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Discussion Starter #1
I have a few random diet questions that could maybe use their own threads, but I didn't want to bombard the forum ;)

I've tried to research all of these questions online and have come out more confused... so many conflicting articles!

#1 - I'm interested in incorporating raw eggs into Charlie's diet. Online some sites say it's dangerous and others say that's bogus, they're fabulous. Which is it? We have eggs delivered from a local dairy every other week and sometimes have trouble eating them all so I'm really just thinking it would be an every other day or now and then type of thing. How do you determine how much kibble should be cut back so that I'm not overfeeding?

#2 - Glucosamine Supplements - I know I've seen several people mention feeding glucosamine supplements to their dogs, particularly ones that are actively running/working. At what age is this appropriate? Are there any drawbacks? Is it recommended for active dogs who aren't necessarily working dogs? I've seen treats with glucosamine added, would these do the job?

#3 - Bully Sticks - A lot of the ones I find locally mention being made in Paraguay or Brazil. It's hard to find ones that are specifically made in the US, and even then I wonder if the meat is being sourced from somewhere else and they're being manufactured in the US. Do you trust bully sticks made in any countries outside of the US? Obviously I'd avoid anything saying China. This is another one that I've found good and bad info about. Charlie loves them, and I know lots of forum members feed them, but I've also seen some negative press. What are your thoughts? One complaint I saw was how high cal they are. Do you cut back feeding on days when you give your dog a bully stick?
 

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1. The risk of eggs is the same as raw chicken: salmonella. If your dog has a normal, healthy immune system, salmonella isn't an issue. You can cut the risk by removing the shell first, but the shell does have good nutrients in it, too.

2. You have to supplement with a significant quantity of glucosamine to make a real difference, the amount found in most treats is rarely enough to be worth paying extra for them. I use glucosamine made for humans, grind the pills up in a coffee grinder and then sprinkle it over a raw egg or a tablespoon of pumpkin puree or plain yogurt. Charlie's a big dog, so it would be valuable to start supplementing with glucosamine right away, rather than waiting for symptoms of arthritis to show up. I don't know that there are any drawbacks to it.

3. Paraguay and Brazil (And other South American countries) are huge beef producers. Some of the best beef in the world comes from South America, so I don't have a problem buying bully sticks made in South America. I wouldn't touch anything made in China with a ten foot pole. I only feed Kabota bully sticks once or twice a week, so I don't worry about the calories. If I fed them every day, I would cut back his food to account for the extra calories.
 

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Glucosamine and Chondroitin are still being studied pretty extensively in humans, although I'm not aware of any real long-term studies in dogs. I've found plenty of studies that show nothing at all, and I've found a few studies that show some long-term reduction or elimination of joint-space narrowing. From what I've researched, it seems that the sulfate versions fare better than the chloride versions(if they do anything at all). I haven't found any study that suggests any negative impact.

As for what age? Essentially all of the studies done in humans are done in people who have been diagnosed with arthritis, so as far as I'm aware there's not really any data on whether or not either of these supplements can *prevent* arthritis. I'd recommend it if it would have a limited impact on your finances, primarily because it almost certainly won't hurt your dog and it might help stave off the progression of narrowing joints that might begin at any point in your dog's life. If your dog does start to have joint problems, starting the Glucosamine then would be too late to undo any damage. Neither Glucosamine nor Chondroitin(nor both together) has been shown, in any study I've been able to find, to reverse damage or wear on joints. Some studies show it prevents further damage to a degree, but does not repair or reverse existing damage.

As for whether or not treats with Glucosamine would do the job...I'm going to hedge my bets on "probably not" because I doubt they're dosed appropriately. If I were going to give my dog a Glucosamine supplement I'd want to give one that was specifically just Glucosamine Sulfate(or mixed with Chondroitin sulfate as well) and I'd want to dose him similar to a human being; For a 100lb dog I'd probably want about 1500mg(the recommended dosage for humans), for lighter dogs go down accordingly. As far as I'm aware there's no real danger associated with either Glucosamine or Chondroitin sulfate so I would recommend just buying a product from your local pharmacy and going from there. It's entirely possible that treats or food marketed as having "Glucosamine" would have enough but unless they state the dosage amounts, my money's on them having *just* enough to legally say they have it and not a milligram more. As a final word on the safety of giving your dog Glucosamine and/or Chondroitin supplements meant for humans I'll say; talk to your vet. Just because I haven't been able to find any information suggesting it would be dangerous in any way doesn't mean there isn't any...and someone who sees sick animals every day, all day, will probably have a better idea than I do about what may or may not hurt a dog.

I don't have much to add for the other two that would be likely to go beyond what you've already read. My experience with dogs is...limited, to say the least. The reason I stuck to the Glucosamine/Chondroitin bit is because I've looked into it a fair deal for myself and my father, and so everything I said about that generally hinges on "If it works the same in dogs as it does in people" :)
 

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Glucosamine is the primary building block for collagen, what tendons and other soft joint parts are made of. (Joints are just the ends of bones connected with tendons and sometimes cushioned with gel-like pads.) Whether glucosamine will help you or not depends on what, exactly, is causing your joint damage. "Arthritis" is actually a wide variety of disorders, encompassing everything from wear and tear related to age and the body's declining ability to repair damage that comes with age, to autoimmune disorders that attack the soft tissues of the joints, to bone death.

So, some things that fall under the heading of arthritis will benefit from having extra glucosamine available in the system, other things won't, because collagen isn't the issue.
 

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I just wanted to say, that there are some treats/chews that do have a significant amount of glucosamine. With foods, it is much more of a crapshoot, but there is one food available in Canada (I don't think its available in the US) that is 1500mg/kg food. True, not high enough for a dog's full daily treatment dose, but certainly a chunk of it.

I use treats for Snowball because he is small and I don't really have a venue to give him a supplement otherwise. The Cloudstar Functional Treats have +200 mg/treat, and our vet recommended 400-450mg for Snowball; so he gets two treats which I break into little pieces and use for a short training session.

Any food-type-product that is high in collagen/cartilage/connective tissue will also be high in glucosamine: things like beef tendon and esophagus are very high in glucosamine and also make for great edible chews to keep a dog busy for a little while - win-win!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the info! I'll have to look more into glucosamine and talk to our vet about the proper dose.

I can't comment on the glucosamine or the bully sticks but raw eggs (yolk AND white) are given to my dogs multiple times a week with no ill effect.
When you feed the egg do you cut back on kibble... assuming you feed it? I'm a vegetarian and personally can't handle going raw for charlie, but thought id maybe try to sneak some eggs in.

I only give bully sticks 1-2x/week so I'll keep his normal food portions. He seems to be a very healthy weight so I'm not really concerned... just didn't know if I was doing it wrong lol.
 

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I was getting dozens and dozens of ranch eggs monthly last year so the dogs got lots of egg. I counted it as part of the diet. As they were getting fresh food diets I counted them in the ounces, you need to figure calories and cut back on the kibble a bit. My 17+35 pound dogs got about an egg a day split between the two. Try feeding one, if that goes well feed an egg two days running and so on until you find how much is tolerated. If you just added a whole egg to the regular feed then it could be just fine or it might not. Egg is a rich food and it can cause upset tummies.

Bully sticks are lean protein and a good addition to the total diet. If I could afford it I would give the bully sticks to the dog and cut back on kibble rather than cut back on bully sticks if my dog was looking a bit overweight.
 

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I think a normal-sized egg is 80 calories? So, depending on the kibble you use, that's less than 1/4 cup.
 

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My dogs have gotten pretty good at crawling under the hen house and snagging a fresh egg or two when they can ( they pop a tooth into the shell and suck it out, hence the term "egg sucking dawg)....
The hens dont lay under the house all that often though, so its still a treat, but in the warm months when eggs are plentiful they each get a a raw egg 3 times a week or so, I add it to their kibble...
When are goats are in milk, they get raw whole goats milk too....
 
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