Feeding dogs a raw diet

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by bock, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    I have heard of people doing this with their dogs, and I might try it as long as my dogs do well on it, it isn't too expensive, it isn't too time consuming, and it isn't too complicated. My dogs currently eat 4health chicken and rice formula from TSC. I have a 9 year old lab mix and a 4 year old dachshound/terrier mix. They do well on 4health, but a raw diet just sounds ideal. So here are my questions. What types of meat do you feed them and what parts? Where do you get your meat? How do you go about switching your dogs from kibble to raw? Do your dogs do well on it? Does it cost more or less than higher-quality kibble? What are some recipes (is it just meat, or do you put in other supplements and such)?

    Thank you! (I might think of more questions later!) [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  2. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Songster

    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    After your first sentence, forget it.

    It's expensive, and it requires a lot more planning and time than dipping kibble out of a bag.

    First you need to do research. While you may get good information from people here, you need to learn from people who have hands on experience feeding raw. There is plenty to search on the web, and you can also join some of the raw feeding lists that are for people that are learning. There are several at Yahoo groups.

    Some basics:

    Variety is important.

    Bone or viable substitute MUST be included, as must organ meat.

    I always recommend people get a good digestive support supplement and start their dogs on this for about a week prior to introducing raw food.
  3. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Songster

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    There's alot of info on the internet. You do have to provide a balanced diet for good health.
  4. Slinkytoys

    Slinkytoys Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Black Forest
    I find feeding raw is about half the price of a quality dry food. I pay .43 cents a pound for chicken backs, .48 cents a lb. for chicken necks, .78 cents a lb. for huge meaty pork hocks, and .50 cents a lb. for coarse ground beef organ meat. Will add some kibble to the feeding about once a week, and add some vegetables when I have leftovers from our dinner (or the veggies are cheap). My dogs are in great shape, just won Best Puppy and Best Veteran at our regional specialty last month and have had many of my dogs ranked in the Top Ten of their breed. Have three invited to the Invitational show in CA this year.
    On occasion I can get chicken thighs for .29 cents a lb., but that's rare. I do add my own chickens' eggs with shells about 2 times a week, depending on laying and when fish is on sale will add that. Jack mackerel canned is pretty cheap to add at least once a month. I've figured out the portions of raw to be much less in cost than portions of dry kibble. When hunting season starts, I get the venison, bison and elk bones to freeze and give to the dogs when I do a "fast" (once every two weeks in warm weather---once a month in cold). I don't fast pups, pregnant nor unthrifty dogs. The longevity on my dogs is much better than average. My Irish Wolfhounds usually make double digits and in good health.
    If you put some thought and research into it, feeding raw can be easier than you think. [​IMG]
  5. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Price depends on how resourceful you are. Buying prepackaged raw diets is insanely expensive. Buying quality cuts from your grocery store is also expensive. Getting some hunters to give you unlimited deer bones and organs for free plus the rest of the deer for the cost of processing = cheap. Buying beef (or anything else) in bulk from a locker and feeding the cuts and organs you don't prefer to the dog plus many will give free bones = cheap. Feeding chickens, quail, guinea fowl, or rabbits you raise yourself = nearly free. All depends on what you can find in your area and how you do it. Talk to hunters and also try looking up some less common meats like elk or buffalo farms and see what bones or anything else they'll give you for cheap or free.

    A prey model diet is not complicated. You do need variety so try to locate 3 or 4 types of meat that you can have a steady supply of and then you can occasionally throw other things in when they are available/on sale. Fish is another one I didn't mention but there are some risks with certain species of wild caught fish so you should research that further if you want to use fish. You want to follow a ratio of about 80/10/10. 80% muscle meat, 10% organ (majority being liver), and 10% edible bone. Some people feed a little less organ and a little more muscle meat. Around 2% of their adult body weight a day but it depends on the exact dog and that amount can very from 1 all the way to 5%. Once you figure out the amounts that work for your dog it's simply a matter of dividing it up in to portions and pulling out a portion from the freezer every day. Takes about 30mins of prep and 5mins a day after that.

    Here is a good thread and website on prey model:

    BARF diets can be complicated and time consuming because they involve various vegetable matter usually run through a blender. I do not feel vegetables are necessary in my dog's diet. Some also include vitamin supplements which should be unnecessary if you are feeding the proper ratio and variety of meats. However I do also feed satin balls as treats and to help keep weight on my akita who refuses to eat large amounts of anything. http://www.heartlandgdr.org/satin_balls.htm . We often use leftover ground venison in place of the hamburger or whatever else sat in the fridge longer than preferred before being frozen or sat in the freezer long enough to get freezer burnt.
  6. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I started feeding raw a year ago and really don't find it time consuming - you just have to remember to take it out of the freezer in time to defrost! I used to feed ProPlan and when I switched it cut my costs in half. I get the chicken backs, duck necks, turkey necks and knuckles, duck carcasses etc from a food distribution company that services restaurants. (I live in a rural area) and it wasn't hard to find. I go to the local processors to get the liver and organ meat as well as meaty bones. These are all free because a lot of people that have their beef, deer, etc processed apparently don't want these parts. My St Bernard gets about 2% of her body wt, the lab about 1 1/2% and the Border Collie about 5% (growing and high energy). On the plus side, the size of the poop is significantly smaller, turns white and disintegrates and really has no smell. This is important to me especially with the size of the St. B poo [​IMG] Also, I haven't had any further ear infections and skin allergies from the lab. Just do a little research first. Good Luck!
  7. bock

    bock Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Thanks everyone! We are really considering it now, but we aren't sure where to get our meat. I will ask around an see if anyone would give us the extras. One other question, what do you do when you go on vacation? The girl that we used to hire let my ducks and chickens go without water for three days, so she is off the list. Maybe I should still ecorporate a bit of kibble in their diet so they can eat that when we leave.

    Well, I will continue to do my research, and see how it goes! [​IMG]
  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:Grain kibble is a NO NO when feeding meat. Grain sits on the dog's stomach, while meat is processed very quickly. If you feed grain and raw meat together, the meat will sit in the stomach long enough for the bacteria to multiply TOO much (dogs can handle some, they eat garbage and "ripe" foods)

    What I do for my Lab if I leave him with my parent's is to get a 5lb bag of GRAIN FREE kibble, such as Taste of the Wild. I fed it a couple of days before our trip so to be sure he would actually eat it, BUT last time we left him he refused to eat while we were gone --- and this is usually Mr "can I eat that? *gulp* too late" so that was just weird of him. He ate like normal when we brought him home that night.
    If we are taking the dogs with us, I just usually pack them something simple to measure and non-messy, like chicken legs, and take a cooler.

    ETA: We've been feeding "prey model" 80/10/10 for almost 4 years. My Chow dog started raw when we got her at 8 weeks of age - at that size she ate a lot of the little Cornish hens. She got the throw-ups one day as a puppy and has never been sick since. She does seem to have a seasonal allergy, but it's related to the spring/summertime, not to her food.
    I prefer to feed large chunks - forces the dog to slow down and CHEW their food. With puppy Dusti we would just pick up the leftover chicken and refrigerate it until the next meal. Big chunks are especially important if you are teaching a dog who is not used to eating bones yet. My Lab dog came to us as a 4 year old Pedigree kibble dog - with bowed legs and a history of skin trouble - hmm wonder what casued that??? but I was glad to see they did measure his food and he was a decent weight, not overweight huge like lots of Labs are.

    This is Dusti working on a whole turkey (after Thanksgiving clearance) - it was actually Hawk (the Lab's) dinner the night before in his crate and he ate about half of it, but Dusti took it over the next morning and hauled it outside to eat on until she got full. I WISH I had gotten a pic when the CHICKENS decended on it after Dusti finished!!!!!!!!!! ROFL There really wasn't enough of it left to put back in the fridge [​IMG]


    This is how we normally feed, in the crates. Hawk eating pork ribs when he was BRAND new here - his first night in his new crate. My dogs actually don't get too worried about the other one stealing food, they have sat down right beside each other to eat treats, but I usually feed them in their crate before I go to bed and that keeps them from "exercising" too much after eating, and contains any mess ---- they are usually good about licking up any mess, but ya know they really WANT to eat their dinner on my rug and I caught Dusti trying to sneak a chicken leg up on the bed once [​IMG]
    (and no, I didn't make him sleep in his prong collar, he just couldn't wait for his dinner LOL)

    Dogster has a good Raw Feeding community on the forum. Lots of write ups for newbies, and of course q and a forum stuff -- I haven't been active over there in a while, but when I was I mostly posted under "Dusti" my Chow dog [​IMG] http://www.dogster.com/forums/Raw_Food_Diet
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    TOTW has canned food too if your dog doesn't easily switch back to kibble and you can also get all meat canned food. Evo 95% is the most common brand. Somewhat expensive though. Theisen's here sells another brand that I can't remember which is all meat with no vitamins/minerals added. Plain canned fish can also make up a meal as needed and off set the cost if you want someone to feed several meals of canned while you are gone.
  10. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:good idea for vacation though.
    I've done canned Mackrel and Salmon and Tuna occasionally, but they are generally really high in sodium so obviously not a main staple. Also Dusti just plain doesn't like raw fish at all. Lots of people who are otherwise able to get a well-rounded diet at the supermarket end up supplementing Omega 3 oils either because of the price of fish or because like me, their dog just plain won't eat fish. I sometimes use a brewers yeast and garlic "skin tablet" for Dusti's outdoor allergies, and I randomly give them Probios brand powdered probiotics. The Lab-o-monster used to have yeasty ears, but not anymore! Other than that I don't routinely use supplements.
    Also both of my doggies have great breath (well, for dogs) but my cats who are on high quality TOTW kibble still get bad breath. Not having to pay for teeth cleanings is one way that raw feeding pays for itself. I think the poop-related benefits are the bomb, especially since I have large dogs - I never have to clean the yard coz it turns to powder in a day or so!

    Also a note to the OP: Switching from kibble to raw is a bit of a transition. It took Hawk nearly a month to get it down. He only got throw-up sick once, I think I probably fed him too much at once, their stomach needs to "learn" to digest bones, but it took a while for his "bowls" to regulate. Not so much in the splurty poop department, as just the timing. He's regular like Dusti with our routine now - dinner & sleep in crate, get up in the morning to go potty -- but when we were switching him to raw he had a few accidents while I was gone to work coz his system wasn't in the routine yet. If someone is home to let the doggies out, it probably won't be as much of a problem.
    Once you and your dog get past the learning curve, feeding raw can be just almost as easy as kibble!! Believe me, feeding the dogs is easier than feeding DH [​IMG]

    Hawk used to be a kibble gulper. I started him off on whole chickens and racks of ribs so he would HAVE to bite off smaller chunks. Well now that he's been on raw since February (so uh, 8 months) if I give him TOTW kibble or something soft like hamburger he now takes his time and actually chews stuff. It's got to be healthier for him!!

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