A Basic Guide To Raw Feeding
For those of you who are interested in feeding a raw diet.
Chicken, lamb, pork, beef, fish, heart, liver, eggs, and cottage cheese; all are acceptable forms of raw food; oh and of course the old favourite….. TRIPE
Firstly: you have to understand and accept the fact that it is perfectly safe to feed raw chicken bone, as the bone is still soft and easily crunched up. NEVER, EVER feed cooked chicken bone because the bone becomes brittle once it is cooked and is highly dangerous.
Chicken above all other meats contains most of the necessary components to keep your dog healthy.
Secondly: Raw eggs are fine to feed to dogs; providing both the yolk and the white are fed there is no danger with feeding raw eggs. Egg white alone is not good for dogs and must always be fed along with the yolk.
Any other meat or fish can be fed, including pork and rabbit providing that it has been frozen for a few days prior to thawing and feeding.
The purists believe that to feed a raw diet correctly, you should feed whole carcasses of chicken and large chunks of meat. This is to encourage chewing/ tearing as in the wild and if you only have one or two dogs, this is fine.
I personally don't do this on a regular basis for several reasons.
Firstly: I have a large number of dogs, varying in age from small puppies to elderly animals. I find it more convenient and practical to feed them all a similar diet. And before you all throw up your hands in horror at feeding young stock, the same diet as older stock. Why not? Since when did dogs decide that they needed totally different food according to their age? They didn’t, the dog food companies did!
Secondly: Some dogs spend too much time hiding or guarding large chunks of meat, rather than eating it straight away, this can encourage fighting.
Thirdly: because of the time it takes to separate and bag individual carcasses/necks etc. I can't be bothered anymore. Far too time consuming if you have a large number of dogs.
The key to feeding raw is to feed at least 10% bone as this is where the dog gets it's calcium from.
If you feed too much bone, your dog may become constipated. The poo looks hard and chalky, so reduce the amount of bone until the poos look normal.
Right, now understand that NO cereals/rice, biscuit meal is used or needed in raw feedind.
NO added supplements either, apart from a little fish oil or flax seed oil in winter. Especially do NOT add extra calcium or bone meal. This is why you are feeding the bone in the raw food and to add more from other sources is very unwise.
Providing you feed a diet which contains the correct amount of bone, either whole or ground up. You will experience the neatest, smallest, least smelly piles of poo you ever saw!!!!!!!
Walking around dog shows and seeing the colour and consistency of dog poo, makes me wonder what on earth some of these dogs are fed on. More worryingly, what ingredients are in the kibble they are being fed on?
If you only have one or two dogs to feed, you may find it easier and cheaper to obtain your dog's food from a local butcher or you can source supplies from some pet shops. Try to avoid the freeflow stuff as it is reconstituted rubbish and does not contain the all important bone.
Personally I find it easier to buy my supplies direct from one of the many companies who manufacture raw meats already minced, packaged and frozen in 500gram <1lb> packs. These are easily stored in a freezer kept strictly for this purpose.
The chicken they supply is finely minced and contains ground up bone.
Once thawed, I make a 50/50 mix of minced chicken and tripe, although you can exchange the tripe for any other meat, but this is my preferred version for daily feeding.
If you only have a couple of dogs, it may be an idea to talk to your local butcher. Many people find them an invaluable source of supplies of raw meat and bones for very little cost
Just be sure to feed at least 10% bone in some form.
The purists feed pureed veggies, but to be honest I find this time consuming and unnecessary. Far easier to add dried herbs as sold by Dorwest. My favourites are Parsley & Watercress and Keepers Mix. Even frozen spinach can be used and I will add one or other of these a couple of times per week, along with raw eggs or cottage cheese.
Some people worry about salmonella, but be assured, dogs do not get salmonella. They can and do eat many things that would make us sick, and, providing you wear rubber gloves when handling the raw chicken and spray down all work surfaces with diluted bleach or a good household antibacterial cleaner, you will not have a problem. It’s no different to handling raw chicken for human consumption, same rules apply.
I wean all my puppies directly on to raw. Starting them off on finely minced chicken to which I add warm water until it resembles a gruel.
As they get older, I slowly introduce other meats, canned sardines, pilchards, eggs etc.
By the time they are 6 weeks old, they are happily chewing on whole chicken wings or necks. Even bits of lamb carcass.
Any pups, older dogs or rescues I acquire who have been reared on complete have no problem converting to raw and take to it straight away.
When my puppies reach 6 weeks old, I introduce them to a complete kibble, alongside their usual raw diet. This is just so I know they can cope with such food prior to leaving for their new homes. Sadly is not possible to expect every new puppy owner to want to feed their new puppy a completely raw diet and even the few who do are usually discouraged by their vet, who will try to convince them of how unnatural it is to feed a dog on raw food.
Once the puppies have gone to their new homes, any litter mates that remain here revert to a raw only diet.
I have been feeding this way for the past 10+ years, all my dogs are in super condition, and have glorious coats and loads of energy. This system works for me and I hope to continue feeding this way for many years to come.
*List of UK based raw feeding chat groups*