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Raw Chow

After the last experience with Amber being diagnosed with UTI and diarrhea from trying K9 Natural's raw dehydrated food, we learned that her body isn't suitable for raw even if it's supposedly nutritious.

A few months had passed and we decided to give raw another try, this time instead of K9 Natural, we gave Amber Raw Chow from Sunday Pets. Sunday Pets is a New Zealand brand and is only available at Pet Lovers Centre in Singapore, apparently they are the sole supplier and do not wish to share this products with other retailers so the only way to get this product locally is to purchase from their outlets.

The reason for choosing Sunday Pets is because of 2 reasons, firstly we've had a few boarding guests on this brand and they all seemed to like the taste very much (please don't feed this to your dog just because it's picky, read further to decide), the stool content are also noticeably lesser and not as smelly, meaning easier to clean and less messy. The second reason is because of the ingredient listing, where the first content is meat protein, consisting of 89% lamb (including lamb meat, bone, blood, liver, kidney and heart), next ingredient consist of vegetables, which is listed as 9%, this is the ideal intake for dogs which are supposed to be carnivores, the rest like potatoes, manuka, mussels and stuff were unnecessary but still okay.

Week 1 - 4
We took 3 weeks to fully transition Amber to Raw Chow, she loved the food just like K9 and would whine and even showed a little resource guarding behavior initially. Behavioral correction aside, this also meant that she was very interested in the food. Because of our fear towards diarrhea from previous experience, we also got some probiotics to add into Amber's meal.

We started off with using raw chow as treats in between meals for a couple of days, her poo was slightly soft which is rather usual when taking Orijen kibbles, then we starting adding raw chow into her daily meals, about 1/4 raw chow and 3/4 Orijen. As time goes we reached the stage where she was at Orijen for breakfast and Raw chow for dinner, her poo started to become lesser and more firm at this point of time. Pee started to smell funny again, yet there was no sign of UTI.

Week 4 - 6
One month later, we got a new pack of raw chow, the color of the food was a little different - slightly more red compared to previous batch, I dropped Sunday Pets an email and they told me that it was normal as they use real meat, which means that the color of the batch will depend on the original tone of the meat. Well I am not too sure but if the representative is saying that this is safe and with the expiration date still far away (without any weird smell either), we went ahead and continued feeding Amber the new pack. She still looked hungry every single meal, the whining got better with practice but she never seemed to look full, we added a little bit more and she just got fatter and hungrier each day (Lol), though still in the acceptable weight range.

At this point of time Amber's previous probiotic finished and we decided to get a different brand of probiotics because the current one did not show any signs of live culture. On the new probiotic, we tested and it was positive, everything was fine until the 3rd day (on the new probiotic), Amber was caught eating her poo! It took us 4 days to correct and stop this behavior completely, I am suspecting that it's not the probiotic, but lack of certain nutrients from her raw chow diet, or maybe it's just her body that was not absorbing nutrients well enough.

Week 5 - 8
Amber's poo was consistent throughout the second pack, till week 5, we started to introduce meat treats that she used to be able take without trouble, her stool became very soft the next day. We stopped the treats for a day and the poo was back to normal, then gave her a couple of meat treats from another brand and the poo became soft again. We tried so many different types of quality treats and the problem reappeared every single time, some treats even got her to produce watery poo, it's really frustrating because it's impossible to stop giving Amber any treats and just condemning all of them just because of a raw meal. Oh and did I mention, Amber's breath got worst after being on raw, no it's not because she ate poo for that mere 4 days, her breath just got worst each day, there was no doubt that it was her diet.

While I am not a person that believe everything the Internet says, I prefer to try rumors for myself while doing my best to maintain safety for my girl, and so far I've found a lot of loopholes about raw advocates. Bear in mind that during trials on both K9 and Raw Chow, I had representatives guiding me throughout the transition progress to make sure that I am doing the right thing. This should be sufficient to stop people from criticizing that the reason my dog can't take it is because I don't know how to feed, duh.

So, here goes the final conclusion of Raw Chow after 10 weeks trial on Amber!

Raw chow, although did not cause Amber to develop UTI unlike K9, was still unsuitable for her body. You might be thinking why I am saying this and not blaming on the treats, reason is simple, when Amber is on raw chow and treats are given during this period of time, it will be both meal + treats that are creating the stool content, not just treats. If I were to take out the treats and feed just Raw Chow, the stool may be fine, but if I were to take out Raw Chow and just feed the treats, her stool will be fine TOO.

Now the important part, if I take out Raw Chow and give Amber Orijen kibbles, her stool will also be back to normal no matter what treats are given, not only Orijen but all the other brands food that we've tried - Taste of the wild, Merrick, Wellness Core, Acana and K9 Natural. So in this case i'm certain that Raw Chow would be the culprit. It could be that Raw Chow's protein level is too high for Amber's body, in this case the food will still be unsuitable for her, but do note that she is okay on Orijen.

I've also learned that all those things that raw advocates promote are just nonsense and not even true in my experience. From coat color changing to detoxification to even better breath, it just didn't work for Amber, also including many dogs that i've handled on raw. I do not see kibbles manufacturer condemning raw but I see a lot of raw promoters shaming on owners that feed their dogs dry food, let me tell you something, if there wasn't such thing as dry food and the only choice was raw, Amber would've been really sick and unhealthy today. Different source of food have their own benefit and disadvantages, different dogs react differently so I am still standing on the fact that there's no such thing as one choice fits all.

Nevertheless, Raw Chow is still a very good brand of food, I've seen many boarding dogs growing healthily and digesting the nutrients very well compared to other brands, just too bad that it didn't work on Amber.

What we've learned from this experience:

Raw chow, like K9 dehydrated is a very good source of protein based on the ingredients listed

Amber's body is still not suitable to take raw food (which also means that not all dogs can be transitioned to raw)

Amber did not get UTI on raw chow unlike the previous experience with K9

Probiotics does help to firm up stool

There were nutrients lacking signs on Raw Chow (poo eating behavior)

Amber's breath actually became smellier!

When on raw, treats can affect her stool greatly, making it soft and sometimes watery (this only happens on raw)

Different batch of raw food can vary greatly in terms of color and it is normal


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