Starting Raw

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: Mon Jun 7, '10 8:14am PST 
I just started my 3 year old Siberian Husky on a raw diet from the advise of a Holistic Store. He has had bad poops on and off for 3 years but I was against raw. Its only been 3 days but he is loving it and his poo is already better. My problem is I have 3 other siberians and although I know my girl doesn't like it and she's 10 so I can't change her mind, my other boy who is 8 really wants the raw now. We bought the Nature's Variety medallions to start him off and it just doesn't seem like we will be able to afford to do the raw. I wanted to know if anyone has any suggestion. Also I was told not to mix kibble with raw but I'm not sure of the reason.
Thank you.

I want to play!
Barked: Mon Jun 7, '10 8:52am PST 
I'm glad your pup is doing better on raw.

Yeah pre made raw can be expensive for bigger dogs. I'd recommended doing it prey modal style a bit cheaper.

I'd start out with just chicken like chicken legs, quarters, breast, thighs, or you can do a half a chicken or whole especially if your dog gulps it's food it's best to feed a bit bigger sized foods so they have to learn to chew the bone not swallow it whole..

Doing do it yourself raw can be a bit tricky when new, but after a bit it'll come second nature.

Take it slow and easy just do chicken for two weeks and once things are good slowly introduce another protein source I'd start on beef then pork or you can do pork then beef it's up to you.

When it comes time to add organs do it slowly about a size of your fingernail maybe smaller depends how they take to the raw. organs can cause loose stool when they're not used to it or if given too much at one time.

I'm still new to raw only 11 weeks in and I just love it Saya has done wonderful on it. There are some husky owners who feed raw too. =)

Read the thread so your interested in raw it has many good informative links.

Tikka made a spreadsheet that helps with feeding raw once you download it you enter your dogs weight and it'll show you how much of meat, bone, and organs to give.

I used it as a starting point.

Saya is used to her organs so I give her weekly organs two times a week on her bone in meals.

Prey modal raw follows this guideline 80%meat/10%bone/5%liver/5% other secreting organ like kidney, pancreas, or spleen etc..

Fruits and veggies are not necessary if your on prey modal, but it doesn't really hurt I give Saya apple and blueberries when I have them for myself as a treat, but I don't go out of my way to give her these.

Great thing about raw is the poop is smaller and goes away after a hard rain or a couple light rains.

When starting out poop might have some mucous in it, bone pieces, or tiny bits of blood, but once things are settled it should be normal.

Poop varies depends on what the dog have eaten chicken the poop is brown, beef a bit darker, organs a bit black I think I forgot..

With raw it'll be a bit expensive at first, but when you see good deals on meat then it's best to stock up on it. Chest freezers are a raw feeders best friend. Also some people have gotten good scores off of craigs list.

Before ordering bunch of things make sure the dogs like it and sometimes dogs don't like liver or kidney so you might need to sear it a little or hid it in ground meat or something. I'm lucky that Saya isn't too picky with her organs..

I'm sure you'll get lots of answers soon and good luck with raw.

Giving my paw- can get me- anything!
Barked: Mon Jun 7, '10 9:07am PST 
I could never feed premade raw, its wwaayyy too expensive for us. I have 2 large breed dogs and I only pay about $50 per month to feed them both. Sometimes less! Thats a steal! wink I can get pork for $.89, beef for $.99 and chicken leg quarters for $.45 at my local run down meat market. Its so much cheaper than kibble for us and it took away Captain's constant colitis (explosive diarrhea). At first it seems a little intimidating but really its not that bad, you just need to use the raw spreadsheet and weigh everything out. After a while it will be very natural.


Bat Girl
Barked: Mon Jun 7, '10 9:10am PST 
Premade raw is so much more expensive than prey model raw you can buy from a store.
Tucker, CGC,- TDI

Bloggin' Dog
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!

Barked: Tue Jun 8, '10 5:19pm PST 
Thank you all for your advice

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Tue Jun 8, '10 5:29pm PST 
Very glad the raw is helping. It isn't just helping the dog, you are more comfortable with the idea now! I didn't have trouble with feeding my dog as I had been home cooking for a number of months before starting raw and I knew the dogs were fine with raw poultry bones as they got the turkey wing tips!

I could never have fed premade, the cost is far too high even for one middle aged medium sized dog. I found sales on meats which brought the cost down to something I could afford. Even grocery store sale meats are cheaper feeding raw prey style than cooking the same meat as I have to toss the bone and add in calcium and a fiber source, veggies/fruits/grains!

Dogster is a huge help, I have learned so much over the years I have been here.