August 16th, 2009, 05:26 PM
I am wanting to make the switch to a raw food diet because it seems that every food that my dogs start on gets a formula change and they become alergic to it. They have very sensitive stomachs and corn and all that other good stuff in dog food gives them the worst gas ever. Basically my delema is I can not find any information on feeding it to small dogs. I have no idea reallly what to feed them and have no idea where to start and I am a bit overwhelmed. My girl is 3.5 pounds and my male is 4 pounds, very active dogs and otherwise healthy. Could some one here please fill me in on where to start and how to do this? I went to a local pet store to see if they could give me any information and they basially tried to sell me some "organic" wet food... :(
August 16th, 2009, 05:40 PM
From my reading 2 to 3 % of their total body weight per day is a good place to start, but with dogs as small as yours, observation and the "touch test" is also really important. I would think that since your dogs are so active, you might be feeding them more (in relation to size) than I feed my big guys, who are quite sedate.
I started by overfeeding my dogs. This was more to help with my emotional reassurance than anything. Go a couple of days and play it by ear, adjust to what you think they might need. I slowly adjusted by feeding them less and observing if they looked satisfied. At the present time, my dogs eat, and then sort of have a quiet time and digest and then play!
When I have not fed them enough, they look for more food. I also adjust how much my guys get per day, feeding them slightly more and slightly less on some days depending on heat and activity etc...
Don't be afraid to experiment and see what works better for your puppies. Interstingly, when I was reading about RAW and chi's, it mentioned that small dogs will still need large pieces of meat since they also have a tendency to gulp their food. I found a picture of a small dog with a cornish game hen- it was kind of cute :)
How much do your dogs eat now? Do you adjust the food for their activity?
Hope this helps. I am a recent RAW convert myself. It is the best thing I have done with my dogs to date :)
August 17th, 2009, 02:15 PM
First of all, good for you!!! Feeding raw is the best thing you can do for your dog.
Secondly, all the rules for a 100 pound wolf apply to a 4 lb. chihuahua.
80% muscle meat, 10% bone, 10% organ (half of that liver).
No grain, no cooking, no salt, no dairy (most dogs are lactose intolerant).
This link is to a very good raw food calculator, you might want to start at 4% if they are active dogs.
Start with chicken. Backs, necks, thighs, legs, wings... anything cheap. It's best to give them big peices of meaty bone to crunch through rather than cutting things up into small peices. Even a chihuahua can demolish a chicken thigh bone.
After they have mastered raw chicken, then you can add chicken liver, turkey, beef heart (excellent muscle meat source), duck, beef kidney, pork, sardines, mackerel, lamb... anything at the meat counter that is on sale.
You will also need to feed them a meal of green tripe once a week, very important. Also, a 1/4 tsp. of kelp/alfalfa powder and a squirt of salmon oil with breakfast is beneficial. A raw egg (including shell) is good once or twice a week as well. You can add veggie puree as well, but it's not totally necessary.
They will probably detoxify for a week or two, you might notice runny poops, and maybe some bumps on their tummies. This is normal, and will go away in a week or two once their bodies get used to real food.
Keep reading the online raw food forums and asking questions, I am always interested in others experiences of switching to a raw diet.