Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
After giving it a lot of thought, I've decided to switch my dogs to raw. I know it's definitely what I want to do, but the thought of actually making the switch seems a bit intimidating - to say the least! It's down right scary to some one who never realized dogs were actually fed such a diet until 6 months ago.

DJs a 10 month old boston/minpin mix, full of energy, of course.
Georgie is a 13 year old Australian Shepherd who probably doesn't have a whole lot of time left with us ... he's slowed down quite a bit this winter.

So to begin ... should I give them each a chicken quarter? A day? ...for a couple of weeks? Then onto some other meat source? That's something I've read in the past about beginning.

I know many of you have gone through this many times with others new to raw feeding, so please be patient. It would even be very appreciated if you would post links to other threads referring to how to begin. Thanks ahead of time for all your help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,300 Posts
Yep, chicken for a week or two. Then add in another meat, and another, and so on. Try little bits of organs as well. Approx. 10% should be organ. If stool is too soft, you're either feeding a too large amount of food, or not enough bone to firm it up.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
51 Posts
DJs a 10 month old boston/minpin mix, full of energy, of course. Georgie is a 13 year old Australian Shepherd who probably doesn't have a whole lot of time left with us ... he's slowed down quite a bit this winter.
I'm betting your 10month old is too small for a chicken quarter. He would probably be better suited to drumsticks or bone in breasts. Feed about 2 to 3% of his expected adult weight/day.

Your Aussie would probably be ok for a quarter a day.

for a couple of weeks? Then onto some other meat source? That's something I've read in the past about beginning.
Yes, chicken only for a couple of weeks. I suggest adding turkey to the diet the 3rd week. That doesn't mean stop the chicken. Just alternate between the two. The next week add in pork. After that it doesn't matter what you add when but try to add one new protein source a week. Beef and fish are probably 2 that need to be added. After that any other protein you want to feed when you want to feed it.

The two things that are the most helpful are http://www.skylarzack.com/rawfeeding.htm and the book "Work Wonders" by Tom Lonsdale. The book is available at amazon.com or directly from the author at www.rawmeatybones.com.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,846 Posts
Have you checked out this thread? There is a wealth of information here:
http://www.dogforums.com/5-dog-food-forum/15085-feeding-raw-where-start.html

A chicken quarter is a great way to start. And you don't have to just stick with the quarter - feed all parts of the chicken. If you can find a good deal on whole chickens, chop it up and feed it over a few meals. What ever part you decide it's best to just stick with that one protein source for a few weeks. After that you might want to add some offal into the rotation, chicken liver perhaps. Give it a couple of weeks, then add a new protein source into the mix...give it a couple of weeks, add a new protein, maybe some new offal, and so forth. It's always wise to go slow, but how slow you go really depends on the individual dog, just keep an eye on how they progress.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your reply RBark! I'll def be watching the stools!

I'm going to the store this eve & would really like to start just as soon as possible, now that I've made the decision to switch. Do I NEED to freeze the meat for a period of time before I feed it to them, or can I put it in the fridge tonite & feed it to them tomorrow?
My big problem is I don't have a lot of freezer space & really no where to put a chest type freezer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,075 Posts
I would suggest that you look over the stickies at the top of the food forum. A bad raw diet is far worse than a quality kibble diet. And you are asking some pretty basic questions here...what to feed, how much, ??? That is all covered in entry-level informational sources. It took me quite a few months to do the research, work out a menu, establish resources, and figure out how to make it work for our dogs. Again, I would start out with the stickies in the food forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Ah! Thank you so much for your responses too dad2labs & boxmein! And thanks for posting the links - I will be checking them out right away!

Yeah, I wasn't sure how much to begin feeding. I guess I'm kind of afraid both my dogs may tend to over eat. DJ has never been a real good eater of his kibble, but I can't imagine he wont go for the raw meat.
George has always been what I've referred to as a "garbage dog" who'll wolf down anything!
I'm really excited to see how this goes for them.

You don't think a switch in diet at this time in his life would be too hard for George, do you? I'm not real sure. I wish I had decided to do this many years ago for the old guy, as I really think it's something he would have enjoyed so much more than his kibble.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
51 Posts
No need to freeze any meat you get from the grocery store with the possible exception of salmon from the pacific northwest and you probably won't find them at a grocery store. The salmon I see in grocery stores around here are farmed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I would suggest that you look over the stickies at the top of the food forum. A bad raw diet is far worse than a quality kibble diet. And you are asking some pretty basic questions here...what to feed, how much, ??? That is all covered in entry-level informational sources. It took me quite a few months to do the research, work out a menu, establish resources, and figure out how to make it work for our dogs. Again, I would start out with the stickies in the food forum.
Thanks briteday! I've been reading through the stickys for awhile & even following all the external links they lead to, but it's actually become somewhat more confusing as I read more & more. But I'm still reading them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,075 Posts
OK, then here's the simpler version...

Feed chicken parts for the first 2-4 weeks, no organs or anything else. Feed 2-5% of appropriate weight for an adult dog, 3-10% of current weight for puppies. Although you pup is a smaller breed and has probably attained almost adult size, I'm guessing he might do well in the 3-8% range.

Sample calculations 10 # dog...

10 x 16 = 160 ounces (to convert to ounces, easier to work iwth in small dogs)

160 ounces x 0.04 (4%) = 6.4 ounces daily divided into two meals, so a bit over 3 ounces per meal

...........................40 pound older dog (just an example, I have no idea what your older dog weighs)

40 x 16 ounces = 640 ounces (dog's weight in ounces)

640 x 0.03 (3%) = 19.2 ounces/ day divided into two meals of about 9-1/2 oz. (9.6 ounces) each


Go out and buy whole chickens, lots of them. Come home and chop them up into meal sized portions. (save the giblets in a bags in the freezer, you will be adding them to the diet later) Bag one-meal's worth in a baggie so you can defrost one meal in the fridge by grabbing enough baggies for a day or two. Or, in the beginning, just defrost one chicken at a time and keep the cut up chicken parts in a big zip bag (gallon size) and remove what you need for each meal. You should go through it fast enough before it spoils. If you really want to know how much you are serving I would suggest getting a digital postal scale and measure food for a while in the beginning. I found a really durable one at Costco for <$20. Skip the cheap scales at Wal-Mart and such as they are not accurate.

Stick with the chicken until you get through the GI ickies. Most dogs will experience some stomach distress (vomiting or hershey squirts) in the first few weeks as their systems adapt to a different food. After 1 whole week of the stools and stomachs being better, then you can START to add in a giblet or two. And remember, you only need 10% of the diet to be organs, so that's only 1-2 ounces per day. The most important thing about organs is to serve all of them, easy with chickens, a bit harder with other species...but chicken organs will do. Liver provides vitamins A & D, crucial unless you want to supplement with vitamin pills down the road. The dogs will be fine for a few weeks without them, but I wouldn't go much longer than a few months. Heart can be considered both a muscle or organ meat. It is loaded with taurine, a very important amino acid. Kidneys are also pretty available in most grocery stores and a great organ to feed. In a pinch though, any time I make a chicken for the family or the dogs I freeze the handful of giblets that you find in the bird's cavity. They never go to waste around here! If you have made the connection that 10% is a bit less than one meal per week...most dogs cannot eat an entire meal of organs. They are too rich. So you will need to feed them throughout the week with muscle meat meals.

I like to buy whole chickens for a few reasons. One, they come with the organs, saving me the added expense. Two, every part of the bird has something to offer...Chicken dark meat contain vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc. Even the fats in most of the dark meats have healthy parts. They contain Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, and other ‘healthy’ fats. On the other hand, white meats tend to have a bit more glycogen, converts to glucose for dog's energy requirements.

So I feed a whole bird over time, knowing that they are getting a little bit of everything.

My last point on chickens is to look for the ones that have not been injected "enhanced" with salt broth. You REALLY have to read the fine print on the label, usually on the front under the brand or words "young chicken" , "completely natural", etc. My dogs won't even eat anything with added broth, including the cheap turkeys they give away at the holidays. But neither would I knowingly feed them anything with added salt. And why would I pay 10-15% of the cost per pound for them to add salt. My average price for whole chickens (Costco, not on sale, best price locally) is $1 / pound. If I bought the enhanced stuff I'm paying 10-15 cents per pound (50-75 cents per bird) for salt water! (also, even with limited freezer space you will somehow learn to stock up when things are on sale)

Logistically on a daily basis...either cut up 1-2 chickens and keep in large bag in fridge for the week...or, cut up and re-bag into meal-sized portions kept in the freezer. When I defrost or store anything in the fridge it is in a plastic shoebox container marked clearly as dog food, just in case some else in the house decides to cook for themselves.

Later on, when you are feeding multiple meat types...in your box you will have your defrosting meat, organs, anything else you might need to serve the meal. I also have a small bottle of Grizzly salmon oil (something you may want to add to the diet later on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thank you very much briteday! I'm going to print that out - hubby will be helping me with all of this. he's much better with calculations than I.

Maybe I am rushing into this ... but honestly, it seems the more I read, the more confusing it seems to get. I think maybe it would be best just to get started & take a step at a time.
Anyway ... hubby & I will be discussing it more this eve, & maybe we'll dicide to wait a bit until I fell a little more confident with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again for helping me get started everyone!
I've done some calculating -
at 14 lbs, DJ is 224 oz.
Personally, I think he's a bit on the thin side, tho some consider him about perfect.
So I figure feeding him 4% of his body wt would be 9 oz daily, or 4 1/2 oz per feeding at 2x a day.
Altho I may decide to feed him 5% of his body wt a day instead, not real sure.

George is 55 lbs & is over weight.
So if I feed him at the lower end of the scale, 2% of his body wt is 17.5 oz daily, about 8.75 oz per feeding.

Do those calculations sound right?

I've got a cheap, plastic kitchen scale I'm going to use for now until I get a better digital one.

Also, I have read that puppies shouldn't be given weight bearing bones - so should I exclude the chicken hind quarters for DJ until he's older?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,766 Posts
Also, I have read that puppies shouldn't be given weight bearing bones - so should I exclude the chicken hind quarters for DJ until he's older?
Don't worry about chicken legs....chickens just don't weigh enough to make their weight-bearing bones too hard for puppies :D .
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
51 Posts
Thanks again for helping me get started everyone!
I've done some calculating -
at 14 lbs, DJ is 224 oz.
Personally, I think he's a bit on the thin side, tho some consider him about perfect.
So I figure feeding him 4% of his body wt would be 9 oz daily, or 4 1/2 oz per feeding at 2x a day.
Altho I may decide to feed him 5% of his body wt a day instead, not real sure.

George is 55 lbs & is over weight.
So if I feed him at the lower end of the scale, 2% of his body wt is 17.5 oz daily, about 8.75 oz per feeding.

Do those calculations sound right?
Yes, they sound right but not practical. You are measuring much to precisely. You will drive yourself crazy trying to feed 17.5 oz. Instead, feed somewhere around a pound (16 oz) or each meal will be somewhere around half a pound. Precise measurements are not necessary.

Also, I think you are going to feed your little one WAY too much. Think of the desired amount based on IDEAL ADULT WEIGHT. Stay within 2% to 3% of the IDEAL ADULT WEIGHT. If you think your dog will weigh 18lbs fully grown and at a good build. Use that weight to figure the amount of food to feed. If we use 18 then he would get .36lbs to .53lbs/day. In round numbers that would be somewhere between 6 and 8 oz/day. (I am using 18lbs as an arbatrary number ... you will decide what his ideal adult weight will be.)

After a few weeks, you will adjust the size of meals anyway based on whether the dogs are loosing or gaining weight and whether they are fat or thin.

I've got a cheap, plastic kitchen scale I'm going to use for now until I get a better digital one.
I wouldn't spend the money on a better scale. In a few weeks you will know what each dogs meal will look like and you will stop weighing.

Also, I have read that puppies shouldn't be given weight bearing bones - so should I exclude the chicken hind quarters for DJ until he's older?
Chickens don't weigh very much. Their legs don't bear a lot of weight. Don't worry bout feeding drumsticks. Cows legs bear a lot of weight.

Don't get discouraged. IT's much easier than it sounds. In a week you will be wondering what all the fuss was about. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Yes, they sound right but not practical. You are measuring much to precisely. You will drive yourself crazy trying to feed 17.5 oz. Instead, feed somewhere around a pound (16 oz) or each meal will be somewhere around half a pound. Precise measurements are not necessary.
Lol, I found that out right away this morning when I gave them their first raw meal! Yeah, it's pretty hard to be so precise, at least with chicken :eek:

I gave DJ a drumstick & George a whole hind quarter. I felt so proud of my guys! It took them a little bit to get the hang of HOW to eat it - at first they looked at me like "WTH am I supposed to do with THIS??", but neither 1 of them was about to walk away from it either, LoL!

I know it's just their first feeding, & all in all I'm very pleased with how it went, but I have a couple of concerns:
DJ seemed to have a hard time chewing it up. I was worried he was going to end up swallowing it whole! I ended up holding onto it & helping him tear off smaller pieces at a time, & he even seemed to swallow those pieces whole. Then I gave him the bone with a lot of the meat still on it & he did crunch that up good.
Also, DJ actually seemed pretty hungry still after eating, sniffing around for more for quite a long time ...? I'm looking forward to seeing how this evenings meal goes.

No, I'm not going to let myself get discouraged. I really think this is the best diet for them & am excited to have finally made the decision to go for it. I guess the only thing I can think of that would discourage me at this point is if something were to go wrong with 1 or both of them - such as swallowing something whole & getting a bowel obstruction :eek:

Thanks again for your support & encouragement!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
51 Posts
I know it's just their first feeding, & all in all I'm very pleased with how it went, but I have a couple of concerns:
DJ seemed to have a hard time chewing it up. I was worried he was going to end up swallowing it whole! I ended up holding onto it & helping him tear off smaller pieces at a time, & he even seemed to swallow those pieces whole. Then I gave him the bone with a lot of the meat still on it & he did crunch that up good.
I don't encourage helping them too much. Before long he won't eat it unless you are holding the other end. Just let them work with it and it won't take them long to figure out how to do it.

Also, DJ actually seemed pretty hungry still after eating, sniffing around for more for quite a long time ...? I'm looking forward to seeing how this evenings meal goes.
My dogs always look for more. :)

I guess the only thing I can think of that would discourage me at this point is if something were to go wrong with 1 or both of them - such as swallowing something whole & getting a bowel obstruction :eek:
They may swallow something and it will scare the heck out of you. Remember that being carnivores, dogs are built to swallow very large pieces. They don't chew their food into a mush like we do. Bowel obstructions from raw feeding are so rare as to not be a concern.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Thank you! That helps alleviate my fears, believe me!
I'll let you know how this eve's meal goes. I do feel rather ridiculous now, thinking I was going to be so precise on my measurements :eek: But it did give me an idea as to where to start anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,075 Posts
I measure my dogs' food daily because they are so small. An extra ounce per day would put on weight fast. But as long as you are observant about their weight and condition, measuring can be less important. I would at least try to weigh the dogs monthly in the beginning so you have a feel for needing more or less, especially the little one.

Good luck with raw feeding. Go slow and stick with a single protein for a few weeks. Then you can add in some organs and move on from there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,377 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Thanks briteday!
So you actually cut off pieces if it weighs too much? OK ... I can do that.
I'm going kind of at a range right now, aiming for 4 - 5% of DJs body weight, as I've mentioned, I personally think he's on the skinny side. Tho I can see him chunking out real easily with this diet. He just really never cared for his kibbles.
I will monitor their weight tho.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top