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I have been making my own dog food for 15 years, with much success. I've basically followed Pitcairn's theory and used his book, as well as other input from my vet with regard to dog specific needs.

Currently, we decided to go from buying the ground meat at the grocery store to purchasing whole chickens from a local butcher who grinds it for us. I inspected it before purchasing to be sure the bones are not splintery, big, etc., and you cannot tell bone from meat. So I am happy with this choice. I add a little canned veg and boiled rice to it, and I do boil the meat til the red is gone.

I realize that many prefer raw, but at this point, I just can't bring myself to do it, so my basic recipe is what I'll use.

My questions are regarding additional supplements, and then, sort of off topic, giving bones.

As for the supplements, both our dogs have some health issues, so they get some individual specific things that they have had for years (Milk thistle, slippery elm). And I had been using the Pitcairn powder which is a brewers yeast, kelp, bone meal and vit C mix. I'm wondering if I need this, or maybe can just add part of it, such as the kelp and vit c?

And what about a Pet Tab type of vitamin/mineral supplement?
Do they "need" this?

My heads spinning a bit with all I'm reading because there seems to be a good amount of contradiction.

I was giving a vit/min supplement when we were using the grocery store meat as the base, but not sure that's necessary where we are feeding organic whole ground chicken?

And as for bones, I am so nervous to give them fresh bones to chew if I can't supervise them, but, I am sold on the benefits so I do want to start this.

What are the best bones for this purpose?

I have a Jack/Rat mix who is 1.5 years old, and a 11 year old Lab/Chow mix who has had numerous health issues and is on seizure meds for neurological incidences that she's had in the past. She used to be quite the chewer, but, the past year almost, she does not chew things that require a lot of mouth strength. She used to love bully sticks, marrow bones, etc., but now she turns her nose up at anything "thick" like that.

Thanks in advance for any iput, guidance, shared experiences!
 

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I feed raw, I won't cook it. Cooking destroys some vitamins and changes the protein molecules too. On a raw diet you would only really need to add some omega 3 fatty acid, unless you feed oily fish. Cooked I'm not sure what you'd need to add. I don't think you would want or need to add more bone, like you say is in that powder.
 

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Contradictions and foods, you betcha... For a while, vets had me freaked out over the different feeding styles, vitamins, minerals. It almost became "use this or your dog is going to die", high pressure sales. While trying to do food trials - I came to the realization that I'm feeding a dog and he eats better than I do. Could I live off his meals? Yep. He started off kibble fed, then through different kibbles trying to find single proteins for food trials due to issues. Finally threw in the towel and fed raw for a year or so. Raw has some amazing benefits but didn't fix his issues.

When we met the new vet and got the dog diagnosed, she suggested we do a cooked food trial - although she's fully on board with raw. She prefers a dog fed both raw and cooked. First run of meals were a hearty soup with pork, pork organs, turnip and celery. Little bugger loved it, still loves the different meat based soups and it makes it easier to deliver powders and such. Organs, cooked or raw are still important. Liver and pancreas are a pain to cut up raw, so i'll place it on top of the "soup", let it cook then cut it up. We still feed raw meals, raw bones etc but he tends to let us know which he gets - he turns his nose up at the raw meal, we don't fight it, pull a soup out of the freezer and nuke it.

The only other additives we use are spirulina and a probiotic, we ran with vitamin powders but really didn't see any benefit to it and it's all gritty. Spirulina is an algae that's pretty high in omegas and vitamins, he gets a little bit in every meal. We've removed the vegetables, it's not something he needs, but we still feed as treats. Dog loves avacado and many different veg so they can be treats.

There is a difference in poop between strict raw feeding and cooked - cooked meals tend to come out larger while raw foods are smaller and harder.
 

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Wow. My head is spinning with all you are doing. So much work! A good safe whole bone in cut to start with would be either chicken drumsticks or quarters, depending on the size of your dog. They ate the easiest to chew and digest. Not to mention you will see huge improvements in teeth cleaning!

Its so much easier to feed just one whole protein at a time, and give organ weekly rather than all the cooking and supplementing. It doesn't have to be so labor intensive.
 
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