Welcome to the world of fresh feeding! If you are new to feeding single-ingredient, air-dried proteins, you should take a moment to learn a little more about our process and what is in our boxes. The best way to introduce our food to your pup is to start small, and take it slow!
Size: The size of your dog and the size of the treat! How big is your dog and how much should they be eating per day? Even if you have a large dog, you want to take it easy on the proportions of new treats or chews. Timed chew sessions of 5-10 minutes are a great way to introduce your dog to new proteins and chews.
Speed: Take it slow! Introduce one new protein every few days so you can monitor how your dog adjusts.
Slippery Elm: This is the best kept secret and a staple at Real Dog Box. It is a natural herb made from tree bark that will rebalance your pup’s gut if they experience any upset. It is high in fiber and can relieve both diarrhea and constipation.
Sanitize: Wash your hands! Just like handling any raw food, you want to wash your hands before and after!
At Real Dog Box, we air-dry all of our treats and chews. We have built our own drying rooms that are similar to a dehydrator, but we can dry at lower temperatures. One of the greatest advantages of drying at a low temperature is that most nutritional properties, including vitamins, minerals and protein, are preserved. By keeping the temperature low, air-dried foods can also be rehydrated back to their original form - this is something you cannot do with cooked or heavily processed treats! Additionally, we do not add any flavors, chemicals or preservatives.
All our treats are dried in an enclosed space where we regulate air flow and heat so that it does not exceed 130 degrees. Items can take between 48-120 hours to dry.
What’s in the Box?
We have several different box types that are made up of “Treats” or “Chews.”
Treats: Muscle Meat, Organ Meat and a Seafood.
Chews: Light Chews, Medium Chews, Heavy Chews, and Super Chews.
To learn more about how to introduce your dog to chews https://real.dog/how-to-chew/
Treats are easy to serve in moderation because they already come in pieces, and you can break them up to even smaller pieces if needed! The organ meat is the richest, most nutrient-dense treat. If your dog is not accustomed to eating fresh food, I would ease these into their diet very slowly. For a toy or small breed dog, I would feed 1-3 small pieces of organ meat treats in one day, and monitor their poop and see if you notice any changes. If this is your very first time feeding raw, natural treats, it is completely normal for your pup to experience loose stool. For larger breeds, you feed a few additional, 2-5 small pieces. Again, runny stool or any change in texture or color is expected when we feed our dogs anything new!
Muscle meat treats are less rich, and while you still want to start off small and slow, something like turkey breast is less likely to cause a major change in your dog’s poop than pork liver! You also want to take into consideration the type of protein you are feeding. Pork, duck, and lamb treats are usually more fatty. Chicken, turkey and beef are more lean. Less fat can mean less runny stool. Of course, over time as you incorporate more fresh food into your dog’s diet, their stomach will rebalance and be able to easily digest new, raw foods!
Seafood treats are some of our favorite and most popular! Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they are incredible for your dogs skin and coat, and decrease overall inflammation. These are also a lean, healthy protein, and while rich in nutrients, seafood is easily digestible even if it is new to your dog. Again, moderation is key when it comes to feeding for the first time! I made the mistake of feeding a large 12-inch dried cod skin to my medium-sized dog in one feeding. He threw up within an hour! The next time I fed it, I broke it up into thirds, and fed over the course of 5 days. He had no problem with the skin being fed in moderation, and his stomach was able to adjust to the new food.
Chews can be more challenging to introduce to your dog. Some dogs that are not experienced with chewing may try to swallow an entire chew. Or you may offer them a chew, and have a hard time getting it back from them! If that sounds like your dog, you should probably invest in a chew holder toy. Alternatively, you can hold the chew from one end while you let them try it out! Just make sure you wear a glove or wash your hands afterwards.
Like the treats, you want to start small and slow. You can rehydrate the chews in warm water to make them more pliable and can even cut them into smaller pieces. Stick with one protein at least every other day so you can monitor their poop and skin for any negative reactions.
Light chews are small, and can easily be finished in one feeding. Our medium and heavy chews tend to last longer, and we recommend wrapping them in aluminum foil and freezing to preserve freshness between chew sessions. For small and toy-breed dogs that are unfamiliar with raw chews, I would recommend starting with ½ of a light chew. Medium and large dogs can start with 1 full light chew, or half of a medium or heavy chew. Some small breeds are aggressive chewers, and I would make sure they are not eating an entire chew in one sitting just because it is a lot for them to digest as a new food. You want to always set your dog up for success when introducing new foods!
If your dog seems less than interested in a chew, you can always spice it up! Not literally with spices, but for some chews (depending on their shape) you can create culinary masterpieces for your pup! Beef trachea and beef aorta are stuffable and you can create cannolis with plain, unsweetened greek yogurt. Our members are always getting crafty in the kitchen and finding new ways to serve up the chews to their dogs.
Once your dog becomes familiar with the variety of proteins and chews in our boxes, you can easily feed a chew every day!