Toothless dog on raw food diet...

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Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 12:49am PST 
I have just started my ten year old Yorkie on a raw meat diet. Obviously due to his lack of teeth, bones are out of the question. What I am wondering is if this is still nutritionally sound to continue (I read somewhere that an all meat diet is not balanced and that bones/organs must be included).

Edited by author Mon Nov 26, '12 12:54am PST

Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 5:28am PST 
You must include bones and organs.

Given his age, lack of teeth, and size, this is a situation where the ease of buying pre-made ground raw food is probably worth the cost. It's already balanced for you, it's in a form he can easily consume, and since he's small he won't eat that much of it.

If you really want to DIY, you'll need to find a way to finely grind bone, or find an excellent calcium supplement and add extra fiber.

Organs are a must because they contain nutrients not found in regular muscle meat. Liver and kidney are pretty easy to come by, as is heart which is more an in-between item. A heart is a muscle, but it's a highly specialized muscle. Many people can also find "sweetbreads." About 5% of a raw diet should be liver, 5% other organs, and I add in-betweens like heart, gizzards, or tripe as an additional 5 - 10%.

If you cannot find organs, you need to look into supplementing with vegetables and vitamins, which can get complicated. Your best bet there is to look into BARF raw, which tends to be more focused on supplementing, or homecooking recipes that include raw foods.

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 11:31am PST 
Give the old guy some fun and give him a bone, a nice big one so he cannot swallow it! If he gets some bone off then fine, if not he had a really great time gumming and sliming it up. So offer something like a whole section of chicken ribs or a back not a chicken neck. You can wash it off and pop into the refrigerator for another session if it is still large enough too.

If you fed meat you ground yourself mixed with 5% liver and 5% other organ and added 900 mg of calcium then you would be most of the way there. Very likely he would need some sort of stool bulking agent to stop soft poop. Adding about 25% pureed veggies by weight would do it. Vary the meats and organs and raw egg and fatty fish is good stuff as well. Start with just one protein and leave out the organ until you see that poop is good then add in the tiniest bit until you get to that 5% of each sort.

For calcium I would use bone meal as Max needs more phosphorus than egg shell plus meat would provide but dogs that get more than 2% their body weight a day would likely be fine with using powdered egg shell for calcium. Bone meal would vary as to how much 900 mg is but egg shell is 900mg for 1/2 measuring teaspoon.

I wouldn't trust store bought ground meat these days, buy your own whole meat and grind it up. Max gets a little of it and I feel so guilty each time, I am positive it is pink slime.

Most meat grinders cannot handle bone. If you went all the way and got one that could grind up chicken bones then he is a lucky dog!


I'm king of the- world!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 3:27pm PST 
You've gotten some good advice above. I just want to say YAY for starting old guys on raw! cheer

Duke is 10 and started two years ago. He has never been healthier, stronger or more vibrant than he is right now.

Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 3:36pm PST 
I know it's a very different breed but I know an elderly greyhound who could chew and bite just as well after she had to have all her teeth pulled as before. Start with the softer bones and see how they do. If not you can always grind.