As you may know by now, if you've ever visited this blog before, I'm a huge proponent of raw and homemade diets for dogs. So I have had my own dogs off of kibble for a year now and I've seen huge differences in the health of their skin, fur, teeth, digestion, etc. I feed a huge variety of foods to my dogs, basically anything but kibble. I love to feed them raw, pasture-raised, bone-in chicken. As Sophie has gotten older, it seems she has less tolerance for digesting raw bones unless they are ground up. So lately, they've been eating (almost exclusively) the raw chicken patties from Maine-ly Poultry, which we pick up at Planet Dog in Portland.
I often roast sweet potatoes and think they make a great compliment to these patties, and my dogs LOVE sweet potatoes. Other examples of meals I feed my dogs:
My leftovers from breakfast (quinoa with raspberries), plus mashed sweet potatoes and raw eggs with shells.
When I'm really lazy and don't feel like shopping, I make them a meal from the pantry by cooking up some plain rice and mixing it with canned dog food. It's not ideal, but still a step above kibble, in my opinion.
So as you can see, there are MANY ways to feed your dogs raw or homecooked food. Some people strictly adhere to the "prey model" and totally avoid fruits, veg and grains. I'm more into feeding them an omnivorous diet, closer to the BARF diet. But to be honest, I don't follow any sort of regimented diet for my dogs. I've spent years researching and experimenting with different dog foods and diets, and I know now what upsets their tummies and what doesn't. I've studied their bowel movements and seen their overall health improve as I've gotten better at choosing foods that work well for them. I feed them coconut oil daily, as well as Joyce Belcher's Probiotic Blend and a little bit of turmeric. If I have kefir at the house, they get a little dose of that as well. I also make sure that they are getting organ meat. And finally, I throw some raw garlic their way every once in a while just to ward off any evil spirits (aka fleas!).
So while this isn't a "how-to" guide on feeding your dog raw, it is a suggestion that you look at your dogs skin, fur, and teeth. Smell their breath and get curious about their digestion (inspecting color and consistency of their doggy manure). Are your dogs suffering from allergies, hot spots, or digestive troubles? The source of their woes most likely begins with their diet!
I've even taken my VERY picky cat off of kibble and seen a huge difference in the quality of her coat and the frequency of her hairballs. She eats canned food mostly (BFF is her favorite brand), but occasionally boiled liver, and as a very special treat, I rehydrate these Whole Life liver treats and cod fish treats and feed them to her as a meal. She and the dogs all go cuckoo for any of these whole foods from Whole Life.
There are also SO many commercial raw, dehydrated, and freeze-dried raw options available today, that you don't have to have a degree in doggie nutrition to ditch the kibble. But don't take my word for it, ask your dog what they prefer.... and they will woof raw!