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Trying to Find the Truth in Raw Feeding

1274 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  MarieLovesChis
Hi there! So I'm going to try to make this as short as I possibly can but... It will probably still end up being long and drawn out lol.. I have two Boston Terrier pups, one is a puppy, the other is a juvenile. Their health is of the utmost importance to me, and food is especially important for obvious reasons. They both have been on a raw BARF diet since I got them as puppies. I actually work for a "high end" pet store, and I enjoy learning about pet health, the production of pet food, etc. Raw food is obviously the trend, but as I've been researching most pre-made dog foods are not they're cracked up to be. I've learned that the raw diet is all about balance and ratios. I've read many articles stating that raw companies are charging the big bucks labeling their food as raw but their formula is mostly vegetables/fruits, which brings the cost of production down so they're making more money. I've read that essentially dogs don't even need fruits and vegetables, and because it is hard for their bodies to break them down if you wanted to feed fruits or vegetables to them they should be fermented so the first part of the digestion process has been started so it's easier on their digestive tract. I'm honestly just trying to find the facts... I want my dogs to be on a biologically appropriate, healthy nutritious diet. That is all I'm asking as a dog mom, and it's been incredibly hard for me to find the truth. Working in the pet food industry, you're fed lies left and right. I've been reading a lot about the Prey Model diet and it seems like more of a fit, but I have a full time job, I'm currently interning, and I go to college. Like I said, I want to provide the best for them, but I have essentially no free time to do the preparation required. I'd still love anyone's input who does the Prey Model diet, and if anyone knows a pre-packaged Prey Model food? Or atleast a BARF formula that is considered to be more balanced compared to the others? Also, if anyone has experience doing the Prey Model diet who is located in Kansas City, MO. I know of only one company (although I've heard of people using their local butcher) who delivers whole prey out here called My Pet Carnivore, if you know anywhere locally please let me know! Thanks for all the help!! :wave:
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I am also an interning college student working full time. I feed my dog franken-prey model raw :) I agree with you that a lot of the premade raws have unnecessary and useless ingredients. As far as finding a better one, that just requires researching different brands and their ingredients.

I think you are on the right track - it just takes a lot of research before you can dive on in. I am paranoid so I give my dog a few supplements and vitamins and have his bloodwork done twice a year (I blood test for heartworm twice yearly instead of giving him the preventative) to make sure everything is in check.

As far as time goes - I was feeding him home cooked food with some raw meals before I switched totally. I didn't switch until I had a pretty good stash of pre-packaged (by myself) prey model meals stored up in my freezer. That allowed me to 1) not have to worry about prep time or running out of food for a few months and 2) time to refill my stock whenever I had a free day here and there. It can be really tough to stay on top of things, as it does take time to weigh things out. For that reason, I do keep a box of freeze-dried raw around in case I run short one day.

I get my food from grocery stores and butchers, and I've also had great success posting on craigslist asking if anyone has meat they would donate/sell to me for my dogs. I actually got in touch with an organic-grassfed farm who now sells me lots of great bony meals and organs for super cheap that way. I'm not in your area so I can't help much with that aspect of things.
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As always, consult a vet. If the vet doesnt support a raw or biologicaly appropriate diet, find one. I did.
I am a dog walker and pet sitter, I come across many different types of diets. The raw diet isnt a fad. Its appropriate for them. Kibble and canned food is a fad. Its only been around since a bit before WWl. The digestive tracts are shorter and cant really handle grains and fruit and veggies. However, when in the wild, they eat the contents of stomach of their prey. Also, cats and dogs are a tad different. Cats need taurine found in dark meat. Especially hearts. Dogs need a tad more vitamin C. Which is in the stomach of whatever animal they are eating. And yes, the pre made "raw" diets have a lot of stuff in them that the animals dont need. So you need organs, muscle, bones and a tad of ground up slightly fermented vegies and fruit. Please look up the list of foods your dog and/or cat CAN NOT have. Please dont forget brains. LOL This is one thing I have trouble finding. If I remember correctly, the vet says brains have vit b12. If youre not comfy with brains, ask your vet about a supplement. The general rule of thumb, and once again ask your vet, they should be eating daily 10% of their weight for the first year, 6 months for small dogs(split the food into 3 meals for a small dog and 2 meals for a large dog. It has to do with metabolism). Then reduce it to 3% there after. Sometimes a dog will let you know if they are eating too much when they dont finish all of their food or if they go bury it. Let them bury it for later. Vitamins.
Two books I have read are ..
Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy For Your Dog By Carina Beth MacDonald--Very basic and to the point, short
Raw & Natural Nutrition For Dogs By Lew Olson, PhD---This one is more in depth, more information
As always, consult a veterinarian, if you are not happy with what your veterinarian says or doesnt say, get a second opinion. Or find a veterinarian that has knowledge and/or supports a raw or biologically appropriate diet.
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Go to dogaware.com, loads of good information and further reading. Perhaps there are some sources there, maybe a coop even.

I feed prey model raw with supplements. I got my dogs' nutrition requirements calculated from the chart in the back of Monica Segal's books and use her analysis of raw meaty bones plus others I've found around the web by entering that information into a nutrition database as a custom food. I use nutritiondata but very likely there are easier ones to use these days. I can change the standard daily requirements to my dogs' needs so when I add my custom raw meaty bone and USDA meat/organ/fish/egg analysis I can see how close the diet comes to NRC numbers. You can imagine all this work was pretty intense and time consuming.

What I came up with is if you feed mostly red meat with the amount of liver and bone suggested the diet is pretty good. Then you add a mineral/vitamin supplement same as kibble manufacturers to to bring it closer to NRC. A raw diet is low in a number of essential nutrients according to the food testing done and recorded in NRC books. Whether that is accurate for a PMR or not, don't know. I did pulse that supplement with my first dog and he definitely was better with it so I've continued using it.

So long as you feed minimal bone, mostly beef and lamb with some pork boneless, half the liver is beef and you can source that other organ you are good to go. I use Kirkland Daily Vitamin and Mineral supplement, grind it and coat the meat with it.

Ginger would like you to know that a whole chicken, feathers, guts and all, is too bony and too feathery. She had concrete poop after polishing off a small laying hen a couple years back. So tossing a variety of whole prey isn't all it is cracked up to be either!
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I pretty much do exactly what Kathyy does except I use the FEDIAF minimum and maximum requirements for my dog's size/calorie intake. Basically just what we have in the EU, probably very similar to NRC numbers. The only difference is I don't feed PMR. I think how I feed is probably more closer to "BARF"? So instead of supplements, I add other whole foods that don't come from animals to meet my dog's minimum requirements. Things I add in addition to meat and organs to avoid supplementing are ground pumpkin seeds, ground veggie mix, tripe, egg, goat's milk, and fish. The only thing her diet came short on is Vitamin E and Iodine. For the Iodine, I add kelp to her meals.

Regardless which style of feeding you choose, I highly suggest you look into the minimum requirements established for your size dog and make sure your diet meets those needs. I don't think you can go wrong with raw if you follow that guideline.

As for time needed to make food... well I make my dog's food once a month and it takes me maybe 2 hours. I don't find there's a lot of prep involved besides just separating everything into meals.
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