(Closed) Anyone feeding their dog a raw diet?

posted 8 years ago in Pets
Post # 3
Member
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I do!

I’ve fed my 4 year old Japanese Chin raw for close to 2 years now. He definitely used to have digestion problems, even on “high quality” kibble like Scence Diet or Wellness (sorry to be crude, but I always wondered how he could possibly have poops so smelly that they stunk up the outdoors, especially because he weighs less than 15 pounds! They tended to be loose stools and he also had several bouts of diarrhea) I had to leave the kibble out all day and he would eventually eat when he was starving.

I researched, found out about raw diets, and started on a pre-made frozen variety. I immediately felt good about the choice because he LOVES it…devours the plate of food in literally seconds in the morning and evening. After we got more comfortable with it, I will sometimes (if traveling or feeling especially budget-conscious for awhile) serve him a homemade version — a mix of ground poultry, cooked rice, pumpkin, and chopped or pureed fruits/vegetables.

It is more expensive than regular kibble if you go for the convenience of premade frozen food, but I also like knowing the food is pathogen safe and properly balanced for his nutrition needs with minimal effort on my part. Frozen works out to be about $40 per month for our small dog. We’ve used both Stella & Chewy’s and Nature’s Variety.

Post # 6
Member
110 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Right, I’ve found that my dog is fine with cooked rice — it’s corn that REALLY does a number on him. I’ll still give him dog biscuits that have flour in them occasionally, and that seems to be fine as well.

I know people who do RMB, and I know the tisses and marrow and all that is supposed to be great for the dog, but frankly, it grosses me out and I don’t want raw animal bones dragged around the house 🙂 Sorry pooch, I’m selfishly drawing the line there! I didn’t feel the need to go all the way into the ‘primal’ diet that they ultimately advocate in the article you’re reading…I’d say my dog’s diet compared to theirs is parallel to the relationship between a vegetarian and a vegan…LOL, if that makes sense!

The pre-blended food I use includes raw eggs in the blend, as well as ground bone and organ meat — I’m glad to know he can get all that important stuff without me having to deal with mixing all of it because it does kind of still make me go…”ew.” If you have the patience and dedication to cooking, go for it! And yes, he definitely loves all of it. I feed him plenty of ‘good for him’ table scraps even if we’re on the pre-made stuff at the time, like carrots, fruit, meat pieces, etc. (His poops are now smell-free, and a much more desirable texture and regularity.)

As they say — the proof’s in the pudding. I feel comfortable with the food routine we have because it’s made my dog noticeably happy and healthy. It’s easy to try out different options and adjust based on your dog’s responses.

Post # 8
Member
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I am also really interested in this.  I think to do it properly thought you need to feed them more than saw a raw chicken breast.  Dogs get their other nutrients from things like bones, etc.

I am thinking about doing the switch.  I have heard starting with a whole chicken is best.  Stick to just one thing at a time so you know what they are alergic to. 

 

Post # 9
Member
7081 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2009

We use Darwin’s raw in addition to kibble.  If we just did raw, we’d be broke since he’s 135 lbs!

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Post # 10
Member
5 posts
Newbee

Please be careful.  I am a veterinarian and we see A LOT of dogs come in with all sorts of problems from unbalanced diets.  When dogs ate raw naturally, they ate EVERYTHING.  And, some of them still likely had problems.  Smelly or running poop doesn’t stop the propigation of the species, it just upsets us.  You can get hair loss, bone loss, skin problems, organ failure, etc.  Also, we do surgeries to remove obstructions, bones, and other things that they don’t chew and digest properly.   There are good reasons people have to go to school to be nutritionists. 

Just saying, some people do raw diets well, and many more don’t. 

Post # 11
Member
325 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

I agree with MERdvm… make sure you do a lot of research before you commit to a raw diet for your dogs. Although it seems easy, you can’t just give them raw meat, or cracked egg shells. The food has to be properly balanced, AND it must be ground up. 

My parents have two dogs. They fed their first dog regular dog food, and occasionally table scraps, etc. They recently got a new puppy to add to the family, and the puppy’s breeder had her on a raw diet. Therefore my parents did their research and decided to keep her on a raw diet. They have actually switched their older dog over to a raw diet and they are both doing really well. The raw diet actually includes bones as well. As longs as the bones aren’t cooked and they are ground up well, they are safe for dogs.

My parents go to a butcher (recommended by the breeder) and have the food professionally ground up. They tried to buy a grinder, but they didn’t feel it worked well enough. Therefore, they buy large quantities from the butcher and freeze them.

However, like I said, do your research. They tried to go to a second butcher close to them, and the butcher said he wouldn’t give them raw ground up meat/bones, because he did not believe in feeding dogs a raw diet! Go figure! But they have done a lot of research and so far have had great results!

 

 

 

Post # 12
Member
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’ve been feeding my dogs raw for about 9 months now, I can’t imagine ever going back to kibble!

My dogs are doing fabulous. All of their coats have improved, teeth are cleaner (even our rescue who has perpetual “sewer mouth” regardless of how often we brushed his teeth), poops are nice and small and disappear within a couple days, less shedding, it’s fabulous! I have a variety of dogs: a rescue mutt, a pet purebred, and a show-dog purebred. All of them have benefitted from the diet switch (and they were on top-of-the-line holistic kibble previously).

I feed prey-model raw, which is 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs (kidney, pancrease, brain etc. “if it doesn’t secrete, feed it as meat”). The proper ratios are important so the dog get it’s nutrients, and also a variety of animal proteins is ideal, striving for at leat 1/2 as red-meat (red-meat = meat from mammals, so pork and rabbit are included in this even though their meat appears whiter).My dogs get no grains or vegetables; only meat, bone, and organs. (They do get the occasional veggie piece that falls on the floor while I’m cooking.)

Here is a great place to start, it’s a collection of a bunch of resources from websites to books: http://www.dogster.com/forums/Raw_Food_Diet/thread/431875

 

“I know people who do RMB, and I know the tisses and marrow and all that is supposed to be great for the dog, but frankly, it grosses me out and I don’t want raw animal bones dragged around the house”

I either feed my dogs outside or on their towels. They learned in less than a week that their food needs to stay on the food-towels in the kitchen.

Post # 13
Member
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

“The food has to be properly balanced, AND it must be ground up.”

 

No, it does not have to be ground. It’s better if it’s NOT ground. Crunching up bones is both mentally and physically stimulating, and do wonders for cleaning teeth. Dogs can digest bone without it being pre-ground, and raw bones are soft. The only animals that really need it ground are young puppies and kittens.

Grinding the food you still get all the nutrients, but you do lose a few benefits, especially the teeth-cleaning, that’s a big benefit for me due to one of my dogs  having terrible teeth (our rescue dog that already was missing 1/2 his teeth when we got him, then was losing 1-2 teeth every cleaning while he was on kibble; now he has pearly white chompers!).

Post # 14
Member
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

One more post, sorry…

Here’s some pics of dogs eating raw: http://manteega.com/warning.htm

 

And one of my own, our rescue dog missing half his teeth that I mentioned earlier, eating 1/2 a cornish hen:

[attachment=1191819,151046]

Post # 15
Member
3762 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

@abbyful:  Sounds like you really have this Raw food thing figured out really well!  Can I ask where you buy your food from?  Also, what would you recommend starting with?  You said 1/2 red meat, but what is a good cheap option to start with?  

Post # 16
Member
5147 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I get meat from a variety of sources:

  • I buy most of my “dog food” from the grocery store, I watch for sales and stock-up.
  • I also tell my friends/family to give me any old freezerburned meat, and post on our bulletin-board at work for old freezerburn meat and hunting scraps.
  • I order on occasion from http://mypetcarnivore.com/ (they only cover certain states though)
  • My dad and fiance hunt, so I get scraps from that.
  • Rawfeeding co-ops http://www.dogaware.com/diet/rawgroups.html
  • And I haven’t done this yet, but I know people who have: sometimes if you ask at the grocery store for expired meat, they’ll give it to you, make sure you tell them it’s for dog food, they can’t sell it for human consumption.
  • In some areas, there are “Sustainable Solutions” groups that gather up expired meat from grocery stores and distribute to to raw feeders, it just costs a small membership fee to cover gas/labor.

Most of the red meat I feed is pork because it’s the cheapest. Currently they are getting steak though, one of my coworkers gave me about 25 pounds of expired steak. 🙂

 

 

I recommend starting with bone-in chicken, chicken quarters are great and often on sale, and most dogs handle chicken well. Bone helps keep the poop firm, too, so the extra bone really helps while the system is getting adjusted.

It does take an adjustment period of a few weeks to switch from kibble to raw, and you can’t really mix the two like you would when switching from one kibble to another, it’s a cold-turkey switch.

After the dog’s digestive system has settled down on the bone-in chicken, then you can gradually add other things and work on the proper balance. Just add one thing at a time until the dog gets used to it. As their system adjusts, you can do more and more variety.

And something to watch for: make sure the meat is “unenhanced” (i.e. no added salt/broth). A lot of the meat at the grocery store has solution added.

 

 

Here’s what a weekly meal plan may look like for my dogs (they weight about 10 pounds each, they get about 4-5 oz a day each)
Sunday – chicken leg
Monday – lamb tongue
Tuesday –  couple chicken feet & 1.5 oz beef liver
Wednesday – beef meat & beef heart
Thursday – chicken thigh
Friday – green beef tripe & 1.5 oz beef kidney
Saturday – pork meat & chicken necks

Also, I can’t afford to get the dogs grass-fed beef (heck, I can’t afford to get myself grass-fed beef 100% of the time!), so they get some fish oil a few times a week for some extra Omega-3s.

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