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Susie's journey to (partial)raw feeding.

April 2nd, 2008, 06:07 AM
I thought I would take the time to post about my experiences so far and about what let me to raw initially. Please note at this point I am very new to raw feeding but feel confident and comfortable with what I am doing and feel it's great for my puppy.

The Backstory

Just over a year ago on Christmas morning our old lab cross passed away. Sammy was 16 years old and as far as we can tell died of heart failure on the way to the emergency vets in the early am(5 - 6am). I was with him and he just whined a little, squirmed and then was gone. It was one of the saddest moments in my life. My husband and I had never had a pet die of old age.:cry:

This Year

After a year of only having a cat(Mojo is going to be 10 this fall) we stopped by our local PetSmart to see some rescue puppies that were being hosted that day with their shelter(Give a Dog a Second Chance). We ended up bring Susie home that day, she was only 6 weeks old. It was because of Susie that we started looking at pet foods more closely.

Food, food and more food.

The shelter lady had told us to switch her as she was on Old Roy puppy food, my husband picked up a bag of food from the grocery store(which is what we had always done for Sammy). Then my 4 year old daughter messed with Susie's food and water and she refused to eat or drink. Concerned, I took Susie to the vet to make sure nothing was wrong. The vet was massively unimpressed with the new food and suggested the old standards in large breed puppy formulation. When I told my husband he started looking into what was in pet foods and what a good pet food was made with. After comparing labels we switched her to Royal Canin for large puppies. Then I found a dog food analysis site ( and we ended up switching Susie to Orijen large puppy. At that point we felt we were doing our best for Susie and felt good about our choices.

And then ...

Yeah, then I got reading more and more and saw that there was one thing better than our wonderful grain free, high quality dry food. There was raw food. The more I read the better it sounded: natural, keeps the teeth clean, shiny coat, healthy. My husband felt I was taking this whole food thing a step too far but I kept at it - I just couldn't let it go. Sammy's death was horrible for me, I want Susie to live a very, very long time so I don't have to deal with this kind of pain again anytime soon. I want her to be happy, healthy and active right to the end. Sammy was happy but his hips were bad and he was on thyroid meds for the last 8 years of his life - we did the best we knew how to for him. I want to do better for her.

What I have done so far

After calculating how much of each thing Susie would need for 1/2 raw I went and bought some RMBs for Susie(turkey necks and wings) and the last 4 mornings I have given them to her. This morning she also got her muscle meat - some boneless chicken breast. In the evening I give her half of her normal amount of dry food and she leaves a little of it behind so I feel I am giving her just enough. She is taking to it like a pro and loves her morning feeding a lot more now than when it was just dry food(she would leave her morning feeding several hours before eating any of it and then only a little here and there - no excitement).

More details

Day 1 - turkey wing. With some prompting she took right to it and in about 40 minutes had eaten it all up.She also got a raw egg supplement.

Day 2 - turkey neck. Again needed a tiny bit of prompting but then went at it. 40 minutes of steady work polished it off. Then she went into my son's bedroom and puked and re-ate. I watched her that day but again she was fine. Saw my first raw poo and loved it!

Day 3 - turkey wing. Took about 30-40 minutes and she had to use her extra processing powers again. My son didn't find it as gross the second time :) She also got a raw egg later to supplement.

Day 4 - turkey neck. Must have been smaller than her first one since this time it only took her 25 minutes to polish it off, also gave her a boneless chicken breast. She is a happy puppy.

Also today I started Mojo on the wetting dry food trick I had read(thanks GideonsHope!) so maybe by fall he will be at the stage I can give him a chicken part for breakfast and kibble at night.He polished off his breakfast in record time - he normally grazes on his dry food even though we feed him morning and night.

That's it so far - just wanted to share because the hardest part of feeding (partial) raw for me is not having enough people to talk to about it :)

Next Steps

Finding low cost supplies! I have found green tripe and what will, hopefully, be a cheap source of chicken ... the rest I am working on.

Cass :)

April 4th, 2008, 02:13 PM
I have had some wonderful luck with finding inexpensive meats for my dog! I just had to share.

First great find was beef heart and tongue for 60 cents and 80 cents a pound. I picked up a month's worth of muscle meat for Susie for just $12 - hope she likes tongue the meat packer was out of heart but gave me the tongue for 60 cents/lb to make up for it :) Husband was not pleased to drive me a 1/2 hour away from home and then deal with rough gravel roads for the last 5 minutes of the drive. I told him that it's only once a month :)

Second great find was my local poultry processor sells chicken necks for just under 50 cents/lb - Kashi was excited about that as well! :)

I also found I can get ground offal and raw ground tripe from my local Global Pet Foods, cost more than if I got it from another local supplier but it's way closer and Husband has to go there for dry dog food anyway or I could bus it.

Total cost for 1/2 RAW for this month:
$17 for frozen ground tripe and frozen ground offal
$12 for 15 lbs of beef tongue(plus and hour round trip)
$10 for 1 month's worth of RMB

$39 total - not bad - works out to $1.30 a day

April 4th, 2008, 04:18 PM
Thanks for sharing your story! I love hearing the details of people's experiences feeding their pets raw food, their motivations and the progress they're making.

Also today I started Mojo on the wetting dry food trick I had read(thanks GideonsHope!) so maybe by fall he will be at the stage I can give him a chicken part for breakfast and kibble at night.He polished off his breakfast in record time - he normally grazes on his dry food even though we feed him morning and night.

Just wondering, and sorry if this is a repeat for you, but have you tried feeding your cat canned food? Would he go for that at all, or is he hopelessly addicted to kibble? Since dry food is particularly not good for cats, I'd be working to eliminate as much of it as possible. Perhaps it would be easier to transition to canned and then raw? There are some tips on how to do that here:

Also, just a word of caution with wetting down the dry food. If left out for any length of time, it can potentially be a nice moist breeding ground for bacteria and mycotoxins:

Speaking of texture, a common question is "can I just soak the dry food in water?" I hedge more than just a bit at this question. Dry food has a high bacterial content. Mold is also often found in dry food. There have been many deaths of dogs and cats secondary to eating mold mycotoxins, vomitoxins and aflatoxins which often contaminate the grains found in dry food. If you want to try the trick of wetting down the dry food to alter the texture, please leave it out for only 20-30 minutes then discard it. Bacteria and mold thrive in moisture.

Keep up the good work! :thumbs up

April 4th, 2008, 04:41 PM
On Mojo and his wet kibble: I know I could transition him to canned food but prefer to keep him on the dry(It's Orijen cat) as the expense of canned is a bit much(and my husband is very reluctant to feed canned everyday /sigh/). I want to feed him half raw as I do the dog so I'm just using what I have on hand. He eats it all up within 10 minutes of me putting it down so spoiling is not an issue :)

Thanks for the links though & your reply!

April 5th, 2008, 07:46 PM
Hi, I just wanted to say that you shouldn't feel like you didn't do right by your sweet Sammy. 16 years is a long life for a dog. I was actually suprised that he lived to be 16 on grocery store dog food!

It's great that you are feeding your new puppy a natural and healthy diet, though! Hopefully, your new dog will live even longer! :)

April 6th, 2008, 10:12 AM
YAY!! my husband has been trying to get me to write a book about our raw experience. :) has quite a few raw feeders! sorry if i dont get in here as much as id like, my computer is on the fritz so im doing most of my typing on our Wii.... and thats a nightmare!!! :D

whats your plans moving forward?? more variety? do you know what sort of organs are in the offal mix?? good for you for finding tripe! took me FOREVER to run across some.


April 6th, 2008, 10:47 AM
Thanks for your reply Want4rain! I've read quit a few of your posts in the back reading I've been doing on this forum.

At this time I am feeding Susie 60% RMB, 35% Muscle Meat and 5% Organ. I calculated 10% of her current body weight and then what a full RAW diet would be and them divided that in half. I am also supplementing with sardines, eggs and tripe once a week.

Specifically right now she is getting:

At 5am:
11oz of RMB(turkey wing or neck - this will change to chicken neck early this week)
6.5 MM(beef tongue this month - will try for heart next month)

At Noon:
1 1/2 cups Orijen Large Puppy(1/2 the daily recommended for her age - predicted adult size)
1 oz of the ground offal(I checked the ingredients and they look okay - going forward I will buy price cut liver from the grocery store or ask my tongue supplier about liver)
Once a week egg, tripe or sardine will be added to this as well.

I would be happy for any advice, of course, from more experienced feeders.

April 6th, 2008, 12:38 PM
the only thing i can see wrong at this point is the lack of weekly variety. i would aim to getting variety over a weeks time instead of a months time. if you have the freezer space to cycle through different cuts as well as different animals??

for example, have the following variety cut up in to meal sized portions-
cow- tongue, heart, muscle meat
chicken- the sum of the whole chicken
turkey- the sum of the whole turkey
pork- feet, muscle meat

and so on with the exclusion of offal and then cycle through all the different parts of each animal over a weeks time or at least 2 different animal sources and all of the different 'muscle' meats associated with them. the reason for this is that each part has a different function that requires and thus holds different portions of different nutrients. heart, being such an active body part has loads of taurine. all raw muscle has taurine but its found in abundance in the more used muscles. the heart also has more iron than other muscle meats. pigs feet contain a great deal of joint maintaining nutrients. turkey and pork are fatter than some of the other meats. i *think* chicken has less protein than beef... anyways, my point is that each meat is different nutritionally. feeding a variety of different PARTS of the animal has an impact on their nutrition. :)

as far as offal is concerned, that offal mix you have, as long as it has a variety of sources and parts from each source, im sure its way better than what we feed. :o frankly money is tight and its hard to find more unusual parts besides the regular chicken liver, beef liver and pork kidneys. id like to have some lung, brain, and whole animals (meat, bone, innards included) but well.... you do what you gotta do. i just hope Mister gets the extra stuff he needs from meat variety and the occasional Evo meal.


April 6th, 2008, 01:51 PM
The only thing I can see wrong at this point is the lack of weekly variety. I would aim to getting variety over a weeks time instead of a months time. If you have the freezer space to cycle through different cuts as well as different animals??


At this time I don't have the freezer space(plan on getting one in June/July) and also my search for suppliers is not over. I plan on hitting local farmer's markets this spring/summer as well to see if I can get on the inside loop somewhere. At this point my suppliers are all very rule following even if I am looking for food for the dog and not my family - worried I'm some undercover government official no doubt. I know she needs more variety than she is currently getting but please note she has only been getting RAW for 1 week and full 1/2 RAW for less than that. I also have cost constraints as if this gets too pricey my husband will fight me more than the not so gentle joking I am currently getting from him.

I will keep in mind variety and will be looking more closely at the bulk and price cut meats at the grocery store - there was even a sale on whole chickens in my area(2 for $9) but my freezer is full of human meat and beef tongue right now and I'll be renting out space in a friend's freezer for the chicken necks I'm getting.

Thanks for your input! I really do like having advice from someone else that is RAW feeding :)

Cass :)

April 6th, 2008, 03:02 PM
haha!! yeah, that first week or two sticking to a single source of meat is a good idea. :D we havent scrounged up a freezer yet either. we get whole chicken from SAMS at $0.79 a pound, a bin of chicken livers and canned fish for pretty cheap so that makes up most of their diet. once a month or so i pick up a beef liver/tongue/cheek, pigs feet/kidney, ground beef (not suggested!!!) and turkey necks/wings and make up a months of 2 meals a week for the dog. the cats just get the fish and chicken because of intolerances. oh and Mister gets half a can of tripe 2X weekly. they all get the random egg mixture and kids leavings.

ive found if you hit the grocery stores in the am (before noon) you can find the stuff thats on its last day for as much as half off. when Mister does his super good deeds or we are eating a 'we have some extra money' meals i go get him a nice steak (which amounts to the cheapest thing under a pound!).


April 14th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Just an update, Susie is still doing well.

Mojo is also making progress and is up to all boneless chicken, partially raw. Yay Mojo!! I will continue to work him up to all raw and then up further to bone ... I think he'd like chicken neck :) Then on to beef and such.

:thumbs up