Info on Raw food vs kibble - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Info on Raw food vs kibble

Hi everyone,

I'm curious to understand the benefit of raw food from people who feed raw food to their GSD's. I have spoken to a few breeders who are very against it.

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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 09:42 PM
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At 18 months, I transitioned to raw. Don't know that I would've done it sooner as she needed so many calories as a puppy and that would've been a lot of protein for a growing puppy. fwiw, my holistic vet and a trusted homeopath highly recommend raw. The result is my pup doesn't itch or have yeast problems anymore. No more antibiotics, pumpkin, supplements, etc. Fresh food did the trick
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 10:17 PM
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I put my female on raw when she was about 1. My male was weaned on raw and has never had kibble in his life. I don't think raw is the end all for illnesses but my animals do well on it.

Feed what you are comfortable with. Higher quality kibble, raw, whatever.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 10:23 PM
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 10:33 PM
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My own experience is this. My puppy Mila was fed a raw mix by her breeder, when I brought her home I kept her on raw and switched her to a mix by a local butcher that was recommended by our trainer and others in town. Mila started to have issues that I stated in a previous thread with her bones/muscle and I started to add a muscle supplement to her food like her vet said.
We had a radiologist go over her new x rays and found that her bone density was low, her diet was lacking. It was clear the raw food she was eating needed to go. I did not want to mess around with trying another raw food because of the issues she was having when she should jump or play so I decided a high quality kibble would be best for her. I have switched her to Fromm LBP now and it has been 2 weeks since it has been introduced to her diet. She is doing dramatically better already and I am grateful, you can see in her movements and how she carries herself she feels much stronger. Her coat is also much healthier and and shiny looking. Some complain that Fromm LBP caused runny stools for their dogs but she has not had any issues and is all good in that regard so far. I think I will be holding off on a full raw diet until she is a little over a year. I am not opposed to adding in some raw as a treat here and there with her kibble but I will be sticking with kibble until she is fully grown. Others who are more familiar/experienced with raw feeding can help you to make sure that your dog gets what they need if you chose to go that way as well
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 10:36 PM
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Sounds like you were feeding an incomplete diet. I highly recommend feeding a puppy a commercial raw diet. Feeding a poorly constructed raw diet is worse than feeding Ol 'Roy.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
Sounds like you were feeding an incomplete diet. I highly recommend feeding a puppy a commercial raw diet. Feeding a poorly constructed raw diet is worse than feeding Ol 'Roy.
I think this is for me and yes I agree, that is why I switched her to Fromm to make sure she is getting a complete diet!!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 09:10 AM
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That's why I would be leery feeding a blend made locally as opposed to some of the respected (but pricey) companies. A company I buy some raw from here in the area (I meet a truck once a month) has a blend that is supposedly 80/10/10. However, the organs are: liver and heart (they erroneously consider heart as organ meat) so it's not really balanced at all. I buy separate organ grinds from them (pork liver, kidney, spleen --- and of course it has heart in it that counts as muscle meat).

I fed Fromm LBP to my pup until I switched him to adult. I didn't feed the Fromm grain free ... too much of the protein comes from peas, etc., but I did feed the Fromm gold adult for a while (not the LB adult, just the regular--didn't like the low fat on it).
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 12:32 PM
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I think because so many feed raw here, people tend to not hear that there's another side (except from vets who don't explain or discuss). That's not doing the newbies any favors. It's important to know both sides and make reasoned determinations, not follow fads or do things just because someone on the Internet says so. Whether you feed raw or kibble, you need to be very thoughtful about that decision. That leads to much more productive conversations with vets (or even potentially finding a vet who will HELP you with nutrition goals).

The official AVA position (a/k/a the "party line" position among vets) is opposed to raw feeding. You can google to find their position statement. In the U.S., the CDC has also chimed in with opposition. Once you solve the balanced diet issue, the "party line" position flows from the risk of infectious disease -- though the evidence seems to flow mostly toward a risk for people handling the meat and the dog poop, with a much smaller risk of infection of dogs themselves. In other words, it justifies being very careful in your handling of what goes in and what goes out. Having a big box of disposable gloves, a canister of disinfecting wipes and/or a spray bottle of 10% bleach solution can eliminate nearly all the transmission worry.

Contrary to what sometimes gets posted here, dogs CAN get salmonella. My vet has treated several cases of it, though it's rare. HOWEVER, he admitted to me that every case he treated came from a kibble fed dog. In other words, dogs can get salmonella from kibble too! So the handling risks associated with raw may be in that bag of kibble too -- people tend to just be less aware and less careful in their kibble handling. If a blob of raw meat falls on the tile while I'm preparing a bowl, after a dog slurps it up, I'll grab a disinfecting wipe for the tile. Kibble....? A dog nibbles on what fell and I may not even think about the tile.

My vet is an evidence-based vet. He's reviewed the AVA materials, and he's still fine with clients feeding balanced raw as long as they practice safe handling (disinfect cutting boards, bowls, surfaces, etc. regularly; practice good hand washing, etc.) AND they keep the meat frozen 2 weeks in the deep freeze prior to feeding. That long deep freeze kills most of the worst pathogens and makes it far safer.

I would (and did) cook it for a dog with a compromised immune system though. Once the dog is very sick and the immune system is wrecked, I am not comfortable introducing potential food-borne pathogens (even kibble makes me uncomfortable with some of those dogs).

Certain raw feeders do no favors to the case for it by making outlandish, scientifically unsupportable claims (like it cures cancer, protects against heartworm disease, or cures a host of other diseases -- claims that have been posted here from time to time or in poorly researched natural health periodicals). Those nonsense claims bolster the "party line" case against it. So set aside all the nonsense about it being a cure-all. It's not. It just simple, clean food -- IF you are sourcing the meat from good sources.

What can it do? There's no good research about longer lives, lower cancer rates, less dental disease over time, better coats, or any of the other things we hope for. That research doesn't exist. Nor is there research that it doesn't do those things. It might -- no one really knows. There's lots of anecdotal reports about those things, but no double-blind, controlled, peer-reviewed long-term studies comparing complete, well-formulated raw diets vs. good-quality kibble, fed from puppyhood through death. It's can be effective for solving food allergies by simplifying the diet. It gives you more control to keep contaminants out (note all Moms2GSDs recent posts about recalls of kibble and canned food...). It's highly digestible and biologically appropriate (so you're working with evolutionary biology rather than against it), so you may get better digestive health.

I have 2 kibble-fed and 1 raw-fed allergy dog. The raw fed one gets a base-mix to balance out his meat because I don't have time for nutrition spreadsheets. Both the raw and kibble-fed are very healthy. The raw-fed dog was a VERY sick allergy dog who needed to get off kibble, and getting him on simple, clean food probably saved his life.

If you're interested in an in-between option, you can get complete, balanced diets with a base-mix. There are lots of threads about them -- you add raw or cooked meat to a porridge (reconstituted from dry mix).

This summarizes some of the research and the "not much is really known" position:
More Evidence of the Risk of Infectious Diseases Associated with Raw Pet Foods | The SkeptVet

Last edited by Magwart; 03-19-2017 at 12:42 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:50 PM
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Good post, Mag.

I started my GSD on a raw diet about 8 years ago, now. Within two days, she got an upper GI bleed, from some sort of bacterial contamination. I still remember sitting up the night with her, checking her gums as they got paler, wondering if I should rush her in or wait. Luckily after trying two different antibiotics, and much worry, the bleeding was stopped and she's been on quality kibble every since.

So that's my story. I give the dogs raw marrow bones as chew treats, but I don't feed raw.

My GSD is over 11 years old now, healthy will the cleanest teeth I've seen in a dog her age.

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