Hi again guys,
I know you are probably very sick of me by now, and I completely understand, but I am hoping you can help me out one last time. (my disqus was just shihtzumom, sorry for the confusion) I have been looking at all the commercial raw diets, mostly the ones I like are Carnivora and K9 Naturals(any thoughts?). I really do like these and am hoping my local pet store can order them in, as other stores that are further away carry them. I am definitely not impressed with NV and would like to stay away from their foods.
But I have been looking at pre-mixes. I am worried that Dawson is not getting quality ingredients with NV. Where do you get meat from? I mean I could just go to the grocery store and pick up some meat, but is that good meat? Like it won’t necessarily be antibiotic or hormone free and grass fed. Do you buy lean meats? Where do you find the organs needed for the urban wolf pre-mix?
And with home-made I was looking at the transitioning to raw thread and it had some great information! But I find it confusing when trying to translate the amounts for a 13 pound shih tzu! The menu Hound Dog Mom posted sounded fairly straight forward, but I still worry I would somehow mess up the balancing. I really do want the best for Dawson, but am just so confused. I don’t want any carcinogenics in his food or other questionable ingredients, basically I am wondering what you think about the two commercially made, and then where you find good quality meats. I am very worried over what I am feeding him and want him to live the longest, healthiest life possible. Thanks for all your information!
Just wanted to say that NV has a recall on their raw chicken diets.
Hi Shihtzumom –
Being nervous about balancing your own homemade raw is understandable – I wasn’t comfortable doing it when I first started feeding raw. Once you get the hang of it, however, it’s really very simple. A pre-mix would be your best option if you’re nervous about preparing it yourself. If you start using a pre-mix you can even experiment by preparing some from scratch recipes for a few meals a week until you become comfortable enough to do it all the time. Home preparing is really the only way to get the best quality, nothing pre-made is going to be the same quality as something you make yourself with fresh, high quality ingredients (you do need to prepare it correctly though!). When going with a pre-mix any meat you can buy at the grocery store will be MUCH better quality than anything in a pet food. The best meat would be grass fed/cage free and free of hormones/antibiotics/steroids (this is usually noted on the packaging but ask the butcher if you’re not sure). Even if you go with conventionally raised meats that aren’t grass fed/cage free or free of hormones/antiobiotics/steroids – it will still be higher quality than any kibble or canned food. Most grocery stores sell liver (all that’s required for Urban Wolf). I order harder to get organs (lungs, kidneys, pancreas, etc.) from hare today and my pet carnivore but these organs aren’t necessary for a pre-mix. I generally use 90% lean (sometimes 85%) – you don’t want to use the super lean stuff because dogs need some fat but you don’t want to use super fatty meat either or your dog might not get enough protein. When using poultry I’d avoid breast meat and go with dark meat (it’s more nutritious and has a better fat to protein ratio) – gizzards and heart are great too if you can get them both count as a muscle meat (not organ meat!) and they’re generally much cheaper than ground meat. I’d also recommend adding a little fish oil to a meal prepared with a premix even if it doesn’t specifically say to do so on the package.
To clear up possible confusion about the NV recall, it’s their ORGANIC chicken raw that was recalled. There do have regular chicken ones that are fine. The issue was pieces of plastic being found in a batch of the organic chicken. DFA has more info on the recall.
Hi Hound Dog Mom,
Thanks so much for your reply! After doing some more research I decided to still go with a premade raw, it is a small company and all the ingredients are human grade, and from southern Ontario. It is called Big Country Raw. I have been looking at supplements and have been thinking of adding Krill oil to his raw. Would this be recommended? They do have a fish dinner, but it has salmon and tuna in it, so I think I would like to avoid that. Should I start supplementing him with Krill Oil? I like the benefits, then I read on another forum here that too many Omega 3’s can be bad too. So I was wondering what you guys think of that? And also do you guys use a joint supplement for your dogs? I have been trying to research on the internet but having been having much luck in whether to supplement or not. He is only a year and a bit, so I don’t know if I should wait to start a joint supplement or if it is beneficial to start him on it young. Also if someone could direct me to the vaccinating thread that would be greatly appreciated(if there is one)! He is coming up to his 1 year shots and I am not sure whether to get them or not, any advice on supplementing and vaccinating are greatly appreciated, thanks so much guys!
Hi Shihtzumim20 –
Krill oil is great because it’s low in contaminants and contains a very potent naturally occuring antioxidant called astaxanthin. If the food already has added omega 3’s (fish oil) use the krill oil sparingly because, yes, you can give your dog too much of a good thing. Here’s a dosage chart for fish/krill oil:
-250 mg. daily for toy breeds and cats (1 – 14 lbs.)
-500 mg. daily for small dogs (15 – 29 lbs.)
-1,000 mg. daily for medium dogs (30 – 49 lbs.)
-1,500 mg. daily for large dogs (50 – 79 lbs.)
-2,000 mg. daily for dogs 80+ lbs.
When your dog is on a raw diet that includes bones and cartilage there won’t be as much of a need for a joint supplement because bones/cartilage are full of naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin. If you have a senior dog or a dog with an orthopedic problem, however, a supplement may still be necessary. After heavy activity my senior gets a few capsules of Wysong’s Arthegic (my favorite joint supplement). It’s marketed as a human supplement but great for dogs too. Wysong even includes a dosage chart for dogs on their website. It contains boswellia, sea cucumber, turmeric, ginger, devil’s claw, yucca, red pepper and cetyl myristoleate.
I personally vaccinate my dogs as puppies (parvo/distemper at 8 weeks, 11 weeks, 14 weeks and a rabies at 16 weeks) and then I vaccinate 1 year after their last puppy booster. I don’t vaccinate again other than rabies every 3 years to comply with law. This is something you need to research yourself and decide what you are comfortable doing with your dog. Some people vaccinate every year, some every 3 years, some like I do, some only do puppy shots and others don’t vaccinate at all. Check out healthypets.mercola.com- Dr. Becker has some great information and videos on vaccinating.
Hi Hound Dog Mom,
So here is the chicken dinner ingredients:
Big Country Chicken Dinner
Ground chicken with bone, beef liver, fruit and vegetable puree. Garlic and kelp.
A complete and balanced meal choice. Protein-max 16%. Fat-min 12%. Moisture-62%. Fibre-2.6%
The chicken dinner has the highest fat, the rest are not over 10%. Of course I don’t really know how to convert it to dry matter basis, I did see how on here but I think my calculation was way off, lol!
Other than the fish I don’t see any fish oil added, would you say to add in the krill oil? I think they want you to feed the fish dinner every now and again, but they use cod, haddock or sole.
I guess I will hold off the joint supplement, do rmb’s help supply glucosamine and chrondroitin? He is getting his first chicken wing for his evening meal! I am so excited, I showed it to him and he wanted to take it so I think he will like the true raw diet! But he is still young with no issues so far, so since he is getting it naturally I think he will be good for now!
Thanks for all your help HDM! He is at me right now for his chicken wing!
And I like your schedule for vaccinating, I think I personally would feel better if he got his one year shots, and then I might titer him at 2 and go from there.
Hi Shihtzumom20 –
I just checked out Big Country Raw’s website – I’m jealous that you can get this food, the price is great! $2.50/lb. for pre-mixed food is very reasonable. I’m not too far from some of the retailers (I’m on the Canadian border) unfortunately I think a law was passed recently making it illegal to transport pet food across the border.
I can’t find a statement of nutritional adequacy on the website and it does appear there are a few things missing that you will need to supplement to make the food balanced. First of all, yes you will want to add omega 3’s as there aren’t any added to the food. Follow the dosage chart I posted previously. Second, after reading the ingredients for each of their foods I can tell you that there are inadequate levels of vitamin e and vitamin d. Vitamin e is difficult to supply in adequate quantities through food alone and therefore should be supplemented. It will be especially critical that you supplement with vitamin e once you start adding omega 3’s as consumption of omega 3’s increases the the fat soluble antioxidant requirement. As a general rule supplement about 50 I.U. vitamin e per 20 lbs. If you get capsules with a high dosage (most come in 200 IU or 400 IU) you can just give one whole capsule 2-3 times per week. For the vitamin d, there is some vitamin d in beef liver (about 50 IU per 4 oz.), but not all of the formulas contain beef liver and even for the formulas that do, I doubt that there is enough to fulfill vitamin d requirements. Vitamin d can be added in supplement form or (more preferably) in whole food form. Some foods that are rich in vitamin d: cod liver oil (~400 IU per tsp.), cage free eggs (~30-50 IU per egg), Kefir (~100 IU per cup), oily fish (amount of vitamin d present varies on the type of fish but sardines, mackerel and salmon are generally considered good sources), some varieties of plain yogurt and cottage cheese are supplemented with vitamin d (check the label). Your dog should be getting about 200 IU vitamin D per pound of food consumed. Also, rotate between all their protein sources – don’t rely on one – this will provide him with the greatest balance. You may also want to consider adding another whole food supplement, I see kelp is is added to a few of the varieties. Kelp is great and supplies a lot of trace nutrients but the more variety the better, especially when a dog is deriving all of their nutrition from whole foods and not relying on synthetically added vitamins and minerals. My dogs get kelp and they also get things like spirulina, alfalfa, wheat grass, bee pollen, chlorella, etc. I switch up their supplements frequently. It says they offer a vitamin/mineral supplement but it doesn’t list the ingredients, you could check that out.
Yes, RMB’s are a wonderful source of glucosamine and chondroitin. Because he’s young and he’s a small breed not prone to joint issues, RMB’s should provide all the joint support he needs for now. I wouldn’t worry about a joint supplement until he’s a senior.
Oh and you can determine dry matter protein and fat as follows:
100% – % Moisture = % dry matter
[% protein (or % fat, whichever you’re trying to determine)/% dry matter] X 100%
So for example, the food you posted states 16% protein, 12 % fat and 62% moisture.
100% – 62% = 38% dry matter
[16% protein/38% dry matter] X 100% = 42% protein
[12% fat/38% dry matter] X 100% = 32% fat
Thanks Hound Dog Mom,
I feel so much better feeding this to Dawson now that you have checked it out! I was very surprised at the price as well!
Would you recommend I give Dawson your vitamin/mineral supplement? I know I saw a couple variations on the raw food menu thread. If you recommend that how much would I give him? One of my good friends has organic cage free eggs, so I could get him some eggs for vitamin D, he would get just under 2 pounds of food a week. (2 pounds in eight days) I already have his Krill oil picked out, so I need vitamin e and then a vitamin d source, is that correct? I saw in one of your menus, you gave vitamin A reduced cod liver oil, would that be suitable?
And thank you for explaining how to convert to % dry matter, it makes a lot more sense now!
Thank you for your time and all your help Hound Dog Mom!
My vitamin mineral supplement would be fine. I order all the ingredients from Swanson Vitamins. For a small dog I’d say 1/2 tsp per day would be adequate. I use Carlson Brand cod liver oil, it has a lower vitamin a content than other brands (most brands have excessive vitamin a) and I also feel it’s higher quality than most other brands – you could give about 1/4 tsp. a couple times a week (there would be no need to add krill oil on these days as the cod liver oil has omega 3’s) for his vitamon d.
Thank you Hound Dog Mom! I got all his supplements today and I get his food tomorrow, and then we are ready to go. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at the website and help me make sure it is balanced. And for your supplement blend, is that 1/2 a tsp each of everything or 1/2 a tsp of everything that has been all mixed together?
1/2 tsp. once it has all been mixed together.
Thanks Hound Dog Mom!
I just wanted to give an update on how Dawson is doing on his “real” raw diet! So far he has loved and therefore devoured every meal he has had, which is something for him! He bounces and dances until I put his bowl down. He has loved all the proteins, so far he has had chicken, turkey, duck and beef. What a change for the better! I have also noticed that his eyes are nice and clear and he doesnt have constantly wet “cheeks”. His fur is so soft! It is so nice to have him eat with such vigour instead of throwing his meal all over the floor.
I have a question though, there are carrots in the “dinners” , but I noticed they look the same coming out as they did going in! I was thinking about changing to the 100% meat blends that dont include veggies, or should I not worry too much about carrot pieces? If I do switch to the 100% do i have to worry about more supplements, he gets krill oil, vitamin D and vitamin E. He is getting locally pre-made raw Big Country Raw. Plus I am wanting to add more things like turkey necks, and he Loves beef trachea (so far it is dehydrated), I believe that you guys said it could be up to 20% of his diet, is that right?
Don’t worry about the veg unless you see something going on that makes you suspect a real problem. My personal feelings on adding veg and fruits is that I like knowing that mine are getting a variety of antioxidants, just in case. They may not digest every speck of it but they are getting a variety.
I feed twice a day, so 20% of that is about 3 meals, so I feed bones 3 times a week and don’t worry if they don’t eat the usual supplements in those meals. Some people feed raw meaty bones once a day and then for the other meal they make sure that all the days supplements are mixed in.
ShihtzuMom, so glad things are going well with the raw! I’ve had that happen with a couple raws (the veggie part). I’m switching to Hare Today grinds, which had no veggies so I won’t be seeing that anymore!
I use the Hare Today grinds and I love them, but I do pick a few good healthy veggies and blanch them then throw them in the blender to add to their grinds. I also add some kind of berries. I like the added antioxidants and my old lady JRT needs a little added insoluable fiber.
I give the whole carcass grinds to my cats and this time I ordered some for the dogs too. They get a little brain and eyeballs too this month!!
What kind of veggies do you add? Mine love blueberries, you’d think it was a golden nugget when they see them in their bowls!
Mine love blueberries too. I’ve also used blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. And kiwi, cantelope, and honeydew, though in small amounts. I throw it all together in the blender, portion it out in candy molds, and freeze it. Then they each get one thrown in their bowl once a day, popsicles are delicious.
Hi shihtzumom –
If your dog was passing undigested veg – the veg wasn’t processed properly. Veg needs to be cooked and pureed before adding to the food. I wouldn’t advise feeding a diet without veg as it provides trace nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. You could feed the all meat variety amd prepare your own veg or use baby food (there are many “pouch” baby foods available that contain only fruit and veg). My dogs get fresh cooked and pureed veg at breakfast every day – broccoli, spinach, carrots, squash, parsley, etc. I used to add fruit occasionally, but now I just give them each a capsule of a freeze-dried fruit concentrate daily – it’s the antioxidant equivalent of a serving of fruit without the carbs and sugars.
I wish I could get Hare Today!I will have to try giving Dawson some berries! I guess I will limit the blends that have carrots and more veggies. It seems when I see carrot fragments scooping out his food, I see them in his poop, so I guess it is something he doesn’t digest too well. They have a new blend coming out at the end of march with alpaca, pheasant and elk! Quite the interesting combination!
I love that idea of making fruit popsicles! That would be a great idea especially for the summer. Im not sure I could feed brains and eyeballs as of yet though! Are beef tracheas good for teeth cleaning? The chicken wing he had went over very well, so I will see if I can find some on sale around here. Is a chicken neck safe for a small dog to eat?
Actually my popsicles are primarily veggies like spinach, kale, a few carrots, that sort of thing with fruit added. And yes, I believe trachea is great for teeth. The brains and eyeballs were part of a whole carcass grind, I don’t think I’m ready to hand the dogs a head and let them gnaw on it either.
Sorry HDM I guess I was writing at the same time as you, I like the idea of making my own veggie/fruit blend, that way I can cook and puree them, and see what works best for him. I never notice any other veggies (except the kelp) or fruits in the blends for that matter, so maybe they just put the carrots in raw for some reason? I will ask when I make my next order. Is the fruit concentrate something you can buy at a nutrition store?
Hehe Patty, that made me giggle! I saw a few pictures yesterday of a dog eating the head of an animal, and know I couldn’t handle that. Good thing Dawson couldn’t eat a deer or calf head!(though dont some dogs lick out the brains?)
They sell rabbit heads on Hare Today, my dogs love them.
Shin Tzu mom, by can’t you get Hare Today? Jus o to http://www.Hare-Today.com (if that’s the wrong link, google or it).
For HDM and Patty, why o you need to add veggies?
I’m not convinced a dog can get all the nutrients it needs on a meat/organ/bone only diet unless it were to be eating a variety of wild caught whole prey animals (which isn’t realistic). There are a lot of items that are necessary to add in order to provide vital trace nutrients. I’m actually working on posting my dogs’ latest menu plan to the recommended menus thread. I ran a full nutrient analysis on this menu plan to ensure that it conforms to the AAFCO nutrient profiles for all life stages. I’ve always been a believer that meat, organs and bone alone aren’t adequate, but after doing this analysis (and suffering the headaches that came with it lol) I’m sure of it.
She’s from Canada, that’s why she can’t get Hare Today.
1. I like giving mine a variety of antioxidants and micronutrients. If I was feeding naturally raised whole animals all the time I probably wouldn’t worry about this, but I don’t feed whole prey very often. Blood, eyes and brains have things in them that are lacking in the rest of the body.
2. Angel, my JRT, gets REALLY hard stools and needs the additional fiber. Again, if I were feeding whole prey more often I wouldn’t have to worry about it, because hair acts like fiber.
Thank you HDM and Patty.
Oh, one other question: for t least the time being, two of mine will be getting Hare Today grinds for breakfast and kibble for the second meal. For however long I do this, do they need fruits and veggies or does the kibble take care of the vitamins and minerals?
As long as they’re getting kibble for one meal I wouldn’t worry about adding anything.
Short term, it certainly won’t matter. Long term, I would look into a whole foods supplement to add to it. If it were no more than 3 meals a week I wouldn’t worry about it, but I’m kind of a worrywort, so since it’s half the meals, I would still want a little more.
I an thinking about switching my 70 pound Golden Retriever to a raw food diet. How do you determine the amount of food to give each day? I am planning on using frozen raw with bone already incorporated. Also, would I need to add any supplements? Thank you for your help.
Usually 2-3% of your dog’s body weight per day and adjust for his activity level. I have small indoor dogs so they would eat just under 2% if they were just eating raw but they eat a variety of foods. Hounddogmom has a list of supplements she gives in the raw food menus thread I think. Maybe she will see this post and chime in. I do give a supergreen supplement and fish oil.
I give a whole food supplement, a supergreen, fish oil and vit E, and ACV with the mother. Plus occasionals like garlic, coconut oil, probiotics, that sort of thing.
Thank for the information.
Hello again, I have been on the site many times since my last post and was hoping to get some more help again. Since my last post I took Dawson off Big Country Raw, I wasnt impressed with there customer service, most of the time my questions were brushed off and when I would place my order they seemed annoyed. Plus I found some things in the dinners I was not impressed with. So shortly after Dawson had a “sickness” episode (he was no longer on BCR) he vomited like 20 times before noon, and it was just bile. He was extremely lethargic and wouldnt eat or drink anything, but his bloodwork was relatively normal and in 2 days he was starting to be back to himself. He started drinking water on the 3rd day then the next day his appetite was back.Im fairly certain it was the freshpet he was eating that made him sick. After that episode I was afraid to start him back on raw, so I ordered in some ziwipeak air dried which he absolutely LOVES! Then once he was feeling better, i fed him ziwipeak in them am and then canned in the pm, I wanted to give him a meal with moisture in it like his raw meals. I switched his canned out for Grandma Lucy’s Artisan which he likes, and I like some things about it but its not ideal.
he has been doing well on that, but there is an Irish Wolfhound breeder at school who feeds her (very large,lol) gang raw. When we went to visit her and her wolfhound she had at school (who Dawson loved, I guess he likes the Big Girls, lol) she gave Dawson a tripe and veggie mixture to take home and try. Well He loves that and his tummy has seemed to be ok on it, which is what I had been worried about, so I was thinking about starting him back on raw, but im still nervous. I was also thinking of continuing his ziwipeak in the am, and trying the orijen freeze dried for his pm meal, but I was wondering if that would be too much fat for him to handle? He walks 2x a day, but I worry about inducing pancreatitis in him. Plus I like that the meats are free-range, antibiotic, hormone free. For raw the best I could probably do for a while would be grocery store as I cant seem to find organic free-range around here. At least until I can find a good source of meat… I really want free-range, antibiotic free meats for his tiny body, unless its ok for him to have typical “store bought” meats? If you think raw is still the best option I would like to prepare it myself this time around.
Sorry for the extremely long post, you guys are such a wealth of knowledge and the vets at school are very pro-Hill
s, Iams types. I really do like ziwipeak and so does Dawson, but I also want to feed him a meal with moisture in it as I think thats important too. Any input would be greatly appreciated! If you think is current diet is really decent, or if the ziwipeak, orijen freeze dried would be excellent for him, or if raw still would be the best (perhaps for his pm meal) even with store bought meats. And if you think of anything else that might help him after hissickness`supplements, tips etc. Thanks in advance, and hope you are all enjoying the long weekend!
*my fellow Canadian’s have a long weekend,lol. Hope everyone else is enjoying the rest of there weekend, lol*
Balanced raw is always best. Store bought meats are still better than any kibble. With that said, you are feeding better than 99.9% of the population, so don’t feel bad if you decide to stay where you are or do partial raw, partial ziwipeak, partial Orijen freeze dried.
Thanks for the reply Patty 🙂 Im hoping to do half raw and half ziwipeak!
That sounds great!
Hello, just need some opinions. I have 2 Saint Bernards – Summer and Norton (both 4 yrs old) I was doing homemade raw for both – for about 5 months. Summer didn’t do so good on it, Norton did ok, but not the best either. I decided to work with someone to balance out their diets which they have been doing great on for the last few months. My issue is that the main meat is Turkey and I want to change proteins. So, I was thinking do to my balanced diet 3-4 days of the week and then use a pre-made raw the other days to switch up the meats. I was thinking of using OC Raw Dog, Darwins and there is a dehydrated food Big Dog Naturals that sounds halfway decent…Thoughts anyone? Thanks!!
It’s great that you’re considering adding some variety – eating only one protein source isn’t healthy. I don’t see why you couldn’t just rotate the protein in your “balanced” recipe? Ideally you should be feeding an even mix of poultry and red meat. If you’re worried about balance you could also purchase a pre-mix (i.e. See Spot Live Longer Dinner Mix, The Honest Kitchen’s Preference, Urban Wolf, etc.) and just add your meat of choice. I haven’t used OC Raw or Big Dog Naturals (I believe Sandy has?), I did try Darwin’s once. I wouldn’t use Darwin’s again because their customer service was horrible (the food was good though) – but many of the regulars here use it and really like it.
I also need to watch the fat content…I think that’s why Summer didn’t do so well with her inflammation when I was feeding based off of body weight. So, I know pork tenderloin and sirloin, fish (which I will cook) and some cuts of beef are leaner…I will have to use those. No just buying whatever is the cheapest. I’ll have to check out those pre-mixes – I did try one of THK’s about a year ago…Summer didn’t like it at all. And the person I worked with to balance the diets is a stickler for getting the correct amount of minerals/vitamins…so in that person’s eyes any other type of protein will throw the whole diet off kilter. I really don’t agree with that whole way of thinking either. Thanks!!
I think this is what I’m going to feed for now…I may try making homemade raw for them again in the future…just need to figure out all the nutrients (I have the NRC numbers) and sometimes it just makes my head hurt. So, Hound Dog Mom…do I need to supplement at all do you think?
Sun: 2.5 cups Acana Pacifica 11 oz Pork
Mon: 2.5 cups Acana Pacifica 12 oz Pollock
Tues: 35 oz Turkey thigh, 1 apple, 3 oz green beans, the ‘balanced recipe’ also includes some lentils, sweet potatoes, rice or barley and green peas
Wed: Premade Raw
Thurs: 35 oz Turkey thigh and the veggie mix again
Fri: Big Dog Natural dehydrated – the tripe mixture
Sat: 2.5 cups Acana Pacifica 11 oz Beef
Also per week 9 eggs, 3 cans sardines, 3 oz canned salmon, 1.5 oz liver, 2.6 oz heart, 4.6 oz kidney and 400 iu of vit e.
Do the pre-mixes have all the vitamins , minerals etc they need to keep the food balanced.?
I would say for the most part yes. All you have to do is add the meat and anything else the pre-mix calls for in the recipe. ie Urban wolf requires you to add meat, oil, liver etc. I think most pre-mixes I know of have a statement on their website or bag that they are AAFCO compliant when the directions are followed. Some common pre-mixes are Sojo
s', Honest Kitchen Preference, Urban Wolf and Steves See spot live longer. The last one is not so easy to get in Canada, but the U.S.A is fine.
I hope this helps and Good luck to you and your lucky pup!
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