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Discussion Starter #1
New owner of a 12 week GSD puppy. He's been on dry puppy food while with the breeder. Looking to change him over to Raw Food diet.
Anyone have thoughts on Nature's Variety Raw food brand? Comes in medallions, looks like it's healthy.
 

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Natures variety=Very pricey. Check out the http://www.rawdogranch.com website full of useful info, and it isn't as hard as it seems to get going. Finding the sources is the challenge. http://www.aplaceforpaws.com sells green tripe and other meat cuts.
Try ethnic grocery stores for variety, call the area meat processors or ask your local mom&pop store to order quantities of certain meat, sometimes they give price breaks if you just order and immediately pick it up. I get 30# boxes of frozen turkey necks from a local store, but the prices on poultry are rapidly going up. Wal-mart has good prices, but the variety varies from city to city.
You can also call meat wholesalers, finding out what the have and which stores they supply to order it from. Good luck and welcome to the site. We love pictures, please post some of your new arrival!!
 

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thanks for the info, will check out the links. Breeder also recommended raw chicken backs as a reasonably priced alternative. Can get those at Harris Teeter, a kinda high end grocery store for .49 a pound special ordered. What I like about the pre-packaged raw food like Nature's Variety is that it also has all the vegetables and other nutrients.
Pup does like broccoli we determined tonight.
 

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Just a note about chicken backs:
They are usually quite boney and you will need to add some sort of MM to the meal to balance it out.

I would try to scout out wholesale meat distributors in your area that sell in bulk - they would probably be cheaper there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
thanks for the advice on the chicken backs. So although expensive Nature's Variety is a good brand to try in your opinion? it looks like it's pretty nutritious.
 

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When I switched to raw, I bought a bag of the NV medallions. I feed three dogs and that would be costly if that was all I fed. They did love it, and I am sure it is a great brand, but to feed a GSD, you will go thru alot of it! A small dog, no big deal;)
Also, when you switch to raw, you should start with one meat source, to make sure your dog has no allergic issues. Some of the NV medallions have more than one protein source, so if your dog has a problem with digestion, you really wouldn't know what the cause is. Take some time and research the links and the raw threads. You will learn sooo much, and find out what is best for your pup.
 

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Nature's Variety is an excellent raw food--it's a ready-made, balanced diet with everything you need in there. There are a couple of other brands out there (Bravo, Oma's Pride, etc.) and all are fine foods.

It's only drawback will be the price. A German Shepherd will eat about 2 pounds of this food a day. Only you can decide if cost is a factor for you.

You can put together a homemade raw diet (using things like chicken backs...and LOTS of other stuff to make a balanced diet). It can be less expensive, but it's more work. The choice is up to you.

If I were made of money, I'd probably feed my dogs more of the "prepared" raw products. But with three dogs, it's more than I'm willing to spend. And I've come to enjoy "making" their meals...so I do the homemade raw.

Welcome! We have an active and experienced group of folks who feed their dog a raw diet, and we love to help educate new members about this option.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tracy/All-
Thanks, very good info. Wish we were made of money also and could buy plenty of the top of the line stuff. 2 pounds a day for your full grown dog, the same for a 3 month old puppy(?) He loves the chicken NV medallions, thinking about using them along with raw chicken backs, a little dry food, and vegies/fruits.

I get alot of conflicting opinions on the bones on the chicken backs, many say let them eat them due to the vitamins/nutrients and others say they're too boney and they discard the bone once all the meat is gone. What do you and others do?


Very appreciative of the info to all!!

REX1
 

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GSD puppies and adults eat the same amount of food per day. (Puppies need more as a percentage of body weight because they are growing.) So yes, your 3-month-old would eat about 2 pounds of raw food per day.

There's no reason to throw away raw chicken bones, they are perfectly good food. But they aren't a complete diet.

The issue is the ratio of bone to meat in the diet. If the dog eats too much bone and not enough meat, they will become constipated (as well as lack necessary nutrients.)

Chicken backs are bony. So to compensate, just add some additional meat when you feed backs--say, a meatball-sized hunk of pork, turkey, or what have you.

Better yet, chicken leg quarters (leg/thigh part) are about the same price as backs--I buy them for .59/lb in bulk--and they have a much better ratio of meat to bone.

But even at that, you can't make a complete raw diet out of chicken as your only source of protein. You'll need to switch out different things--turkey, pork, beef, fish--as much variety as you can muster.

Do check out the rawdogranch site. It's a good primer on how to make a balanced raw diet from scratch. Then, if you want to supplement part of the diet with the NV medallions, great. But you'll understand better what the rest of the diet should be.

Raw diets are great---but you do need to do it right. Proper nutrition for a growing pup is important.

Mine like veggies/fruits too. But plain raw veggies aren't providing much nutrition--dogs can't digest them, so they come out pretty much like they went in. The solution is to "partially digest" it before you give it to the dog---either by pureeing it in a blender or food processor to make mush, cooking it, or freezing it. Any of these methods will help break the cell walls of veggies and make them better able to be digested by your dog. A raw carrot or broccoli stalk won't hurt your dog---they are a decent chew toy/treat---but unless you're processing it first, it can't really count towards the nutrients the dog is getting.

Hope some of this helps.
 

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Part of the raw diet IS letting your dog eat the bones. If I fed chicken backs (and I guess when we used to feed them), my dogs ate them whole. RAW bones are perfectly OK for your dog to have (just not cooked ones). GSD's can easily crunch those chicken bones! Since the NV has ground bone in it, I would personally be adding some extra MM (meat, no bones - like chicken breast meat, gizzards, chicken hearts, beef heart, etc) to a meal that included chicken backs. Too much bone and not enough meat will lead to constipation.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Info is very helpful. Pup was on Kirkland Chicken dry dogfood until I got him last week. Have tried the NV medallions for the last day or two in addition to the dry food and he loves them. I'll keep doing research on what else I can give him to make a well-rounded diet.

13$ for a 3pnd bag is tough to afford for a NV only diet. Any experience with Canidae (sp), this was recommended by one of the breeders we were checking into.

Until I settle on something I'll make sure he gets plenty of the NV for the next couple days.

Got a feeling he'll eat about anything.

thanks again for the sites and your experiences.
 

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I can't tell you anything about the dry food, but I can tell you that we do a raw diet for close to $1/pound (give or take) - much cheaper than the $4+ per pound. So, if it is something you are interested in, you can definitely do it for a lot cheaper. Maybe list where you are from (in the raw diet section) and maybe someone has ideas for your area.
 
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