I get many questions about what we feed Hercules, since he’s a raw dog. I wanted to write up a little post detailing what he really does eat – treats and all – so that it’s easy for you to find and me to refer to 🙂
As a formal disclaimer – I am not a canine raw diet expert. I am not a veterinarian. You need to do adequate research for your pet and your unique situation, Ok??
Alright. Our Hercules is a very ACTIVE black labrador retriever, weighing about 80 pounds (at 1 year old, when I am writing this – he’s now 90+ at 3 years old) and muscular/strong/lean. He has been raised exclusively on a raw diet since birth (he does get cooked snacks from our dinner plates) Hercules does not eat wheat or grains, since ancestrally dogs didn’t. Honestly, there isn’t a dry-food dispenser out in the wild for animals – animals eat the same meats and plant foods we do naturally – so why would I feed my dog a bunch of processed junk food? It just doesn’t make sense!
Here’s the 10 things we Feed to our Raw Dog:
1. Filtered Water – Hercules Drinks the same filtered water that we do… We have 2 drinking water filters, one is installed under our kitchen sink to supply drinking water to a special faucet as well as supply filtered water to our freezer/ice maker (click HERE for the under sink water filter we use). Recently we purchased a gravity feed water filter, which is a slightly better filter than the under the counter for filtering the fresh spring water we get in the mountains as well as for emergency preparedness since it does not require electricity or water pressure (click HERE for the gravity feed water filter we use)
2. Apple Cider Vinegar – When I fill up Hercule’s water bowl I add in a little Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to his water, just a splash maybe 1-2 teaspoons. ACV is great for improving the skin and coat condition, a reduction of itching and scratching, the elimination of tear stains on the face, fewer brown or yellow urine spots in lawns, increased mobility in older dogs, reduced flea populations, and an improvement in overall health.
3. Raw Dog Food – In the morning around 7 am I feed Hercules raw dog food patties (click HERE for the patties I recommend) OR 3/4 of a pound of raw venison meat/organ meats and a sprinkle of Brewers Yeast. Hercules weighs 80 +/- pounds and we don’t feed him the full recommended amount we feed him 1/2 to 3/4 the recommendation since we supplement his dog-food with additional real raw meat, bones and treats daily.
4. Homemade Dehydrated Organ Meat Treats – After Hercules eats his breakfast we head outside to let the chickens/turkeys out to free range. Hercules and I play ball for about 1/2 an hour and he gets about 1/2 cup of treats. (Click HERE to get my homemade dog treat recipe) Plus we use treats throughout the day as positive reinforcement while training.
5. Beef Bones – Hercules gets 1 beef bone a day straight from the freezer – which slows down his chewing… We source his beef bones from the same farms we get our grass fed beef from. You can also buy raw beef bones HERE.
6. Chicken Feet & Chicken Heads – During the day Hercules will get about 2 frozen raw chicken feet and 2 frozen raw chicken heads as treats/snacks. Yes, these we also give to him frozen so that they require a little more work and take a little more time for him to eat. Chicken heads & feet are very inexpensive and some farmers don’t even sell them, they’ll just give them away if you ask!
7. Flea Prevention Treats- I give Hercules 1-2 of my flea prevention treats, daily. Basically no schedule on these, just when ever I’m in the fridge, he’ll beg for them and I give him one 🙂 Hercules also wears a Pet Protector on his collar to repel ticks & mosquitos. These 2 flea/tick prevention items along with how we feed him to optimize his health has kept him completely infestation free!
8. Sauerkraut – Yes. This is probably a shocker but we give Hercules our homemade, fermented Sauerkraut. Actually, my hubby gives it to him when he’s having his daily dose after dinner – Hercules loves it and it’s good for him too!
9. Raw Eggs – Hercules eats lots of Raw Eggs from free range, pasture raised chickens… but not completely by our choice! We raise laying hens and occasionally they will lay their eggs outside of the coop – Hercules will find them and FREQUENTLY he will slink through the chicken coop door and steal eggs from the nest 🙂 He eats the shell & all! He loves them and they are really healthy for him 🙂
10. Raw Garden Veggies & Fruits – With our large garden and several fruit trees, Hercules helps himself to a variety of snacks during our growing season. In the winter he will beg for snacks of apples, carrots, etc.
Ok, go ahead and say it – yes it’s totally more expensive than grabbing a bag of cheap dog food. And YES it does take more work. However, we don’t have additional expenses to account for – no special shampoo, no needless vet appointments for chronic ear infections or hot spots. In the long run the way we feed Hercules is like health insurance – just like how we humans need to eat healthy foods, dogs need to eat healthy foods too!
For more information on other the aspects of how we are raising our dog naturally, click HERE.