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Discussion Starter #1
My bichon currently eats kibble in the morning and Stella and Chewy freeze dried raw patties in the evening. She absolutely loves the Stella patties and not so keen on the kibble. I would like to transition her to all raw. Being that freeze dried food is so expensive, I am going to try frozen raw as it is a little better priced. For those of you that currently feed or have in the past, which frozen raw do you like the best? Did your dog do particularly well with a certain brand? There are so many brands that it is hard to choose even after reading numerous reviews. Besides Stella and Chewy my local pet shop carries Primal, Answers, Tuckers, Small Batch, Instinct and a few others I believe. Thanks for your help.
 

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I don't feed either of them, but if I was looking to feed commercial raw, I would probably choose either Answers or WeFeedRaw.

Answers would probably be my go to as it is fermented versus HPP which spares the beneficial bacteria. They also appear to be a great company (I follow them on social media) who sources their animals humanely and responsibly.
 

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I prefer Stella & Chewy's to Instinct for mostly financial reasons. It costs more at the cash register but it lasts longer. I have also used Primal and Laurel and I both liked it but not enough to drive the extra miles to the store that carries it.

Answers, Small Batch, and Tuckers are not available in my area, so I can't help you with that but I can say that switching to frozen did save me enough money that I can feed Chocolate raw too and that it also helped me to feel more comfortable with the whole idea, do some reading and research at my own pace, and start adding in the occasional DIY grocery store meal. The dogs also like it a lot more than the freeze dried.
 

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Yes. Agreed. DIY raw from the grocery store. You do the prep.

You can get a hint on proper balance from many sources on the Inet. Dr. Karen Becker has numerous recommendations, she is one of many.

You could also read the list of ingredients on the current raw food you are feeding. This should give you a start.

Neat thing is you can buy the food for the dog at the same place and same time as you buy for the family.

I feed DIY raw from the grocer. My prep time is roughly 5 minutes/day and a 1 hour prep once a week. Cost is around $2.00 USD/day.
 

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A lot of people don't have the time to do a DIY raw diet. A proper one takes a lot of planning and consideration, and a lot of prep. It gets easier when you get the routine down but there is a steep learning curve for most. There isn't anything inherently wrong with going the commercial raw route. If OP is comfortable with the price range and it works for them, it's a good way to ensure your dog gets a healthy and balanced diet without all of the research and time spent creating meals and sourcing meats.

That said, yes, a DIY raw diet will almost always be cheaper than anything available commercially. You pay for the convenience of commercial.
 

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sydneynicole. I find that rational little difficult to accept, although I know it is a reality.

If the owner is prepping a meal for the family.....it only takes about 5 more minutes to prep for the dog. Same with buying the food. When at the grocer buying for the family, then just pick up a few items for the dog. Just a few more minutes of time. In truth, everything a dog needs for a good DIY raw diet is available at the grocery store.

I'm in China and the food selection and quality is difficult. Although, I am able to provide a good DIY raw diet for my dog. No, its not perfect diet due to limitations of selection. I get a few items at the grocer, the rest I get at the local Wet Market (similar to an expanded Farmer's Market in USA).

As far as the research goes. Yes, I agree it can be daunting if you desire the knowledge level of a pet nutritionist. The reality is there are many good books written by reputable Vets and pet nutritionist with recipes. Buy a book, read a little each time you are sitting on the toilet. Of course, this would require people exiting their cell phone world to rejoin the actual world.

Be aware, there are many mythconceptions about a DIY raw diet. What do you think dogs ate before kibble was invented in the early 1900s? Remember, dogs evolved with humans for about the last 30,000 some odd years. Dogs must have ate something before kibble and I doubt if a "balanced diet" was much of a concern.

In the long run, feed your dog what you think is appropriate. Watch the dog, their health and activity will tell if you are doing well with the diet.
 

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A do-it-yourself raw diet can be a real pain in the tookus.

1. You have to find the food, meaning you either need to shop for it or have it delivered.

2. You have to have the space to store it. This can be the real kicker when feeding several and/or large dogs. Pretty much every friend of mine who feeds raw has at least one dedicated "dog freezer". The ones with multiple dogs have multiple freezers.

3. You need to have the time to do meal prep, making sure that you get the proper proportion of bone, meat, and organs. The more mouths you have to feed, the more time it takes.

And dogs ate table scraps and whatever else they could scavenge before the invention of modern dog foods.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for your replies. I have been reading online for some time now and also have watched many of Dr Becker's videos. The whole idea of raw feeding is still overwhelming to me. My biggest concern would be that the meals were not balanced. I only have one small 11 pound dog so cost would not be a big issue. So I figured I would start with a commercial raw and see how it goes. I am definitely open to DIY raw if things go well. I retired early so I also have the extra time to shop and prepare meals.
 

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I'm very glad to be living somewhere that commercially prepared raw is both widely accessible and, honestly, surprisingly affordable (for... Norway's definition of affordable). Afraid I can't help with brands though, Nadia, because the ones we feed are Norwegian/Scandinavian. It still takes up its own freezer now that we're feeding two dogs.

We did the DIY raw in the States for a while when Sam was a puppy. We stopped because honestly? Finding non-liver secreting organ was a pain, finding a variety of proteins was a pain (and could be expensive if we weren't constantly scavenging ads, sale bins, etc.), and in the end I just felt that we couldn't get everything reliably enough. Cost of living in your area and the popularity of organs for human consumption can make a big difference in what's available and at what cost.

Processing premade is still a pain. I so want a meat saw some day so we can buy the 20kg blocks and cut it up still frozen (it's even cheaper that way). But it's fewer steps, less worry and obsession over nutritional balance, less running around hoping somewhere has a kidney we can buy, and just generally easier, so it's worth it for us. We do also keep kibble around for situations like "oh no we forgot to thaw new rolls to cut up" or "we're travelling somewhere that won't have freezer access" or "we want to train with a meal".
 

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I am also a prepared raw feeder (along with some kibble). Can't help with brands as I am in Netherland. DIY raw is not automatically super easy and much more than 5 minutes of prep that's for sure. I did DIY a few years back and consulted with my vet to help make sure what I was feeding was balanced. She went over it with me about which foods have which vitamins/minerals and it was not as simple as feeding meat, bone and organs. When we did a sample of the diet it came back deficient in quite a bit of minerals. There were a lot of other things I had to add to the diet if I did not want to add supplements to make up for the missing nutrients. Eventually, it got a bit tiring to keep up with, way more prep than what I comfortably had time for. I love my dogs but I am not about to cut into all of my down time to make food.

Prepared raw is ridiculously cheap here, it was costing me more to do it myself than it does now with just buying prepared food. It is just as healthy, the dogs are happy, I'm happy I have a little bit more down time for my hobbies. Nothing wrong with prepared raw.
 

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Remember folks. The diet does not need to "balanced" every feeding. Just need to balance in general.

We (humans) do not eat a "balanced" meal each and every time. Anyone ever stop for a fast food burger/fries and a soda?

My point. Do not obsess about balancing the feeding each and every time you feed. Target a balance each week.

Another point is DIY raw feed is dependent on your location, availability, cost, time and motivation.

In my situation here in China, availability of good kibble is a big problem, cost of the low grade kibble is steep, time for prep is short for me and my motivation is my MiniS.

Dogs can survive in a pretty horrible diet. Street dogs do not have the benefit of a regular diet, much less a balanced diet.
 

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Balance over time is fine until you're struggling to balance over a month or more. Then it just turns into... unbalanced.

It's great that DIY raw works for you. We're just pointing out reasons why it might not work for everyone, for space, nutritional, and sometimes even expense reasons. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting or needing the convenience of pre-made.

Not sure what street dogs have to do with anything, since I'm sure everyone here holds a standard above "dog doesn't die" for the diets we choose and that we feed them with their long-term health in mind, rather than just whether they'll make it to the next day...
 

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Knute, you might be interested in starting a thread debating the pros and cons of DIY raw vs commercial raw. Just a suggestion. That didn't appear to be the point of this thread.

OP, I think you are wise to start with commercial raw if it is overwhelming to you. DIY raw is much easier if you take the time to plan, prepare, and research so you have a solid game plan going in.
 

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Sydney, thank you for the invitation, but I will decline. Too many mythconceptions, marketing and paradigms on the con side. It would turn into nothing more than an argument.

For every con there is a simple solution. The first thing for a discussion is to open minds to the history of kibble and the nature of dogs.

Forgive me. I am not saying feeding kibble is wrong. It is owner's choice of what to feed. I am only saying there is a more natural way to feed with growing evidence of canine health improvement.
 
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