steelhead Trout and Elk proteins.
Interested in something else? Just give us a call, we’d love to hear from you and see if we can get you what you need.
2. How much do I feed my pet?
Feeding raw is dependent on body weight. Use our calculator at the top of the page to calculate the amount to feed.
Not sure how much your dog weighs? Come in to our store! We’ve got a pet scale!
For an average active dog that is at his ideal weight, you would feed 2.5% of his body weight, for example, for an 80 lb dog you would feed 2 lbs per day. A good rule of thumb is 1/2 lb per 20 lbs of dog, its fairly simple. If your dog needs to gain weight, add 1/4 lb of per meal, if he needs to lose weight reduce by 1/4 lb per meal. these are just guidelines, some dogs with higher metabolisms may require more food, and older and less active pets may require less. It’s a good idea to weigh your dog every few weeks at the start of switching to a raw diet to ensure they are getting sufficient nutrition. We now have weight scales, so no need to go to the vet!
For Large dogs: We have bulk options
For Small dogs: We have 1/4lb or 1/2lb options as well
For Cats: We would recommend 3% or more of their body weight if they are active, for example a 10 lb cat should get about 1/3 of one of our containers. You will need to adjust this according to your cat’s physical condition, and some cats may need more if they are outdoor cats or extremely active, you may have to bump it up as needed.
3. How much will a raw diet cost?
Your estimated feeding costs are dependent on the size and activity level of your dog however the following formula may be helpful for budget considerations: Formula: Weight of Dog x 2.5% x $2.75 (Average cost per lb) x 28 Days (7 Days x 4 Weeks) = Cost per month. PLEASE NOTE: Cost varies depending on the protein choices you choose to feed your dog. Chicken and Beef are less expensive than Rabbit and Duck for example.
Adding raw meaty bones such as chicken necks or beef brisket bones to your dog’s weekly meal plan can also be beneficial in reducing your feeding costs per day.
We are very willing to help provide you with recommendations regarding keeping your feeding costs as economical as possible.
4. How do I transition?
Most dogs make the change from canned/dry foods to the raw with ease. Dogs who have been ‘kibble’-fed most of their lives, or dogs with ‘easily upset’ stomachs can benefit from having the raw food introduced gradually.
Every pet has different tolerance levels and switching “cold turkey” may not be the easiest process for either you or your friend. A bit of patience and common sense will make the transition easier on all concerned. The following are some guidelines that you can follow.
Get Your Pet Ready
Help your pet get ready for the beneficial enzymes and bacteria in a raw food diet by introducing these elements to them in an easy to serve, easy to digest product like natural, unpasteurized goat’s milk or probiotics.
Start a week before introducing raw food. Check to make sure your pet can tolerate milk products. If they can’t, then try probiotics (friendly bacteria supplements).
Gradual Transition or Cold Turkey?
Generally it is preferable to acclimatize your pet to the new raw food diet in a gradual fashion, but if your animal is healthy and not likely to be too stressed you can do a “hard” switch. Make sure there is lots of fresh water on hand and don’t put out any food for 24 hours before starting the new diet. Be patient and positive. Your pet can sense your attitude.
7 Day Transition
Day 1 & 2 3/4 regular cooked diet – 1/4 new raw diet
Day 3 & 4 1/2 regular cooked diet – 1/2 new raw diet
Day 5 & 6 1/4 regular cooked diet – 3/4 new raw diet
Day 7 100% raw natural diet
5. Are raw bones dangerous for my dog?
Uncooked, raw bones are safe for your dog and in fact a raw diet consists of raw meaty bones either ground or whole. Beef bones can crack a tooth if they sit and dry out, and smoked and cooked bones are dangerous. Chicken bones are not likely to hurt your dog’s teeth and are excellent for cleaning teeth.
ALWAYS supervise your pet when chewing on raw bones.
6. What about bacteria and salmonella?
Simply put, dogs’ digestive systems are not the same as humans. They digest food more quickly and their digestive systems are also more acidic which makes it almost impossible for them to get sick from bacteria. However, we do believe that it is important to wash your hands, counters, and dog dishes after feeding. Your dog’s raw food should also be kept frozen until ready to use and thawed in your refrigerator.
Bacteria is all around us, it is everywhere, from the kitchen counter to your computer keyboard, you just can’t get away from it. One of the biggest concerns people and vets have about feeding a raw diet is the presence of harmful bacteria in the meat. This is what I always tell my customers and the vets that ask the question… not all raw diets are created equal. All the brands we carry take particular steps to prevent the growth of bacteria in our foods. So the food is considered extremely safe.
All of the raw food ingredients used are inspected by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) as they are human-grade. This ensures the highest quality of meats. The meats are processed quickly, again so that bacteria does not have a chance to grow. By using these good manufacturing guidelines these brands ensure the best products.
Dogs can handle a certain load of bacteria without any issue, so it really isn’t anything to worry about. Just make sure you feed a high quality commercial raw diet, avoid people that sell raw meat for really cheap and that do it out of their homes. Not all raw diets are created equal.
7. Do vets support raw feeding?
There are MANY veterinarians in Canada that support and recommend it in fact.
Furthermore, if your vet does not support raw, we advise you to find a vet that does support raw feeding, feel free to email us your location and we can try to recommend a vet in your area. They are out there, you just have to shop around, call different clinics and ask them what their opinion is on feeding a raw diet. The more progressive vets have seen the improvement in their clients overall health, so are starting to educate themselves more on the subject.
A good veterinarian will help advise you how to feed raw, not tell you to avoid it.
Raw is here to stay, more and more vets are coming on board.
8. Should a Raw diet include fruit or vegetables?
This is debatable in the raw feeding community, as some raw feeders do not recommend feeding any carbohydrates including fruits and vegetables. Nevertheless, we do offer meal choices with fruits & vegetables added as well as a fruit/veggie puree to add to your meals, however the majority of our meals are PURE meat and bone, no added fruits and vegetables.
Personally, we do include some fruits and vegetables in small percentages to our dogs and puppies diets.
9. My dog is drinking less water, is this normal?
Yes! This is completely expected. If you are transitioning from a dry kibbles diet your dog needed to consume significant amounts of water to help digest the food as well as stay hydrated. On a raw diet your pet’s food is naturally about 55-65% moisture and therefore they do not need much water to stay hydrated.
10. Are your products all Canadian and Hormone and Antibiotic free?
Yes. Brands we carry only use Canadian & CFIA inspected human grade meat suppliers to ensure a safe raw pet food diet. All the foods are hormone & antibiotic free and preservative free.
11. How can I be sure my pooch is receiving the proper ratios of calcium and phosphorus?
This question is more difficult to determine when looking for dry kibble diet than it is for raw feeders. The proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus is actually perfectly replicated in what nature provides (raw meaty bones). Dry food manufactures must achieve this balance through artificial chemicals and may even be in a form that you dog cannot digest (eg. limestone). All the diets we carry include a min. of ground bone you can be assured that they are receiving proper nutrition for growing bones and muscles.
12. My dogs poop is ALOT smaller and it turns white is this normal?
Yes, this is normal. Everything your dog eats his/her body utilizes and therefore less waste is eliminated. Additionally because the food is free of preservatives and commercial processes and fillers the poop biodegrades quickly into your lawn. If you dog has trouble passing a stool increase the portion of beef, lamb or tripe in your dogs diet. Too much bone may cause occasional constipation and “fossil poops” in some dogs.
13. Can I feed both kibble and raw?
We do not advise that you consider feeding raw with kibble. Dry dog food is digested differently and more slowly than raw food. If you feed both raw and dry kibble together you are increasing the amount of time that the food stays in the digestive system which may cause loose stools or vomiting. If you want to feed ½ and ½ you must feed one meal dry kibble and 1 meal raw. Next, we also suggest only considering a super premium all natural holistic dry food containing only human grade ingredients, and NO GRAINS OR CORN. If you dog does experience loose stools or you notice undigested food in their stools we strongly recommend feeding 100% raw.
Simply put, the health benefits of changing your dog’s diet to raw, will be vastly undermined if you continue to feed kibble.
14. Does the food come frozen?
Yes, the food comes frozen in a temperature controlled environment. Please ensure you can store your raw food frozen until you need to use it, to maximize freshness.
15. My dog is refusing to eat the raw food. What can I try?
Many processed pet foods contain addictive ingredients such as sugar, salt, sweet tasting propylene glycol or MSG to help disguise the taste of poor quality ingredients. For this reason occasionally it is difficult to transition to fresh natural raw pet food.
Some barriers may also be the consistency or texture of a raw diet, or even temperature. If you are having trouble getting your dog to try the raw we recommend the following: Wait at least 12 – 24 hrs between the last meal they ate and the raw diet. This will create hunger and more acceptance to try the food. You may also need to determine whether the refusing to eat is just your pet’s “stubbornness” to eat rather than the particular diet you are offering.
If your dog is healthy, holding out offering other food options until they do eat may be stressful and frustrating at the time, but in the long run may result in less problems with eating in the future. Offer the food at room temperature or warm slightly if they will not eat it immediately. You can also slightly cook the outside (just pan sear the sides) to help create an interest.
Alternatively you may also want to consider the cooked meatloaf. Made with fresh all natural ingredients with limited ingredients and no preservatives, fillers or by-products. Currently available in beef, chicken, lamb and turkey protein. If you are struggling to get them to eat, we certainly suggest trying our meat loaf!
16. My dog inhales their food and I am concerned about choking. What do you suggest to slow them down?
Gulping food is very common in young dogs in particular, but can be frightening for many pet owners. When feeding our prepared ground meals we recommend adding water to make a thick soup or mashing out with a fork onto a plastic tray or large bowl to help slow them down.
For feeding raw meaty bones, start with larger options like turkey necks and meaty beef bones and offer slightly frozen to help slow them down. Those super eager eaters even offering them the food from your hand, making them pull the meat off the bone may be a good idea until they learn to chew properly and slowly.
17. My dog has anal gland problems. Can I feed a raw diet? Will it help?
Yes and yes! Cooked processed dry diets create soft stools which allows anal glad secretions to build up causing painful compaction or possible rupture of the glands. A raw diet contains ground bone which helps to keep stools firm, and with every bowel movement anal glands are naturally squeezed and eliminated. No need for expensive and time consuming vet appointments to get your dog’s glands expressed.
18. Will feeding a raw diet make my dog aggressive?
No! This is a myth.
There is no relationship between dog aggression and feeding a raw diet. Prior to 1930 there was no such thing as commercial dry food and yet many people lived peaceably with very gentle domesticated dogs and cats, that thrived on a raw food diet. Dogs who are highly food motivated or have predisposed food aggression may show it more with raw, as it is a higher value food. In these cases, we recommend working with a trainer. Our experts in store do have feeding tips if this is the case for you.
19. My dog vomited their food. Why might that have happened? What should I do?
There are normally a few reasons why your pet may have vomited their meal.
The most common reason is for feeding the raw food too cold or eating too quickly. If they regurgitate their meal and then return to eating it (perhaps more slowly this time) this is normal. To prevent this from happening again, feed more slowly and offer ½ the meal, wait 5 min and offer the other ½ of the meal.
Vomiting is occasionally a result of a new food item that does not agree with your dog. If they do vomit up a particular protein or food choice, trust their digestive system and offer other food choices instead. Vomiting can also be a sign of poor gut flora/bacteria due to dry food over time. We have extremely effective gut supports in store for you to try.
Good to Know : If the vomit is yellow bile this indicates that your dog’s stomach is completely empty and they are hungry. If the vomit is clear and white with mucous this is from drinking too much water too quickly.
20. My dog has diarrhea? Why? What should I do?
If you have just started the raw diet we recommend transitioning from dry food to the raw diet with simpler proteins such as chicken, turkey, rabbit or duck. Offering beef, tripe, lamb and fish options too soon may cause loose stools. If you just offered a new protein, return to chicken or turkey for their next meal and try again in a few days but only offering ½ the portion. For example ½ Pure Chicken and ½ Beef Dinner. Next, add some Pumpkin (which we offer) to their next meal will also help to bind them up and prevent more loose stools.
Finally, adding Slippery Elm Powder (also available), to the next meal may also help to settle their digestive system.
21. Can I bring your products into the United States?
You can bring in any products if they follow customs guidelines. If you are unsure, we highly recommend visiting the US Customs website or contact them via phone for clarification.
Yes, Food products from Canada, including frozen pet food are permitted from Canada into the United States. Frozen raw dog food products must be commercially packaged and sealed with ingredients listed in English. Lamb products are not permitted into the United States). You may be required to provide proof of the origin to bring them into the United States. Examples of proof of origin I would include your receipt where the product was purchased. Please visit the US Customs website for more information.