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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, well I kind of chickened out. I talked to the butcher today and he told me I was pretty much insane to be feeding my dog chicken bones. That they will splinter and kill my dogs. It made me feel stupid to walk right over and buy a whole chicken. so I ended up starting them on ground beef this evening.

I switched all four. They got ground beef with egg including the shell for calcium. I also added yogurt with active cultures. I hope this isn't horrible. I used two eggs and split it between them. The shells I crushed by hand and with a spoon. If that doesn't sound like enough calcium I can add more egg shells or switch to supplements instead.

They all wolfed it down. It seems to be a hit. I will start with chicken pieces next week if everything goes OK with the beef.

If you have any suggestions to make it easier on them I'm open.
 

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I believe cooked chicken bones can cause them to choke, but raw bones are a lot softer. You should NOT have a problem.
 

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I'm sorry that he made you feel stupid.....but next time just ask him what experience he has had feeding raw :p

If it makes you feel any better I just started to try raw as well....I have given all 3 of mine chicken w/the bones and have had not problems at all so far :)

at least you didn't get the "don't give your pit bull raw meat it will make them hunger for flesh"...as I did from a coworker ....that owns an APBT!!!!!!!LOL:eek:
 

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Ok, well I kind of chickened out. I talked to the butcher today and he told me I was pretty much insane to be feeding my dog chicken bones. That they will splinter and kill my dogs. It made me feel stupid to walk right over and but a whole chicken. so I ended up starting them on ground beef this evening

.

I don't feed raw but I do know that it's only cooked bones that are a problem, not raw. No offense to the butcher but he's clueless. Go back, buy your chicken and good for you for doing raw. Me, i'm too chicken. I'd be afraid they wouldn't get what they needed. I do one meal of The Honest Kitchen (dehydrated raw) and one meal of kibble (Wellness Core for two, Orijen for the other)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't feed raw but I do know that it's only cooked bones that are a problem, not raw. No offense to the butcher but he's clueless. Go back, buy your chicken and good for you for doing raw. Me, i'm too chicken. I'd be afraid they wouldn't get what they needed. I do one meal of The Honest Kitchen (dehydrated raw) and one meal of kibble (Wellness Core for two, Orijen for the other)
Yea, I'm thinking of picking up some Solid Gold seameal today to fill in the blanks until their diet has more variety. Now it's very limited because I don't want them to get sick, but they might be missing out on some essential nutrients. Plus it has proenzymes, and that will also help the transition.

And everyone rest assured, I will be adding chicken w/ bones next week as their 2nd protien source. I just won't talk to any outside sources about what I feed may dogs until the compliments start rolling in.:D
 

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...at least you didn't get the "don't give your pit bull raw meat it will make them hunger for flesh"...
I've been feeding my crew raw for years and as the ol' saying goes; "If only I had a nickle for every time...." I heard "Feeding raw will make them bloodthirsty!" I'ld be retired on some exotic beach somewhere. :p


DobManiac, why don't you visit the yahoo groups
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/rawfeeding/
and
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/RawChat/

They can help with any questions, concerns and fears you may have on raw feeding.

Good luck to you. ;)

Jihad
and the pound puppy crew.
 

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Glad they liked the ground beef. Unless the egg shell is a powder it is unlikely any calcium was absorbed, dry it in the oven or microwave and whirl in a cleaned out coffee grinder or pound in a mortar and pestle. But they would be fine without added calcium for a couple weeks if they aren't growing. And watch the poo, you may or may not see any shell there.

Ground beef is really high in fat and your dogs aren't used to it. Could you at least find beef round that is leaner? I would expect loose stool from no bone and lots of fat, be prepared and it is okay unless it is frequent or they cannot get outside in time.

Guess I was lucky to be so brave. For a long time I would cut the last pointy turkey wing joints off before roasting the turkey and give them to the dogs. Never bothered me a bit. I don't care for chicken leg bones, the crack is loud. Maybe instead of leg quarters you could try whole chicken backs or breast quarters. Take out the keel bone even.

I wouldn't worry about supplements right now. Changing to this very different food is a huge load on the dogs as it is. They will be fine for a few weeks with just the raw food.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Glad they liked the ground beef. Unless the egg shell is a powder it is unlikely any calcium was absorbed, dry it in the oven or microwave and whirl in a cleaned out coffee grinder or pound in a mortar and pestle. But they would be fine without added calcium for a couple weeks if they aren't growing.
That makes so much more sense. I have read about the coffee grinder, but the egg seemed to wet to try it. I will pop it in the microwave this evening and give the coffee grinder a try.

Ground beef is really high in fat and your dogs aren't used to it. Could you at least find beef round that is leaner? I would expect loose stool from no bone and lots of fat, be prepared and it is okay unless it is frequent or they cannot get outside in time.
I will buy ground round today. I only bought 15 pounds worth of meat, and with 4 dogs they are going through it fast. I think I'm going to try Sam's today to see if I can get a case for a better price.

I watched them poop this morning and it all looked fine. No diarrhea . And all the dogs slept through the night without the need for potty breaks.

So far so good I guess.
 

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I'm afraid you aren' t going to be happy with the raw diet the way you have begun. Your dogs likely are going to have diarrea or at least very loose stools. Bones are constipators and create solid stools so the lack of bone will likely have the opposite effect. High fat content will also tend to cause diarrhea or loose stools also. The egg shells you are feeding them will have little or no effect. There is nowhere nearly enough calcium in them.

Don't worry about a balanced diet at this point. It won't hurt your dogs to go a couple of months on a not quite balanced diet. I wouldn't add supplements at all. They won't help anything and they could be very detrimental. Chicken parts are more nutritious than any kibble you can feed them anyway.

One reason you begin with one protein source and gradually add more sources over time is because if somewhere along the line your dog has a problem, you will know what caused it. They way you are going now, you will have no clue and neither will anyone else so no one will be able to help you straighten it out. Any digestive problem can be solved but you must keep things simple.

I suggest going to the store today and get some chicken and start feeding it. Stop listening to people who have never fed a real raw diet. Come here with problems or go to the yahoo rawfeeding list. You wlil find knowledgable people willing to help at both places.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I understand the one protien source rule. But why can't that protien source be ground beef for the 1st couple of weeks. I plan on putting the eggshells into a coffee grinder this evening, so that should solve the calcium problem.

My dogs have always gotten one or two raw eggs a week, so they shouldn't hae a problem with the added egg.
 

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I wanted to compare chicken thighs with and without skin to 85% and 95% hamburger but nutritiondata won't let me copy the page here. Any way I was interested to note that skinless chicken and 95% ground beef are both about 30% calories from fat and 85% hamburger and chicken thigh with skin are both about 63% calories from fat. Maybe you will get lucky and the lack of bone won't cause trouble. Maybe a switch to really low fat beef will be enough for now but I really, really encourage you to go and buy some whole chicken. It is easy and cheap, low fat without the skin, easy to break/swallow/digest bone. Just don't tell the butcher it is for the dogs.
 

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The reason most of us start with chicken is because it is one of the easiest proteins to digest , AND...has almost a near perfect calcium : phosphorus ratio range if you feed the entire bird over time. So by far, chicken is the easiest for the dog as well as the new raw feeding owner.

I second the motion on egg shells. If not finely ground they will pass through without much calcium being absorbed. 1/2 teaspoon of finely ground egg shell provides ~1000 mg of elemental calcium and that should balance about one pound of raw meat. Also, 2 Tums (any brand will do, even Wally World generic) per pound of meat will do as well. (Just a brief lesson in calcium...there is a difference in calcium carbonate vs elemental calcium...only the elemental calcium portion counts for our purposes as raw feeders... just in case you're inclined to read labels or find info about calcium in your research).

And I second the motion that you shouldn't worry, unless you have a puppy in the crowd, that they will be eating a less than well-balanced diet for a month or two. You should take things very slowly in the beginning, easier on you and the dogs. Some people take a month or so just to get chicken meat / bones and add in chicken organs. Most dogs can tolerate a short period of time to properly adjust their digestive enzymes for the switch to raw.

Ground beef typically is 20-30% fat. In the beginning that may be too much fat for your dogs. But remember later on, this rule will change once your dogs are established on raw. If you will be relying on the grocery or butcher for most of their eat diet, most meat for human consumption is bred, raised, and cut to be very lean. Once your dogs are estblished you will want to add in some fat to the meals, for energy reserves / skin-coat / caloric intake. But yoiur dogs will get acclimated to higher fat through the introduction of the chicken starter diet. Various parts of the chicken have more skin and other fat (think dark meat) than say, lean chicken breasts. So fat digestion comes with time, if done correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
And I second the motion that you shouldn't worry, unless you have a puppy in the crowd, that they will be eating a less than well-balanced diet for a month or two. You should take things very slowly in the beginning, easier on you and the dogs. Some people take a month or so just to get chicken meat / bones and add in chicken organs. Most dogs can tolerate a short period of time to properly adjust their digestive enzymes for the switch to raw.


Two of my dogs show in conformation very regularly. So they will definitely be seen in a crowd. I wanted to make the switch now, since I won't be showing again until early May. But I still can't take a risk on them dropping ten pounds. It will be too much work to get them back into shape in that short a period of time.

They need some fat in their diet since I am removing all grains and potatoes. Anyone who has ever feed an intact male dog knows how many calories they can burn in a day's time. I was already feeding him 6 cups a day of dry food, plus one EVO can every day.

I also partly used the ground meat and eggs because I would add these things to their diets on occasion already. I figured it would be an easier switch for them.

My plan was to feed them the ground beef for one solid week. And if they seem healthy, I will start to slowly add chicken pieces to the morning meal and lessen the ground beef in the morning. By the end of the second week I want their breakfast to be just chicken pieces. The pieces will probably consist of chicken backs with the neck attached and breast with the wing attached. The third week I will try them on a thumbnail portion of liver and see if they get sick.

I know it's unconventional because pretty much everyone starts with chicken. And if they get sick off of the ground meat I will switch them to chicken. But as long as they are healthy I don't see why I should raise up the alarm yet.
 

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I think by "puppy in the crowd", briteday meant that you shouldn't worry too much about nutrient imbalances unless you currently own a pup. Ground beef is a very high-fat protein source to start with. Usually I start with chicken, then move on to fish, then pork, and finally beef or lamb. Your dogs do need fat in their diet, but fat is present in chickens as well.

Have you considered feeding actual bones?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think by "puppy in the crowd", briteday meant that you shouldn't worry too much about nutrient imbalances unless you currently own a pup.
LOL, that makes sense. I seemed to have gone on a completely different tangent.:p

Have you considered feeding actual bones?
Yes, they will be getting bones next week. I don't know. I have to buy more meat today, so I could switch them to chicken. But I hate to be all topsy turvey with their systems. They have had two meals of the ground meat aleady. Wouldn't they have already had at least soft stools if the fat content was to high?
 

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If you feed the proper amount, you shouldn't see much of a weight loss. I also compete in conformation and when I switched mine over cold turky to chicken quarters, I fed the proper amount and didn't have any problems. All of my large breed dogs had no trouble with the bones. Even the old dogs.
 

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It can take a few days for gi problems to manifest. Hwever, I would at least supplementing with ground egg shells or at the very least some Tums-type product to get the elemental calcium in balance.

Your dogs may be accustomed to an occasional meal of ground meat. But when their gut figures out that this is the daily fare from now on you may see quite a gi revolt happen. The calcium, in any form, will help stop that train from going too far down the track in the beginning. In fact, I'd rather see a dog straining a bit and have slightly chalky looking stools in the beginning rather than the oppopsite...dark, runny, almost watery stools that require hourly outings...usually a result of too much phosphorus from a high meat diet (not enough calcium...usually found in the bones served at the same time... to balance the meat)

I wouldn't worry about too much weight loss. If you think there is any sign that your dogs are losing weight you can just increase their daily ration. And remember, even though you are feeding 6 cups of dry food right now...there is a high percentage of carbs in that food (unless it it Evo or something without carbs) so your dogs are getting a lot of calories from carbs. Protein and carbs each have 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram. So here's more work for you to do....what % of carbs and protein are in their kibble that they were maintaining on...therefore how many grams / ounces / pounds of protein do you need in a raw diet to to replace it? And look to see the % of fat in their kibble...if they were doing well on that then you could figure out how many grams / ounces of fat they need in addition to their protein (which will be replacing protein and carbs from the kibble) on raw.

Personally, I like about 15-20% fat in my dogs' raw diet. The younger one needs the fat for energy (she does lots of agility training...and keeping the pasture safe for all who enter!) and the older ones need the fat to keep their flowing coats looking great. I've also discovered while doing a food allergy elimination diet that anything less than ~13% fat leaves my dogs without energy and their coats are terrible. And I am totally eyeballing it, except when the grocery has the fat of the ground meat already labeled. I do weigh their meals only because they are such small dogs that they can get fat very quickly, within one week. But once you know what a protion is for your dogs and how they are doing (too fat, too thin, just right) then you just go with what looks right.

When feeding your dogs you have to re-learn everything you know about nutrition. As humans they tell us to take off the skin from chicken and to trim all visible fat from our meat. I do just the opposite for my dogs. I leave it all on, and then some. Sometimes I buy the really fatty looking stuff (they have this stuff called "pork trim" at one of our groceries, I wouldn't eat it unless I wanted to head for cardiac arrest)...but it works great for my dogs for a few meals each week. I also look for the markdowns (soon to expire usually) at the grocery on the already cheap ground beef at 20-30% fat. But then I balance that day by feeding a leaner cut for the other meal. For instance, I can get pork shoulder roasts really cheap on sale, but ther is almost no fat on those. So that can be the other meal of the day. It's all about balance over time, not about trying to balance every meal.

But to reinterate...I'd find one protein and stick to it for at least 2 weeks (be sure to add calcium in some form), then add in that specie's organs...slowly for another week until you get to 10% each day. Most dogs cannot tolerate an entire meal of organs as they are very rich. Then you can go to a different species one at a time, never more than one new one per week so you know if something gives them distress.

Organs are important in the long run, not the short haul. Heart meat is an excellent source of taurine, an amino acid protien build block. Liver provides vitamins A & D. So if you're getting liver into the menu within 4-6 weeks, you're doing great...no need to supplement for that short of a delay...the dogs will be fine. And dogs can manufacture their own taurine (unlike cats, which if you are raw feeding cats, that's another obstacle to research) but extra really helps them nutritionally. The only other things I add are a bit of salmon oil 2-4 times per week (we don't get enough oily fish around here), raw eggs occasionally (we have our own organicly raised chickens), and a bit of yogurt when I remember. Oh, and I buy a can of tripe every now and then when I am walking through Petco for other things and they get a small spoonful every few days until the can is gone.

There are a number of things that dogs should never be fed. Most of us know the typical poisons...chocolate, etc. But raw feeders need to know never to feed Pacific salmon or trout as it contains a parasite that is only fatal to the canid species (including dogs) so human consumption fish is not tested for the parasite as it does nothing to humans. Never Pacific salmon or trout, farmed or wild, never.
 

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But raw feeders need to know never to feed Pacific salmon or trout as it contains a parasite that is only fatal to the canid species (including dogs) so human consumption fish is not tested for the parasite as it does nothing to humans. Never Pacific salmon or trout, farmed or wild, never.
I had read as long as the fish had been frozen for 3 or 4 weeks it was safe to feed. Is that incorrect?

Edit: Regarding losing weight. Molly had been so thin on kibble and was not interested in eating unless I poured salmon oil on her food. When I switched to raw she gained the required weight and does not over eat. Some days she won't eat her first meal or only has one meal. She now likes what is being offered and it appears to agree with her.
 

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Hey don't feel bad. In my case it wasn't the butcher that made me feel stupid, it was my dog. I tried the raw thing and even went for days without feeding anything else (as per advice from the experienced ones) Oliver wouldn't have anything to do with it. I am a wimp so I couldn't see him laying there starving, and tossing up bile just to get him to eat something that he found so unappealing. NOW he has me trained to feed him a good grain free Kibble with seared meat chunks in it. :) What can I say? I love my dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ok, I split 5 eggs between them this evening. And the egg shells went into the coffee grinder and that made a world of difference. I also bought some Calcium supplements without Vitamin D today? Do you think I should give them each a couple of pills of that a day to off set in runny stools. They are 600mg.
 
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