Starting Raw Questions

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!


Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 9:28am PST 
Casper is 5 years old and(as of today)29 pounds (ranges from 25-30). He is a poodle mix, white/cream and at the moment pretty fluffy. He's a grain free dog already, eating Taste of the Wild kibble.

I would really like to switch him to raw prey model diet and I've been reading a lot about starting with raw chicken and branching out slowly. Not mixing raw with kibble and such.

1) What can I use easily for treats at training time? We usually use cheddar cheese shreds or pieces of cooked chicken or hot dogs. Can I still use those things if he's on a raw diet?

2) How do I keep that white fur clean while he's chewing on raw meat and bones? And as a secondary question, do you think we should have him shaved down when we first start raw? I think he's cuter when he's fluffy so we only get him shaved when the grooming gets too time consuming usually.

Sassy Britches!
Barked: Sat Dec 15, '12 12:07pm PST 
Yes you can still use the same treats (but I wouldn't keep using hot dog, icky stuff in those usually)

As far as keeping him clean, just wipe off his face and paws afterwards. I like him cute and fluffy just like he is blue dog

the chi-weenie
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 7:34pm PST 
hooray for raw!

yes those treats are just fine =) it's kind of a personal decision about how strict you want to be about treats since they are not supposed to make up a big part of the diet anyway.

raw is fun, and then it's a pain, but once you figure out what you did wrong, it gets better, and then it's a breeze laugh out loud

yes, start with bone in chicken and if he handles it good, you can start to introduce something else, take it one thing at a time.

My dog, and lots of other dogs, have an aversion to touching the food with their feet, so you may not have to worry about his feet, but as for his face.. just wipe it off when he's done..


Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 6:53am PST 
When I started cutting up the chicken I had snagged from my cousin's place yesterday (they had been butchering). He looked interested. But when I actually handed him a chunk he mostly just looked confused. It took a bit of coaxing to get him to take it. Like he wasn't sure what to do with it. Is that common? He did eventually take it and seemed to enjoy chewing it apart. Came back looking for more and I gave him a couple if little meat slices.

I gave him a chicken neck and part of the back, some meat but not a lot on those parts. He actually stayed cleaner than I expected. He used his paws to brace it some for chewing but he licked them when he was done and was cooperative about letting me wipe his face and paws when he was done.

I had grabbed a fully plucked and gutted chicken. And I guess at less than thirty pounds he's not really big enough to hand a whole chicken...but will there eventually be a point when I can give him intact prey animals even though he's not very large? The cousin with the farm offered to let me grow a few small-breed chickens next year if I want to butcher them myself but the whole de-feather and guting process isn't much fun. It would be cool if I could give him a whole or half bird though...

Edited by author Mon Dec 17, '12 6:54am PST


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 4:28pm PST 
38 pound Max gets up to 10 pound rabbits and fetal lambs and goats sometimes. I just pick it up after he is done and put back into the refrigerator. I worked up to allowing him to eat as much as he wanted by giving him a small amount more then a small amount less on alternating days. I started that only after he was introduced to the usual proteins and organs. To my surprise he can actually take 4 days to eat a 4 day sized item -about 40 ounces for him. The larger stuff gets cut into 3-4 day bits after he has the first meal. I don't really want a 10 pound rabbit in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Wet fur is stinky.

Glad he enjoying his meal. Max doesn't use his feet unless he has to but since he is black I am not sure he is clean or not.

Doodles Do It- Better
Barked: Tue Dec 18, '12 5:49am PST 
I use cut up raw chicken hearts as training treats. I would not give a dog cheese. You may need to wipe his mouth and brush out his beard and whiskers after a meal, depending on what he has eaten. There is no need to shave him down.

Barked: Tue Dec 18, '12 5:07pm PST 
I've been using a damp cloth on his face and paws post meal. I think I'll ask the groomer to make his mustache and chin fur a bit shorter than usual when he's in next in January. Just to make my life easier.

The cheese is raw cheese if it matters and I only give him a single shred at a time...though in a class or when he's learning new stuff we can go through a lot of treats pretty fast. The perils of a clicker dog. smile I'm not sure about raw organs in my treat pouch. I wonder if I can stick chicken hearts in my dehydration machine? Or primal style beef jerky?

So far I haven't seen any digestive upset. He wasn't very interested in breakfast this morning, only
licked it a couple of times. So I stuck it back in the refrigerator and gave him breakfast dinner at dinner time. He ate it all then. It might just be a Casper-quirk; lots of mornings with kibble he wasn't interested either but he ate all or most of the full day's amount at dinner time so I never worried much about it.

Edited by author Tue Dec 18, '12 5:10pm PST


I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 12:04am PST 
Depending on your dog's eating style and length of coat, you can also look into having him wear a t-shirt while eating, or a snood for his ears.

After a particularly large, messy meal, I will wipe down Rexy's face, paws, and front legs.

Also, cheese is fine to feed as treats. It sounds like he tolerates it well and really likes it. I like to use shredded cheese, some kibble, liver treats, bits of cooked meat etc. You can definitely dry meat and organs to use as treats. smile

ETA: I vote no to the chicken hearts in the dehydrator. I tried that last year and it was gross...too fatty to dry nicely, and it was tough to scrub all of the greasiness off the trays. A better option would be to start with some strips of chicken.

Edited by author Wed Dec 19, '12 12:12am PST


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Dec 19, '12 6:34am PST 
Something like cooked chicken breast is not messy and you can shred it just like string cheese. It is less fatty and doesn't melt like string cheese either. That and cooked pork loin are 2 of my favorite tiny treats. Max likes them better than cheese, be nice if your dog does as well.

I haven't ever done it but if you cut up lean meat and leave in the refrigerator on a towel it will dry up and be easier to handle.

Raw fat is far less messy than cooked. Max was beyond the point of massive numbers of treats during classes so I stuffed a tug toy with meat and cooked hamburger was awful to clean from the toy but raw hamburger was fine.

I don't like dry treats for clicker training but if your dog does okay with them try dehydrated lung. It is less rich than liver and most dogs like it a lot.

I had to keep Max's food quite uniform no matter how active the day was. If I just treated him whatever I felt like before and after agility runs at a trial he would have increasingly soft poop during the course of the trial. If I measured out the treats and counted them as part of his ration then he wouldn't have a problem. If your dog is fine with extra food, good, but consider careful measuring for at least one class before returning to the way you did it before just in case and sticking to meats he is eating at mealtime is safer as well. If you cook that meat then Max says to save the pan in the refrigerator and warm up the fat and juices with a little water and leftover treats for after class.