Many people seek out Cherry Grove Farm because they understand the importance of being connected to their food source. Wouldn’t it be amazing to also extend that right to your four-footed friends at home? Now you can! At Cherry Grove, we are now offering local and grass-fed dog food alternatives for $3.99/lb:
- Beef Tongue
- Beef Liver
- Mixed Bones
- Beef Heart
When we send an animal to the butcher, we get just about everything back, which includes things most people do not find palatable. Although you might not imagine yourself eating beef heart, your dog would actually love it! Think about it—wolves in the wild don’t have access to can openers.
There are many benefits pets can gain from a raw diet: a shinier coat, cleaner teeth, better skin, and smaller stool. Amanda, one of our newest employees, successfully switched her finicky cat, Flip, to a raw diet when he was 12 years old. He was overweight, had a scraggly coat, and was generally a grump. Although Flip’s crankiness never subsided, his weight balanced out, he had less dry skin, and his fur became sleek and glossy. He is still thriving on a raw diet 4 years later! Amanda also transitioned her two younger cats and her 3-year-old golden retriever to the diet, and they thank her twice daily for it.
We absolutely recommend consulting your veterinarian for specific recommendations regarding the diet of your particular furry friend. All animals are different, and their diets must meet their individual nutritional needs. We are not trained veterinarians here at Cherry Grove, but we can offer you some basic guidelines to get started.
Whether you plan on starting your pet on a complete or partial raw diet, the change must take place slowly over time. Not all pets (particularly cats) immediately take to new food, so try to gauge the transition based on how your pet reacts. Additionally, pets with digestive issues may need a slower transition.
Your pet’s stool is a great barometer for how he or she is handling the dietary change. At first, their stool will be a little soft and loose, but it will eventually be become smaller, firmer, and less smelly. Here is one way you can approach the transition:
Days 1-3: Feed a mixture of 25% raw food and 75% current food at each meal.
Days 4-7: Feed raw food in the morning and current food in the evening.
Thereafter: Feed raw food for both meals only after your pet fully accepts the new food and their stool is smaller, harder, and less odorous. If your pet’s stool is still soft or loose at this point, take the transition more slowly.
Once the transition is complete, pets should be consuming approximately 2.5% of their total body weight per day. For example, a 50-pound dog should get 1.25 pounds of food per day (or a little over 0.6 pounds per feeding). This percentage is based on maintaining weight, and can be increased to 3% for underweight animals or decreased to 2% if weight loss is necessary.
We recommend storing your raw dog food in the freezer and thawing on an as-needed basis. It is also a good idea to rotate proteins and to switch between organ and muscle meat. Dogs need variety just like people!
Canned pet food is specifically formulated to include all necessary nutrients. When switching to a raw diet, it is important to retain that nutritional balance. A wholesome raw diet includes muscle and organ meat, bones, raw eggs, ground eggshells (for calcium), veggies, fruits, and even dairy.
There is always a risk of bacterial infection from improperly handling raw meat. Always be sure to wash hands often and disinfect counter tops, utensils, and food dishes. Although this risk is present with a raw diet, it has also proven to be a huge problem in commercially processed pet foods. Careful and informed handling greatly reduces the risk of infection in a raw diet, and it puts the pet owner in control instead of a manufacturing facility.
There are countless resources with more specific information about raw diets for pets. Here are a few that we recommend, so you can decide for yourself what is best for your pet:
- Raw Dog Food: Dietary Concerns, Benefits, and Risks (WebMD)
- Primal Pet Foods (a well-established raw pet food company that offers pre-mixed raw formulas and bones)
- BARF World (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food)
It may seem like a lot of research and work, but after the initial transition it becomes second nature. Our furry friends give us so much love, they deserve the extra effort! We hope that we will greatly improve the health of your pets by offering local and grass-fed alternatives at Cherry Grove Farm!