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Advice on RAW

December 15th, 2005, 06:40 PM
Hey guys...I ordered the book "Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog" by Wendy Volhard and Kerry..and its finally won me over. I am ready to swtich to raw. I'm hoping that because I feed Messina home cooked food, the switch won't be so drastic.

I will also be reading a few other books I ordered first...just to get different viewpoints and tips..

I have a very important question for you guys and hope you will be able to help me out:

1. Where do I get the meat from and what types of meats are best?
I live in Toronto and to be honest, I have no idea where or if there is a butcher shop around here...anyone?

2. How do I prepare the meat? I am very worried about bacteria and things like salmonella. How do I ensure that it is stored and prepared for feeding the safest way possible?

By the way. The book was great...completely "newbie" friendly. I will be reading more though of course.

Thanks guys. I appologize if this sounds repetitive to some of you.
If anyone has any more advice they would like to throw at a newbie, please DO SO!!!

December 15th, 2005, 09:35 PM
Hey pitbulliest! Congrats on making a great decision :) The BEST thing to do is join this yahoo group,
It is the biggest Canadian rawfeeding group (over 1500 members) with amazing info. ALL your questions will be answered there and many members are in Ontario so they can help you source your meat.
Go to Chinatown to buy your meat - great deals and variety.
Feed fresh, human grade meat. Use common sense and sanitary practices, you'll be fine :)
Check out if you are interested in paying extra for prepackaged stuff. They are the best raw dogfood company around by far. You can even email/call them for support and to ask questions.
Also, check out the BARF forum at

Good luck!

December 15th, 2005, 10:21 PM
well congratulations! and yes i know it seems scary at first... been there done that... but after 1.5 years of feeding raw, i have VERY MUCH relaxed and don't stress about much anymore. the key is balance over time... not at every meal or at ever day, more like over the course of a week, make sure the dog eats a variety of RMBs, meaty-meats and organs in the right proportions.

Use basic sanitation when handling raw meats (soap & hot water for hands, utensils and surfaces after contact with raw meat) and let me tell you i am a lazy housekeeper, i have been guilty of dripping chicken juice on the floor and only swiping with a paper towel, and none of us have ever been sick. Do you know how much bacteria you track in the house from shoes, clothing, etc?

I saw an Oprah show once where she had this experiment done, she asked like 5 families or so to swab various surfaces of their home (the tv, door handles, walls, chairs, children's toys, etc) and then the swabs were sent to a lab for analysis. Guess what was found on 86% of the surfaces? get ready... feces. i'm not kidding. so you see... bacteria is not a beast to be feared, just respected :)

watch the grocery store flyers for sales and stock up. that's the best advice i can give you. try not to pay more than $1/pound for any food item, stuff your freezer full of sales items. become friendly with a butcher and ask for the "about to expire" meat to mark down the packages for you. Dollar Stores have sardines and other canned fish for cheap, same brands as in the grocery stores. Eggs are an excellent and cheap foodsource - if you dog will not eat them raw, try freezing with the shell - instant popsicle that few dogs can resist. some eat the shell like chips, others don't.

stay away from "stripped" bones and go for whole chickens instead of chicken frames, rib-in pork roasts instead of pork ribs, etc. dogs will eat 2-3% of their weight in food per day, so there is more nutrition in meat-dense bones than naked ones.

i'm not a hard-core raw feeder as i'm stuck with a Mister PIcky who prefers anything else besides raw meat (sigh), so i have to supplement with a bit of holistic kibble - given at a different feeding of course - and i don,t hesitate to add some carbs because he loves them and it adds calories. he loves frozen bagels, what can you do? LOL

the more you feed raw, the easier it will be for you to find food sources, freezing the jackpots, then thawing bags of meat on the counter for next day's feeding (a whole turkey needs 1.5 days on my counter to thaw!), then storing the meats in a plastic bin or bowl in the fridge, dinnertime you take out a portion and hand to the dog! hmmm not TOO complicated, LOL!

the only supplement you will need is Fish Body Oil for the Omega-3's. and do invest in a little kitchen scale... i *thought* a chicken leg weighed a half-pound or so, but to my surprise some can weigh up to a pound! no wonder my dog had the runs so often... i was over-feeding him, poor thing.

you have support here:, the best forum on raw-feeding.


January 27th, 2008, 01:21 PM
thawing bags of meat on the counter for next day's feeding (a whole turkey needs 1.5 days on my counter to thaw!), then storing the meats in a plastic bin or bowl in the fridge, dinnertime you take out a portion and hand to the dog! hmmm not TOO complicated, LOL!

:eek: I'm new to the whole raw food diets (well I've been reading for many years, but never switched my dog, and still haven't yet). I just talked to my vet about it, and he says he neither encourages it or discourages it. It suits some people, and it doesn't suit others. He did say if you're going to do it, you have ot do it right otherwise it's detrimental. Long story short, one of his biggest concerns (besides balance in the diet) is salmonella and E. coli. He says he has treated several dogs and cats for these infections, and most of the time it has originated from feeding raw diets (other times it was getting into the garbage or a dead animal in the bush or something). He suggested I sear (sp?) the meats to kill these bacterias.

Ok, so my point's very dangerous to leave your frozen meats on the counter to thaw. Meats should be placed into the fridge to thaw (as per Food Safe rules), as the surface temperature of the meats gets high enough to strongly encourage bacterias like E. coli and salmonella, which you're then feeding to your pet uncooked. I'm sure you're going to say "I have been doing this for X years, and have never had a problem". What if your luck is running out? :eek:

January 27th, 2008, 03:04 PM
salmonella and e.coli are on most raw meats. if your dog or cat has adjusted to this level or bacteria, they cope. if your dog is fed kibble and do not have the natural ability due to exposure to cope with it, of course a rotting raw whatever is going to make them sick. :) thawing your pets food on the counter is just fine, if they can cope. to say that poof! one day they wont be able to cope with somethign they are routinely exposed to is silly! if, one day, they are not able to cope with the bacteria on their food that you have been feeding for months or years, please visit the vets because its for a more serious reason than bacteria on the food. likely its some sort of immune disease.