BOOK REVIEW – A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs

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Pet nutrition blogger, Kimberly Morris Gauthier, recently announced that she published a book for ‘new to raw’ dog owners, a book to help them transition into an optimal more healthful diet. Well bravo!

A new book to read, and hopefully a resource to pass along to my friends and clients. You see I have been in the raw food world for nearly sixteen years, I had a few local mentors, and of course the teachings of Dr. Ian Billinghurst, and Dr. Tom Lonsdale. Our area was and is flush with seasoned raw feeders, and we have plenty of ranches and an agricultural lifestyle, that jumping to a raw diet wasn’t too difficult.

Every year my friend Libby and I give Raw Food Raw Talk demo’s and lectures in hopes of demystifying what ‘real’ food is, and how available it is. Why, because the transition from feeding kibble to feeding raw is simple for some and stressful for others.

Feeding kibble is dumping something out of a bag, into a bowl, that is processed and dead. The marketing on the bag tells you what to expect as far as what they see as health, how much to feed, and the ingredients if you care to read that part. Then you pick up the bowl and wash it, or not, and that is it. The only effort is buying a bag and pouring, that is it.

Feeding raw is understanding something about nutrition, balance, how the canine body is designed, starting with the teeth in their mouth that were designed to rip and shred, not chew, all the way to the digestion of food, bio-available nutrients, and what to expect during elimination. There is a lot of effort, knowledge to be gained, understanding, and connecting to your dog on a different level. And the ‘soul’ part of preparing food for another, with love, is immeasurable. It isn’t just about the gut, it is about the whole dog.

So there is a learning curve, a little or a lot, that allows a dog owner to want to learn how to feed a more appropriate diet. Mentors are awesome, live demo’s are invaluable, pet nutrition stores that carry raw product and have an educated staff are equally as important, and a community that is supportive.

Starting on your own can sometimes be daunting, scary, or intimidating. Anything new is a leap, anything. But a leap starts with a step, one foot in front of the other, and then there is motion forward, and voilà, you have started the process.

A Novice’s Guide to Raw Feeding for Dogs is simple, straight forward, a conversation of sorts, and not technical at all.

This book touches lightly on a lot, but doesn’t go into in-depth detail regarding chemical components, nutritional charts, or warning-caution lists that would give anyone a nightmare. Thank god.

Common sense. This book is a beginner’s guide to finding their common sense again with a diet that dogs were intended to eat for not just ‘food reasons’, but rather optimal health reasons. And common sense is always a good thing.

I enjoyed the layout of the book, the cadence, the rhythm. At first it feels like you are jumping from one topic to another in no particular order. And then you catch on to the cheeky headings, in alphabetical order, with no real connection. Often times this is how a real raw conversation might sound, a bit of this and a bit of that, not luxuriating too long on one topic.

It is written in a friendly and approachable tone, and I think would easily empower a new raw feeder. Everything mentioned in this book is doable for a first time raw feeder, starting with the suggestion to purchase commercial raw while you do your research, reading, and product sourcing. How awesome is that.

The resources mentioned throughout the book take all of the guess-work away as far as sourcing products. I personally like a book I can hold in my hands, but this book might best be purchased digitally, on Kindle, as the hyperlinks would make the extra information readily accessible.

The recipes listed towards the back of the book are awesome, simple, and no fuss. I really appreciated that it was not supplement heavy, but rather a ‘let food be thy medicine’, whole foods to nourish the body.

And for me, as I see in almost all raw feeders that I work with, there is a moment where you connect optimal health with not only raw food, but safe vaccine schedules, minimal to no pharmaceuticals, minimal veterinary visits, and a life sans dog parks. It is connection on all levels. So refreshing that Gauthier’s made this connection in her book for all to see, may that message spread far and wide.

If you have been mulling over the idea of changing your dog’s diet, tip toeing in and around the raw food aisles at your pet store, or just curious, if you have a dog with any chronic health anything, or a new puppy, please let this book be the catalyst for change. This is a true novice feeders book, made super simple, straight forward, and with a ‘you can do it’ attitude.

And as Gauthier’s stated and I can attest to in our own household, once you get going, and hit your stride, it is more affordable than kibble, and you will be seeing your veterinary less and less.

Give it a go, your dog deserves your efforts, Nancy





  1. Just one thing that would deter me: I like to get my info from someone who’s credentials go a little bit higher than “pet nutrition blogger.” Maybe she knows her stuff, but for me personally, unless the author is a canine nutritionist, I won’t bother.

    1. The book is good, and accurate information. Most raw feeders, who have been in the game for years, know more about the canine as far as nutrition, physiology, and real health. I don’t know a group in the canine world that reads more, researches more, is nutritionally aware above and beyond status quo, knows how to source healthy products, and gives a shit, more than the raw feeding world.

      I have been in the raw feeding world for 16 years, and her book is super common sense and a great start.

      1. I believe you. But there’s also some bad info out there, it can be hard to distinguish and know who to trust. But hey, if you like the book, that’s a big point in favor of it.

  2. I have been tiptoeing around raw for awhile. Finally I thought I’d start with raw chicken backs just to see how that went. Java carefully sniffed it, looked at me as if to say “This is for real” You haven’t dropped your food by accident have you?” Then carefully crept away with this amazing thing. Teddy Bear carried it around and guarded it as she does her toys, food and anything I give her but wouldn’t eat it. It was attracting flies and Java’s attention so i put it in the fridge. I wish I had started when they were young, especially Teddy who dislikes change intensely but I am going to get the book and start with my best candidate Java. Thanks Nancy, I appreciate your review and I am ready to take the first step.

    1. I think you will like the book, it is informative and easy and a great way to get started … Commercial raw is a great way to start, and she has links in her book that will help you source that.

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