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Raw Food Diet for Dogs

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  • Raw Food Diet for Dogs

    Does anyone feed a raw food diet to their farm dogs? The price of kibble has gone up so much lately that we're starting to consider feeding a raw diet to our golden retriever mix. It is something that has always been in the back of our minds. Price and convenience were our reasons for sticking with kibble... now that the price of kibble has gone up, it seems less of a compelling reason. Anyone have any opinions on the different kinds of raw diets, or raw diets in general? If you feed it, where do you get the meat? Grocery store, butcher, pre-made and frozen? What kinds of meat do you feed? Do you feed them twice a day still? Did your dogs have upset stomachs during the transition? How much per month does it cost you? Does your vet approve? When we brought up the idea with our last vet, he discouraged it.

  • #2
    I fed it for a while. Google "barf diet" It was designed by an Australian Vet and was great. I told my vet I was feeding it after he commented on how great my dogs looked and how clean and white their teeth were. He couldn't argue with the results! I stopped feeding it because it's not just raw meat that you feed. You have to try to replicate the intestinal products of game animals with pulverized plant stuff and other ingredients. It got to be too time consuming.

    However, I do buy turkey necks or wings or chicken leg/thighs and feed one of those about once a week or so. I think it helps to keep the teeth in good shape. You must make sure the bones are raw. Cooked bones splinter and cause problems.

    I've never had any of my dogs have digestive trouble the diet even with just the occasional raw bone treat.

    I don't think it would be any cheaper than kibble, since the price of all food as gone up unless you have access to a meat processing plant that gives you a discount on the raw bones.

    Comment


    • #3
      I can see why your vet discouraged it, they get to treat the dogs that get sick on it.

      The trouble is not that raw food is bad, but that raw food goes thru several steps and any one of those can contaminate it, does contaminate it.
      When we cook it, we take care of that. Not so if we use it raw.

      It only takes one bad egg to contaminate a whole batch.
      Your dog may not get sick from many of those bad batches, as digestive systems are made to handle some contaminants fine, until that one time it does make your dogs sick.

      Since the raw diet craze for dogs started many years ago, several members of our dog club here and there decide to try it, become very fanatic about it, how good it is and make a pest of themselves trying to convince others about how well their dogs look now and that they don't itch/xyz any more.
      Eventually, they give up and go back to regular dog food and guess what, their dogs still do fine.

      I think that today some companies are preparing and freezing and selling the raw dog food, some even in local grocery stores.
      Prepared like that, or if you want to do so in your kitchen, after you learn how to balance nutrients, all that is fine, you won't kill your dogs with it.

      As for "BETTER", no, don't fall for the fads.

      Comment


      • #4
        of course most vets are going to disapprove of raw diets... it's not in their training (what little nutrition training they have) nor is it improving their bottom line as many vets sell premium dog food on the side. Sorry to be so cynical but after my last vet visit where she started out with a dozen possible reasons for my dogs loose bowels and then HARPED that it HAD to be the raw diet only after I told her that's what I fed... a little gunshy.

        Yes, I feed raw. started with my 10 year old newf with a kidney issue that disappeared after the switch... and who lived anotehr 2 years. The pup (now 17 months) has been on raw since I got him at 3 months. The cattle dog (aka dingo) has been raw fed for several years as well. Even transitioned my cat to raw.

        You can feed once or twice/day. I do twice since the newf gets so much and I don't want to feed him all that at once, although I'm sure that's more me than him. 2-3% of their weight is what you want to feed total with 60% OR MORE being MEAT. some folks put 10% veggies, some feel this is unnecessary.

        You can get meat about anywhere. If you have a local processor or butcher, ask for scraps. Look in the day old compartment at the grocery store. There are plenty of places online to order (I suggest looking into Carnivore Suppliers group on Yahoo). Highly recommend a separate freezer if you have space as a lot of things you can get a LOT cheaper in bulk.

        As for what to feed, start easy. Don't push too much variety on the dog too soon. Add new meats SLOWLY, but you can feed pretty much any meat you can think of -- chicken, turkey, venison, beef, pork, rabbit, fish -- those are probably the most common. The only thing to avoid is heavy weight bearing bones like deer and cow femurs. They're too dense and won't be good for anything more than recreational chewing and you may even endanger a chipped tooth.

        If you find you get an upset stomach... I suggest what I call Puppy mash -- a mix of ground meat (beef is fine), yogurt and pumpking (not pie filling but pumpkin). I started Reilly with puppy mash because of the switch and that he was really young and I didn't want to rush him. I slowly started adding meats, starting with Chicken.

        Price? Well, if you're really good at scrounging, watching sales, buying in bulk, etc., you can get meats for well under $1/pound. Sky is the limit if you don't care and buy whatever or buy for strictly convenience (ordering premade meals, etc.).

        ETA: "You have to try to replicate the intestinal products of game animals with pulverized plant stuff and other ingredients. " -- no you don't. Some folks subscribe to the idea that a dog really is a carnivore and doesn't need plants. Others simply feed pureed veggies. It's not THAT hard to do.

        "The trouble is not that raw food is bad, but that raw food goes thru several steps and any one of those can contaminate it, does contaminate it.
        When we cook it, we take care of that. Not so if we use it raw." -- but as you mentioned our digestive systems aren't the same as a dogs. Dogs can handle a LOT more than a human. There is no need to cook a dog's food other than to make ourselves feel better.

        That said... to each their own. I won't hound you to convert to raw if you don't stop me from feeding what I feel is best. :-)
        ************
        "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

        "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jherold View Post
          I've never had any of my dogs have digestive trouble the diet even with just the occasional raw bone treat.
          I bought our dogs each one of those big raw bones from the freezer at the feed store. Has the "knuckles" on the ends. Well, Westie got a knuckle stuck in his intestines and it was touch and go for a couple of days (he kept throwing up, got dehydrated, spent time at the vet's) until it finally passed. BE CAREFUL!!

          We stick to Milk Bones.
          If you cannot set a good example, at least serve as a terrible warning....

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by jherold View Post

            I don't think it would be any cheaper than kibble, since the price of all food as gone up unless you have access to a meat processing plant that gives you a discount on the raw bones.

            Yeah, I didn't think it would actually be cheaper, just that, with the price difference between raw and kibble decreasing, (we just paid $75 for a bag of food that, two months ago, cost us $50) it is now more worth it to switch to raw. I know the price of chicken hasn't gone up 50% in two months! We do have a chicken slaughter place nearby... but asking for a discount may be difficult, as the owners only speak Polish.

            What sort of green things did you use to imitate the stomach contents?

            Comment


            • #7
              I have fed mine raw diet for a long while now. I do raw patties in the morning (I use Primal) and kibble in the evening-but I am changing evenings to dehydrated raw

              They also get one beef marrow bone a day (cheaper than rawhide).


              My 8yo aussie has sparkling white teeth, never had his teeth cleaned. THey coats improved on the diet and skin allergies are gone.

              I DID feed nature's variety patties but learned they are most eggs so changed to primal.

              It is not cheap this way but I just can't prepare it-my stomach would flip.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                I can see why your vet discouraged it, they get to treat the dogs that get sick on it.

                The trouble is not that raw food is bad, but that raw food goes thru several steps and any one of those can contaminate it, does contaminate it.
                When we cook it, we take care of that. Not so if we use it raw.


                Yeah, I worry about contamination as well. The argument that our vet had was not that it was unsafe for the dogs, though, but that the pet food companies spent millions of dollars in research on what is a good diet for dogs, and that the average owner isn't capable of balancing their dog's diet correctly. I'm not sure I buy that now, though I did at the time. I have since brought my horses home and taken on every aspect of their care, something I never thought I would be capable of. I balance my horses' diets just fine, and with some research, I feel that I could balance my dog's diet as well.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by LMH View Post
                  I have fed mine raw diet for a long while now. I do raw patties in the morning (I use Primal) and kibble in the evening-but I am changing evenings to dehydrated raw

                  They also get one beef marrow bone a day (cheaper than rawhide).


                  My 8yo aussie has sparkling white teeth, never had his teeth cleaned. THey coats improved on the diet and skin allergies are gone.

                  I DID feed nature's variety patties but learned they are most eggs so changed to primal.

                  It is not cheap this way but I just can't prepare it-my stomach would flip.
                  Can you buy that at a regular pet store? Can you get it mail-order? We live pretty far out, and I've never seen anything but kibble at the pet store in town. I'm pretty good at handling meat in all stages, so chopping up a whole dead thing for my dog wouldn't be too much of a challenge.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by tle View Post
                    Even transitioned my cat to raw.
                    Ha! I wondered whether cats could eat it too. We have a cat that DH rescued from underneath the fire escape at his office. She's never really gotten off a raw diet! Leave something to thaw on the counter, even a big roast, and it isn't the dog that gets it, it is the little eight pound cat. Who, I assume, weighs twelve pounds after eating several whole pork chops. Our huge semi-feral barn cat, on the other hand, won't touch anything but kibble.

                    Thanks for the info!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here are some great links for info on RAW and BARF diets:

                      Dr. Ian Billinghurst's BARFworld website

                      BARF newcomers FAQs

                      Some books:

                      "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" by Richard H. Pitcairn D.V. M

                      "Foods Pets Die For" by Ann Martin

                      "The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care" by CJ Puotinen

                      "Switching to Raw" by Susan Johnson

                      "Raw Meaty Bones" by Dr. Tom Lonsdale
                      If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                      DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                      Originally posted by talkofthetown
                      As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mayhew View Post
                          Yeah, I worry about contamination as well. The argument that our vet had was not that it was unsafe for the dogs, though, but that the pet food companies spent millions of dollars in research on what is a good diet for dogs, and that the average owner isn't capable of balancing their dog's diet correctly.
                          HAHAHAHA!!! Dog food companies spend millions of dollars in research determining what will improve their bottom line the most without killing the pets of their consumers. That can but doesn't necessarily mean the same as determing what is a "good diet" for dogs. for example, dogs don't need grains in any form. While you will find some dissention in the raw community on whether they need veggies or not, no one will argue that a dog's system doesn't "do" grains. so where exactly did those millions of dollars in research determine that putting grains in dog food was a good idea??

                          re: cats. when I first transitioned my old newf to raw, the cat wouldn't touch it. It has only been since I got the pup that she's been on raw.

                          Oh, and I forgot... you MUST remember to include organs in the dogs diet.... Liver and Kidneys are most popular (fyi, heart is considered a muscle meat when it comes to diet not an organ). About 5% if I remember correctly of the overall diet.... which you can easily figure on a MONTHLY basis... not daily like many dog food companies would have you believe.
                          ************
                          "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                          "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Been feeding my Rat Terriers RAW for 3 years

                            Just as others have said, you may not save money (though $75 for a bag of kibble is $$$$!!???) unless you are really good about finding the deals.

                            Another good place to go are the Asian and Mexican grocery stores. They have lots of different types of meats and bone-in-meats for alot cheaper. And they'll chop things up more for you.

                            The "feeding whole prey model" isn't neccesarily about adding "stomach contents"...but the idea that you should feed a balance of muscle, organ, bone and yes....raw green tripe.

                            Check out www.greentripe.com for the "green" stuff.

                            I used to get Nature's Variety patties, and now get the Primal nuggets or patties (pre-made frozen) I am SO LUCKY to have my local pet food store carry these and other brands. Plus they have the raw marrow bones which are fantastic.

                            Anyways - people are really divided on this topic. It works very well for my Ratties. Never had a problem. I feel it's healthier than kibble. (though, when I did feed kibble - it was the super high end premium stuff!)

                            Good luck!
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                            www.elainehickman.com
                            **Morgans Do It All**

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I don't have a barn dog, but I do have ten barn cats. At first I was quite happy with two, but I digress...

                              They eat (in descending order) raw/frozen, freeze-dried, canned and kibbled food, plus some occasional table scrap meat (leftover poultry, beef or fish) and whatever they may catch. I also give them plain yogurt (cats can have yogurt) once or twice a week. The purchased foods are all premium foods, none from the grocery or chain pet/farm stores (except the yougurt). My catfood bill has increased *substantially*, but since I feed my horses and myself well, my kitties deserve to eat well, too. Thing is, now they cost more than the horses. But that's ok.

                              I spent a lot of time and effort on research; finding out who makes what brand, what facility the particular product is manufactured in, what other brands may be made in that same facility, parent companies, subsidiaries, sourcing of ingrediants, etc. I called the companies, vets, nutritionists, and spoke with store owners and their salespeople, etc. I made a real effort to study and learn everything I could about cat physiology. Really researched a lot, and I still keep in touch with several contacts. I also have great cat vets, and a great food supplier, and they have all been extremely resourceful and supportive.

                              I never had any transition problems per say, but the kitties never were on straight kibble, even back in the day there was always some form of canned food added, albeit a poorer quality at the time. And they always got some form of leftover a couple times a week. Plus, they would still hunt. But I was still careful anyway, like any switch to a more nutrient-dense diet.

                              The only big change I made was to go to once per day feeding, more along a carnivore-type as opposed to our horses' herbivore-type feeding with more meals. Although in cold weather, I do give them more. Right now, they get meat and/or canned first thing in the morning, and as I'm doing chores, they eat that down. Then I drop kibble, and they eat that down and when they're done, I put most of the leftovers away, unless someone didn't show up for breakfast (a rarity). I don't want any food out at night.

                              I buy grain-free and use the brands Wysong, Nature's Variety, Taste of the Wild, Pet Guard, Natural Planet and Merrick and some of them are organic. The yogurt is also organic, Stoneyfield Farm brand (the only one I can find in the big container). Occasionally I will buy meat at the grocery and cut it up. I have tossed a witnessed fresh-killed rabbit or two in the back of my truck to take to the barn.
                              Last edited by cheryl ann; Jan. 5, 2009, 03:32 PM. Reason: forgot one
                              Cheryl in WNY
                              Horse Kids Kit & Bobby

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                What brand are you feeding and paying 75.00 per bag?


                                With that said, I'm with TLE...I feed raw and will never go back. I buy the Nature's Variety Chubs (chicken, lamb, beef....and you can find them in the more upscale pet stores)...they are not super cheap....between 2-3.00 per pound. But they are complete and I don't worry about balancing things out.

                                I also buy the Smart Chicken Leg Quarters at the grocery store and they occassionally get those too.

                                If cost is the factor..I'd be curious to know what you are feeding, sometimes you can get your food online MUCH cheaper.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                  I can see why your vet discouraged it, they get to treat the dogs that get sick on it.

                                  The trouble is not that raw food is bad, but that raw food goes thru several steps and any one of those can contaminate it, does contaminate it.
                                  When we cook it, we take care of that. Not so if we use it raw.

                                  It only takes one bad egg to contaminate a whole batch.
                                  Your dog may not get sick from many of those bad batches, as digestive systems are made to handle some contaminants fine, until that one time it does make your dogs sick.


                                  Since the raw diet craze for dogs started many years ago, several members of our dog club here and there decide to try it, become very fanatic about it, how good it is and make a pest of themselves trying to convince others about how well their dogs look now and that they don't itch/xyz any more.
                                  Eventually, they give up and go back to regular dog food and guess what, their dogs still do fine.

                                  I think that today some companies are preparing and freezing and selling the raw dog food, some even in local grocery stores.
                                  Prepared like that, or if you want to do so in your kitchen, after you learn how to balance nutrients, all that is fine, you won't kill your dogs with it.

                                  As for "BETTER", no, don't fall for the fads.
                                  Hmmmm, not like any kibble recalls killed dogs, right? We all learned in 2007 that there is no guarantee in kibble either.

                                  I guess I'm a true fanatic because a. I subscribe to the Whole Dog Journal and B. I feed raw. Actually, I've just taken the time to read and educate myself..and my dogs are healthier for it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I don't know about raw dog food but I do know someone who only eats raw food for heself-Yuck!-but supposed to be healthy-or so I hear..

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by dalpal View Post
                                      Hmmmm, not like any kibble recalls killed dogs, right? We all learned in 2007 that there is no guarantee in kibble either.

                                      I guess I'm a true fanatic because a. I subscribe to the Whole Dog Journal and B. I feed raw. Actually, I've just taken the time to read and educate myself..and my dogs are healthier for it.
                                      That is why in our dog club, we don't discuss dog foods.
                                      Everyone thinks their dog is healthier because they do XYZ and feed ZYX.

                                      The truth is that all dogs look and work great, no matter how the very sensible, well educated people feed and manage them.
                                      No one can tell by watching the dogs who is fed what.
                                      Dogs are very resilient and will do well under most any good management.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                        That is why in our dog club, we don't discuss dog foods.
                                        Everyone thinks their dog is healthier because they do XYZ and feed ZYX.

                                        The truth is that all dogs look and work great, no matter how the very sensible, well educated people feed and manage them.
                                        No one can tell by watching the dogs who is fed what.
                                        Dogs are very resilient and will do well under most any good management.
                                        Oh I agree, but you cannot make the argument that kibble is safer after the 2007 fiasco. I was skeptical about raw at first....but after the dogs had been on it for a month...even my farrier made a comment. "Your dalmatian looks more fit than I've ever seen him." The only thing that had changed was his diet...exercise remained the same. I love it...switched to it after a LONG time dalmatian breeder mentored me....love the results....more energy, glossier coat, and very lean muscle.

                                        And , I agree.....it's not for every dog/every owner.

                                        Comment

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