Monday, April 25, 2011

All about the raw

Most of Billy appears to be made of rocks. The way he hurls himself around, crashing into everything (and everyone) would definitely mangle a lesser dog. The one exception is his stomach which, despite his predilection for vacuuming up any vaguely edible-smelling trash he can get his paws on, is decidedly gossamer-like. In the past this has proved rather unpleasant for whomever is cleaning up behind him on walks and it took months before I could get him settled on a kibble.

Unfortunately, the kibble that he settled on was pretty much full of garbage. Bilbo's old vet prescribed  Hill's Science Diet Gastrointestinal ID and it certainly made a difference but when I read the ingredients I decided that there had to be a better way. Check out the top five:

Whole Grain Corn
Brewers Rice
Dried Egg Product
Chicken By-Product Meal
Corn Gluten Meal

Hardly the food of champions.

While it appeared to be helping in the short term, I am a strong believer that in most cases you are what you eat. I came to the conclusion that keeping my Bilbo on such a diet in the long-term was hardly conducive to a long and healthy life.

He does just fine on home-cooked meals but it's difficult to get right and besides, I can barely manage to cook for myself half the time so that wasn't a viable option. After much research I settled on a Bravo raw diet and haven't looked back since. I do miss being able to feed him his meals in his Wobble Kong, though he's able to eat a little kibble from time to time, but it's worth the extra effort I have to put in to entertaining him to have confidence that he's eating well. The ingredients in his food?

Chicken, chicken frames, chicken organs (liver, gizzards, hearts), green beans, broccoli, acorn squash, salt, potassium chloride, vitamin E, zinc oxide, copper sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganous oxide, potassium iodide, vitamin D.

That's it! It's a little bit more work than kibble simply because it comes in big frozen tubes so it all has to be chopped up when I get home from Soggy Paws and then I have to remember to have enough defrosting in the freezer so he doesn't get his dinner late.

"Can I eat it yet?!"
Best of all, when I stick to the plan (ie. buy chicken at $8.99 instead of "Oh let's treat the boy" beef at $14.99) it costs no more to feed him a raw diet than it cost to feed the garbage kibble. Plus, I can pick up an extra tube on the way home from work as the store is right by my train stop.

Soggy Paws Logan Square (2526 W. Armitage) are hosting a Stella & Chewy's seminar on raw food tomorrow at 7pm and I'd highly recommend going along to learn more. S&C's food is a little more expensive per pound but if you have a smaller (or less rapacious) dog than I, it's even easier to feed since it comes in little measured-out chunks. If you don't live by a Soggy Paws location they do deliver to much of Chicago so it's an option worth exploring even if it's a bit tricky to get to a store on a regular basis.

Non-Chicagoans will just have to google their way round the interwebs to find a supplier.


  1. I feed Maisie raw as well. she usually eats a pound a day (split into two feedings) and I have forund the 2 lb. Fresh is Best containers to be the easiest method because each one can be divided into quarters inside the container (MUCH less messy) for two days of meals. Billy would eat more though since he's bigger, I think. and this winter, I've had to supplement each meal with one Stella & Chewy's patty because it's been so cold, Maisie actually lost weight just staying warm. :(

    it all costs a freaking fortune, but it's worth it. until I can't afford it anymore, I guess!

  2. we have been asking for help with havi's tummy forever. so many great readers have told us the raw food diet. and weve been hesitant. 1. because it looks a little gross and 2. because we thought it was really too much money. currently, we are doing Evo raw food kibble and its not doing the trick. wed like to keep her on it for a full month as well as add in Missing Link probiotic before we make a definite determination. but we just sat and crunched the #s and Bravo seems to actually be the same exact price! well do anything for havi's tummy and our piece of it might just be a great next step. thanks so much fo this post!

  3. I also give Maisie an acidophilus pill or capsule (available at CVS or Whole foods) once a day and that seems to help her tummy too.

  4. We've gone raw and it's so much better. It is a bit more work, with the defrosting and getting it out of the tube, but the best part is their poo comes out like little goat pellets and it's so easy to pick up. I didn't know Soggy Paws delivered. Interesting.

  5. everyone says that, but Maisie still has man-size stinky poops. why am I so blessed? ;)

  6. We are still using regular high-end kibble, and thankfully our allergic white dogs are doing just fine on it. But, we are careful to use very limited-ingredient foods, like Evo, Buffalo Blue Basics, and Taste of the Wild.
    He sure does seem to like his raw food though!

  7. Seems like a lot of people in the blog world are finding raw to be the answer. It is for us, but we don't use a prepackaged raw food. Instead, I feed my dogs meat, fresh, with some bones, some organs. If you think a kibble meal in a Kong is a great way to occupy your dog's mind, try feeding a rack of goat ribs, or a spine section of cow. Plus, feeding whole prey model raw cleans my dog's teeth in a way that ground raw never will.


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