Chester and Gretel are active dogs so it makes sense that they need really good nutrition to keep them going. However, there are many reasons to improve your pet’s diet from less vet bills to helping them live longer.
I felt pretty good about myself for changing Chester and Gretel’s food to grain free kibble. I knew it was an improvement in the quality of their diet and one small step toward making them healthier. They didn’t have any “drastic problems”, like severe allergies, that led me to make the change so I didn’t have a “WOW!” moment after I switched. However, Chester stopped having the occasional issues with itchy skin and I feel like Gretel’s eyes weren’t quite as weepy.
That wasn’t the end of our food journey though. A year later, I was still thinking, “Can I do more?”
Chester and Gretel seemed pretty healthy. Chester was slowing down because he was getting older but there seemed to be no outward reason to change his diet. However, I felt like I could and should be doing a little bit better. I knew that what I saw on the outside was literally just the surface of what was going on inside. I knew that I may not SEE a difference but even a tiny improvement in their diet would make them healthier inside where it counts.
I know what I felt like when did the human equivalent of going “grain free” – no longer eating gluten. I no longer had a fuzzy head and had an even amount of energy all day. Now, I know that just because I felt that way doesn’t mean that Chester and Gretel felt the exact same way. They are dogs and dogs and people work differently. I had a hard time seeing how getting rid of all of those junk, empty-calorie fillers like corn couldn’t have made them feel a bit better though. Also, I was 100% sure that they would think eating meat was tasty.
The next transition I made in their diet was to supplement their kibble with a little bit of raw food. I admit I was pretty hesitant to make a change. Chester and Gretel wake me up at 5 am every morning to eat. In my half-asleep stupor, I really liked the convenience of just tossing some kibble in a bowl.
I wasn’t ready to go full-on raw with their food for real. I just didn’t know that much about it or feel that it was absolutely necessary. I decided to go slow by introducing some raw-like supplements to their food. About the time I was contemplating making the change, kibbles emerged on the market that had little freeze-dried pieces of meat mixed in. It was the perfect thing to help me start making a transition.
The first food we tried with freeze dried meat bits mixed in was Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Kibble. It’s the same high-quality grain free kibble as the Instinct Grain Free Kibble with the addition of freeze dried raw pieces to provide minimally processed (only forming and freeze drying the chunks) nutrition and an extra boots of tasty goodness.
They absolutely loved the freeze-dried chunks of meat. I wanted to keep improving their diet so, after a few months, I bought the Instinct Raw Boost Mixers (just the freeze dried chunks that were in the Raw Boost Kibble) and started adding them to the food. I didn’t want to add more calories so I cut down on the amount of kibble I was giving them and replaced it with an equal amount of the Mixers freeze-dried meat bits.
I was pretty happy with feeding Chester and Gretel this way for a while. It was an easy, convenient, and non-messy to feed them some raw food. It was super easy to maintain their diet on the road or our overnight backpacking trips because, even though the food was semi-raw, it was just like feeding kibble – scoop out of the bag and plop in the dish.
I didn’t think I would every go past this point to raw food. Eventually I did but that is a story for next time. Stay tuned for part 4 in our food journey!