Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

Answers

How do I choose which BigCountry Raw meals I should offer to my dog?

If your dog is healthy (no known food allergies) and you are considering a raw diet we would recommend to start with a rotational diet of our Chicken Dinner, Beef Dinner and Turkey Dinner. Our commonly recommended rotation is to offer one protein for 1-2 days before introducing another option.

We do provide assistance for clients when necessary to help create a meal or menu plan that meets your dog's dietary requirements or restrictions and your food budget. Please contact us by phone at 905-957-2717 or through our Contact Us page.

How do I know how much food my dog requires?

Visit our Feeding Calculator. Our calculator will give you a daily and monthly food requirement.

How much will a raw diet cost?

Your estimated feeding costs are dependent on the size and activity level of your dog however the following formual may be helpful for budget considerations:

Formula:

Weight of Dog x 2.5% x $2.75 (Average cost per lb) x 28 Days (7 Days x 4 Weeks) = Cost per month.

PLEASE NOTE: Cost varies depending on the protein choices you choose to feed your dog. Chicken and Beef are less expensive than Rabbit and Duck for example. Adding raw meaty bones such as chicken necks and backs or beef brisket bones to your dog's weekly meal plan can also be beneficial in reducing your feeding costs per day. We are very willing to help provide you with recommendations regarding keeping your feeding costs as economical as possible.

Are raw bones dangerous for my dog?

No, uncooked raw bones are safe for your dog if fed appropriately. We recommend supervising your dog when eating raw meaty bones such as chicken necks, chicken backs, turkey necks and meaty beef bones. For dogs that LOVE their raw food and especially young dogs that tend to eat quickly, we would advise feeding these bones partially frozen as this helps to slow them down and helps to ensure they chew and swallow properly. We do advise caution when feeding femur/marrow bones, flat rib bones or other recreational chewing bones as these are calcified bone, and although great for chewing you should ensure your dog is chewing appropriately. We do NOT recommend feeding smoked or cooked bones to dogs as these are dangerous.

My dog is refusing to eat the raw food. What can I try?

Many processed pet foods contain addictive ingredients such as sugar, salt, sweet tasting propylene glycol or MSG to help disguise the taste of poor quality ingredients. For this reason occasionally it is difficult to transition to fresh natural raw pet food. Some barriers may also be the consistency or texture of a raw diet, or even temperature.

If you are having trouble getting your dog to try the raw we recommend the following:

Wait at least 12 – 24 hrs between the last meal they ate and the raw diet. This will create hunger and more acceptance to try the food. You may also need to determine whether the refusing to eat is just your pet's “stubbornness” to eat rather than the particular diet you are offering. If your dog is healthy, holding out offering other food options til they do eat may be stressful and frustrating at the time, but in the long run may result in less problems with eating in the future.

Offer the food at room temperature or warm slightly if they will not eat it immediately. You can also slightly cook the outside (just pan sear the sides) to help create an interest.

Some suggestions for enticing even the pickiest eaters is to add a “topping” to their meals. Some suggestions are:

• Parmesan or grated cheese
• 1-2 tsp molasses
• Garlic Powder
• raw egg
• baked beans
• yogurt or cottage cheese
• Green Tripe

Alternatively you may also want to consider our cooked meatloaf. Made with fresh all natural ingredients with limited ingredients and no preservatives, fillers or by-products. Currently available in beef protein, we will be expanding to include more proteins such as chicken, pork, and lamb. If you are struggling to get them to eat, we certainly suggest trying our meat loaf!

Can I feed both kibble and raw?

We do not advise that you consider feeding raw with kibble. Dry dog food is digested differently and more slowly than raw food. If you feed both raw and dry kibble together you are increasing the amount of time that the food stays in the digestive system which may cause loose stools or vomiting. If you want to feed ½ and ½ you must feed one meal dry kibble and 1 meal raw. We also suggest only considering a super premium all natural holistic dry food containing only human grade ingredients, and NO GRAINS OR CORN. If you dog does experience loose stools or you notice undigested food in their stools we strongly recommend feeding 100% raw.

Does BigCountry Raw offer a cooked meal plan?

Yes, we now offer BigCountry's Natural's. Our new line of cooked meatloaf's. Currently available in beef protein, we will be expanding to include more proteins such as chicken, pork, and lamb. Our cooked meatloafs can be fed in rotation with our BigCountry Raw menu.

My dog is experiencing more gas than normal with the raw food diet. Is this normal?

Ideally a raw food diet should help cut the amount of gas your pet creates. However when first beginning with a raw diet this is very possible. It is also possible when switching proteins. For dogs with gas we recommend adding a digestive enzyme to their daily meals, and many dogs (particularly those with sensitive digestive systems) will benefit from daily digestive enzymes for their entire life.

Raw food is rich in enzymatic activity whereas cooked dry kibble is devoid of enzymes. You dog's digestive system during the transition period from dry to raw must compensate for the new diet and therefore the digestive discomfort. Supplemental digestive enzymes (click here to see our available options) can be very beneficial as they can help speed up this transition process and provide needed good digestive bacteria to break down food.

My dog inhales their food and I am concerned about choking. What do you suggest to slow them down?

Gulping food is very common in young dogs in particular, but can be frightening for many pet owners. When feeding our prepared ground meals we recommend adding water to make a thick soup or mashing out with a fork onto a plastic tray or large bowl to help slow them down.

When feeding raw meaty bones, start with larger options like turkey necks and chicken backs and offer slightly frozen to help slow them down. For super eager eaters even offering them the food from your hand, making them pull the meat off the bone may be a good idea until they learn to chew properly and slowly.

What about Bacteria & Salmonella. Is raw safe for my dog?

Dogs' digestive systems are not the same as humans. They digest food more quickly and their digestive systems are also more acidic which means bacteria does not have time to colonize. Dogs are also well equipped to handle bacteria. Their saliva also contains lysozymes and enzyme that destroys harmful bacteria. The combination of these 3 factors (lysozymes, acid and speed of digestion) all make raw feeding what nature intended.

We do however recommend following safe handling practices when preparing and serving your dogs food. Simply wash your hands, counters and dog dishes after feeding, keep pet food frozen in your freezer, thaw in refrigerator and do not allow pet food to sit out a room temperature for longer than 20 min.

Do all BigCountry Raw Products contain Fruit & Vegetables?

BigCountry Raw Products labeled as Dinner contains 5-7% of our signature blend of apples, pears, carrots, kale & spinach. All our fruit and vegetables are finely ground to ensure proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Our kale and spinach are also excellent sources of anti-oxidant which help to support a strong immune system and keep your dog strong and healthy. The addition of beta carotene and vitamin C found in carrots, apples and pears are also beneficial for skin and coat.

If you wish to add more fruit & vegetables to your dog's diet you can purchase our Fruit & Vegetable Blend in our 1 lb size and add as needed to your dog's meals. Adding fruit and vegetables to your dog's diet can help bulk up or soften stools.

If your dog can not have any fruit or you wish to feed raw with fruit and vegetables, you can purchase a wider range of menu choices in our Pure Formulas or BigCountry Signature Blends.

My dog is drinking less water, is this normal?

Yes! This is completely expected. On a dry commercial dry food diet your dog needs to consume significant amounts of water to help digest the food as well as stay hydrated. On a raw diet your pet's food is naturally about 55-65% moisture and therefore they do not need much water to create bile for digestion or stay hydrated.

My dog's poop is white. Is this normal?

Your dog's stools will be firmer and smaller when fed a raw diet, however they should be firm and formed but not be white, yellow and crumbling. All BigCountry Raw formulas contain a varied amount of ground bone. Chicken, Turkey, Rabbit and Duck have a higher % than Beef, Lamb, Tripe, and BigCountry Blends.

If your dog is showing signs of constipation this is also signs that the digestive system needs less ground bone and we would advise you supplement the diet with a food choices as mentioned above. This concern is more common in older/senior dogs.

My dogs poop is very dark in colour and also a bit loose, is this normal?

No, your dogs stools should be light brown and formed stools. It is okay for the stools to be dark brown in colour, but not black. If your dog has dark brown/blackish loose stools we would recommend adding more ground bone to your dogs diet. This concern is more common when first transitioning your dog to a raw diet or for young puppies that have trouble digesting organ meats. We would advise feeding less beef, lamb, tripe and/or fish and offering more turkey, chicken, rabbit and duck to help firm up stools.

My dog vomited their food. Why might that have happened? What should I do?

There are normally a few reasons why your pet may have vomited their meal. The most common reason is for feeding the raw food too cold or eating too quickly. If they regurgitate their meal and then return to eating it (perhaps more slowly this time) this is normal. To prevent this from happening again, feed more slowly and offer ½ the meal, wait 5 min and offer the other ½ of the meal.

Vomiting is occasionally a result of a new food item that does not agree with your dog. If they do vomit up a particular protein or food choice, trust their digestive system and offer other food choices instead.

Good to Know :
If the vomit is yellow bile this indicates that your dog's stomach is completely empty and they are hungry.
If the vomit is clear and white with mucous this is from drinking too much water too quickly.

My dog has diarrhea? Why? What should I do?

If you have just started the raw diet we recommend transitioning from dry food to the raw diet with simpler proteins such as chicken, turkey, rabbit or duck. Offering beef, tripe, lamb and fish options too soon may cause loose stools.

If you just offered a new protein, return to chicken or turkey for their next meal and try again in a few days but only offering ½ the portion. For example ½ Pure Chicken and ½ Beef Dinner.

Add some Pure Pumpkin (available at your local grocery store in the baking section) to their next meal will also help to bind them up and prevent more loose stools.

Adding Slippery Elm Powder (click here to purchase BigCountry's Naturals Slippery Elm Powder), to the next meal may also help to settle their digestive system.

Are BCR products Hormone & Antibiotic free?

Yes, we only use GRADE A CFIA inspected human grade meat suppliers to ensure a safe raw pet food diet. All our food is hormone & antibiotic free, and preservative free and we only use CANADIAN suppliers, and in almost all cases all Ontario growers!

My dog has anal gland problems. Can I feed a raw diet? Will it help?

Yes and yes! Cooked processed dry diets create soft stools which allows annal glad secretions to build up causing painful compaction or possible rupture of the glands. A raw diet contains ground bone which helps to keep stools firm, and with every bowel movement anal glands are naturally squeezed and eliminated. No need for expensive and time consuming vet appts to get your dog's glads expressed.

Will feeding a raw diet make my dog aggressive?

No! There is no relationship between dog aggression and feeding a raw diet. Prior to 1930 there was no such thing as commercial dry food and yet many people lived peaceably with very gentle domesticated dogs and cats, that thrived on a raw food diet.

Are raw eggs healthy for my dog? Why are they not included in BCR diets?

Raw eggs are very healthy for your dog and are an excellent source of protein. We do not include eggs in our diet as eggs are also an allergen for many dogs. If your dog is allergic to chicken, they likely are also allergic to egg as well.

I am concerned about Bloat or Stomach Torsion. Can a raw diet help prevent this from occurring?

Yes, the key to preventing bloat and torsion is maintaining a healthy digestive system. Bloat and torsion is extremely rare in dogs that consume a high protein, raw meat based diet, containing less than 25% carbohydrates.

Where does Big Country Raw Deliver?

BigCountry Raw delivers to addresses within the Greater Toronto Area. Our routes take us to cities across southern Ontario in the Golden Horseshoe. We also deliver to homes within the Niagara/Hamilton region.

If you are looking for home delivery, please see our Order Online page and enter your postal code to determine whether we would be making home delivery.

We also have many retailers and distributors across Ontario. Check out our Where to Buy page for a complete list and to see who your closest retailer/distributor may be.

Can I have my order's delivered to my home or work address?

Yes, we are able to deliver to business or residential addresses. If you are accepting a food order at your work, school, home or office, please add delivery instructions regarding delivery location, parking, apartment buzz codes and any information that will make the delivery of your order as efficient as possible.

Do I have to be home to accept my order?

No, we do not require someone home to accept the order, however please leave notes regarding this in the delivery instructions when placing your order.

We do offer an an insulated cooler unit that will hold up to 120lbs of food (5 Boxes), which depending on outside weather temperatures will keep product frozen for 5-8 Hours (15 – 25 degrees celcius) The unit is lightweight and can be setup or disassembled easily in a few seconds, without tools. Our driver will simply setup the insulated unit and place your food in it, at a location convenient for you! The Insulated Cooler is available upon request and requires a deposit of $34.99. Once you no longer have use for the cooler, simply ask for us to pick up on your last order and we will refund your deposit.”

Does the food come frozen? Do you have insulated boxes to prevent the food from thawing upon delivery?

Yes, the food is delivered frozen in a temperature controlled delivery van. We do offer an an insulated cooler unit that will hold up to 120lbs of food (5 Boxes), which depending on outside weather temperatures will keep product frozen for 5-8 Hours (15 – 25 degrees celcius) The unit is lightweight and can be setup or disassembled easily in a few seconds, without tools. Our driver will simply setup the insulated unit and place your food in it, at a location convenient for you! The Insulated Cooler is available upon request and requires a deposit of $34.99. Once you no longer have use for the cooler, simply ask for us to pick up on your last order and we will refund your deposit.

Do you have a Breeder Program?

Yes! Please see our Breeders page for more information regarding this program.

What are your delivery deadlines? How can I ensure that my order is received in time?

We require an order to be submitted before 1:00 p.m. EST the day BEFORE your regularly scheduled delivery day. Your delivery day is dependent on your location in the Greater Toronto Area. If you do not see your area listed below contact us directly at (email - info@bigcountryraw.ca) and we will be happy to provide you with the necessary information.

Our current delivery routes provide delivery on the following days:

Tuesdays - Cambridge, Kitchener, Baden, Waterloo, Guelph, Elmira, St. Jacobs and surrounding area
Wednesday - Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Caledon
Thursday - City of Toronto, Pickering, Scarborough, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Newmarket, Durham Region and surrounding areas
Friday - Niagara, Hamilton, Ancaster, Dundas, Brantford, Woodstock, London

How does BigCountry Raw ensure the humane handling and treatment of animals used in the production of your raw food diets?

BigCountry Raw sources only from CFIA Government inspected suppliers and producers, which also adhere to Industry Guidelines that set forth by Provincial Organizations such as the CPC (Chicken Farmers of Canada) and the CARC (Canadian Agri-Food Research Concil). These organizations require their members to follow Codes of Practices that govern the handling of animals particularly on how they are raised, transported and slaughtered. We rely on these organizations which consist of members from farm groups, animal welfare groups, veterinarians, animal scientists, and governments, to monitor and ensure the animals are respected and humanly treated through their entire lifecycle.

I travel alot with my pets. Can I bring BigCountry Raw products from Ontario, Canada into the United States?

Yes, Food products from Canada, including frozen pet food are permitted from Canada into the United States. Frozen raw dog food products must be commerically packaged and sealed with ingredients listed in English. Lamb products are not permitted into the United States). You may be required to provide proof of the origin to bring them into the United States. Examples of proof of origin iwould include your receipt where the product was purchased.

Please visit the US Customs website for more information.