I’m sorry if these questions were already asked. There are so many posts, that I feel it may just be faster to ask instead of reading through every topic on the forum. I am mostly a kibble type since that is convenient and fast, though I do feed my dogs premium kibble: NV, NP, Earthborn Holistic, and Fromm for instance.
Here are my questions. If I do incorporate raw into their diet, how do I go about doing that? Where do you purchase this from? Is there a butcher you go through? How much does it cost typically? I have stayed away from raw thinking it would be unsanitary and very expensive. Plus, I try not to give my dogs bones since they inhale their food and seem to cough and gag a lot after eating one. My thought is that it gets stuck in their throat. Not to mention, I will come home to a pile of bile with sharp bones in the mix and that freaks me out. I’m afraid the sharp bones will do damage to them. Sometimes I will purchase the NV raw patties and freeze dried food and sprinkle or chop that up into their food, but probably don’t do it often for it to make any difference. I’m sure that their raw food is not the same anyway since it is probably still processed in some way.
I know many of you here believe 100% in the raw diet, but I remember when I first investigated it, I had read articles that didn’t support it. One lady explained how she switched to raw and her dog ended up extremely sick with contamination. Any ideas on that? I feel right now with supplements, treats, and premium kibble I am spending so much on their food as it is. I want the best for my dogs, however. I feel you shouldn’t take them on if you can’t provide for them the best you can. Who knows…maybe the raw is cheaper than what I’m spending right now. On the other hand, I’m the main person that handles the feedings in my house. I doubt on the nights I’m at school my husband will have the patients or agreeableness to feed and deal with raw food. Anyway, just looking for your thoughts on some of these questions. I always thought raw was too difficult to feed since there really isn’t a place for me to purchase this other than my grocery store. For some reason, I figured most people purchased it another way. Thanks for anyone reading!
I have always fed mostly kibble, and will not give my dogs whole pieces of raw. Recently, I went to 50 50 dry and raw because I bought a grinder to grind up the bones. So far, everyone loves it and see to ne doing fine on it. I buy meats from various places, including butcher, market, processor etc. I found that I actually save several hundred dollar a month doing this, versus just feeding the kibble, dehydrawtd, commercial premade raw and canned that I used to.
I think any incorporation of raw or fresh foods is a good thing. I’ve just started adding raw to my dog’s diet. I think it’d be easier for you if you stick with the 20% rule. You can add up to 20% (by volume I think) of additional fresh foods without throwing off the balance of nutrients in commercial kibble. That way you don’t have to worry about adding extra supplements and such to make the food complete and balanced. I think it has also been said that you can feed one meal of raw and one meal of kibble and still be ok with vitamins/minerals.
I add the following things to my dog’s food (not all at the same time): lightly cooked eggs (over easy), cottage cheese, kefir, canned sardines in water, and canned pink salmon. I will also add some canned tripe by Tripett.
I also add commercial raw, either Primal or Stella and Chewy’s. Lately I’ve been using the Primal grinds (muscle meat, organs, and bone) which are not complete and balanced. If you used more than 20% of this in a meal than you would need to balance it. You can get Primal from an independent pet store. See primalpetfoods.com for more info. Also a bonus, the bones in the grinds are ground up so small that there is no hazard of choking!
If you are interested in learning more about raw food there are two books that are always recommended: “Real food for Healthy Dogs and Cats” by Taylor & Becker and “Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet” by Steve Brown. They have recipes for raw and cooked foods. I have made one batch of raw using Taylor & Becker’s recipe. I wasn’t too difficult but I had to go to two different stores to get what I needed. It is easier for me right now to use the Primal grinds instead of making my own raw food.
In my opinion, commercial raw food is a good compromise if you don’t want to go full raw. Yes it is still processed, but very minimally and much less than kibble. It is also convenient for those that are busy or simply don’t have or want to take the time to source raw meats and make their own raw food meals from scratch.
These are just my opinions. There are others here that have way more experience than I do such as HoundDogMom, Pattyvaughn, and pugmomsandy. They may have more feedback for you.
Even when I’m doing 20% I want the calcium/phosphorus at least close to balanced and I still add a vit E stabilized fish oil or oily fish.
For a dog that is entrenched in the habit of gulping it’s food, I would not feed whole bones, unless it was in something that was too big for the dog to swallow it. I would use grinds or premixes and boneless meats. That being said, I believe a dog can be trained to eat properly, but you have to be willing to take the time.
Since you’ve already introduced raw into the diet, just try out a raw meaty bone and see how they do. I have small dogs and started with chicken wings and necks. And then went to chicken legs. I do have 2 that chomp their bones pretty well and one that does a so-so job at it but in 2 years of raw meaty bones, he hasn’t had any issues. You can attach a large vice clamp onto a RMB or tie part of it to a broom stick or something like that so he can’t gulp the whole thing down and hopefully learns to not gulp. If gulping is a problem, then I would feed grinds and nothing harder than chicken bones. I would say that chicken necks and duck necks and very small turkey necks (about 1 inch diameter or less) are ok to slightly gulp down. This is what my 30 lb dog does! You can always whack the neck with a hammer first. If you want to incorporate raw and still feed kibble and other commercial products, then I would suggest chicken, turkey or duck necks 3 times a week and then maybe a couple meals of just ground meats/organ/calcium supplement (or commercial raw). Baby back pork ribs are also easy to break so that might be an option too. Frankly, I don’t think there is anything “sharp” in a small poultry neck bone so that might be a good bone for you to use. You can also buy a large leg bone just for them to enjoy chewing on instead of eating it.
Thank you everyone for the suggestions. They are very helpful. I actually just purchased Primal Freeze Dried Turkey and Sardine Formula for Dogs, so I’m not sure “raw” that is. I should get that shipment in tomorrow and looking forward to how it goes. However, I do have two concerns, so maybe someone can help with that.
If I do incorporate some raw…how do I ensure I’m not overfeeding? I have one dog, Lucy (30-40 lbs) that is considered a little…shall we say, “chunky”. I’m trying to get her weight down a little since she isn’t very tall. She is a bit overweight, so I cut back on the coconut oil and kibble I give her as well. I am also getting Fromm weight management and will try that with her, but I’m concerned if I incorporate kibble in addition to a bit of raw, then I’m feeding her too much. Also, I know eating raw food is disgusting and unhealthy for us humans…but, I am still a bit concerned giving it to them. How do they not get sick from it? I understand the whole “related to wolves thing” and they can break it down where we can’t, but since they have been domesticated for so long, could raw be bad for them in any way? I’d hate to try this and be like one case in the article I read where one lady’s dog got severely sick from it and had major issues.
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