Raw Food Diet

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***Melissa***
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Raw Food Diet

Post by ***Melissa*** » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:37 am

Okay, so I decided I want to switch my doggies to a raw food diet. (Please keep in mind that I stay in South Africa, and I haven't come across any suppliers yet, so I'll have to put it together myself).

I've done some research, and the more research I do, the more confused I get (the sites are so contradictory)!! So now I have some questions.

1. Some say garlic is good for dogs, other say it's bad - so which is it? Currently I sometimes add garlic to their food (I've heard it enhances the flavour) I know not to give them onion though :?

2. I read that rice is easy to digest (as opposed to corn & wheat), so when I cook for my dogs I usually add some rice too (and they LOVE it). That doesn't feature anywhere in the raw food diet. Will it have any negative effects if I sometimes add cooked rice to a raw food diet?

3. Like I mentioned earlier, I can't buy ready-made raw food for dogs, so I have to prepare it myself. Now, with regard to supplements - I've read that they need, Flax Oil / Salmon Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Vit E (which apparently, you can't freeze), Vit C, B complex, Alfalafa (never even heard of this one). So I'm really confused now. When do I give what? And how much? Do I mix it with the food? Where do I buy it? (I assume at a pharmacy - won't vitamin supplements for humans be to concentrated for dogs?) And the cost!!! Not sure if supplements are less expensive in other countries, but here it's quite expensive. This seem so complex, not sure if I'll ever figure this one out :(

4. Loads of articles say I can use herbs to enhance the flavour, but none specify. Are there any herbs which are NOT good for dogs? I.E that I should avoid? Any hints on maybe what you've experienced with your dogs on what they like alot?

5. Another one is to feed them eggs, 3 to 4 times a week. So I assumed you mix the (raw) egg with their food....right? Errrr, now I've read that it's supposed to be fed shell & all. Is that true? And if yes - how do you feed it?

6. With no ready-made raw food available, I'll have to buy the 'meaty part' from our butchery, where we buy our meat. It's quite expensive, but seeing that I already cook for them about 4-5 times a week, I'm sure that won't be too much of a difference (I hope not). The other problem: I've read that when you buy BARF-food from a supplier, then obviously the meaty bone-part is fine. But when you buy it from a supermarket / butchery the "Calcium-Phosphorus Ratio Chart" (whatever) is too high, or something like that, and I'm not sure what it means, but apparently it's not a good thing. So what do I do now? That's the only places I'll be able to buy it from?

7. The general feel is that the raw food diet is less expensive that commercial dog food, but now after adding up what all the supplements & everything will cost, I think for me it might be more expensive (I don't know whether it is due to the fact that I have to prepare it myself, OR maybe prices in countries differ alot???) But anyhoo, IF the raw food diet does work out too expensive, can I sometimes feed them GOOD QUALITY kibble (if I'm able to get any!!!) with gravy, or maybe mix the raw food with some kibble, or something like that?

Just something I want to add: I'm not health concious at all, I don't read labels on food (food for my husband & I), don't count calouries, don't make sure we get all the vitamins & nutrients we need, so this is really really new for me.

I can't think of anymore questions just now, but will ask again as I remember them. If you can help me with these I'll really appreciate it - I'm soooooo confused. And I don't want to wait too long before I change their diet, as I've found out that the food I'm giving them now is VERY BAD for them. I feel so lost :(
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams

Leigha
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Leigha » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:00 am

If it makes you feel any better, I've been wanting to put my dogs on a raw food diet, but didn't really know where to start to even research any of it, so thank you for asking all of the questions I didn't know I needed to ask :)

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Fundog » Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:37 am

I am far from being an "expert" on raw food, or even canine diet, period. But I can answer a couple of questions for you in the meanwhile.

Garlic in small quantities, just enough to taste/smell it,-- but not so much that it is leaking out of their pores-- is not harmful, and in fact, is even beneficial. It is when they overdose-- like if they got a hold of an entire bulb, or even and entire clove-- or if they are getting so much of it that you can smell it in their coats-- that it is harmful.

Alfalfa is a type of grass-- here in the U.S., it is commonly grown as hay for horses, cattle, and other livestock. However, we can buy alfalfa sprouts in the produce section of most grocery stores. Many people enjoy some sprouts in their salads, and topped on their sandwiches. Alfalfa is an excellent source of folic acid, which is vital for many of the body's various tasks, one being the manufacture of red blood cells, another being the development and maintenance of the central nervous system. (Folic acid is also extremely important in the development of unborn babies, and so that is why pregnant women need to make sure they get enough leafy green vegetables in their diet.)

There are many herbs that can be used to season your dogs' meals. A common one is rosemary, and it is even included in many commercial dog foods. I don't know of any that would be harmful, although I'm sure there are some, however, most of those would be classified in the "medicinal herbs" group-- like feverfew and St. John's Wort.

And yes, generally most supplements, especially the essential oils and vitamins are mixed up into the dog's meals.
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:09 pm

Questions are good, yes its a minefield.

All those supplements, unless your dog is either, getting a very limited variety of foods or has a health problem that those supplements would specifically help (say a skin problem or joint problem) - not neccesary in my opinion.

What you can do and what I do with no ill effects, is to supplement a couple of times a month, but if you are feeding a good variety of fruit and veg, offal, meaty bones, the odd egg, the odd sardine you will find all those things are in there anyway (except maybe vit E?).

Bones and the calc/phos ratio - the raw chicken wing is about spot on here, so use that as a guide. Half a small rabbit (or similar small furry mammal if you cant get rabbit) is going to be similar and I would say for your small dogs half a bunny or two chicken wings would make a very good meal. Similarly chicken carcasses as long as they arent compleeeeeetely stripped of meat are good. Lamb ribs and necks are also good.

If you speak to a butcher you may find they will give you some things for nothing, it certainly works in the UK - other options are to look for reduced price meats in supermarkets where you can take off some of the meat too cook for yourselves and then the dogs can have teh rest. I do this with legs of lamb - wait for it to be reduced as its near its sell by date. Take off the meat and cut into chunks for curry or stew (for my friend as actually I hate lamb), leaving me with two BIG bones for dogs, which I leave a generous amount of meat and whatever else connective tissues, fat etc on. Then the dogs get these as a sort of meal/recreational bone (its not quite a meal but its a bit more than just a chewy snack so I would give this as a breakfast on a day i was there to supervise, or feed a slightly bigger breakfast that day and give the bone as dinner).

If you are nifty at butchering things yourself then you can take the 'best' bits off a chicken for yourselves (thighs, breasts) and leave the carcass, wings and other meat for the dogs.

Eggs - depends on your dog. Some of mine i can hand them an egg and they will go outside (or I will chase them out!) and eat it - some of them I have to crack it into a bowl :lol: or they cannot POSSIBLY figure out how to open it.... tsk. Silly dogs.

Herbs - pretty much all the herbs humans regularly add to their foods dogs can have too - if you can GROW some a lot of dogs will choose the ones they want/need themselves and thats pretty cool for them to do. Otherwise I find mine are pretty keen on rosemary and basil and thyme, not so keen on peppermint, take it or leave it over parsley, not tried them on fennel...

Garlic - its good stuff in moderation, if you were making up a fortnights worth of blended veggies to freeze and were feeding an icecube size or two icecube sized bits a day - I would stick in two or three cloves of garlic or about a two inch 'line' of garlic puree (if you get the stuff that comes in a tube) - along with two apples, a supermarket bag of spinach, 5 to 10 sticks of celery (depending on size), some red bell peppers, some broccoli, some pears or berries or wahtever else you have, ooh carrots. Things like sweet potato, potato, parsnip etc I find are better off chopped and boiled just a little (not as much as if you were going to eat them). Finish that off with a drizzle of oil (good for them improves the texture so they are less likely to look at you like you are INSANE and stalk off in a huff) - we use olive oil but you could use flax seed oil or whatever veg oil you have around at the time really.

I wouldnt add rice, they just dont need it. If you do want to provide it I would have that alone or with cooked meat rather tha mixing raw and cooked (same goes for complete food and raw... dont mix it, seperate meals is better). Some people do still feed a quality complete a few times a week, or use it in Kong toys or as training treats so it can be done its just that the two foods digest at different rates so its not good to mix them together.
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***Melissa***
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by ***Melissa*** » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:03 am

Thanx for all the help so far :)

Okay, so my husband and I went to our butcher to see what we can find. (By they way, they nearly passed out when I told them about the raw food diet, and that the stuff I'm buying are for doggies - I could see they though I was crazy.)

Again, I don't know if food is less expensive in other countries, but here food is quite expensive. I bought some chicken wings (a packet of 4) - but that's going to work out extremely expensive to feed them mostly chicken. I also bought liver & kidneys, which were less expensive than the chicken, but it's still going to work out quite a bit to buy like a month's supply. Another thing they showed me was mixed bone & meat that's stays behind after they cut up meat with the meat-saw-thingy. I bought a small packet, but I'm not sure if that's gonna work? (That is VERY inexpensive.) I bought some ‘meaty’ bones, but they don’t really have that much meat on them. The meaty bones I usually give them is from when my husband goes hunting. We make ‘biltong’ & ‘droee wors’ from most of the meat & the rest we cut up for the doggies. So that’s fine, but only for as long as they last & until he goes hunting again.

I know I cook(ed) for my dogs, so I buy meat for them anyway, but the difference is that, besides the cooked food, I also gave them commercial dog food. And that helped for it not to work out so expensive...Veggies are also rather expensive, so to be honest, we're not going to be able to afford a complete raw diet. With regard to rabbits, I know some people eat them, and I’ve heard of rabbit-pie, but it’s not really something you get at butcheries / supermarkets. And they don't really mark off food either. Even when it's not that fresh anymore, they still sell it for the normal price. - Crazy, I know, but that's Africa for you :shock: I think maybe they do in bigger cities, but here, where I live, they don't.

I'm really disappointed, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet, but I thought that maybe I can give them one raw meal, one ‘normal’ meal, etc. Just to begin with??? Maybe they don’t eat as much as I think they’re going to eat & then I’ll be able to afford it completely. I’d like your thoughts on this?

Oh, there's something else. When we were at the butchery, I saw a whole frozen pig's head (eeeeh) - all the brains & everything are taken out I think, it's just the skull & meat. Anyway, the whole head costs less than the 4 chicken wings. So I thought that maybe the butcher can cut it up for me in smaller pieces. I mean, sure a pig head sound weird, but I don't think there’s a difference between the meat & bone on the head vs the meat & bone on the rest of the body? But will pork be fine to feed them?

Sorry for asking so many questions, just trying to figure out a way that will fit the doggies & our budget :?
There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:25 am

Ooooooh mmmm yes.... right they WILL eat a lot less than you think, I reckon.

My dog rocky, terriery sort of a dog.... 18" tall, stocky build....... eats a table spoon of ground meat/bone and a veggie mush icecube, OR... one/two chicken wings OR two lamb ribs. for a meal.

Growing puppies need a little more and so even though he is smaller Errol at a year old and not quite done yet (though its muscle hes building now not height) at 15" tall gets two tablespoons of ground meat/bone and veggie mix, or three chicken wings.... etc etc.

Because so much more of what you will be feeding is digestible matter, you feed less quantity, and you get less waste!

The ground meat/bone your butcher is selling sounds good, does he know roughly what proportion meat/bone is in it or does it vary from day to day/week to week? (If he doesnt know, but it does vary than thats Ok, I would be happy feeding that).

Send hubby hunting more!

Things like a pigs head with the insides taken out cut in half..... woooo! Messy but I bet your dogs would LOVE that - no idea how long it would take two little dogs to eat that but that would be enormous fun for them! (You might have to take away the bigger boney bits after a day or so!).

Dont over feed offal as it can cause overdose of certain vits - stick to twice a week and you should be ok.
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Fundog » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:13 pm

Can we get this thread stuck permanently somewhere-- I would like to refer back to it again later on-- very useful stuff here.
If an opportunity comes to you in life, say yes first, even if you don't know how to do it.

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:24 pm

Yep, once its not 'active' I will either move it to 'articles' or possibly Ill do a brief 'raw feeding' article and then put that in there..... and link to this and any other useful raw feeding threads we have had as 'useful discussions on raw feeding' within that post. :)
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Leigha
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Leigha » Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:45 pm

Gave my boys a whole raw egg tonight (still in the shell)... Bruiser had it cracked, slurped and shell eaten in 5 minutes. I was quite impressed. As soon as he licked the egg while it was in my hand he went to town on it. Lu took his from me, put it on the porch, knocked it down one stair on the porch (it then cracked) then he stepped on it so it cracked more and he ate it shell and all. Kole took his and ran. I don't think he knew what he was supposed to do with it. He knew it was important, because he guarded it like it was his precious, but just sat it under him like he was trying to hatch it. Once I got it away from him and cracked it he ate it (again, shell and all) I was pretty surprised with him eating the shell because he's a pretty prissy boy, so I didn't think he'd crunch the shell, but he did. Once payday comes I'm going to buy a huge pack of chicky wings to feed them once or twice a week to start with.

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:40 pm

It is funny watching them figure out what to do wtih food like this.

We get a mixture of reactions from ours with whole raw eggs and some of mine will knock them about and stamp on them - Kelda has learned though that she doesnt need to do a full on 'mouse pounce' thing, which at her size involves going up about 6ft in the air before crash landing on the tiny egg.... splattering it far and wide.

Dilly is one for collecting any unguarded eggs... and then guarding his 'preciouses' from everyone else but he can be conned away from his pile by fair means or foul (sometimes he cons himself into going and looking for more unguarded stuff and loses out that way! fool!).

You should video them with their eggs bit like the Cadburys Creme Egg adverts (the slogan is 'how do you eat yours') :lol:
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Leigha
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Leigha » Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:50 pm

We're trying chicken wings tonight... We went to the local "buy in the superhuge amounts" store and bought a huge thing of frozen chicken wings for like $18, so it wasn't too painful on my bank account. Do you think 2 chickie wings and 1 for each weenie will be enough? For tonight I'm going to give them a little bit of kibble to go with it because i don't have enough veggies to make it a whole raw meal for each of them (that'll probably have to wait 'til Friday).

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:11 pm

1 wing per weenie and 2 for a bigger dog sounds ok I wouldnt give kibble as well though because raw and cooked digest at different rates. Its not the end of the world if you already have, but in general its not the best way to do things. Instead id leave them a tad hungry rather than mix the two.
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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Leigha » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:39 pm

Nope, I hadn't already. So I'll just give them the chicken wings and see if i can rummage through the fridge and come up with a carrot or two I can squish up for them. I have a sweet potato I can give them, I was just trying to get around cooking it since I'm in the middle of making 38 fondant roses for a cake that I still have to bake, frost, and fondant. I am the QUEEN of procrastination, and it bites me in the butt every single time I do it!

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by Leigha » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:00 pm

So we just finished our first raw meal! Tonight's menu was chicken wings, ground carrot with chicken broth (the blender preferred the added liquid) and some sweet potato with a drizzle of EVOO (nod to Rachel Ray). Bruiser ate outside on the back porch and dug in immediately. He carried his chicken wings around the back yard a little bit, then crunched and ate every bit of the chicken. He's not such a huge sweet potato fan. He pulled them out, licked the carrot mush off of them, then left them alone. Lu ate everything, and Kole ate almost everything (not a big sweet potato fan either). We baby gated Kole in the kitchen to eat his food, he shook the whole time he ate. Not sure why he did... I think he might have been seriously guarding the bowl. He put himself between us and the bowl, and would continuously glare back at us, then quickly go back to his food. I don't know why Kole was so uptight about his food. We were all the way across the kitchen from him, but oh well. All in all I think the boys liked it!

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Re: Raw Food Diet

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:29 pm

Noooooooo I am the queen of procrastination! (Actually no that is pushing it a bit even for me... oh no, no... ive been up all through the night before now finishing things righton the deadline!).

I suspect Kole thought all his Christmasses had come at once, and it was so good he thought there was no WAY he was letting anyone else have it.

Dont worry about that, keep feeding him on his own and when it becomes the norm, he should chillax a little! I would think the shaking was excitement really!

What happy doggies they sound and the picking out the sweet potato part is funny - if i ever use that, i cook it, mash it and throw it in with the other blended stuff.

Forgot to mention, blenders do tend to like some liquid especially with carrots!

It all sounds good though possibly a pretty large meal - you will figure out what quantities are correct for your dogs as you go along - just be brutally honest about appraising their size/weight with your eyes/hands so that you arent kidding yourself that hard deposits of fat along the ribs are actually ribs themselves (I have seen SO many owners do this it is shocking!).
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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