Ok so I have lurked here for a little over a year, and recently started making my own raw cat food via Lisa A. Pierson, DVM because one of my boys almost died after getting into the Dry food AGAIN and his whole GI system blocked up because he cannot handle the lack of fluids in dry food. He is such a picky eater that I had put off the raw diet dreading that he would turn his nose up at it like he did the other high quality raw/semi cooked food I tried buying him. He LOVED the home made food, he even batted off his BFF to eat his food too!
HoundDogMom, other raw feeders please bear with me I know that the whole shebang I know as of now it is 6 pages long. I am trying to paint the whole picture with the dogs, their special needs and what is causing me confusion with the Raw feeding books I have read. There is so much going on right now in my personal life that I am having a very hard time understanding this and if anyone could help point me in the right direction or even a book or website or from experience I would be so very very grateful.
The biggest reservation I have about feeding Raw to the dogs (who LOVED the scoop of homemade cat food I gave them as a test) are the bones and sadly the limited ingredients I can use for my Special Needs Hound.
I have a 14 yr old Walker hound (Forest) who has like no teeth left and was just diagnosed with cushing’s disease but has some pretty abnormal liver tests because of the damage that was done while he went undiagnosed. His liver is so enlarged it displaces his stomach sideways and upwards which makes EASILY digestible food a must. He cannot have food high in phosphorus, copper or ammonia which means little to no red meat and lots of poultry, eggs and pork. He also has problems with chronic Constipation so I would have to be VERY careful about the amount of bone I add to his diet but I also want enough in there to give him the nutrients he needs. Since he is older he also burns a LOT of calories, He is on Vital Fresh pet Turkey or Chicken and gets 1.5 lbs a day. I don’t know what is causing him to burn so many calories except for old age or maybe his body is trying to repair itself – all he does is lounge in the lawn and do his hound dance for food – people or animal whichever he can mac on at the moment lol
My 3 yr old yellow lab (Nova) is also a high calorie burner but she is super active, we do scent tracking, retrieving, and lots of walking/running on the grass. She will go until she drops which I have never seen before, so now I watch her very closely for signs she is over heated. She eats up to 2 lbs of the above dog food a day but is still losing weight on occasion when her activity jumps up again. She has always had double the amount of Eosinophils in her blood that she should at a “normal” rate. She has been checked for parasites so the best I can come up with is that she might have GI issues going on intermittently – she doesn’t transition food gracefully and really doesn’t tolerate even high quality kibble (after research it’s not such a mystery anymore) which is in part what turned me onto Freshpets Vital.
To top it all off I have a Four month old female lab puppy (Ellie) that is still growing. I have her on 2 lbs of Freshpets vital but I am worried that she is not getting something in her diet as well. She has three white lines running across her nails – each nail on every paw. In my experience when the horses have white lines or even indents it means either they were very very sick or have a mineral/vitamin deficiency of some sort. I know when Ellie came to us she had a severe infection of hook and round worms. Her infection was so severe at 8 weeks old that the vet said she would have died untreated – thank you OCD and taking her to the Vet the same day she was brought home lol. They were resistant to the normal worming meds and for 2 months we battled with getting them under control and gone. If Dogs are like horses that would cause the lines because of how sick she was during this (Great going Lemon law Florida) yet I also worry because I know parasites in small animals or even large can cause a huge system imbalance with nutrients which hinders growth.
OK Limited ingredients – because of Forest I have to stick to Chicken, Turkey, and Eggs as a main protein source due to his liver problems and because Rabbit in completely unviable to me unless I want to raise them myself. I have no local butcher – the closest one is three hours away so Chicken and Turkey liver will have to do for organ meat – sometimes I can get chicken hearts once in a blue moon. For Fats I have to choose VERY easily digestible fats from an animal protein because with Forests Liver problems his biliary system can be overloaded very easily and that would be disastrous. Maybe I can add some duck occasionally to his diet?
If ammonia restriction is required, feed less red meats and organs since they produce the most ammonia. You may not want to eliminate them entirely though, as they have important nutrients that help with liver function.
Instead, cut back. Feed more poultry, fish, eggs, and pork. If feeding red meat, even in small quantities, buy the absolute best quality you can afford. Preferably grass fed, antibiotic, and hormone free.
Meats generally low in copper are:
• Beef (muscle meat, not organs)
• Turkey (white meat)
• Chicken (white meat)
Meats generally high in copper are:
• Pheasant or Quail
• Organ Meats
When feeding organs for copper issues, some animal livers contain more copper than others. Beef liver is higher in copper than chicken or pork livers. Regardless, the zinc and b vitamins in liver help to reduce the risk of copper toxicity. Though if your dog has an issue with copper, opt for chicken or pork liver. (http://primalpooch.com/raw-feeding-guidelines-dogs-liver-disease/)
I have read Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet and Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Health of Dogs and Cats. I have some major issues with either of the books, UtCaD is so absolute – if you feed this protein then you need this oil. First of all Canola Oil? Corn Oil? Soybean Oil? Walnut oil? Flax and hemp seed oil? I own horses and I would NEVER give them Corn oil with the GMO crap going around I don’t trust Corn or Canola at all. If I am not comfortable feeding to my strict Herbivores I am definitely not OK feeding it to the other animals. By the way the 2,000 lbs animals have had major GI upset from Canola, Corn, Soybean and Flax seed oil. I’ve given it to them in small amounts – 3 tablespoons a day and I have seen a massive systemic effect that made me take them off of it immediately. It was supposed to give them the right ratio of Omega’s 3 and 6 plus help my older guys move and keep weight on since it was winter. The recommended Ratio of 6 to 3 fats are 10:1 to 5:1 for dogs – I have read that small fish or Krill are the best to supplement dogs with because of the low contamination rate and it should not carry Salmon Sickness. Soybean oil is also something I would never give my dogs or humans or anything because of the way it can mimic hormones and interrupt the function of the Thyroid. Also Kelp is recommended a lot, but there are so many negatives that came out during the feeding kelp to horse’s fad that I will not touch the stuff. If it can affect the horses with the amount of iodine to the point horses became toxic I don’t trust the manufactures. It was not that kelp was being fed in large amounts there was absolutely no regulation on what type they harvested or what it contained. Missing link for dogs is a product I am familiar with and they do make it for dogs with trace minerals but it is flax based. Won’t this completely mess up the balancing? Does anyone here feed this instead of kelp?
The Missing Link Ultimate Skin & Coat:
Active Ingredients (per tbsp)
Flaxseed Dried Kelp
Glucosamine Hydrochloride (Vegetarian) Zinc Monomethionine
Freeze Dried Beef Liver Lecithin
Blackstrap Molasses Chromium Yeast
Rice Bran Selenium Yeast
Primary Dried Yeast Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6)
Sunflower Seed Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Dehydrated Alfalfa Garlic Powder
Dried Carrot Yucca Schidigera Extract
Shark Cartilage Powder* Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
Freeze Dried Fish Protein Powder Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1)
Freeze Dried Oyster Powder Folic Acid
Barley Grass Leaves Powder Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
Guaranteed Analysis Amount
Crude Protein (not less than) 18%
Crude Fat (not less than) 28%
Crude Fiber (not more than) 15%
Moisture (not more than) 10%
Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) 450 mg
**Linolenic Acid (Omega 3) 1000 mg
**Not recognized as an essential nutrient by the AAFCO Cat/Dog food nutrient profiles.
Also if everything is so precise that does not leave room for error such as what if the chickens were raised on Florida soil which is heavy in limestone and deficient in other areas – rather than let’s say somewhere in the bread bowl what about if they were fed a corn based feed and another batch was fed free range? If the meat analysis is different it throws everything off and we all know that meat from south Fl is very different than meat from MI or IN – same principle goes with growing vegetables even organic. How much of a God Factor is there for the abundance of some micronutrients and lack of others? UTCAD also has an abundance of some nutrients way over the NRC guidelines – are dogs different in the fact that they can rid themselves of excess things very easily? I know in humans and horses Vit E and Selenium can be deadly because it builds up in fat and the body doesn’t flush it out like the water-soluble vitamins?
Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Health has a lot of oat meal, rice, beans?! Half and Half milk, whole milk, whole wheat bread corn? That sounds not so great for dogs and especially not for cats like it says it can be. What about kidney beans? With feeding my dogs I have learned they do OK on rice occasionally when they have an upset GI but if they are on a diet with rice too long they get backed up. Also the beans – the dogs seem to have issues with digesting them like people sometimes do – why are there so many carbohydrates? Why cannot I do sprouted microgreens or carrots or even baked potatoes because I know the dogs tolerate those vegetables very well. Also Brewer’s Yeast? Isn’t yeast as a whole bad? It’s in everything and I know Nova already is prone to yeast infections in her ears and when she gets a UTI – Also can Brewer’s yeast cause or attribute to bloat? Milk – isn’t milk products bad if they are in large amounts such as 2 cups milk plus 2 cups rolled oats and 2 eggs and calcium powder? Everything to me seems so skewed.
Also RMB are out of the question – Forest cannot eat them and Nova and Ellie are gulpers – they came from a large litter and it would be just my luck to end up in emergency surgery with one of them. I have a grinder to which I can grind the bone up with the meat and I know the purpose of the bone was for dental health but if I make Meat Jerky and other goodies can I replicate that without worrying about emergency surgery or broken teeth?
Since I own a grinder already for cat food why cannot I grind bones to supplement their food with? So far in my research the basic recipe and consensus I have come across is as follows:
16% Organ meat
10% – 25% Bone
The rest of the food would be muscle meat and muscle meat
Meat is very high in phos and the bone is high in Cal which means the Cal to Phos ratio should be 1.2 to 1.5:1 although 1:1 to 2.5:1 is ok as well. I just need to make sure the dogs consume more Cal than Phos but the question is do I need to add bone meal or can I grind my own bones to supplement?
Here is what the Article analysis the bone content to be in prey animals:
Bone Content In Raw Foods
When sourcing bones for your dog’s diet, it’s a good idea to know the approximate amount of bone in commonly sourced foods. Here is a quick guide to help you keep your dog’s bone content in the right range; between 10% and 25%.
Chicken Whole chicken (not including the head and feet): 25% bone/Leg quarter: 30%/Split breast: 20%/Thigh: 15%/Drumstick: 30%/Wing: 45%/Neck: 36%/Back: 45%/Turkey/Whole turkey: 21%/Thigh: 21%/Drumstick: 20%/Wing: 37%/Neck: 42%/Back: 41%
Pork Feet: 30%/Tails: 30%/Ribs: 30%
Beef Ribs: 52%
Rabbit Whole rabbit (fur and all): 10% Whole (dressed): 25-30%
From this can I remove the proper amount of bones or add more bones in to balance or would you suggest a bone meal powder? Also I have yet to factor in the percentage of vegetable/fruit/microgreens in the recipe – I am just so lost so if HoundDogMom could help or someone else could chime in I would be so grateful. I am trying very hard to learn as much as I can but between the animals and two sick family members and special needs animals by the time I have a moment to sit down I am out like a light for the night or my brain is so frazzled everything looks like it was written in French. Am I over thinking this? I just don’t want to screw Ellie up – she has already had such a bad start with the worm infection – and Forest needs nutrients to rebuild his liver correctly and I wanted to see if this change in diet would help Nova’s Eosinophils come to a normal level. Also has anyone ever seen white lines on every toenail that grows parallel with the skin? Any help would be so appreciated there is just not a lot of room for error with Forest right now with his liver Alt levels 4 times what they are supposed to be. They cannot stay on the Freshpet much longer because to feed the dogs its 19 dollars a day and that’s not a very good long term solution.
Thanks so much everyone~!~ I Hope everyone had a great New Year and wonderful Holiday
A lot of you have been a big help – I finally found a food she will eat (for now) Freshpet by Vital – beef and bison.
I’ve been giving her d-monnase and vit c either in soft cheese or cottage cheese and no grain treats when we train or boiled chicken.
It’s been about a week but twice there have been big puddles of urine, tonight by the front door when I got home. When I take her out her pee are little tiny ones usually, she has a doggie door.
The question: Am I being over anxious and give it some time, could some of it be behavioral, or should I get a second opinion from a different vet?
I’ve tried to not create separation anxiety, it’s not hard to leave without fanfare but almost impossible to ignore her when I get home.
Because of the pre struvite crytals:
Freshpet Vital – Grain Free, a roll you keep in fridgy topped with BB wild cuts – she finally seems to eat that and BB Wilderness.
Last night and this morning I gave her Freshpet topped with wild cuts…but she left a puddle of pee no far from where she eats. She has a dog door and I’d let her out from where there is grass and she peed there 15 minutes early…any thoughts from this well informed group?
Anyone know if warming up Freshpet Slice ans Serve food in microwave will hut it?
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