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Well, we're about 3/4 through our current bag of food and are considering trying the pre-packaged raw food that the feed store carries. If we're going raw, either partially or completely, this actually works the best for us in terms of time, figuring things out, and freezer space. I know its probably a bit more expensive than going to the butcher, but the other bonuses kind of make up for that.

I realize that there are different "brands" of pre packaged, I'll be getting the names today, but I'm just wondering if anybody knows of any that are actually a horrible choice? The feed store generally carries 4 and 5 star foods and does research before they carry any brand, so I'm not too worried that they are carrying junk, but extra input is good, especially if one brand is good but would necessitate some particular supplements.
Any other thoughts, concerns, considerations about pre-packaged raw?

Also, another major question I have: I've read that for adult dogs it is 2-3% of their body weight per day, and puppies about 10%. Caeda is about 15 months and 65lbs....where does that put her in terms of adult vs. puppy? Behaviourally she is still puppyish sometimes, and gets a reasonable amount of exercise, but growth wise she's closer to adult...plus there is the consideration that although a runt she is "technically" a large breed, which would suggest she's still got a bit of growing left in her (I doubt it though). Any advice on this?
 

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Pre-made raw runs about $4 a pound for the cheapest. . .fine for a cat who eats 3 ounces a day, but I can't imagine feeding it to a large dog that eats 3 pounds a day! But if it works for you, they are great foods.

The "complete" pre-made raw products do not need any supplements (except specialty things like fish oil or joint supplements, etc. that some dogs need). There are some that aren't complete, but they say so clearly on the package. Those would need supplementing (or to be fed only occasionally).

As for how much to feed her, she probably still needs a bit more than an adult, but definitely not as much as a baby puppy! I'd look at how many calories in kibble she's getting, and try to match that with the raw. Since raw is more easily utilized by the body, she'll probably need less, but it's a good place to start.

The only "bad" raw food I know of is Bil-Jac. The ingredients are terrible (but still better than many kibble brands). The others are all pretty good, although of course it depends on the individual dog's needs.
 

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^^^^ That. Premade raw may be a convenience but you PAY for that convenience.

It is a great place to start though, I agree. If you like what it does for your dog, you may want to consider feeding animal parts later on (chicken quarters, beef heart, etc.)

Is it a ground product? The only issue with feeding all ground is they get no dental/mental stimulation benefits and also that with the nooks and crannies of raw, it can carry more bacteria.

Let us know what you do. :)
 

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I've used Nature's Variety and Primal. I don't especially care for the texture of the Primal, it's sort of... excessively wet and spongy after it thaws. The dogs did fine on it, though, I just don't especially like to handle it. I've also used the Stella and Chewy's freeze dried raw as treats, although not as a meal. There is also a small local pet food store here that sells ground raw diets in bulk (I can get 5# or 25#) that ends up being about 1/2 the price per pound of the brand names depending on the protein source... I know not everyone has that available, but you might be able to get a butcher to grind meat for you for cheaper than the pre-made frozen diets if you like, I just kind of rotate through everything. I only do about half the diet as raw, too, which keeps the cost down.

Personally I do like the convenience and for a variety of reasons I just want meal time to be meal time, not entertainment time. They get recreational bones for that. Depending on the company, some of them grind the meat after it is frozen, which helps prevent increased bacterial numbers. Not that I worry about that too much anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yep, dead on Willowy, about $4 and change per pound, but it is a "complete" food, which doesn't make it TOO horrible. We're definitely going to suppliment with kibble, for now instead of going full raw, simply for the cost. The brand we got is "Mountain Dog Food", the beef mix. She seemed to REALLY like it, we'll wait to see how her guts are tomorrow, we did one meal of raw today out of three, so "hopefully" she does alright, she's pretty iron-gutted.

I might eventually sit down and figure out exactly what we would need regularly from the butcher, and do some serious calculations on freezer space and such, but for now I'm going to see how she does once we get to half and half kibble and raw. If it goes really well (especially if her itching goes down a little), we'll seriously consider pushing for arranging our freezer space (bonus in the winter its so cold here, that so long as we have a secure place to put the food that animals can't get it, its plenty cold here to keep it frozen :D The more I consider things like that the more I think that non packaged might be feasible!

For now though, its pre packaged, at least we know she really likes it!!
 

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You can also check online for other places that make their own "premades" which aren't nearly in the same price range as the premade patties sold in stores. In my area we have "Blue Ridge Beef" which I now use for convenience and simplicity... It's about $1.50/lb for most formulas.

I agree with the Primal brand being very watery and spongy- those were my least favorite. We used mostly Natures Variety Instinct raw for Rodeo in the beginning when we were trying to target his intolerances.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I found the Mountain Dog food to be spongy now that you mention that....of course I don't know the difference between the pre-packaged foods so I just assumed that was par for the course. It was very freshly thawed though, which might have something to do with it. The big bonus of it (to me anyway) that it is complete and there aren't supplements needed. The convenience was part of the reason I was initially reluctant to go raw, and the pre-packaged definitely provides it, all I have to do is keep my head on and remember to take some out to thaw. If work weren't slow at the moment I wouldn't really worry about the cost, but the way it is I should at least be cautious.

I'll be investigating buying online as well as the possibility of using the butcher. The local butcher store has a "puppy chow" raw food, but I'm not sure of its nutritional content, so I'd be reluctant to just buy that. I do chop it up and use it for high value treats. If I finally get my head on straight and actually do the "math" I'm sure I could come up with a good mix that would work well for the wallet if I buy from the butcher, I can see it being WAY cheaper. The butcher store has a pretty decent bunch there, it occurred to me I could place a standing order for things each week, which would also save me fridge space, I'm sure they would grind it up too.

Kind of funny side note: Yesterday was a long busy day, my DH and I just threw some mac n cheese on with some hot dogs, Caeda got her first meal of raw. It struck me that she was eating better and more expensive food that we were. Oh, the lengths we go to for our dogs ;)
 

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Blue Ridge Beef food is used by Redrye Rotties. They're members here and if you check out the pictures of the Rotties you will see some beautiful dogs. And if you ask they will be happy to talk to you about how they feed their dogs and what they use,from puppy hood on up.
 

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Yea I don't think there's anything "wrong" with the spongy texture, I just find it gross and don't like to handle it. The Nature's Variety is a bit more solid, and the fresh-ground stuff I get from the pet food deli (yes it's called that - Woody's Pet Food Deli -which gives me the same "my dog is eating better than me" feeling you had :p ) is pretty much exactly what you would expect fresh-ground raw to feel like - like ground meat but grainier because of the bones and stuff. I buy that stuff unsupplemented as it's much less expensive than their supplemented ground, and since I feed part kibble and rotate their stuff with the pre-made patties I don't think it's necessary.

I don't think I'll ever be a whole raw feeder, so this stuff is a nice compromise for me. I originally gave it a try because Squash has had a chronic tendency towards soft stools and I tried a lot of things without success. He does best on about half and half raw/kibble, which is apparently a pretty typical sled dog diet from what I am told.
 

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Blue Ridge Beef food is used by Redrye Rotties. They're members here and if you check out the pictures of the Rotties you will see some beautiful dogs. And if you ask they will be happy to talk to you about how they feed their dogs and what they use,from puppy hood on up.
We used to do just straight meat from the supermarket and then bring it home, chop it off the big bones, into containers, and thaw and feed as necessary. Once we got the 5th dog that became a bit much. I'm very happy with Blue Ridge, much much different consistency than the premades.

In the end it comes down to what you're comfortable with. I feel as long as you're at least willing to try partial raw- it's better than nothing.
 

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Aside from differences in water content, are there other big differences (nutritional or otherwise) between the *freeze-dried*/dehydrated raw and *frozen* raw premades?
 

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Anyone use paw naturaw or have any info on it? I can find it on amazon with free shipping and it's organic. A little cheaper than primal and natures variety, but is it up to the same quality?

Thx

Marv
 

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Anyone use paw naturaw or have any info on it? I can find it on amazon with free shipping and it's organic. A little cheaper than primal and natures variety, but is it up to the same quality?
According to dogfoodadvisor, it has great ingredients. However, they say the company has terrible customer service. Now, maybe if you buy from Amazon that's not an issue. The Amazon reviews don't say anything bad, other than the usual complaints about bone chips, price, and pets not liking it. Here's the review: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/paw-naturaw-organic/
 

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Yeah that's what was holding me back, but if I don't have to deal with them then it shouldnt be a problem i hope. I'll try an see if my guy takes a liking to it.
 

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I have used Primal, a local blend, some samples of some other food, and now feed Stella and Chewys. It's not too bad price-wise since I'm just feeding it to Summer and Mia and they eat so little. Beau is still on dry food for the time being. I love the S&Cs and the dogs like it too. Primal has a LOT of veggies and it's expensive even compared to other premade here.

One thing to be careful of is that the local grinds are not always a complete diet. You can also supplement the premade with real raw to get the cost down. With the little dogs though it's a bit hard to balance raw in such small amounts. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with a bigger dog when I get one, but probably just do real raw with very little premade. So pretty much the opposite of what I do now which is mostly premade with a little regular raw.
 
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