If you ever want to switch to full raw, here's an article I wrote that might help:
RAW PREY MODEL DIET
By: Nicki Simonson
Some of the benefits of feeding raw:
-diminished doggy odor
-dogs are mentally stimulated
-dogs generally eat their food right away
-slower, steadier growth in puppies (important for large/giant breeds!)
The main points:
-dogs should be fed 2% of their ideal adult body weight daily*
-the goal is 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organs.* Igenerally try to balance this over a week's time.
-go slowly at first... too much, too fast can cause loose stool.
*These percentages are guidelines. My GSD male needs a lot more than 2% because he has such a high metabolism and is constantly moving. Also, some dogs need more or less bone.. just look at the poop. If it's loose, add more bone. If the dog is constipated, add less bone.
I start new dogs on chicken. Many people buy whole chickens and cut them up, but I don’t like to deal with cutting them up so I buy leg quarters. (Bone in chicken breasts are generally a good choice for puppies, the bones are the easiest and there is a good bone to meat ratio). Check the sodium content: if it's over 80, it's enhanced and you'll want to pass. Most of the Gold N Plump sold at my local grocery store is un-enhanced.
You can decide whether or not you want to take the skin and excess fat off the first few days. I did this for a couple of days when starting mine raw, but I don't believe I would've needed to. My dogs were just fine.
Simply hand your dog a chicken quarter (you can feed outside if you like... I fed inside at first because I wanted a more controlled environment). Don't be surprised if he doesn't immediately gobble it up. He may try to lick it to death first.
You'll want to feed nothing but chicken for the first couple of weeks. The bone content will be a bit high... but that's okay since bone = firm poops, and her tummy will be adjusting to the new food.
Don't be surprised if your dog "guards" his food, even if he's never done this before. It is completely natural. Think about if you've been fed nothing but dry cereal your whole entire life and someone hands you a big, juicy steak. You'd guard that sucker, too! He WILL get used to the fact that he's going to get this fantastic food every day and become nonchalant about eating. The key is to NOT mess with his food. If you mess with his food, he'll start to worry that you will take it away.
Don't be surprised if, once he starts to realize how amazingly good chicken is, he horks down his food and then almost immediately throws it up again. Let him eat it a second time (gross, I know, but it's what he'd do if he were a wolf in the wild). My Rottie occasionally does this and then seems to learn his lesson for a time... and for the next few days he'll eat much slower and more carefully. My German Shepherd female is an AMAZINGLY wonderful eater. She carefully chews everything.
Your dog will be on just chicken for two weeks so that will give you plenty of time to choose your next protein source. I decided to go with pork, because it is inexpensive and readily available. When you start your second protein source, add just a bit of it to a chicken meal, so his tummy gets used to this new meat. Gradually increase the amount until you're feeding a full pork (or other protein) meal. Repeat these steps when adding beef, turkey, lamb, venison, etc.
Most pork bones are fine for medium dogs on up, but smaller dogs will not be able to crunch some of the larger ones. I personally do not feed beef bones. They are generally too dense for all but the giant breed dogs. If your dog is careful and will eat around the bone without breaking his teeth trying to crunch it up, you can feed these “rec” bones. It will give your dog hours of entertainment and you some free time. ;-)
When adding organs, make sure you start small, since they are rich and can cause loose stool before the dog is used to them. Organs are the “powerhouse” when it comes to nutrients, vitamins, etc. If you compare organ meat with vegetables, you’ll find a lot of the same nutrients… but organs have a higher content. That is why dogs do not require veggies… because they’re getting what they need from the 10% organ in their diet. Wolves in the wild may munch on grass or eat stomach content, but they generally do this out of preference rather than need.
You must also add a source of Omega 3. It should be a protein source, and not flax based. Flax is not easily converted by dogs and many of them are actually allergic to it. I used to use salmon oil capsules, but with the recent lawsuits over PCPs in fish oil pills, I’ve started using canned sardines in water. I give each of my dogs a can of sardines 3x per week. A typical week looks like this:
Monday: morning – chicken. Evening – pork, sardines
Tuesday: morning – chicken. Evening – beef, beef liver
Wednesday: morning – chicken. Evening – pork
Thursday: morning – chicken. Evening – pork, sardines
Friday: morning – chicken. Evening – pork, beef liver
Saturday: morning – chicken. Evening – beef, sardines
Sunday: morning – chicken. Evening – pork
I get other kinds of meat (turkey, lamb, etc.) when they are on sale. I get venison whenever I can… it’s the BEST for them…. Plus they love it!
Some final points:
1) Are eating what is 100% natural for them, meaning they will likely be healthier.
2) Have amazingly white teeth and fresh breath, without the necessity of brushing their teeth or EXPENSIVE vet teeth cleanings.
3) Have tiny small poops (less mess to clean up).
1) Can be cheaper than kibble (post on CL for free/cheap meat, search the weekly ads for meat bargains, buy soon to expire meat, etc.
2) Means no stressful worrying when kibble gets recalled!
3) is EASY! My dog was SUCH a picky eater and ate barely enough to stay alive. Now she eats with gusto and finishes her meal up promptly, meaning I don't have to worrya bout my other dog stealing her food, since he was a living vacuum when it comes to food of any type
Some myths about rawfeeding:
1) Rawfed dogs do NOT become bloodthirsty killers. They may become refrigerator magnets... since the fridge is The Door To All Things Good And Wonderful.
2) Raw meat will not give dogs bacteria/e-coli poisoning. Dogs' digestive systems were made to handle food heavy in bacteria... they are very short and contain strong acid. Kibble takes longer to digest, and that is why you see e-coli/bacteria related recalls with kibble.
3) Raw chicken bones are not dangerous to dogs. Only cooked bones are dangerous, since they become hard and brittle and can splinter.
Don't be surprised if many veterinarians do not support raw feeding. These vets certainly mean well, but were likely given incorrect information in vet school since the very few nutrition courses they took were likely sponsored by a pet food company (usually Hills (Science Diet), Iams or Eukanuba). Pet food companies are, of course, going to say that ONLY dog food is good for dogs. Additionally, with all there is to learn in vet school, there simply is not time to focus too much on nutrition. I have researched extensively and consulted with a canine nutritionist with years of training, schooling (including a master’s degree), research, and personal experience.
For more information, please feel free to:
-Join the Yahoo Rawfeedinggroup: rawfeeding : Raw Feeding for dogs and cats!
-Consult with a canine nutritionist: Canine Nutrition Consultant - DogFoodGuru.com
-Check out the following sites:
Raw Fed Dogs | Feeding the way Mother Nature intended!!!
RawFed.com Home Page
The Many Myths of Raw Feeding
Jane Anderson's Raw Learning Site
(for finding bone percentages)