How to feed your dog a healthier and less expensive diet

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How to Feed Your Dog Raw Food Cheaper Than Dog Food

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Jasper my old boy and Jake the puppy are happy raw fed doggies.

With all the pet food recalls and still today (Jan 2009)there is another dog treat recall although they say it is a voluntary one… again! It is hard to know what is safe to give your dog anymore. Prey model raw is one of the raw diets out there and to me it makes the most sense. The old wives tale that if you feed a dog raw meat it will make him mean is simply not true. And from a health standpoint many holistic Veterinarians swear by it. No more allergies, skin and coat improves, no more doggy dental appointments to simply clean teeth, Cancer risk is diminished all are well documented health benefits to feeding a raw diet instead of kibble.

I feed what is considered an all natural raw diet in that my dogs only receive vegetable foods as a treat and not part of their regular diet. This is not your typical “bones and raw food diet” but it is considered the healthiest choice for dogs and cats.

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Oh yeah, Jasper is a goon… he loves to roll on his back after his meals… cant quite figure that one out but doesnt he look pleased with himself? A good general rule of thumb is to feed 2-3% of your dogs ideal body weight daily. That means if you have a normal active dog and he should weigh 100 lbs then he should be eating 2-3 lbs of meat daily. Now most of us dont have 100 lb dogs (I have one) but you get the general idea. Jasper my old man should weigh 75 lbs but he is very sedentary so he gets the equivelent of 1 chicken leg a day. Where Jake gets 2-3 lbs of meat a day as he is more active, but thin.

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Jake on Jaspers birthday sharing birthday ribs instead of birthday cake…LOL. When you figure your dogs meals you figure on an overall basis. This means that over thecourse of a month he should recieve 10% edible bone, 10% organ meat, 10% fat and skin and the rest any type of muscle meat. Some dogs love veggies so it is ok to throw some in there from time to time, and it is true that vegies may be eaten with a whole animal meal so while it is controversial to do so. Personally I see no harm in it, and my vet agrees.
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By edible bone we mean just that. No weight bearing bones of large animals, these have a tendancy to break teeth and are of no use to the dog except for recreational chewing. These are bones such as femurs or large thigh bones of cattle, adult sheep and pigs. Beef Rib bones for smaller dogs also falls into this catagory but they are fine for larger dogs. The idea here is that the dog must be able to “Eat” the bone, not simply chew on it. In the begining your dogs digestive juices won’t be strong enough to digest bone so you will find little “upchucks” where the dog will vomit some bone and yellow bile. Once your dogs digestion is up to speed this will no longer be a problem. No one warned me about this so I am making sure I warn you so you won’t get worried and start calling your veterinarian thinking you are killing your dog.

Raw bone is in, cooked bone in ANY form are out! Raw bone is 100% digestable and should not harm your dog in any way. Cooked bone on the other hand is changed at the molecular level by cooking and is made harder. Cooked bone can and will splinter and can cause preforation of the stomach or gut in your dog. This is an emergency situation and can result in the death of your pet… DO not feed cooked bone EVER! My family has a hard time understanding this concept, but it is very important to the health and safety of your dog!

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Keep an eye on all the supermarket ads. In our area the Mexican Markets often run sales on chicken hindquarters in the 10 lb bags for 39 cents a pound. When they do I buy 50-100 lbs of it for my dogs but I have 3 German Shepherds to feed… Also watch the sales for hamburger, I have gotten it for less than a dollar a pound, same thing with Liver. Pork can be another good deal, at Albertsons I get trims which are usually more meat than fat for 49cents a pound. and I have them get me a case of pork neck bones for around 33 cents a pound. If you have a friend who goes fishing or hunting ask them for trims or whatever they do not want. Dont forget about Freecycle.com or craigslist you can often find people cleaning out their freezers of old freezer burnt meat, it may not be good for you but your dog will love it. While you are at it you can find freezers that way too.
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Even puppies can be started on raw meat as a first food
The first time you offer your dog raw you will get one of two reactions… one, he will think he died and went to heaven, or two he will look at you as if you just lost your mind! Be patient, no dog ever starved to death in their own home with an owner who offered to feed them! If he turns his nose up, just pick it up and put it in the fridge for tomarrow… he may not eat for a couple of days but most of our dogs are overweight anyway so it wont hurt them. Now if your dog is a little guy and fit and trim, you may have to play a bit to get him to eat in the begining.

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Start out slow, feed one meat source at a time. This means start out with say chicken and feed only chicken for the first week or two before offering another kind of meat. Rarely but it does happen that a dog may really have an allergy to a meat source, if you start out offering too many types of meat at a time you may not know which one is upsetting his system. He will also have less stools for you to clean as most of prepared dog food is fillers that just make alot of poo. His stool will also be softer, if it is runny add more bone, if it is hard add less bone. Play with the amount of fat in the diet as well. For some dogs pork makes for some really nasty gass or burps… ughhhh. After they have been getting pork and chicken for a while, you can mix the two to reduce that problem.

Beef heart is actually considered a meat and not an organ since it is a muscle
Organ meats may be difficult to get down some dogs. you can try feeding it straight from the freezer. My boys don’t like the texture of liver if given fresh but will eat it by the pound if I let them have it raw! Again controversial with raw groups but you could dehydrate it and use it as treats. Controversial as dehydrated it is cooked and no longer raw. Cooking destroys some of the nutrition in the raw food, heat destroys certian vitamins as well as other nutrients, so while this is a great way to start, you don’t want to do this on a regular basis.

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Recipies for feeding raw. Some people tend to over think this one and always seem to want a recipe. Well this is way too easy. Take meat item out of the freezer and thaw and feed. Or if you have a large dog just take it out of the freezer and feed. It is that simple. If you want a recipe, think of 10% organ, 10% fat, 10% edible bone, 70% meat. Ok, I am done being a smart a@@… LOL
If you have a large dog say over 40 lbs you dont want to feed chicken or turkey necks… why you ask? Many big dogs will try to swallow these whole and if they do the necks can pose a choking hazard. If your dog meticulously chewes his food, this may not be a problem. Use your best judgement.

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Some dogs will guard their food (this dog really isn’t)
For many dogs this is really high value food. They really want to keep it to themselves and may growl or snap at your or a child until they understand that this will be a regular meal time food. Until they get the idea, use caution when aproaching your dog or allowing children to feed the dog as they could be bitten. It would not be the dogs fault, it would be yours! So be prepared and be safe. Not all dogs react this way, but some will so it is better to be prepared and forwarned.
There are lots of great information out there on feeding raw and prey model diets. Check out yahoo groups and other sites for more information. Some Vets still dont like the idea of raw feeding, this is because their training on canine nutrition was paid for and presented by the dog food companies. It is a fact that most canine cancers are linked to commercial diets, I recently read on the American Veterinary website that it is estimated that 80% of all dogs fed commercial diets will develop cancer in their lifetimes. 100% of dogs fed commercial diets need dental care by age 2. Most people now brush the teeth of their dogs, with a raw diet properly fed where the dog has to really chew his food you will see cleaner teeth in a matter of weeks and if there is not serious gum or tooth disease you will never have to brush your dogs teeth or pay for another dental cleaning! This is not hype but truth, you can easily find out for yourself on the internet if you look.

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100% of dogs fed a commercial diet develop dental disease by age 2
Salmonella is a big problem today in commercial dog foods. It is also found everywhere in the environment. Dogs fed a raw diet should be more suseptable to Salmonella or so you would think but this also is simply not true and presented in fact on the american veterinary websites. Dogs fed a raw diet and not receiving supplimental feedings of kibble have much stronger digestive juices than dogs fed kibble or a combination of the two. As such, dogs fed exclusively on raw foods do not get salmonella from their food, the digestive enzymes kill it before it can cause disease. Some holistic veterinarians claim that dogs fed raw also have some immunity to intestinal parasites and heartworm but I do not trust that as I have personally not been able to find any studies to prove this belief. I still routinely have my dogs checked for worms, I have never needed to worm them, but still check and my dogs are on preventitive heartworm meds just to be safe! I know that the heartworm meds also prevent many types of intestinal worms, and am not saying that the raw diet is responsible for keeping them worm free, just that I have never “had” to worm my dogs since starting raw, when I had to before.

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Nice white teeth and healthy gums are the payoff from feeding an apropriate raw diet
Some dogs love the taste of garlic so if your dog is turning his nose up to the raw food you can sprinkle a little garlic powder on the meat. You can also run it under very hot water to “cook” the outside a bit, or sear it on the frying pan. you may need to get a little creative in the beginning. Dog food companies have been playing with foods for years to get our dogs to eat them, they add sugars, extra fats, flavorings, seasonings etc… some dogs become addicted to these additives and take a little while to accept something new.

Things to consider

  • As with any information, use your own best judgement. The choice of what you feed your dog is your own, and I can not be held responsible for your actions. Take what information makes sense, do your own research and draw your own conclusions on what is best in your given situation.
  • There is pleanty of documented evidence to show that grains, fillers, preservitives, dyes ect all cause cancer, and allergies in dogs. Do your research and then do what is best for your dog, I believe once you make the switch you will see a healthier happier dog with a vibrant coat, shiny eyes and a new love of life.
  • If you insist on feeding raw and kibble, do not feed at the same time. Both foods digest at different rates and feeding at the same time can cause gastric upset.
  • Never feed cooked bone to your dog
  • Never give your dog Corn on the cob without close supervision. While I am talking about feeding raw meat in this article, my neighbor just lost his Corgi to a piece of corn cob! I don’t want anyone else to ever suffer the loss of their pet this way again…
  • Talk with your veterinarian about Raw feeding, but dont be suprised if he wants you to feed one of his dog foods instead. Research everything!
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