Thinking about feeding raw? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Dog Food and Recipes' started by LabBreeder, Jul 31, 2006.

  1. LabBreeder

    LabBreeder Guest

    I was thinking about how crappy all the kibble is around here and was wondering what the best way would be to switch to feeding raw and what meats are required? Would I also need veggies and vitamins as well? I've been giving bits and pieces of burger raw and they love it. Sometimes I give them a frozen chunk of burger or a small frozen piece of pork steak...but just as a treat.
    So, what do I need to feed and how do I start a raw diet? Any input from anyone that feeds raw/frozen raw is welcome. Websites with info, fact sheets, etc.
     
  2. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    I was just researching this and was coming to start a topic myself. I'm sort of nervous to start feeding raw but I was really thinking that it could possibly be cheaper, or atleast the same price, as feeding the Evo kibble and canned. We are going to price out the food at the butchers tomorrow and just see about how much it would cost. I found this site though and it's fairly helpful, atleast to me.

    http://www.rawdogranch.com/rawdiet.htm

    actually I think someone already posted this website awhile back and I've been looking for it for a couple days and finally found it.
     
  3. LabBreeder

    LabBreeder Guest

    I've been searching online and have found a few sites, some with DVM's responding, and it makes me a little worried about feeding raw.

    http://www.secondchanceranch.com/training/raw_meat/index.html

    http://www.vetinfo.com/drawmeat.html

    Then there are these 2 sites that sound good, but both have differing opinions on what to feed.

    http://www.rawlearning.com/rawfaq.html

    http://www.njboxers.com/faqs.htm

    70Lbs x 16 = 1120 ounces
    1120 x .02 = 22.4 ounces of food per day
    22.4 x .6 = 13.44 ounces of RMB -----60% RMB
    22.4 x .4 = 8.96 ounces of Veg. Patty mix.-----40% Veg. Patty mix

    16 oz in one pound. So I would be looking at 1.4 lbs total per day per dog. 2.8 lbs per day * 7 days = 19.6 lbs per week for 2 dogs. GEEZ, that's 78 lbs per month! :eek: That sounds like alot of food. Someone said Innova or Canidae was $20-$25 for a 20 lb bag. I'd be spending approximately $50 per month (on the good kibble) vs. 49 lbs of meat/bone per month at $1.50 per pound = roughly $73 per month. That's not counting the veggie/offal stuff either.

    If I'm wrong, somebody please let me know. Most meats around here are between .99/lb and 1.50/lb (low side = sale, high side = average). There used to be a meat market about 15 minutes away, but they closed down. I just did a search and there is a meat market in town. Once I get enough info on what I'd need for 2 Labs (70 lb and 54 lb *still growing*) meat/bone/veggie/offal wise I'll ask him/her what the price would run per pound for what I'd need per month.
     
  4. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    When purchasing your meat and raw meaty bones, you have to look for bargains and buy in bulk. For example, I get chicken leg quarters by the case- they are about 20 bucks for a 42lb case. I get these big cryopack pork shoulders, they are about 1.30/lb. and the packs are 20lbs or so. Same with beef sirloin- buying it that way is much cheaper than ground meat or frozen hamburgers. Get your friends to give you "freezer burned" meat when they clean out their freezer. Get friends who hunt to help you out. Look for bargains everywhere- each time we go shopping I look for meats that are on reduced price because they are about to expire. Yesterday we found packs of beef heart for 99 cents a lb, which is by far the cheapest I've ever seen it around here. They had a special price on pork ribs for 1.49/lb so I got 4 big packs of them, about 7-9lbs each. Another time I got several packs of cornish hens that were on reduced price. I found that my butcher isn't the cheapest place to go- clubs like Sam's or Costco are much cheaper, though my butcher can order things for me like cases of chicken backs or necks. I'm also looking into buying something like a half a pig from the butcher, and having them save me the organs instead of making scrapple, etc.

    What I do is try to keep my total cost to about a dollar a pound- that is about the same as a good quality kibble. So if I spend 50 cents/lb on chicken legs, I can spend a little more on beef for muscle meat. It all averages out over time. The reason you have to feed so much is it's not reduced and baked and concentrated like kibble. Raw food contains a lot of water. You'll find your dogs drink less because they get more water from their food. Plus, SO much more of the food is available to the dog as nutrition. You'll notice their stools are about 1/4 the size they are on kibble- which shows you how much waste products the dog can't use is in kibble.

    For offal, I feed liver or kidney. You don't need a lot of that, maybe an ounce or 2 per day, and I don't feed it every day. I feed them an egg about every other day, shell and all. I don't feed any veggies. The only supps I use are fish oil and vitamin E. Those, I buy big jars of capsules from Sam's club, one's made for humans (cheaper than pet vitamins/oils)

    If you do some more searching around, you will find a site that refutes every argument on that 2nd chance site with facts, not conjecture, which is what her site is based on.

    Other good sites are www.rawdogranch.com and www.rawfed.com
     
  5. Wiggle Butt

    Wiggle Butt Love my Labs

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  6. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    There is no required meat, only what you want to feed and what your dogs like. Variety is very important. I feed chicken (whole), rabbit (whole and when I can afford it), pork, beef (on sale) and fish. I hope to feed some venison when deer season starts in August. It's my personal preference to feed more red meat than white meat.

    According to how I feed, no. They do not NEED veggies in their diet, but it's fine to give out a veggie or a fruit here and there. I sometimes use veggies for training, but I do not consider them a staple of their diet. I also do not add vitamin supplements. As long as they're getting proper amounts of bone, meat and organs...then I don't need them. You do run the risk of over supplementing or binding vit/minerals when you add a supplement.

    http://www.rawlearning.com/supplementmyths.html

    There is one supplement I do feed and that's fish body oil/salmon oil (not flaxseed! not cod liver!). Commerically raised meat usually lacks in the omegas, so that's why I supplement with FBO.

    Don't worry, LabBreeder. I feed 7lbs A DAY! That's almost 50lbs a week. Sometimes a little more, when it calls for it. :D

    Don't waste your money on veggies, they're not a requirement.

    I can only tell you how I feed, because there are many "styles" of raw feeding:

    5-10% organs (50% is liver)

    10-15% edible bones

    80-85% muscle meat

    Never feed little bony pieces like wings or necks unless attached to the bird/animal

    It's always safer, and more enjoyable for your dog, to feed big pieces rather than hunks or tiny little meals.

    Raw feeding is a cheap as you make it, I try not to buy anything over $1/lb, unless it's REALLY worth it (last week I bought wild caught Alaskan pink salmon for $2/lb...I couldn't resist). Ninety-nine percent of the time, I always buy in bulk or by the case. Be friends with your butcher, grocery store butcher, meat processor...It'll pay out and they're usually pretty nice folks. The people I've worked with are always interested in what I'm doing with all that meat, and generally amused by how I feed my dogs. One butcher reserved me 50lbs of beef on sale at $.99/lb, just because he knows that I buy monthly bulk orders from them. ;)

    Don't always rely on grocery store prices, they're usually pretty high. Try meat processors or packing plants. If you have to look at grocery store prices, contact the butcher about placing a bulk order of the product you want and then ask for the bulk discount. You'll usually get some cents cut off the retail price because they don't have to package the product for the shelves, and that saves them money.

    I spend about $20-$25 per dog per month. The Wolfhound costs more to feed, but that's to be expected.

    Here's some helpful websites to get you going:
    http://rawfed.com/myths/index.html
    http://rawfed.com/myths/switch.html
    http://rawfed.com/myths/feedraw.html
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2006
  7. Wiggle Butt

    Wiggle Butt Love my Labs

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    I feed the same style as weylyn, and definetly feel it's best after comparing all the different styles with what I feel a carnivore requires. My dogs are thriving. Nova and Mandy were at the vet at least twice a month while on kibble, now they go hardly ever. Mandy went last week for the first time since starting raw, and it was just for bloodwork and a heartworm check.
     
  8. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    Since switching to raw, I haven't had to buy flea/tick meds this summer (knock on wood!!)...and I live in the deep South. I used to have to buy 'em when the dogs ate kibble.
     
  9. LabBreeder

    LabBreeder Guest

    Here's another question I've got. When you say "whole" chicken/rabbit/etc. Do you mean the carcass with meat on it or an actual whole (usually a couple lbs) chicken?
    So if I did this I'd be feeding different varieties of meat on bones, letting them eat the bones (that aren't to small?), liver, heart, fish oil, eggs...and a fish once every couple of weeks and maybe some veggies every so often. Is that about right?
     
  10. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    Whole chicken for me is something like a broiler or cornish hen, fed intact, including neck and giblets. The ones I get are about 4lbs so I cut it in half. Same would go for a rabbit, it'd be a whole rabbit. I cut them in half too.

    Don't worry about smaller bones. Things like chicken rib bones are so small and soft they crunch them right up. Read some of the sites that are linked above, you'll get a better idea of what and how to feed. For example, last night, my guys got this:
    Gunnar- 1 whole chicken leg quarter. 1 thigh from a leg quarter (about 2lbs total weight). 1lb of beef heart. 1 egg, 2000mg fish oil, 400mg vitamin E.
    Midnite- 2 turkey necks (about 8oz each) and about 8oz of beef heart, 1 egg, 1000mg fish oil, 400mg vit E
    Bruzer- 1 turkey neck, about 6oz beef heart, 1 egg, 1000mg fish oil, 400mg vit E.
     
  11. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    When I say whole, I mean the entire animal. Bones, meat and all. Sometimes fur-on, if I can find it. Guts in, if I can find it.

    Whole chicken: http://www.rawfeddogs.net/RecipeDetail.php?id=2

    You don't have to feed bones everyday. Pork shoulders usually give my dogs a few days of just plain meat and then they get the last bony meal.

    You shouldn't have a "too small" bone issue if you don't feed "too small" meals. No wings or necks all by their lonesome. You've got bigger dogs, so you have a lot of options. My 40-50lb pit bulls eat chicken halves (that's their meal for today, actually) rather than chicken quarters. The bigger the meal, the more they have to chew, the more teeth cleaning effects and less risk of gulping. If your dog is a raw food maniac, and most are when they start out, freeze their meal and feed it to them frozen. They'll take a little more time to chew.

    I would skip the heart in favor of a more bloody organ like kidney or spleen. They are more organy in the sense of organs, while hearts/gizzards are kind of on the organ meat/muscle meat fence.

    You don't have to feed eggs, but it wouldn't hurt. I stopped feeding them awhile ago, mostly because I try to keep it simple. It's one less thing I don't have to buy. They're good, though, esp if you can find organic fertile eggs (I bought mine from a bird lover who raised chickens).
     
  12. LabBreeder

    LabBreeder Guest

    Wow. So much info. It seems like 1 lb of chicken (or other meat) wouldn't be enough for any dog, especially a large breed...but that's what's suggested on the one site. 13.44 oz meat and 8.96 oz offal/veggie. It doesn't sound like enough, but I guess compared to 4+ cups of kibble it either equals out or is better in general.
     
  13. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    My 50lb pit bulls get 1lb of meat a day, sometimes a little bit less. They do just fine :)

    I always find this web site helpful. I calculated my dog's meals and organ meat meals on there.

    ETA: I use 2% of their body weight as opposed to 3%. My dogs are active, but still do just fine on 2%
     
  14. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    I use about 3% for my GSD and pug, and 2% for our 12 year old. I go more by look/feel of the dogs though, not by exact amounts.

    I'm curious, why do you not feed as much bone? Are you basing your calculation on the weight of the bone itself, or the weight of the entire RMB portion?
     
  15. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    I feed a prey model diet.

    "BARF diets advocate feeding 50% bone—this is way too much bone! Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation tells us that the bones and skin of an animal compose no more than 25% of the animal's weight (pg126). In the larger herbivores a wolf brings down, not all of the bones are consummable, which means the percentage of bone a wolf actually receives is less than 25%." -Rawfed.com

    I weight the entire animal (or half animal). I rarely weight anything anymore, though. If it looks about right, if it feels about right then I feed it. If the dog is getting too fat, I feed less. If it's getting to skinny, I feed more or add in a little more fats to the diet. I don't weigh bones. I either feed the whole (or half) animal, or feed a RMB wrapped in meat to where you gotta search for the bone. The only thing I'm exact on is organ intake.
     
  16. juliefurry

    juliefurry Rusty but Trusty

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    There are a lot of websites! I'm glad this thread was started because I was really thinking about feeding raw to Hannah but I am so nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it right. I know Hannah would love raw so much better and it's better for her too. Is it really not neccasary (sp?) to use vegetables though? I know Hannah HATES veggies!
     
  17. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    Julie, if I can do it...anyone can! Believe me! It seems scary at first, but it really isn't that difficult.

    My dogs have never had veggies as a staple in their diet, and they're just fine.

    Feeding veggies is a purely personal choice. I opt for "no." It's my opinion that they really do not need veggies in their diet. Plus, it saves me time and money. I don't want to bash anyone that feeds a BARF diet or get into a veggies pro/con argument, but here's a few articles dealing with the subject...

    The Differences Between Prey-model and BARF Diets
    Dogs are omnivores? article
     
  18. whatszmatter

    whatszmatter Guest

    I don't feed veggies either, unless of course I don't want to eat all of the ones on my plate. Once in a great while i'll feed some, but I blend them up, but usually, I never do, nor see a need to.
     
  19. weylyn

    weylyn New Member

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    My dogs like veggies as training treats, but they don't do backflips for them.

    This is a little OT but...for you raw feeders (or wanna-be raw feeders) who want to ditch the Lysol and bleach:

    http://my.execpc.com/~mjstouff/articles/vinegar.html

    Lysol made my throat hurt so I had to nix it.
     
  20. DanL

    DanL Active Member

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    I don't do veggies for our guys either.

    Weylyn, I do more of a prey model too, but it's not necessarily whole carcasses as much as a combo of a RMB portion like a chicken quarter, and a muscle meat portion. Like I mentioned above, Gunnar typically will get 1 1/2-2lbs of leg quarters and about a pound of meat. I do the pork shoulders too, using it for muscle meat for a couple days till it gets down to about 2 1/2 lbs then feed that to him as a meal. I suppose if I did the math the bone portion would be in line with what you are doing.
     

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