Welcome to Rawgust

It is no secret that we are massive advocates of the raw diet at Browns Natural Pet Store. Whether you have the world’s only fussy Labrador or a Frenchie with skin issues, there is a raw diet to suit pretty much everyone. The biggest question our consultants get is “Where do I start?” Trying a new diet of any kind can be daunting, and there is a certain extra layer of caution when it comes to raw food. If you are reading this, we assume you are interested in giving it a go but may have a few questions before taking the plunge. Change is scary, and we are here to help! Here are our simple rules to guide you along the way…

#1. Establish your pet’s needs
One of the first things our consultants will ask you is if your pet has any issues or health problems we should know about*. A cat looking to lose weight for example will have a whole different range of needs to a dog with a chicken intolerance.
The more we know, the more we can cater to you. Let us know of any digestion issues, protein preferences, or itchy skin problems. And please don’t be shy if we ask you about poop- it is the best way to assess your pet’s health. Trust us, once trying raw you will soon be racing back in to tell us how good your pet’s poops are!
*As a side note, bear in mind your pet’s needs may change over time!

#2. A complete and balanced diet might not be as simple as you think
That is to say, you can’t just go to Iceland, empty a bag of chicken thighs into your dog’s bowl and call it a raw diet! The proteins must be varied and include muscle meat, bone, offal, and veg/herbs if you choose to feed them. While experienced raw feeders may choose to blend this themselves, we would recommend beginners to start with a complete ready-made recipe. This ensures your pet is getting everything they need and gives you the peace of mind their foods have been rigorously tested and approved by nutritionists. We stock a wide range of raw foods, all with their own benefits, but there is a reason why we have chosen them. All the Browns selected raw foods have been thoroughly researched and tested by our own animals.

#3. Raw treats? Is there such a thing?
Yes, there is! From beef jerky sticks to deer legs to duck necks, there is a treat to suit everyone. If you’re squeamish or not quite ready for the macabre just yet, normal healthy treats are fine! Our consultants will recommend what treats will best compliment your chosen diet. The key is to keep is as natural and unprocessed as possible- you don’t want to ruin all your hard work with nasty derivatives and E numbers!

#4. Do not overfeed!
As raw food is so calorie dense, the actual amount you feed won’t look like much in the bowl. The worst thing you can do is chuck a bit more in- this could overload your dog’s stomach and give some unpleasant effects! Also bear in mind your pets individual needs. For example, puppies will eat more, less active dogs or those healing from an injury will need to eat less.
The amount you feed is also what makes raw so cost effective. As you are not paying for cheap bulk fillers, raw food can start from as little as £1 per day for a 14kg dog- when you think a takeaway latte is around £3, that sounds pretty reasonable to us!

#5. Routine is key
If you’re currently feeding kibble, there is no doubt a raw diet is slightly more effort. You have to remember to defrost it and clean the bowls after each use. When you weigh up the benefits, we think this is a small price to pay!
I was personally very dubious about trying a raw diet- not being a meat eater myself, the idea was less than appealing! I am also notoriously forgetful so the thought of having to think about cat food before cat feeding time was certainly a worry. I’ve now been feeding raw for two years and I would never go back. The key is establishing routine, and it just becomes a part of your day to make sure the fridge is stocked up and ready to go- my boys have never been healthier, and as they are indoor cats the litter tray clear up alone has become much less of a chore!

#6. RELAX!
There are so many variables that we can’t possibly say which is the “best” raw food. The key is trial and error- finding what suits both you and your pet. If your first try doesn’t quite work out, don’t panic! Pop back and give us an update and we can guide you from there.

Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question! Our Browns consultants love to chat and love a challenge even more. If you want to ask us something, email us, give us a message on one of our social media channels, or come and see us in store.

-Kendle, Store Manager