Hi, I’m new to the forum. But long time dog owner. I currently have three large dogs. I know all of my dogs would benefit to a raw diet but I’m lost on where to start. My dogs are currently fed on taste of the wild. I’m more than happy to research a lot on my own but I could use some help on where to start. What to feed? How much?
Here’s a little info on my dogs, if it might help.
Cookie who is the oldest is turning 12 years on the 24th, she’s a female Labrador weighing around 65 pounds. Cookie is overweight, she has cancer and arthritis. She can’t walk far distances and isn’t comfortable swimming any more, so exercise isn’t the easiest way to her weight off. Cookie, although overweight she doesn’t eat much. She is a retried mom who quickly gained the weight when she was spayed late at the age of 7 years. And I have yet to get her weight off. Although she has cancer and arthritis she is active for her age and condition. She’s fine with small walks around the block but anything more she limps her way home.
Mia, is my female bloodhound. Mia is 6 years old,she has a long chronic past of yeast infections in her ears which have significantly gone down since switching to TOTW. Mia’s a very active girl. It’s very easy to control her weight, compared to my other two dogs. She does eat A LOT but she never strays from her weight too much. Usually a steady 85 pounds. She’s eating 3 1/2 cups a day of just kibble with occasional raw cow bone
Bentley is the hardest to keep his weight. He is currently overweight, I’m getting his weight down right now by cutting back his food and feeding vegetables and raw cow bones recommended by his vet. Bentley is a heeler/hound/lab mix. I adopted him back in August of 2013. He’s a year old. He’s closer to the size of a heeler than anything but weight wise he’s a hound/lab. Last time he was weighed he was 63 pounds a few weeks ago.
I exercise my dogs daily besides cookie who can’t handle daily walks. I take them swimming at least once a week and hiking once a week but they get daily walks and runs. So lack of exercise isn’t the problem it’s balancing their food.
I know I need to make this decision on my own but there’s no problem with suggestions. If you could help steer me in the right way you suggest would most benefit my dogs I would greatly appreciate it.
And also if you could estimate on monthly costs, I would greatly appreciate it. Or Estimate on how much to feed so I could estimate the cost. But would GREATLY appreciate any links or forums you know of where I can start my research in raw feeding that would be great. 😀
Just for a reference of my dog’s here is a picture
Hi Ashlee, you have 3 beautiful dogs, sorry I cant help with the raw, but there’s heaps of people on this site that can, I just borrowed this book called “Dr Becker’s REAL FOOD For healthy Dogs & Cats” its a good read & Karen puts you in the right direction with foods, supplements, calcium & fatty acids, for young medium & older dogs..what to do & what not to do..Corinne MMember
I feel compelled to respond to your post because I also found this site when I got interested in dog nutrition after one of my dogs developed health issues…and to be honest, it hasn’t been an easy road. However, I can tell you that the journey has resulted in major improvements in all of my dogs’ health & wellness. And I’m committed to continuing the journey – but it’s daunting at times, expensive (but the costs are offset by reduced vet bills), and sometimes overwhelming. I made some mistakes along the way, mostly in trying to get the supplements right & balancing the calcium/phosphorus ratio in homemade/raw feeding – but fortunately, my dogs are healthy and thriving on a natural diet. So if my experience can help others to avoid some of the pitfalls along the way, that would be great.
So here’s my 2 cents based on what I read above: I would start with Cookie, since she has cancer & arthritis (and is over weight) I think she’s in greatest need. This may be “off subject”, but the first thing I would do is cease any vaccines completely. Her immune system is compromised by the cancer, so your vet should be able to give you a waiver if you need one in order to keep her “tags” current – if your local jurisdiction wont accept a vet’s waiver, you can pay for titer testing in lieu of vaccination. But to be honest, I don’t think you would/should have to go thru that expense ( I can elaborate if you need help getting around city requirements). Next I would get a consult with Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemolife http://www.hemopet.org/veterinary-diagnostic-laboratory.html
you can do this by phone or email if you are not located in southern California. Call her and explain Cookie’s situation & that you are looking to switch her diet. She can tell you what labwork would be appropriate to determine a course of action (especially testing Cookie’s immune system & inflammatory issues) you can print the lab order from her website & have your vet do the blood draw & have your vet send it to her for the testing. Ask her to call you with the results and her recommendations – she can tell you what supplements to use to assist with Cookie’s immune support & inflammation/ arthritis. I would ask Dr. Dodds about raw feeding for Cookie – if her immune system is an issue, you may want to buy a high quality prepared raw food like Bravo Balance http://www.bravorawdiet.com/product/balance/index.html and *lightly* cook it – just enough to be extra safe. Of course, getting Cookie’s weight down to optimum level will help with the arthritis – if you feed her the Bravo Balance at the amount appropriate to her *ideal* weight, her weight should normalize in a few months without her feeling deprived. Bravo’s website has a feeding calculator you can use to determine the amount to feed – just remember to plug in her ideal weight, not her actual weight. Here’s a link: http://www.bravorawdiet.com/product/feeding/howmuch.html
I only suggest a prepared raw diet because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of feeding a “nutritionally complete” raw diet – and it sounds like Cookie needs help ASAP. As for cost, assuming Cookie’s ideal weight was 60 pounds, you would feed 1.2 lbs of food per day and I think a 5 lb chub of their balanced brand is like $27 – so her food would be about $42 per week. When I make raw/homemade my cost is about $2 to $5 per pound, depending on my protein source (and not including cost of supplements). Expensive – but I’ve saved a TON on vet bills; my dogs never get skin issues or yeast infections anymore.
As for the other dogs and your journey to switch to raw, there are some great resources here on this site and suggestions for other resources – just read everything you can get your hands on and learn about the diet/wellness connection. If you find it challenging at first maybe switch first to a home made diet, then take the leap to raw when you are ready. At least with home cooked you have control over your ingredients & can deal with specific ailments (like Mia’s yeast infections) by eliminating foods that are common culprits for yeast imbalances.
Best of luck to you in your journey!
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