Raw feeding Basics

Raw Feeding Basics

 by: Susan Lewelling
Basically you want just a few things when feeding Raw:
1. VARIETY- Feed as many meats as you can get (but not the neighbor’s cat…lol), even if you don’t get something regularly, get it when ever you can. Variety over time.
Here are some suggestions, but certainly not everything you could feed: chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, rabbit, goat, sheep/lamb, deer, squirrel, bison, elk, pheasant, quail, eggs, llama, kangaroo. You can source your meat from the grocery store, speciality/boutique pet stores, ethnic markets, online speciality companies, farmer’s markets, local farmers-direct(yay you, if you can do this!)local butchers or processors, hunters, friends & family, newspaper or online “want-ad/marketplace” sites such as Craigslist or free-cycle) or fliers at a club or social/sports facility you are a member of. Another source, not for the squeamish, is to get on a road kill pick up list with your state or local highway patrol, sheriff or road maintenance department. (remember the circle of Life, at least this way it is not going to waste) Only take freshly killed deer (If in the summer you will have to judge how fast the meat will turn bad) and take them to the processor or butcher them yourself (if you know how) right away. Any wild animal you get should appear to have been in good health, and should be frozen in the deep-freezer for AT LEAST 2-3 weeks. You may get quite good (or lucky) and get many things for free!
2. QUALITY- Try to get the best you can afford, feed grass-fed animals whenever possible, to negate the need to supplement(see below). But even if you have to buy grocery store meats, it is better that your dog have that, than kibble that could contain euthanized animals! Don’t feel so bad if you had a lean week and had to buy “cheap” chicken, just continue to buy the best quality you can afford.
3. Use 80/10/10 as your BASIC guideline, 80% muscle ,eat, including fat, 10% bone (non-weight bearing bones, never cooked bones), 10% organ meats- 5% of that should be liver, the other 5% should be organs such as brain, kidney, spleen, reproductive organs, eyeballs, etc.
4. Measure OVER TIME, so for example, you don’t have to feed liver every day, you can feed it 1-2 x per week if you want(caution, too much organ, especially liver, at once will give dogs a “liquid stool” so I wouldn’t recommend a whole meal of liver…
5.You want to feed about 2-3 % of the Ideal ADULT Weight. Puppies can be fed 2-3 % of their expected ADULT weight, broke up into 2-6 meals per day depending on your puppy’s age & preferences. You should be able to feel & slightly see your Adult Carolina Dog’s ribs, but not see deep indention between them. Check the UKC Breed Standard for details on a CD’s ideal weight & appearance.
6. Everyone will have to tweak their “recipe” for Raw Feeding success, each dog is different, and has different needs and tolerances. Some need more than 10% bone, some need less, stool firmness is a good indicator of this; some need to eat 3.5% of I.A.W. to stay fit, some may need barely 2%.
Details I Have Learned
7. Supplementing – Some say Yes, some say No. My thought on this is that unless you are feeding grass/natural-fed whole prey, you need to supplement to make up for the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, trace-nutrients & such that are missing in “feed-lot” animals. These animals may be supplemented for such losses, but many of the supplements used are not bio-available, meaning the animal cannot process & completely use the vitamins/etc as they would be able to if fed naturally, Which starts a chain-reaction of deficiencies, that could have a negative effect on your dog’s health. If you decide to supplement, do your research and make sure you use ingredients that are bio-available or your puppy/dog will not be able to make actual use of the ingredients. An example would be Vitamin A that is made from plants or chemicals, rather than from liver. Look at the way it was grown, harvested, processed & made into whatever product you are buying. Another example is, if you are using Apple Cider Vinegar, make sure it was made from apples rather than from corn(READ the labels!) I did NOT realize that they could do this, but it was right there on the label!!! “Organically grown is better, but make sure you know what the company is meaning by “Organic”. Some of the Supplements used are Salmon Oil, Vitamin E, and many multi-vitamin blends especially made for dogs.
8. Fruits & Vegetables Raw, of course! There is controversy in the raw-feeding community regarding this issue. I do not think that in the wild, dogs or wolves eat the entire contents of their prey’s stomachs.
Dogs do not have the digestive system to break down & make use of fruits & veggies, starting with their teeth(no flat molars for grinding) and they do not have the  Salivary enzyme, Amylase that is necessary to digest vegetables.  So feeding fruits and vegetables puts stress on the pancreas to produce enough amylase to digest  the load of fruits and vegetables (also grains). If you wish to occasionally give your dog veggie pieces as treats that is ok. Also a very small amount of herbs and seasonal fruits and berries is acceptable but not necessary.
9. BONES- Always make sure the bones you are feeding are raw! Raw bones are more flexible and do not splinter like cooked bones do. Raw bones are more easily digestible than cooked ones. Cooking removes many of the oils, fats and nutrients from the bone and marrow. Feed non-weight bearing bones (legs, leg joints) as the calculated 10% of the meal. Many people give leg bones or knuckle bones as recreation bones for the dog to chew on, but you need to be very careful of these type bones, because they are more dense(hard) and have been known to break teeth. Beef or deer spine bones are good complicated rec bones. Always make sure the bones you give your dog are size appropriate. Puppies can be fed chicken wings, chicken necks, small bones of smaller animals such as rabbit, or feeder mice, etc. Some people feed crushed or ground bones, but I rarely do this.
10. Fur & Feathers? If your dog will eat it, I say go for it! In examining wolf droppings, researchers have found fur or feathers wrapped tightly around a bit of bone or some random foreign object that had been eaten. I have found evidence of this in my own dog’s droppings. The added texture can also help to clean deposits from intestinal walls and creases, as well as help to express the anal glands. There is probably not a great lot of nutrition in the fur/feathers, and you will see it pass as mostly whole. I would not feed a large amount, for example, when cutting up a deer, I leave most of the fur on and just cut it up right on the meat. (make sure it is frozen for at least 2-3 weeks in a deep freezer).
Feeding large pieces of meat & bone keep your dog from gulping too fast.
11. Gulpers -If you have a dog who loves his raw food & wants to get it in his stomach the fastest way possible, usually by swallowing it whole, you can try a few things: whole prey, feeding his food frozen, or feeding at least a head-sized portion, which will force him to slow down and chew. As with anything prevention is the best cure so when your dog is a puppy, take the time to teach him to properly chew his food. You can do this by holding your dog’s meal in your hand and only letting him gnaw on a little bit at a time. (this will also teach him to not be food possessive with you). In addition to slowing him down, feeding large pieces or whole prey provides unparalleled teeth cleaning! For optimal cleaning, your dog needs access to muscle meat, bone and stringy parts like tendons and ligaments.
If you take your eye off of your dog for a minute, he will probably try to “bury” a bone or juicy RMB somewhere in your house to enjoy a few days later. A pleasant thought for the dog, but a rather smelly, surprising discovery for you when you put on a shoe, or lift up a cushion or pillow… This will also happen(probably more frequently) if you feed outside! Just another reason to watch your dog the whole time he is eating!
POO: This is good news, your dog’s poo will no longer sit in your yard, in the same shape it came out, for eternity, or until you step in it or shovel it up! A raw fed dog’s poo will quickly turn hard, dry out, turn grayish white and crumble into dust. All that kibble fed dog’s poo-pile is, is undigested corn…
Puke: Occasionally one of my dogs will gack up a piece of bone or cartilage that they have not chewed good enough and will retry it. I just let them do it, I would rather they did this than trying to digest it and getting an impaction or it piercing the gut.
They are dogs, not humans. They need things we do not need(and vice versa) and they have instinct about things we will never know… If we can help them be healthy and have a strong immune system as they were intended by God to have, then we will not have to worry half as much as we do about them! Let them be dogs….
13. I advise you to use the internet, your library or to buy books, but educate yourself. Read and see if what you are reading makes sense with Nature. You don’t have to rely on what you “learn” about dog nutrition from a commercial or flier about the brand the vet conveniently sells in his clinic.
I am not a veterinarian. This is my opinion regarding what I have researched during my 5 years of feeding raw and is my interpretation of what I have read. Anyone switching your dog to raw should find and consult with a Naturopath, Classical Homeopath, a good raw-educated Holistic DVM or Open-Minded general practice DVM. A raw educated Vet will be able to guide you in making a raw balanced meal plan for your pets and in making decisions about these and many other issues you may experience on your raw feeding journey.

I breed Naturally Reared UKC Carolina Dogs, I consult/coach natural rearing to carnivore pet owners, with a focus on Naturopathy and the Raw Diet. I live on a mini farm with my husband, dogs and goats and various fowl and in my spare time, I make all natural lotions and enjoy Barn Hunt trials with my dogs.

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Posted in Carnivore Nutrition, Natural Rearing, Raw Feeding

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