So You Want To Get Your Dog On A Raw
Here’s how to do it without breaking the bank
It seems like every week a commercial pet food is outed as containing actual poison. First it was a euthanasia drug that popped up in the mass-market foods on the cheaper end of the spectrum. No surprise, I thought, rather smugly. If you feed your dog garbage, what do you expect? Then it was discovered that the stuff I was spending over $200 per month on contained both arsenic and BPAs in potentially harmful amounts. If even the most expensive kibbles contain poison, what are you supposed to feed your dog?
This is how I figured out how to feed my dogs healthy raw food, and do it without going broke.
Sample Menu Starting Out
For a 15kg adult dog at 2% 15,000g x 0.02 = 300g of food per day
|150g chicken thigh & breast meat||150g chicken thigh & breast meat|
|Week 3-4||150g small chicken quarter with beef trim||150g small chicken quarter with beef trim|
|Week 5-6||150g chicken wing & beef trim||150g chicken wing & beef trim|
|Increase food to 2.5% 15,000g x 0.025 = 375g of food per day|
|225g small chicken quarter with pork meat||150g small chicken quarter with pork meat|
|Week 9-10||225g pork ribs with beef trim plus occasional raw egg||150g pork ribs with beef trim|
|Week 11-12||275g pork ribs with beef trim and tiny piece beef liver||100g chicken wing & breast meat|
|Week 13-14||310g pork ribs with beef trim and 15g beef liver||Alternate 50g small chicken breast with ribs or whole egg|
|Week 15-16||285g pork ribs with beef trim 25g kidney & 15g beef liver||Alternate 50g small chicken breast with ribs or whole egg|
|Week 17-18||335g chicken quarter, 25g beef heart & 15g beef liver||Training treats|
|Week 19-20||295g chicken quarter, 50g heart, 15g kidney & 15g liver||Training treats|
Remember, youre aiming for:80% meat, sinew, ligaments, fat, can also include heart meat10% edible boneSo for 375g of food a day this equals:
300g meat, sinew, ligaments, fat, heart meat37.5g edible bone
These measurements dont have to be exact, just to bear in mind.
Diet With Processed Canned Food And Chicken To Feed A Dog Daily
You love your dog and love to treat it royally. Royal treatment includes all his favorite snacks. It likes chicken, dog food, bones, grains and sometimes loves licking onto some broth too. If your dogs diet is a mixture of various canned foods, your dog will require a lot less chicken. Refer to the various nutritional charts to calculate the total calories, fats and nutrition needed for your dogs, with chickens included in its daily food.
Chicken is a great source of nourishment compared to other meat. It is enticing to eat, light and easy to digest and a complete meal on its own. Isnt it good feeding your dog the same chicken that we, as humans, love to devour too?
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Potential Risks Of Raw Diets
While there are potential upsides and some veterinarians may recommend it, the American Veterinary Medical Association is not on board with BARF. Citing a number of studies, the AVMA discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal proteins because they can contain potentially deadly pathogens that can sicken your pet and possibly be transmitted to humans. Yikes!
Other possible disadvantages include:
- Bacteria in raw meat poses a threat to the dogs and humans health
- Giving whole bones to dogs presents a risk of choking, broken teeth or internal punctures
Does Raw Meat Make Dogs Aggressive
There is often a myth surrounding raw feeding that it makes your dog aggressive. Raw meat feeding will not make your dog violent, but like with any meal that your dog adores, some canines may get protective or territorial when eating and refuse to share!
Regardless of what sort of diet your pet consumes, teaching it basic manners and courteous behaviour around food is critical.
A raw meat diet will neither create nor exacerbate your dog’s behavioural issues nor will it turn him into an aggressive monster.
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Traveling With Raw Food
Feeding your dog healthy raw food takes a little more effort than just throwing down a bowl of kibble. Preparing their daily meal , takes me 10 to 15 minutes. And I do have to do more clean up throughout the process, and after, so I dont get raw meat all over the kitchen. So, its reasonable to expect that taking your dogs new diet on the road is going to take a little more planning, and time, too.
When we leave the dogs at home, with a caretaker, weve just been buying the pre-made patties to make their lives as easy as possible. Ive been keeping a box around just in case were crunched on time, having a bad day, or other real world considerations like that.
What about camping? Well, the Dometic comes along when were car or 4×4 camping, but for a recent backpacking trip I found premade freeze-dried patties to be an ideal solution. Just like human backpacking food, all the weight is sucked out of those, making them ideal on the trail, but theyre easily rehydrated with even cool water in camp. Theyre expensive , but I really appreciated the weight savings, and Wiley enjoyed eating them.
What To Look For In Fresh Food
Most fresh food services are offered by subscription and delivered to your door. The best ones work with veterinary nutritionists to formulate a plan customized for your dog. They offer options in recipe choices, portion size, and frequency of delivery. They also provide easy-to-understand information about ingredients, feeding schedules, and how to keep the food fresh.
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Add Bones To Your Dogs Raw Food
Beef bones fall into two categories: raw meaty bones and recreational bones.
RMBs might be neck bones, oxtails, or ribs. These are softer, non-weight bearing parts of the animal. Your dog should chew up, swallow and digest RMBs. Your dogs size determines what RMBs she can handle.
Recreational bones can be harder or larger bones that your dog can gnaw on, but not chew up and swallow.
Recreational bones are important for your dogs mental and physical health. They can provide hours of entertainment. The chewing strengthens the jaw, neck, shoulder and even back and hip muscles.
from the legs of ruminants are the most popular. Other bones that dogs relish are knee caps, pelvic bones, ribs and hip joints. If your dog is an aggressive chewer, watch her with recreational bones to avoid broken teeth!
The Butcher Shop: The Best Raw Food For Your Dog
My husband and I cant say the word chores without our dogs running to the door so they can help!
Were lucky to be able to raise some of our own farm animals for food . But we count on butchers to process our ducks, chickens, goats and sheep.
Beef is a large part of most raw feeding programs, including ours. Were not able to raise beef, just as most raw feeders probably cant raise their own pet food. But we have a wonderful farm near us for organic grass-fed beef and raw milk.
Theyve used many different butchers over the years for their slaughtering. Farmers cant slaughter their own animals so they use custom processing services. This is when a butcher shop does the slaughtering and cutting for them.
The farmer typically offers a quarter, half or whole animal. The customer pays the farmer the agreed price per pound of hanging weight. The farmer then pays the butcher for cutting and slaughter costs.
If you can do this, youll likely find the total of these two payments is much less than other sources. Theyre cheaper per pound than retail cuts, commercial frozen rawor buying through raw pet food brokers.
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Get The Calcium And Minerals Right
10% to 15% of your dogs total diet needs to be bone. Puppies need at least 12% and up to 15% bone.
Your dog needs a steady supply of minerals and trace minerals. Along with enzymes from proteins, minerals are important cofactors that fire all of the metabolic processes in your dogs body. If your dog is missing minerals, things can go very, very wrong. He can develop crippling joint disease, heart issues, seizures and more.
That might sound frightening, but its easy to get this step right with bones.
Bone is about 65% minerals, including phosphorus, magnesium and zinc and most importantly, calcium. Calcium and phosphorus work synergistically in your dogs body to move his muscles and control all of his body functions. So your dog needs a steady supply of these minerals.
Meat without any bone at all contains a lot of phosphorus and very little calcium.
If you fed your dog an all-meat diet without calcium, he would pull all of the calcium from his bones to get enough to move his muscles and control body processes. So if the diet is too low in calcium, youll often see bone and joint disease especially in growing puppies.
So raw feeders add bone to meals to ensure theres a steady supply of calcium and other important minerals.
If your dog were a wolf in the wild, he would eat whole animals like deer and rabbits. This type of wild prey averages about 12% bone with little variation. In fact, even eggs are 12% shell .
What Is The Barf Diet
The BARF diet is one variation of a raw food diet. Canine athletes such as racing greyhounds and sled dogs have been eating higher-fat raw food diets for a long time, according to The Journal for Nutrition. In 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst created the BARF diet for family dogs. He theorized dogs would do well on this diet because they ate such foods before they became domesticated pets.
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What Nutritional Requirements Does A Dog Have
Dogs can have different nutritional requirements if they have a specific disease but healthy puppies, adults, and pregnant or nursing dogs all require different things from their food, too. This is why different commercial diets exist for dogs in different life stages and also with different health problems. A six-month-old puppy does not have the same nutritional needs as a dog with kidney disease.
Nutrition affects internal organs, skin and coat, bones, muscles, and other parts of your dog, so it is more complicated than some pet owners may realize. Dogs need various vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, and other ingredients to function normally and be healthy. If an improper diet is fed, dogs can develop serious, life-threatening issues, break bones, and not grow properly.
Dogs are omnivores so their nutritional needs reflect that. The Association of American Feed Control Officials helps define and regulate what pets need and pet food manufacturers use these guidelines to make their foods. Domestic dogs are genetically different than their wolf ancestors so even though they are both canines, domestic dogs evolved to be able to digest starches.
Basic Dog Feeding Guide
The following information is general advice, but as each dog is an individual, seek veterinary advice, particularly if your dog has any special dietary needs or has a reaction to a standard diet.
The basis of your dogs diet should be a high quality balanced premium commercial dog food that is appropriate for their life stage and health status. By reading the label, you can check that it complies with the Australian Standard for the Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food AS5812:2017 .
You can also offer some natural foods to provide variety. Natural foods include fresh human-grade raw meat , raw meaty bones and finely-cut vegetables. You should check with your vet first that raw meaty bones are suitable for your particular dog .
We recommend you choose only human-grade raw meat and raw meaty bones because some raw meat products marketed as pet food contain preservatives to keep them looking fresh, but these can be detrimental to the dogs health. There have been many pet food safety incidents linked to sulphite preservative-induced thiamine deficiency, which can be fatal. You should avoid sausages, sausage meat and cooked manufactured meats as they can also contain sulphite preservatives.
The amount of food required will depend on your dogs size, breed, age and level of exercise, but take care not to overfeed or underfeed. Your vet will be able to weigh your dog, assess your dogs body condition score and provide advice.
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What Should You Feed Your Dog Raw Vs Kibble
From how you train your dog to how you feed them, almost every facet of dog ownership has a debate surrounding it.
One of the most heated controversies is pet nutrition. Should you feed your dog a raw food diet or kibble?
Raw diets consist of organ & muscle meats, bones, and other animal parts. Dogs on a raw diet can also eat raw eggs, some dairy , and dog-safe fruits, vegetables and grains.
Kibble is generally made with grains, protein sources, starches, and fruits & vegetables. Its supplemented with vitamins and minerals to meet your pets nutritional needs. Higher-quality kibble contains more protein than starches, and many brands are even grain-free.
There are pros and cons to each diet. But this debate begins with the question: do dogs even need to eat plants?
What Is The Raw Diet For Dogs
A raw dog food diet is uncooked meat, bones, fruits, vegetables, and some dairy. In 1993, Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst proposed this diet for family dogs as it positively affected greyhounds and sled dogs. He called this the BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. According to Billinghurst, dogs would thrive on BARF dog food. He also said that commercial pet foods were harmful to their health.
The AVMA disagrees with the use of BARF as the primary food source for dogs, as several studies say undercooked animal proteins can contain harmful pathogens that can make your dog ill and may even be transmitted to humans. Many veterinarians, as well as the FDA, also warn that the potential risks of a raw diet for dogs can outweigh the benefits.
Although this topic has become controversial in the past few years, the popularity of raw meat diets for dogs is on the rise. Lets take a look at the benefits and risks of this diet to try and shed some light on the subject:
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What Factors Affect How Much Raw Food To Feed Your Dog
There are certain factors to determine the amount of raw food to feed your dog. They include the following:
- Bodyweight weigh your dog to know their current weight then calculate the amount of food they need by multiplying by 2-5%.
- Activity level take into consideration the level of activity your dog is getting daily to determine the amount of food they need. Is your dog working, active, inactive, or is their activity level is average? Adjust the amount basing on these elements.
- Adjust for weight gain or loss if your dogs current weight is not ideal for their age, you can adjust the amount of their food to ensure that they get to their ideal weight. Use your dogs body condition score to determine whether they are emaciated, thin, heavy, or obese.
- Life stages puppies need more food than adult dogs because they need more fuel for their rapidly growing bodies. But you also need to consider their body condition to calculate the food they need. Pregnant dogs need 4-5% of their body weight and senior dogs who are less active need less food.
- Consider the size toy and small breeds need more of their body weight and larger breeds.
Finding And Buying Raw Food For Dogs
Finding raw food for dogs is pretty simple if you live near a populated area. Often times a butcher shop has scraps and leftovers they are willing to sell for cheap as the scraps are not normally sought after by humans. But dogs love it and you know the meat has come from high quality sources . You can often times find chicken necks, turkey necks, chicken or turkey feet, liver, hearts, pork necks and riblets, tripe or other stomach contents, cow tongue, and many other meat products which are difficult to sell. If you can find the right butcher, you can obtain these meat products for cheaper than you buy your kibble. Call around, you might be very surprised with what your butcher has!
And, of course, there is always your local grocery store or big box store. For the most part, you should buy your dog the same meats you would feed your own family if you want to feed your dog a good diet.
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What Kind Of Snacks Can I Feed My Dog With Kidney Disease
Our dogs walk a bit on the wild side when it comes to snacks as they love thin apple slices, banana chunks, carrots, whole unsalted peanuts in the husks, and dehydrated sweet potatoes! Dogs with kidney disease should avoid meat based chews/treats that are high in phosphorus, so you may find that you need to explore doing friendly fruit and veggies for treats like we have. We still on occasion will offer Hooch bully sticks or a jerky treat, but it is better for him if we limit his intake due to the levels of phosphorous that those treats contain.