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Old January 10th, 2010, 08:03 PM
CLV CLV is offline
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New to Raw for my dogs

Hello everyone,
I have 2 American Eskimo Dogs that have been having numerous problems over the past year with commercial kibble diets. To make a long story short, we have tried everything from Wellness Core Ocean, Purina Pro Plan, Fromm Salmon a la Veg, California Natural, Evo Salmon and Herring, and The Honest Kitchen with no success. I always do a very slow transition (the last one with Evo I just got up to a 50/50 switch after a month!) They always start to have diarrhea, really really bad diarrhea- waking us up 3-4x in the middle of the night to go out. The only thing that keeps them okay is Science Diet I/D, which I hate for obvious reasons. I wish it wasn't the only food that would keep them from having digestive problems. One of our pups was on I/D for several years because we just didn't have all the information we do now. I was able to switch him to Wellness Core Ocean with the other dog on Fromm for almost a year before they both spontaneously starting getting sick from their foods. (I guess if I think back it timed out during the summer when they were eating Mulberries from a tree in our neighbors yard.) Our neighbor cut the tree down, we switched to I/D for several weeks and then tried to reintroduce their food with no success.

That leaves us where we are today, almost 8 months later with no success with kibbles (and we have used some good high quality kibbles.) My husband and I are really disgusted with the ingredients in I/D and decided we just didn't want to feed it to the boys anymore. One of them is also having a lot of skin issues (Black Skin Spots, severely dry skin) while the other one is super itchy. This week we decided we wanted to try raw to see if it will help them. We tried Honest Kitchen but after a few TBS of it they were still not able to tolerate the food. So we stopped feeding it. .

This weekend they had very bad diarrhea from the EVO so I stopped them both and gave them homecooked chicken, white rice with some peas/carrots mixed in. We decided we are done with I/D and would rather deal with the inconvenience of cooking vs feeding a poor quality food. I made enough rice and veggies for the week and am planning on feeding that until they are somewhat better, at which point I want to transition to Raw.

I went to a local store and have done a lot of research online and for now, I think the commercially prepared Raw are going to be better for us. I know they are very pricey but we figured it would be an easier transition for us initially. If it becomes too expensive we can then start to give our own raw. I think this will help ensure they have a balanced diet too (since the NV and the Primal seem to have a good mix.)

I guess the question I have is if anyone thinks one is better than the other. I have read both sides and even at the store there were some who preferred one vs the other. I ended up purchasing the Primal Lamb Nuggets for now. I haven't fed it to them yet- will start next week. I chose it for 2 reasons, first it seems to have less ingredients. It didn't have eggs and flaxseed (which was in the Organic Chicken by NV.) I feel this way I can at least rule out allergy possibilities with egg or flaxseed. I also wanted to go organic and Primal states the Lamb is Hormone and Antibiotic Free (although not Organic) and all the other ingredients are Organic. I also was a bit confused about Chicken vs Lamb. I have never tried Lamb in any of their foods (even kibble.) I have read it is better for sensitive stomachs, but am not 100% sure.

I did also purchase a Leg of Lamb from Whole Foods this weekend that I boiled for the boys. I figured after the cooked Chicken from this week was done I could try the Lamb just to see how they do on it. I just am not sure if I am feeding enough of the Home Cooked Food. How do you know how much to feed. I have read 2-3% with raw- is that just meat? My boys are both about 32 lbs, so according to calculations they should get about 10oz/day- just meat or the whole mix of meat and veggies?

Sorry for all the questions. I guess I am just looking for some support and information on feeding raw. Thanks for any advice and suggestions.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 08:11 PM
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Marcha Marcha is offline
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I was wondering as I read your post - are you wanting to go for cooked meat, or raw (uncooked) in the long run?

What is the percentage of bone in the prepared food that you're buying or thinking of buying? I find that commercially prepared rawfood has a too high percentage of bone, and our dog gets chalky poo if she only has the prepared foods. So if we give her the prepared food, we also give her a slab of raw boneless meat to go with it to balance the percentage.

And yes, for adult dogs who are at a good weight, 2-3% of their body weight is right. For transitioning to raw, I'd start off with 2-3% of the weight in meat alone, not with added veggies. Then you can add veggies one by one later if you know the meat sits well.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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Sounds like you've been through a lot, and really tried your best with the commercial diets...you get a gold star for persistence!!! Glad you recognize that the I/D is not the best for your pups and want a healthier diet for them.

The premade raw mixes are definitely MUCH more expensive than homemade. One thing a lot of new raw feeders tend to do (myself included) is overanalyse, over-stress and over-measure every little bit of food...raw feeding should be (and is) simple, and tailored for the individual dog. In our house, we don't really "prepare" our dogs' food: we thaw it, sometimes cut it if the portion is too large for one dog, and simply hand it over. Tonight, for example, our girls each got a big slab of boneless pork shoulder, a little handful of chicken livers, and a squirt of fish oil. Since they got no bone today, I'll probably give them chicken legs tomorrow. The basic formula for proportions is approximately 75% meat, 10% offal and 15% bone, give or take. Some dogs do better with more meat, more bone, etc...the poop says it all.

To answer your question about the "best" type of raw pre-mixed food, we have used (and still often do) use the Nature's Variety...only for the cats, though (and mostly because our oldest kitty can be suspicious about whole pieces of organs ). The cats seem to like it, and their stools are pretty good (but a bit chalky sometimes like a PP mentioned).

As for chicken vs. lamb....if you suspect a protein allergy/sensitivity, I would try the lamb. Chicken allergy is actually quite common and you may find the lamb, being a novel protein source, is better tolerated.

That said, any time you switch to a raw diet, even for the pups with generally strong tummies...you can expect some stomach upset (i.e. diarrhea), but it sounds like you're used to that already.

How much home-cooked food to feed? Tough to say. Even with raw, the 2-3% is only a guideline: every dog has very different caloric needs, even if they're the same breed, age, sex and size. Our 50 lb terrier mix eats the same amount as our 25 lb boston mix, for example...much more for the terrier=chubby dog, much less for the boston mix=too skinny. You must judge their daily feeds by their body condition; i.e. how the dog's body looks and feels. Google "body condition" or look here for ideas on how this is done. Monitor the condition every other day or so (it takes seconds once you know what you're looking for) and adjust the feeds accordingly.

Raw has done wonderful, wonderful things for our dogs, especially our medical trainwreck GSD. Happy trails!
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Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
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Old January 29th, 2010, 12:07 PM
snorklepuss snorklepuss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendyfoot View Post
Sounds like you've been through a lot, and really tried your best with the commercial diets...you get a gold star for persistence!!! Glad you recognize that the I/D is not the best for your pups and want a healthier diet for them.

The premade raw mixes are definitely MUCH more expensive than homemade. One thing a lot of new raw feeders tend to do (myself included) is overanalyse, over-stress and over-measure every little bit of food...raw feeding should be (and is) simple, and tailored for the individual dog. In our house, we don't really "prepare" our dogs' food: we thaw it, sometimes cut it if the portion is too large for one dog, and simply hand it over. Tonight, for example, our girls each got a big slab of boneless pork shoulder, a little handful of chicken livers, and a squirt of fish oil. Since they got no bone today, I'll probably give them chicken legs tomorrow. The basic formula for proportions is approximately 75% meat, 10% offal and 15% bone, give or take. Some dogs do better with more meat, more bone, etc...the poop says it all.

To answer your question about the "best" type of raw pre-mixed food, we have used (and still often do) use the Nature's Variety...only for the cats, though (and mostly because our oldest kitty can be suspicious about whole pieces of organs ). The cats seem to like it, and their stools are pretty good (but a bit chalky sometimes like a PP mentioned).

As for chicken vs. lamb....if you suspect a protein allergy/sensitivity, I would try the lamb. Chicken allergy is actually quite common and you may find the lamb, being a novel protein source, is better tolerated.

That said, any time you switch to a raw diet, even for the pups with generally strong tummies...you can expect some stomach upset (i.e. diarrhea), but it sounds like you're used to that already.

How much home-cooked food to feed? Tough to say. Even with raw, the 2-3% is only a guideline: every dog has very different caloric needs, even if they're the same breed, age, sex and size. Our 50 lb terrier mix eats the same amount as our 25 lb boston mix, for example...much more for the terrier=chubby dog, much less for the boston mix=too skinny. You must judge their daily feeds by their body condition; i.e. how the dog's body looks and feels. Google "body condition" or look here for ideas on how this is done. Monitor the condition every other day or so (it takes seconds once you know what you're looking for) and adjust the feeds accordingly.

Raw has done wonderful, wonderful things for our dogs, especially our medical trainwreck GSD. Happy trails!
How I appreciate your words. We have switched to raw as well wish I would have had bent your ear. May I use this particualr quote in my conversation about raw in another forum.

Cory
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Old January 29th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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you may
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Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
Boo, our Matriarch (August 1 1992 - March 29 2011)
Riley and Molly
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Old January 29th, 2010, 12:40 PM
snorklepuss snorklepuss is offline
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Originally Posted by bendyfoot View Post
you may
thank you, there is lots of information and miss-information and very strong opinions out there, its tough to weigh threw them.

cory
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Old January 10th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Considering you've tried just about every brand of kibble, including some very good ones, I was wondering if you've had your dogs' stool tested, or had them treated, for intestinal parasites?

Also, have you tried to cut back on the amount of kibble you fed? Sometimes, even a 1/4 cup too much will cause loose stools. How many times did they eat per day?

I've never fed commercially prepared raw so I can't offer you any advice there. However, when we started our guys, or any fosters, on raw, we always begin with one protein source for at least a month. Usually it's chicken as we've found that it's the easiest for them to digest. Lamb, on the other hand, we can only feed in tiny amounts. It's quite rich and not one of our dogs can eat a full meal of it without getting diarrhea. One of our dogs can not eat beef meals for more than 2-3 days in a row, and another can not eat pork for the same amount of time. Each dog is different and you'll soon find out what works for your dogs.

2-3% is the total of muscle meat, bones, and organs together. If you're going to feed raw vegetables, it should either go through a juicer or a blender in order for your dogs to absorb any nutrients. We only offer a few tablespoons weekly (time saving tip: you can prepare it ahead of time and freeze in ice cube trays, place veggie cubes in a freezer baggie and use the amounts needed). The ratio that works for us is 75-80% meat, 15% bone, and 5-10% organs. If you find after a few days your dogs' stools are very soft or runny, cut back a bit on the organs. If they are straining, constipated, or stools are white and crumbly, the bone portion should be reduced.

We have some very good threads on examples of feeding raw here. Home prepared can be quite simple and you have more control over what your dogs are getting. For example, our guys weigh on average double yours so they get approximately 1 1/2 lbs per day. The simplest and most balanced meal I feed is a half chicken each, legs and thighs removed, a heart, half giblet, and half liver. The weight and proportions of meat, bone, organs are just right.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 09:11 PM
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LavenderRott LavenderRott is offline
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If you are switching to a complete raw diet, your dogs need bone which means you need to feed RAW not cooked foods.

You need to do your homework well. You need a certain amount of muscle meat, a certain amount of organ meat and a certain amount of bone. Vegetables are not necessary if you are feeding the right amounts of meat and bone (or even if you are not) as dogs don't process veggies very well. That is why you feed organ meats and especially tripe.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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I meant to mention, too, that you don't have to get the proportions of meat, bone, offal perfect for each individual meal. As long as you get in the required amounts over the course of 7-10 days, it ok.
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Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
Boo, our Matriarch (August 1 1992 - March 29 2011)
Riley and Molly
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  #10  
Old January 11th, 2010, 10:32 AM
CLV CLV is offline
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Thanks so much for all the advice. To answer a few of the questions. We do want to have them on raw long term. I am only feeding cooked right now because I don't think I know enough yet. Plus they were both having problems with the EVO a few days ago, so I thought Chicken and Rice would be good for them for a few days before I transition to raw. I also have had both of them tested several times for GI parasites. They always come back clean, so I don't think that is the problem.

I have read several sites online and looked through old posts here too, I am excited about trying the raw but nervous about it as well. Both of them are having loose stools on the cooked chicken and rice right now too. I just feel so frustrated. I don't want to stop too soon even with the cooked but it always seems the only thing that clears it up for them is I/D. This morning I gave one of them chicken and boiled potato instead of rice. I am wondering if maybe he might have a grain allergy. If I notice it is still bad, I am thinking of changing the chicken. I just don't know how long to continue feeding a single protein source or grain source until I have an answer of whether they are allergic. If they have 2-3 days of diarrhea is that enough to say this isn't working for them. They are both starving too so I want to give them more- but then they just have more diarrhea. Both of them are big time eaters too- they never really turn down anything.

I agree that preparing the raw at home will be a lot cheaper. For now though I am thinking to try the prepared just for convenience. The Bone Content says 6%. Here is the info on the food per their website.

The one we purchased was Primal Lamb:
Ingredients: Lamb, Lamb Hearts, Lamb Livers, Ground Lamb Bones, Organic Kale, Organic Carrots, Organic Yams, Organic Broccoli, Organic Apples, Cranberries, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Organic Parsley, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Kelp, Alfalfa, Salmon Oil, Mixed Tocopherols (source of vitamin E).
Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min) 12%
Crude Fat (min) 10%
Crude Fiber (max) 3%
Moisture (max) 70%

Additional Product Information:
Lamb 60%
Organic Ingredients 30%
Produce 40%
Organ Meat 7%
Supplements < 1%
Bone Content 6%
CA-to-P ratio 1.14:1
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Old January 11th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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WinstonsDad WinstonsDad is offline
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CLV,

Nearly everyone involved in your post, ( bendyfoot, luckypenny, marcha) helped or assisted me over the past month or two, in some way to get over my 'fear' or 'uncertainty' of feeding RAW.

It never crossed my mind to pay more for a 'prepared' raw diet, it was going to be a high quality kibble or RAW. I bought a chest freezer (3.5 cubic ft just for him) and the choice is now clear. I like to shop for him, it's fun to shop deals on meat to make it cheaper than kibble.

Determining allergies is one thing but keep reading, decide, then give them some nutrient-rich, raw meat.

I own a very dominant, confident, 11 month old male who was either starting fights or not walking away from them. Since feeding RAW, given a grace period of a few weeks, I can whistle which I hadn't really trained him for and he will walk away from an altercation and check in with me.

What I am trying to say is that I didn't believe it until I SAW it either but he is far more attentive, happy, satisfied, calm, healthy (skin, coat, attitude, endurance, muscles, etc.)

It was mentioned above about being new and worried about every gram, every meal...That will pass, quickly, it's part of the learning curve.

I'm not sure what else to tell you in this post that someone else hasn't but I'm on board, have a young puppy and he is doing wonderfully, better than the high quality kibble he was on, which for the first 9 months, I was very happy with......


Chris
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