Trying to vary diet...difficulty finding bones - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 04:58 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Naples, Italy
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Trying to vary diet...difficulty finding bones

Back Story.

Starting off by saying I'm stationed in Italy...and I haven't learned much Italian yet (we've been here about 2 months). I will be making a Google Translate list for a butcher, but I'm not quite sure how the butchers work here (there's at least three butchers in my area), I'm not sure they actually BUTCHER the meat there (they are really, really small store fronts)...and they looked at me very strangely when I tried to get chicken necks...

In the meantime, I've been buying most of of our meat on-sale at the commissary. Most of the meat is shipped boneless. I can get chicken breasts, drumsticks, wings and thighs on the bone, whole chickens and cornish hens, and pork ribs. I've gotten canned mackerel (in water, no salt) & canned salmon. I purchased ox tail ($6 a POUND, ugh), but she didn't eat the bone, but it was fun for her to get all of the meat off. I haven't found a source for necks (of any type), or rabbit yet.

The only edible bones she's getting are from chicken (or the mackerel 2x a week). I tried some pork ribs, but she didn't have much success with them, and basically whined the whole time, alternating between picking it up and trying to chew and spitting it out.

Since she's a growing puppy, I know it's especially important to make sure she's getting the right amounts of OM, MM and bones. I'm feeding her about 80-10-10, and a 1/4 cup of mixed veg/yogurt (we take a large can of pumpkin, and I mix a leafy green, 4 oz. of plain yogurt, and then various soft/smashed veggies). I know she doesn't need them -- but she seems to like them . She also gets an egg a couple times a week. We feed her about 2 pounds a day. One of the meals is bone-in chicken breast, or backs... the other one may be beef...she gets pork as her training treat...and I plan to start lamb, bison or rabbit (once I can find some).


In the meantime, I thought I'd add some bone meal powder -- just to make sure she's getting some (and since I can get a variety of meat or meaty bones from the butcher), just not much in the way of edible bone. This is hopefully not a long-term solution -- but more a short-term as we try to find the right words to get what we need from a butcher, which will be easier once I can buy in bulk.

Of course, reading about raw diets there are those who give many reasons for NOT doing this, and that it's a horrible thing, etc. And, I read those who have.

I need to put together a varied diet -- assuming I don't have easy access to chicken necks, turkey necks, or other very boney bits -- and that the only bones I have access to would be the rest of the chicken/cornish game hen.

Do I get some bone meal? If so, what are really good brands?

Or, do I just give the dog one chicken breast or a back and then add other MM/OM to bring it to the correct amounts?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-27-2013, 06:23 AM
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They have wonderful, fresh food in Italy! Far fewer preservatives and other evils that we have here. I am sure that if you establish a good relationship with a butcher, he can get you anything you need. Maybe bring the dog for them to admire

The bone- in chicken is great, and Cornish hens can be cut in half and given to the dog. If you can find whole, fresh or frozen sardines or mackerel, that can be fed as is. I would also buy whole chicken or Cornish hens, cut off some nice meat for myself, and use the frames for doggie bones. Add boneless beef or other meat.

As a backup, you can get KAL bone meal powder. 1 teaspoon per pound of meat.
Enjoy Italy, and eat some minestrone soup for me!

Last edited by Sunflowers; 12-27-2013 at 06:28 AM.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
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purchased two rabbits (while I was waiting on my order, they cut up another rabbit, and were going to throw away the carcass, head, and the innards... they gave them to me free). I also picked up a whole lamb (head and all). I just finished divving up about 2 weeks worth of food (beef, chicken, cornish game hen, lamb and rabbit). Some of it is "franken prey" -- but at least there is some variety! She gets mackerel with her game hen, and I'll throw a couple of eggs or sardines in with smaller meals. She really loves sardines, mackerel and eggs!

QUESTION -- Can I just give her the whole lamb head to munch on as one meal (it's balance over time...right? It's a lot of organ meat...eyes and brains), a little muscle meat (tongue/skin/face covering), and a bit of bone...I'll just make sure I pair it with another meal that has more muscle meat and less bone/organ...
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 01-04-2014, 01:26 PM
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I tried some pork ribs, but she didn't have much success with them, and basically whined the whole time, alternating between picking it up and trying to chew and spitting it out.
I see, you have at once everything possible to imagine what you can feed your dog. Though I can hardly imagine your puppy munching on a lamb head, that's odd. What in food processing they do - they boil heads for 4-5 hours, that is definitely not something you intended to do, probably, it was a mistake to take it at all.
Seems, your dog is not used to munch on bones. And, having such a variety of excellent food served every day she cannot be hungry enough to be excited with bones. Beef, lamb or goat bones are only partly good for your dog - that is a joint cartilage and softer tissue underneath it, which she can chew easily. Our butcher chops off the ends of, say, thigh bone for me, its main harder body is useless, your dog would only grind her teeth on it. A wolf who could crush the beef bones and digest them went extinct during Ice Age, so far it is only hyena of the whole dog family is capable of doing it. You can visually detect which bones of large animals your dog would be able to chew. A rabbit is a different story. All its bones are highly digestable, wolves eat them together with the skin. Rabbits are the main food source for the wolves, and you can feed your dog fresh raw rabbit every day. I prefer to deal with rabbit meat because it doesn't smell, rabbits are very clean animals as well, they don't eat that sh. the chickens eat. Feed birds, rabbit or fish 5 days a week, lamb 2 days a week, and lamb heart or liver with cooked pumpkin which is rich in vitamines once a month ( organs are 5 times richer in protein than muscles, save your dog's liver, don't give it too often). Ask the butcher for cartilage parts like throats.
Another thing in Italy - you can buy there goat's milk. It is a super product for dogs and can replace milk for puppies of the bitch who failed to feed them. It is terribly expensive in UK. Answers Raw Pet Food Company: ADDITIONAL - Raw Goat's Milk
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