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Old 02-01-2015, 11:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Raw Feeding Dogs

My sisters chihuahua is getting along in the years, she is having teeth issues and huge weight issues. Her healthy weight is about 6 pounds and she weighs ten. As I have been feeding the ferrets raw the dogs get a taste every now and then. Kloe loves everything I throw down but doesn't handle bone all that well, ie she throws it up because she doesn't chew.

I'm thinking she will benefit from a raw diet and she is small enough that we could afford to switch her. I am on another dog forum right now but there is a lot of controversy and I am having to wade through a lot of stuff.

Basically, with ferrets we feed as much as they eat and they won't overeat. Dogs will overeat. I need percentage of bone, muscle meat, organs and heart etc and how much per body weight? Any experiences are greatly appreciated, even the bad one.

Thanks guys.

Sample menus would be helpful as well.
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Old 02-01-2015, 12:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if you've joined this Facebook group (I know a couple other hedgie owners have), but I'd recommend it - https://www.facebook.com/groups/preymodeldiet/ It's a huge group and sometimes there's people on there that are rude or unhelpful, but there are a lot of great people as well, and they have a TON of information in the files tab. Sometimes it can take a while for a question to get answered as well, & you may have to bump it up. But I still really enjoy it & I've heard some horror stories of other groups, so I'm pretty content with this one. The admins are really great & helpful too, I think.

I've picked up a lot with raw feeding my elderly cocker spaniel though, so I'd be happy to help out as well, if you want to PM or ask on here. To answer your above questions, the percentages for dogs are 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organs. 5% is liver and 5% is other organs (kidneys, spleen, testicles, brain, thymus, etc.). The bone/muscle percentage is approximate - quite a few dogs seem to do better with a higher percentage, such as 15%. If I remember right, you don't want to go much over 20% bone daily, though. Heart is included with other muscle meat, it's not a specific requirement in dog raw diets as it is with cats & ferrets (who need the higher taurine content).

You also want to have at least three different proteins (chicken, beef, and pork, for example) for a balanced diet, though more variety is better. And at least 50% of the diet should be red meat - beef, lamb, pork, goat, duck, rabbit, & so on. If more than that is red meat, that's even better, but 50% red meat is kind of considered the minimum (because red meat is more nutrient-dense).

For how much to feed, 2-3% of the target weight is the average for most dogs. A lot of people still start out with 2.5% & see how their dog's weight responds. If they lose too quickly, or if they reach their optimum weight & continue to lose, then you may need to up the percentage. If they're not losing what they need to lose, or if they're putting on unnecessary weight, then you lower it. Some dogs need 1.5% or even down to 1%. You can also adjust the meats you offer to give lower fat meats like rabbit, chicken, etc.

With her not chewing, it'd be a good idea to either give her frozen things so she has to slow down, give her things larger than her head so she can't gulp them, or give her grinds so that it's already broken up. If she still has trouble with bone even if she's chewing it well, she may need some digestive enzymes to help out (one of the admins on the group has mentioned one of her dogs does & she knows others - my dog seemed to do better with digestive enzymes to help out with thicker bones too).

Personally, with Tessa, I think we're finally getting on the right track for her. For months now I'd been trying to do chunked up meat and she would chew up bones well, etc. But I had an extremely hard time trying to introduce new proteins. Even with only adding 1/8 an ounce a day (and she gets 11oz a day, split into two meals), she'd easily get diarrhea once we worked up to more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the meal being the new protein. I only had her on chicken and beef and was struggling to get her acclimated to anything else. On the suggestion of someone from the group, I decided to try out grinds instead, because she did fine with commercial ground patties. So far she's been doing great on Reel Raw's beef grind (along with Vital Essentials chicken and beef patties), and I've started introducing MyPetCarnivore's mutton grind with no problems at all so far. Her poop isn't even soft, and we've been going faster with the intro than 1/8oz a day. So I'm thinking that this is the right method for her. She's still loving her food and though meaty bones are best for actively cleaning gross teeth, grinds will still help by changing the mouth pH & since they don't have carbs that will add to the build up on the teeth. I'm not too concerned about Tessa though, her teeth are the one thing she managed to win the genetic lottery on. Plus she's nearly 15 years old (birthday in April) and to be honest, my main concern right now is that she's enjoying her food, which she seriously is. There have been other benefits for her though, she's at her target weight of 28lbs, and her coat & skin issues have improved a lot. She has seborrhea, which gives her sores on her skin and they can be painful/itchy. But now I can actually pet her without her flinching or trying to move away, which is probably my second favorite improvement from the raw diet (after her absolutely LOVING meal times again).

And lastly (I'm sure no one's surprised by the length of my messages on this topic by now ), here's my menu plan for her once I have all of the proteins introduced:

Sunday: mutton
Monday: chicken
Tuesday: pork
Wednesday: beef
Thursday: duck
Friday: fish
Saturday: beef

So far she's got chicken & beef, working on the mutton, pork is next, then fish, and duck. I'm also going to give her 1oz/day of green beef tripe (supposed to be good for digestion & a lot of dogs go crazy for it), and will be giving a cube of bone broth a day, and hopefully a raw egg three times a week. I'm doing fish oil pills for her until I have fish added to her diet - I should've mentioned earlier, but fish oil is the one supplement that is considered necessary for a dog raw diet unless you're feeding mostly or only grass-fed/wild-caught animals. Grain-fed animals are higher in omega-6's, so fish oil helps add omega-3's to the diet. The dosage is 100mg DHA/EPA (combined) per 10lbs of dog, daily.

If you're interested in adding fish to her diet, let me know & I can send you the info I have for which fish are highest in DHA/EPA.
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Old 02-01-2015, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow! Thank you so much! I just got recommended that group over on my ferret forum so I'm waiting approval.

This is exactly how my ferrets diet is as well, just less red meat is needed but still necessary. I have chicken livers and pork kidney already at home too! I will need to buy more red meat for her though as well if we go through with this.

I am interested in adding fish to her diet. The ferrets eat smelt (small enough fish for them to eat chunks of). What is good for dogs?

Some people do veggies? What are the pro and cons are adding this to her diet? Dogs are considered obligate carnivores as well correct? I mean I don't see wolves nomming on berries but all I ever see is what is on tv.

Bones are going to be interesting with her. I'm hoping with moving onto to a more nutritionally based diet she will stop acting like she is starving all the time and actually eat her food. She is a small dog, what bones do you think will be okay? I can't imagine her getting through a rack of ribs from a cow. I'm worried about not having enough dark meat. I can get goat, bison, lamb and beef all ground but with so much bone in meats needed I'm not sure where else to look.
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Old 02-01-2015, 04:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I tried a veggie/fruit blend for Tessa for a couple weeks, hoping it might help her digestive issues so I could continue with introducing proteins, but it didn't help. Some people feel the added fiber is beneficial, others want to make sure their dog is getting enough of the necessary nutrients, etc. I think most of the FB group are PMR feeders, who don't give any fruits/veggies as a regular part of the diet, but there are quite a few people who do include those too. I fall more with the PMR people, no need to add fruits/veggies unless there's a specific reason for it. I think dogs are considered more just carnivores than obligate - they don't have the requirement for taurine that cats & ferrets do, and they have more of the necessary enzymes to digest plant matter than cats & ferrets do. You do need to break them down though, especially veggies, either by cooking or putting them through a food processor until they're very fine. But overall, it comes down to personal opinion & individual dog.

Here are the fish that I consider worth feeding for dogs -
Sardines 396mg/oz
Salmon 420mg/oz
herring 476mg/oz
anchovies 420mg/oz
mackerel 728mg/oz
smelt 210mg/oz

I'd personally go more with the top five over smelt because the DHA/EPA is so much lower, but for a small dog, they might work just fine or even better. I have sardine and herring grinds for Tessa that I plan to stick with. Salmon is usually just too expensive! Just make sure you don't feed fish more than once or twice a week - most of the ones listed have an enzyme called thiaminase that blocks Vitamin B1 from being utilized, so can create a deficiency if fed too much. Only fed a couple times a week or so is no problem though.

Honestly, she may act the same way either way. Tessa went from ignoring her kibble for up to a full day before she'd eat it to gulping down her food as quickly as she can get it into her. I was thrilled to see the change because her lack of interest was so concerning to me. But she did at least chew her bones.

Once you're in the FB group, look for the file titled "What cuts of meat can I feed?" It goes through different parts of various common proteins and list what size dog those cuts are safe for. Generally though, she should be able to handle chicken, duck, rabbit, and most turkey bones, as well as pork feet, pork hocks, pork ribs (make sure they're not machine cut), and pork tail. Rabbits are harder to find, but generally you can get whole rabbits pretty cheap from breeders when they have culls, and sometimes they'll even process it however you want (guts out, skinned, etc.). You want to avoid weight-bearing bones, and you're right, she probably won't be able to handle any beef bones! If you feed pork ribs, you want to give at least 2-3 ribs at a time - not just a one rib portion. That could pose a choking hazard, even with her small size. You could also get small whole prey like quail, cornish hens, rats (if she'll eat them, a lot of dogs won't touch them), and small rabbits & guinea pigs.

What a lot of people do is feed chicken solely for the bone-in content & do boneless red meats for the muscle meat. You'd be surprised how far a lot of the bone-in pieces will go towards the 10%. A chicken wing is about 45% bone, for example. Some dogs need to have bone every day to keep their poops firm, but others don't and their owners will do bone-in meals 2-3 times a week and boneless meals on the other days. Usually if they do that, the organ portion of the diet is fed with the bone-in meals since organs are richer & can give diarrhea if you give a lot of them at once or don't give some bone with it.

There are several guides to starting out with feeding a dog raw in the group files as well, so some of those may help you figure out how you want to start. Most people start with just chicken (bone-in & boneless) for a few days until they're sure the dog is stable on that. Then you can start adding in other meats slowly. Usually the group recommends to wait to introduce organs until after you have the dog on three proteins & they're doing well with digesting raw, and to start slow with them. It usually takes most dogs a while before they can work up to getting their week's organ portion in one or two meals. I have no experience with that since I couldn't even get Tessa up to three proteins, much less organs!

(Sorry if I'm overloading you or anything! I need to find a job talking about this kind of thing, I could do it for forever.)

Edit: Another comment on her with bones - if you'd rather not freeze the food beforehand to make her slow down & chew, you could also use a hammer to smash the bones up a bit before you give to her so they're already somewhat broken up. That might help with her throwing them up and help teach her to chew. Some dogs are always gulpers though & their owners just stick with feeding frozen meals or feeding very large pieces that they can't fit in their mouth.
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Old 02-01-2015, 05:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Very interesting!

Kelsey, you need to write a book or start a website, you know so much about raw feeding!

One question, do you add any pre- or pro-biotics to the raw diet to aid in digestion?
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Old 02-01-2015, 06:15 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I still feel like there's a lot I don't know! I do hope to someday open a pet supplies store, though, and sell raw diets for dogs, cats, & ferrets, and then I can give advice to customers and such. It'd be perfect for me!

Some people don't, some people do, especially those who have dogs with sensitive stomachs. There's a variety of things that you can add - my powdered digestive enzymes that I added to Tessa's food had pre- and pro-biotics in them as well. I know another person that uses a similar product. Some people prefer giving kefir, which is fermented milk (I've read a lot that goat's milk kefir is best). I haven't tried it because the commercial stuff is expensive & I don't want to bother with making it at home. You can also give tripe, which is stomach from ruminants like goats, cows, and sheep. I am using that, I actually just gave Tessa a little bit of it for the first time tonight! I have the ground cow tripe with trachea & esophagus from MyPetCarnivore. It smells...interesting. Some people can't stand it, others don't mind. It smells like cow poop, more or less. I don't mind it too much, but I'm not usually fazed much by that kind of thing. I'm planning to add an ounce of tripe to Tessa's food each day. I figure that shouldn't throw the balances off too much and will hopefully be beneficial.
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