Feeding raw...am I doing it right?
I've been flipping my dog's food around way too much in the last few months. He was on EVO and did phenomenal on it but then I injured myself (long term too) and he was starting to get fat on the Evo. When I cut back his kibble to 1.5 cups a day, he turned into a drama queen and started drooling and begging when anyone was eating which isn't his normal behaviour. I switched him to Acana Light and Fit and turns out he doesn't do well on grains. By then, I'd had enough and I've compromised by doing a half kibble, half raw diet and when I move in September, I'll be able to do a full raw diet since I'll have adequate freezer space at my new place.
In the meantime, he's getting 1/2 - 3/4 cup of Evo red meat (which is between 264 - 395 cals) in the morning around 9am and then his raw meal around 7-8 at night. He's doing really well on the raw - no diarrhea, no vomiting (except once earlier this week with a sharp bone) and his teeth look amazing. Being the paranoid person I am, despite reading a million threads on here and other websites and reading books, I would still like to know if I'm doing this right or not. If there's anything I should add, take out, be careful of, please let me know! All opinions and advice are [I]more[/I] than welcome!
A typical supper for him consists of either a a) 6 - 8 oz chicken leg with back attached, b) a 5 oz chicken thigh supplemented with 2 - 3 oz of beef liver, c)two 5 oz beef or turkey necks. I'm thinking this might be too much bone but his poops are small and golf ball sized and he's not straining at all. They're a normal brown colour and he's only pooping once a day now.
I usually feed him the liver meals about 2-3 times a week, not every day. I also have chicken gizzards residing in my freezer but have no idea when to feed those (or even what the heck they are)! If that is too much, I have some frozen, slightly freezer burned flank steak. Is it best to do a meal with no bones one day, then bones the next, or is it okay to combine them?
He also gets about 2-3 raw eggs a week and a raw marrow bone to chew on about every second day. Does this seem okay?
ETA: Ranger is a flat coat retriever X, about 70 lbs which is an ideal weight for him. Since making the switch, he's stayed around this weight so I'm pretty sure he's getting fed enough. His mooching/begging drama queen act has stopped.
Chicken gizzards are the organs, ususally heart, liver and kidney. I usually boil them for broth or gravey when I make fowl for us humans. I don't feed my dog raw so I can't help you with the other questions you have.
Actually, the gizzard is a very fibrous, tough muscle that is used in digestion. FloppyDog might be thinking of "giblets" which is a term that often means all the organs you typically get when you buy a whole bird...it usually comes in a little bag and inclues includes the liver, gizzard and heart.
The beauty of raw is that there is no real right or wrong in terms of when to feed. The main thing you need to get right is the proportions of meat:bone:organ. You want to feed about 70% meat, 15% bone and 15% organ/offal (most of which is liver; it's the largest organ in the body), give or take. It doesn't really matter if you feed only meat, or mostly bone in one meal...if you're going for a prey model diet you simply aim to ensure that the entire week's (or even two week's) meals to add up to one prey item.
The gizzards are basically muscle...I would count those as "meat", personally...my dogs rarely get them because they're so small and it takes a lot to make a meal, but if I have a few handy I'll use them to "top up" a smaller meal, or just give as a treat. One could argue that the heart is also muscle meat, but it does contain higher amounts of some nutrients than other muscle meats, and in my experience is too rich for some dogs to eat in large quantities.
The diet you have for your dog now is a great starting point, but you should probably increase the organ intake and variety by adding things like tripe (Tripett canned is what we use, it's very hard to find raw), beef and chicken hearts, pork and beef kidneys (back-on chicken legs usually have the kidneys in them) and, well, pretty much any old bit of food you can find (we've snagged things like tails, trotters, fish heads, ears...every bit of the prey has nutritional value and can be given as "offal" . The necks are great and the eggs are fine a couple times a week. The other thing I would look into is adding some variety to the protein source. I see you've got chicken meat and beef liver...good start...you might consider adding cheap cuts of pork like shoulder/picnic, and beef (we use tongue that we get very cheap from the butcher or ground beef most of the time...beef is definitely more pricey...that frozen flank steak would be a great treat!). It's hard to say without seeing the food, but the diet might be a bit bone-heavy. Try a few meals a week of just meat (pork shoulder and beef tongue are top on my list for these meals, price-wise) to up the meat portion of the diet.
The recreational bones are wonderful...if you've got a dog who doesn't find large amounts of marrow too rich (mine all get explosive poops if they get marrow bones!) and who isn't a really hard chewer. One of my dogs can't have heavy bones like large legs and marrow bones; she chips teeth very easily. The others are ok. Just watch the teeth.
Hope that helps!
hey there flames girl:
sounds like your doing things right so far, just remember to introduce new protein sources over a couple of days, not cold turkey, and if you run into any issues, then go back and feed the last meal that you fed that had no problems,
another thing that i feed my two NSDTR a couple of times a week is Omega fatty acids, you can get it from from fish in a raw form, but neither of mine will eat fish (they don't like the texture) so i give them arctic Vigor, which can be bought online at a lot of dog food stores, just google it and you'll find a supplier, they get about a 2 second pour out of the bottle, (not rocket science)
I am not sure how old your pooch is but, they don't have to be fed twice a day, if it is a puppy then yes they need to be fed more than twice a day, but my adult dog gets 1 meal per day, might be easier for your lifestyle to feed once a day, but twice a day is fine as well.
also a true prey model diet will include a day of fasting, if you think about it wolves don't make a kill everyday, so Bodhi will have a day of fasting, he gets all the water he wants that day but the next day i give him about 1/4 more food than he would normal get that day, just to keep his ideal weight......
hope this helps
Thanks for all the info! Happy to hear I'm starting things off right, I was a little nervous.
These posts were greatly informative...I'll look for some canned tripe and I actually sweet talked the meat guy at the grocery store into giving me a great deal on some pork shoulder yesterday so I can add some variety and more meat, less bone. There were also pig's feet (trotters?) I saw for the first time EVER but I couldn't bring myself to put them in my cart. I'm still a little squeamish and something about the pig's feet chopped off at the fetlock made me want to vomit. Hopefully I get over that - I heard there's a good deal on chicken feet at the ethnic market this weekend. Gak!
Quick question: I might have an "in" with an organic cattle ranch...are there any discard products that people don't eat that I could ask for? Otherwise I'm buying half a beef and getting it sliced into steaks and ground beef. What should I specifically ask for?
Paul: Ranger's on omega fatty acids supplements already - glad to know that's recommended! I started doing it when his coat went brittle and dry, then realized it was the food he was eating and we switched off it. Ranger's approx 2 years old and while it would be easier to feed him once a day, he tends to throw up bile if he goes more than ten hours between meals. He gets his kibble in the morning, a cookie or two around 4pm (more if I'm bribing him while bathing him) and then his raw meal later in the evening.
I thought I read somewhere online that said you try to build up an animal over the course of the week to try to get the correct ratio of organ, bone, meat. Is that what "frankenprey" is? Ranger had a huge chicken quarter last night with the kidneys in and tonight I was going to give him some pork and beef liver...it's fun feeding raw. Way more interesting than it is just feeding plain kibble. Not to mention all the benefits! Ranger's teeth at 2 are way better than his doggie friend's teeth are at 1 yr of age!
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