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Independent, unbiased reviews without influence from pet food companies

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  • in reply to: Beef rib from old carcass #104524 Report Abuse

    Oh no, I absolutely would not do that again. Aside from the fact that that bone has been sitting there long enough to harbor some very serious bacteria, a sun bleached bone is not edible. Sun has the same effect on bones that cooking them does- it breaks them down into dry and flaky shards that could potentially cause cuts in the GI tract. Stick to fresh, raw rib bones only.

    in reply to: Raw – ground, hunk, chunk or whole? #102811 Report Abuse

    I’d be curious to know how most feed, also. I feed grinds simply because I’ve got an older girl with a sensitive stomach. Anything that’s not finely ground up and she will throw up tiny bone shards (even with pro/prebiotic help). She’s in general pretty thrilled by the fact that it’s real meat I’m feeding her, so I’m not sure the texture bothers her.

    in reply to: fruits and veggies in your dog's diet #86468 Report Abuse

    Alexis W-

    Yes, the strawberries gave her diarrhea. Many of the food charts I’ve seen say to feed strawberries sparingly, as this is a known side effect. I do not feed them at all now. I was certain it was the strawberries as it was the only time I had ever given them to her. I would agree with Anonymous however in that ruling out a medical condition as a reason for diarrhea should come before assumption of gastrointestinal upset from a change in food.

    in reply to: fruits and veggies in your dog's diet #86465 Report Abuse

    LOL Inked Marie, mine is that way with strawberries. Will never make the mistake of giving strawberries again! πŸ˜›

    in reply to: fruits and veggies in your dog's diet #86463 Report Abuse

    While I feed mostly prey model raw, I do feed fruits and vegetables a few times a week for antioxidant and vitamin/mineral benefit. I try to stick to low sugar and low carbohydrate fruits and veggies so as not to overload the system with too much unnecessary stuff. Blueberries, spinach, kale, chia seed, pumpkin and the occasional broccoli, apple, pear or green bean might make its way into the bowl a few times a month πŸ™‚ I do offer butternut squash as a treat from time to time because she loves it like Debbie J said also!

    in reply to: Westie Diet #86214 Report Abuse

    Hi Jen T:

    Good for you for taking the big step to homemade! I don’t think you will be disappointed πŸ™‚ I would however recommend varying your recipe as much as your budget will allow with different proteins, meats, vegetables and fruits. I’m not seeing any bone meal in your recipes, either, which is crucial in providing calcium when feeding boneless meats. Off the top of my head I would definitely recommend adding bone meal, vitamin E, fish oil (or whole sardines) and a green superfood supplement such as spirulina or wheatgrass. You may want to add in a canine multivitamin just to cover any bases. A great resource for cooked homemade diets is Dr. Karen Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats. It breaks everything down for you into manageable, complete and balanced recipes.

    in reply to: Whole Prey Style Treats for Raw Feeders #86156 Report Abuse

    Hi Zoe,

    They all vary by a bit in chewiness. Some are kind of a hard crunch (lamb trachea, pig ears and chicken feet) while others are more like jerky (the fish and pork tenderloin pieces). What I like about these though is they all retain some bit of moisture and aren’t entirely dry. I keep them in the fridge so they’ll keep longer and rehydrate them to add to my raw grinds as toppers. I can’t stress enough how much better these air dried treats are than the air dried stuff you can get in bulk bins in big box stores. Amazing quality!
    Definitely recommend.

    in reply to: Whole Prey Style Treats for Raw Feeders #86109 Report Abuse

    Lauri G:

    We’ve added lamb trachea to our rotation of whole prey treats- about one per week so as not to overdo (moderation for all things!) She doesn’t seem to have a problem with them so far. I’m not one for plugging links and businesses very often, but I thought I’d take the time to share this raw fed dog equivalent to the Bark Box subscription box! We’ve been getting one box a month of air dried species appropriate treats and they’re all human grade meats. Definitely worth a look if you’re interested in a variety of proteins to give as treats. Currently we’re doing lamb trachea, beef kidney, chicken feet, dehydrated pork loin and dried whole sardines πŸ™‚


    in reply to: New to homemade – need advice #85470 Report Abuse

    Great menu, Cannoli. Sounds like you’ve got an awesome handle on raw. Might I ask why you are still feeding Orijen when your raw menu is so good? Just curious. I know you said you believe in a rotational diet, but it looks like your raw menu is wonderfully diverse. Keep up the good work.

    in reply to: How to start brushing dogs teeth? #84987 Report Abuse

    Another good idea is to start with a dog toothpaste in a flavor your dog really likes. This cuts out the amount of loathing right from the get-go! I adopted a 5 year old dog this past year with absolutely horrendous teeth and after 9 months of brushing, I can say we’ve made considerable progress. A few minutes a day is all it takes. We currently use the peanut butter flavored Nylabone toothpaste and a finger brush, and hoping to move to dental gel made by Mercola as it’s all natural and more intensive (I think she can handle it now). Good luck!

    I would agree with Pit Love- a nutritionist would be your safest and best bet. There are some very important things you don’t want to guesstimate on such as calcium/phosphorus ratios, especially since GSDs are large breed dogs. It is crucial to get ratios in balance at this stage. Definitely check out this link for some supplemental resources for starting puppies on raw:


    in reply to: SO CONFUSED #84547 Report Abuse

    If you look below any of the reviews for a dog food you’ve selected, the analysis of fat content should appear in a pie graph chart. Is there a certain fat percentage you’re shooting to feed at or below? A high protein diet (senior dogs need more protein than most realize) with lower fat would probably be ideal, but for something more specific I would say consulting a holistic vet would be best. My dog did very well on the grain free, carageenan-free Nature’s Variety brand canned food, although I realize the fat content (in the upper 30s) on these may not be doable for your dog.

    in reply to: Food for Westie – Pooping a lot #84518 Report Abuse

    Good for you for making the switch to a better food! I would definitely try some probiotics. The Honest Kitchen makes a great goat’s milk powder that’s easy to mix into food and contains multiple strains of probiotics. Mercola Healthy Pets makes a Spirugreen supplement that greatly helped my dog in achieving normal poos, too. Lamb is a pretty rich meat so it may just be your dog is reacting to that. Any food with rice in it came out in very large, almost double-the-sized lumps back when I was feeding kibble. I’m not sure if rice expands as it digests when it is a kibble ingredient, but that may be part of the cause, too.

    in reply to: Whole Prey Style Treats for Raw Feeders #84284 Report Abuse

    Thank you for this information! Very helpful. I’ll let you know how she does with the new goodies πŸ™‚

    in reply to: Whole Prey Style Treats for Raw Feeders #84255 Report Abuse

    Thank you ladies, I currently order all my pup’s food from Hare Today, so yes, Hare Today is where I am looking to place a treat order from, too πŸ™‚ I guess my question was more along the lines of snack-ability/time it takes to chew. I’ve got a bit of a dainty chewer (which is why I feed grinds and not prey model), so I was wondering if there were any good recommendations as to specific items. She’s done well with chicken and duck feet from the few times I have tried, so I think I will try those as well as some furred rabbit feet. I’ve never tried things such as trachea before. Any input on the texture/snackability of those? (apologize for my made-up lingo here lol)

    Thanks again!

    in reply to: Misleading Dog Food Packaging #83921 Report Abuse

    How very exciting! Congratulations on being asked to contribute. I would definitely add Blue Buffalo Wilderness to the list of misleading dog food packaging- an “evolutionary diet” would never include kibble for the pictured wolf on their dog food bags!

    in reply to: Coonhounds and Raw Feeding #83783 Report Abuse

    Hi Andrew-

    She’s taking a multivitamin capsule, a spirulina capsule (with added Vitamin E) and a whole food vitamin/mineral supplement by Dr. Harvey’s once per day along with flax seed, chia seed, and alternating vegetables/herbs. She gets a scoop of yogurt or full fat cottage cheese once per day and oysters once a week. I try to stick to balancing with whole foods but the multivitamin capsule is in there just to cover any bases I may be missing. We don’t do any other added fish oils as she eats sardines several times per week. Thanks again for the advice and followup!


    in reply to: pancreatitis #83730 Report Abuse

    I would recommend The Honest Kitchen, too.

    in reply to: How about reviewing raw food suppliers #83356 Report Abuse

    I definitely wonder the same thing, but I 100% agree with InkedMarie in that I trust Tracy from Hare Today to keep things honest, down-to-earth and as all-natural as she can do. I too feed exclusively grinds from Hare Today because I am inexperienced with balancing and know it cannot be something you mess up! Even if what we’re feeding isn’t 100% grass-fed, free range, GMO-free, whatever you will, it’s always going to be better than kibble when it’s balanced correctly.

    in reply to: My Homemade dog food recipe #82665 Report Abuse

    Just a very urgent reminder to never feed your dog cooked bones. Raw bones are fine when fed in a size-appropriate proportion.

    in reply to: Unhealthy Obsession with Pet Food #82591 Report Abuse

    DogFoodie. Thank you.
    Absolutely terrified by this recommendation to feed Purina Pro Plan….

    in reply to: Unhealthy Obsession with Pet Food #82569 Report Abuse

    I don’t think these kinds of comments will be welcomed here very readily, Ed W. I suggest you find another forum to voice these sentiments.

    in reply to: Heavy Fats or Heavy Carbs? #82514 Report Abuse

    Hi John B:

    Since dogs do not technically have a carbohydrate requirement, I would say that a diet with little to no carbohydrates would be best for your dog. Corn, wheat, potatoes, rice, squash-all are heavy in carbohydrates and therefore unnecessary unless you have a dog with a high metabolism and you need to add calories to help them maintain weight. Fat is an essential nutrient to a dog but those suffering from sensitivity to high fat levels and/or pancreatitis may have issues, so it’s not really very easy to say one is better than another across the board.

    in reply to: Raw Food Diet Supps: Fish Oil and Vitamin E #82149 Report Abuse

    Thank you for the extensive info! I very much appreciate it. Rodney Habib is great, too. Excellent resource. I will give the oil you recommended a go next time I run out of whole sardines.


    in reply to: To microwave or not to Microwave #81989 Report Abuse

    Hey there,

    While I don’t microwave raw food, I totally feel your pain on this because I’m from the arctic, barren wasteland that is MAINE haha. Mine won’t eat the really cold food easily either, so I put it on the counter for a half hour or so to keep it a little lower than room temperature but not as cold as the fridge- although our house can be pretty darn cold this time of year too. I know many will not advise this due to bacterial contamination, but keeping the food contained to a clean metal bowl is a good move. I have to admit that I do not use microwaves for my own foods, so I wouldn’t use it for my dog either but that is just a personal preference. I would say bring it up to room temperature as best you can to see if you can omit popping it in the microwave at all. Good luck fellow New Englander!

    in reply to: Coonhounds and Raw Feeding #81762 Report Abuse

    Hi Andrew B,

    Thank you for the advice. We have now successfully moved to 100% raw (prey model 80/10/10 with added veggies, whole food supplements and oils), and I have seen a great improvement in her weight. She is slowly putting more on and is back up to a healthy 60 pounds. A recent vet visit confirmed her weight is in a very healthy range so I am hoping we continue to have more success! You are right about the salmon, however. Healthy fats have helped us in our weight gaining journey. She’s a huge sardine fan πŸ˜› Thanks for all the help!

    in reply to: Detox and Raw feeding? #81761 Report Abuse

    I would disagree also regarding the organs. Skipping out on them even in the beginning could make for some grave imbalances. I do however agree with Rox B that we are missing some crucial information here and it should probably not be assumed that the veterinarian was correct in diagnosing the dogs with Salmonella poisoning right away. A holistic vet should always be the first to go to for questions with raw feeding. I personally do not have one near to me and must deal with the disapproval of my conventional veterinarian. *sigh*

    in reply to: Picky senior with pancreatitis #81592 Report Abuse

    I’m sorry to hear about this πŸ™ I would strongly recommend trying bone broth for your girl while she’s still having issues with nausea and vomiting. It’s got many beneficial vitamins and minerals in it that will be easily digestible to your dog. You can buy bone broth from some specialty pet stores already made (popular brand Honest Kitchen makes some) but it’s really easy to do yourself! It’s not a complete and balanced diet, but starting your dog back onto regular food isn’t always easy and this is a solid, nutritious start. Regarding raw, I disagree with the previous poster in that raw isn’t good for a dog in this condition. I think you may just want to keep her fat intake to a minimum. Darwins is notorious these days for high fat levels so if you’re looking for a brand with a lower fat content, try Natures Variety Instinct Frozen Raw.

    Here’s a link to bone broth!


    in reply to: Raw Dog Food On the Go? #81585 Report Abuse

    I totally understand your worry, and mine had grain-infested kibble for a long time, too! They are lucky we know better now πŸ˜‰ As long as you feed on rotation and offer some kibble and/or canned in advance, (oh the dreaded kibble), you should be fine. I’ve found my dog’s system does best when I feed her canned food when I absolutely have to during travel as opposed to kibble. Much easier to carry than raw, and luckily Nature’s Variety Instinct does make a very, very good 95% single protein canned food.

    in reply to: Raw Dog Food On the Go? #81583 Report Abuse

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m afraid I would not be much help as far as balancing food nutrients requirements with homemade diets, but you may be able to buy a bag of freeze dried raw food (guaranteed to be balanced) just for these certain times. I don’t know if this is any easier, but I use premade raw when we travel (Stella and Chewy’s and Nature’s Variety) simply because it stores easier than a whole mess of odds and ends does. Of course that doesn’t eliminate the issue of cold storage. Check out some of the 5 star freeze dried bag foods though if you are looking for convenience.

    in reply to: Weeks of Raw and Still Issues #81275 Report Abuse

    Oh that’s great! I hope the grinds work for your pup. I am wondering if dogs that aren’t big chewers have problems with PMR simply because they aren’t interested in vigorously chewing things. Ours sounds a lot like yours in that she is very good with large recreational load-bearing bones and antlers, but not so much the edible dietary bones. We do like you mentioned and provide RMBs for recreation and teeth cleaning once or twice per week and brush every day. I hope you find a solution that works!

    in reply to: Weeks of Raw and Still Issues #81270 Report Abuse

    Hi Natalie R,

    I am so sorry to hear of your issues but on some level it does comfort me to know that my dog (60 lb Coonhound) is not the only one who experiences great difficulty in digesting bone. Although it doesn’t provide any dental benefits, I would highly suggest moving your Westie’s diet over to a raw ground diet. I feel confident in doing this after many many attempts at feeding whole bone and having my dog vomit just the way you described with yours. Didn’t seem sick, didn’t seem abnormal, just seemed to vomit up bone. We have transitioned to fine and coarse ground raw chubs in every protein variety imaginable from Hare Today Gone Tomorrow (bone, meat, organ blends) and this seems to have cleared up nearly all of her issues. I would strongly advise checking this out for your dog too if you don’t want to compromise on the health benefits of raw. You’ll have to keep up with the teeth brushing with the loss of the RMBs, but other than that I think you will find a significant difference and improvement in GI upset and digestibility.

    in reply to: Peas and Pea Fiber #80488 Report Abuse

    Coonhound Dad! πŸ™‚
    Glad to see another Coonhound parent on here. Curious as to what kind of Coonhound Maggie is and how long the pea-related carbohydrate problem went on before you solved the issue. We’ve got a rather itchy (no dandruff or any kind of large-scale discomfort) Bluetick and Treeing Walker mix who eats a partial raw and partial kibble diet (kibble containing pea protein).

    in reply to: Supplements #80479 Report Abuse

    Hi Ryan Y:
    I’m new to raw feeding so I will stick to quoting the tried and true veterans of the field, but I do know that you have to be careful balancing phosphorous and calcium ratios as well as avoiding too much Vitamin A (often found in liver and fibrous carbohydrates like pumpkin). An older post in this forum written by Hound Dog Mom on the topic of Raw Feeding has a wonderful recipe she’s come up with (and also tested against AAFCO standards) that seems easy to make and is balanced as a full vitamin and mineral mix. Reminder that these are vitamins and minerals in their dietary form and not their tablet or pill form if that makes sense. I’ll post it here for you as I’ve copied it for my own use and don’t have time to hunt around for the original post!

    Hound Dog Mom’s Whole Food Multi-Vitamin/Mineral Supplement (for her large dogs):

    4 oz kelp powder
    4 oz alfalfa powder
    4 oz wheatgrass powder
    4 oz spirulina powder
    4 oz chlorella powder
    4 oz bee pollen powder
    4 oz turmeric powder
    2 oz garlic powder

    I know she also uses apple cider vinegar, cod liver oil, Himalayan crystal salt, calcium citrate, coconut oil and various mixed tocopherols tocotrienols in her dogs’ diet, but these would vary with dog size, age, weight and of course the other food items being fed at the time. Again, if you look through the forums, you should be able to find some of her outstanding dietary advice.

    in reply to: High BUN #80476 Report Abuse

    I would agree with Anonymous. This sounds like a job for your local vet and it very well could be age related at this point regardless of her previous dietary history. I’m so sorry for your little pup though and I hope things get better for her soon. <3

    in reply to: Thanksgiving Meals for Dogs #80438 Report Abuse

    I’ve so loved reading these responses! I’m glad to hear what you feed your other animals, too! I used to feed my cat tuna and other kinds of fish on holidays just to make him feel a little special. I will have to get creative with some foods for the dog this year! πŸ™‚

    in reply to: Thanksgiving Meals for Dogs #80383 Report Abuse

    Thank you for your response, anonymous. Unfortunately I don’t think I made myself clear in my original post. I didn’t mean feeding table scraps or parts of Thanksgiving dinner TO the dogs- what I meant to ask was if you crafted a special meal for your dogs on this day with their own foods in honor of celebration.
    My dog doesn’t get table scraps or hang out near the table near human dinner-time, but I do plan to make up a meal of some unique foods she doesn’t get often that are of course safe, healthy and balanced for a dog to have. Curious if others do the same?

    in reply to: Best canned food, in your opinion? #80365 Report Abuse

    Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw is expensive stuff at 5 dollars per can, but it’s really excellent quality. You can read reviews of it on here and most all are 5 stars with the exception of just a few that are 4.5 stars. I’d definitely look into it if you can afford it, as the ingredient list is clean and simple and most lines offer a single protein source per can.

    in reply to: Need canned suggestions similar to Merrick #80363 Report Abuse

    Nature’s Variety Instinct makes great canned food, but it is five dollars per can which can get expensive when you’re feeding a larger breed dog. My 60 pound girl will eat half a can once a day to make it stretch with a variety of kibble, raw and ground premixes. Nice quality food though if you can afford it.

    in reply to: Coonhounds and Raw Feeding #80275 Report Abuse

    Thank you! I just looked it up via Instructables. I’m wondering though if there would be a good substitute for the oats? She does not eat grains. I suppose peas might work for their plant-based carbohydrate content.

    in reply to: Homemade raw dog food help #80269 Report Abuse

    Hi all,

    I’d be curious to hear more input regarding what the original poster Ella S included about feeding a tablespoon each of plain nonfat Greek yogurt and canned pumpkin per day. Are there any risks involved in this? I have a 60 lb dog so I don’t think a tablespoon would make much of a difference, but I am concerned that this might be a bit too much Vitamin A in the long run. She’s currently transitioning to raw and suffers from slightly mushy poo, so I add it in to aid in digestion and to help keep bowel movements regular. Any thoughts?


    in reply to: Reel Raw #80260 Report Abuse

    Marie: Do you have any recommendations on where to find duck or turkey necks? I will be saving the Thanksgiving turkey odds and ends for her of course, but is there somewhere I could try that would offer those? I am thinking we will try turkey necks first as she’s a big girl and has a tendency to inhale food. And yes, I have been to Gilford! Lovely place. Wonderful to meet people from my general area who share common interests.

    in reply to: help: new to feeding raw bones #80258 Report Abuse

    I’m a new raw feeder and this worries me, too. My dog is a recently adopted 5 year old coonhound who has been eating kibble her entire life until now. For this reason I started her out on bone, organ and meat grinds until her system adjusts. If you think your dog is a gulper, I would definitely try grinds first. Also, it can be helpful from what I have read to start your dog who is new to edible bones on larger bones that are as big as their own head size to discourage and avoid swallowing a piece that could cause blockages. Good luck!

    in reply to: Reel Raw #80257 Report Abuse

    Hi InkedMarie,

    Thanks for your response and congratulations on the new puppy! I am located in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Just moved here a year ago so I’m trying to find some places nearby that will be cost effective. Thanks for sharing your advice regarding Reel Raw. I have read some other reviews that have noted the noticeably higher fat percentage, so I think for now we will stick with Hare Today. Our pup is a 5 year old shelter dog whom we’ve only had for three months, so for right now we are still doing a slow transition to raw. She’s been kibble fed her whole life! We’ve started out on the bone, organ and meat grinds which seems to be going very well. If I can muster up enough courage to start her on some edible bones (other than recreational bones) I will certainly take your advice and try the beef rib bones!

    in reply to: Reel Raw #80251 Report Abuse

    Hi Inked Marie,

    I’m new to the forums so I apologize for trolling an older post of yours! I was hoping you’d see this as I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now and I’ve noticed you’re located in New England. Any reviews or advice you could offer on how Reel Raw is working for you and your dogs? I am located in Maine so picking somewhere local to source my raw goodies would be absolutely ideal. Currently we shop through Hare Today which is incredible but I would like to move things more local. Thanks again and I hope to hear from you.
    -Coonhound Mama

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