Hi, I have been researching the raw diet and I have decided to switch my two year old Weim over to raw. I plan on feeding him a freeze dried pre mix from either the honest kitchen or grandma Lucy’s, and then adding my own meat. I know you gave to rotate proteins, but what amount of organ and bone do you need to include? I am brand new to this so any tips would be much appreciated!
Weimlove ~~ for clarification, The Honest Kitchen foods are dehydrated versus freeze dried. I personally like freeze drying better but I like the lack of potato in The Honest Kitchen and that they are guaranteed to use human grade foods. That being said, I think it is as important to rotate the starch etc as it is the proteins. I rotate through the premixes from See Spot Live Longer, Honest Kitchen, Grandma Lucy’s and Sojo. I will use others as they become locally available.
When using a premix, unless it specifies, you don’t need to add liver and shouldn’t add bone. Everything is in the premix to balance the meat you add. If you want to add liver I’d just do so in the form of treats. I dehydrate organic liver for my pups and they LOVE it. In a home made diet you only add 5% of the diet as liver (and 5% as other organs — heart, kidneys etc) so liver treats should be ample to an already balanced diet.
I also use complete and balanced commercial raw products in my rotation. I like Darwins and Bravo Balance. Bravo also has some meat only options that are great to add to the premixes (salmon, buffalo and venison are the options available).
Hi weimlove –
Great choice on switching to raw, you’ll notice a big difference in your dog’s health. I agree with everything Shawna said. I just wanted to add some info on a pre-mix I like. I feed mostly homemade (you can check out a weekly feeding schedule for my dogs on the “Suggested Raw Dog Food Menus?” thread) however I use Urban Wolf Pre-mix three mornings a week. What I like about Urban Wolf versus other pre-mixes is that it’s a fine powder and in my experience digests better (with pre-mixes like Sojo’s I notice an increase in stool volume and pieces of undigested veggies coming out) and that it relies on whole foods for nutrition – the only “vitamin” added is calcium, everything else comes from whole foods and I like that you have to add organ meat so your dog gets a lot of necessary nutrients from the organs rather than from added synthetic vitamins and minerals. You also need to add oil (but I’d recommend just adding an omega 3 and omitting the omega 6 oil they call for in the recipe, it’s not necessary to add the omega 6 oil and it results in the end recipe being too high in fat – you can see how I prepare it on the menus thread if you’re interested). The only downside of Urban Wolf, for me, is that it does contain white potato (although it’s pretty far down on the ingredients list and not a major component) – but I only use it a few mornings a week so it’d not of big concern for me. If you’re using only pre-mixes every day it’d probably be best to rotate and use several different pre-mixes. Here’s some good info on pre-mixes and it explains several of the options out there: http://dogaware.com/diet/dogfoodmixes.html . I’d recommend feeding an even rotation of white meat and red meat, don’t rely on one or the other as they have different types of fats and if you only feed one or the other it would throw off the fat balance in your dog’s diet. The more variety the better. I’d also recommend feeding raw meaty bones at least two or three times a week this way your dog can get the full dental benefits a raw diet has to offer. I have large dogs and usually feed things like turkey necks, chicken backs, chicken leg quarters, duck necks, etc. Chicken necks and chicken wings work well for smaller dogs. I’d avoid the weight bearing bones of large ruminants (such as marrow bones, knuckle bones, etc.) as they are too dense and can potentially chip a tooth or over time your dog can wear their teeth down – in my experience they also don’t digest well either, I used to feed them to my dogs occasionally and it seemed like they’d always puke up bone shards. Good luck! Be sure to come back if you have any questions, quite a few of us here feed raw and would love to help. 🙂
oops, I meant dehydrated. Thank you for all of you help. I have researched other dehydrated brands, and I also like the honest kitchen because of its lack of potatoe. Thanks for clarrifying that I dont need to add bone, I was concerned about the ratios of bone, organ, etc. I also think the commercial dog food are great, but can get a little pricey, For that reason I think I will go to a local butcher that other raw feeders use and get them to grind up the meat for me.
Thank you for all of your help as well! You seem to be so educated with raw feeding, and I hope one day it comes as easy to me as it does to you! Yesterday, I fed Shadow (my weim) a raw lamb bone from Primal, and I added a bit of the Grandma Lucys to his Acana kibble to see how he likes it. He LOVED the raw lamb bone, and ate almost half of it. He also seemed to love the Grandma Lucys pre-mix, but at 1 AM he woke up and threw up. It wasnt alot. Most of it looked like the Grandma Lucys, but he did throw up a small peice of sharp bone. Is this common for a dogs first time eating a raw bone? Or was it the type of bone I bought?
Oftentimes when I fed my dogs more dense, weight-bearing bones from large ruminants (cows, buffalo, sheep, etc.) they threw up shards about 8-12 hours after chewing the bone. For this reason I now stick with raw meaty bones. There are two types of bones 1) Recreational bones – these are going to be your marrow bones, knuckle bones, etc. and will be from large animals like cows, buffalo and sheep. These bones are not completely consumable (meaning your dog shouldn’t be able to eat the entire bone) and don’t provide a whole lot of nutrition, they are more just for fun chewing pleasure. 2) Raw Meaty Bones (you’ll often see these referred to as “RMBs). RMBs are completely consumable (meaning your dog should be be able to eat the entire thing) and provide a lot of nutrition. RMBs typically include poultry bones (chicken necks, chicken backs, chicken feet, turkey necks, duck necks, etc.) but for some larger dogs that have more powerful jaws, non-weight bearing bones of large ruminants (such as pork or beef or lamb necks or rib bones) can be considered RMBs as well. I no longer give my dogs recreational bones because of the issue with puking up the shards (I believe that because the bones are so dense they aren’t highly digestible, which results in the puking) and because I’ve read several reports of dogs actually breaking teeth on them or wearing down their teeth over time. There’s also a chance that your dog may have puked after the bone due to high fat content. Recreational bones contain marrow and marrow is very high in fat, if your dog is just switching to a raw diet and isn’t accustomed to this it could have resulted in some stomach upset. I’d recommend getting some RMBs for your dog. Primal does sell some RMBs but you could likely get them for a lot cheaper at a butcher. I get chicken backs for $0.40/lb. and turkey necks for $0.60/lb.
HDM- yes, that was his first time ever eating anything raw, so it was probably the fat content. The bone I gave him was also a pretty large lamb bone. I will try to attach a picture of it. I will definitely try the smaller meaty bones you suggested. I was very worried last night, thanks for the peace of mind. Also, when I do switch him to raw all the way, should I do a gradual switch or just go cold turkey on the kibble? And what do you think would be the best meat and meat type to start him out on? Keep in mind that I will be mixing it with honest kitchen dehydrated pre mix. Thanks so much!!
Whether you switch cold turkey or gradual is kind of up to you. I have read some that recommend gradual and I’ve heard others that recommend just doing it cold turkey (literally, lol). I personally switched my dogs cold turkey. They were eating The Honest Kitchen and canned food at the time and I just did the switch. They didn’t have any issues. My dogs all have pretty strong stomachs though. I’ve also read that for those switching cold turkey it can be easier on the dog’s stomach if you fast the dog for about 12 hours prior (I didn’t do this, but it may help for more sensitive dogs). As for which meat to start with, it’s generally recommended to feed only one meat for the first week to allow your dog’s stomach time to adjust – chicken is a good choice as it’s one most dogs have been exposed to. I’d stay away from more exotic meats that your dog hasn’t eaten until he’s gotten accustomed to the raw.
I have read that switching cold turkey will probably will be best for me, because Shadow has a very sensitive stomach. I have reviewed some websites, and many of them say that it is easier on their digestive systems, because it dosent have to try to digest two different kinds of food. I have always fed Shadow a five star kibble. He has eaten the Acana fish formula, as well as the lamb. He has also eaten chicken, liver, and beef treats. I have also heard that chicken is usually a great starter food. As far as the type of chicken, do I just buy ground up chicken? Or do I need to get a chicken with bone and organ? I dont think i need organ and bone because I will be using a pre-mix, but what part on the chicken should I start out feeding? (wing, neck, back, etc?) Sorry for my question overload, I just want to make sure I do this right!
Oh, and also how do you add a picture to my profile?
Hi weimlove –
Don’t feel bad bad for the question overload…I love questions! 🙂
If you’re using a pre-mix don’t use meat/organ/bone mixtures. Most pre-mixes only require boneless meat, a few (such as urban wolf) do require organ meat but most don’t require organs either. The reason you don’t want to include bone is because dogs need a balanced ratio of calcium to phosphorus, this ratio needs to be between 1:1 and 2:1 calcium to phosphorus. The pre-mixes are made with calcium and without phosphorus. Muscle meat and organ meat is high in phosphorus but has no calcium, while bone is high in calcium in lower in phosphorus. For raw feeders the correct ratio of muscle meat, organ meat and bone (80%, 10%, 10%) must be fed to ensure that the calcium and phosphorus levels are within balance and that enough organ meat is provided to provide essential vitamins and minerals – this is the most critical part of feeding homemade raw! The purpose of a pre-mix is to take the hard work out of it. Enough calcium is added to the pre-mix so that when boneless meat is added per the package instructions the calcium to phosphorus ratio will be in balance and most brands add the vitamins and minerals that would be found in the organ meat so that the addition of organ meat is not necessary. If you added organ meat and bones to a pre-mix you would potentially be throwing the calcium to phosphorus ratio out of balance and/or oversupplying certain nutrients. However, you could definitely add an rmb (such as a back or a neck) to the meal daily without throwing the calcium to phosphorus ratio out of whack – just feed the rmb in addition to the boneless meat that you add to the pre-mix, don’t count the rmb as the meat you’re adding to the pre-mix. I’d also go with the instructions that call for more meat and less pre-mix if you’re going to be feeding rmbs, as well. I know for THK’s preference there are two sets of instructions – one recommended for younger or more active dogs and one for older or more sedentary dogs. The one for active dogs called for 2 parts meat to 1 part pre-mix, while the one for less active dogs calls for equal parts of pre-mix and meat. While THK doesn’t supply the c:p ratio of the prepared product I’d assume the recipe calling for 2 parts meat to 1 part pre-mix is around 1:1, while the recipe calling for equal parts pre-mix is closer to 2:1. Using the recipe that calls for less pre-mix will keep the c:p ratio lower so when you add rmbs you’ll remain well within the 1:1 – 2:1 range. As for which type of boneless meat to add, you really can add any boneless muscle meat. I find that heart and gizzards tend to be cheapest (remember, heart and gizzards count as organ meat, not muscle meat). However, you certainly could buy ground beef, turkey, chicken, etc. (I’d keep it around 90% lean) or chop up boneless thigh meat breast meat or whatnot. Hope that wasn’t too confusing!
As for getting a picture, I think Dr. Mike has instructions on how to do it posted under the feedback and help section of the forums.
Ok, I think I will start with ground chicken, and use the higher amount of meat to pre mix version. I also will feed a rmb everyday and use chicken back, necks, etc. I will also be sticking to the smaller meaty rmb’s instead of the larger bones like the lamb one I fed yesterday. For now, I will use the pre mix just to begin a raw diet, but someday I would love to create my own raw meal and add the correct amounts of meat, organs, and bones. It is probably cheaper to create your own raw meal since you can get quality ingredients at the butcher for very cheap.
My small dogs can consume any part of a chicken and turkey and also pork rib bones and rack of lamb (is that lamb rib??) and whole raw sardine. Sometimes I just buy the large package of chicken drumsticks or thighs or wings. Don’t forget chicken feet. Great for teeth cleaning and joint health. I haven’t figured out how to post pictures yet 🙁
Oh ok great, thanks for your input. When transitioning to raw, all advice helps!
Over the past couple of days I have been reading alot of your menu plans. I am so impressed with the amount of knowledge you know about raw feeding. In your opinion, would it be cheaper to use THK preference and add ground meat, or simply go to the local butcher and buy my own meat, meat with bone, and organs? Right now I am spending atleast 80 dollars a month on a high quality kibble plus some wet food, so I am trying to stay in the price range (or hopefully lower!) If I do decide to make my own meals completely, I know I will need to add salmon oil,or something similar, plus vitamin e supplements. Is there any other supplements I will need to add? Also, is it necessary to add veggies, and if so what kind? Thanks for all of your help.
I would say that if you shop smart, homemade is without a doubt the cheapest route to go. I actually invested in some freezers – I bought one new and got two used off craig’s list – and order in bulk 300 lb. shipments. I get all my meat from a supplier that supplies grocery stores and restaurants, they’ll supply dog kennels too but have a 300 lb. minimum. For me it was worth it, my dog’s are large and eat a lot anyways so it really only takes me about 8 weeks to go through my 300 lb. order and the prices are so much cheaper than what I’d have to pay at the grocery store. If raw is something you really want to get into and continue it may be worth considering something like this – since you only have one dog you could even see if there’s someone else in your area interested in raw and you could go in on orders together to reach the minimum order quantity. I’m sure it’d be possible to find a wholesale distributor like this in most areas. Butchers are great too, if you can find an independently owned butcher (rather than a big chain grocery store) they’d probably be more willing to cater to your needs for certain cuts of meat as well – meaning you could probably get them to save things like kidneys, lungs, etc. etc. that usually get thrown out. Hare Today and My Pet Carnivore are two other great places to get supplies (they have very reasonable prices and shipping prices) – they sell whole ground animals and also hard to find items like certain organs and green tripe. In generally boneless meat costs a lot more than bone-in meat, which is what I think makes the pre-mixes pricey – you have to use all boneless meat then pay for the pre-mix on top of it. A final suggestion for keeping costs low would be that when you’re feeding boneless meat (you’ll have to feed some of course to balance out the phosphorus in the RMBs) go with things like gizzards, hearts and green tripe – I know these things sound a lot less desirable to a person but they’re quality protein for dogs and supply a lot more nutrients than things like boneless skinless chicken breast and extra lean ground beef and they’re way cheaper.
As for supplements to add, assuming you’re feeding a balanced mixture of 80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat and 10% bone I’d recommend adding vitamin e (200 i.u. or so a day or 400 i.u. every few days should be plenty for a dog the size of yours), greens (some variety of kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, etc. rotate if you want). I like to give cod liver oil every other day to ensure my dogs are getting enough vitamin d – use this sparingly though as most varieties have excessive levels of vitamin a, I use Carlson brand because it has the lowest amount of vitamin a and I give a sardine/anchovy oil blend on the opposite days that I give cod liver oil. Dairy is optional, I do find that it stretches out the food a bit though and cuts the cost and I like giving kefir a few times a week for probiotics. I think it’s beneficial to give ground nuts or seeds once or twice a week – every once in a while I just throw some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or pecans in the coffee grinder and give each dog about a tsp.
Concerning vegetables, many don’t feel that they’re necessary. Vegetables aren’t part of a dog’s natural diet and I do agree that as long as everything else I described above is provided that they probably aren’t necessary, but I do strongly feel that when they’re provided in small quantities they can be a beneficial addition to the dog’s diet. They provide a lot of antioxidants and with all the chemicals our dogs are exposed to in this day and age antioxidants can help the immune system a great deal. The important thing is that they need to be lightly cooked and pureed – dogs don’t produce the enzyme necessary to break down the cellulose in the cell walls of the plant matter, so cooking and pureeing in a sense “pre-digests” the veggies so that the dog can obtain the nutrients. I’d avoid any starchy vegetables (like potatoes and peas) and onion (toxic to dogs). Some of my favorites to use are are spinach, celery, carrots, kale, broccoli, collard greens, mustard greens, squash, pumpkin, etc. Fruit isn’t necessary either, but I think a small amount of berries or apple once or twice a week is healthy.
i have talked to some local raw feeders, and they use a local butcher to get their meat. I plan on going up there tommorow to check out what they offer and the prices. I fed Shadow a peice of raw fish tonight to see if he would like it, and he gobbled it down! Yay! I think you are right about the pre-mix being pricey. I would be spending about 50 dollars a month just for the pre-mix. Thanks for all of your help. As far as supplements, where do you buy them from?
I plan on switching completely to home made raw within the few weeks, I was wondering if you had the extra time, if you wouldnt mind making me up a one or two week menu plan so I can get a feel for what type and kind of meat, veggies, and supplements to purchase. If you dont have time, dont worry about it, but it seems like you are very passionate about feeding raw so I dont think you would mind. If you do decide to make a menu for me, keep in mind that Shadow is a 70 pound active two year old dog. Thank you so much!
It’s great that Shadow loved the raw fish – but be careful about which types of fish you feed raw. Salmon, trout and steelhead that are caught in the Pacific can carry “salmon poisoning.” If you want to feed any of these types of fish from this region they should be frozen for a least 2 weeks to kill the parasite.
I make my own wholefood multivitamin/mineral. I order my ingredients from starwest-botanicals.com. I mix equal parts: kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, chlorella, bee pollen, turmeric and garlic powder. You can do this if you want or if you want to make it simpler you can just mix equal parts kelp and alfalfa and that should be plenty. I’d give a dog the size of yours about 1 1/2 tsp. per day. You’ll need to supplement with vitamin e, for a dog the size of yours I’d give 200 i.u. daily or 400 i.u. every other day. Any vitamin e for humans will do, but I order mine from vitacost – I use the “Vitamin E & Tocotrienol Complex” because it has all 4 tocopherols and all 4 tocotrienols (most vitamin e supplements just contain alpha tocopherol). For fish oil I’m currently using Iceland Pure Sardine & Anchovy blend and Carlson cod liver oil, but any quality fish oils will do (I like buying in liquid form so I can mix it in with the food, but you could certainly get capsules if your dog will eat them). This is optional, but I do give my dogs coconut oil every other day and a plant-based omega 3-6-9 on the opposite days as the coconut oil.
I’d love to make you a menu plan, but because I don’t know exactly which cuts of meat will be available to you it’ll be more like a “template”. I’ll give some options and just use what you can get. One of my dogs – Gertie – is an active 70 lb. 2 year old as well so I’ll give you measurements based on what I would feed her. Obviously metabolisms vary from dog to dog so if you find this is too much or too little food feel free to reduce or increase the amounts, just keep everything proportionate. I’m also not sure how many times a day you feed, but I’ll assume you feed two meals a day.
-5 mornings per week feed 12 oz. boneless red muscle meat (beef, lamb, buffalo, etc. – can use lean ground, chunks, heart, tripe, or some combination of these). 2 mornings per week feed 6 oz. liver and 6 oz. of another organ or any combination of other organs (kidney, spleen, lungs, pancreas, brain, etc.)
-1/2 C. cooked & pureed vegetables (whichever vegetables you want, can add fruit a couple times per week).
-Optional: 1/4 C. cottage cheese, kefir, plain yogurt or goat’s milk (can do this every day or a few days a week)
-1 1/2 tsp. whole food supplement (like a kelp-alfalfa blend or my homemade blend)
-1 tsp. fish oil (alternate between a fish body oil and cod liver oil)
-Optional: 1/2 tsp. coconut oil or a plant-based omega oil (like flax or evening primrose)
-Once or twice a week: 1 tsp ground pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds or sunflower seeds
-3/4 tsp. ground egg shell (cheap source of calcium, leave eggshells out to dry then put them through a coffee grinder the next day) or 600-750 mg. of a calcium supplement of your choice (if your butcher sells meat/bone grinds for large animals like beef you could certainly use these and omit the calcium, but most butchers don’t have the equipment to grind heavy bones, so the calcium will have to be added separately)
-200 i.u. vitamin e (or 400 i.u. every other day)
*You can feed this same meal for breakfast daily, just rotate in new protein sources, switch up the extras (cottage cheese, yogurt, nuts and seeds, etc.) and feed a variety of vegetables and fruits.
Dinner (I often alternate between these two dinners for my dogs):
-Chicken back or leg quarter
-8 oz. Gizzards or hearts or boneless chicken (ground or chunks)
-Whole egg with shell
-2 Turkey necks (about 6 oz. each)
-8 oz. Turkey hearts or gizzards or boneless turkey (ground or chunks)
Remember the more variety you can feed the better! Feed as many different protein sources as you can, using as many types of organs as possible, different vegetables and different fats. Each meal doesn’t have to supply every possible vitamin and mineral your dog needs, but over time the diet should balance. So the more variety you can feed the wider variety of nutrients your dog will get.
Thankyou so much for making that for me, it helps so much!I went to the local butcher yesterday and found some great prices. He has boneless beef chicken and turkey for .50 cents a pound. He also has chicken necks and backs for .60 cents a pound. He also carries whole chickens, chicken leg quarters, and a variety of organs. He does carry venison, but it’s 6 dollars a pound so thats a bit too much to spend on a regular basis. I think I will be able to get all the meat on the menu from him, but I plan on trying to find other sources of meat as well. I also looked on hare today, and they had alot of great meat too for ok prices. There is also a supplement store in town that I can get the vitamin E and alfalfa kelp mix. I already add salmon oil to his food now, so I can just put that on his raw food as well. Yesterday I was reading about the prey model raw diet, and they kept emphasizing that dogs dont need supplements and veggies if they are being fed the 80:10:10. What are your thoughts on that?
HDM mentions her thoughts about veggies in an earlier post on this thread. Here’s the first couple sentences but there’s more “Concerning vegetables, many don’t feel that they’re necessary. Vegetables aren’t part of a dog’s natural diet and I do agree that as long as everything else I described above is provided that they probably aren’t necessary, but I do strongly feel that when they’re provided in small quantities they can be a beneficial addition to the dog’s diet.”
I agree COMPLETELY with her. Our dogs are subjected to SO MANY MORE toxins than their ancestors and certainly more than wolves. Examples — formaldehyde is off gased from particle board furniture for the life of the piece, gas fumes from gas water heaters and vehicles, the chemical PFOA in tephlon pans and wrappers like those on microwave popcorn bags can actually kill a bird at the right concentration, fluoride in drinking water, vaccinations/heartworm/flea tick etc…
Not to mention, many don’t bother feeding organic. Bones from CAFO cattle can be high in contaminants like fluoride. The meat is higher in saturated fat than grass finished beef. The meat can be tainted due to the GMO corn and soy etc etc etc. Additionally, “prey” is going to include fiber from the small amounts of ingested fur, sodium from the blood of the animal, ALL the organs — brains are a source of omega 3 DHA, heart has taurine, pancreas has enzymes, tripe has more fiber (in the bits of ingested plant material that comes with) and probiotics and enzymes and on and on.. Many “prey model” enthusiasts don’t account for all these missing nutrients.
The extra vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in fruits and veggies just seem like a really good idea when we are subjecting our pets to so many toxins that would not be found in their natural environment (or their ancestor’s that is).
Veggies should be cooked or run through the blender or food processor. Running them thorugh the blender breaks down the cellulose layer without needing heat which can damage the natural enzymes within the food. If you would eat the veggie/fruit raw than you can give it to your dog raw too — cucumbers, peppers, berries, celery, zucchini (sp?), carrots, tomatoes etc. The finer they are blended they more nutrients are released. If you would cook it for yourself, cook it for pup — acorn squash, sweet potato etc. Best way to cook them is to steam them in a steamer (can be purchased for $40.00 or less). Add the water from the steamers drip tray back into the food as some minerals are leached during cooking and you can add them back by adding the water back.
Hope that helps :).
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