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Sunday, June 13, 2010


You may encounter problems when switching to raw.  These are a few things that I know people have had to deal with.

You will probably be concerned feeding big chunks of meat and bone to your dog.  This is very common and easily understood.  I still sit and watch my dogs eat.  Not so much because I am afraid of something happening with the food, but just as with young children, things can happen.  A dog is meant to eat chunks of meat and bones.  They can handle swallowing huge bites of meat and bone.  If a dog tries to swallow something that is too large, it will choke it back up, chew it again a bit and try to swallow it again.  It may not go down that time either!!  So, up it comes, is chewed again a bit and swallowed again.  This is a natural process for the dog.   Should a dog get something stuck in its throat, it is good to know the Heimlich maneuver for dogs.  You need to understand that more dogs die from swallowing or choking on tennis balls, toys and the like than die from choking on raw bones food.

A dog that is a gulper can be a problem, especially at first.  You may have to try different things to teach the dog not to gulp.  The only time that it is acceptable to let a dog eat from your hand, is when that dog is a gulper and you are trying to teach it to eat a bit at a time.  Or, you can feed a LARGE hunk that the dog must learn to pull and work to eat.  Usually a gulper gets over this problem and learns to enjoy it’s food.

A dog that has never been protective of it’s food may become so, especially over a bone.  This is natural and as long as it’s not too big of a problem, just watch your dogs when they are eating and be there if one tries to steal the others food.  A raw bone is worth fighting over, when kibble has never been seen that way!!

Some dogs, though rare, can’t eat certain proteins.  If your dog has trouble when a new food is introduced, it may show up in the ’runs’.  Give the dog a while (a couple of days) to adjust to the new protein, but if the problem continues, discontinue the new protein and go to another.  You may find that the dog will be ok with that protein at another time, or it may never tolerate it.  Fat can always be looked at as a culprit in digestion problems, so if your dog has problems and has had a fatty meal, cut back on the fat.  If you are just starting out and using chicken, you may want to skin the chicken at first.  It just depends on the dog.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Feeding Raw Meat, Bones and Organs

There are numerous diets of feeding raw.  I am discussing feeding only raw meat, raw bones and raw organs.  Your dog has no need for raw fruit or raw vegetables.  I feed what is known as the prey model diet.  However, since I do not feed the whole carcass, it is also known as Franken prey.  I feed a modified version of what a dog would eat in the wild.

To start feeding raw meat to your pet, there are a few things that you must know. 

You feed the raw according to the dogs weight.  The amount of food should be 2-3% of weight.  After you have fed raw for a while, you may have to adjust the amount of food, either way, depending on your dog.  If you have a very active dog, you may need to feed more.  Likewise, if your dog is nothing but a lap dog, you may need to feed less.  I have 3 dogs.  One weighs around 35, one 45 and one will top 50 if I let him.  I feed the little dog a pound and a half and the other two dogs get only a pound.  The little dog stays too skinny, so I am feeding him more fat now, but the other two maintain a good weight at one pound of meat and bones.

You may feed once a day, or even twice a day, whatever you and your dog are comfortable with.    Or, if you are comfortable with it, you can feed as much as your dog will eat, then let him go a day or two without eating.  This is true raw feeding as the dog would eat in the wild.  I’m not comfortable with that, so I feed once a day.

This is going to sound complicated, but don’t worry as this gets easy.  You need to feed 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ with 5% of the organ being liver.  However, you do not have to ration everything out.  A dog does not need bone every day.  It doesn’t need organ every day.  What you want to do is to average out over a period of time.  One day you might feed just meat.  The next day, there may be meat with too much bone, but over the two days, it averaged out.  You will be aiming at balance over time.  You never want to make a meal of just organs, especially, just liver.  This will give your dog runny stools, so go easy on the liver and work it in with the meal.  Remember that RAW bones are easy for your dog to eat and digest.  You never want to feed cooked bones.

It is good to vary the meats that you give to your dog.  Start with chicken, as it is the most easily digested protein.  A whole chicken is ideal, as the meat to bone ratio is fairly close with the whole chicken.  A large dog will dog do great with a whole chicken.  A medium dog will do good with a chicken thigh and leg.  The bone ratio in a chicken quarter is too high, but some where along the way, pitch the dog a solid meat meal and your are fine.  A chicken breast is a good ratio.

Your dog may have trouble adjusting to the raw food, but this won’t take long.  A dog who has been fed kibble for a while, will have to adjust it’s system to the new food.  Bones will be the hardest and may come back up occasionally.  A bone that comes back up and is in a yellowish saliva looking fluid is normal for the newly raw fed dog.  The yellow stuff is bile and the body is producing more bile to help to digest the bone.  At some point, the body decides that it cannot digest the bone and will get rid of it.  Do not let this worry you.  It is normal.  Even now, my dogs will rarely throw up a small bit of bone.  If you feed totally prey model and your dog eats deer hooves, they will always come back up!!

After 3 or 4 weeks of chicken, you can switch to a different protein.  Pork is good.  It’s cheap!  It can be pretty fatty, so if your dog has weight problems, you might have to watch the fat.  For a skinny dog, go for the fat.  Just add good ole solid meat along the way.  Stay with the pork for a while, then you can go to beef, buffalo, elk, deer, whatever you want.

There are certain bones that you should either avoid, or pick up after the dog has chewed the meat off of.  Weight bearing bones (leg bones) are hard and could cause a tooth to break or a slab fracture.  I dogive my dogs leg bones from a deer.  They chew the hide off, chew on the joint a bit, then I pick it up and get rid of it.  Knuckle bones are also not good.  Most dogs truly love ribs and the marrow in them is really good for the dog.  A rib meal will be fine once in a while, but be sure and give solid meat the next day.  Or, you could add a bit of liver with the ribs.

Bones, of course, are the source for calcium and phosphorus.  Calcium is constipating. You will see that a boney meal will cause the stool to turn white.  A white stool is fine once in a while, but a dog should not have white stools all the time.  If your dog has been constipated for a couple of days, give it some liver and cut back on the bone in the meal.

Organs are necessary for their vitamin and mineral content.  Liver, kidney, gizzards, heart, lung, are all organs.  However, the heart and gizzards are seen as a muscle and should be given as a meat meal.  Tongue is a muscle, as is cheek meat.  Sweetbreads are organs.   A whole head can be given and the dog will get the eyes and the brain, which are very good for them.  They get certain vitamins and minerals from certain parts of the animal.    Be sure and give the liver more than the other organs.  Some dogs will not eat chicken livers, but love beef livers.  It seems that some dogs don’t like the texture of certain meats and organs. 

The hide of animals is fine for the dog and good for them to chew on as long as it has not been processed in any way.  The hair from the hide will cleanse the dog’s digestive system from parasites and clean out the digestive tract.  If your dog eats a lot of hair, it will pass a lot of undigested hair.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What’s Really in Crap in a Bag?

Kibble was introduced about 100 years ago.  Before that, we fed our dogs mostly scraps from our meals and they scavenged what they could.  They lived good, healthy lives.  I remember feeding my dog scraps, as I am sure that many people do.  That was the way things were done.  Then along came kibble.  Why?

You would like to think that kibble was invented for the benefit of the dog.  Unfortunately, this is not true.  Kibble came about because there was waste from the processing of our meat.  Meat that was deemed ’unfit’ for human consumption was being thrown away and this was seen as unnecessary.  There needed to be a way to use this waste product. 

Rendering plants are the dark side of the meat processing industry.  If you have ever been by one, you know the smell is indescribable.   This is a quote from an article describing the rendering process:
RENDERING PLANT SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA -- The rendering plant floor is piled high with "raw product". Thousands of dead dogs and cats; heads and hooves from cattle, sheep, pigs and horses; whole skunks; rats and raccoons -- all waiting to be processed. In the 90 degree heat, the piles of dead animals seem to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarm over the carcasses.

Two bandanna-masked men begin operating Bobcat mini-dozers, loading the "raw" into a ten-foot deep stainless steel pit. They are undocumented workers from Mexico doing a dirty job. A giant auger-grinder at the bottom of the pit begins to turn. Popping bones and squeezing flesh are sounds from a nightmare you will never forget.

The dead dogs and cats that litter the floor could have come from the vet who had the unpleasant job of putting the pet to sleep.  Along with the pet’s body, the pet’s flea collar could be still on it.  The chemicals  (aka poisons) from the flea collar, along with the plastic and metal will be ground right along with the dead animal that was killed because it was perhaps sick and dying from cancer.  On top of that, the Phenobarbital that was used to kill the animal is still in the body.  Thousands of animals are euthanized daily and put into the meat processing industry.

The meat that is unfit for human consumption can mean anything from cattle hooves, chicken beaks, or it can mean diseased meat.  Cancerous meat that should always be disposed of, is ground right along with the other.  Grease from hot dog stands, restaurants and side show food stands are added along to give people a way to dispose of the hundreds of thousands of gallons of rancid and over heated grease that is used in making our food.  These are just a few examples of the meat product that goes into kibble. 

The grain and grain by-products that go into the kibble aren’t as disgusting as the meat products, but they are just as bad for your pet.  Only the cheapest grain goes into the kibble.  The grain may be moldy or it may have melamine in it and will kill loved pets as it did a few years ago.  By the way, the producers of the kibble that killed so many pets, over 3000, was known to be tainted with melamine and the owners of the company knew it!  If that’s not enough reason to avoid kibble, I don’t know what is.  The grains that are used in manufacturing kibble are the lowest of the low and contain little nutrition for the pet, if the carnivore could digest it.

The meat by products, the grain and any other trash that can be put into kibble are then cooked at high temperatures, killing any and all nutrition and enzymes that might have still been there.  The food must be deemed nutritive, so vitamins and minerals must be added.  Again, not the good, top quality vitamins and minerals that your want your pet to have, but the cheap ones from the cheapest source possible. 

The food must be palatable to your pet, so now it is sprayed with rancid grease  to make it smell good to the dog or cat. 

The crap in a bag is then packaged and sent to warehouses where it may sit in 100 degree temperature on an oak pallet that has been treated with preservatives to keep the bugs out.  It has been proven that this chemical can be absorbed into cardboard and plastic packaging.  Tylenol had to pull some of its product off of the market because it was tainted.  The tainted product was from sitting on pallets that were poisoned.

Thousands of dollars are spent on advertising to get you to buy this ‘wonderful’ food to give to your dog that you love so much and would do anything for, but they never tell you the background of where the so-called food comes from.

                                                              Even my dogs like junk food!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dog or Cow

I'm getting away from my art and flowers for a subject that is very near and dear to my heart.  Raw feeding.

I have been raw feeding my dogs  between 3 and 4 years now.  I started feeding raw after dogs started dying from eating manufactured dog food, known as kibble.  I had tried cooking food for the dogs, but that just didn't seem to be the answer.  Looking for a better way to feed my dogs, I stumbled on a website that talked about feeding raw meat, bones and organs.  I was interested and at that point I began a journey that has led me to discover many things about the health of my dogs.  This is the first part of that journey.

Why raw food?

Are dogs carnivores or omnivores?  For years, the dog has been understood to be an omnivore.  After all, the dog eats fruits, nuts, vegetables and even grass.  Does this make your dog an omnivore though?  No, your dog is a carnivore.  If you go by strictly classification, the dog is classified as Canis lupus familiaris.  The dog was reclassified from omnivore to carnivore by the Smithsonian Institute after DNA testing was done and proved that the dog is only removed from the wolf by .2%.  The gray wolf (Canis lupis) is the dogs closest relative.  

Some people don’t want to go by classification alone, so then we should look at the dogs anatomy, particularly the head and the digestive system.

The domestic dog does not have the same shape of skull nor the same amount of teeth as the wolf, but it does have the same type of teeth.  The dogs teeth are made for ripping and tearing meat and hide from the bone of a carcass.  The front teeth are used for pulling the teeth from the bone and the back teeth are used to scissor the meat from the bone.  The teeth are the main indicator of what an animal should eat.  An omnivore, such as a bear, has teeth for eating fruits and nuts and meat.  Carnivores have teeth for eating meat and your dog is a carnivore.

A dog has a powerful jaw and neck muscles for pulling down prey and for eating that prey animal.  The jaws open wide for grabbing the prey and for swallowing the large pieces of food that it pulls from the carcass.  The skull is heavy and made to prevent lateral movement of the  lower jaw.  The inability to move the jaw sideways prevents the sideways movement and allows ONLY up and down movement. 

The rest of the body is also designed to be a carnivore.  The eyes are placed on the front of the dogs head, not on the side as in prey animals.  The dog has the necessary senses designed to find it’s prey, such as hearing and smell.  The dog has the cunning to find the least opponent and the ability to work with another to take down it’s prey.

Internally, the dog is also designed for a raw diet.  The dog has an elastic stomach designed to stretch for large quantities of meat, bones, organs and hide.  It has a simple stomach, short foregut, and a short, smooth, unsacculated colon.  Simply put, this allows food the pass through the digestive tract quickly. 

Animals require enzymes to digest their food.  There are many, many enzymes needed to digest food.  Humans and other animals have digestive enzymes in their saliva to start the long process of digesting vegetables and plants.  Amylase, one of the enzymes needed to start digestion of the carbs and starches  is not present in the dogs saliva.  Cooking food at high temperatures, which is required for kibble, destroys the naturally occurring enzymes in raw food.  All of these enzymes are required and if the enzymes are not in the food, or the dogs saliva, then the pancreas must produce these enzymes.  Over a period of time, the pancreas having to produce too many enzymes,  the pancreas wears out.    There is also no friendly bacteria in the dogs system to break down cellulose and starch, so most nutrients in kibble are not available to the dog.  After all the years of dogs eating kibble and manufactured dog food, they still have not evolved to be able to handle the cooked diet.

Many people worry about a dog ingesting bacteria that is present in raw foods.  This is not a problem to the dog because the dog produces an enzyme called lysozyme that destroys bacteria.  The dogs stomach is also highly acidic which gives bacteria little chance to live.  A dogs stomach has a ph of 1!!

The dog has been changed by man in many ways.  We have everything from tiny Chihuahuas to huge Great Danes.  Man has taken white dogs and made them spotted and the spotted, black.  We have dogs whose skulls have been changed to meet what their owners view as pretty, such as the English Bull Dog.  German Shepherds have been changed to make their stance different.  But, modern man and his manufactured food have  not changed the dogs teeth, jaws, skull nor his digestive system.

Good Links for Raw Feeding Info