So how did it go….?
At first Zachary was not impressed. He gave his bowl a few sniffs then picked up a toy. But he is always like that with any new food/treats. Anything new has to be offered three times before he will even try a taste. I am sure he thinks I am out to poison him. After several failed attempts over a 24 hour period to get him to taste the raw duck mince, I served up a teaspoonful on a slice of honey-glazed ham, which, after a few minutes of thought, he decided he would try. (He rather likes ham).
Once he had eaten that, I tried the food again with no success, but three hours later he agreed to eat and decided he quite liked it.
On day 2 of raw feeding, I put Zachary’s breakfast in his bowl and scattered some kibble over the top, then put the bowl in the garden and did a few minutes of training before telling him he could have it. (It’s another of his oddities that he is more inclined to eat if he has to earn his food rather than me just giving it to him.)
He ran excitedly to his bowl then looked very disappointedly back at me. (To be fair, he often gives me that disappointed look when he finds kibble too. I think he keeps hoping that one day I will feed him a big stack of bacon!)
He sniffed the food then turned up his nose and went to sniff some flowers. Eventually he wandered back to see why I was so interested in his breakfast.
To cut a long story short, I ended up hand feeding him kibble piece by piece, starting with a smear of raw on the first, and ending up with a teaspoonful on each. When we were about three quarters of the way through, he decided to take over and ate the remainder on his own. He even licked the bowl afterwards. That is almost unheard of for Zachary. He generally believes it is my job to clean his dishes!
Day 3, I put some raw beef – a change from the duck – in Zachary’s breakfast bowl with a handful of kibble on top. He was definitely more interested when I put it down, but after a few sniffs decided it was not the same as the duck he had had on the previous days, so therefore, inedible.
Frustrated, I popped his breakfast back in the fridge. Normally Zachary takes no notice if I remove his food, but this time he looked surprised.
Fifteen minutes later I put the bowl down again and Zachary showed interest, but still would not eat so I tried to hand feed him a small pinch of the mince. As I held the food under his nose, Zachary gave a half-hearted sniff then turned his head away. I put the food back in the bowl, at which point Zachary was willing to lick my fingers. The bowl went back into the fridge yet again.
Ten minutes went by and out came his breakfast for one more try. He sniffed it for a minute or two then picked up his first morsel. A few minutes later he had polished off more than half. Success!
The next day we hit a snag. We were attending a dog show which meant a 4.30am start. I offered Zachary an early breakfast but he wasn’t interested and I couldn’t blame him. The day was a surprisingly cold one so I decided to take his breakfast with us to have later in the day. It stayed in his crate with him all day and he refused to touch it, although he happily took the treats. When we arrived home that evening, I put the food down again, and he turned his nose up. I decided to put down a clean bowl of kibble with the intention of throwing out the raw, but as soon as I put the kibble down, he tucked into the raw and polished it off.
Since then, there have been some days when he is keen to eat (especially if I make balls of his breakfast and feed them as training treats), and some days when he is not interested whatever I do, which, in fairness, is how he has always been with any food he has been on. I had hoped raw food would make him a little more keen to eat. This is not because I want to fatten him up, rather it is because a strong food drive can be useful in training.
I will persevere with the raw because I think it is a healthier option, but I will continue to give some top quality kibble so that feeding is easier when we are travelling and without easy access to a fridge or freezer.