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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi yall,
I keep looking for cheaper raw options but i'm just not satisfied with them.. big over priced companies lying about their ingredients and constant recalls. I want to bite the bullet and get a grinder and do this ourselves. Gandalf is sensitive to a wide range of proteins and ingredients, after getting him allergy tested, experimenting with different proteins, etc. our vet recommended we ONLY stick with beef. He has done fantastic on our beef instinct variety raw, no more regurgitating, perfect stools, his coat is so thick and shiny now... I don't want to screw this up. He looks great for the first time in his life and he is so healthy. I would love to mimic their recipe.
So without further ado , what do you think of this mix? Am I missing anything? Would you also add a daily vitamin? If so what would you recommend? He can't have any fish or fish oil . . . I can't afford a grinder capable of grinding beef bones so I decided on bone meal, the package says only 1/2 teaspoon, does this seem like enough to you? I probably need to also add some cartilage or some glucosamine or something for joints as well?

Ground Beef (88% lean, 12% fat)
Bone meal (1/2 teaspoon)
Organ meat Beef (10% kidney, liver)
Egg w/ shell (few times a week)
Fermented veggies/fruits
Safflower oil
Montmorillonite clay (1/8 teaspoon detox)
Beef marrow bone (a couple times a week, he just eats the marrow and tissue on the outside)


Figure about $4 /lb (costco bulk) and he eats 2lb every day so we are looking at roughly $250 a month... Commercial raw was costing us around $400 a month
 

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I'm not a nutrition expert, but one thought - the bone meal you've linked is porcine (pork). If he really does have to stick to beef only, you may want to find a bone meal made from cattle. It's heavily processed and the source might not matter, but I'd stack the deck in my favor, JMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I'm not a nutrition expert, but one thought - the bone meal you've linked is porcine (pork). If he really does have to stick to beef only, you may want to find a bone meal made from cattle. It's heavily processed and the source might not matter, but I'd stack the deck in my favor, JMO.
Oh jeez!!! I didn't even notice that! Yeah no pork for this pup, thanks for pointing that out! :smile2:
This one might be better, says its from cattle https://www.amazon.com/Now-Foods-Bone-Meal-Powder/dp/B004P2YUUU/ref=sr_1_8_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1527604987&sr=8-8&keywords=bone+meal+for+dogs

Would he just get a teaspoon as well? That seems like so little compared to when people give entire bones...
 

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The bone meal is a tricky one I have had difficulty with. You need to know how many milligrams of calcium and phosphorus are in each 1/2 tsp. of the bone meal. Then you have to calculate how much meat you are giving and add the correct proportion. As an example if 1/2 tsp has a 1:1 ratio and contains 500 mg of calcium then you likely would need 1-1.5 tsps of bone meal for 2 lbs of meat (this is just a rough example).
Also, the product you pictured is porcine bone meal. Porcine being pork. If your dog is pork sensitive this product may be an issue if you are sticking to just beef. I have a beef and lamb only dog...$$$$.

I found this article helpful: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_7/features/Home-Prepared-Dog-Food-Nutritional-Information_20568-1.html

And this is helpful understanding and choosing replacement oils:
https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/omega-3-for-dogs-the-ultimate-guide/

Remember egg shell is a source of calcium and added bone meal would be lowered on days eggshell is added.

I add a vitamin blend to offset that I can't afford to buy pasture raised organic beef.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The bone meal is a tricky one I have had difficulty with. You need to know how many milligrams of calcium and phosphorus are in each 1/2 tsp. of the bone meal. Then you have to calculate how much meat you are giving and add the correct proportion. As an example if 1/2 tsp has a 1:1 ratio and contains 500 mg of calcium then you likely would need 1-1.5 tsps of bone meal for 2 lbs of meat (this is just a rough example).
Also, the product you pictured is porcine bone meal. Porcine being pork. If your dog is pork sensitive this product may be an issue if you are sticking to just beef. I have a beef and lamb only dog...$$$$.

I found this article helpful: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/15_7/features/Home-Prepared-Dog-Food-Nutritional-Information_20568-1.html

And this is helpful understanding and choosing replacement oils:
https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/omega-3-for-dogs-the-ultimate-guide/

Remember egg shell is a source of calcium and added bone meal would be lowered on days eggshell is added.

I add a vitamin blend to offset that I can't afford to buy pasture raised organic beef.
Gotcha that is complicated. I found this bone meal powder (from new Zealand cattle) , it has 1300 mg Calcium, 400 mg Phosphorus, 15 mg magnesium per teaspoon (6g) . He eats 2 lbs per day ... what is the ratio i'm looking for here of calcium and phosphorus?
https://www.amazon.com/KAL-Sterilized-Supplement-Phosphorus-Magnesium/dp/B000HNHQPC/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1527606273&sr=1-4&keywords=bone+meal+powder+for+dogs

What vitamin blend do you use? And what brand of bone meal do you use for your beef and lamb dog? Gandalf can also have lamb..
 

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Tracking micronutrients per NRC guidelines is very tricky and generally requires a spreadsheet to get exactly right. You can also put your ingredients into the calculator at Balanceit.com (a vet-nutritionist owned site affiliated with UC Davis), and it will show you what's missing (and offer to sell you their fairly expensive supplement to round it out). This is one of the (many) reasons I feed a THK base mix to balance out the meat--I don't want to fool with tracking micronutrients in a spreadsheet.

Don't forget about essential fatty acids too.

There's also been a fair bit written lately about the risk of bone meal as a source of lead contamination. Monica Segel wrote about it several years ago, and I've seen it pop up a few other places recently. That's something worth investigating carefully.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Tracking micronutrients per NRC guidelines is very tricky and generally requires a spreadsheet to get exactly right. You can also put your ingredients into the calculator at Balanceit.com (a vet-nutritionist owned site affiliated with UC Davis), and it will show you what's missing (and offer to sell you their fairly expensive supplement to round it out). This is one of the (many) reasons I feed a THK base mix to balance out the meat--I don't want to fool with tracking micronutrients in a spreadsheet.

Don't forget about essential fatty acids too.

There's also been a fair bit written lately about the risk of bone meal as a source of lead contamination. Monica Segel wrote about it several years ago, and I've seen it pop up a few other places recently. That's something worth investigating carefully.
Ah I didn't know about the lead in bone meal thing. Aren't there raw feeders that just assume all the nutrients will come from the food? I do have a bottle of that balance it but couldn't remember for the life of me the dosage... and the website is too complicated I can't figure it out lol. I tried it this morning and it told me to give him sweet potatoes and things he can't have.
 

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@GandalfTheShepherd I will PM you later today when I have time. But I do use Kal bone meal powder.
As for the lead contamination...you have to ask how is THK and other premade foods adding calcium with out having bone content??? Short answer....bone meal powder or something like oyster shell, maybe egg shell. You will never find a perfect solution. Just have to do the very best you can that works for your dog :)
 

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Yes, make sure it's a high quality bone meal AND states on the package that is tested. Also, should NOT have a list of other ingredients that have been added.





NOW® Bone Meal Powder is naturally derived from cattle raised in the United States. Bone Meal Powder is an excellent source of Calcium. Calcium in bone meal occurs as a natural calcium phosphate compound known as hydroxyapatite. NOW® Bone Meal Powder is tested for heavy metals such as lead and aluminum to assure the lowest levels possible.Non-GMO / GMP Quality Assured

I've used this NOW product for many years.


NOW and KAL are fed at different rates.


Moms :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thanks Moms! Yes I've used NOW supplements for my family for years now and I've always been happy with their quality. May be a better route for us anyways since I cannot afford a grinder capable of grinding beef bones. It seems like variety is key? I've tweaked it to this...


Ground Beef (88% lean, 12% fat) Rotated with, Ground Turkey (93% Lean, 7% Fat), (Possibly) Rotated with, Ground lamb or Duck (will have to check our ethnic markets to see if they have any.. or what is available)
NOW Bone meal (amount ???)
Organ meat Beef (10% kidney, liver, heart)
Egg (few times a week)
Pulverized seasonal veggies & fruits
Pumpkin seed and Flaxseed
Multi vitamin
Probiotics
Pancreatic enzymes
Montmorillonite clay (1/8 teaspoon detox)
Beef marrow bone (a couple times a week, he just eats the marrow and tissue on the outside)
Bone broth monthly..

As a side note... can he eat an entire duck not cut up or anything if I get lucky and find some? Or are the bones too large? It's so difficult to find 1st something he isn't allergic to and 2nd a grocery store in our area that carries anything besides beef, chicken and turkey. . .

I figure occasionally I will also still buy some commercial raw to supplement in case I am missing any micro nutrients..
 

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Just a note about heart... it’s considered muscle meat, not organ meat. I hope you are able to actually find something that works for him AND saves you money. I’ve found for my dogs that once I add in supplements, it’s often just as expensive as commercial raw. At least when I’m using more exotic proteins or pre-ground stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just a note about heart... it’s considered muscle meat, not organ meat. I hope you are able to actually find something that works for him AND saves you money. I’ve found for my dogs that once I add in supplements, it’s often just as expensive as commercial raw. At least when I’m using more exotic proteins or pre-ground stuff.
Jeez that is disheartening, why do you still bother making it then? :frown2:
@Magwart I'm curious, what do you feed your dogs?
 

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Jeez that is disheartening, why do you still bother making it then? :frown2:
@Magwart I'm curious, what do you feed your dogs?
I make it because I don’t want to feed HPP processed raw/have no control over exact ingredients for my healthy dogs. I feed commercial raw to puppies and my boy who has IBD. But it really is not cheap to make unless you use a lot of chicken or denatured meat or lots of synthetic supplements. I’m certain there are ways I could make it cheaper, but I’m not comfortable with the quality of meat I’d be using.
 

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With my health-challenged dog, I feed THK's Preference and beef, but it has sweet potato which may not work for your dog. It probably saved mine's life though, as no kibble worked for him (even LID). Sometimes I feed Sojo's (either their base mix, the complete diet with goat, since goat is one of the few proteins we can do), or Dr. Harvey's, Ziwipeak, or ONP less-expensive private label dehydrated food, Max Meat, for a little variety. I also feed Glandex to him very regularly, as it really makes a big difference for his digestion.

If I'm feeding a complete raw diet, I usually buy Vital Essentials 5# chubs because he eats it better than anything else because it has tripe in it. He doesn't like OC Raw's beef and is apathetic about Primal's patties. He will go for days without eating, dropping 10% of his weight when he's feeling upset from travel or recovering from anesthesia. I have to keep a canister of THK's instant goat milk with enzymes and probiotics ("ProBloom") on hand for when he stops eating as it's sometimes the only thing he'll take in, and it will reliably restart his appetite. So, yeah, I get food trouble.

Ziwipeak might actually be something worth looking at while you figure this out. It's expensive but it's so concentrated that it actually goes a lot further than you'd guess based on the size of the bag. It might be one of the easiest complete foods to feed for dogs with lots of allergies -- as it has so few ingredients. It comes in either beef or lamb. For example:

Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Sea Salt, Parsley, Minerals (Potassium Bicarbonate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast, Manganese Amino Acid Complex), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B1 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid). Naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols.

If you can do pumpkin, ONP's Max Meat is more economical than Ziwi, but is similar - https://www.onlynaturalpet.com/products/Only-Natural-Pet-Grain-Free-MaxMeat-Air-Dried-Dog-Food/999276.aspx:

Beef, Beef Lung, Beef Liver, Beef Heart, Parsley, Pumpkin, Rosemary, Inulin (from Chicory Root), Ground Beef Bone, Vegetable Glycerin, Choline Chloride, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E Supplement), Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Sulfate, Vitamin E, Iron Proteinate, Selenium Yeast, Copper Sulfate, Nicotinic Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide (source of Iodine), Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid


I think Voodoo Lamb posted about an alternative to Balance It that's a lot cheaper -- you might send her a PM about it. I don't remember the name.

You might also consider whether it's worthwhile to invest in a private consult with Monica Segal - it's about $300, but she'll customize a complete diet for you. If I couldn't use a base mix, I think that's what I'd do -- she can run the numbers in the NRC spreadsheet for you and deal with all the food allergies the dog has, so that you don't have to worry about missing any micro-nutrients.

https://www.monicasegal.com/Adult_Dog_Consultation.html
 
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