Feeding a natural diet?

chestnut cob

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We have finally agreed to move both of our dogs on to a more natural (ie, veg, meat, rice etc) diet instead of a prepared dried feed.

For those of you who feed this type of meal, instead of prepared foods, what do you feed and in what quantities? Both dogs are medium sized (dalmatians), one is an 8yo bitch and the other is a 14yo dog. We were thinking along the lines of tripe, minced lamb, minced beef, some chicken and fish, as well as veg with rice.

Do you feed an all round general supplement? Should the feed be "padded out" with anything else? How much of the meat, rice etc do you give per day?

Any tips or advice would be most welcome. We'll phase out the dried food and introduce this new diet gradually, particularly because the bitch has a sensitive tummy anyway.

Thanks
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soloabe

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I love feeding raw. Once you have it down its so easy and cheap.

Its generally 3% of their weight in food a day.

I don't really feed veg just meat.

Bone to add weight lean meat to take it off and a combination of both to maintain weight.

My Brittany had the most sensitive tummy actually had many many tests to try and find out if it was anything more serious.
we switched to meat and he has not had the runs or been sick since.

Crack an egg over the food once or twice a week and give them a carrot or something whole as a treat.

I also feed mine a teaspoon of flax seed 3 times a week.

Ask away if you have anymore questions.
 

chestnut cob

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Thanks Katie
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At 14, I think we will struggle to get the old boy eating raw so they're having it just lightly cooked for the time being, though they eat the tripe raw quite happily.

Do you bulk the feed out with anything like rice? There is conflicting information online about this - some say feed brown rice, oatmeal and corn whereas others say no corn needed at all.

I will look into the flax seed. Our vet is a bit of a nightmare, the only thing he interested in is trying to get us to switch them onto a prescription-only dried food diet that we have to buy from him....
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soloabe

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No i don't feed anything to bulk it out rice never settled well with my boy. I wouldn't feed corn either. These bulk things you may find are what makes yours have a sensitive tummy.

I would give raw a go with your old boy. Our old lab started eating raw at 12 and he was over joyed with the idea! Even though it took him forever to eat with the few teeth he had left.

It really gave our dogs a new lease of life.

Make sure you weigh it before its cooked so you don't over feed.

It is also done a lot by eye. If they are getting a bit skinny up the amount.

If you are going to cook it dont feed bone cooked.
 

CorvusCorax

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Will keep an eye on this, getting to the end of my proverbial over B's skin problem and even if it is only a few days a week I think I am going to stick him on raw for a while.
What are the costs like Katie, bearing in mind a big bag of AG does both for a fortnight? So £28, £14 a week? How would that compare to raw?
 

soloabe

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Hmm i'm sure it would be cheaper than that but couldn't give you an exact price depends what you want to feed.

When i was buying in england i was in with the butcher
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Try going to your butcher and seeing what kind of deal he can do you with bags of off cuts. We would get a big bag for about £5.

Soup bones are really cheap.

Also we used tesco's sell off section for mince and chicken or there 2 for £5 chickens.

Always have a couple of bags of frozen mince in the freezer in case you forget to take stuff out to defrost.!

Buy in bulk and cut it up and store it in meal size portions in the freezer.
You should see me with a big machete cutting up chickens like a mad woman and freezing them.
 

CorvusCorax

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Thanks
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some of the stuff like soup bones are hard to come by here post-BSE (our restrictions are tighter than those in the rest of the UK) and the greyhound men keep beating me to the local butchers
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but I will try and price some suppliers.
 

soloabe

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yeah i didn't think about that.

Even if it works out slightly more expensive for you i am willing to put money on it sorting out B's skin issues.
 

GinaGem

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Ours are on a raw diet. Costs us about £30 a month for two dogs (don't have any handy butchers unfortunately other than for the odd ox heart or rabbit but we buy in bulk and get frozen food and bones delivered every other month). They get 450g meat/tripe/organ/veg etc a day each plus meaty bone (generally chicken or lamb). They weigh around 25kg each (lurchers). They also have the odd egg, bit of natural yoghurt and once a week they get fish. They don't get supplements and don't have any grains (they don't agree with one of them). They also get any leftovers from our dinners that they are allowed.
 

KarynK

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Now there's a surprise on the vet front!!

I’m a bit biased as a purist raw feeder but will do anything I can to encourage people off of dried and excessively cooked diets!!

If you are not going on pure raw diet, and the old boys teeth might well struggle to cope now, though I will say supermarket chicken wings are quite soft and if you give them a good whack or two with a small axe it does help the oldies cope with them.

What you do have to do is get into the mindset behind raw, you have to consider the problems seen in feeding commercial diets, much of which are caused by unnatural ingredients.

A dogs digestive system has developed to deal principally with meat and bones fur and feather, limited “pre processed veg” (from prey stomachs) the odd berry and fruit when hungry. A dog’s natural bulk or fibre is bone, fur, claws and feathers. So about the most unnatural food for a dog are complex carbohydrates, in order of badness Wheat (modern varieties are starch ridden) barley, maize/corn, potatoes, oats and rice. The reason they are in processed dog foods and some “NATURAL” diet options are that they are cheaper than protein, so they are there for bulk to make the food affordable, and in the case of brown or wild rice to appeal to the owner!!

Bone is quite a crucial element in the diet supplying bulk and nutrients, so if you can bring yourself to add a little raw bone for the younger dogs then you will see more benefits from the change in diet. You can buy from some of the growing number of raw suppliers ground meat with finely ground bone in it and this would be fine for bulk and the old boy would cope with that. What of course it will not do is clean the teeth and keep them occupied!

There are several recipes online for home made cooked pet diets, but a large part of me says why bother cooking them and just like the tripe the meat will be fine fed raw, maybe poached a little at first if they are not inclined to eat it initially.

Fish should also be included and it’s the only cooked meal mine get, tinned pilchards in tomato sauce though I will add whitebait raw to this when they are on offer! The raw meat is best for nutrients and will negate the need to excessively supplement the diet. Many raw feeders do give kelp tablets as a supplement and add pumpkin seeds to scrape off worms in the stomach so you could bulk with seeds/nuts in this way including flax.

Raw eggs are excellent nutrition and can be added to the green veg and fruit of the diet to make it more palatable. It is perhaps raw veg and fruit that you could use to bulk your diet more, either liquidised raw or lightly steamed and chopped. You can also add oil to the diet but try to get cold pressed as once again cooking or heat extracted oil have less nutrients and are alien to a dog. As well as tripe try to include offal in your diet, liver, kidneys etc and you can also get lambs hearts which are a muscle meal that will keep the quiet for a while if fed whole, and the chewing of these will clean the teeth.

Basically if you feed a wide variety of meats, offal and protien sources and avoid complex carbohydrates, excessive salt and processed sugar you won't go far wrong.

All I would say is that if you are going to cook cook it very lightly, one up from very rare if you want too see the real benefits of moving off processed foods and make that vet eat his words, would like to know his percentage!!!!
 

camilla4

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[ QUOTE ]
Will keep an eye on this, getting to the end of my proverbial over B's skin problem and even if it is only a few days a week I think I am going to stick him on raw for a while.
What are the costs like Katie, bearing in mind a big bag of AG does both for a fortnight? So £28, £14 a week? How would that compare to raw?

[/ QUOTE ]

Cave - we switched our Lab to raw about 8 months ago and the constant itching she had cleared up in a couple of weeks! I reckon it works out cheaper too, but you do need some freezer space if you can't get to a butcher often.
 

Patches

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I've been wondering about this sort of diet myself, as Cockers do seem to be one of those breeds prone to dental issues etc.

The thing that concerns me, and maybe some one can allay my fears (and tell me I'm being a numpty in the nicest possible way) is the worry about increased toxity/disease/worms etc in the dogs faeces when fed on raw meat.

Is this a real threat? Harvey will eventually be allowed in the garden when we are outside with the children, our youngest is 7 years old so not a tot, but I worry about us missing a pooh and them putting their hands in it. Obviously that is a concern regardless of the dog's diet, but is it <u>more</u> of a risk when fed on raw?
 

chestnut cob

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Thanks for all of the replies, it is appreciated
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Karyn, those tips are great. ATM they're getting the remainder of the hypoallergenic dried food that the bitch has been eating (the other stuff the dog usually has is going to the Dogs Trust home up the road over the weekend!), a bit of rice plus lamb, tripe, turkey. They've also got some raw liver and kidneys in the freezer to have once a week or so and they'll get a bit of natural yoghurt every so often. I've been looking into flax seeds as that's come up a few times in the articles I've read. Does it have to be pumpkin seeds or would something like squash do (I only ask as that's what we currently have in the veg basket!)? Do you cook them, or feed those raw? Raw I presume but prefer to check...

We don't tend to feed bones as the bitch gets v possessive over them and the old boy really struggles now to eat them. They can have rawhide chews, though I accept they're probably not the best thing for them.
 

chestnut cob

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Something I read yesterday said that the pH of a dog's stomach is low enough to kill of any pathogens, so there shouldn't be any I guess in the faeces. Do you worm your dogs?
 

Patches

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Something I read yesterday said that the pH of a dog's stomach is low enough to kill of any pathogens, so there shouldn't be any I guess in the faeces. Do you worm your dogs?

[/ QUOTE ]

Yeah, of course I worm them.
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It's just a worry about raw meat per se. I am fanatical about cleaning up in the kitchen when I've been handling raw meat, especially with respect of children around who, let's face it, aren't generally as concerned about hygiene as we are.
 

KarynK

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[ QUOTE ]
a bit of rice plus lamb, tripe, turkey. They've also got some raw liver and kidneys in the freezer to have once a week or so and they'll get a bit of natural yoghurt every so often. I've been looking into flax seeds as that's come up a few times in the articles I've read. Does it have to be pumpkin seeds or would something like squash do ...Do you cook them, or feed those raw?

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That sounds fine but I would use more raw seasonal veg liquidised if you can and perhaps less rice. Squash is fine it's the same type of thing and yes raw, blitz them with the veg in the liquidiser.

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We don't tend to feed bones as the bitch gets v possessive

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Yes I know what you mean I have to be careful with the boys with bones like lamb that they don't eat fast as they can have a bit of a spat, but do watch the rawhide as the cheap stuff is bleached!!

At the end of the day you can say to yourself that all the above is far better than what went before!!!
 

KarynK

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[ QUOTE ]

The thing that concerns me, and maybe some one can allay my fears ... is the worry about increased toxity/disease/worms etc in the dogs faeces when fed on raw meat.

[/ QUOTE ]

Providing that you feed fresh human grade meat then there is no more risk with meat than that for your own food, just make sure you clean surfaces and bowls regulary and wash those hands!!

Re worms, dogs on a purist raw diet will have less woms than those on processed food. My sister feeding the pumpkin seeds and of course the raw bone passing through had consistent zero worm counts on her dogs. Providing you do this or continue to worm regularly again there is no more risk probably a lot less.

Dogs fed a more natural diet have an immune system that is allowed to function better and so are less susceptable to disease themselves, add to this that a healthy gut will destroy harmful bacteria and you probably have less chance of nasties being passed to humans than a dog on a diet that does not support the immune system or allow the digstive tract to function as it should.

Hope that helps!!!
 

Patches

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That REALLY helps. Thank you for that. It all makes perfect sense.
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At what age would one consider moving a puppy over to this sort of diet, in a way to cause minimum upset to their digestive system?

I can't see this diet being any more expensive than a good quality dry feed as they're pretty pricey anyway.

When you say human grade meat, would that count out these frozen portions people buy from pet shops with ground up bone etc in them?

Really good question you asked CC.
 

KarynK

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Sis moved her GSD puppy straight onto raw at about 5 weeks, it's the first dog she has purchased in a lot of years! Her huskies are 3rd generation raw fed and were introduced to raw meat when their mum started throwing up for them!!! her last little were eating wings and carcasses at a very young age. Here is an article she wrote re puppies on raw
http://www.brushbow.co.uk/src/species.htm

It's is entirely up to you but I always put my rescues straight on to raw. The last one was the oldest dog I had taken on at 6. I don't know what he was fed on but it took a very long time to get his skin and coat right, poor begger so the sooner you can really.

If you do do it gradually be very sure to separate the two types of food well, allow several hours at least. They travel at different speeds through the digestive tract and there is a high risk of problems and especially impaction.

Human grade is best but that doesn't mean it has to be top quality cuts! Chicken wings, carcasses, offcuts from the butcher, lamb ribs, lamb bones, offal, minced meat, pig feet, hearts etc, and the reduced counter is a great source!

You would have to ask re the quality of the mince raw pet food, again where there is potential for profit it is best to ask!!!! Though I will say that most of these suppliers are with the programe but as it gets more popular who knows.

The only pet food grade I feed is the raw tripe as basically you can't get it anywhere else!! I usually fed it near frozen as I can't stand the smell. I always read the label and avoid the ones that say vegetable in there when they mean GRAIN so if I do buy the odd pet pack then it's the just meat ones!.

The best bet is to go to the local butcher and get friendly, they are usually more than willing to help as they have to pay to get rid of all the surplus and you are supporting you local economy! Freezer space is good and here too being human grade means you can keep it in your freezer without any worries. The bulk of my 2's diet from the butcher costs areond £10 per month.

I would start with some meat and see how it goes, if you are feeling brave supermarket chicken wings are quite soft so are ideal to introduce bone content and are a very good bone to meat ratio.

If you can get whole meat like stewing steak or whole hearts that is good for the gums and makes them chew! Then as you get more confident you can experiment with different cuts bones and meats, whatever is on offfer. The beauty of raw diet is that you do not have to balance every meal and as long as you feed a variety over several weeks then the dog will get all it needs without the need to supplement.

You can taylor the portions as you go along and just adjust them as above. Don't forget your cold pressed oil and a small amount of liquidised veg every now and again, dogs need it liquidised as they cannot break down plant cell walls themselves. Eggs are brilliant as well so mine get them quite a lot.

Ooh and yes re the poo in the garden, on raw you are unlikely to miss it as if you feed a good bone content it will mostly be rock hard and white, I suspect you could write with it but i'm not about to try!

Good luck!
 
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