We just purchased a Lab and I haven't owned a dog since I switched to a Paleo lifestyle. After reading many of the posts on here regarding raw food diets for dogs, I am a believer. First of all, thanks to everyone for such good info. We pick up our puppy on Saturday and they are currently feeding him regular dog food. What is the best process to transition my puppy to raw food from the conventional dog food?
Also, I am a member of a CSA and have access to over 100 sustainable farms in Virginia that I can order from. What is the cheapest and easiest way to feed my lab? Should I just order a bunch of whole chickens and organ meats, cut them up and place it in his bowl? My CSA also has a vendor that specifically makes raw dog food ($9 for 60oz), but it contains barley and mung beans in the mix. Is this ok for the dog? From what I have read puppies this size should eat about 16-24oz of raw food a day, so I am trying not to break the bank.
Cold turkey. Mixing dry kibble with raw food can lead to gas and digestive upset, as raw meats are digested much faster in the small intestines than kibble, which can hang around for as long as 12 hours or more.
Start out with soft bones, and avoid weight bearing bones such as marrow and knuckles and femurs. Chicken and turkey necks, organ meats of all kinds, etc.
I would not buy a pre-made raw food as the dog's digestion is triggered by chewing, and when you grind food up for a dog his stomach doesn't have a chance to get enough HCI to start breaking down the food. Thus you can have a dog wolf down his dinner in 2 minutes and not all of it is properly digested. Waste of money!
You should go cold turkey. Don't mix kibble with the boney meal as there is a digestion time difference. Nothing needs to be frozen to kill parasites. You can't just feed boney meals (necks, backs etc), offal and eggs. They don't need much offal. Muscle meat needs to be one of the meals. Boney the other. The dog needs phosphorous (muscle meat) for crying out loud. Veggies do need to be steamed or pulverized in a blender to break down the cellulose. Raw veggies are a waste of money. In one end and out the other. Beans? Uhh, no.
Best to start with chicken wings (not legs) as the proportion is better. Use pliers to hold onto the chicken wing so the dog gets the idea to chew enough to get it down. Hamburg as the meat meal is a good starter. The organ meat can wait a week or two until the dog has learned to like raw foods. And I could go on and on.
Get a good book or join one of the Yahoo lists - K9 Nututrion or the Raw Feeder's list.
Raw feeder 8 yrs, no veggies, no longer give dairy, reduced offal, eliminated supplements after age of 5yo
If he's a puppy, I think it will be easy. They just eat everything in sight!
Hold on to a chicken leg quarter (thigh and leg together) and have the dog gnaw on it until he understands he's supposed to break the bones. Once he does that, let him have the chicken piece.
For meats and offal, you should freeze it first for a few weeks to kill any parasites. To warm, put in a baggie and then in a bowl of hot water.
You can give raw eggs too. Dogs can also eat vegetables. It looks like you already know what you're doing, so I'll leave the rest to you. Enjoy your new pup! <3 /jealous
Very useful for my dog: pureed pumpkin. Just by a can, and freeze it in spoonfuls on a baking tray. If your dog is having bowel problems, just take out a couple spoonfuls of the pumpkin and add it to his meal, really helped our guy out! Also, soup bones, I buy a whole bunch when they are on sale, they are very cheap, just freeze them and he spends 30 minutes chewing away on it, has loved it since he was a puppy. I give them to him frozen in the summer, he loves chipping away at them on the driveway when normally he wont go out in the heat. Not a lot of meat on them, but he works through them and it keeps him chewing!
Also, I agree with freezing the meat for parasite (doesn't eliminate the risk, but reduces it), especially if you have small children- parasites are quite easily passed to people, especially those that run around barefoot in the backyard. In fact, the likelihood that your dog gets sick from a parasite/bacteria is very low- it's more likely that the people who spend time with the dog will get sick. Some possibilities: roundworms, hookworms, trichonella, protozoa, trematodes. Of course, the likelihood is very, very low, but it would be very unpleasant....
I have a separate question and didn't know if it was appropriate to add another thread about this topic, so here goes:
Do any of you have small children in the home and feed raw to your pets? If so, where do you feed your dog and do you clean them afterwards? Is kissing and licking, by the dog of course, an issue after a meal?
Jenny, roundworms are not acquired through food. So it doesn't matter whether you feed raw or commercial if the mother has worms she passes them onto the litter. That's why pups are de-wormed a couple of times before they go to homes. And once in a new home, owners should be right behind the pup/dog bagging the poop. I also advise parents to put potty on cue in one area of the yard. Keeping them on leash allows you this luxury. Then you don't let your kids play there. So the worms and the food are unrelated. Now, had you said raw fish may have worms, I would agree. In that case, NEVER EVER feed your cat or dog raw fish. Always cook it first.
My mini aussie weighs 36lbs, he has been raw since a puppy. We went cold turkey and started feeding ground lamb since his teeth were not ready for bones. When his adult teeth came in we started giving him meaty bones, turkey necks, chicken legs etc.
While he is a little pup I would feed him ground meat until he is able to chew properly. Even an egg cracked and mixed over ground beef.
My dog gets no veggies for diet, just frozen brocc for treats, same with carrots.
The diet should be meat heavy with organ meat at least once a week. You dont beed organs every day.
I vary his meat weekly not daily. One week beef and eggs. One week turkey and chicken, and throw in the organ meats when ever. Most dogs dont like the taste of organs so hide it in ground meat.
I always reccommend bones when they are adults, one of the reasons is way better stools.
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