I have answered some questions recently about raw feeding from breeders and new puppy owners, so I thought I would create this post giving everyone the information I sent them. Prey model is defined as feeding pieces of prey animals that are available to you, the feeder, in a way that mimics the makeup of a natural prey animal (sometimes referred to as FrankenParts or FrankenPrey). Most raw feeders use this formula: 80% meat (protein), 10% bone and 10% organ meat (vitamins and minerals) with half the organ meat being liver. That’s the only balance you have to worry about.
Since September 2011, I have fed my dogs chicken and turkey with the bones, pork, beef, and green tripe. They have done very well on it. Their coats are soft and thicker and their teeth are white and clean. I usually feed chicken liver for organs and also provide supplements to replace those organs that are hard to find.
Look at this website before you buy meat: http://rawfeddogs.net/Recipes/
It tells you how to feed it safely. The biggest thing to worry about is some bones are cut up too much at the grocery store, but this site has all the info you need. This website recommends whole chickens, but that’s a lot for a small or medium-sized dog. I’ve fed whole chickens pre-cut a couple pieces at a time, drumsticks, breast meat with or without rib bones, necks, etc with no issues. I just watch them until the bones are all gone. I did three small meals a day at first, so their body had little meals to digest until they were used to the raw.
This website is where I buy the supplements I use: http://www.b-naturals.com/
They also have recipes for cooked and raw diets and lots of informative articles. Their Berte’s Digestive Blend is what I gave my guys. It’s probiotics and digestive enzymes. I now have them on the Berte’s Daily Blend Vitamins because it can be difficult to find a wide variety of organs at the grocery store. I also supplement with Berte’s EPA 180-120 Omega-3 Fish Oil, which is great for skin, coat and immune system.
I also feed my dogs green tripe. Green tripe is basically the stomach and digestive juices of a herbivorous, grass-eating animal, usually a cow. It has a lot of nutrients and is great for dogs. They also love it, but it is smelly and hard to find. You do not want to buy the bleached white tripe at the grocery store either. It has been stripped of all the great nutrients you want your dog to have. I have found it through breeder’s co-ops like GreenTripe.Com, companies like Blue Ridge Beef and through dog food companies that sell canned versions like Tripett. I’m not sure the canning process doesn’t take out many of the nutrients found in green tripe. The best place to get fresh green tripe would be the local butcher if you can get them to save it for you.
A Caution About Grocery Store Chicken
I buy pretty much all the chicken and other meats I feed my dogs from grocery stores, but there is something to be aware of before shopping for chicken to feed your dogs. About half or more of the chicken in grocery stores is infused or enhanced with saltwater solutions or salty chicken broth. It will say something like “enhanced with up to 15% chicken broth.” Enhanced chicken may have as much as 440mg sodium per 4 oz. serving. You want to look for meat that is minimally processed with no more than 70mg sodium per serving.
A Note About Switching To Raw From Kibble
Most experienced raw feeders say to switch “cold turkey”. That’s right – one day your dog eats kibble and the next raw! You don’t want to feed kibble and raw at the same time because raw digests faster than kibble and you don’t want it getting backed up behind kibble in the digestive system…or so I’ve been told.
You want to start with one protein source. Chicken is the easiest and cheapest, so it is a good protein to start with unless you know your dog is allergic to chicken. Your dog may get diarrhea for about a week after the switch. I have been told that this is the body eliminating the toxins built up from eating kibble. In adult dogs, you can give more bones during this time which will help solidify things. Be careful about giving too much bones after your dogs stools are normal because it can cause constipation. Also, you don’t want young puppies to get too much calcium, so don’t increase their bones beyond 10-15%. They need to stay at that level, so they don’t grow too fast. I have found a great, natual product called RuniPoo to help with diarrhea. The Berte’s Digestive Blend from B-Naturals can also help during this transition.
I hope this helps people to understand that it is not too difficult to start feeding raw. After feeding raw for several months, I can not imagine going back to kibble for my dogs.
For more information on raw feeding, For more information, there are great email lists on Yahoo Groups like firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook Groups like Raw Feeding (RF).
I have also found this public service message from the RawPup Yahoo! Group to be a great resource, especially for new raw feeders with puppies.