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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:26 pm 
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Betty,

I am very interested in any information you have on how I can start both our dogs on raw. I have been internet researching and can't find anything on meat/bone/organ ratio... Also, there isn't an age limit to switching is there?

Btw...I found whole chickens and the grocery store for $0.88 a pound...is that a good price?

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:36 pm 
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I decided that I will just post the info here, in case others might be interested, but dont want to say so. I have learned over the years that more people will feed raw than I ever thought, so I want to be sure that everyone knows how to do it.

Raw feeding is based on the ideal adult weight of the dog. Start with 2-3% of that weight. You can start out weighing every meal, but you will get to where you dont find it necessary to do that. If the dog gets a little fat, cut back on the food. Too skinny, add more. Each dog will be an individual, depending on their own level of activity, etc. Feed a pregnant or nursing female at least 4-5%. I start increasing the pregnant dogs food at the very beginning and by the time the pups are born and are nursing, I am feeding her twice as much as usual. As she begins to kick the pups off, you can begin cutting back on her food.

You will need to start with 2 meals a day, dividing the daily amount between the 2 feedings. Feed as large a portion as you can. The idea is to mimic the wild. The dog would tear and scissor the meat off of the bone. If the bone is to be swallowed, the dog will crunch it himself, he does not need you to do that for him. Realize that dogs do not chew their food like we do. They will usually go crunch, crunch, swallow. If the piece is too big to swallow, the dog will choke it back up, chew a bit more and try and swallow it again. This may happen a couple of times. Dont be alarmed and certainly dont panic the dog. They will handle it. Granted, its scary the first few times that you see it, but the dog or puppy either will handle it. I used to watch Abe swallow pieces that were so big that it hurt so bad when he swallowed it that he would whine until it hit his stomach!! But, that is also an exception. Abe is the only pup that I have seen do that.

Start out feeding a bit less than you actually think that you should. It is better to let the dog get used to its new food, than to give him more than he can handle.

Stay with one protein for at least a week, 2 weeks would be best. Then you can add another protein, but stick with it for a couple of weeks and so forth. The dogs digestive tract will have to get used to each new protein. Once you know that the dog can handle each and every protein, you can switch daily, if you want. You can switch to the new protein all at once, or you can switch by adding a bite or two at each meal. I have always just switched all at once.

You will have to change your thinking on what a dogs poop should look like. What the dog eats will change its poop. A lot of bone will cause the poop to be dry and white. A lot of meat will cause the poop to be runny. This is not a problem-it is not diarrhea, just runny poop from a meaty meal. It is easy to fix either problem, if you are worried about it. Constipated? Add meat. Runny? Add bone. The dog might appear to strain with either type of bowel movement, but that is natural also. The stool will be smaller and less frequent on raw than on kibble.

Chicken is the best protein to start with. It is cheap, easy to obtain, easy to cut up, easy to skin and most dogs like it. It might be a good idea to trim most of the skin and fat off the chicken for a few days. The fat sometimes causes some digestion problems. It is a good idea to stay away from any chicken that has enhancements in it, especially at first. You will have to look and read the label. It may say that salt or flavorings have been added. I do feed my dogs chicken that is enhanced and they do ok with it, but some dogs have problems with it, so just keep that in mind. A lot of people feed chicken quarters and they are ok, but the bone ratio is too high for it to be a daily routine for a long time. Whole chickens are good and are usually pretty cheap and you can cut them up pretty easily. Some dogs wont eat the gizzards and the livers but like the hearts.

For an older dog that is starting on raw food, it is not unusual for them to vomit up bile with bone shards in it. This is ok! It is just that the digestive tract is having to switch gears and just cant quite digest the bone completely yet. The bile is yellow and just shows that the dog is working at digesting the bone. This will clear up as time goes by and the digestive system gets to the real acid condition that it should be in. In my experience, dogs love to chew on deer hooves and they never get to the point that they can digest the hooves. So, if your dogs are house dogs and you dont want to get up in the middle of the night and step in bile vomit with a deer hoof in it, cut them off before you feed deer legs to your dog!! Experience talking here!!! I have also found that they dont completely digest horns, but they sure like to chew on them.

You will probably notice that your dog will quit drinking so dang much water. Again, dont worry. This is natural. The dog gets most of the water that it needs from the meat. Think again about being in the wild. The dog cant be running to the stream every few minutes to gulp large amounts of water, so nature has provided for them to get most of the water that they need from their food. If its hot, or they have been playing a lot, or panting a lot, they will need more water, but the dog will no longer be drinking and drinking and drinking water.

The portions for feeding raw are, loosely, 80% meat, muscle, fat, skin, connective tissue, 10% organ and 10% edible bone. Of the 10% organ, half of that should be liver. Chicken gizzards are muscle as are hearts, altho they are really an organ. You dont have to make this a daily regimen of the 80, 10 and 10. You are going for balance over time. One day you may feed a chicken quarter which is too much bone, but the next day, you may feed just meat, so it all balances out. You have to remember the wild thing again. A wolf gets different amounts and parts of the carcass, depending on their rank in the group. To feed truly like the dog would eat in the wild, you would feed a carcass which the dog would eat off of for maybe several days. It would eat the good parts first, then on to less desirable parts and then it might not eat again for several days. So, it is perfectly alright for your dog not to be eating perfect everyday. There are people who actually feed this way, but if you are like me and cant handle the fly thing, you dont feed like that in the summer, especially!! The way that most people feed raw and the way that I am describing is called 'Frankenprey'. You are feeding as much like in the wild as possible. To meet the dogs needs this way, you need to feed as much different meat, organs and edible bone as possible. You have to remember that different parts of a carcass will have different nutrients. You can occasionally find hog heads and sheep heads at the grocery store. These are good and something different for the dog. If you have access to whole carcasses, be sure and let the dog eat the skin with the hair still attached. The hair scrubs the intestines of parasites and keeps the gut good and clean.

Dont add too many organs when you first start raw. Organs, especially liver will give the dog the runs. It can be easily straightened out by adding bone, but its just best for the dog and you, not to do that. It is good to give a little organ with each meal, but you dont have to do it that way. Just dont try to have the dog make a meal out of just organs. That is a recipe for disaster!! The following is a list of organs, altho I dont think that they are all really organs, but this is what you can look for: cheek meat, liver, head meat, salivary glands, feet, lips, oxtail, spleen, esophagus, tripe, stomach, sweetbread, ears, kidneys, brain and intestines. Personally, I cant buy and feed all that stuff, so I just make sure that during deer season, that my hunters give all that stuff to me. And, I have never figured it out, but cheek meat, tongue, etc can be ridiculously expensive. The tripe that you can get at the grocery store is not good for the dog. It is bleached to be white and the bleaching removes any nutrients from it, besides the bleach not being good to eat!! There are a lot of places on line that you can get tripe. Some people say that the dog really needs it, but others dont. Unbleached tripe is really stinky and my dogs have done just fine without it and will probably forever!!

You can feed pretty much any protein that you can find and can afford. Some people raise their own feed for their dogs. I prefer to get mine at the grocery store or from hunting. I have yet to feed the cutesy things like rabbits (other than jack rabbits) to my dogs!! Turkey is good and it is cheap around Thanksgiving. Fish is fine, if your dog will eat it. Mine will eat some fish and not others. You just have to try and see what your dog will eat. I bought a goose one time and it was really cheap, but Lucy wouldnt eat it, so I pitched it out in the dump. Several days later, she was eating something that I couldnt figure out what it was. When I got closer, I discovered that it was the goose. Guess it tasted better after becoming jerky!! Stay away from ground anything. Remember that the dog needs to work at getting its food so that the teeth stay cleaned and the dog gets the mental stimulation of working for its food.

Raw bones are easy for your dog to chew and they will enjoy munching on them. Fish bones, pork bones, chicken bones are all safe for the dog to eat as long as they are RAW!!! Some bones are great for the dog to chew because they can get the marrow out and the marrow is really good for them. It is said not to let the dog chew on weight bearing bones. They are supposed to be too hard and may break a tooth. Ribs are good bones for dogs to eat. My dogs love the joints of bones, such as the knee and will eat the rounded part which has a lot of marrow. Then when they begin to get to the leggier part of the bone, I pick it up and pitch it.

Eggs are good for a dog to eat, shell and all. My dogs love eggs, but have never eaten the shell. But, a lot of dogs will eat the egg, shell and all. Its supposed to be pretty funny to watch a dog try to crack the egg!!

I know that all of this is long and technical sounding. But, its gets easy. Just start with the chicken first and dont worry about all the other stuff at first. Get used to feeding that and get the dog used to it, then go on to something else. In a short time, you will have it all down and you and your dog will both be happier and the dog will be healthier!!! I'm sure that I will think of other things along the way, but this is a good start. If you have ANY questions, dont be afraid to ask. I will walk anyone thru this, if they feel like they need it.


I will post info on feeding puppies and ways to find food that is cheap enough to feed your dog in another post.
Betty

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:04 am 
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Thanks for this great info, Betty. Let me know if this sounds ok:

We will start with chicken for the first two weeks. Maybe alternate chicken quarters and deboned meat/liver?

We have a lot of venison in the freezer, but none of it has bones. So after the first couple of weeks, we could alternate chicken quarters and the deboned venison? Or should the dogs have bone at every meal?

Don't you only feed once a day? When do you transition from two times a day down to one?

How important is it to keep an eye on the dogs while they're eating? We feed twice a day right now, but in the mornings, we feed right before we leave for work. I think, especially at first, I would be paranoid about them choking.

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:13 am 
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We started twice a day. With Chicken quarters, you really don't want to mix the meats as it might make their stomachs upset. As it is the change may be a little crazy. After they got used to the idea we started feeding only at night, they really like the chicken and when we got a deer we would just freeze the ribs and different bones and after they ate the meat we would throw the bones out for them. Now some do it different and leave a chunk of meat on the bone and throw it out all together, what ever is easier for you. I try and do liver/ heart/ organ every 3 or 4 days. They love that. Not every meal since they don't need but 10% of this. Depending on the size of the quarters I may give 2 just in case. I may not do it a 100% but the dogs seem very healthy good weight, even a little chunky still fo Addy.

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 11:36 am 
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Start with the chicken and give only that for 2 weeks. You will be fine just giving them the chicken quarters for that length of time. Then you can switch to the venison and give it for at least a week. If you were buying meat, I would say to go with something that had some bone in it, but since you have the venison, go for it. If, after a week, you can give one chicken quarter and see how they do. If they show no signs of problems, then you can alternate with the chicken and venison. The poop will probably be runny with no bones, but that is ok. Once you add the bones back that will change. If the dogs are having one or two stools a day and they are runny, that is from the meat with no bone. I dont think they will have any trouble with the deer. Most dogs would rather eat deer and the like above all else. Just remember that any time that you introduce a new protein, give them time to get used to it. Once you get past the initial introduction, you can switch daily if you want.

Dont worry about organs for a while. Maybe even a month or so. After you know that your dog is doing ok, and you feel good with what you are doing, you can worry about adding the organs. It will not hurt the dog to go without something for a period of time.

I do feed my dogs once a day at night. If your dogs are showing no problems switching over, after 4 weeks or so, you should be fine to feed once a day. It will just kinda depend on them. I dont anticipate there being much problem, but it can happen.

Most of the time I do sit and watch my dogs eat. I do it for a couple of reasons, choking isnt one of them, but for a newbie, it would be. I set the bowls down all within a couple of feet of each other. Each dog eats a little different and I sit with them to make sure that no one steals someone elses food. I also sit and watch them, just because I enjoy watching nature work. It amazes me to see them take a chicken quarter and in a few bites, it is gone. Even tho you may sit and watch, it doesnt take long. They will eat a chicken quarter faster than they will eat a bowl of kibble. You will get to where you dont worry about choking, but it takes a while. We have been so conditioned that bones are such a problem that it takes a while to lose that.

I know that new people worry about the ratio being right, but it doesnt have to be right every day. If you are a perfectionist and want to, you can fix up a daily package with meat, bone and organ. But it is not necessary. You will get to where you can pretty much guess how much food you are giving the dog. I open a package of liver and the dogs will get liver with every meal while that lasts, then they dont get it again for a while. You will find your own way of doing things.

Like Shannon said, she doesnt do everything 100% right. I dont either. I doubt that many people do. I just always tell people that a poor raw diet has kibble beat any day! Your dog could live on chicken quarters all of its life and it would be better than crap in a bag.

Betty

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 12:52 pm 
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OK, thanks for the advice, Betty & Shannon. We are planning on giving it a try when we get into our new place, and I am excited!

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:17 pm 
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I have been on raw for awhile now. I like it. During deer season I feed alot of deer and deer ribs. During the rest of the year I feed chicken,fish and livers. If I have time I will cook 20 cups of rice in the cooker. Give 1/2 cup of rice, chicken 1/4,un cooked green beans,and some liver in a gallon ziplock. I will make 40-50 "jonny sacks" to ffed the dogs. I do that 1-2 times a month. The other 2 weeks out of the month I feed 1-3 chicken 1/4 to each dog. I buy fish at heb and feed half to each dog. I love raw. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes but o verall it is awesome for my dogs. It keeps them on the lean side but the heath of them is good. It also cuts the crap in kennels down ALOT. That is prolly my number one reason to be honest. I pay 5.56 for a 10lb bag of chciken. I feed one bag per day.


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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:51 am 
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Thanks for all the info. Betty I'm glad you explained about sitting and watching them eat because i was worried about mine stealing food. And I didn't want them eating it inside the house.
Ours are not kenneled at night so I better keep an ear out for if they need to go OUT.

Betty/Shannon, did your dogs take right to raw, especially chicken, right away? Or did they just go hungry until they figured they had to eat it?


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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:19 am 
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Dogs take to raw like Ducks take to water ;)

Yesterday I forgot to lay out chicken..ok Mike forgot but I`ll take the blame :))
Anyway I had one of the kiddos sit it on the front porch in the sunshine, I looked out later
and K.D.'s new kitten had chewed the corn of the bag enough to get a quarter pulled half out! The chicken quarter is twice her size!!! :)) it was funny.


~Mis

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 11:22 am 
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Once you see them eat chicken bones a few times, or fish or squirrel or whatever small bones people worry about, you'll realize they were built to do that. They just rip the meat with their front teeth and then switching to crunch the bones with the back and it really does look like they truly enjoy the process.

There really shouldn't be much difficulty in switching from kibble to raw for the dogs. The raw is exactly what they want, delicious fresh meat, as opposed to the bland dry food. Some dogs might be picky about what types of meat they eat, but in general they should pick it right up, especially chicken. The problem will be if you ever want to switch back. It must suck going from real food to prepackaged pellets again. Sadie just won't do it. When we go on a big morning hunt, we don't feed the night before, and sometimes that morning run turns into an all day run and we don't get back to the house where chicken is, so I'll try to feed Sadie a bowl of dry food. It has never worked. She'll sniff it and look up at me like, "I may be starving, but I'm not eating dried out meat mulch, thanks." Such a diva 8-|

Betty, this thread really inspired me to try for some variety last night. I went to the grocery store to get chicken quarters and beef liver and decided to pick up some sort of bone-in beef shank cut that was on sale as well as some cheap bone-in pork loins (maybe ribs, not loins, I dunno what all these meat names are). I gave her the beef shanks last night and she loved them. Though she ate clean around the bone in the first one, just licked on it a but but didn't really chew at all, so I gave her the second one to make sure she got enough food. She sure was a happy camper! I think I'll either do pork or chicken tonight. But it sure was easier with all the deer during hunting season. I need to do an earlier call for meat next year (or just bug Steve about it more ;)).

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:23 pm 
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Julie N wrote:
Betty, this thread really inspired me to try for some variety last night. I went to the grocery store to get chicken quarters and beef liver and decided to pick up some sort of bone-in beef shank cut that was on sale as well as some cheap bone-in pork loins (maybe ribs, not loins, I dunno what all these meat names are).

:)) But what should we expect from a vegetarian hipster chick!?! Variety is great, although it can take a little time to adjust to the new meat. Unfortunately, Cannon loves the cat's kibble... it's like candy for him and if I don't watch him, he'll grab some as he goes by.

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:53 pm 
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When I started my dogs on raw, I had an old dog, Bridgette, and Lucy who was around two. They had no problem knowing what to do with the chicken. Bridgette was around 60 lbs and over weight. I fed her less than a cup of kibble and she would still be hungry and want more, but I just couldnt give her any more. She had arthritis in her hips and the extra weight just added to it. We walked a lot, but that was most of the exercise that she got. I put her on raw and she never skipped a beat. In around 2 weeks, she was losing weight and I was feeding her around a lb and a half every day. She thought that she had already died and gone to heaven. Before raw, I had to have her teeth cleaned fairly often and her coat was short, but the hair was really rough. Her teeth cleaned up really fast and you wouldnt believe the difference it made in her coat as far as softness went. She only got to eat raw for a few months, but I was so glad that I found out about it for even that short period in her life.

I always thought that it was strange that Bridgette, being at least 10 to 12 years older than Lucy and having been on kibble all that time, never threw up a bone that she couldnt digest, never had a problem one. Lucy did occasionally throw up a bone that she couldnt digest. And, she did have a few times that she threw up just bile. But, it wasnt but a few times, and I was prepared for it, so it didnt bother me.

But, as far as them knowing what to do with the food, they all know exactly what to do with it. Some dogs dont seem to like to use their feet to hold the meat, but my dogs that have grown up eating raw, dont have that problem. I dont know if that is just a fluke, or if it is because of the difference in the age that they learned.

My dogs do prefer deer and elk, beef is ok, as is pork. Chicken they like pretty good and it is certainly the easiest for me. They like turkey pretty well and Lucy really, really likes the turkey tail!! The turkey is harder for me to cut up, but you can find them pretty cheap most of the time. I have a wonderful guy who helps me cut up the big critters and skins the deer, etc for me. I couldnt do some of what I do without him.

Betty

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:48 pm 
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We're on our way to being raw feeders! Last week we bought a good reciprocating saw and used it to cut up a hog (through the bones and all). It's in the freezer now. We cut it up into meal-size servings (a little bigger for the bulldogs, smaller for the Lacys), then threw 5 servings (for 5 dogs) into double-bagged Wal-Mart sacks. That way I can just take a sack out every day. Does that sound like a decent plan?
We also put in organ meat (heart and liver), until we ran out. Man, that hog liver was HUGE and NASTY! I think we put up 3 weeks worth of meat. Now to the question: How long does it have to freeze to be safe to eat? I think I read at least a week, but does that apply to all meat or just "wild" meat like hog?

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:53 pm 
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On pork we freeze it for at least 72 hours.

Haven't ever worried about the beef or venison

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 Post subject: Re: Raw feeding poll:
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Congrats!! I am so proud for you and the dogs!!

Wild hog is the only thing that I say freeze. Mis knows much more about that than I do. The rest of the wild stuff, I say, freeze it for preservations sake, but its not necessary. I have said this many times, and I'm sure I will say it again. A dog in the wild would not freeze a deer that it killed. Lots of people will tell you that the dog can get this worm and that disease from unfrozen and uncooked meat. I say Balderdash!!! My dogs have eaten raw jackrabbit, deer, elk, even pork and they are healthy and fine!! After I had fed the raw wild pork, I found out about the psuedo rabies, so that I say freeze. Remember that a raw fed dog is healthy and can fend off pests and diseases on their own. I was real proud when I took the Lucys last litter in for their health check and they did not have worms!!

I think that your feeding plan sounds just fine. Its work, but it so worth it. Many of us raw feeders have spend the better part of a day putting up food for our dogs. But, your signature, Amber, pretty much says it for me. They give us their all, giving them some of our time to give them the food that they deserve is not giving too much. You will get into your own way of doing things, speaking of that, I need to go thaw out some meat before it is too late!!

Betty

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