Questions About Raw Meat Diet for Dogs

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Wolf-Kim, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am recently considering switching to a raw meat diet for my 3 German Shephers and 1 terrier mix.. I have a few questions I would like to ask. I have been reading the pro-BARF sites, but I really enjoy hearing about other people's personal experiences.

    1) Does it cost more than commercial food? -- I know that pound for pound, commercial food would be cheaper, but wouldn't you have to feed more of the commercial feed? So, I'm asking about price-per-ration, how does the raw meat diet compare to commercial feed for each meal. I feed my German Shepherds about 6 cups of kibble a day each and then the terrier mix about 4 cups, what would that translate to in a raw meat diet? (We feed Ol'Roy, just switched from Pedigree)

    2)Where do you get your raw meat? -- We live near a turkey processing plant as well as several local butchers.

    3) What raw meats do you feed? -- I am thinking the cuts that are less preferred by humans would be the most affordable, the necks and backs of poultry, etc..

    4)Can you feed the meat that is no longer good for humans? --Say that shelved meat has gone through the whole clearance mark down, and the stores are preparing to throw it out. Can I have them save it for me to feed to my dogs?


    I really appreciate it.

    Thanks!
    -Kim
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  2. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1) Depends on where you get your meat. If you buy the boutique-style prepared raw, it costs a LOT more. If you have the time and resources to source appropriate meat, freezer space, and the interest and ability to research nutrition and devise your own diet, the dollar cost is less than a quality kibble -- but probably offset by the time you put in.

    It will definitely cost more pound for pound than Old Roy, no matter what. A quality diet and Old Roy simply are not comparable in any way, whether homemade raw or a quality commercial food. Old Roy and what you are feeding the chickens are pretty close, except the chicken feed is probably more wholesome. Sorry to be blunt. Six cups of kibble for a German shepherd is a massive amount -- they are eating almost all roughage. My hard-working high-metabolism GSD eats the equivalent of 3 cups of the highest quality kibble on a normal day, maybe four if she's working at a wilderness search all day. (There are plenty of expensive commercial foods that are just as bad, too. Expensive doesn't mean quality. But real cheap commercial dog food is bad news.) On a nutrient-value basis, you may actually be paying more for Old Roy.

    2) I get ground beef "parts" very cheap from a local slaughterhouse where I have a relationship. They give me rib bones and stuff for free. Chicken quarters wholesale. I used to get backs and necks wholesale, but am having trouble sourcing it now -- quarters are cheaper, and sometimes the 10# bags at .47/# at Walmart are the cheapest of all. There's another slaughterhouse where they will sometimes save tripes and livers for me. Processing raw tripe for your dogs is not for the faint of stomach. I'm generally gagging and telling them "I REALLY REALLY LOVE YOU GUYS" while doing so. We also get some venison donated for the search and rescue dogs, and they get all the "other" from the deer we shoot. I've spent years developing relationships to get good supply and prices to keep my guys fed without going broke.

    3) I feed almost exclusively "less preferred" cuts, except the chicken leg quarters. The ground is hearts, lips, "trim" and youdonwannaknow. The dogs don't care. I like to feed a fair amount of organ meat -- kidneys, liver, tripe, chitterlings. Also buy them pork necks and pigs feet on sale, and sometimes really cheap fish from the wholesaler. Canned mackerel is a nice change of pace. You may be in luck with the poultry processor near you, and use that as your major component, but try not to feed poultry exclusively -- mix it up a bit.

    Also don't forget that the dogs need some vegetables and fruit, and supplements. I do feed some grain, mostly rice, depending on what is going on with them. Some raw food evangelists will excommunicate you for that. Whatever. And lots of table scraps. You do need to do some research on canine nutrition. It is not rocket science, but it isn't anything goes, either. A steady diet of just muscle meat will kill a dog. Too much organ meat can overload them on phosphorus. Stuff like that. Understanding calcium/phosphorus ratio and protein availability, for example. That there are dangerous parasites in wild pacific salmon, which cannot be fed raw to dogs.

    4) I will certainly feed meat that is JUST past date. There's a margin of safety on that dating. But nothing nasty/slimy/smelly. I prefer to toss it into the deep freeze for a week before feeding in those instances. Anything I buy at Walmart gets frozen for a week. I don't trust them.

    If your German shepherds are American-bred, be very gradual in switching over. American GSDs, and some of the European show lines, have some of the crankiest digestion in dogdom, and you will rue the day you irritate it! European true working line GSDs tend to be a bit less delicate in the intestines, but I've seen exceptions there, too. I'm lucky to have owned three working German shepherds who could eat anything, including (ugh) MRE's. My three year old ate a whole @ 15# groundhog in one go a few weeks ago. Head, hide, guts, hair, feet -- not a scrap left. That's hard-core raw. (I did not give it to her. She stole it from my farm collie, who had killed it, and who would have only eaten the appropriate parts.)
     
  3. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ever have a dog deny raw meat?

    We cut up a chicken to split between all 4 dogs today and the Shepherds loved it(all three ate it differently) but my little terrier mix, who has the highest small animal prey drive, spit out her piece and walked away... I tried three more times to tempt her to at least "try" it but all three times she spit it out. She only took it from my hand to be "courteous".

    She shocked all of us. It was actually quite comical and ironic. The little dog who snatches starlings out of the air, cannot stand having ANY birds in the backyard, and looses her mind over snakes, rabbits, and squirrels would not accept a piece of meat.

    I guess she just doesn't like chicken. She loves leftover pork ribs.

    I appreciate all the information!

    -Kim
     
  4. farmgirlie1031

    farmgirlie1031 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2008
    IA
    Quote:Yep. My Bernese refuses any raw meat. If it's cooked she will eat it but raw no. She is 9 and now very very picky so I try and feed her as much extra cooked meats as I can to keep the weight on her. She used to refuse eggs but then we got chickens. LOL Now if I put an egg down in her reach she will eat it shell and all but I know they are not good for them raw so I try really hard not to let her have them. She just surprised me that day. LOL
     
  5. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raw chicken seems to be a "hard start" for some dogs switching to raw.

    I remember a foster dog I had who was overwhelmed when I handed him a chicken leg. He acted for all the world like some farm kid from Iowa confronting a whole lobster for the first time, with no utensils and no idea what he was supposed to do.

    Teddy eventually got with the program.

    Try chopping or grinding up a chicken neck and mixing it with some canned dog food or something else she likes.

    My youngest farm collie takes *forever* to eat her chicken. I have to feed it to her in a crate, or one of the others will get exasperated and take it from her while she dithers. She doesn't do that with other meats.
     
  6. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

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    LOL. I find that so amusing. I am still fairly shocked that she would not except the treat. Especially, since the other three went right to it.

    Sassy, our White German Shepherd, took her time and chewed it well, but made sure it never touched the ground.

    Axel, the youngest black and tan, ran off with his piece, gave it several good crunches and then ate it without any preference. He made sure he was in line for the next piece. [​IMG]

    Maximus, our other black and tan, got the breast. He was so diligent in pinning the chest with his paws and carefully stripping the meat from the bones. After one side was done, he would flip it over and start on the next side. After he satisfactorily stipped the meat, he very dutifully crushed the bones up and ate the leftovers.

    Domino, the terrier, wouldn't try it. Silly dog. Heaven help if you are handing out pork ribs, you have to watch your fingers with her!

    -Kim
     
  7. freerange freaks

    freerange freaks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's best not to start them straight onto raw. I like to start with a small amount of cooked ground beef and very slowly start to give it undercooked until it is completely raw. Then I would start with the chicken necks, backs or wings. Their digestive system needs to be primed for raw foods. Poultry breast are not the most balanced food and you should then supplement calcium and fat.

    I get 40lbs block of whole ground chicken that is marketed to mink farmers. It is about $0.20/lb. Supper cheap and I don't have to worry about undigested bones (my dogs don't chew- they inhale). We also buy some organ meat and feed that with veg. And poultry skins for the extra fat. We cut the frozen block with our band saw and feed frozen. It's easier to handle that way.

    I'm also feeding 20 sled dogs. So we have four freezers of meat. We take a truck and trailer down to our supplier twice per year. I think the dogs do very well. They build muscle better, no more allergies, nice thick coats, no stress diareaha and they smell pretty good. You could get serious with it and start supplementing like we do; such as fish oil, kelp, vit C, or glucosamine. But you can also keep things quite simple and have great results.
     
  8. Arctichicken

    Arctichicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I didn't read all of this thread yet but wanted to comment on the OP first message.

    Please do not feed your dogs just the chicken parts. They really need beef (red meat) such as ground meat, stew beef, bison, caribou, moose, deer etc. Fish is also an excellent meat source in addition to the beef, especially salmon.

    We own Alaskan Malamutes and we feed them Solid Gold (about 1/2 a bowl = 3-4 cups) then seameal (vitamins, minerals, and digestive enzymes) and splash of warm water to activate the seameal, a few scoops of beef and a scoop of fish. THEY LOVE IT and their coats are gorgeous!!!! Theyalso don't poop as much and keep weight on them.

    Just my recomendation. [​IMG]
     
  9. Arctichicken

    Arctichicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    "That there are dangerous parasites in wild pacific salmon, which cannot be fed raw to dogs."


    I'm sorry but I do not agree with this. There may be but my dogs have never had an issue with this...in fact raw salmon and caribou was the diet of choice and oppurtunity for all arctic dogs originally.

    Raw chicken is hard to get dogs to eat...mine will eat the meat and fish raw but like the chicken cooked...go figure!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  10. truegrit farm

    truegrit farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Now, this subject is right up my alley. I have been feeding a raw diet for 9 years. I have raised numerous litters of pups on it when I was showing and breeding Welsh Corgis.

    I now have a 5 yr. old GSD that has been raised on it since 10 weeks old, a 13 yr old Newf (he was the reason I changed to the diet) 2 corgi's l yr old and 8 yr old and a 10 yr old JRT X.

    I am a HUGE advocate of the diet and have the proof after 9 years. Everything Brandywine said is basically what I would tell you.

    Suppliers can be a problem depending on where you live. A small family operated slaughterhouse can be a huge help to you. Like Brandwine I get free bones and they also save me their "bone dust" from the saws and I only pay .20 per pound for that. I was just informed this week however that the chicken necks I have been getting for 9 years are no longer going to be available. I am a bit in shock even now!

    The most expensive item I buy is .50 a pound and that is still cheaper than any decent commerical dog food out there. The thought of commerical dog food going into my dogs now after all these years really creeps me out.

    I would be more than happy to answer (according to my own experience) any questions anyone has if they want to write to me. There are alot of different opinions on the diet out there you just have to do what works the best for your dogs and is the least time extensive for you.

    Good luck, your dogs will thank you and know you are doing the best for them.

    P.S. GSD's ROCK!!!!!!!!!!

    Carole
    1 macaw, 2 cockatiels, 8 chickens, 5 dogs and one very understanding husband.
     

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