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Raw Feeding FYI

happydogs
August 26th, 2004, 03:11 PM
As stated in my recent posts, we had recently started our two dogs on a raw food diet that they love. Just thought I would pass on some information I have accumulated as well as some insight provided to me by our vet.

Our Vet - says he has seen many dogs do very well on a raw food diet, and a few who have not. Says dogs are well adapted to deal with the dangers of bacteria such as salmonella and these dangers are more directed to the handlers and any children around the animals rather than the dogs themselves which is why vetrenarians generally do not condone raw feeding. Having said this he also stated he would not discourage anyone from using a raw food diet as long as they can be reasonably certain of a nutrionally balanced diet and are aware of the procedures for sanitation etc. He would not recommend family's with small chilren embark on a raw food diet however due to bacterial concerns and the likelyhood of these children somehow coming in contact with the raw food, or a contaminated feeding area. He also noted that a dog would not get worms from a raw food diet unless it consumed wild game that was infected such as rabbits etc.

In our experience thus far the raw diet is working very well. The dogs seem much happier, more energetic, and eager to eat come dinner times. We have also noticed whiter teeth, decreasing amounts of tarter, and a sudden abscence of anal sac problems. we had gone through a period of trial and error finding an appropriate pre-prepared raw diet for our pets as we do not have the time, equipment or expertise to prepare our own. There were a couple of brands we tried first that we didnt like as they were too finely ground and rather liquidy, causing for some pretty grody doggie beards and brought up concerns of bacterial infection when we were to come in contact with those beards, also I felt the dogs should have to chew their meal, not slurp it, although the younger one pretty much inhales his food anyway. We finally found a brand of food that is a very course ground with the bones in and comes in convenient packaging as well as varieties mixed with approx 20% fruit and vegetable, we have also been supplementing the meals with occasional smoked bones and some uncooked veggie peelings, and apple bits as a treat, and this seems to be the perfect solution for both us and our dogs.

One tidbit of information that we had come across that doesn't seem to be widely broadcast, is if you switch your dog to a raw diet, DO NOT , mix that raw food diet with any grain based foods or treats. Apparently grain based foods and treats slow a dogs digestive process and can leave the dog vulnerable to a bacterial infection as the raw food is not processed as fast as it should, allowing time for a bacterial bloom to occur. Thus it had been recommended to us to allow at least 12 hrs between ending the kibble diet and beginning the raw diet, another suggestion was to fast them for 24 hours, but realistically that was not going to happen! We proceeded to end the kibble diet after their 5pm supper and commenced with the raw diet the next morning at 7am.

The younger guy, only a year and a half old was not so keen with the raw food at first, he even gagged on his first mouthful, so we weaned him on to it by partially cooking his food, and gradually introducing more and more raw, until by day 3 he was eagerly scarfing down a fully raw meal straight from the fridge!

as far as cost of the raw diet, it's about the same as a premium Kibble, perhaps a bit more, however we do purchase a pre-prepared food which is apparently considerably more expensive than getting the necessary ingredients from the butcher, but at approx $1.40 a day for both dogs, I'll gladly let someone else deal with the mess! It's important to note that the volume of food is much less on a raw diet than a kibble diet, thus the volume of waste is less as well. Our dogs are also fairly small, one is 22 lb, the other 15lb, so their volume of consumption was low to begin with. One other expense we incurred was to purchase a good digital scale with a tare button so we could simply portion the appropriate weight of food directly to their dishes.

A raw diet takes a little more planning even when you buy the pre-prepared food as you dont want to keep the thawed food in the fridge for much longer than two days and I have on occaision forgotten to remove a package from the freezer the night before so it could thaw in the fridge. You must also be very disciplined with cleaning the bowls and feeding area, and as an additional precaution we replace and clean their water bowl once they drink after eating, but with our results to date, the minor inconvenience is well worth our dogs improved satisfaction, happiness, and hopefully health!

If you are considering a raw diet for your pet I would suggest you do a lot of research and perhaps talk to people who are currently using the raw diet. There doesnt seem to be one single place where you can find the majority of information you need but there is a lot of info out there and as with anything there are many opposing views on the raw diet as well as some views that are pro raw that I felt to be rather extreme. I think it really boils down to us as individuals and what you are comfortable with as we went into it with the mindset of there has to be something better than what we were going through!

Cheers all! :)

SSAC
August 26th, 2004, 03:47 PM
good to know. Can't see myself ever putting the girls on a raw diet. But if that ever changes, it's good to have all the info :)