LOL, looks like I have a reputation around here! 🙂
Yep, I feed my dogs a raw diet. I switched them almost a year ago and can’t ever imagine going back.
I DIY it, it’s cheaper and provides the teeth-cleaning benefit and more mental stimulation. The raw-feeding philosophy I follow is “prey model”; it’s 80% meat, 10% bone, 5% liver, 5% other secreting organs (kidney, pancreas, thymus, spleen, 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.)
Never feed cooked bones. I’m sure you’ve heard “don’t feed a dog chicken bones”, that’s actually not entirely true. Never feed cooked chicken bones, but raw chicken bones are fine; they are soft and digestible. The main bones my dogs get are chicken bones. Also don’t feed bare bones, bones should be covered in meat (example: chicken drumstick).
As far as how much to feed, start at abotu 2-3% of your dog’s ideal adult body weight per day, and adjust as necessary. (Dog gets skinny, feed more. Dog gets fat, feed less.) One of my dogs eats about 5% of his body weight because of his metabolism and he’s constantly active.
For finding meat:
- 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.
Here’s some of the resources I found the most helpful starting out:
Here’s before & after shots of one of my dogs. He was previously on a top-of-the-line holistic kibble; the 2nd picture is taken about 4 months after switching him to a raw diet. (I wish I had “before and after” pictures of all of my dogs. I honestly didn’t think it would be that much of a difference from feeding kibble, but it was!)
Here’s another one of my dogs, he’s about 8 years old and had horrible teeth. He was already missing half his teeth when we adopted him. We tried everything! Brushing his teeth at least every other day, trying water additives that were supposed to help teeth, getting special dental chews from the vet, etc., he kept needing cleanings and teeth pulled. We nick-named him “sewer mouth”. Since switching to raw we haven’t even had to brush his teeth; he keeps them clean by eating bones.