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  1. #1
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    Default Raw food diet ideas/help

    Thought I'd post here and see if anyone had any hints or ideas for putting a dog on a raw food diet.

    I am a current college student and am hoping to bring my dog out to school with me next year (working towards an animal therapy certification program) and needless to say, my dog is quite finicky and has some food allergies and skin problems. It has taken the majority of the 5 years we have had her to figure out that a raw food diet is the best fit for her. Yet, at close to $50 a pop every few weeks for 1 package of the frozen patties, I just can't totally swallow that cost.

    After some talking with family and some research, I think I could achieve the same affect by just cooking her meals. I am thinking meals consisting of rice, carrots, meat (chicken, hamburger, potatoes etc). But other than just cooking up chicken and rice with carrots (and then dividing into several meals, including some for myself), I was wondering if you guys had any home-cooked dog meal recipes that you have had success with. Or just any tips in general.

    Thank you!



  2. #2
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    questions: (and I am sure others will have more)

    How big is your dog?
    What are the allergies?
    Why do you think feeding cooked is less expensive than raw?
    What are the skin problems?


    There are high quality kibble out there and we can help you pick one.
    We can also help you add quality into your dog's kibble.

    I like to add raw local honey to my dog's breakfast, it helps with outdoor allergies and he likes it.

    So help us help you...and give us a bit more information



  3. #3
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    She is a 60 lbs lab. Mostly skin allergies and seasonal allergies (I will admit, I do not know the true extent of allergies - she has just always been kind of a hard keeper - poor coat, varying weight, itchy skin). She is currently getting her raw patties (1 2x/day), fish oil pills and a scoop of coconut oil and it has made a huge change (a change to the extent where if she goes back on dry food, she almost instantly drops weight, coat is dull and has diarrhea). As far as what dry foods we have tried in the past, we have tried a variety including Nutrisource, Royal, and Taste of the Wild (just to name a few, I'm drawing a blank on what else we have tried).

    I haven't done the math as far as feeding cooked being less expensive than raw, but with ~12 patties a pack and a pack at $46/pack, with her getting 2 patties/day - that comes out to close to $200/month - and I just have a gut feeling that buying and cooking each meal would be a cheaper (and healthier) way to deal with her issues. Not to mention, it would force me to eat on a healthier and tighter budget.

    I am all for the kibble - our other lab has no issues with anything and is on a basic kibble (as are our cats). It is only this lab - and she makes up for all her food issues in personality and heart, and that she is truly my once in a life time dog (found my heart horse already, seems I get a dog as well). So I honestly do have to consider just sucking it up and putting the dog before myself if necessary and if it weren't for that and the fact that I am going for an animal therapy certification with her, I would bring the family to let me bring out the less problematic (though he has his own issues, don't they all?) one.



  4. #4
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    I feed my Bengal cat a raw diet. I get a him whole ground rabbit, duck and chicken which I mix together with a cat supplement. His coat blooms and his poo does not stink at all.

    Go to: http://www.hare-today.com/index.php?cPath=21
    Tracey is amazing and very friendly. She can answer your questions.

    You can also get http://www.naturesvariety.com/
    at Pet Co. Another food I feed when I'm out of raw and the next shipment is coming.
    "Common sense is so rare nowadays, it should be classified as a super power."-Craig Bear Laubscher



  5. #5
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    I'm not a lot of help here, but instead of buying the expensive patties, why not just feed raw chicken necks, livers, etc? That is probably cheaper then buying "raw diet" that is marketed to dogs, when you can get the necks and such from a butcher much cheaper I'm sure, and then add a supplement for vitamins and minerals?
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  6. #6
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    I used to shop for my border collie at the supermarket. He ate a true raw diet. I'd get a whole chicken and he'd eat the whole thing, bones and all (raw bone is good, cooked is bad). I'd stuff it full of chicken guts I'd buy separately. He'd get pork picnic roasts (cheap cut). He's get ribs. I was a big fan of shopping on the day/time they'd mark everything down because it expired the next day.

    I'd freeze the cheap stew beef cubes (freezing them made it harder/more interesting to eat). I averaged about $1/lb for feeding him.

    There are frozen chicken halves/quarters that are super cheap.

    I found too much chicken led to rock hard poops and too much fatty pork led to loose poops. So I tried to follow a couple chicken days with something like the pork picnic roast. If occasionally order a whole rabbit and novel things from a raw feeding group. It was a lot of fun getting new stuff for him to try.

    My dog did really well on that diet.

    He ate minimal veggies and no grains.


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  7. #7
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    It's been a while since I conversed with serious dog owners.
    One lady was feeding her Dalmatian raw, with stuff she bought from the grocery store. Like the stuff we buy, the more handling goes in, the more it costs. The prepared patties are convenient, but you are paying through the nose for it (gosh, that's nearly the price for Omaha Steak stuff!)

    Invest in a professional grade meat grinder, one that can handle small bones (the lady ground up the chicken parts, wings and thighs, to prevent complications with the bones)

    Some swear by turkey bones, although I have heard about obstructions due to neck bones.

    She added yogurt, olive oil, grated carrots, honey, cider vinegar, fish oil capsules etc....
    She said that paying more attention to the dog's nutrition made her family eat better as well.

    Then there is 'Satin's Balls', a popular raw recipe which can be tailored to personal needs (or thrown in a skilled for meatloaf with the addition of a few spices)

    I know the acronym is BARF, but it should not be disgusting to the server () to prepare the meals.
    Quote Originally Posted by fargaloo View Post
    Do you not understand how asking "why now?" is EXACTLY part of the reason why assault victims feel silenced?



  8. #8
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    ok, I am not as up to speed on feeding raw, since I too am a poor college student and have to make due. I do however have a 65lb monster and from what I understand is in order to feed a proper raw diet, they need 10% of their body weight a day. So a 60lb dog will need 6 pounds of raw every day. My friend has a 165 lb Great Dane that she feeds raw and its amazing how much meat that dog puts away. (she eats more than I do!!!)

    Seasonal allergies can be combated with RAW LOCAL honey. About 2 teaspoons a day in one meal. My Riley is allergic to oak tree, certain grasses, and a few other pollens and if I miss a few days of his honey, he will develop hives and you can't touch him because he is so uncomfortable.

    Finding out which protein is causing the dietary upset is important too. For example, Riley cannot have any form of poultry, that includes duck as well as turkey.

    There is a ying diet and a yang diet (or hot and cold) Fish is neutral. Most dogs can digest a white fish (no salmon) diet and this can put you on the track of finding which proteins upset your dog's digestion.


    Your dog could be allergic to eggs, a common stable in most (95%) of dog foods.
    Your dog could be allergic to the starches used in dog foods, but until you do a diet where all of the starches and proteins are eliminated and you start to reintroduce each ingredient back into the diet. Personally, I steer clear from starches as much as possible. Dogs are not made to digest grains, and I include rice, oats, potatoes, and sweet potatoes and corn into that category. (I know they are in his dry kibble but I do not add anymore into his diet)

    I would love to feed a proper raw diet, but I know that I would not be able to do it properly because of the cost involved. BUT I do supplement with fresh fruits, raw eggs, fresh vegetables, and raw when I have some.

    You mentioned you feed a fish oil, that is great, just make sure its a WILD caught fish...they have all the essential Omega's unlike farm raised fish.

    A 60 lb dog needs roughly 1100 calories a day. (give or take) Make sure you are feeding a high quality kibble if you are feeding dry. Example Taste of the wild's calories vary between 325-375 calories per cup. I switched Riley to Earthborn Holistics and they are roughly 425-450 calories per cup. I was even able to make a bag stretch longer each month because I was feeding him less.

    Hopefully Simkie will chime in. She is a great asset to have when it comes to foods and numbers.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post

    Then there is 'Satin's Balls', a popular raw recipe which can be tailored to personal needs (or thrown in a skilled for meatloaf with the addition of a few spices)
    Slight OT but please use caution if you go the Satin Ball route. Almost all of the recipes for them come out to 30-40% fat and I now know of two dogs that developed complications within 7 days of starting them. Of course, many many people feed them for rapid weight gain with no problem but I would run it by your vet before feeding something that high fat long term especially because it isn't nutritionally balanced.



  10. #10
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    Since you don't really know what is wrong with your dog, it's hard to proceed. He might be just fine on a commercial canned or kibble diet, if only you select the correct one. Diagnosis first, treat second.

    there are tons of feeding options. In my experience, the cooked diets are the worst- time consuming, and very expensive because you HAVE TO add supplements, and those get pricey. You can't just feed your dog rice, chicken, and carrots, that is completely unbalanced. Your vet bills will skyrocket.

    The easiest and cheapest way to feed raw is to find a source of real whole-prey. Namely, heads, brains, eyeballs, skin, and all parts of the animal. If you feed "grocery store frankenprey" you're back to having to supplement and do research to make sure it's balanced, and it can get very tricky. A lot of people try the grocery-store route and end up feeding mostly commercial chicken (due to its cheapness) and unfortunately commercial chicken isn't very nutritious. It's devoid of many essential minerals. The easiest whole-prey to find are rabbits, fish, and small birds. Check for "ethnic" grocery stores in your area, small rabbit breeders, people who breed food for reptiles, hunters and the like for cheap sources of local whole-prey.

    Monica Segal has published little $6 booklets with balanced cooked and raw recipes. That's one way to go.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    Slight OT but please use caution if you go the Satin Ball route. Almost all of the recipes for them come out to 30-40% fat and I now know of two dogs that developed complications within 7 days of starting them. Of course, many many people feed them for rapid weight gain with no problem but I would run it by your vet before feeding something that high fat long term especially because it isn't nutritionally balanced.
    well, if you throw in cheapest beef that's only 70 percent meat, goes without saying.

    Being a pet owner also means to be observant.
    Quote Originally Posted by fargaloo View Post
    Do you not understand how asking "why now?" is EXACTLY part of the reason why assault victims feel silenced?



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjprincess09 View Post
    Thought I'd post here and see if anyone had any hints or ideas for putting a dog on a raw food diet.

    I am a current college student and am hoping to bring my dog out to school with me next year (working towards an animal therapy certification program) and needless to say, my dog is quite finicky and has some food allergies and skin problems. It has taken the majority of the 5 years we have had her to figure out that a raw food diet is the best fit for her. Yet, at close to $50 a pop every few weeks for 1 package of the frozen patties, I just can't totally swallow that cost.

    After some talking with family and some research, I think I could achieve the same affect by just cooking her meals. I am thinking meals consisting of rice, carrots, meat (chicken, hamburger, potatoes etc). But other than just cooking up chicken and rice with carrots (and then dividing into several meals, including some for myself), I was wondering if you guys had any home-cooked dog meal recipes that you have had success with. Or just any tips in general.

    Thank you!
    Just to state the obvious, if you "cook it", it's not raw. Don't do that. Denatured proteins (cooked) are far different from their raw state and may cause her immune system to overreact, resulting in the allergies you've noticed. Please do truly stick to RAW if that's what she does best on.
    "Absent a correct diagnosis, medicine is poison, surgery is trauma and alternative therapy is witchcraft" A. Kent Allen
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/tailsofglory


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  13. #13
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    it depends entirely on the dog and the REAL problem- I had a dog who was allergic to flax. Good luck finding commercial anything they don't load up with flax despite the fact that most dogs can't digest flaxseed. Took me forever to figure out what she was reacting to. She also got really sick if fed raw chicken, but was fine with cooked chicken- and often the reverse is experienced instead. Dogs are much more likely to react to cooked foods. They are also biologically carnivores, and most do best if their diet is mostly meat, not rice/carrots. Meat is obviously more expensive than grains or potatoes. So the answer is dependent on what is wrong. If the dog's immune system is defective leading to environmental allergies, avoiding inflammatory foods like grains/potatoes plus antihistamines is the way to go.



  14. #14
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    thanks for coming into the conversation Wendy. You and Simkie are my go to CoTHers when it comes to feeding.



  15. #15
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    Years ago I fed my dog a raw diet before it became so popular. I did this because she had allergies and back then you couldn't find any commercial grain-free dog food.
    As for the diet, it's a helluva lot of work. My dog ate mostly raw chicken backs, wings, necks, and sometimes turkey necks. I also included some raw beef patties to mix in some supplements (kelp, fish oil, etc). I'd buy the meat in bulk, freeze them on cookie sheets, then bag them (this way they don't freeze together in one lump). When she got older and had trouble chewing, I found a deer processer who sold preground beef and chicken with bones included. I never fed leg quarters, as the bones are too dense for some dogs to chew.

    Feeding a cooked diet kinda defeats the purpose; all the healthy stuff in the raw food is being cooked away. You would also have to substitute something for the bones they're not getting. Also, feeding rice is adding grains, which many dogs are allergic to.

    There are quite a few grain free high quality foods out there that would be more balanced and much more convenient for you. They're expensive but you'll be feeding much less than a cheaper food. I would give Orijen food a try, the fish variety.



  16. #16
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    I think guys are making it all too hard.

    I feed a prey model raw diet to my dogs.

    They get unenhanced meats that I buy from a local butcher in bulk (or from the grocery store if there are good deals there). My dogs eat 2 to 3% of their body weight in food per day. They eat 80% meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ. They don't have to have that exact ratio every day, it's just over time.

    So, my normal menu for my 40 pound cattle dog/border collie mix is:
    Day 1-chicken quarter (approx. 1 pound)
    Day 2-1 to 1 1/4 pounds pork picnic-no bone
    Day 3-chicken quarter, 1/2 pound of liver or kidney
    Day 4-1 to 1 1/4 beef heart
    Day 5-Beef heart again
    Day 6-chicken quarter with 1/2 pound of liver or kidney
    Day 7-pork

    Sometimes I add in a different kind of meat if I can find it. Sometimes if I'm out of something, I double up on another. There are no grains or veggies in her diet at all. Every once in awhile if somethings on sale, she may get pork ribs as a bone, but I'm careful with those. Most of her bone is from chicken. She also gets organic fish oil daily

    She has EPI, and by feeding her this diet, she is able to maintain weight, she is shiny, looks great, and is healthy.

    Whoever said raw fed dogs need 10% of their body weight a day needs to double check those figures. Even my high energy search and rescue cattle dog only gets 3% to maintain his weight. I think all dogs would be OBESE at that level of feeding...or there is something wrong.

    Feeding this way and by utilizing sales, I spend about $1.00 per pound of food. So, for one 40 pound dog, I spend about $30 a month in food. Much cheaper than the pre packaged stuff!!!


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  17. #17
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    I do the prey model method as well. BARF, etc. seems like way too much work and my dog does best on just meat.

    I don't buy the frozen patties - they are way too expensive. I buy discount meat at the grocery store, load up when there's a sale and buy the bulk of it at the asian market.

    Start out slow and with an easy to digest protein like chicken. DO NOT add organ or offal meats until your dog has had time to adjust. I recommend chicken quarters for the first week or so. Variety of proteins IS the key, but not at first.

    Then do the math. A prey model method is around 70% muscle meat (liver, heart, gizzards, shoulder, tongue, etc.), 20% bone (chicken quarters, turkey necks, turkey wings - only if dog can handle the bone, oxtail, whole fish, etc.), 5% offal (kidneys, spleen, etc), and 5% liver. I tend to go closer to 15% offal/liver and I include green tripe, whole eggs, etc.

    Most dogs typically need 2-3% of their body weight in raw food. My 75 lb flat coat retriever eats between 1.5 to 2 lbs a day and holds his weight readily, even with two hour walks a day. My brother's 80 lb lab/great dane, however, needs closer to 5 lbs of food a day. But he's always had a high metabolism and when on kibble, ate 4 cups of high calorie food (EVO) a day to maintain his weight. You can play around with it. If your dog is losing weight after two weeks and 2 lbs a day, you can increase food. If he's gaining weight, decrease.

    Sometimes I feed my dog once a day or twice, depending on what he's eating. There's no way I'm cutting pork lungs so he gets one 4 lb meal on those days. Then the next day I give him closer to 1 lb so make up for the bigger meal the day before.

    It's complicated at first and I highly recommend you weigh the meats to make sure you're close to the 70-10-5-5 ratio and then adjust from there. (This AFTER the first few weeks of letting your dog adjust to the diet and introducing new proteins slowly). White poops and straining to go means too much bone. Loose poops is too much fat or too much offal. Even after 3 years of raw, I don't feed my dog more than 3 meals in a row of pork or he'll get the runs. I usually do muscle-liver-bone-muscle-offal-muscle, etc. so the offal and liver is sandwiched between bone and muscle meals to help offset the possibility of loose poops - especially when offal and new proteins are first introduced.

    Chicken is the easiest to digest and pork is the hardest. Introduce meals with bone at first to ease the digestion process. DO NOT FEED COOKED BONES. I think the OP mentioned cooking chicken?? THAT IS NOT RAW. Sorry for the caps but feeding raw bones is healthy...feeding cooked bones is a disaster waiting to happen. Cooking the bones makes them brittle and prone to splinting. Raw bones are soft and easy to digest/chew.

    As for veggies/grains that's more for a BARF diet and if your dog has allergies, that doesn't seem a logical way to go. My brother's dog is on raw because he has mad allergies so we cut out all grains and his skin cleared up in a few weeks. He went from raw red HOT skin with no hair to regrowing a nice coat and his skin inflammation died right down. (He even developed a staph infection from all the scratching he did while on kibble).

    If you want to keep with veggies, you have to either cook them or blend them on high to break them down enough for them to have any benefit for a dog. I'm too lazy, so i buy canned green tripe and that gives my dog all the greens he needs...though I do occasionally pour some of my green smoothies in his bowl as a treat.

    Either way, research, research, and more research before you change your dog's diet. Feeding a healthy raw diet is beneficial but do it wrong, and you're putting your dog's health at risk.



  18. #18
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    I feed raw. 80% meat. 10% bone. 10% organ. (5% of which is liver)

    No vegetables, no fruits, no satin balls etc. your dog can't digest those things.

    Start with chicken. Aim to feed mostly boneless stuff with a bone meal thrown in every couple of days. No chicken necks unless its a cat. Much too small and a huge choking hazard. No beef bones or weight bearing bones of a large animal. Much too hard and can break teeth.

    Your goal in the months after switching to raw is to feed primarily red meat. No ground unless you get it for free.

    The only supplement your dog needs is possibly a salmon oil if you don't feed an oily fish occasionally.

    Pm me if you'd like more info. I belong to a huge raw feeding group.



  19. #19
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    You should read Monica Segal's books. She carefully analyzes several typical "prey model" diets, the ones where people feed a diet based on a simple % meat/%organs/%raw meaty bones calculation, and finds they are universally unbalanced and incomplete- usually deficient in B vitamins, copper, zinc, iodine, and possibly iron. It is true that a real whole-prey is probably complete, but if you're not actually feeding real whole prey and you aren't adding supplements or aren't adding the correct supplements, eventually your dog will start to show signs of nutritional deficiencies- it might take several years before this happens, depending on how unbalanced the diet is and what, exactly, is missing. Even if you feed whole prey animals, you'll probably want to add kelp and B and E vitamins at a minimum.
    If you go read the labels on commercial raw foods, you'll notice that they all add either a lengthy list of assorted plants to add the nutrients necessary, or add additional vitamins and minerals.
    You'll have to look up the nutritional content of everything you feed over the course of 2 weeks and compare those to the NRC numbers for canine nutrition in order to figure out what supplements your diet needs, or perhaps you need to alter the diet. There was at one point a spreadsheet floating around to help you do this, it might still be out there. And then you have to stick with your diet instead of feeding randomly, or you'll have to re-do your calculations. It sounds hard, but you only have to do it once.
    Last edited by wendy; May. 18, 2013 at 03:37 PM.



  20. #20
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    That was my bad.

    I don't feed raw and did say that in the beginning of my past. I was basing it on my friends Great Dane who weights 165 and eats over 10 pounds a day and is not obese. But I apologize for my miss-speak


    Quote Originally Posted by Arrows Endure View Post
    Whoever said raw fed dogs need 10% of their body weight a day needs to double check those figures. Even my high energy search and rescue cattle dog only gets 3% to maintain his weight. I think all dogs would be OBESE at that level of feeding...or there is something wrong.

    Feeding this way and by utilizing sales, I spend about $1.00 per pound of food. So, for one 40 pound dog, I spend about $30 a month in food. Much cheaper than the pre packaged stuff!!!



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