Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Let me share a secret with you. My dogs aren't always fed raw food! Wait, what?
I'm always promoting the benefits of raw feeding and how it can greatly improve the health of your dog, and now I'm saying my dogs don't eat raw? Well, sort of. Feeding raw can be really expensive, especially when you have 6 dogs like I do. And don't get me started on the cost and space required for the giant freezer, the electric bill associated with that freezer, all the extra washing and cleaning to keep things germ free, it all adds up. Plus, I kind of felt limited to what I could do with their food. It was basically limited to putting it in their bowl, that's it. Where's the fun in that?
I recently read a study by Professor Robert Sapolsky where he described how the feel good chemicals in the dogs brain would go up when the dog had the opportunity to get food, but didn't go up when they actually got the food. So basically, it's the excitement in finding the food that makes them happy more than actually having the food.
That got me thinking about how I fed my dogs and how they actually never got to find any food because I just plunked it down in a bowl for them!
So I started brainstorming ways to make getting their food more fun and enjoyable. I wanted to make mealtime a game, a hunt, which actually would not only make them happier, but would also give them mental exercise, maybe even some physical exercise, reduce their boredom, and just make them plain and simply more pleasant to be around! Who wants to hang around a grumpy, bored dog? Not me!
I came up with some fun ideas, like scattering their food in the yard, putting it in puzzles, Kongs, Toppls, even getting some snuffle mats to find their food in. The problem with all these things though, is that they don't really lend themselves too well to raw food. Plus my husband was convinced that if I tried, our house would turn into a cesspool of bacteria!
So that's when I realized I needed to compromise. My dogs mental wellness was as important as their physical wellness. I decided to split it down the middle: some of their daily food could come from raw and some from a high quality kibble. That would reduce the need for such a large freezer, lower my costs, keep them healthy while also keeping them mentally satisfied.
But then the question was, how do I find a kibble that is close enough to raw so that I don't compromise their physical wellness too much? So I began a long search and lots of reading to come up with an ingredient analyser and begin my hunt for the best kibble I could find. If you want to do the same thing, or just want to know if the kibble you're feeding is high quality, just take a look at my pet food ingredient analyser.
So you see, with a little brainstorming and ingenuity, it wasn't too hard to come up with a solution that could make everyone happy. If I can do it, you can too!
By making this simple change and doing so on a regular basis, you'll find that your pup becomes more relaxed, less anxious or stressed and shows increased abilities to learn in your home as well as in formal training sessions. So let’s get foraging and have fun with their food!