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#1 of 14 Old 01-25-2011, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been searching the web for all sorts of information on raw food for dogs. I've found some good resources, a lot of confusing , and a lot of contradictory info! But it's a direction we've been leaning toward for awhile.
My pup is almost 7 months old, about 50 lbs. We're not sure what she is: best guess is some border collie, aussie shepherd, german shepherd, and something non-herding because she has no herding drive with all of that shepherd, LOL!
We've had her on Canidae Grain Free for most of her life with us (9 weeks on) and that has been a fine kibble: steady growth, nice coat, no big growth spurts, good development. But I really think that well thought-out raw diet would be best for her. We've occasionally given her a raw chicken quarter, turkey neck, rib bone, and the like, but because she has a primarily kibble diet I don't think we were able to give her bowels a fair chance to adjust.

So now we are going to jump in cold turkey! I have a freezer full of ground bone-in chicken, whole chicken parts, turkey necks, ground green beef tripe (oh gag), and various organ meats. I have my trusty digital scale. And I have my dog who loves to eat anything!

I have not found a lot of resources for are exactly what it is like to begin a dog on raw. I've heard a lot of, "start your dog on one meat, use it for a week, and then add a new meat each month until you've tried most of what you'd like to use." I'm a little (lot) nervous about diarrhea, zillions of late night runny poops during the adjustment period, getting the right amount of food into her, what to feed...

I thought I'd start a thread about our beginning raw journey, what it is like day y day, what we are trying out. Kinda an online raw journal. maybe it will help someone else, and maybe some of you will have some help and tips for me!
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#2 of 14 Old 01-25-2011, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Day 13

Things are going pretty well over here in raw-land. I am coming up with an organization system: freezing pre-measured meal portions into freezer containers so that I only have to prepare food a couple times a month. I found whole chickens on sale at Safeway for $0.99 a lb, so I got four and pieced them out into two leg quarters, two breast quarters, and a back/wings piece. I added in beef liver and Merlow doesn't care for it at all. She likes chicken liver, so I'll stick with that for now.

I have a few questions, both about bones.
1. When Merlow was at the kennel one of the meals I sent for her had a chicken back in it: quite a bony cut of chicken. The woman at the kennel said Merlow ate it and promptly threw it all back up. She mentioned that she noticed that sometimes dogs will vomit up food that has too many bone shards. Does anyone know about this? Should I not be feeding chicken backs to my dog? I thought they were okay, but they didn't seem to agree with her tummy at all.
2. How much is the bone she eats supposed to digest? When I was scooping poop today I found a poop that had a few distinct pieces of bone. One was very obviously the knobby end bone from a chicken leg quarter (from the drumstick) and another was part of the leg bone, I think. Both bones were larger than I thought they should be, and the ends were narrow and really sharp! The drumstick end in particular was over an inch long and pointy at the far end. It made me wince to think of those sharp bones working their way through her digestive system. Is it normal to have bone pieces like this in the stool?

Day 7- One week in!
We're finishing up that ground chicken, but I've been giving Merlow a beef rib or some boneless chicken to go along with it, and sometimes some liver. It seems to have taken care of the constipation. I've been giving her the ground chicken in the morning and a chicken quarter in the evening. she seems to really enjoy the chicken quarters, and can eat them quite fast. Thank goodness she chews first.

I am also increasing the amount of food she gets. Right now she is getting about 2.5% of her estimated adult weight in food but it is not enough. Not enough time has passed for her to show a weight change, but Merlow tends to get really intense about food when she is not quite getting enough. She doesn't steal food or beg, per say, but she becomes hyper-focused on eating. (We went through this several months ago when trying to figure out the right amount of kibble. She started getting really intense about food and then got a little too "ribby" and thinned out.) We're going to increase to 3% of expected adult weight and see what happens.

I asked the kennel about her raw food for when she has her boarding this week and they are happy to serve raw to the dogs! They have a special fridge and freezer, and many of their clients feed raw. They also sell raw lamb from their herding flock once a year, so that rocks, too!

Day 5
Things have been going pretty well this week, but no we are having some constipation issues. greensad.gif I am fairly certain that there is too much bone in the ground chicken we are using. I know she went yesterday morning, but i'm not certain if she was able to last night, and the poor girl tried to go for about 10 minutes at 5am to no avail.
I gave her a few slices of apple this morning hoping to move things along. In the fall she loves to munch on the fallen apples from our tree and it always makes her poop a lot! I'm also going to increase the amount of meat she is getting, and start adding some liver. I think I'll give her a beef rib bone before breakfast. She doesn't eat the bone, just the meat.
Any additional advice about how to soften up her stool a bit?

Another question: what do you do about food when you dog needs to visit the boarding kennel for a few days? We are heading out of town this weekend to a place where no dogs are allowed. Merlow will be staying at a gerat kennel that she has been to before, and while they say they can follow special diets I am not sure if they will feed her raw even if I provide it. I will be asking today. If they don't allow raw food what should I do?

Day 2
So far so good! Merlow adores the ground chicken. I'll be glad to see the last of it as it is MESSY. I much prefer the through of plopping a chicken quarter down in front of her! Oh well, I have 20+lbs of the stuff to go through. I was concerned about her bowels and that we'd be up all night but it was no problem at all. She had smaller, hard poops this morning. Hooray! So we know chicken is good. I'll stick to the ground chicken this week so I can use it up quicker, and then I'll start her on whole quarters next week.

I decided to put her on 12 oz twice a day, which is 1.5 lbs; about 3% of her body weight right now. Much of what I'm reading says to feed adults 1.5-3% of their body weight and 10% for puppies, but no one classifies what a "puppy" is. 10% of my pup's weight is 5 lbs a day, and that's CAN'T be right!
I've also ready that a puppy can be fed the 1.5-3% of their expected adult weight. Merlow is a mutt and we don't know much about her parentage, but I do know her mama was 65 lbs when she was adopted out of the shelter, and since Merlow is 50 lbs at 7 months I expect she'll be around 65 lbs as an adult. If I follow that rule I should be feeding her anywhere from a pound to three pounds. Hmmm.

Day 1: Starting day!
This morning Merlow had 10.5 oz of ground bone-in chicken. I wanted to start with ground hoping the transition would be a little easier on her gut. We'll see if that theory holds. I'm sticking to the ground chicken for a solid week or until her bowels look good.
She cleaned her bowl and looked excited for more. We'll see what her gut thinks of all of this later tonight.
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#3 of 14 Old 01-25-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Good for you - hope it all goes well!  I have to say our transition to raw was very uneventful, even for my sensitive tummy boy.  I started them on a Friday evening just so I'd be home on the weekend in case they needed more frequent trips outside but they were both fine.  They was a short "no poop" stage which I suppose was their system figuring out that there weren't many "leftovers" from raw that needed to be pooped out.  After about a day of that we went straight to nice small poops.  Some dogs do have an initial runny stools response though, that's when you'd want to give it an extra few days till things settle down or consider feeding less or a different protein.

 

Hopefully your raw transition will be just as smooth as ours.  Enjoy!

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#4 of 14 Old 01-25-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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Welcome to the raw side. I know it appears daunting but once you get the hand of things it becomes easier. Join the yahoogroup rawfeeding or raw9s the advice there is invaluable for getting started.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

Day 1: Starting day!
This morning Merlow had 10.5 oz of ground bone-in chicken. I wanted to start with ground hoping the transition would be a little easier on her gut. We'll see if that theory holds. I'm sticking to the ground chicken for a solid week or until her bowels look good.
She cleaned her bowl and looked excited for more. We'll see what her gut thinks of all of this later tonight.


Really ground meat doesn't make the transition easier, but you have it so use it but add in some boned in meat. The best way to start is with some boned in chicken, either breast or quarters. I would also advise you to cut the fat off the meat to begin with (this can't be done with ground which is another reason I would caution against it, not so easy to control meat/bone intake). Generally dogs love raw so the actual transition is easy, your aim is to achieve 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ meant (max 5% liver), but this is an over time thing and in the beginning you will probably want to have a higher percentage of bone to help with stool consistency. Don't be in a rush to introduce other meats and when you do, do it gradually. The major cause of problems is operator error, too much food (loose stools), too much organ meet (runny poop), too much bone (fossil poop). Every dog is different, some don't have any bowel issues, others struggle for quite a while, once things seem stable, start introducing other meats.

 

Have you come across this website in your research?

 

Rawfeeding 101, Starter Meats and Beginner Tips?

 

I look forward to following your journey. My pup is about the same age as yours and has been raw fed since we got him at 9 weeks, so I feel like an old hand already!


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"If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings"~ Leonardo da Vinci

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#5 of 14 Old 01-26-2011, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am going to post my day-to-day updates in post #2 (if anyone is interested).

Mirzam, thanks for the advice! The link in your post is not working. Any chance you could repost?
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#6 of 14 Old 01-27-2011, 05:33 AM
 
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I tried posting the link again, but it won't open for me either, no idea why, it opens from my bookmarks just fine. It doesn't even come up in a google search. Odd. The site is Raw Feeding 101.


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#7 of 14 Old 01-27-2011, 05:38 AM
 
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I think you are right with sticking to the 3% of estimated adult body weight (1.5 lbs). If she starts losing weight or looking chubby, adjust the amount. If her stools are firm, things are looking good! Don't be tempted to rush things though. Sounds like you are off to a great start.. Way to go Merlow!


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#8 of 14 Old 01-27-2011, 08:04 AM
 
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Glad things are going well!  I think your weight estimate is about right - we adopted Chaos at 6-8 months old (no one was sure of her age) and she didn't grow noticeably after that, just filled out a bit.  She probably put on 5-7 lbs (she's in the 30-40 lb range).  Mind you she has a very efficient metabolism despite being very active so on 3% of her weight she'd be a porker.  I agree that the body condition is the best way to judge.

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#9 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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New update and a few questions in post 2!
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#10 of 14 Old 02-01-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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Yep, the ground chicken probably has too much bone. I know you bought a lot, but I would stop giving it to her and go with meat/bone. I assume you are still on chicken, try some boneless breast or some gizzards or hearts along with the boned in chicken, or ground. As you are seeing, by feeding the ground it isn't so easy to make adjustments to the bone/meat/ratio. I agree a bit of liver might well help to soften her stool. Are you cutting the skin/fat off the meat you give Merlow? Some more fat might also help.

 

I don't know what to suggest with regard the kennel. Hopefully they are willing to give raw if you bag it up into frozen bagged portions. The other option would be to buy frozen prepared raw, like Primal or a similar brand. If the kennel isn't willing I guess your only option is to provide your choice of kibble. Those more familiar with kibble options may have suggestions. You could always go back to what you were feeding her before, as it will only be a few days.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinuviel_k View Post

Day 5
Things have been going pretty well this week, but no we are having some constipation issues. greensad.gif I am fairly certain that there is too much bone in the ground chicken we are using. I know she went yesterday morning, but i'm not certain if she was able to last night, and the poor girl tried to go for about 10 minutes at 5am to no avail.
I gave her a few slices of apple this morning hoping to move things along. In the fall she loves to munch on the fallen apples from our tree and it always makes her poop a lot! I'm also going to increase the amount of meat she is getting, and start adding some liver. I think I'll give her a beef rib bone before breakfast. She doesn't eat the bone, just the meat.
Any additional advice about how to soften up her stool a bit?

Another question: what do you do about food when you dog needs to visit the boarding kennel for a few days? We are heading out of town this weekend to a place where no dogs are allowed. Merlow will be staying at a gerat kennel that she has been to before, and while they say they can follow special diets I am not sure if they will feed her raw even if I provide it. I will be asking today. If they don't allow raw food what should I do?
 

Rainbow.giftstillheart.gifsmile.gif

 

"If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings"~ Leonardo da Vinci

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#11 of 14 Old 02-03-2011, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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New update, and we found that our kennel will feed raw to the dogs! Yea! I also found another kennel that will, too. Guess I live in an enlightened city. ;-)
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#12 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a few questions at the top of post 2, if anyone is reading and has advice...
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#13 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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Sorry, the updating old post thing is kind of confusing me so I'll copy and paste what you said to answer:

Quote:
Things are going pretty well over here in raw-land. I am coming up with an organization system: freezing pre-measured meal portions into freezer containers so that I only have to prepare food a couple times a month. I found whole chickens on sale at Safeway for $0.99 a lb, so I got four and pieced them out into two leg quarters, two breast quarters, and a back/wings piece. I added in beef liver and Merlow doesn't care for it at all. She likes chicken liver, so I'll stick with that for now.

Sounds good.  Liver can be an acquired taste - since you already have beef liver I'd try feeding a small piece that's mostly frozen.  Sometimes it's a smell/texture thing.  Also, what I'd do with the whole chickens (depending on how big they are) is cut them right down the middle in half, and then whack that in half (assuming half a chicken is too big for Merlow's meal, that's what my greyhound would get for a meal).  Don't bother with the extra cutting of the back and such, that bit is all bone anyway so may as well feed it with a meatier chunk.

 

Another thing that may or may not work for you is to freeze the meat hunks whole and then thaw and feed through the whole thing.  For example freeze the chickens whole, then thaw them and feed till it's gone.  We also do this with big pork roasts - I just keep the thing in the fridge and lop hunks off to feed until it's done.  Normally takes 3 days or so between my two, depending on the size.  Of course some dogs don't want to eat the same thing for days in a row, and if your method is working well for you then that's awesome - this is just another alternative to keep in mind.

 

Quote:

1. When Merlow was at the kennel one of the meals I sent for her had a chicken back in it: quite a bony cut of chicken. The woman at the kennel said Merlow ate it and promptly threw it all back up. She mentioned that she noticed that sometimes dogs will vomit up food that has too many bone shards. Does anyone know about this? Should I not be feeding chicken backs to my dog? I thought they were okay, but they didn't seem to agree with her tummy at all.

Yup, too much bone a.k.a. not enough meat.  Did you give her any boneless meat to balance it out?  That's the only way I'd feed a chicken back.  But really there are much better things out there to be feeding.  Backs and necks are a standby from the "BARF" style of raw which I'm not a fan of for many reasons, boney food being one of them.

 

Quote:

2. How much is the bone she eats supposed to digest? When I was scooping poop today I found a poop that had a few distinct pieces of bone. One was very obviously the knobby end bone from a chicken leg quarter (from the drumstick) and another was part of the leg bone, I think. Both bones were larger than I thought they should be, and the ends were narrow and really sharp! The drumstick end in particular was over an inch long and pointy at the far end. It made me wince to think of those sharp bones working their way through her digestive system. Is it normal to have bone pieces like this in the stool?

Some dogs pass bone pieces when they're adjusting to raw because their digestive track hasn't quite gotten used to breaking it all down.  That part will get better over time - we had this happen with turkey drumsticks (or they would get vomitted up).  The other aspect may be that she is getting a lot of bone and not enough meat to balance it out.  For example chicken leg quarters are a bit heavy on the bone - they are not so boney that you need to feed it with additional meat each time, but if that's a diet staple I would personally alternate the meal with one that has much less bone proportionately.  Are you feeding other meats yet?  A lot of chicken is bone-in but meaty-meat cuts are very easy to find in pork or beef for example.

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#14 of 14 Old 02-08-2011, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your reply and advice!

I did feed the chicken back with some meat-only pieces, but I think i'll scrap the backs for now. I can always use them in chicken stock for us, so it's not as if they will go to waste. :-)

She is getting some plain ol meat in addition to bony chicken cuts like leg quarters. The breast quarters tend to be much more meaty, and I also give her beef ribs that have about 4-5oz of meat on them. She does not eat the bones, just the meat. She does enjoy chewing on th rib bone all day, she just doesn't consume it.

I'm going to be adding in another meat this week, probably ground of chunk beef of some kind. Then some pork, and then fish.

ETA: Thanks for the frozen liver suggestion! I have her a piece right from the freezer and she happily ate it right up.
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