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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello forumers, I really really need your help!

I have a 13.5 year old Jack Russell Terrier who has been eating dry food all her life. Just this morning, the vet suspects she has acute pancreatitis but could be something worse. I read that pancreatitis is more a lot more common in dogs that eat dry dog kibble. This is my main motivation for switching to a raw food diet.

I know a raw food diet is much better for dogs for many reasons but I am completely new to this concept! I don't even know anyone that feeds their dogs a raw diet that I can ask advice from.

I have so many concerns and questions such as:

- can it be slightly cooked instead of completely raw?
- what about salmonella in raw chicken? I think my dog is too old to fight infections
- where do I start? surely 1.5 cup of dry kibble does not equal 1.5 cup of raw chicken
- Is there a step-by-step guide that is not outdated?

I am so lost.. please help!
 

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RawFed.com Home Page, Raw Fed Dogs are two resources, and I'm sure others will have more.

I think it's perfectly fine to feed food slightly cooked, although raw-food purists will say all kinds of things about cooked vs. raw. My sister has fed her dogs cooked & raw for years, and her dogs show all the benefits straight raw-feeders claim for their pets.

Good luck.

Just have to add ... a lot of raw-food enthusiasts will claim things that are not scientifically proven. Please don't take everything you are told or read as gospel.
 

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Acute pancreatitis is pretty serious. I'd be a bit worried about jumping in to raw unless the acute episode has calmed down. Do some further research. I think raw can be very healthy but I don't know enough about a healthy raw diet to feed it without a lot of research.
 

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I haven't ever delt with that, but here is a site to look at with raw feeding forums. I'm sure someone there would be able to help you with it. There is also a lot of raw feeding info, but I don't remember if it has any info. about it there. It's worth giving it a look. Prey Model Raw - PMR dog food
 

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Since your dog's immune system is probably compromised, and because of his age, I would be wary of a fully raw diet. Generally dogs can stomach nasty stuff like minimal salmonella bacteria and other things that come along with raw, but I wouldn't mess with it for a sick dog. Cooked will probably yield a lot of the same benefits, given that the biggest contributor to pancreatitis from what I understand is saturated fats (which most grocery-store brands of dog food are quite high in).

Stuff like boiled chicken breast, organs, necks and rice should be lower in fat and go down relatively well with any medications he might be prescribed as well. Just remember that while you want to stay away from fatty cuts, variety is key.
 

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If you want to slightly cook the meat that fine, but remove the bone. Bones need to be fed raw, you can warm them slightly (like by leaving out and letting it reach room temperature, but other then that don't heat them.
 

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I come at this from a slightly different angle. I had a cat that lived to be 18 years old, but his quality of life was poor for many years due to his health issues. He had horrible teeth (and breath!), too sickly to operate on, kidney failure, high blood pressure, seizures, rear end weakness, dementia, etc...I was quite interested in raw feeding at one time, but my vet highly discouraged it. I cringe now to think about the crap food I fed him (vet recommended) and I know he would have done so much better on raw. (I did feed him a bit of raw, and raw eggs, and he handled that just fine).

So I really don't think any dog or cat is too old or too sickly to try on a raw diet, if it really would be helpful for them. I would like to know more about the pancreatitis--what are the symptoms that he is exhibiting? If it is truly acute (rather than chronic), he will get over it soon, and it would probably be best to wait that out. You do need to educate yourself as much as possible beforehand though, with the excellent links you have been given. If you go with a commercial pre-ground raw, it really is pretty simple to do and doesn't require any prep work. You won't get all the teeth-cleaning benefits of prey-model, but that can be added later.

There really is no point in cooking raw at all. The only time I can think of that you might want to do that, is when you are first introducing it (if for some reason they aren't interested it searing the outside a bit can help them discover that it is food!) and sometimes it is helpful to sear the outside of organ meats so they will eat it. Otherwise you are just cooking away valuable nutrients, and you risk making any bones brittle and dangerous. If you're not comfortable with raw, freeze-dried is a better compromise. Or just stick with a high quality kibble.

Chances are very good that your vet would be totally opposed to this type of diet. Most vets are very uncomfortable with raw, as they were trained in vet school by the big pet food manufacturers. Some, like my vet, are starting to come around as they see dog breeders and showers, dog-sport enthusiasts, and others with super healthy dogs come in. You'll have to make up your mind how comfortable you are with proceeding even if your vet is adamantly against it. It can be hard to do!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you everyone for your advice. Unfortunately, it turned out she had very severe pancreatitis, terminal cancer (the tumor was wrapped all around her liver), heart murmur, and possibly a brain tumor. It just didn't make sense to operate. The good thing was that her illness only lasted 3 days. Her condition worsened so fast that she wasn't in pain for very long before we put her down. This forum has given me such good advice everytime I had a problem. Thank you all! I really did appreciate it.
 
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