Nepalese police dogs, after being smeared with vermillion on their foreheads and marigold garlands placed around their necks on the occasion of the Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, on November 13, 2012. On Tihar, it is customary in Nepal for people to offer blessings to dogs, which, according to Hindu tradition, are the messengers of Yamaraj, the god of death. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)
Some new research which looks at differences in the behavioral characteristics of dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores compared to those obtained from noncommercial breeders has produced some disturbing results. The research appears in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Associationand was conducted by Utah veterinarian Frank McMillan from the Best Friends Animal Society and a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Apologies for the shameless self promotion but I started a photo and training blog for my German Shepherd puppy. You should check it out because he’s cute as hell!
DIY Ice Lick or Dogsicle for Dogs. *EDIT: This is the Kool Dogz but I’m having trouble finding out where it is available for sale now on their website.
There is a short video showing how it’s made.But concept is still the same - freeze water in a bucket with treats, dog toys, chicken broth etc…
Instructions for Kool Dogz or any dogsicle:
- Fill the 96 oz. bucket with water or use chicken/beef broth.
- Add dog toys and treats.
- Freeze the bucket in the freezer until it is hard.
Sorry for reblogging my own dog but I thought he looked quite nice today
- Dominance is not a “behavior issue.”
- Dominance does not apply to human-animal relationships. (Ever. Nevereverever.)
- Actual dominance between members of a certain species do not work like you (probably) think they work.
It’s time I put this on my Tumblr for safe keeping and easy linkage to people on Reddit and other sites. It was written for fellow Corgi owners, but it applies to dogs of all sizes and shapes.
There are a thousand different ways to feed raw, and some are better than others. I feed a Whole Prey Model (WPM) or Prey Model Raw (PMR) diet, which I think is the best way to feed raw because it is supposed to mimic a whole animal—hence the name. Dogs are inobligate or facultative carnivores—which means they can consume and do very well on 100% animal products, but they can expand their diet to plant matter when necessary to survive. But, surviving is different from thriving. The dog will pick the meat product over the plant product every time. A whole animal can be approximated by 80-85% muscle, 10-15% bone, and 5-10% organs (half of which should be liver). The parts that are fed do not have to belong to the same species. These amounts make sense and I am comfortable with the WPM philosophy as a whole.
I am not a big fan of the BARF diet, the only raw diet that many are familiar with. I feel like it is not nutritionally complete. If you have to supplement vegetable matter as a major diet component when feeding a raw diet, you’re doing it wrong, because dogs handle vegetable matter very poorly. Why supplement a diet with something they can’t digest? In addition to this, I suggest you stop viewing “raw meaty bones (RMBs)” as bones with meat and start viewing them as meat with bones, if that is your current perception. Of course, a lot of raw feeders do feed BARF inclusive of veg matter and their dogs are doing great. The amounts of bone/muscle/organ fed end up being very similar to the WPM amounts, but how the diet arrives at those percentages is flawed, IMO. The following study is another reason I frown upon veg matter being used in homemade diets if it can be avoided:
[Comparative evaluation of nutritional adequacy of rice-meat based homemade diet with or without vegetables in Great Dane pups. Four female Great Dane pups (3 months; 16 kg) were used in a crossover design to study the influence of vegetable supplementation of rice-meat based homemade diet. Accordingly, the puppies were fed two diets viz. rice-meat and rice-meat-vegetables in the proportion of 20:80 and 16:68:16, respectively, on as fed basis, The vegetables used contained potato, tomato and cabbage in equal proportions. The experimental protocol, consisting of two subsequent periods of 14 d each, involved a digestion trial of 3 d during 12-14 d followed by blood collection on day 15. The results revealed that supplementation of vegetables drastically reduced (P<0.001) the palatability as well as food consumption leading consequently to a reduction in mean daily intakes of protein, energy (ME), calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc. The digestibility of DM, OM and carbohydrates also decreased (P<0.001) on feeding the vegetables supplemented diet with a similar trend for that of protein (P=0.077) and fibre (P=0.099). The faecal attributes viz. volume, moisture, pH and excretion of dry and wet faeces per 100 g DM intake exhibited an increasing trend in the vegetables supplemented pups with no effects on short chain fatty acids and lactate concentrations. Serum metabolic profiles of the two groups were similar except for higher (P<0.05) values of urea and uric acid in the vegetables-fed pups. The antioxidant profile was also similar between the two groups except for the total and protein-bound thiols, which were higher (P<0.01) in the vegetables fed puppies. It is concluded that indiscriminate supplementation of vegetables in the diet may adversely affect the nutritional status of the puppies.]
Amounts of raw food are measured by weight, not by cup. I suggest a digital meat scale until you can learn to eyeball it. The daily intake of food is equal to 2-3% of the dog’s ideal body weight. Not the standard’s ideal and not his current weight, but his ideal weight. Puppies should be eating 2-3% of their ideal adult body weight or 10% of their current body weight per day. My 31 pound dog gets between 10 and 15 oz of food a day, for example. I created a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel helping me determine how much of what to feed. I could email that to you if you’d like, but it is a bit hard to understand.
There are three ways to feed WPM raw, the first being the most ideal but least feasible: Allowing the dog(s) to chow down on a complete animal carcass until it is [mostly] gone, then bringing in a new animal carcass. Rinse and repeat. Not sure of the logistics of this, but I would love to know them.
The second is to balance meat/organ/bone ratio over the course of a week. Organs once or twice a week, bones two or three times a week, whatever. As long as the dog gets its proper ratios over the course of the week, that’s fine. I don’t feed this way because I don’t have the space or time or organizational skills. This becomes easier and more desirable to do with multiple or larger dogs, I feel.
The last way to do it is to balance out food for each day. I have just one dog whose daily food fits quite easily inside a quart Ziploc bag, so this is super easy! On a day to day basis, I only need to pull out a bag from the freezer, defrost it, and then dump it effortlessly into a bowl. No thought required at meal time. I buy lots of meat at once and then take it home and do what I call “meat processing”. I pull out my scale, get my ziplock bags, and weigh out how much he needs and I throw it in the bag. For a 10 oz meal, I will have 1 oz of organs in the bag (10%), a hunk of meat with bones in it, and then a hunk of muscle meat making up the difference. Each bag contains a day’s worth of food that I can choose to feed him all at once or multiple times throughout the day. Not every bag has the same thing in it. Not every bag is suitable to be fed twice a day. Lately, he’s been getting fed once a day. This seems to work out great for all of us. I feed him outside on the patio so I don’t need to disinfect anything.
Because I didn’t have access to kidneys, the organs for last summer consisted entirely of pork liver. Kidneys and livers are the most nutritious organs, but at least 50% of the organ amount should be liver. It’s vital you don’t feed too much liver because it’s so dense with vitamins that it could cause a vitamin overdose. If you stick between 5-10% liver, though, no worries. Familiarize yourself with fat soluble vitamin overdose symptoms. There was a time last semester where Waffle started drinking a lot more water than normal, and something else just seemed off. I concluded he was receiving too much vitamin D in his diet between his fish oil supplements and his new grass-fed beef liver, which is higher in vitamins than your typical corn-fed stuff. I cut back the fish oil and his drinking habits returned to normal.
My favorite muscle meat is beef heart because it’s pretty cheap and super nutritious! Chicken is super cheap too. For all your meats, you need to be sure you’re getting it from a trusted source. I don’t buy supermarket chicken anymore because my dog supposedly contracted a campylobacter infection from it. Any other muscle meat will do, but it tends to be very pricey. Regardless of price, variety is key. You want to be sure your dog is getting a variety of protein sources to cover nutritional gaps. I have not yet mastered the art of buying super cheap cuts of meat and making a balanced diet from it, but it can be done! I think it’s easier to do if you live in a more rural area.
I have a wide range of preferred boney meats. Turkey necks are great for an average amount of bone! The bone in them is not insubstantial, but it’s less than the other boney meats I like to feed. Oxtail is a definite favorite of mine. It’s mostly bone and cartilage with a layer of meat, fat, and skin around it. Not much marrow, GREAT for cleaning teeth. I have inch-thick slices of beef neck bones that have an inch of red meat around them. Pork tails are moderately boney but have a lot of fat on them, so cut that fat off. Because it’s impossible to weigh out bones, it’s a guessing game. You can tell if you’re feeding the right amount of bones by their poop. They should not be constipated and the poop should not be cement-like—that means too much bone. If it’s kind of soft or even goopy, not enough bone.
It’s important to feed edible bone. Some bones are very hard and are inedible—these include femurs and other leg bones, even knuckle bones, of adult ruminants. Necks, backs, tails, poultry legs/wings, and ribs are all edible and should make up the majority of consumed bone. The harder, inedible bones are fun to give as toys but do pose a risk in terms of the bone chipping off or teeth-breaking. Lots of slab fractures come from marrow bones!
The place I buy my meat has some ground raw food for sale by Blue Ridge Beef and I’ll buy that for him too. I get ground deer and green tripe for him from that company, and it is super cheap. Green tripe is the “superfood” of dog food; it is nutritionally complete and if it’s fed regularly, can really help maintain a healthy gut flora balance. I try to feed green tripe once a week. It smells like cow shit but whatever.
Gulping boney meats can be a real problem. I know a Corgi owner who fed homemade raw and lost their first Corgi to a turkey neck that wasn’t chewed very well. There is a learning curve for eating raw food. The dog will chew parts of it, try to swallow, it will get “stuck” (not really stuck but it is still attached to the unchewed portion and can’t be swallowed), then they will spit it up and keep trying. This is normal, do not be alarmed. If the dog STOPS chewing, has a bewildered look on its face, walks in circles, or other strange behavior, the dog is probably actually choking and needs some assistance. Doggy heimlich is a good thing to learn! I haven’t needed to use it and hopefully never will, but I watch my dog eat his food in case I need to jump in there and help him unlodge something. There have been some occasions where the food gets stuck in his teeth and I’ve needed to help him there, but fortunately that was not life-threatening.
To introduce your dog to raw food, I would start with chicken. The bones are very soft and chewable, and once he is used to chewing all those kinds of bones (legs, wings, backs, maybe necks) he can graduate to bigger and harder bones. To help with the transition, I may consider probiotics and digestive enzymes as his gut flora grows from kibble-processing to meat-processing. The poops may be weird and he may be farty, but it will go away once his gut is used to the new food. I shied away from feeding Waffle chicken for a while, but it was the only thing available to me for a few months at school, so we had to stick with it. His poops were runny and disgusting for about a month but he was otherwise doing great with the chicken… and then they finally got PERFECT. (Author note: Since writing this, he has been taken off chicken again for a supposed chicken intolerance.)
So, with this intro information out of the way, here are some examples of meals Waffle has eaten regularly:
- 1 oz of pork liver, 6 oz pork tail, 4 oz beef heart
- 0.5 oz beef liver, 0.5 oz pork spleen, 9 oz oxtail
- 10 oz oxtail
- 0.5 oz beef liver, 0.5 oz pork spleen, 8 oz chicken quarter
- 1 oz pork liver, 9 oz beef heart
- 1 oz pork liver, 6 oz green tripe, 4 oz beef heart
- 0.5 oz pork liver, 0.5 oz pork kidney, 9 oz green tripe
- 10 oz green tripe
- 1 oz pork liver, 5 oz beef neck cut, 4 oz beef heart
- 0.5 oz pork liver, 0.5 oz pork kidney, 7 oz turkey neck, 2 oz beef heart
- 10 oz beef heart
The organs may also be fed less than 1 oz total per meal for a minimum of 0.5 oz per meal. It’s a balancing game. I used 10 oz meal examples here because it makes it easy on me, and my dog eats 10 oz more than any other amount of food.
All muscle meals are perfectly awesome! If I gave my dog a very boney piece of meat the day before, I try to give him a minimally boney meal the next day— all muscle or a turkey neck or something. He also randomly gets eggs when I feel like it.
Corn-fed animals have lower vitamin concentrations and a pretty poor fatty acid profile, so if its within your power, consider grass-fed cow parts (liver is the most important to get if you’re going to feed grass-fed anything), omnivorous chicken parts, and uh “natural” fed pork, if possible. (I don’t know what to call pork that hasn’t been raised on trash…) If possible, to make up for the poor fatty acid profiles in reared land meat, feed oily fish once a week! I get whole fish from the asian market sometimes. Fish is kind of tricky to feed—some dogs like it raw, some like it frozen, some don’t like it. Don’t feed freshly caught fish or game—be sure it has been frozen for at least a week so that parasites are killed dead. Salmonids should be frozen for over 2 weeks due to a parasite that causes “salmon poisoning”, which can be a fatal condition.
If you can’t or won’t feed fresh fish at least once a week, consider supplementing with a fish oil product to ensure the dog is getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and are a pretty important part of the diet. When supplementing with fish oil, you should add vitamin E to the diet as well so that the fish oil can be properly utilized without causing excessive oxidative stress to the body. Other than fish oil and maybe Vitamin E, supplements on a proper WPM raw diet aren’t really necessary.
TO SUM: I feed whole prey model raw. At 2-3% of my dog’s ideal body weight. His diet is 80-85% muscle, 10-15% bone, and 5-10% organs. Half the organs are liver. He is fed once a day from a pre-prepared meal bag. He gets raw green tripe once a week. Sometimes eggs. He should eat fish once a week but he doesn’t, so he gets salmon oil instead—along with Vit E and Vit C, and some probiotics.
If you have questions about anything, please don’t hesitate to email me and ask! I could talk forever about raw food and nutrients and supplements and “why is this better than this to supplement” or whatever.
I get my food from a butcher/meat processor because the bacteria on supermarket meat makes me nervous. My dog is one of those who has supposedly gotten sick from his food so I am careful about where I source my meat. If you live in an area with hunters, ask them for the scraps. Maybe contact a meat processor and work out a deal to collect the deer offal and scraps for a cheap price. Freeze all wild game before feeding, though.
And, because it’s worth reiterating: a variety of protein sources (not just chicken—beef, pork, turkey, etc too!) and proper amounts of liver and organs will help ward off any nutritional deficiencies.
Lobo waiting for his nomz. He lies down while I prep, and waits until I say “ok” before approaching the food. Today’s menu includes:
- 14 oz chicken quarter (I give him bone-in chicken every other day or every two days, depending on how much bone there is)
- 3.5 oz pork
- .5 oz oysters (to offer a little zinc since lately it’s been mostly pork and chicken)
- 2 oz chicken liver
On non-bone days, it’s much easier: 18 oz meat and 2 oz organ (usually liver, until I can get to an Asian grocery and rummage for organ variety).
I try to keep meat costs below $2/lb. Pork and chicken are pretty cheap (especially chicken) and I aim to buy beef at 30-50% off. These oysters were 50% off too.
Image: Bosco at 27 weeks old eating a frozen beef trachea.
I’m often asked what my raw feeding model is as no two raw feeders feed exactly alike. I’m not a follower of the Yahoo Raw Feeding Group model …ie. “there can be only one model”. I’m just inherently a flexible person and so the Yahoo K9 Nutrition Group is a better fit for me. I’ll note that the Yahoo Raw Feeding Group’s message archive is a really valuable resource if you are thinking of doing your own slaughtering or need an answer to “can I feed x to my dog” …but I digress.
For what it’s worth, here’s a very brief overview of Bosco’s diet.
I feed based on a 75% muscle meat : 15% bone : 10% organ : <5% ground veggies ratio (total: ~105%). OMG - I’m one of those freakin’ veggie raw feeders! Gasp - I also use a Cuisinart scale to weigh the food at each meaI. It gets worse- I use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the amounts of bone, muscle meat, and organ that I need to feed each dog. I warned you that I wasn’t a Yahoo Raw Feeding Group follower. :)
I take a “balance over time” approach and try to feed four or five different protein sources per week. I feed fatty and lean cuts (with the understanding that dogs, especially puppies, need fat); 50% (minimum) of the daily diet is red meat based. Bosco is fed ~3.25 lbs per day, split into two meals but he’s a very active guy.
Can You Give Me Examples of What You Feed?
Some examples of items in Bosco’s diet are:
- Chicken (his major source of edible bone)- whole chickens, hearts, feet, leg quarters, frames (ie. carcasses), and eggs
- Lamb - necks, shoulders, cubed meat with 15% bone, heart, and ribs
- Goat - legs (bone removed), shoulders. Bosco loses weight on goat so I feed about 0.25 lbs more than I do with beef.
- Beef - organs (50% liver, 25% kidney and 25% spleen), pancreas, tongue, lung, tripe, roasts (and other muscle meat), tracheas, gullets. (I feed my other GSD beef heart but it gives Bosco very loose stool.)
- Turkey - drumsticks (bone removed since the bone is so splintery), hearts, whole turkey (on sale at Thanksgiving and Christmas!). I don’t feed turkey wings either since their bones tend to splinter and there isn’t much meat to them (~33% bone). Be careful to buy “unenhanced” turkeys (not injected with brine or a salt solution) or your dog could have very loose stool.
- Fish - whole herring, whole mackerel, and wild salmon filets (Frozen according to the USDA Food Code - Section 3-402.11)
Image: Bosco (March 2013) eating a frozen bison gullet.
The gound veggie mix is a commerically prepared blend of carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, apple & sprouted flax.
I also supplement with a quality fish oil (Iceland Pure salmon and sardine/anchovy), organic coconut oil (Nutiva), kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, and vitamin E (d-alpha tocopheryl acetate).
Where’s the Pork?
There is debate surrounding whether trichinosis and pseudo rabies from feeding raw pork is still a “real” concern in North America. Many raw feeders do feed raw pork (usually due to the low cost) but I feel uncomfortable and so do not. *shrug* I don’t care if I’m being irrational on this issue.
A Few References -
The percentage bone in raw meat items can be looked up here.
Type in chicken breast raw; then select Full Report; then look at Refuse: 20%. So, a chicken breast is 20% bone.
While I don’t agree with everything that it contains, here is a decent guide for those just getting started in raw feeding. See pages 20 to 23 for bone percentages and page 4 for what body parts are considered to be organs or muscle meat.
I found Kennels von Lotta’s very detailed raw feeding guide for puppies to be helpful. Bosco has been “raw fed since birth” (GAG!) - ie. he came from a raw feeding GSD breeder.
Image: Bosco at 13 weeks old eating a frozen beef trachea.
Just ask. Mockery is always welcome.