Dog Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

This is my first post in the community :)

Two weeks ago, we adopted two wonderful pups from the local shelter.
Abby is a black Australian shepherd mix, and she is about 3.
Teddy is a basset hound and golden retriever mix, and he is about 2.
They are extremely sweet, loving, and inseparable.

We had been feeding them canned food the first week with some dry food always available in the bowl (to which they showed very little interest). Their initially normal stools became softer and more frequent.

We decided to switch to natural for two reasons. Firstly, we put our late dog Reuben on a homemade diet when he was diagnosed with cancer. We lost the battle, but one thing I noticed was - beginning his first week of eating chicken, fish, oatmeal and pumpkin puree, his strong doggie breath was completely gone. Secondly, we realized that we cannot afford good quality ready-to-go brands, but we can obtain cheap non-organic not-the-best-quality meats from the local Asian store.

I started by checking prices of different meat cuts and parts in the store and bought them some chicken necks, gizzards, and hearts - apparently they were the cheapest. That was two days ago. Big mistake )) I was doing my research while cooking the necks and realized that cooked bones are a hazard to my dogs - down the drain they went. The organ meat and possibly barley I mixed in with the meal gave Teddy diarrhea. Abby, on the other hand, had no bowel movement at all for 24 hours and then started having some loose stools as well.

Researching on the possibly causes of digestive problems and better diet options, I found a tone of information about raw feeding. I am considering it (my boyfriend - not so much). I'm hoping to use this thread as a health log and get some good advice from experienced natural/raw food adepts.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Raw is something I will always do with any future dogs. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to that point before my last boy was killed. I'm a big advocate of Prey Model Raw and Whole Prey Raw. Not a huge fan of premade stuff. It has generally everything you need (muscle meat, organs, bones, etc.) but the bones are ground up.

For PMR, generally you want to give them 10% raw meaty bones, 10% whole raw organs, and 80% skeletal meat. It's also a good guideline to feed 2-3% of the dog's ideal body weight per day. This can range a bit depending on the individual dog's activity level among other things. The bones are what helps keep your dog's oral hygiene in check. Turkey necks are great for that. Make friends with the local butchers and even hunters. Some hunters have overstocked freezers and will literally give you a ton of meat for free (someone I know got near 100# of venison). Variety of protein sources is also recommended. Chicken, beef, venison, etc. Be careful with fish. Some can carry parasites that can male your dog very ill.

Whole prey is similar, but it's more like not letting a single part of the food animal go to waste. You can provide any part of the animal for your dog, provided it is safe (no weight bearing bones, etc.). Some dogs LOVE tripe, testicles, etc. It's another thing to look into, especially if you somehow end up with odd parts.

Many people I know also feed raw eggs to their dogs. I personally prefer fresh eggs... of couse not everybody has a coop of chickens in their backyard like my friend does. Boy, though, a fresh warm egg is cause for a slobber fest with some dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Larkspur, thank you for your reply.
I am sorry about your dog. We lost our Reuben in October and we will miss him forever.

Larkspur, looks like we are neighbors. Where in Sterling would you look for turkey necks?

Yesterday, Abs and Teds had eye round roast (cooked), and the diarrhea subsided. I decided to start slowly and add cooked first with some amount of raw and organs to avoid indigestion.

I'm having a hard time with several recommendations which seem inconsistent. S Freezing meat prior to feeding will kill parasites, but thawing it brings the risk back. Another thing is the meat is not going to be the recommended room temperature if thawed in the refrigerator.

I checked the box of treats (Milk-bone) and was shocked to find sugar in the list of ingredients. Why on earth would they add sugar to something that is supposed to help with dental issues? Good question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
I don't know of any particular place, but that's one reason it's good to start up a conversation with butchers. Things like turkey necks and chicken backs are "throwaway" bits generally speaking. Even if they don't normally keep them, it doesn't hurt to ask if they can save some for you to purchase (some may even just give them to you). There are also online providers who can ship these things to you.

Generally for raw feeding a freezer is required anyway. If you just use a small freezer like on many refrigerators you'll have to go out and get meat more often. Meat can keep really well in a large freezer, and most dogs don't really care about freezer burn as long as the meat hasn't gone bad. Basic hygiene for handling raw meat still stands for feeding dogs. Freezing kills parasites and it is unlikely that they would return during thawing (how would they get back into the meat?). Some people are concerned about bacteria growth, but dogs' digestive systems are designed to handle that stuff. Some feed exclusively frozen or partial thawed. You could thaw them in water if you have the space to leave them and it helps if you keep individually portioned meals in bags.

As for the treats... yeah... many producers add sugars and things to make the item more palatable. They make health sacrifices in order to make their product popular with dogs and thus popular with the owners...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Larkspur, thank you for your reply.
S Freezing meat prior to feeding will kill parasites, but thawing it brings the risk back.
Put a thermometer in your freezer. To kill the salmon parasites, you need to freeze at -4F or below for a minimum of a week.

Another thing is the meat is not going to be the recommended room temperature if thawed in the refrigerator.
Doesn't have to be room temp. It can be cold. It can even be frozen. My dog's raw gets fed straight out of the refrigerator. Sometimes I'll set it on the counter to melt a bit if it's still frozen.

I checked the box of treats (Milk-bone) and was shocked to find sugar in the list of ingredients. Why on earth would they add sugar to something that is supposed to help with dental issues? Good question.
Tell me about it. I stopped feeding Natural Balance rolls when I found out there was sugar in the ingredients.

For that matter, while dogs love to crunch on biscuits like Milk Bones, they don't really do much to improve dental health. The only food I've found that does that is raw bones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Diarrhea is back along with night whining and frustration. I'm sure we're not the first ones to go through a difficult transition, but it surely is discouraging.

Fed them beef and rice. No organs. Chicken necks are still in the freezer (how long is enough?)

Larkspur,
thanks for the tip. I don't know any local butchers (a vegetarian here), but I'll check my online options.

About parasites, if freezing and thawing in the refrigerator is enough, I am ok with it. Not sure how parasites get back on the meat. I guess some of them are airborne and that is the reason why it is recommended to utilize thawed meat within 1 day.

anankae,
You are right, I tried to give them frozen pieces of beef heart and they were done with them in seconds. Now that diarrhea is back, I'm gonna hold off heart.

The Milk-bone with sugar:

MaroSnacks - Large | milkbone.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
About parasites, if freezing and thawing in the refrigerator is enough, I am ok with it. Not sure how parasites get back on the meat. I guess some of them are airborne and that is the reason why it is recommended to utilize thawed meat within 1 day.
Are you confusing parasites with bacteria?

Parasites are little animals that live in another organism - a host. Parasites are things like worms - tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, pin worms and also things like flukes (trematodes). Parasites are usually killed by freezing, but your freezer must get cold enough. At least -4F for a minimum of 7 days. Your upright refrigerator/freezer probably does not get this cold. Standalone chest type freezers will get this cold and even colder (I've measured mine at -14F). Put a thermometer in your freezer to see how cold it gets. You can get a little Acurite with a probe at Walmart for around US$12.

Bacteria on the other hand, does not get killed by freezing. It goes inactive, then wakes back up when it's thawed. Cooking will kill bacteria. However, most bacteria are not a hazard to your dog. If your dogs are having trouble with the raw food, it is probably not from any surface bacteria on the meat.

It depends on the meat and your dog. Everyone says to feed chicken. I would not recommend feeding raw chicken, at least not to start. Go with beef or pork, lamb, venison. Big grass eating animals. Also give them bone, that will help with diarrhea. The bone I like best unfortunately, is kind of expensive - oxtails. But also try pork bones, esp ribs, chops and pigtails (but not neck or shank).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Most people do recommend starting with a meat like chicken or turkey, but grazing animals are just as good to start, if not better. Poultry, particularly chicken, is one of the more common food-based allergies for dogs. My brother's Husky cannot have any poultry whether it's an ingredient in something, fresh raw, or cooked plain. If he were to go on raw, we would probably start with lamb as that's his preferred protein source in kibble (he eats Zignature).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Are you confusing parasites with bacteria?
Oh no, I know the difference. I am no expert thought, just some scattered knowledge from an introductory microbiology course.

I ordered a freezer thermometer! Found one on Amazon for $8.

It's hard to say what caused the diarrhea because they started having loose stools while still on canned food. I was so frustrated because everything seemed to upset their stomachs. The diarrhea had gotten worse after we'd switched to chicken and didn't improve much with beef, not until I added rice. Today is the second day with no loose stools, and I am being very cautious with the new additions. The chicken necks should be ready by now, but I'm too scared to give them chicken again. I guess we are going to continue the trial-and-error and will finally figure out what to avoid.

but not neck or shank.
Wow, I didn't know about neck bones. Good thing I didn't buy them (saw in the store but wasn't sure).

Thank you both again!

It's been three weeks since we got them, and they have completely turned our life around. We love them so much! We truly want the best for our doggies and appreciate the support!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I ordered a freezer thermometer! Found one on Amazon for $8.
I'm still researching this freezing to kill parasite thing. Found two webpages that say you only have to freeze around a day if you freeze at -31F. I don't think my freezer gets that cold, heh. :eyeroll:

It also says this probably won't work on very thick-fleshed fish. So no tossing a whole tuna in your freezer. Heh. :D

I guess we are going to continue the trial-and-error and will finally figure out what to avoid.
I'm still doing trial and error and I started feeding raw last August I think?

Wow, I didn't know about neck bones. Good thing I didn't buy them (saw in the store but wasn't sure).
Weight bearing bones are the ones you're supposed to stay away from. Some dogs can probably handle neck bones. My power chewer eats about half of them, leaves behind the part she can't crack. The problem with her is she digs in the garden to bury bones she doesn't finish, then digs them up later. Not giving her neck & shank saves my garden as well as her teeth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What about chicken? What parts of chicken NOT to give? I see people give pretty much everything, including wings and carcasses, but these bones are so sharp.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
What about chicken? What parts of chicken NOT to give? I see people give pretty much everything, including wings and carcasses, but these bones are so sharp.
Chicken bones are softer than other animal bones, they should be okay to feed to your dog. I usually give mine drumsticks because it's convenient to pick up a pack of 6 to 8 drumsticks at 69 cents a pound. Lot of people feed raw chicken and turkey necks. I haven't gotten around to them cause the small bones don't seem to me to have the benefit that I'm wanting from raw bones - which is dental health.

People espouse chicken because it's so cheap but it doesn't seem to me to be as nutritionally optimal as I want for my dog's diet, so I make it a smaller portion of my dog's diet, just for variety.

Now if you have a smaller dog that you know is going to have trouble with larger/harder bones, chicken wings might be the perfect type of bone in that case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Again, thanks for the info!

I have been slowly introducing beef heart, and everything was ok until I overintroduced. Diarrhea, vomiting, and dirty looks from my boyfriend whose office was utilized for the above events (while I was at work) :eek::eek:

Got them some 69 cent chicken legs and realized I do need a separate freezer.

Larkspur,
what brand is your freezer? I have been looking at chest freezers around $120-200 and none of achieve the temp lower than -2 to -5 F.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
I don't presently have a freezer (poor living situation). Many people prefer upright over chest freezers. It may help to find a raw feeding forum and see what they can give you on brands and if they knownof freezers that go down that low. I just googled a Frigidaire that goes to -10.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
what brand is your freezer? I have been looking at chest freezers around $120-200 and none of achieve the temp lower than -2 to -5 F.
Mine is a Danby, I paid $200 for it at Best Buy. 3.8 cu ft . One thing we noticed when we were shopping around is all the little freezers looked like the same model with different brand names slapped on.

I can't find any specification anywhere on how cold it gets. I was surprised to see the -14F when I stuck the probe in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I would definitely prefer an upright freezer has it not been $100 more expensive. Still debating. We don't really have space for another device in the kitchen, and an upright freezer would be ideal. Oh well.

I gave raw chicken wings today. Can't overcome the fear of them perforating their bowels. Raw bones still seem very sharp. I cut the wing in peaces and slammed them with a hammer )))
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,224 Posts
What about chicken? What parts of chicken NOT to give? I see people give pretty much everything, including wings and carcasses, but these bones are so sharp.
All parts are fine to feed. Sometimes necks maybe not so much if you have a gulper.

We have fed whole chickens, still feathered. The dogs pluck the heck out of them themselves, and eat the whole chicken.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Have been given them carcasses and noticed the bigger the piece the slower (and safer) is the process.

There is an open debate in our house whether removing kibble is going to deprive them of some important nutrients, so they continue with dry, but I give them raw for dinner.

Still holding off organ meat.

Abby growled at me when I moved her piece back on the towel. First time I heard my sweet girl who wants to lick everything growling. They become so possessive when it comes to bones.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top