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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm looking for both good and bad experiences regarding feeding your pets raw diets.

I've read a lot of the numerous blogs, veterinary journals, etc. I've found that generally speaking, its frowned upon by a lot of vets practicing western medicine, but praised as a miracle diet by the bloggers and most people and vets with a more holistic or 'natural' approach to pet care. It also seems like there isn't much, if any 'scientific proof' that it does make a health difference aside from the journals touting the dangers of the bactirium potentially found in it (please correct me if I'm wrong!!).

So what have your experiences been?
Also, some general questions:
  1. Have you (or do you) feed a raw diet or know someone who does/did?
  2. Have you noticed an improvement in your dogs coat/skin health?
  3. Do you feed with whole bones or ground?
    • Have you ever had problems with whole bones?
    • Does feeding whole bones help your dogs teeth?
  4. Do you feed a pre-made diet or make your own?
    • If pre-made, what brand?
  5. What made you start (and stop, if you did!) feeding raw?
  6. How long have you been feeding (or how long did you feed)?
  7. Do/did you feed full-time raw, or half-and-half?
I would love to know if you've noticed any long term effects (good and bad)!

I know a lot of my questions are answered online, but I'd love some personal experiences!
 

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I feed raw, a prey model diet. I have never had a problem with bones. I do have four wolfdogs and, I feed raw because where I live, it's far less costly than kibble. I hunt, fish, raise animals for both dog and human food. As a result, my dogs eat for pennies a week.

I do not give any bones to puppies under 4 months of age, then only small animal non weight bearing to six months, then all small animal from there until a year of age before they get weight bearing bones from goats, pigs, deer, cows, etc...
 

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I feed my dog raw and I only have wonderful things to say about it.
To answer some of your specific questions:
My dog’s skin and coat is shiny, soft, and allergy free.
I feed whole bones, and have never had any major issues. It can be a bit scary to see a dog crunching and swallowing bones, but you get used to it. My dog does eat fast, and tends to gulp, so I have to watch him. Sometimes if he is really chowing down, I will hold the bone and force him to chew more thoroughly, but normally I let it go. Dogs aren’t really designed to chew their food, more like crush it just enough to swallow it. About the teeth, yes, whole bones are amazing. My dog is young (9 months) so has nicer teeth anyway, but his are so white, they gleam. Everyone who sees them comments about them. Never brushed his teeth ever, the bones do all the work.
I make my own, mainly because it is cheaper and there are the added teeth cleaning benefits from whole bones. However, pre-made is a great way to start feeding raw until you get the hang of it. I started with pre-made in the beginning. I fed Answers Raw, which I highly recommend.
I started feeding raw simply because I wanted to help my dog live a healthy, long, and happy life, and I felt as though commercial kibble didn’t cut it. I also saw the documentary Pet Fooled on Netflix, which really opened my eyes.
I have been feeding raw for about 6 months now, and feed full time raw.
Raw feeding does take more time and effort, but in my opinion is totally worth it. When my dog was a puppy, he ate a commercial kibble, and didn’t like his food, would poop stinky poos ALL THE TIME, and I had to brush his teeth a lot. Since switching, he poops maybe twice a day, they barely even have an odor, and they are tiny and hard. He goes crazy at meal time, and his teeth literally shine. I would never go back to a commercial food, but that is just me. Some dogs may do better on kibble. Hope you make the best decision for you and your dog.
 

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I feed prey model raw, 100% for the last 10 years or so. Start with bone in chicken for a week or so, move on to Turkey and do the same. If all is well, add red meats and organs. Be sure bones are digestable, meaning non weight bearing from large animals. Feed all the variety you can on the way of proteins. If runny poops or problems occur, go back a step until it straightens up, then move on.
 

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1. Have you (or do you) feed a raw diet or know someone who does/did?

I feed a Prey Model Raw diet. My dogs when I started were a Welsh Corgi and a Standard Poodle. I currently have two Standard Poodles.

2. Have you noticed an improvement in your dogs coat/skin health?

Definitely! The corgi had been fed kibble before so I could see the dramatic improvement in her coat. The Standard Poodle was a puppy that I just brought home. So, she was started on raw as soon as she left the breeder’s.

That doesn’t mean that all proteins will work well with your dogs. I do have one Standard Poodle that I avoid feeding chicken and rabbit. It may have been coincidence; but, she had some goopy eyes with the chicken. And sometimes, she would not finish her meal and it was always with rabbit. I don’t know if she was allergic to it or just didn’t like it; but, I’m not going to bother giving her a protein that she may not eat.

3. Do you feed with whole bones or ground?

Both

o Have you ever had problems with whole bones?

Not with the whole bones that I feed. I feed lamb rib bones, goat tails, poultry necks. The only “problem” that I had was with the corgi. The combination of a narrow muzzle and short legs meant that I had to keep an eye on her so she wouldn’t get a bone stuck in her upper jaw.

o Does feeding whole bones help your dogs teeth?

Yes, vet did notice the absence of tartar even though she doesn't recommend raw feeding - we have agreed to disagree.

4. Do you feed a pre-made diet or make your own?

Mostly make my own but pre-made occasionally (usually when traveling). Along with PMR, I feed raw eggs, fish oil, bone broth, greek yogurt, and a joint supplement.


o If pre-made, what brand?

When I feed pre-made, I use Stella & Chewys. Reason why is because commercially pre-made foods have to pasteurize their food somehow. “Pasteurize” is not quite the correct term as that process uses heat to kill the unwanted bacteria. Heating up the food does kill the bad bacteria; but just like antibiotics, it’s a non-discriminatory process that kills the good bacteria too. Stella & Chewys uses HPP (High Pressure Process) as their sterilization method to be able to market their food commercially. I’m sure others do too and S&C is pricey.

5. What made you start (and stop, if you did!) feeding raw?

My Standard Poodle pup was the first larger dog that I owned. I was really concerned about bloat and torsion. The idea of kibble expanding in the stomach (like what happens to us when we eat pancakes) really kind of freaked me out.

6. How long have you been feeding (or how long did you feed)?

8 Years

7. Do/did you feed full-time raw, or half-and-half?

Do you mean half raw and half kibble at the same time? No, I don’t. My younger Standard Poodle spent his first year with a handler while getting his championship. Professional handlers want to feed kibble and the same brand to all dogs that are in their charge. It’s much easier to deal with. So, I felt it was easier to let him eat kibble that first year and then change over to raw when he came home for good. No evidence, just felt that it would be easier on him to feed him a consistent food rather than switch him over everytime he came back home. I do remember that his poop was HUGE back then.

And just a small rebuttal for some of the anti-raw rhetoric that I’ve seen on-line: One argument is that handling raw food presents a danger of introducing salmonella and other undesirable bacteria into your house. That’s true; but unless you keep a strict vegan household, isn’t that true with all the raw protein products that you bring into your house to cook and eat as well? Isn’t that why we should clean our food prep surfaces and wash our hands? It's all about mitigating risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all so SO much!! Do any of you (or anyone else) have any recommendations on places to research ratios/types of foods/recipes for raw feeding? I'm not sure if my pup would end up eating full prey model at this point. I'm really nervous about moving on to making my own, which is why I'm doing the premade right now. Also, I'm currently alternating with Instinct raw (chicken and beef) and Steve's raw (chicken, beef, turkey, turducken, and may introduce pork?) - would anyone suggest adding any supplements in for them? I occasionally give sardines and an egg here-and-there.
 

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Start with bone in chicken. It's the blandest easiest to digest protein. If all is good after about a week, move on to Turkey, necks or small drumstcks. Also add some boneless chicken lime breast with it. Do the same, and move on to pork ribs or riblets, then other red meats. Somewhere in the middle, add in very small amounts of beef liver or kidney. Organs are essential....Once transitioned through the main proteins, you can mix and match all you want. The more variety the better.
 

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Hello. Two books I used.
Raw Dog Food, make it easy for you and your dog by Carina Beth Macdonald.

The Ultimate Diet: Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats by Kymythy R. Schultze, AHI

Hope this helps.
 
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