I am beginning my raw diet research tonight. all advice is welcome.
Good evening all,
I have a 11 week old, male, GSD puppy (12 weeks on sunday). I want my dog to have the best life he could possibly have while still knowing that he is the dog.
I am very intrigued by the raw diet posts, and other info on the internet. There is a lot of apprehensivness about that diet from well established professionals in the field of veterinary medicine. While that does count for something, Professionals are just as prone to being bought as my congressman is. The raw diet argument has some very good points, but it also seems like there are a few holes to plug in to make it work. i.e. supplements and so forth. It's benefits dont seem to be arguable, so I wont go there. But the manner in which to go about raw feeding seems very arguable and very dependent on the individual dog. Research is my first step, and thats why I am here. I want to get pointers from people who actually use the diet and have used it for a while.
Gunner is about 16 lbs and so far has only had giardia, a tapeworm, and was missing some hair on his snout. All of that has been corrected, and we are on the last bit of panacura for his giardia. (per our vet). I understand he is a bit small, but that might be attributed to him just not hitting a growth spurt yet. The breeder had him on puppy chow(unbelievable), we transitioned him to Petsmarts attempt to counter Blue Buffalo (Simply nourish) and are about mid transition to being permantly on Blue Buffalo itself. (Unless raw proves to be better of course) He was on simply noursish for a good few weeks so there hasnt been too much of a strain on his stomach.
He just the right mix of obedience,puppyhood, spunk, energy, and intelligence we were looking for. He is learning new tricks all the time, and his AKC training is going very well. We are hoping to have him STAR certified by tomorrow.
I say that because I dont want that to change due to a raw diet implementation. I like where hes at, and he is seemingly very healthy.
So my overall question is....what can other German Shepherd dog owners who have raised a pup since 8 weeks and implemented a raw diet at or before 13 weeks tell me about the risks, benefits, diet plans, standards, meeting full nutritional needs, and anything else I have missed as I am still in the learning phase? And does the fact that he is not yet finished with his vaccine regimen effect the raw diet at all?
Thank you very much to any and all who respond In advance, I hope your holiday season is an incredible one for your familys and of course, your companions.
My pup was weaned onto raw....though the breeder did feed kibble now and then so the pups that would go to kibble fed homes didn't have issues.
I didn't see any risks other than the gulping that happened due to competition when littermates eat....food drive is pretty high. First meal at home, Karlo ate a leg in one gulp. He slowed down after that, I did hold his meaty bones to slow him some and he figured out he didn't have to rush.
Vaccines have no impact on raw feeding, in fact the immune system is strong with a raw fed puppy.
There are many threads here on transitioning to raw, but I'll type out a quick instructional on what I did:
pup is fed about 2# total per day split between 3 meals. Gauge your portions according to pups growth spurts by feeling his body condition.
At 16 weeks, I cut out the mid day meal and then gave a midnight snack.
I started with chicken legs, necks, thighs and fed frozen(fresh)green tripe along with about 2 oz of liver(beef or chicken) At 8 weeks, I didn't give supplements, but started them at about 3 months.
Human grade fish oil gel caps(1000mg), natural vitamin C with rose-hips or citrus bioflavonoids(500mg) and as pup got older doubled those doses....adding in natural E with mixed tocopherols(400iu) every few days. Liver has E naturally as do eggs, so if I give eggs I forego the E.
I give my dogs hard boiled eggs every other day rotating with yogurt.
The threads here will give you the portions for rmbs, mm, and om.
As an example, I feed~ but don't stress over it~ 45% raw meaty bones(turkey necks, chicken backs, pork necks, or chicken wings) 50% muscle meat(ground and I deduct the eggs/yogurt from this) and 5% organ meat.
This yahoo group is good for asking questions or reading older posts, it is w/ Monica Segal who is a raw expert. http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/K9Kitchen/ (you have to be accepted by the admin)
She also has a "pay" to consult plan where she'll set up the perfect portion diet for you dog. Not sure it is worth it, some swear by it, however.
after giving Maya a CRAP quality kibble, I spent a lot of time researching what was the best kibble on the Market. After much research, I found that the best results were with foods that tried as closely as possible to mimic a Natural diet, and kept clear of grains, such as Orijen and Taste of the wild, in the end I thought to myself, why argue with Nature.
To be honest, I have always been fond of a carniverous diet for dogs, I would only give kibble because "Proffesionals" told me they need the vitamins and minerals found in kibbles, however the more research i did, the more I found this not to be the case.
The fact is that dogs and wolves differ genetically, by only 0.02%, this is almost nothing, especially when you consider that it is thought that some humans may differ genetically by as much as 0.05%, it is especially true of german shepherds, since they are even closer related to wolves than husky's, and in all dogs, although temperament and visually they are different to wolves, thier oral and digestive systems are identical.
So when I considered all those facts, I decided to go for raw fed. Now there are 2 types of raw feeding, there is the BARF diet;
The "BARF" diet, an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food was created by Billinghurst. The acronym was coined by Debra Tripp. A typical BARF diet is made up of 60-80% of raw meaty bones(RMB), that is bones with about 50% meat,(e.g. chicken neck, back and wings) and 20-40% of fruits and vegetables, offal, meat, eggs, or dairy foods
and there is the prey model;
The "Prey model" diet attempts to simulate the proportions of an actual prey animal in a pet's diet. Actual whole prey are used whenever possible, including whole rabbits, chickens, game hens and turkeys. Generally, the diet recommends 80% meat (including some 'meaty' organs such as heart), 10% bone and 10% organs (of which half is liver). Proponents of the whole prey model diet believe dogs and cats are both natural carnivores and therefore there is no nutritional or dietary need for anything other than meat, bones, and organs,. The supporters of the prey model also focus on feeding meats from a wide variety of animals, and some add small amounts of vegetable matter.
This information was gathered from wikipedia and gives you a good idea of how each diet works, but I suggest you do a lot more research first. Raw feeding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I use the prey model for Maya because I believe she is simply a domesticated wolf (Canis Lupus Familiaris), and should eat what a wolf eats, and this is a variety of different whole animals.
Her diet currently consists of whole chickens, raw eggs, pigs liver, pigs heart, pork chops, pork shoulder joints, minced meat, whole Mackrel and tinned tuna (for omega 3). I plan on adding more and more different prey to her diet as she grows, as well as different organs such as kidneys, tripe, lungs ect. They key to achieving a balanced diet with the prey model, is to introduce new food sources, and feed WHOLE prey where possible (obviously cut into portion sizes), each meal is NOT going to be a balanced diet, however you should achieve balance each month.
Maya has no problem with chicken or pork bones, and as long as good hygene in the kitchen is kept, you should have no trouble with bacteria.
Kyleigh was never transitioned from kibble to raw. The breeder fed her raw, and I was thrilled when I discovered that nugget!
Honestly, it can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it.
Lauri and the Gang / Carmspack / Gatorbytes will be able to give you loads of information on what / how to do it. But don't panic when you read all this stuff, it's really not that hard!
I follow the prey model with a "hint" of the barf diet. For example, Kyleigh loves brocoli. Does it have any benefits? Some will argue yes, some will say not necessary. She likes it, so she gets some. She also like blueberries, apples, carrots, zucchini and sweet potatoes. (They are all raw except for the sweet potatoes, I cook those.)
Some people do lots of supplements, others don't. Ky get's vitamin C, glucosamine, and a probiotic, that's it ... the rest is from her diet - which is meat, bone and organ and, oh yes, the ever so disguting tripe - she LOVES tripe!
Supplements can be very helpful to build up your dog's immune system. Since Ky's never had any "issues" and was vaccinated on a very different manner than most dogs (separate vaccines, and a month apart, and a detoxifier for each vaccine), her immune system is very healthy so I don't need "other" supplements.
Some people saw switch immediately, others say go slow. If your dog's got a cast iron stomach, you can likely just "make the switch". My friend did this with her labs with no issues at all. Some dogs can handle an immediate switch, others need a gradual transition.
A holistic vet will support your decision. The other vets will not. They are not getting any money from you ... the benefits of raw:
healthy immune system - dog doesn't sick
healthy clean white teeth - no need for dental work
shiny, soft fur
healthy skin - no need for "special foods" for allergies
Good luck with your research, and have fun making your dog's food!
Oh yes, have you invested in a freezer for your dog's food? You might laugh, but I'm pretty sure most of us who feed raw have a freezer dedicated JUST for the dog's food!
There is a very good section on raw on this site:
Welcome to the Raw Dog Ranch
We also have a raw feeding forum on the board with a lot of good threads. Venture a bit farther down the page. :)
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