Frequently Asked Questions
- Background: I grew up in a world where raw feeding pets was considered the norm, and I was quite surprised later on that people didn’t actually realise that manufactured diets were inferior.
Pet owners are responsible for what goes into our pet’s mouth. We are influenced by a variety of sources, and most of us don’t even realise how “programmed” we’ve been by tv ads, pet shows on tv, and most of all by pet food manufacturers.
The big game changer has been for humans – the interactiveness of the internet, where we are no longer sitting there just absorbing information given to us by tv, but we now interact and learn and feedback in a much better way, allowing us greater critical review of the information given to us.
We should never stop asking questions. We should never get our information from just one source. We have a brain, and we need to use it.
Us humans have realised the negative implications of feeding a manufactured diet to ourselves, and now so many more people are understanding that manufactured food impacts negatively on our own health and conditioning, then it must be the same for our pets.
Keep in mind, you, as the carer of your animals are responsible for what you put in your animal’s mouths. The details below are simply how I feed a raw diet, and how I get animals started on raw. This is simply my opinion based on several years experience.
Ok, make sure you read this, it sets the basic parameters.
This FAQ is NOT a bible
Once you’ve taken on board the information, it will become clearer and clearer that this really is an easy undertaking.
That being said, a raw diet, is not a cure all for a dog’s medical conditions. It should provide a better platform for dog health going forward. In some rare instances where a pet’s health has been so compromised by genetics or poor diet, they may be unable to sustain a raw diet, but this is a whole lot rarer than people (including vets) realise.
Why should I feed a raw diet?
A raw diet provides a range of benefits that commercial dog diets
can never hope to even closely match.
These benefits include:
- significantly reduced doggy odour
- naturally cleans teeth – no need for toothbrushes, de-scaling jobs, or gum disease (in smaller dogs these can still be an issue but in a much smaller percentage of cases than dogs fed a manufactured diet
- the time it takes for a dog to chew a raw meaty bones give their stomach adequate time to get the acids moving
- much less stools produced – and they are firm, and often turn chalky after a couple of days
- decreased or non-existent vet bills (your dogs are healthier)
- less cost for dog food – commercial dog foods can be expensive
- mirrors what a dog would be getting in the wild – and certainly even the modern day dog has a digestive tract exactly the same as a wolf
- puppies develop at a more appropriate rate – and quick growth spurts are avoided. A GOOD breeder will want to stop fast growth in any pup.
- the ripping and chewing involved in eating raw meaty bones develops the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles of the dog. Commercial dog foods will never assist in this important muscle development.
What have people have reported?
People who have switched their dogs to a raw diet from commercial dog
foods have found the following:
- dogs who were previously un-energetic, and sluggish become completely new dogs once the raw diet feeding begins
- allergies their dogs previously had on commercial foods, disappear once they start with the raw diet
- arthritis has significantly reduced or disappeared in some dogs switched to raw
- better weight control
- no more doggy odour!
- their dogs are living longer on a raw diet than what their other dogs previously had survived on commercial dog foods
- that their bitches managed their pregnancies better
- better weight and survival figures in puppies
That being said, a raw diet will not rid your dog, cat or ferret of cancer, pancreatitus, lupus disease, other auto immune diseases, etc. It is not a miracle cure. There are no miracle cures.
How do I start?
Firstly do your reading. I would be disappointed to learn that you just read my site and nothing else before embarking.
Most people start with feeding chicken because it is so readily available, and mostly cheap. The bone in chicken is also digestible for most dogs, although I find my puppies will take up to about 12 weeks of age before they can get through a chicken leg bone.
Most often you would want to be feeding between 2-3% of expected adult body weight per day. Smaller dogs tend to eat more than larger dogs percentage wise. On a hot day, my dogs eat less. Dogs left outside in cold weather will definitely require more food.
Start with the basics – a range of different raw meaty bones, or preferably whole items, such as chicken, quail, fish, eggs. For the majority of raw feeders – chicken is the base of the majority of their dogs meals. However, if chicken is not available readily, use what is available locally – raw meaty – lamb, beef, venison, duck, rabbit, kangaroo, pig, raw
whole fish. You get the picture.
What about fruit and veggies and grains?
Dogs, cats, and ferrets are carnivores. Just because dogs can eat something doesn’t mean they should. Just because some dogs go looking for carrots, for example, doesn’t mean they should eat them. Modern day fruit and vegetables hardly resembles what was available to us (both human and pets) even a couple of hundred years ago. Our food farmers, rightly or wrongly, continue to grow species which produce the highest natural sugar content, which are overly big. These would never naturally exist in the wild, and there is no advantage to feeding them to our pet carnivores. Heck, they don’t even have the right dentition (teeth structure) to manage such.
And no, the digestive system of our pet carnivores has not changed over the years to be able to digest such. This would take millions of years, not a couple of hundred.
Please note: Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains. Grains are one of the biggest sources of allergies in dogs. Grains make up the majority of dog food company food sources. Many people find when they switch to an all natural diet, the allergies their dogs had disappear. This is common.
It should be stated there are a lot of people who get super excited and emotional about feeding fruit and veggies, insisting that pumpkin and coconut are the new bestest thing. They aren’t. Your dog doesn’t need it. If you really want to get into using pumpkin and coconut, there are some super recipes on the net for making pie, which you can make and then feed to your family. Don’t feed such to your dog (or cat. or ferret).
In the vast majority of cases, it is cheaper to feed a raw diet than it is to feed a manufactured diet. But you do need to go looking for sources. Buying in bulk often helps, and keep looking for the special buys that supermarkets have. Because I can feed so many dogs and cats every day, I have now invested in a cool room (yippee), and have 3 back up freezers. I also get deliveries 2-4 times a week, depending on how busy I am.
(On this note, please do not email me asking me where you can find cheap supplies, unless you live in the same town I live in, in rural Australia. I have no idea where the best suppliers are in CT, USA, for example.)
Yes you can freeze and then defrost your supplies for later use.
More often than not, because of the better platform for health, people find that they are making huge monetary savings by decreasing the number of vet visits required each year. For example, a dog/cat that has daily access to suitable raw bones (not those mammoth beef leg bones which can break teeth), rarely need to visit a vet for a teeth cleaning. Their teeth are kept naturally clean through the appropriate raw diet.
Will my vet support a raw diet?
In the old days, the vast majority of vets did not support a raw diet. This is slowly changing.
Personally I feel sorry for vets. In a 5 year training program, vet students have to learn the basics of over 20 different species. To put this in perspective, my twin brother is a cardiac surgeon. He went to university for 20 years to learn about human hearts. 20 years – I’m not kidding. And every year he attends multiple international conferences to keep his skills and learning up just about the human heart.
Our expectations of vets is that they should have intimate knowledge on each and every pet species. And they simply can’t. Let alone know how to feed a dog something other than a manufactured pet food. As such, if your pet does develop some sort of odd ailment such as pancreatitis, they will inevitably only ever be able to tell you what commercial dog food to feed. You will need to look for yourself as to what raw food diet options exist. (and please don’t ask me, I have no experience in this, and am yet to see a dog fed an appropriate raw diet develop pancreatitis. Do you think there’s a link then?)
Vets will spend more time at university learning how to microchip a pet, than about pet nutrition. In the small minority of cases where there are subjects on pet nutrition (this is covering those 20 different species, not just about dogs and cats), much if not all the information has been written by either pet food companies or persons being paid by pet food companies. Very, very little, if any information, is provided to veterinary students as to an appropriate unprocessed raw diet. This means, your vet is likely to only ever know about manufactured diets.
And in some situations, vets will talk about horror stories of dogs having their internal body parts punctured by bones, and similar stuff. A quick google search will take you to vet sites which are purely laughable as to the beat up stories they provide.
So how do I handle my vet who doesn’t support a raw diet?
I don’t think there is any reason for disrespectful point scoring against vets that you are going to have to deal with. They have spent a lot of time and money getting their education. If you are choosing a new vet, I would recommend setting up an appointment with each of them to talk about what your position is on a raw diet and see if they will support you. You also need to ensure you will get support from the other vets at the practice and the vet nursing staff. If you think that the vets lack education as to a raw diet, wait until you see what is provided to vet nurses!
I would expect a vet to ask you questions in this initial interview as to the contents and methodology as to how you feed raw. After all, there are some people’s idea of a dogs’diet should consist of just bread and milk. Or just ground meat thanks. etc, etc, etc. Just like we’ve all heard of the 106 year old man who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. Just because it hasn’t killed them, doesn’t mean it’s right.
I am a little perturbed when I hear people reporting that their vet has requested that them, the client, provide them with appropriate reading material as to a raw diet. Seriously – if your vet is not going to spend a few hours on the internet, or hasn’t done so already, this is probably not your best choice of veterinary support.
Many of us have been brought up to not question our doctors and vets, so it may be time to put on your big girl panties and say to a vet who is against your approach, “it’s a shame that we’re not on the same page. Moving forward we have a couple of options. Firstly we can agree to disagree about dog diet, and neither you nor the staff here will not question my choices, or 2ndly, it sounds like I need to find someone else to support my choices. I thank you for your time. If your position changes on this at all, here is my number and I would love to talk further.”
It is worth noting that it is very unfortunate that both pet food companies and pharmaceutical companies are big sponsors of veterinary courses, and peak veterinary groups. They also sponsor the universities. But we do live in a world where it is apparently acceptable for fast food companies to set up in children’s hospitals and praise them for doing such a service. PR at its best, I guess.
For most people their local supermarket will provide most if not all their food needs. For example, let’s say I have a labrador. I would go to the supermarket and buy 3-4 whole chickens from the fresh meat section. I’d cut the chicken (we call them chooks here) into 4 parts, ie: quarters. I’d feed a quarter of that per day. That means, I’ve got 16 meals out of 4 chickens. Now some labradors might need more than that, so perhaps in addition to the chicken quarter, you could give 1 lamb’s heart a day. If they aren’t readily available, perhaps beef heart, cut into 10 parts, depending on how big it is. Cost: $2-3/day to feed your dog. I don’t weigh my dogs’ food. I look at each dog each day and adjust their food based on their condition, and what they ate the day before. (sometimes I check their stools, as if they are too chaulky I’m probably feeding too much bone. if they are too loose I’m probably not feeding enough bone, or
I’m feeding them too much overall. Hope I’m not over-sharing on that one.)
Invest in a freezer. You can usually pick up 2nd hand ones for around $80 which you can put in your laundry or garage.
There is an increasing number of companies now supplying “pre-made raw”. This tends to be an inferior product, includes things your dog doesn’t require (eg: cheap fillers such as fruit and veggies), and is often ground. I rarely ever feed ground food and do not recommend it. Also, and very importantly, pre-made raw food is often being processed in such a way (including radiation, preservatives, and gasing) to reduce the bacterial levels, which are vastly increased when food is ground. When meat is ground, an unnaturally large surface area is exposed to bacteria often resulting in a much larger bacterial count. You know food hasn’t been treated with these when it “goes off” after 24 hours.
What support groups are there?
If you like my no nonsense, straight talking approach to raw feeding pets, you’ll probably like to join one of our support groups. Please note, there are no vets running these groups.
Not only is feeding raw cheaper to feed than commercial dog foods, but there are
enormous savings to be made by not having all those vet visits to fix your
dogs’ allergies. Are you asking yourself yet, “why hasn’t my vet recommended
this?” Yes, I would ask that of them too. Unfortunately most vets receive NO
education at university on dog diet other than what the commercial dog food
company reps tell them! (yes, this is the education they PAY to get –
unbelievable. Luckily, some universities are realizing this mistake and
are making amends).
So much for objective information! … the Australian Vet Association’s principal sponsor is a pet food company.
Check out whether your vet can give out objective information on a raw diet, or have they (like most vets) received their education sponsored by a pet food company?
Join the raw feeding email list -
(please join in the “digest” form, as there are over many members on this list)Please read this page, and please join the raw feeding email list by clicking here.
…. and keep reading below for lots more information…..
There are also over 100 different other smaller raw feeding email lists that you can join.
Most people are on 2-3 raw feeding email lists, although I’m on about 10. To see this list
click here. If you are still stuck on which list to join,
email me, , and I will be more than happy to
help you out.
If your vet wants to find out more about the raw feeding processes, click here:
There are also a plethora of sites which are predominantly written by vets who have received all their education from pet food company sales reps, which
state how bad a raw diet is. What we decided to do is put together a forum for those vets and their so called “information” to be able to stand
the scrutiny of a number of intellects with the raw feeding world. Click here if you’d
like to find out more about how their claims have been discredited.
What is Feeding Raw all about?
Feeding Raw – it refers to a type of diet fed to dogs
(and cats) which totally excludes all commercial dog foods.
Click here to read some more detailed true stories.
Why is commercial dog food not good for my dog?
There are a range of problems with commercial dog foods. I will provide
some links below, but in summary:
But how will I know how much to feed my dog?
You feed your dog based on their energy requirements. It will differ
for how much work your dog does, and what their metabolism is like.As a rough guide, my adult male boxer (neutered) will eat a chicken quarter a day as the base of his meal, and then some other bits and pieces.
The same goes for my Portuguese Water Dogs. My borzoi requires about twice as much.
My toy poodle will have three chicken necks a day (or more if he’s been a
bit active) as the base for his meal.
My cats will eat about the same amount as the toy poodle, but they do prefer fish over all other food!
Look at your dogs and cats regularly – if they are looking a bit porky, then remove all carbs in their diet. If they look a bit thin, then, an extra
chicken quarter in the diet for a few days may be the solution.
It’s not hard to do, and when you get into a routine, it’s darn easy. Trust me!
But aren’t chicken bones dangerous?!!!
This is one of the biggest myths of all time! Raw chicken bones are fantastic
for your dog. They are soft enough so that they bend easily, and break well
for the dog to digest.On the other hand, cooked chicken bones can be a problem, and I recommend that
you DON’T feed COOKED chicken bones.
Some people are worried about their dog choking on bones. While such incidents are very rare (far more incidents occur with dogs choking on kibble), I encourage the feeding of bigger portions of meaty bones, or if available, whole carcasses, such as whole chickens or rabbits.
So could a raw chicken bone kill a dog? Well I guess that anything is possible.
Certainly scientifically you can’t prove a negative argument. However what we do
know is that dogs have died from inhaling kibble the wrong way and choking and
suffocating to death.
Feeding your dog is about management of risk. No matter which path you
decide to take there is always risk. There is always someone who will
criticise your decision. However you, and only you can decide what is
best for your dogs. Weigh up all the benefits and risks. Do your own analysis.
Do your research. Do what will have the greatest overall benefit for your dog.
My dog tends to inhale food!??? -
There is a real need to manage this.
This is common with some dogs who have been raised on commercial food who
don’t actually ever learn to chew.You need to be careful with all dogs regardless of what they eat during
their meal times. I’ve heard of dogs choking and dying on kibble, and
dogs choking on raw meaty bones. – Just like I have heard of humans who
have choked and died on a small piece of sausage or cheese.
You should supervise all meal times.
If a dog is scarfing down their food, I feed them by hand, in an isolated
environment, until they learn how to chew. Chewing is critical for a dog.
And literally some dogs need to figure it out as adults how to do it.
Sometimes I will hold one end of the chicken quarter and not let them swallow
it until they have chewed it a bit. Puppies that I have brought up feeding
raw meaty bones from an early age never seem to have these sort of issues.
But you never can tell.
Some dogs will try and inhale even large meaty bones, so you really need to
work with these guys carefully. They should eventually work it out. As stated early, feed really large portions, that forces the dogs to chew.
There is an increasing understanding that best nutrition is achieved when feeding the whole carcass, rather than just bits of it. So to help a “scarfer” perhaps a whole carcass might slow them down.
Be also careful of the greedy guts who thinks s/he will be starving unless
food is consumed in great quantities immediately. Most dogs will learn eventually,
but others, well, it may take a long time.
So in summary, monitor meal times, and be sure to watch out for the greedy guts –
and manage them carefully.
How about pre-packaged raw foods?
Pre-packed raw foods are entering the market in a big way. However, for the most part, they are inappropriate food stuffs. Here’s just some of the problems with them:
- Different standards for packaging dog food than for packaging human foods
- You don’t know how much of different foods are in your pack (unless you are sent an entire carcass)
- 5-10 times more expensive than buying directly from your butcher
- Usually, they are ground food – which is not species appropriate – both dogs and cats need whole raw meaty bones and/or carcasses
- Contain unnecessary supplements
- Contain fruit and vegetables – which are just not appropriate for dogs or cats.
Should I grind the bones?
In a small number of cases, invariably where the dog/cat has a rare medical condition, ground bones are necessary.
However, in over 99% of cases, dogs and cats should be fed whole meaty bones/carcasses. Ground bones are a poor substitute to whole bones. In addition, consuming such does not give the dogs the important muscle work out they need.
There has also been a very small number of cases caused by impaction of ground bones.
Frankly, feeding ground bones tends to help nervous owners get over the whole “can’t possibly feed my dogs whole bones” mentality, but is not the best thing for your dog. If you insist on feeding ground bones, please understand the negatives of such.
What supplements should I feed?
Ah… to supplement or not to supplement! Well there are some people out there and pharmaceutical companies making a load of money off gullible people! In almost every single case, the feeding of supplements is a complete waste of time and money.
If you really do have spare money, donate it to me!
Don’t fall into the trap of feeding supplements “just in case”. If you feed your dog/cat a variety of raw meaty bones/carcasses, then you’re dog has the best platform upon which to base their health.
Just remember – NEVER EVER FEED KIBBLE!
But what about bacteria on raw chicken?
So many good questions!Ok, there is bacteria everywhere. Dogs have an amazing immunity system
specifically designed to eat all manner of bacteria. And a healthy raw fed
fed dog manages those bacteria without a problem.
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 backyard, in your
car, on the footpath, down at the park, and perhaps in your bed! Interestingly,
the only cases I have heard of dogs dying from e-coli or salmonella, were dogs
fed commercial dog foods.
The most important thing is to wash your hands thoroughly after feeding your dogs,
and even after cutting up meat for your own meals. Our digestive systems are not
quite as robust as our dogs, so we must protect ourselves.
I use a spray bottle containg white vinegar which I spray about when I need
I have been feeding my animals a raw for several years, and have yet to have a problem
with bacterial infections with my dogs. They are so darn healthy, they are
never at the vets! Well, except for when I got them micro-chipped.
Additionally I have raised a number of litters all successfully on a raw diet.
But my vet doesn’t think that feeding raw is any good
Then your vet needs some serious re-educating!Keep in mind that vets are told very little about dog diet at university.
In fact, in some universities, reps from the dog food companies, come and do
presentations on dog diet, as part of the curriculum. Many vets get their
education on dog diet by dog food reps.
And many vets make a lot of money by retailing dog foods.
If you have a vet that doesn’t want to be re-educated, or will not discuss
options, then that is a very sad state of affairs. Here’s hoping you can
find a better vet.
Given this age of the internet, there is absolutely no excuse for vets not
to be educated on all feeding options. And there are plenty of vets on the
internet who would gladly converse with other vets about feeding raw. You found this
page, why can’t they?!!
That being said, there are plenty of vets out there now who realise that there
are significantly better alternatives to commercial dog food. Many vets who
have changed their ways are very sorry that they did not “see the light” much
What do you feed your dogs, Jane?
Great question! These are the things my dogs eat:
- raw meaty bones and/or whole carcasses – chicken, lamb, pork, whole raw fish (at least once a week), beef, rabbit
- whole raw eggs in their shells (I let the dogs crack the shells)
- organ meatMy dogs will also get fish heads, eel, prawns, squid, and any other raw meaty carcass I can get. Sometimes this means kangaroo!
Please note: dogs are carnivores – they do not need either fruit or vegetables.
– do you get the picture yet – be relaxed about how you feed!
PLEASE NOTE: I NEVER EVER FEED MY DOGS GRAINS – THIS MEANS, NO OATS, RICE,
WHEAT, BREAD, CORN, ETC.
Dogs do not have the digestive system to cope with grains. Most
commercial dog foods contain more than 50% grains (yes, this includes all
those fancy expensive ones too! ) Grains are one of the biggest sources of
allergies in dogs.
My dogs have a diet that is high in protein, and low in carbohydrates –
like nature intended.
Where can I buy this stuff?
Talk to your local butcher, abbotoir, or chicken processor. Many of the
leftovers that these guys consider waste, us raw feeders people consider fantastic
for our dogs. Things like chicken carcasses, chicken necks, chicken feet,
and chicken heads are considered rubbish, and are sold for next to nothing.
You should be able to get these fairly easily.You can also try things like pigs’ trotters (that’s pig’s feet), ox tail,
lamb’s necks. Some people also have access to ostrich carcasses, and deers.
Be creative. And don’t forget raw whole fish!
Can I feed my pregnant bitch on raw food?
Yes! Yes! Yes!
This is the best thing you can do for your bitch.
I have actually changed the diet of a bitch I obtained, who was pregnant,
to raw food when she was pregnant. I was certainly not worried about any cross
over issues. For her, the potential damage of commercial foods to her and
her puppies was my main concern. I couldn’t get her onto a raw food diet quickly enough!
Mind you, she did eat one heck of a lot! So for pregnant and nursing bitches
you will find that they need more food to cope with the demands of the little
guys! And sometimes, a pregnant bitch will not want to eat a lot. You let your
bitch be the judge. She knows her needs.
Can I feed puppies on raw food?
You most certainly can. And the good news is that unlike the commercial dog foods who recommend a confusing range of foods for different age groups, raw food fed dogs are fed the same regardless of age.Of course, you won’t want to feed that little puppy huge marrow bones! So, use common sense in your feeding.
How do I learn more?
There are a number of books on raw that have been written. None of them are perfect. Some recommend grains, or veggies, or fruit, or cooked food (including table scraps) of some sort. Despite our animals being “domestic”, this has simply changed their behaviour, and has certainly not changed their digestive tract (despite what your well meaning vet might try and tell you.) By all means, look at the books on the market, but invariably, you will disappointed to some degree by each of them. In the end, the raw feeding email list is probably going to be the best source of information for you. Click here for more information.
- I’ve got a range of books I recommend which you can browse by clicking here. The most fabulous book you will find is the book by Weston Price. Now this book was written before the time of even the introduction of commercial dog food. In fact, the book doesn’t even discuss dogs or cats. It talks about human nutrition. It is an extraordinary read with fantastic photos, and you’ll really start to understand how the wrong food can cause immense problems in humans within a short period of time. With this knowledge, you can easily apply it to our companion animals. And there’s always that great movie about the guy who ate McDonalds for a month.
Jane, you spend a lot of time talking to people about dog diet. Why do
you do it?
Life is about learning. Part of my core instinct is to help people out. As part of this,
I feela great desire to ensure that we look after our fellow furry friends.
With my show dogs, I call the raw diet, “my secret advantage”. On one level
I would much prefer that my competitors don’t feed the raw diet, as I know their dogs
will not be in the same condition as my guys. But on the other hand, what I want most,
is for dogs to be healthy, regardless of who owns them.
Interestingly now days, the raw diet speaks volumes in the ring, and we often get asked
the question, “what do you feed?”.
We often win dog food at dog shows. The first thing we do with that is put it in the
closest trash bin. There’s no room for that sort of rubbish in our dogs’ diet.
The health of my dogs is far too important for me to compromise it by feeding a vastly
inferior standard of food that commercial food represents.
Pet shelters take heed – if you approach the right suppliers, you will probably find you can get ALL of the food needs of the dogs for free, or for a very low price. Email me for more information on how this can easily be achieved.