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.