I am switching my dogs to raw (Need people with experience)

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Fleabuskitty, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I've been reading a lot about the benefits of raw feeding for a while now. I first read about it when I started looking at what we were feeding our dogs about a year ago, but we were living in Atlanta and eventually decided to switch Dan and Jackie (10 year old Corgi mix and 5 year old Border Collie mix, both spayed and neutered) from Beneful ([​IMG]) to Blue Buffalo Wilderness and a little while later we switched the cats (overweight 8 year old male and 9 year old female, also both fixed) to Blue. When we moved here (4 hours south of Atlanta) we switched them to Taste Of The Wild (which is available at TSC, which we are at often for chicken feed), but the cats hated it so we switched them to Diamond brand, which has no corn, wheat or soy and switched the dogs to 4Health a little later because TOTW was expensive and we got Homer, a 5 (almost 6) month old Great Pyrenees.
    Well, the other day I went to a dog show with a friend and there were booths set up there for BARF, which made me consider it more. After much research, we ended up at the local butcher shop (they raise their own cows to butcher and everything else is local. Not going into specifics, I myself will not eat and avoid buying anything that a factory farmed animal died for). We asked if they ever had any extra trimmings and the lady said that, yes, they had three boxes full of beef and pork trimmings in the back. We asked if they might sell them because we were considering feeding our dogs only raw meat, and she said she'd give them to us! Free meat! We took one of the boxes, which was huge but ended up having about 10 pounds of usable meat (the rest was fat). She said that she could give us a couple boxes and that we can come on Mondays, so we've pretty much got a regular source of beef and pork bits! There was even a huge chunk of 3 ribs in the box that are going to make excellent raw meaty bones. We have a separate meat freezer but it's mostly full right now so we can't really stock up.
    We also know lots of people who hunt and process their own deer (my mother's boyfriend being one of them) and just throw the organs out into the woods, have a fish pond in our backyard, and know a pig farmer who we have gotten pigs from in the past. We actually have about 10 pounds of trimmings from a pig we got a few weeks ago that we were saving to dehydrate for training treats or something, but it looks like that's gonna be used [​IMG] We also caught three fish (a small bass and three white perch) from our pond and plan to give them those at the end of the week.
    Okay, here come the actual questions and stuff.

    I know there are many opinions about vegetables but after reading a lot of information about the pros and cons I decided that we will add veggies. Absolutely no grain, though, of course. We blended up collard greens, carrots, and a couple strawberries in the food processor and divided up little baggies of meat with some of that and put them in the fridge for the first five or so days. Jackie is Border Collie-sized, but has a weird metabolism and has done good eating less kibble than Dan, who is a little under 30 pounds. She was eating 1 cup a day while he was eating 2 because when she was eating 2 she actually got a bit pudgy [​IMG] Because they are not especially active, I decided to give Dan and Jackie each about 2% of Dan's weight (last time he was weighed he was 28 pounds. Dan is older but not overweight like some older dogs and is mostly muscle), which is about 1/2 pound, and Homer will be getting a pound since he was eating 3 cups of food a day before which isn't quite twice as much Dan, though I expect that will end up doubling since Pyrs are so awesome and huge. So I divided up the meat into 1/2 pound and 1 pound baggies (probably not all exact, but about that) not including the veggies.
    Tonight they got their first raw meal, which was the meat and a spoonful of veggies, a spoonful of yogurt, and an egg. Does this sound about right? They absolutely loved it, although Dan was a bit confused at first. Jackie and Homer both gobble their food, which I know is not good, especially with large dogs like Homer being prone to bloat, but having to stop and chew the meat and bones really slowed them down. Dan tends to eat very slowly, but once he figured out it was food he seemed to want to eat it and didn't pick at it like he does kibble (he actually will take mouthfuls of kibble and eat them in other parts of the house).
    Dan and Jackie are used to eating twice a day so we will probably give them a little bit (maybe 1/4 cup) of kibble or maybe an egg in the morning for the next few days til they get used to it, then feed them only in the evening. Homer will eat twice a day. Does that sound like a good idea? If this works out for the dogs, we may also switch the cats.
    I would really like to know what people who have experience with raw feeding think about this plan.
    Here are some photos of their first raw meal:
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    Also, Dan has some sort of flea allergy and often gets a hot spot above his tail, his belly gets itchy, etc. Do you think that their new diet will help with this? I saw this and was also wondering if maybe this will help? Our vet gave us medicated shampoo which we bathe him with often and it seems to help some, but he still gets itchy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  2. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    step 1 is to only start with one food source! Only chicken, for example, for the first week. After the dogs have adjusted to that, then start adding in variety. Variety over time is going to be the most important thing. Without added vitamins, the animals won't get the nutrition they need if you only feed 1 or 2 protein sources. Feed fish, chicken, beef, pork, turkey on a rotating basis once the dogs have adjusted. Feed each new food item for a week to make sure there are no allergies or reactions before adding another new food.

    No reason to switch from feeding twice a day. It's better, especially for breeds prone to bloat. I fed bone in the morning meal, meat in the evening. What percentages are you using to figure amounts for bone vs muscle meat vs organs?
     
  3. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yep, that's what I've read, so they're getting beef this week. They've had every type of meat we'll be feeding them as treats before, so I don't think they have any allergies, but I did read about the slowly introducing variety. What I read was 80% meat (muscle, organ) and 20% other things (vegetables, eggs, etc), but I also read that exact percentages don't matter just as long as it is close. We'll probably be giving them organs two or three times a week. I read that once a day was more natural since food stays in a dog's stomach longer than a human's? If twice a day is better, though, Dan and Jackie will definitely not mind that [​IMG] This morning we gave them a little bit of kibble because Dan has had issues with sudden food switches (he gets really bad gas [​IMG]) and I divided up the baggie I had made up for Homer (not exactly in half, but he'll get all of it by the end of the day so I suppose it doesn't have to be) and gave him some beef along with leftover peas. I'll do the same thing for Dan and Jackie tomorrow if that is better.
     
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    eeek! no on the percentages.
    45% bone
    50% muscle meat (beef heart, chicken meat, etc)
    5% organs
    if you use veggies, just 5% of the diet. Drop MM down to 45% I prefer to feed green tripe to actual veggies in the meal. If I want more, I just give them a bit of veggie puree.
    Yes, you don't need to weigh down to the ounce every day because it will balance out over time (little less than perfect today, but tomorrows piece of meat is a little bigger)
    You also need to figure out how many pounds per day to feed them.

    Organs can cause diahreea because they are so rich. So many people don't feed them until the dogs are well-established on the diet. I always fed them sparingly because of that. Rayden was picky, so I just pureed the liver as well. Now, he did LOVE brains lol

    Check your PMs :)
     
  5. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've already figured out how much they should each eat (you probably didn't see it in my crazy long post [​IMG]). Dan and Jackie aren't especially active so they'll be getting 2% of their weight. Dan is almost 30 pounds so he gets 1/2 pound. Jackie is/should be about 40 pounds but she tends to get overweight and has always done best eating the same amount of food as Dan, so she will also get 1/2 pound. Homer has been eating a little less than twice as much kibble as Dan and Jackie, so he'll be getting a pound but since he is growing it will definitely be increased after a while.
    What I read was that bone should only be about 15-20% since an animal isn't almost half bone? That makes sense to me. Does this sound good:
    20% bone, 5% organs, 5% veggies, <5% other stuff (eggs, yogurt, etc), 65% muscle meat?
    Thanks for all of the info, I really appreciate it. I really want to get it right because I know that if I do the dogs will be so much happier and healthier.
    Also, I know that there are many different opinions about dogs being omnivores and such, but I do think that dogs are opportunists and scavengers and I think that a wild dog would not hesitate to steal eggs or eat a few berries, which is why I would like to feed mostly meat but also include things like that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012
  6. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

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    honestly, you can tell most about how the diet is going by the poop. If they are constipated, you are likely feeding too high a percentage of bone for that dog (for example). There are a lot of minerals in the raw bone, particularly the marrow, plus it acts as a regulator/fiber material. So, yes, 45% is what I was told by my vet as well as the research I did. I consider eggs to be just another meat source :)

    Veggies I always went semi-sparingly on. Dogs will eat them but on an irregular basis, provided that there is meat available. Most of the veggie eating I've seen doesn't get digested, just acting as bulk to fill the stomach. But green tripe is partially digested veggies and seems to be handled better by the dogs' systems
     
  7. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, that makes sense. Homer absolutely loves eggs, he eats the shell and everything. Whenever I collect eggs from the coops he follows me around trying to snatch them, so he's going to love getting them almost daily [​IMG] Dan and Jackie are more picky, though, and won't eat the shells. Pretty much every piece of meat we have for them has some bone in it, so I guess I'll just keep giving them those and if they seem to need more I'll add more? I know that it will probably vary between dogs, too. My vet probably won't be very helpful since they sell and endorse Science Diet, though [​IMG]
     
  8. naturalfeddogs

    naturalfeddogs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It sounds like you are feeding more of a BARF style of raw, and I feed PMR so I may not be of much help, but I use an 80-10-10 guideline:


    80% meat
    10%bone
    10%organs

    Thats all. No veggies or fruit. We can digest them, but dogs can't. The reason is that veggies take longer, and are slightly harder to digest. We as people have longer digestive tracts so food stays there longer to digest and absorb nutrients.

    Dogs on the other hand, have much shorter digestive tracts so there is no time for veggie digestion. They are designed with super high strength (like 10 times stronger than ours) stomach acids for digesting raw meat and bones. In order to get even some nutrients from veggies, it would need to be pureed first to "pre release" any available nutrients. Even then, they get very little out of it. WAY more benefits in meat, bones and organs only.

    Just throwing that out there to think about.
     
  9. Jubilee1111

    Jubilee1111 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I feed the same prey model diet that naturalfeddogs does but only three days a week. The other days I feed Taste of The Wild. On Raw days I skip breakfast and give them a big Raw meal in the late afternoon.

    Chicken really is the easiest to start with. Chicken leg quarters are super convenient and a great ratio of meat to bone. Also, I buy whole chickens and just chop them right down the middle with a sharp cleaver so my two big kids each get half. With my foster Boxers I will give a smaller leg quarter. Turkey necks are awesome, too. Rabbit is great but it's pricey.

    During or just after deer season, I feed all the venison I can get my hands on. I will give the big dogs a whole leg or neck or half a ribcage with lots of meat remaining and just sit back and watch them bliss out while they chomp away. If I don't have room in the freezer, I go straight to Raw with no kibble days until it's used up.

    I have fed pork from time to time but it never goes over that well with my dogs. It makes them have diarrhea and they've been eating Raw for years. In speaking with a friend who Raw feeds and farms in England, she said the UK Ag Council recommends not feeding pork to dogs. I don't know why exactly but like I said, my dogs don't do well on it. I know another gentleman in Argentina that hunts hogs and raises Dogo's and he doesn't feed much of the pork they get to his dogs either for the same reason.

    I used to worry constantly about balancing and weighing everything but after awhile you'll relax. It's kind of like feeding human kids. You just make sure there is adequate variety and go from there.[​IMG]

    Oh, and don't be surprised if your pups go through a bit of a toxin purge for a couple of weeks. Some dogs shed like crazy at first and when their new coat comes in it's so slick and shiny.

    This is a great website for learning about feeding raw : http://www.rawlearning.com/
     
  10. Fleabuskitty

    Fleabuskitty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am sort of basing it on BARF, but not exactly. I don't think prey-model (feeding whole carcasses and such) would work for my dogs, though; they have no self-control and I'd be afraid of them ending up over-eating. What naturalfeddogs said does make sense, but I'm not completely sure so I would rather feed them a small amount of veggies, which even if it is unnecessary won't really hurt them, then be wrong about them not needing them and end up feeding them a diet that lacks something they need.
    Jubilee, I have seen that website before and it is very helpful [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2012

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