|Tucker, CGC,- TDI|
|Barked: Mon Jun 7, '10 2:18pm PST |
|Hi, Spencer! I'm glad that raw is working out well for you - but I completely understand that pre-made raw for three large dogs would be cost prohibitive for some folks - certainly it would be for me. The good news is that you can "do it yourself" much more cheaply, in fact probably more cheaply than you can feed a premium kibble, and because you ARE doing it yourself, you have much more quality control, and further, there are not extraneous ingredients such as vegetables and fruit going into it that truly are not necessary or species appropriate for a carnivore.
The problem with do it yourself is that it can be intimidating to some people, well, probably to most people, at least at first. However, if you keep the general guidelines of 80/10/5/5 (this is shorthand for 80% meat, 10% edible bone, 5% liver and 5% other secreting organ) and balance over time in mind, you honestly cannot go wrong. If you have interest in doing this, please check out Dogster Gio's thread "So You're Interested in Feeding Raw!" Great information there, and lots of it. Probably so much that you may feel overwhelmed and intimidated. DON'T BE! Read with a pen in hand, jot down some notes and questions, and feel free to ask anything you like.
The short version of all this information, though, is to go out and get yourself some bone-in chicken. Chicken quarters work well for most dogs, as do whole chickens or whole Cornish Game Hens. Or honestly any poultry - I just saw some really good deals on whole turkeys I guess left over from Christmas in my grocery store the other day and had I had the freezer space I would have stocked up. The reason chicken is most often used is that it is the cheapest, it has bone that is edible for any sized dog, and it is pretty bland. So the bland + the bone will help the dog transition more easily and keep the stool firm. The rule of thumb is to feed as big as or bigger than the dog's head - in order to prevent the dog gulping down a piece of raw food/bone and choking. This rarely happens, but certainly it can, (then again, one of our forum members' knows someone whose puppy choked to death on kibble!) and though to my mind there is much more risk, especially long-term, to my dogs if they were eating kibble, we do want to eliminate as many risks as we possibly can, and one way to do that is to feed big, especially at first. My Malamute mix ate chicken legs, necks, wing sections, etc. etc. but I knew him and knew he wasn't a gulper. The only way you find this out is to feed the items, so when raw is new (and high value to most dogs - much more exciting than processed food) you want to give pieces that are as large as possible. Which is why, especially since you can often get really good deals on them, whole chickens are great. The weight of each bird will be on the package, and then you can either hack them into meal-sized sections, or just feed the entire bird and take it away when you feel they have consumed roughly the amount of a single meal.
To figure out how much each dog should eat, check out this calculator:
Generally you start out at 2% of the dog's body weight, but if your dogs are super athletic and getting a lot of exercise, you may want to start out with 3% or even more. Good thing about this is that it's easy to adjust. If they seem hungry or are losing weight, feed more. If they aren't finishing their allotted portions routinely or are gaining weight you don't want them to gain, cut back a bit. Results will be seen very quickly either way.
Now, feeding nothing but bone-in chicken, you are going to be feeding an imbalanced diet, but a healthy dog's vitamin/mineral stores can absorb this imbalance for a period of at least several weeks. So after three or four weeks, you start to introduce organs. Just tiny bits at first - a piece of chicken liver the size of your thumbnail, for example. If that goes well, next time you add a bit more. Once you've introduced organ (remember, 5% of the diet is liver, 5% is other secreting organ, such as kidney, pancreas, etc. etc.) successfully you can introduce new proteins - beef, venison, bison, rabbit, pork, lamb, etc. Chicken can be a staple, but feed as much red meat as you can. Invest in a chest freezer if you are able to and have room for it - that way you can post ads on Craigslist for things like freezer-burned meat. Several people recently have gotten really great BIG scores like 100 pounds of elk or venison. Which, when you can get this stuff, will obviously bring down your feeding costs considerably!
Anyway, that's probably enough for now - but do check out Gio's thread. And welcome to raw - let us know how we can help!
|my posts | my page | msg me | my family's posts | gift me | become pals|| [notify]|