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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
I started feeding my two dogs Raw about 6 weeks ago. They are both doing well on it. I started it as one was having digestive problems on kibble - the Raw seems to have taken care of this. As I'm new to Raw though I still have some questions:

- Protein Rotation and Variety: How many proteins should I be giving and do they need to be rotated (separated by a certain number of days)? The family business I buy the food from provides a few different "formulas" (ground protein, bone, tripe and organs). I've been feeding mostly their Chicken/Beef mix (mostly chicken) and their Salmon/Boar mix (mostly salmon). 5 days of Chicken/beef and 2 days of Salmon/boar. I think next time I'll switch the chicken to a Turkey/Beef mix as I'm reading turkey may be better than chicken. Is this enough variety? Is this enough red meat?

- Fish. I hear that the omega 3s from fish are needed so I've been doing the 2 days a week of Salmon/boar. Is this enough fish?

- Veg/Fruit. I've been giving 2 ice cube size portions of blended veg/fruit mix (berries, carrots, greens, etc..) to each dog each day for antioxidants. Not to become a whole BARF vs PREY thing but does this sound like a reasonable amount of veg/fruit?

I also give them a raw egg each with breakfast and 4 or 5 bones every week.

Any tips are much appreciated.
Thanks for your help.
 

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From my research, I'd say you will get many different answers to your questions from people who feed raw and think their way is the One True Way. To be contrary, I sincerely doubt if mine qualifies for that. I recently got tired or worrying about it and switched to a base mix, which of course means paying a high premium for easier.

Anyway, 15% fish sticks in my mind, but I just did a little searching on it and found 10% to 30% recommendations a couple places and two times a week somewhere else. Two times a week to me could mean two days or two meals. For my dogs two meals would be one day. So... I admit I rarely feed fish and use salmon and krill oil to provide the necessary EFAs, which is why you feed fish anyway.

As to rotation, 3 protein sources sticks in my mind as does at least one-third red meat, but I bet you can find a lot of sources that advise otherwise. The big non-no, and what I think causes a lot of vets to be against their clients feeding raw is feeding nothing but chicken because it's the cheapest and easily avaiable. I try for 50% beef.

I don't see why it matters if you rotate meats daily or every few days. I get my meat frozen in 2 and 3-pound chubs and switch every few days, and I admit to feeding pretty much beef and turkey, with eggs 3x a week. The base mix takes care of the fruit and veggies for me, but before that I did add them. I'm going to be using bison organ meat for a while now, but that's because my supplier is out of beef organs and still has the more expensive bison organs available.

You don't say how large your dogs are or how much you're feeding, but for my large dogs your amount of fruit/veggie would be good. I think that's usually recommended in the 5-10% range.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply. Different answers from different sources does make feeding Raw a bit more challenging.

My dogs are an 18 month mixed German Shepard and a 9 month very mixed large lovable mutt. Both are around 67lbs.

Some Raw foods seem to have lots of Veg - when they do this and put potatoes as their first veg ingredient it makes me wonder if they aren’t using cheap veg as filler. Hopefully my bit of veg/fruit gives them anything they might need that’s not in the MEAT.
 

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I've never seen a complete raw mix that had potatoes, but I'd stay away from one that did, and yes, it's probably for relatively inexpensive bulk - even potatoes aren't cheap these days, but they're not up there with blueberries.:)

It almost sounds like you're getting some of the same mixes I do, which seems unlikely with you being in Canada and me in Colorado, U.S. Since I switched to the base mix, I don't need bone; the balancing calcium is in the mix. So I get beef in 2# chubs. One is beef only with 10% organs and one is beef and tripe with the organs. However, they don't have any other boneless offerings except chicken and pork, neither of which I'm willing to feed.

I was raised in the era when you didn't eat pork unless it was cooked well done, and modern assurances that's no longer necessary don't overcome the childhood programming just as they don't overcome the constant warning that letting a dog eat bone was dangerous. When I fed a more "real", i.e., not using the base mix, raw diet, I used grinds that had ground bone in them. Even then I was going through the meat with two forks every time, taking out any pieces of bone that struck me as too large or too sharp.

Just like my problem with bone, rationally I accept modern pork is no longer dangerous unless cooked to a fare-thee-well, but there's still my mother whispering in my ear. Chicken? Like you, I just decided turkey is a better poultry choice.

Anyway, the turkey I feed is from the grocery store, which means it has no organs, and I can buy a mixture of beef organs in 1# chubs, so I do that and add 15% organ mix to the turkey myself. Dealing with the organ mix is icky. You couldn't pay me to eat liver in any form. Kidney, spleen? Yuck, yuck, yuck. The things we do for our dogs, right?

P.S. I take that back about potatoes. I do remember seeing something about a commercial raw food based on pretty much nothing but meat and sweet potatoes. It probably has some other minor ingredients too. If I had a small dog and could do a commercial complete raw mix, that one wouldn't be what I'd choose. Of course my one girl's food sensitivities give me limited choices no matter what I do. That's what drove me to raw in the first place.
 

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Just to confirm - the raw grinds you're using are meant to be a complete diet, not just a supplemental feed, right? If they're complete, I'd say you're doing fine. I preferred green tripe to adding veg personally when I was feeding all raw, but I honestly believe there's a lot of ways to do raw 'right', so long as your base diet is balanced.

As for things like Omega-3s and bone, I just watch the dog. If I'm seeing really hard, pellet poops, bone gets cut back. If I see itching or dry coats, I might add some fish oil (I prefer high quality brand that include vit E, and NO cod liver oil - that's high in vit A and you can actually overdose). Like humans, dogs are so individual in what they do best on that there's no real "one true diet", even in the raw feeding world (despite the many people who'd like to say otherwise, lol). It's such a 'know your dog' situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks. The “formulas” / grinds that I’m feeding are meant to be complete meals.
I’m sure what they are getting now is much better for them than the old kibble. I just want to make the Raw diet as good as possible
 

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Yeah, so long as the main bulk of the diet is a complete meal and you're rotating proteins, I figure anything else you want to add on is bonus! My favorite thing about raw diets is being able to customize them to some degree for the individual dog, so like I said, if I see itchy or dry skin/fur I can add some fish oil, if I'm concerned about joint issues due to breed, size, or medical history I may add a green lipped mussel supplement, bones for enrichment and teeth cleaning, etc... so long as the healthy 'extras' and any treats aren't more than 1/4 of their daily calorie intake, I'd say you're good! And even then, if they have a day where they get more extras/treats every now and then, I wouldn't fret, so long as it's not all the time. Just like a human with a healthy, balanced diet most of the time can have a meal at a fast food place now and then and not worry that it'll harm them.
 
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