raw for a newbie
I was given a 6 month old male over the weekend. He has been on puppy chow and I want to get him off of it. I have a local Sam's club and Kroger to purchase from. Where do I start? Also read that cottage cheese and yogurt were good for them as well.
Kroger runs specials on leg quarters between .59 and .79 cents a pound. I can get beef and pork from Sam's at a decent price.
Also does being on a raw diet cut down on the dander? I have a son with asthma and don't want to get it flared up.
Here is from our beginner file.
Switching to a Raw Diet
Basically the hardest thing to grasp is yes, you just go out, buy some meat, and throw it to your dog. It's okay - just do it. There is a method to the madness, but it's simple. There are things to stay away from, such as weight-bearing bones (soup bones, femurs, marrow bones - may break teeth), meat from other carnivores (such as racoons)... but for the most part - chicken, salmon, beef, pork, duck, pheasant, venison, sardines, goat, alpaca... feed what you find cheap! At the very beginning, you will only be feeding one protein and slowly introducing other proteins and organs. Once your dog is used to raw, variety will be important.
To begin, just feed chicken. Make sure the chicken isn't enhanced by checking the sodium level - no more than 100mg per serving some dogs can't handle any -know thy dog. A little more bone than usual will help with making poop firm, since changing foods usually softens that up a bit. You also want to switch cold turkey - Raw digests differently than kibble and feeding both at the same time could make for a confused digestive system.
After you've just given chicken for a couple weeks no problem, introduce something else. Pork or beef is a good second protein that most everyone can find cheap, but if you have more access to something else (rabbit, venison, horse, whatever), then there is no reason not to introduce that instead. Repeat... after a couple weeks, introduce a different protein (pork, beef, venison, whatever). After that's been introduced for 2 weeks, add liver. Chicken liver is readily available. Introduce liver very slowly, as it is very rich and may cause diarrhea add more bone as needed to firm up stools and then slowly cut back.
The basic guideline is to feed 2-3% of the adult body weight, but it really depends on the dog; for instance, I have one dog eating 1.5% (Corgi) and another eating 4-4.5% (Doberman). I also don't even weigh anymore; I weighed the meat at the beginning, but now I know exactly how to eyeball how much everyone needs. Plus, not all my meals are the same size. For example, I found a cornish hen the other day for a good price, so I fed that to my Doberman one night (that's only about 1 pound) and fed almost 4 pounds of pork the next night.
A big rule of thumb is that raw feeding balances out throughout the week. The guideline to how much meat, organ and bone you're supposed to feed is 80% muscle meat, 10% bone, and 10% organ, but you're not going to be feeding bone and organ every day. So taking the same example into play again here, Jackson's cornish hen was a very high bone content meal. So the next night. he had a boneless meal of pork. He got another boneless meal the next day, and the day after that he got a bone-in meal with organs. It all balances itself out in a week-10 days.
I spend less than what I was paying for high end kibble (Orijen) and it is 110% worth it. But you can't just go to the store, buy some salmon for $7/lb and expect it to be cheaper than kibble. And for me personally, it did take a little getting used to finding the best deals, and locating the local Asian and Mexican markets that have good deals on meat. In hindsight, that's a good thing to do BEFORE you start feeding raw. Wal-Mart has good chicken prices (10lb bags of chicken quarters for less than 6 bucks), Kroger has good prices on whole chickens (0.75/lb), and I use the Asian market as well as texastripe.com for everything else. I don't pay over $3/lb for anything unless it's something special. Find your local ethnic markets, find some hunter friends, talk to butchers about scraps. It'll be cheaper than you'd think once you figure out where all the good deals are.
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