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Pat Warne

Raw Diet

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Raw's gonna be tough for you if you've got only a teeny freezer space. You might look into the commercial diets - Pet Supplies Plus now carries Nature's Variety frozen in its stores.

 

Commercial diets may not be ideal in some folks eyes but it's a means to an end. I tried the frozen chicken/turkey medallions the last time I was traveling and was delighted (I used the medallions because I needed to divide between the large [Don], medium [Ann], and teeny [Zhi] dogs with which I was traveling). Ann usually has trouble with my usual travel diet, the Solid Gold dehydrated beef patties. This time it was like she was eating her usual fare.

 

A week's worth for two dogs would easily fit in a dorm-sized fridge and probably cost the same as going to the store and paying $2 to $4 a pound for single serving packages.

 

Boy, I'm just ads-R-us today! Ooops, and I just noticed it got dark and I left the sheep out . . .time for a bit of flashlight farming!

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I think some dogs have to get used to the whole idea of raw food. I know Rae did. She picked around at it for about a week. Now she's dancing for her food in the morning.

Renee

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Thanks Annette, Renee and Rebecca for the replies. Now I have more questions!

 

I am going to try again this weekend. So far, I can get chicken thigh quarters and turkey backs for less than $1/pound so I'm okay with the cost. I would have to drive over an hour to get to a pet store that would carry a commercial diet so it has to be the grocery store for now.

 

The packages will fit in my freezer if I move all of MY food out of it. But, I shouldn't store meat in there for any length of time anyway so I will go to the store twice a week.

 

Is there a big difference between turkey and chicken allergen-wise? I know people have suggested feeding just chicken for the first couple of weeks but I wonder if it would be okay to alternate the two types of poultry based on price and availability.

 

Finally, it seems like people are advocating more meat, less bone than the "raw meaty bones" type diet. The earliest posts suggested backs and necks so that's where I started. Recently, several posts have suggested that those cuts are too bony and you should feed cuts with more meat. Which cuts of poultry would be best - backs and necks, leg quarters, breasts? Or should I alternate through each? I'm leaning towards rotating through until they've eaten the whole critter.

 

Thanks again. And Nellie adores all of you.

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Remember that dogs should get 10% to 15% edible bone. If they get a little more than that one day and a little less the next, that's ok.

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Originally posted by lrayburn:

I would have to drive over an hour to get to a pet store that would carry a commercial diet so it has to be the grocery store for now.

*****

I buy lots of standard stuff from grocery stores. All the chicken, most of the pork shoulders, all the turkey, beef when it's priced right. No crime in grocery store food. But I am confused...do you mean to say you'll be shopping at the grocery store ONLY until you can buy commercial food from a pet store? Seems like you have it backwards.

 

 

Is there a big difference between turkey and chicken allergen-wise?

*****

Turkey and chicken are quite UNalike. Dogs that take poorly to chicken might do fine on turkey. Chicken and turkey are no more alike than sheep and goats.

 

 

I know people have suggested feeding just chicken for the first couple of weeks but I wonder if it would be okay to alternate the two types of poultry based on price and availability.

*****

Sure. And virtually the only reason chicken is so often recommended is its availability. Turkey ought not be any more difficult for a new dog than chicken.

 

 

Which cuts of poultry would be best - backs and necks, leg quarters, breasts? Or should I alternate through each?

*****

Nah. Go the whole bird route and cut it up and rotate through the parts until the bird's gone. Then do it again. No need to worry about making the meals balance, since the chicken's done all the work for you.

 

 

I'm leaning towards rotating through until they've eaten the whole critter.

*****

Way to go!

Chris O

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Chris,

The comment about buying a commercial raw diet was in response to a previous comment made by another poster. She suggested a commercial raw diet for convenience because I am dealing with a dormroom-style refrigerator without a proper freezer. There is no crime in grocery store food but because of the size of my apartment and lack of proper kitchen, a commercial diet would be very appealling if I was closer to a pet store.

 

As it is, I will be buying pieces and rotating through the various cuts - backs, legs, breasts - with some organ meat thrown in once or twice a week. I'm not in a situation to buy and cut up whole chickens so that will have to do.

Thanks for the reply.

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Originally posted by lrayburn:

She suggested a commercial raw diet for convenience because I am dealing with a dormroom-style refrigerator without a proper freezer.

******

Ack. Right! I forgot that part. Sorry.

 

 

I will be buying pieces and rotating through the various cuts - backs, legs, breasts - with some organ meat thrown in once or twice a week.

******

Makes sense. Just remember that each bird (even your imaginary one) has two wings and two legs/thighs (can you get leg quarters?) but only one one back and one neck. So don't go overboard on the bonier, less meaty parts.

 

Chris O

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Chris,

That's my plan - to feed parts in the ratio they would be found in the bird. So far I can get chicken leg quarters and turkey backs (but not chicken backs) and chicken breast pieces and wings. I may also be able to get entire chickens already cut into pieces. Necks and organ meat will have to be bought separately.

 

Obviously, rotating through the critter wouldn't work if I was feeding say beef or pork. What cuts do you use of these animals and how do you balance the bone/meat ratio? I also hope to get some rabbit to throw in the mix later on.

 

Ben ate the turkey (back) again last night but wouldn't touch chicken (leg quarters) when it was offered to him twice during the week. I wonder if this will change or if he just prefers turkey. He does have some stomach sensitivities so maybe there is a reason he doesn't like the chicken. However, if he will eat it and it doesn't bother his system, the chicken is less expensive. I'm not sure how to make feeding whole turkey economically feasible.

 

I can get chicken leg quarters in packs of 4 - perfect if I can get Ben to eat them. I get big turkey backs and have them cut in half to feed the two dogs. I'm aiming for 0.8# for Ben and 0.6# for Nellie per day (at 2% of their body weight) but of course they get a little more some days and a little less on others.

 

Any other thoughts? Thanks again.

Lisa

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Chris,

I just read PowderPuff's post under "raw diet and vomiting". Nellie is pretty cautious, but Ben is a bit of a gulper. I'm thinking about just skipping the chicken necks. Would that throw off the bone/meat ratio too much?

Lisa

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Originally posted by lrayburn:

I'm thinking about just skipping the chicken necks. Would that throw off the bone/meat ratio too much?

**********

No, it would not. You would have to feed acres of boneless meals to throw the ratio off "too much." Given the intrinsic bony nature of wings, you'll be fine sticking to legs, thighs, breasts and wings. Plus the innards of course.

 

However, if you have a gulper (and most dogs are, if for no other reason than that's how wolves, um, wolf down their meals) you may want to consider feeding leg quarters instead of legs and thighs. This makes the body part more complicated for the dog, which generally slows the dog down. If a leg quarter is too much "daily" food for your dog, you can easily and without danger to health AT ALL simply feed a small meal the next day.

 

Chris O

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I am still considering trying raw feeding. My one big question is about bones. I guess its because it has been grilled into me that you don't feed your dog bones. Oh well. What kind of "risk" do you feel is involved with the bone aspect? Do you feel the risk is avoided by feeding the right type of bones (i.e. raw chicken and turkey as opposed to beef) and making sure the dog does not gulp them?

 

I have to admit that in reading all of this I am feeling worse and worse about feeding kibble and I'm trying to figure out a more natural way to feed my dog.

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YAY! I found beef ribs at .59/lb and whold chickens at .89/lb finally so I bought as much as my little freezer can hold! Like a quarter of my freezer holds MY food- but that's alright because the price of my food is fairly constant.

 

Maralynn, feeding beef ribs is not so bad- they can't break off really large bits of bone and they get a really good work out getting all the meat off of them. I do limit the time they spend with the remaining bones and when the ends of the ribs are looking chewed on I take them away and throw them out. As long as you feed large chunks of food like a slab of ribs or half a chicken (or a quarter) at a time then you shouldn't see all that much gulping except for the hunk that they can chew off. Raw bones do no splinter and cause irritation especially when fed with meat on it. I've had little puppies I've fed this way and with no problems. My raw fed pup was switched to kibble for econimic reasons at a year of age now is switched back at age 5- he showed visible signs of aging at 5 years old! But now after a month of being back on raw is starting to look like he should. I just can't ever go back to kibble again. I know what it does to dogs- I've had liver failure, neurological problems, fertility problems, temperament problems, not to mention skin and coat problems. On the firtility problem the difference was amazing, I had my boy's sperm tested on kibble 6 years ago it was very abnormal, 2 headed, low count and almost no motitlity-I had always fed either Solid Gold (with the probiotic Sea Meal) or Innova so I wasn't feeding junk kibble either. After 2 weeks on raw feeding it was completely normal! So you have to consider that those changes existed on a cellular level- scary.

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Bones and "balance" seem to be two really big obstacles in thinking oneself into a raw diet state of mind. You are not alone.

 

I absolutely believe risk is diminished by feeding proper bones; by feeding an appropriate meat/bone relationship; by appropriate monitoring of meals; and by shaping the diet to suit the needs of the dog. There are no guarantees...if you want guarantees in life (except death and taxes)you need to find yourself a bubble to live in.

 

There are very few documented cases of death-by-bone; even when a vet is convinced by circumstance that the bone dunnit, statistically necropsies prove otherwise. Choking can as easily be caused by kibble, snacks, rawhide chew toys, tennis balls, socks, diapers, saran wrap, sticks and kitchen sponges as by bones.

 

There are always risk/value judgements to make. I think the value of a species-appropriate diet far outweighs the potential for risk.

 

Dense beef bones like femurs or knuckles can be glorious delivery systems for meaty meals. The bone needs not be eaten, though a bit of edge-nibbling is typical. Ripping the meat from the bone is an excellent workout. A more gnarly beef bone like a meaty section of neck will generally offer some "safe" bone...lots of knobs and lumps and innies/outies to crunch.

 

But if generalizations need to be made, yes: soft young bones like chicken, turkey, lamb and kid will be less ominious than beef bones.

 

The gulping thing is a natural behavior. The way to minimize danger is to feed big, complicated food that is just too large to stuff into one's greedy canine mouth. Going for small will almost always encourage gulping. In that regard, a big meaty beef hip will offer less risk than a chicken neck or wing, even though theoretically chicken bones are "safer" than beef bones.

 

I can send you to all sorts of websites that will REALLY make you feel rotten for feeding kibble. Not a trip you want to take!

Chris O

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Originally posted by lrayburn:

So far I can get chicken leg quarters and turkey backs (but not chicken backs) and chicken breast pieces and wings. I may also be able to get entire chickens already cut into pieces. Necks and organ meat will have to be bought separately.

**********

Since you can get leg quarters which already come with some spine attached, you don't really need to worry about backs. Backs alone are just about bone anyway, so no loss. And you can get turkey backs, so double no loss! I myself like turkey backs more anyhow. Meatier, often with liver bits still attached. Since you have to buy organ meat separately, how about considering beef liver--comes in pound-ish cups, easily fed? Nice chance to get away from poultry. Since you can comfortably consider heart as muscle meat, not organ, feed lots if you think you're feeding too much bone. Easy fix.

 

 

What cuts do you use of these animals and how do you balance the bone/meat ratio? I also hope to get some rabbit to throw in the mix later on.

**********

I don't really worry about the bone/eat ratio. Over time, it works out unless you've utterly forgotten to feed ANY bone.

 

If you're regularly feeding chicken wings and turkey backs, you're feeding plenty of bone. So with pork and beef, feed whatever you can find that fits your budget and your fridge. Ground is fine since it can offer some easy protein variety, just don't make a habit of it. A beef chuck roast is fine...these and chuck steaks are usually the cheapest non-bulk beef products. If the bone is too narrow, too sharp, too pointy-looking, cut the meat off and toss the bone. You can do the same with pork chops and "country style" ribs (which aren't ribs at all but narrow slices of shoulder blade).

 

Pork hocks are good edible-bone choices. A small pork bone-in pork shoulder roast would work I think. Slices of beef shank are useful but the cut shank bone itself is one of those dense, tooth threatening bones, so be ready to collect it when the meat's gone. Whole lamb shanks are good too; these bones generally are edible. Lamb breasts and veal breasts are all-around terrific. At least here in California they are sold in good small-dog amounts, so they could be purchased and fed without having to cut apart, except to divvy up between the dogs. Sometimes pricey, sometimes not. If space is your primary guideline, these would be excellent.

 

 

I wonder if this will change or if he just prefers turkey.

**********

Hard to know. Certainly the leg quarters offer more meat, which is a major benefit. Turkey backs alone are rarely adequately meaty. It may be he can't quite figure out how to grapple with the leg quarter, have you tried sort of loosening parts of it for him? If you have it in you to add meat to the turkey back meal, that would work very nicely.

 

 

However, if he will eat it and it doesn't bother his system, the chicken is less expensive.

**********

Yeah, that's one of the enduring charms of chicken. I try to keep it as less than 25% of the menu, but when times is tough, chicken consumption goes up!

 

 

I'm not sure how to make feeding whole turkey economically feasible.

**********

May not be. That's a lotta bird. Even having the store cut up the turkey, you still have to stash the parts somewhere. If you can get drums and thighs and heart and liver, that should do fine, and fit besides.

 

 

I can get chicken leg quarters in packs of 4 - perfect if I can get Ben to eat them.

**********

LOL You're right...doesn't matter how cheap something is if it don't get et! Gets expensive real fast.

 

 

I'm aiming for 0.8# for Ben and 0.6# for Nellie per day (at 2% of their body weight) but of course they get a little more some days and a little less on others.

**********

Sounds good to me!

Chris O

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Thank you for the replies, Annette and Chris.

 

I've been slowly digesting all this raw information. It does seem to make alot of sense.

 

Originally posted by Tumblehome:

 

There are no guarantees...if you want guarantees in life (except death and taxes)you need to find yourself a bubble to live in.

 

I definatly realize this. My dog works sheep, and plays serious ball. I could see her getting injured doing either of these. But I know the benefits to her (and me!) outweigh the risks.

 

So thats what I'm trying to figure out here - the benefits, the risks, and how to minimze the risks. I appreciate your answers and reading about how it has worked for you.

 

I'm being slowly won over - hey, 2 years ago I thought that purina and pedigree were a good way to go. But I've been reading, reserching and learning!

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Chris,

Thanks for all of the good info. Ben refused the chicken leg again last night - he takes the turkey backs right away so he's either differentiating based on the species or cut. I'm going to try to find some turkey legs to see if it's the cut but I think it's the species. I cut some chicken meat off of the leg quarters for him but he wouldn't eat that either.

 

So here's my new thought. I'm going to get the turkey backs cut into smaller pieces so they make up about 1/2 of the meal and then add a boneless or low bone red meat protein source like beef, pork or lamb. As Ben expands his gastronomic horizons, we'll rely less on the turkey backs but he's a skinny dog and I don't want him to lose any weight while we make the switch.

Lisa

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Originally posted by lrayburn:

I'm going to try to find some turkey legs to see if it's the cut but I think it's the species.

*********

Isn't it a bite when the cheap stuff is the stuff they hate? It MAY be the brand of chicken. Some chicken (notably Walmart but not exclusively) is "enhanced" with some percentage of saline/?? solution for extra flavor (makes you wonder how crummy the birds were that they need added oomph). And some dogs don't like this AT all, or can't tolerate it.

 

Depending on how valuable chicken would be to your menu plans, you might want to try a different brand. As with any meat you buy, you want to look for the words "minimally processed."

 

 

I'm going to get the turkey backs cut into smaller pieces so they make up about 1/2 of the meal and then add a boneless or low bone red meat protein source like beef, pork or lamb.

**********

Fair enough. Two things to keep in mind: One, don't get too small on the bones. Bigger will always be more beneficial to your dogs, as well as overall more safe.

 

Two, not every meal nor every day needs edible in it. That's a pretty sure way of winding up overdoing the amount of bone the dog gets. So if it makes sense to feed a RMB meal on some days and boneless meals on others, that's a-okay.

 

But adding meat--any species--to a "too bony" RMB meal is an excellent way of softening the impact of a big ol' bony meal. Good thinking on your part.

 

 

As Ben expands his gastronomic horizons,

**********

LOL This a pretty funny image! I see Ben standing at the buffet table, sort of scratching his head and wondering what it all means. Like the cluelss guy in the Carl's Jr. tv commercials.

 

 

we'll rely less on the turkey backs but he's a skinny dog and I don't want him to lose any weight

**********

I have a couple of those skinnybutts myself. For them, I never trim fat, and don't feel a bit worried about giving them fatty foods. Pork is a great choice for these metabolic wonders--I should be so lucky.

Chris O

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Nellie and Ben have been eating raw for over a week now. Ben is still having loose stools and needs to poop three or four times a day. He has had accidents in the house two days in a row. Any thoughts? He's eating pork necks and ground turkey (I was trying to limit the protein sources so I could add new things one at a time) once a day in the evenings. He's also been eating grass and throwing up bile. I was hoping that he was just reacting to the diet change and things would clear up. If they don't, I will put him back on his kibble and do some more research.

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I can only ask the usual questions: are you feeding too much food to Ben? This would definitely cause loose stools and plenty of them.

 

Is the turkey store-ground or ground by you? It's not unusual for storebought ground meat (of any kind) to have fillers, lots of fat, and/or high bacteria count...not all the time, not even so one could take the notion to the bank. Both ground turkey and ground chicken are susceptible. Ground meat is often at risk for bacteria overgrowth.

 

Have you tried pork necks alone? Have you tried ground turkey alone? Have you tried whole turkey meat...on of off bone, doesn't matter at this point. You could get a leg or thigh and cut the met from the bone if you wanted to skip the bone part for now.

 

Have you tried pork meat, with or without bone...and no turkey whatsoever?

 

Eating grass may or may not relate to what's going on with his food. It's hard to know whether the food is inspiring the grass, or the grass is causing the food problem...or if right now the grass is just especially yummy. Since grass eating also can be a sign of anxiety, perhaps he's doing a bit more worrying than he ought.

 

Throwing up bile generally results from nothing in the tummy, or something indigestible in the tummy. Grass in an empty belly could absolutely be the reason for the bile vomits...did you notice if there were blades of grass in the puddle? (Don't laugh, I check this stuff all the time.) A bone bit in the tummy could also do the trick, but almost always the vomit contains the offending bit of bone. See any?

 

Lots of variables here, but too much food is often at the root of loose poops; and store-bought ground meat has a pretty bad track record too. I realize he's a skinny ninny, but might you skip a day's feeding, then try whole turkey meat or some whole pork meat? Not a dishful though; just a quarter pound or so.

 

Good luck!

Chris O

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