I recently adopted a second dog. He's a 5 year old 65lb doberman pinscher.
My first dog switched to raw 4 years ago, and it changed our life. I also work for a raw food company. But here's what I considered before transitioning the new pup to a fully raw food diet.
My first dog (seen all over the Maev site) is a 15 lb italian greyhound, named George. When I rescued George, he was 8 months old, and quickly became my pride and joy. He started gaining weight and seeing a lot of tartar build-up on kibble. I tried so many diets, and my vet suggested I spend $3500 on a dental procedure and try making his food DIY - but warned that just boiling chicken and rice would not suffice.
That's around the time when I first discovered the benefits of a raw food diet. Before starting him on raw, George was a picky eater who often had digestive issues (would become lethargic for a day, would stop eating - roughly once a month) and started showing signs of leaky-gut syndrome.
When I started him on raw, I tried the store bought options first. They were disgusting - I would thaw and freeze sausage patties, leaving a slimy meat juice all over my freezer, counters, and fridge each day.
But, George was thriving. His energy stabilized first, and digestive issues faded away. Those results were quick and obvious. It was worth the pain and expense to know that he was happier and healthier, visibly more himself.
I only get 10-15 years of him, so seeing how much more alive he felt after eating raw food really converted me into a raw-evangelist. And that's when I decided to find a solution that made sense for my day to day (I don't have time to go to the butcher twice a week, and don't feel comfortable with meat slime on my fridge and counters). Hence, Maev.
So, when we rescued Boone, I wanted to make sure we found a food that he would thrive on. A five year old, big big dog, who was very stressed with the massive change that comes with being adopted, he wouldn't eat for several days (we kept him on the same kibble he was eating at his foster home). He had diarrhea and his rare bathroom break was not normal.
So, we waited for him to normalize a bit and gave him 15 days before switching. We also took a few visits to the vet to make sure everything was okay - diarrhea for several days can be dangerous and potentially a symtom of something bigger.
A few weeks into our relationship, he tried out Maev raw food. The big things I wanted to focus on were:
- Hip & Joint health - preventative, since he's a young adult large dog
- Keeping tarter build up / dental health top of mind because these issues are so expensive and common with kibble eaters
- Most importantly, his digestive health. His digestion issues took a toll on his energy levels, anxiety, and on me if we're being honest...
Raw is known to help with all three of those, and we've seen first hand cases of each improving with a switch to raw and with the addition of targeted supplements.
One question I considered with my second dog was whether it was possible to have the two dogs on different diets:
It's definitely easier to have two dogs on raw food than to have them on different diets. My dogs have meal time (they are not free-feeders). If your dogs free-feed (food is out all day and always available), its harder to have them on separate diets. If food is always out, then your dogs are likely to eat from eachothers bowls and if the diet make up is very different between the two, then that can cause problems.
If you have two dogs of very different sizes, its generally easier to feed using specific meal times anyway - this helps regulate portion sizes and prevent over-eating. (Distinct meal time also makes it easier to notice when something might be wrong or when someone is under-eating).
Keeping enough in stock, knowing how much each dog needs to eat, and not having to worry about them eating each other's food were all compelling reasons to want them on the same diet. We also saw such good results with George on raw food that we wanted Boone to get the same benefits.
So, we started slow. Trying a sample of raw food. We transitioned Boone over 4 slow days, and saw a few changes immediately:
- Within a day, he started getting excited for meal time
- He stopped begging for human food / food scraps from us, and instead directed attention at his own bowl
- He got less demanding about treats and toppers.
Within the first two weeks, his digestive health started improving (no more nausea, fatigue, more regulated energy levels). It seemed as though he was really coming to life in our home and getting excited about our daily rituals.
Its's been about a month now, so I'm looking forward to watching his skin/coat continue to improve, and to see how his overall health changes.
That's our story so far. I've had success with raw for two dogs. Feeding them food that I can trust has brought me a real sense of comfort through all the highs and low with my dogs' health and wellbeing. That sense of comfort gained was one of the biggest motivators for us in building Maev. To bring anxiety-relief to others who worry their dog isn't living a happy, healthy life. But need to do it in a slime-free way that makes sense for their lifestyle.
If we can help direct other people towards a diet that lets their dog thrive, that's a cause worth working on.
Katie, George & Boone