My Recommendations for Beginning Raw Feeding.
By Megan M Scull-Monroe on Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 10:04pm (repost from Raw Chat facebook PMR feeding group)
My Recommendations for Beginning Raw Feeding
1. You`ll want to start with 2-3% of your dog's (or puppy's) ESTIMATED IDEAL ADULT Weight. Tweak with more meat if your dog gets a bit skinny, a bit less if your dog gets 'fluffy' over the space of a few weeks.
You might start out by weighing your dog, and weighing her meals; but most don`t continue once they get more comfortable and more experienced feeding raw. Tiny, toy, pregnant, puppies or very active dogs might need as much as 4 -5% or more - very large, giant, overweight or couch potato dogs might need less than 2% to maintain.
2. Ditch the kibble or canned, there’s been plenty of discussion on this list about why processed foods and raw don't mix; just let it suffice that your dog can reap the benefits of raw faster and more completely if you donate the kibble to your local shelter asap.
A species appropriate raw whole prey model diet doesn’t include kibble. Or veggies, grains, carbs, dairy, fruits or tons of supps. Or, for the most part, ground meats. No need for w/rec/k bones either. And, your dog may be less motivated to make the change if he can smell that kibble!
3. Offer at least 2 meals a day to start with. (3 meals for a pup under 6 - 7 months old, 4 for a pup under 4 mo, or for tiny dogs) Feeding once a day (or even less often) can be a great feeding plan for a dog, but not at first; too much new food at a meal can cause digestive upset. Feed as large a portion as you can for the size of the meal. No little pieces or cut up, 'bite sized' chucks.
Dogs need to tear into their food and shear hunks off to swallow and crunch bone for physical, mental and dental health. They don`t chew or eat the way we do - their jaws aren't designed to move from side to side, just up and down - their digestion begins in their stomachs, not in their mouths. So swallowing big hunks of meat and bone is fine. If it fits, its OK.
If it isn't happy in the stomach, the dog will hork it up, and re eat it, so it will go down and stay down the 2nd or 3rd time. Its all good, that`s the way dogs are.
4. Feed a little less at each meal at first than you think you should. Too much new food over the course of a day or two can cause digestive upset, too. Some dogs are, or learn to be, self-regulators. That means, no matter how much food you offer them, or how often, they will only eat as much as they need.
You might just want to offer them fattier portions of meaty meat pork, tongue, beef or veal heart with the cap fat left on, some trim) more often, after they get used to eating raw.
Just be sure your new-to-raw dog knows that what you are serving is *real * food, then, leave him to decide.
OTOH, some dogs never get full! "Know thy Dog." is the motto that applies here.
5. Stay with one new meat for at least a week, maybe two. You want the dog to be showing you that he is well adjusted to the new meat before adding in new stuff. Take it slow; add only one new meat every week or two.
6. You can switch to a new meat by just serving it at the next meal, and all the meals after that for a week or so, or you can add a bite or two of the new meat in with the 'old' meat, gradually adding more new and less
'old' over several days, until you are feeding all new and no 'old'.
Pups tend to acclimate much more quickly to variety in their diet. Whatever works for your own dog.
7. Boneless meals tend to produce loose, even runny poops. A judicious amount of bone in a newbie dog's meal will tend to firm things up. There will be less poop overall; raw is much more digestible and less goes to
waste. Poops will be less frequent also, for the same reason.
Bone adds bulk, so sloppy poops can be firmed up by some (don't go overboard!) bone at each meal at first. Too much bone and your dog can get " fossil" poops that are dry, whitish and crumbly.
8. Chicken is often recommended as the first meat to be introduced for several reasons: its cheap, easy to obtain, has easily consumed and digested bones, is easy to cut into different meal sized portions, is bland, you can trim visible fat and skin if you need to tweak, you can even take out bone if you need to, most dogs will eat it and its pretty bland.
Read the labels on the chicken before you buy; don't get any that say its enhanced with flavoring/seasonings, tenderizing additives or salt/sugar/broth injected. Some dogs get itchy or vomit or get true diarrhea from enhancements. Whole chickens are the best to start with, ime. Cut into portion sizes with kitchen shears, as needed.
9. Some newbie dogs vomit or poop bone bits. There is an adjustment period, so you want some bone in most meals at first, but too much bone may not be digested and the dog will just hork it up or poop it out.
NPs, its just the dog's way of saying "Too much right now, no thanks."
10. Some dogs will get the Bile Vomits or Bone Bits Bile Vomits (BV or BBBV) when new to raw simply because their schedules or routines of eating have been changed.
When a dog adjusts to raw, his gastric 'juices' become much more acid, to better digest the raw meat and bone. If he's expecting a meal at a certain time, the juices start flowing in anticipation of getting a meal. When the meal doesn't happen, the dog often will hork up the yellowish, foamyish bile, with or without bones.
Sometimes they hork up BBBV because raw digests faster than kibble, the tummy is empty, so it must be time to eat. NP for the dog, he's gotten rid of the irritation. He may react as if he feels bad, just because you are upset that he did it on your new comforter, or on the white carpet.
11. A lot of dogs don't drink as much water or as frequently when switched to all raw, all the time. Raw has a pretty high water content and most dogs are forced by dry as dust kibble to over drink water to compensate in order for their bodies to process it. If only fed raw, you don't need to coax your dog to drink more water or even broth, just offer plenty of fresh water, he'll drink when he needs it.
12. True diarhea is not just loose, runny or sloppy poops. It is frequent, liquid or watery explosions of poo that a dog cannot 'hold back'.
True diarrhea is caused by disease or parasites. The occasional loose poops, or "Cannon Butt" even over a few days, that comes from feeding a few too many boneless meals or introing too much of a new meat or feeding too much organ at one whack, is not diarrhea.
13. The general rule of thumb for feeding raw is: 80% meat (muscle, fat, skin, connective tissue and such muscular organs as heart, tongue and gizzard) 10% EDIBLE bone (not all bone that is served must be consumed) and 10% organs (3-5% of this is liver, the rest is as much variety as you can find and afford) This is not an immutable 'daily requirement'.
"Balance Over Time", over weeks and months is one of the raw feeding maxims. ; ) If you feed true whole prey, that is; entire animals at a time, then the meat to bone to organ ratios are 'perfect' for that creature. Whatever parts your dog can eat of is right for him. In the wild, wolves will eat off a large animal carcass for days, and each wolf gets different parts.
If times are hard, they will consume the entire critter, including skin, fur, less 'choice' parts and will even crack the hard long bones to get to the marrow, even hunt small prey, like rabbits, mice or birds. If pickin's are plentiful, they will eat the easiest and choice parts, and then move on.
Because of variances in size, age, personality, life experiences, structure and dental ability, a particular dog will be able to consume, or not: all or part or some or a little bone from any particular animal. The exception to this is most beef bones, and the weight bearing bones of large ruminants - too dense - these are tooth breakers and can cause early wear.
If you feed 'Frankenprey', that is; a variety of protein, body parts and organs from different animals, to simulate the whole prey experience for your dogs, do the best you can to find enough variety in all these aspects for optimal health.
14. Organs - don't try to add a lot of organs or organ variety at first. An easy way to satisfy the human need to "Do it all, right now!", is to toss the gizzards and heart you get with your whole chickens in with a bonier meal, a little piece at a meal.
Heart and gizzards are organs, but should be fed as meatymeat. The liver can be cut up into teensy bits, and fed a tiny bit at a time with a meal. This will allow you to feed organs, but shouldn't cause runny stools. If it does, stop feeding it and freeze those parts for later on down the line.
A partial list of organs, so I don't forget to look for variety; liver, salivary glands, spleen, sweetbread (thymus & pancreas), kidneys, ovaries, testes, brain.
"Offal" - viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans, but great dog food! Offal can fall into either meatymeat or organ categories.
15. SEBP - Slippery Elm Bark Powder. This is a good innocuous herb that soothes the stomach and digestive system. If you feel you need to intervene when your dog has loose poops or constipation, this is the way to go. SEBP is used to treat diarrhea, constipation, enteritis, colitis & irritations of the stomach. Its used to soothe, protect & lubricate mucous membranes. Also, can be used to relieve the discomforts of kennel cough & other types of bronchitis.
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I have used 1 Tsp - 1 Tbl of SEBP to 8 - 12 oz of ground or chopped chicken. Mix together and shape enough meatballs for several days, and freeze them. They thaw quickly. For small dogs, divide in ounce meatballs, for large to giant dogs, 1 ounce meatballs. Feed 1 with each meal. Or, fast for a day, (not for pups, fast for just a meal or two) offer plenty of water. Feed SEBP meatballs 3-4 times throughout the day.
Feed smaller, more frequent meals for several days after, gradually increasing the meals and decreasing the SEBP meatballs. You will often see an increase in mucousy poops with SEBP, this is part of the way it soothes
the digestive system, and the dog's body will do the same sometimes even without SEBP. You can also mix it with meat broth and feed it whenever you fast/rest the dog's digestive tract. And you can dust meat with SEBP when there's digestive upset.
16. You can feed pretty much any animal or animal part that your dog will eat and that won't break the bank. : Common grocery store variety suffices for some; chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, fish, rabbit. Others can obtain at a reasonable price and feed; goat, venison, emu, ostrich, bison, buffalo, elk, mutton, mice, rats, guinea hen, quail, bear (bear? ), the list goes on and on.
17. If you must supplement, you can add Salmon or Fish Body oil, either in caps or liquid. It adds Omega 3 fatty acids to the diet, to balance out the O6s, which supermarket meats are high in.
Make sure it doesn't have any plant based oils, like soy, in there. Build up the dog's bowel tolerance gradually to a maintenance dosage.
Follow the recommendations that come with the product you buy.
In the case of true disease, you may need certain supps, but this is the exception to the rule, most dogs don't.
Whole chickens, turkeys, pork shoulder roasts and fresh hams are all big hunks 'o meat and edible and digestible bone that you should be considering introducing into your pup's feeding plan, as well as organs.
It really isn't that hard to raw feed your dog. There's a learning curve, definitely. But, that's what this list is here for.