We started feeding our Ridgeback and Belgian Shepherd the Raw diet about 3 months ago. We buy the frozen balanced raw food and add our own livers and pilchards each week. The problem I’m having is that the Ridgeback has lost a ton of weight. He’s right up to 1.6kg’s per day of food now but I just can’t seem to get him to keep any weight. I’d class him as semi active as he gets a run everyday for an hr. His rib cage is clearly visible and he’s definitely under. My question is firstly open in terms of what should I do? And then secondly, is it ok to bulk his food with some extra cooked rice/pasta to help try and boost his weight?
It makes no sense to add pasta and rice to a raw diet. Add eggs to one meal a few times a week and up his feed.
If you’re in the US and have a free standing freezer, you may want to look at Hare Today, Raw Feeding Miami and My Pet Carnivore. All have complete grinds and maybe cheaper, even with shipping.
How much does the Ridgeback weigh?
As a rough rule of thumb, raw feeders generally give dogs a daily meal of 2-3% of body weight. Even at 3% rations of 1.6 kg would typically sustain a dog of 53 kg (about 116 lbs). 53 kgs is well above the normal range of Ridgebacks.
One of several things is likely going on.
One. There is an emergent medical issue that coincidentally came along in the same time-frame as the food switch. Least likely, but if weight loss is excessive it would be wise to check with a vet.
Two. The formula you are using is too low fat. Fat is the optimal energy source for dogs. About 30% fat is ideal.
Three. Mostly likely, your Ridgeback is leaning out the way raw fed dogs typically do. Ideally, a Ridgeback will show some ribs. If the dog is maintaining or (more likely) building muscle mass while dropping it fat layer, then you’ve achieved an ideal situation for the dog’s health and well-being.
Raw fed dogs are almost always leaner and more well-muscled than kibble-fed dogs. Most people have gotten used to the look of dogs that carry a lot of fat on their bodies and perceive that as “normal” when, in fact, it is a sign of obesity.
If you are concerned I’d see your vet. But know that raw fed dogs almost always lean out and will drop the fat layer that eating carbohydrates promote. With that comes an increase in vitality and good health that is especially positive in reducing strain on joints.
How do your dog’s stools look like? Has he developed a habit of eating his poop?
Your dog may have EPI, Google says, “Dogs with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) have a malabsorption and maldigestion condition where the pancreas is no longer producing enough pancreatic enzymes to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Because of this, dogs (and also cats) will often present with unexplained weight loss, diarrhea/cow-patty like yellow/pale stools.” Maybe? The most common symptoms include: Weight loss. Chronic diarrhea (may include foul-smelling, yellowish, greasy stools from cow-pie to watery consistency).
But I think the best thing to do is bring him to the vet and get him tested. Good luck!
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