We have 2 dogs:
Bernie, 9y M allergic-to-life Basset Hound
Zuli, 3y F Lab Mix
and our cat:
Sophie, 8y F Mackeral Tabby, borderline diabetic
Due to both Bernie and Sophie’s above issues, it seems like my best option at this point would be to try raw feeding. The dogs both enjoy the occasional chicken wing or turkey neck, but I have not yet tried feeding it as a whole diet. The cat, who was originally an outdoor stray who did hunt for her sustenance, does accept things like turkey and pepperoni, but for most of her life has been on dry food…which is probably why she had the October diagnosis for diabetes. She is near impossible to catch (the yearly vet visit can take us anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to capture her-we’ve blocked off hiding spaces as we find them over the years, though once she actually broke INTO the wall to hide) and has a lack of scruff, and at this point I’m really fearing the ability to be able to administer insulin consistently. So, it seems that a diet change may be my only help with this. For Bernie, I can control what goes into the food, and avoid his allergens altogether.
I work from home, so cooking and preparing isn’t a big deal. I handle raw meat for my own consumption so that doesn’t bother me, and I’m very versed in the realm of preventing cross contamination.
My access to pastured/organic items is limited to either very far drives or possible home delivery (have to order a LOT at a time to make the shipping be affordable). For the delivery [ReelRaw] they do have a lot of variety, which is nice, but seems the most expensive option that I’ve come across ($300/mo for all pets, around 50lb of items, still cheaper than whole foods). I do have a butcher shop somewhat nearby, but the only organs they carry or process is beef heart, and the variety of RMB’s I can get aren’t much, as well as they do not carry any pastured/organic meats.
Upon my research, I’m finding a lot of conflicting information. It seems that on one side everyone is pro supplements to add to the meals, which I’m hesitant to do so, as I’m of the perspective to not take any synthetic or multivitamins myself since I feel I’m literally peeing the money away, and rather get what I need from whole foods. I know dogs cant digest fruit/veg well, as anytime I’ve given a piece I find it the next day pretty much intact in their waste. We do own a masticating juicer, so that is an option. I’ve come across some freeze dried foods (Big Dog Natural) that say they ferment the veg to make them bioavailable, which is interesting, though I’m unsure if it’s still too high-carb for Bernie. It could all be a bunch of hogwash as well. I do agree with adding omega 3/sardines at meal time, as I feel that the fats are too delicate for any processing procedure.
Then there’s all the premixes available with vitamins, minerals, kale, sweet potatoes, etc. (Urban Wolf, THK, SSLL Dinner Mix). It’s hard to find a premix without one of Bernie’s proposed allergens in it, and to be honest I’d rather keep the carb count for him down as much as possible, as Bassets are already yeast factories, and Sophie needs as little carb as possible-I don’t think I’ve come across mixes for cats anyways. What dog eats kale in the wild anyways? I have a hard time getting it down myself…lol.
On the other side, I’ve come across a few companies that don’t use added vitamins/minerals (Answers, ReelRaw), stating it’s complete/balanced as is, or with Answers, their own products they (conveniently) suggest to add, which is goat’s milk yogurt, or buy their combination product with veg, clay, cultured things, etc. Bernie is borderline allergic to cow dairy, so I’m unsure if he can even have that anyways. I’ve tried kefir with him before, but the yeast didn’t get any better, and would occasionally have putrid gas as well.
Bernie is currently on Orijen, which he does seem more energetic and less itchy, however the gas has been atrocious, and even though he’s not been really red and itchy on it, still is having a yeast issue (underarms, ears, back of legs). This is a dog that sleeps 14 hours a day on those areas, so not much air is circulating. The gas has gotten better by feeding him less of it, but it can still clear a room. I think it’s due to the lentils/chickpeas-while he’s not allergic to them, doesn’t mean he can digest them well.
So to end my novella for how, I’ll boil it down to some questions:
-Do you feel that the supplements are needed if I use the cheaper conventional meat from the butcher? Or would possibly they be getting enough if I splurge for the pastured meats/organs/rmb? It’s doubtful I can afford both the pastured and supplements.
-Do you feel premixes are worth it, and would make the conventional meat balanced? (again, may not be able to do both pastured + mixes)
-How important do you feel variety in meats is? If I shop locally, I only really have access to beef, chicken, and pork, which I myself am even tired of, haha. Most any recreational or RMB’s I can find in the area are meant for soups and have very little meat left on them. With delivery I can get many more options, but I pay out the wazoo for it.
-Would maybe just doing the freeze dried route be the best idea? Between the issues above and our cat, I’m also leaning towards this route. I’ve also heard that cats don’t dig cool meat very much, and as its the winter now I don’t want Sophie to lose any weight form refusing food. The 2 dogs will eat anything so I’m not worried there. I know I have to avoid giving Sophie all ground meat due to taurine loss. My wife also would rather rip off her eyebrows than touch raw meat, so if it comes a time when I cannot feed them, I’d have to have an alternative on hand anyways.
Thanks for any input!
I can’t answer all your questions, but I’ll try to answer some. First, there is no guarantee that your cat will eat raw. They can be kind of peculiar about switching types of food, so the first thing to try is to switch the cat to canned food. Pick up dry food and allow the cat to get hungry, not starving, just hungry, and then offer canned food. If kitty eats it, great!! If not, after an hour, offer the dry food for 20 minutes, then pick it up. Next meal time, offer canned food first again. You may have to offer quite a number of times before she will eat it, or you may be one of the lucky ones. Once you have your cat on all canned food, start the process over again switching to raw.
There are many people that do not give any supplements, but they are the ones that need to be really careful to feed whole prey raw. Your dog might not eat kale, but if they eat an herbivore, they will be getting predigested greens that the food animal ate. You can predigest your own choice of veggies but blanching and pureeing.
You can also feed turkey and fish, so beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and fish are plenty of different proteins, and maybe a few times a year you can find lamb.
I use premixes +-3 days a week and no premix the rest of the time. I want to be sure to cover my bases.
Soup bones are not RMBs. RMBs are bones that are soft and can be completely eaten at meal time. Ribs from lamb, pork, or calves are good RMBs. So are neck bones from those same animals. All parts of chicken and turkey have good bones in them too. You should be able to get heart and liver and maybe kidney for organs. Maybe you can occasionally get some whole prey, even whole prey grinds, from Hare Today or My Pet Carnivore, to make up for not feeding other organs.
You can feed grinds to your cat, if you make sure they have heart in them, or add a taurine supplement. It her meats are frozen, you need to make sure the water that separates out as it defrosts is mixed back in, because that is where a lot of taurine is lost. I get whole carcass grinds from Hare Today for my cats, both rabbit and quail.
Visited the butcher today. I found I can get beef heart at 2.29/lb from the butcher, so I may end up going there weekly for some and maybe grind it in with another meat myself. I have a gimpy grinder that can do meat, not bone though. They do bone in grinding, but can’t offer it until deer season is over. Wish they had any pastured/grassfed meats, but at least its promised they don’t use sodium/broth injected items.
They also had frozen cows brain there! Not sure if they’d go for that, haha.
So from them I found I have access to:
Organs-beef heart/liver/brain, chicken liver/unsure of hearts/gizzards(is this meaty or organ?), possibly spleen I think if they can order it.
RMB-bone in chicken parts, turkey necks/wings, assorted ribs. Other necks, trachea, chicken feet, etc. are still hard to find. Bernie is a gulper so I’m not sure what size to even use-too small and no chewing action, too big and he may choke on it. Zuli is a gnawer and has great teeth already, 3yo and never needed a dental.
I forgot to mention that between us boarding guest dogs from our home, and another cat present from my sister in law who lives with us, I may just be able to raw feed for the first meal of the day, while everyone else is put away. Either that, or have RMB meals in the morning, since I’m assuming they’ll take a while to chow down and everyone else will go nuts if they sense what’s going on.
Do you think my ‘bases’ may be covered if I did raw in the AM and a good freeze dried in the PM?
Raw in the morning and freeze dried in the evening is good.
When I had one of my goats butchered, my dogs absolutely went ga-ga over the head pieces.
Heart and gizzard both count as muscle, but heart still has some good stuff than isn’t in any other muscle type in abundance, like taurine.
To start with for your gulper, you want to use pieces that are too big to eat quickly to force him to have to take his time and eat properly. Something like a whole leg quarter, and give it to him leg first, would be a good way to start. If he needs it you can even attach a pair of vice grips to it to slow him down more. Once he learns that he has to chew his food, you won’t have to do any of that anymore.
Tried some heart with the cat, warmed it in a 100d water bath (I have a sous vide controller I use with a crock pot), she ate about an ounce, so maybe there’s hope. From a feeding calculator it says she may need 6-8oz raw food a day, but I’m assuming the heart is very rich.
Still a little confused on all the portions of the ‘meaty meats’, rmb, and organs, especially if I feed the 1 meal of it. I see that the ratio is 80 meat/10 bone/10 organs (half liver), thought I’m unsure how ‘meaty’ the rmb needs to be, or if it’s more so just about the bone calcium to match phosphorous, and the potential teeth cleaning. From the calculators I’ve found, seems my dogs (both averaging 43lb, somehow) @ 2% would be nearly 100oz of raw food a week, if fed only raw. So, 80oz meat, 10oz bone, 5oz liver, 5 oz other organs, roughly, and half those amounts if I feed FD for dinner.
To get the correct oz of bone, am I supposed to guess how much of the rmb is bone vs meat? Or do I just weigh the rmb pieces and feed 10oz a week of them? For example, a chicken thigh seems to be more meat to bone than eating a chicken wing. (I’m probably looking way too hard into this :-).
So far for the freeze dried meals I’m liking either Big Dog Natural, K9 Natural (New Zealand stuff), or maybe Orijen, since Bernie has done better on their kibble…though gassy. I’m not all convinced the extra stuff in Orijen justifies the price-“chicory root, dandelion root, summer savory, peppermint leaf*, ginger root*”. Looks like a lot of marketing fluff. BDN looks good from the fermented veggies and tripe, though the cod liver oil is a concern…I’ve taken that myself and OD’d on Vitamin A, corner of my mouth cracked open, so painful. Not sure what other FD foods may be good. Suggestions?
Thanks for all the help!
PS Thanks for mentioning Hare Today and MPC. I’ll keep MPC in mind for next month-they have a stop pretty close to me, but I’m past the day to order until next month it seems, drat! HT’s shipping seems a little much, so I’ll need to crunch some numbers. That’s the worst part, pricing everything out to see what’s the best deal.
- This reply was modified 5 years ago by Michael H.
I live half way down Florida, so no matter what I have to pay shipping, but Hare’s shipping is actually less for me.
Just guess on the amount of bone in things Thighs have the right amount, legs don’t. For most RMBs, you give half again boneless meat. In other words, a 4 oz. RMB will need 2 more oz. of boneless meat. For adult dogs, you don’t need to worry as much about getting those numbers perfect as you do for dogs that are still developing. And if the numbers don’t come out for giving the same size meal every day, it doesn’t matter if you feed a big meal one day and a small meal the next. I know someone who feeds a huge meal evey 3 or 4 days, the way wolves eat.
Heart is a rich meal as far as being high protein, but it is actually low fat, so you may have to add fat or feed more, since fat has more calories than protein.
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