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To feed bones or to not to feed bones that is the question

April 17th, 2007, 07:13 PM
Well I've just finished doing a few days worth of research on feeding raw diets to dogs and am pretty sure as soon as he finished up his last week/two week supply of Wellness I'm going to take the plunge. I already bought the frozen pre-made patties as I didn't feel comfortable at the time to start right off that bat and felt it would be a good way to start. The raw patties are made by heakthy paws- a Toronto based company and contains 60:40 meat to veggies and the meat ratio is roughly 80% meat and 20% organs with no mention of bones or bone dust added. As well it has apple cidar vinager,kelp, and fish oils.

After reading about how to start a raw diet I'm now wondering if it would be better to start him on the raw patties ( I have enough to last me 8 days) and then begin doing chicken breasts for 3-4 days, add organs another 4 days and then add in the veggies and flax seed, ACV,kelp,fish oils and egg shells and new protein sources by the third week in or to start on the basic raw chicken and then do patties and the go straight to everything prepared raw.

My last major issue comes down bones. I understand the importance they play due to providing a good calcium to phospgorus ratio as well as keeping teeth/gums strong and scrubbed however they still make me paranoid. I wish my vet was pro raw as she could help me consider some of these things however I'm worried about the possibility of choking. If I did not directly include them in his meal I would still give him RMB's and rec bones to chew on combined with dental chew toys and chewing through the tougher mussel's will be an ok substitue for having to include whole bones in his dinner. I wouldn't mind buying an electric grinder so that I could still include the benefits of bones in a form which would worry me less while still providing rec and RMB's to help keep those teeth white.

Also as Duke is only 8 months old and 56lbs I am still unsure as to when I should stop feeding him 2 pounds of food a day ( recomended for his size and weight for his age and transilates into 4 cups) to one-1/4 pounds of food a day( recomended for his weight when he's an adult and would transilate into 2 and a half-3 cups). He is a Rotti/German Shepherd and Collie mix so even though he is only of medium size he does have two larger breeds in him which don't stop growing until around 18 months and I am unsure as to when to make this decrease in food?

Lastly does anyone add extra probiotics/pumpkin or special made products when first switching to raw to help stomach upset and stools or is it important to be able to judge how long it is taking for stools to firm up by themselfes to ensure there not allergic to anything along the way?


April 17th, 2007, 07:22 PM
ok, looking at the ingredients, id say its whole chickens, bones included. They have (including liver, heart and gizzard), i believe to just show they have organ meat in it. I wouldnt add extra bone. Maybe email them just to make sure.

by all means start this way. Just know, is for your own peice of mind, not the dogs. ;)

As for bones, what can i say. I feed em. watch the rabbit/Rosco vid. You'll hear em :p

I cant say a dog will never choke on a bone. A dog can choke on anything, bones included. BUT dogs are designed to eat this way. If they wernt, wolves would be dropping dead left & right from bone incidents.

April 17th, 2007, 08:59 PM
My only advice is go slow, if you think it's all going to slowly, your going to fast. Your ratios can be kept in check with egg shells so don't sweat it to much.
Balance over time not each meal is key, and changing/adding different things as you would change a kibble, nice and easy. I only add omega 3's as a rule bacause mine don't like fish to much, and Missy gets the obligatory MSM Gluc+Chon.
If your giving wreck bones jsut change that to some soft easy to digest bones like pork neck's. or lamb ribs. but that should be your choice, if you want to gring up anything more than chicken frames and necks your going to be buying one huge grinder, and the cost of a box of chicken frames and necks ground is next to nothing (about $15 for a 30lb box)
For amount, its pretty much the same, your aiming for a target weight, so if they thin out just add feed a little more, or cut back if they bulk out to far. Veg is also a matter of choice, other than antioxidents they hold little value in a raw diet, but you can do no harm by adding them. Just make them extra rather than include them in the percentages.
In the final analysis it's all about knowing your dog and what they will do with bones, Riley is a cruncher, Missy is a swallower, so Missy gets the big bones and Riley can be trusted with the smaller ones.
As you have the paties I would start on them, possibly use the patties in the morning and the breasts in the evening.
Pumpkin for when you (like the rest of us) go gungho with the organ meat one day and end up using a hose rather then a pooper scooper for a day or 2, additional bone (ground if you prefer) will also help).
One more thing, dental chew toys??? most will avoid them because they are pretty dangerous if your dog bites a bit off and swallows it. I'd give a nice digestable bone over a greenie any day.
Good luck and if you get stuck were here to help.:fingerscr

April 17th, 2007, 09:06 PM
the gurus have spoken! LOL! :highfive:

i have nothing else to add except "welcome to the wonderful world of raw feeding... you will love it as much as your dog does!" :goodvibes:

April 17th, 2007, 11:39 PM
Thanks for the advice guys, It's taken a few weeks of contemplating switching or not to get over the mentality that EVERY meal has to be perfectly balanced and then I look at what I eat and know thats not the case for most creatures. After I got past that opening up to raw was much easier.

The one question I still have that wasn't addressed was at what age would I switch him from his puppy feeding percentage ( at current according to his Wellness he eats 4 cups a day for his age:8 months and weight:57lbs) to his adult feeding percentage( Assuming he stays under 80lbs which I think he will as an adult he will only be eating 21/2-3 cups a day)? As far as I've found from reading was that the general measuring conversion was that 1lb of food eqauls 2 cups.

According to this when I start him out he will be eating 2lbs of raw meat and extras a day which will work out to about 56lbs of raw meat with the extra stuff every month. Then when he reaches whatever age most people decrease there food intake he will only be eating 1-1 1/2 pounds of meat a day which will work out to 28lbs-42lbs a month.

I'll probably have more questions as we go but I'd prefer not to ask all of the basic questions I can find elsewhere and wait until I have more specific ones.

Out of curiosity are any of the books on the market on raw feeding and so on worth picking up? I'm determined to at least get my vet to open up to raw food.


April 18th, 2007, 02:45 AM
I was given some samples of the patties.and they told me everything is in them.bone furbutts loved them.and welcome to raw.

April 18th, 2007, 07:04 AM
Start at 2% of his body weight. Thats just over a pound of food per day. Then adjust as needed. If you feel he's getting a bit thing, up it 1.5lbs until you feel he evens out. If hes getting pudgy, cut it back some.

There are some good books out there. Not many go with the Prey model feeding and suggest adding lots of veggies & suppliments that arent really needed. But they're great to read for information.

These are two I suggest reading

This book was actually written by a membe, although she doesnt post much anymore.

April 18th, 2007, 03:17 PM
When we started our pup on raw, we started with the Healthy Paws patties as well. After a few months we switched to prey model raw because the patties do contain bone and a lot of it. In fact, it's approx 50% bone and it's really expensive to pay that much for ground up bones which are actually really cheap. It was however a great way for us to start him on raw and it gave us time to get comfortable with the whole thing before we plunged into the world of prey model raw.

If I were you, I wouldn't add any more bone to the fact, I'd add more boneless meat to up the meat content to the 80% mark.

Just my :2cents:

April 18th, 2007, 10:12 PM
Ok thanks for the advice, with the recent rice protein recalls I decided to switch today as the whole thing is getting ridiculous. Just starting out with the patties for now and will prolly add a bit of boneless chicken breast as well as mentioned to raise the meat to bone and organ ratio. Just for the first day I'm also adding a very small amount of probiotic yogurt ( like half a teaspoon) to help the transition. He had no objections about eating it and gladly wolfed it down ( chewed though not inhaled).

Stools actually aren't looking to bad at this point *knocks on wood* though he has only gone three times today so far ( he just ate his evening meal so hasn't been up to the bathroom yet). I know they get reduced bowel movements I just didn't think it would happen this fast. Regardless I think i'll keep him on the patties for at least 2-4 weeks to let his system completely adapt to eating raw and then begin making my own ( will start off with just chicken then add in some offal a week later and a small amount of blended veggies the week after and then try one type of oil and go slowly like that).

Will get worse before it gets better I'm sure but will be here along the way to update everyone.

Got a few crappy pics of his first raw meal ( excuse the flash)

The white stuff is just the probiotic yogurt I added not mold lol

Chomp chomp

Yum Yum



April 19th, 2007, 06:30 AM
Glad to here you made the switch to raw.with all the recalls i don't have to worry for my dogs.but friends and family i do.

April 24th, 2007, 04:24 AM
I am very confused about this whole raw diet thing. I just had a Bullmastiff die from a chicken bone blockage which ruptured his intestine. I didn't give him the bone, not sure where he got it, but wouldn't feeding dogs raw foods especially whole chickens greaten the risk of these kinds of accidents? I am getting ready to get another Bullmastiff and am very leary on things of this nature. Not to step on toes, but I think that feeding this way is dangerous. Any insight? Thanks

April 24th, 2007, 05:31 AM
As i said in the other thread, sorry about your bullie amsmom2njkz.

As for the bones thing, again, dogs can choke on anything. Kibble included. So yes, dogs CAN choke on bones. BUT, this is also what they're designed to eat. Wolves eat bones all the time. Cats eat bones all the time. They have the digestive system to handle RAW bones. Cooked bones should NEVER be fed.

On our yahoo raw feeding list, there are over 8000 members who feed their pets a raw diet, bones included. If dogs were dieing all the time because of this threat, then I'm sure no one would do it.

But again, accidents can and do happen.

April 24th, 2007, 07:32 AM
Thanks again Scott. Ok so I guess what I am missing is that if the bones are NOT cooked it is ok? If you can explain a little farther on how it is different I would love to hear. I am bringing another Bullie home this weekend, and of course want the best for him. I am just scared to death of bones in general now. Feel free to message me to explain the raw feeding process more if you would like.

April 24th, 2007, 09:05 AM
Well, there isnt much to explain. Cooking the bones makes them softer, so they splinter. Where as a raw bone is harder and gets crunched up. No one should ever give cooked bones to a dog or cat.

With big dogs like our Bullmastiffs, you have to feed big. I feed whole rabbits, whole fish, turkeys cut into 1.5-2.5lb chunks. This gets the dogs crunching and chewing more. If you feed small things like necks and wings, these are too boney and can be swallowed whole.

April 24th, 2007, 09:08 AM
Sorry to hear about your loss, and congratulations on adding another bundle of joy to your home. As said already raw bones are great for the dog, it is what they are designed to eat (they are descendants from the wolf, and they all ate in the wild prior to us taking them on as family pets, bones, fur and all). I myself was under the common misconception of bones being harmful, but after proper research I am now a proud supporter. In easy terms raw bones almost crumble when the dog eats them, they are very malleable and easily absorbed nutrients. Cooked bones however are NOT ok for any pet, the bone splinters and can cause sever damage to internal organs. I found the best advice was to go to an actual pet food supplier and discuss the pros and cons with them, they usually have books and pamphlets available to get you started, and you can contact the actual companies as well. Welcome to the raw side, your dog will love it! Mine just love turkey and chicken necks! Do watch to make sure it is not eaten too fast, as a dog can choke on anything it does not chew properly... Good Luck and keep us informed on how it goes.:thumbs up

April 24th, 2007, 09:19 AM
Well, there isnt much to explain. Cooking the bones makes them softer, so they splinter. Where as a raw bone is harder and gets crunched up. No one should ever give cooked bones to a dog or cat.

With big dogs like our Bullmastiffs, you have to feed big. I feed whole rabbits, whole fish, turkeys cut into 1.5-2.5lb chunks. This gets the dogs crunching and chewing more. If you feed small things like necks and wings, these are too boney and can be swallowed whole.

It's not so much that the bones are softer cooked... it's actually that they become dehydrated. Due to the water loss, they dry out and then splinter. Regardless, Scott is right... bones are mostly fine uncooked, although some people don't give "wreck" bones (big bones that are weight bearing...) (I do though... My dogs don't chew hard enough to wreck their teeth).

July 14th, 2007, 10:23 PM
hey everyone, i'm new to this forum and was encouraged to register when i saw this raw section, i've followed up on your convo, i recently purchased a 2 year old GSD who has been eating royal canine dog kibble its whole life, and once I brought him home, I tried switching him to raw chicken legs and breast, but a few days later he pooped our blood, and I got really scared and put him back on the kibble. Any suggestions to why this could have happened? He poops fine now so I'm very sure it wasn't a splinter, I don't trust kibble, you can even tell that the dog forces it down, I do give him boneless but medium cooked chicken with his kibble sometimes and he loves the chicken. I also heard medium cooked hamburger with rice is also good for them. Any advice?

Thanks a lot!

July 21st, 2007, 07:44 PM
I think transitioning from kibble to raw is better than just making a sweeping change. Some people advocate fasting with homemade broth for three days and adding meat and rice to the broth. It's possible that the switch you made was too rich-too quickly for your dog and he had some rectal bleeding while straining with diarrhea.

July 24th, 2007, 10:38 PM
thanks for the reply, i'm contemplating if i should keep trying or just stick to the dogs original food. I may have gotten screwed over, I bought a 2.5 year old, very beautiful and large GSD from a "breeder" fully obedience and protection trained, however as i continue to find out more about these breeds, the place is well known locally, but i did not get any ckc papers with my dog, i did not get to meet the parents and the contract does not say pure GSD but I was told he was pure, so now I don't know what to do, oh and also it's been a few days the dog has been growling at me!!

July 25th, 2007, 01:12 AM
Hmmmmm....that sounds like a backyard breeder rather than a legitimate breeder to me. Could you clarify what you mean by "growling at you" ? Do you mean he's growling when you try to feed him, growling when you try to take away his food or go near him when you;ve given him a recreational bone ? Or...?

July 25th, 2007, 12:21 PM
thanks for the help mumm, i appreciate it, i'm so lost right now, he growls for no reason at me sometimes, if i go pet him, just sometimes, its happened 3 times, maybe a bad week? also last night he was quietly sitting with me, and got up, jumped at my mom and was going to bite her if i didnt pull on the leash, any ideas? would you keep this dog or give it back?? apparently the trainer tells me this can be fixed and hes over protective, but dont know if I should trust it?

thanks a lot