Hello - I'm an old-timer from days gone by who has recently rediscovered LF!
I know there are loads of knowledgable people on here already but I wanted to share my experience with moving to a RAW diet. Kind of from a plebs point of view!
Hudson was our first lab and he was consistently fed on Royal Canin Labrador Retriever. A bit pricey, but after a bit of research it seemed to be the best one for him.
At approx age 4.5 he started showing some front limb lameness and we were naturally worried that this could be a skeletal problem so we investigated with x-rays and tests but all were inconclusive and after a bit of box rest it settled down and he was fine. Hudson had always had a strange reaction from time to time which seemed to be related to digestion but even after investigation with the vet we couldn't find anything wrong. He would yelp, become very unsettled, pace, get agitated and behave like he needed the loo, but wouldn't go.
Then came along Henry, his nephew! Henry also started life on Royal Canin and was fine.
A couple of friends moved onto RAW food and it got me thinking about it. I'd always dismissed it as a right faff and pain in the neck and thought that my dogs were getting a perfectly balanced diet from their kibble. Why would I want to go to all that effort when they were happy and healthy?
Well, the change in one friend's dogs was quite dramatic. Hudson's Mum, normally a rather lazy dog only venturing out if the temp was above 25 degrees, suddenly had loads of energy, was leaping about the place like a puppy and her coat was amazing. Once dull and scurfy, it was now shiny, glossy and smooth.
So I did my research, bought an excellent book and spoke to a vet friend who also feeds RAW.
I started them on Natures Menu, just because it was the most accessible brand to me at the time but quickly learned that it probably wasn't one of the best in terms of quality of the meat and fat content. So after more searching I found Nurturing by Nature online. They have a couple of shops down south but also deliver next day.
We've been on this for 1.5 years now and we'll never go back to kibble. Hudson (I'm hugging wood right now) has never had his unusual digestion problems since we've been on raw, their coats are beautiful! Hudson has had some lameness, but it's been after 5 or 6 days of intense walks and I mean miles, after a night's rest he's fine.
We feed a whole mixture of stuff - fruit and veg every day, and things like minces where the bone and everything is included, a good balance of hearts and livers, duck and chicken necks, lamb ribs, chunks of beef. You name it, they get it! The only thing I did try which I won't again are chunks of tripe. They loved it but the stench was awful!
We invested in a chest freezer to go in the garage and I order about a month and half worth of raw frozen food and just whip something out to defrost the night before.
We have not looked back once. So anyone who is on the verge and unsure, seriously consider it. The BARF Diet by Dr. Ian Billinghurst (available from Amazon) is well worth a read.
Thanks for reading.