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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,
The more I read, study, etc., the more I think I too should follow your lead and switch from kibble to raw. I must admit, though, I'm VERY nervous about feeding my girl bones (chicken, turkey, etc.). But...I suppose everyone feels that way at first.

I feel like I need some very specific "hand-holding", so I've ordered the "Raw Dog Food: Make It Easy for You and Your Dog" book.

Do you think this is a good guide for a complete beginner to make the change?

Also, can someone give me some recommendations for specific parts that should be good to start with as I transition (drumbsticks, wings, necks, etc.)?

I feel like I need (I suppose for my own peace of mind) to try a "sample" of something (maybe a little piece of neck or a wing, or...???) and just get a comfort that my girl will be O.K. Suggestions?

I must confess, I will have to be very careful making the switch to raw; my Wife's Father was a butcher (R.I.P.) and my Wife's ex-husband got tape-worms (that were VERY difficult for him to get rid of) from eating too rare a steak (at a restaurant)! So, it's going to take a little "smooth-talking"
to convince my Wife that this whole "raw-thing" is in our girl's best, long term interest.

Suggestions???

Thank you,
Craig
 

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I am sure the book you got is a good one, Craig. I read Ian Billinghurst DVM's book.. he's a vet! "Give Your Dog a Bone" explained that raw is natural, not scary, and that the dogs body doesn't only already know how to handle these bones, but that it needs them, and why.

How old is your dog? Baby puppies can have chicken wings (buy 'em un-seasoned of course) and older pups and dogs can easily enjoy a chicken drumstick as first RMB. The raw chicken bones are soft, not hard. Chickens are babies when slaughtered, just 8 weeks old.. so the bones are REALLY soft when raw. They quickly turn into a mushy pulp in your dog's tummy in no time.

The first time I gave my pup a chicken drum, it was amazing. He remembered, on some level, what each type of teeth he had in his muzzle were for.. some for shearing through the rubbery skin, some for crunching the bone.. the front teeth pulled skin away from meat. Dogs get kinda medatative on enjoying the RMB part of the raw diet I think-- at least mine does. It seems to relax my dog a lot.

I am new to this too, just 3.5 weeks. I have seen only hugely positive improvements so far. I wish you the best!
 

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You killed me with the subject line. I thought is he really eating kibble and now he wants to transition to barf? Maybe for supermodel training.
 

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Raw bones (especially poultry bones) are far softer than you realize. They don't splinter like cooked bones. If you want to test this out, if you have a meat cleaver, take a chicken bone, flip your meat cleaver and whack the bone. It starts to fall apart pretty easily, doesn't it? Now realize that your dog has far more force in her jaw than you do in your arm and shoulder. And she's hungry. She'll crush that bone with no effort. I actually did this test with one of my wimpy knives (I'm a vegetarian and didn't own a cleaver at the time.). Chop chop chop. Raw bone is pretty easy to crush.

Start with chicken quarters and watch your dog pulverize it. That should give you a great deal of confidence. Mostly, I feed my dog poultry bones (chicken, turkey, duck). I don't feed beef femurs, or any heavy weight-bearing bone, because I worry about teeth. Others do, and don't appear to have problems. I tend to be far more paranoid.


Dogs also have much more acidic stomach acids than your lovely wife, which means that even if there WERE anything odd on the meat, it wouldn't survive. Start with human grade food right from your favorite grocery store, if that makes you more comfortable, the stuff that you would toss on the bar-b-que or into the oven and feed to your family. It's inspected (in theory at least), and an actual human butcher has worked on it, and should have noticed anything funky crawling around on it. Before you serve the food to your dog, take another quick look. Then relax and let your girl enjoy.

I was weirded out by the process too. Now, I don't even think about it. You'll get there. I promise!
 

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http://leerburg.com/pdf/feedingrawdiet.pdf

while you're waiting for your other book, you can take a look at the free e-book from the Leerburg site (link above.) I think this is a very good Q & A format primer on raw feeding.

Any piece of chicken will be a good "first food." Easy to chew and digest.

Also--let us all know what restaurant it was that served the wormy steak. I want to be sure to avoid it!!!
 

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The first time I gave my dogs a raw meal it was a chicken leg 1/4. I remember Patti aka Brightlelf told me to take a pic~ran and got my camera and Onyx had already scarfed it down! So no pic for the scrapbook! These dogs eat raw so joyfully
Never really had any problems except I did overfeed in the beginning and got a few puddinpoo's til I learned. Now the problem is not letting others know about this diet, as the sources for feeding are becoming hard to find!
 

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As a beginner-- just 3.5 weeks on raw-- I can say I expected more trouble with the switch. It was easy! I panicked anyway.. me being me.
He got a bit thin until I adjusted the amount of food. I had a few pudding poops-- but no diarrhea! No sick dog.

What I noticed:

1. He stopped vomiting a bit of yellow fluid each morning.. he always did that on kibble.
2.He pooped a lot less, and it was healthy poops.
3. His coat has become thick, glossy, soft.
4.Muscle-- he has added lots of muscle.
5. He is calmer in the house now, no carb jitters with this diet.
6.Already whiter, cleaner teeth
7.Less doggy odor already!

It only takes me about 5 mins max to throw together each meal. The cost is less than the kibble I was feeding.
It's kinda fun-- the difference between feeding kibble and raw is like the difference between drawing a house with a black crayon on a piece of paper.... or making a lil' house out of LEGOs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey, you all are a pleasure to hear from; thank you all so much.

O.K., one final question for now:

I hear many of you say you shouldn't feed raw parts that have "load bearing" bones. Does that mean, as a rule, I shouldn't feed chicken legs (thighs and/or drumsticks)?

I was thinking of giving my girl something like a thigh, drumstick, or a wing as her first "raw" experience.

Would the thigh or drumstick be O.K., or should I just have her sample a wing instead???

Thank you all again...I'll keep you posted.

Craig
 

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I think that pertains more to large animals with big thick bones IE cows.
I have been doing this as long as Brightelf so I am no expert either. But my pups who just turned 5 and 6 months do just fine with chicken legs. I haven't given them Turkey drums or wings yet. Haven't been looking for them as we get enough Rabbit, Chicken, Deer and Turkey necks.
Since your girl is 10 months all her adult teeth should be in and she should be ready to much away.
Your girl looks like mine BTW.
 

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All bones support some weight--that's what they are for.

That said, just consider the amount of weight. A chicken leg doesn't have to hold up much--so they are quite soft. Any part of any chicken (any bird, really) will be quite soft. A huge tom turkey leg might be a challenge for a puppy, but my large adult male eats them with no problem.

The weight-bearing bones that you will want to avoid are the ones that hold up hundreds or thousands of pounds---the legs of a cow or deer or pig. But other parts of those beasts are fine--ribs, vertebra, etc--all fine, for most adult dogs.

Fish bones--no problem at all. All they have are spines and ribs.

Rabbit bones--no problem.

Lamb bones--most, not a problem. A pup might struggle finishing a lamb shank bone, but an adult dog--no problem.
 

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I started my pup out on raw bones at about 3 months old. She did just fine with any part of the chicken. I persoanlly started with a chicken leg quarter, but the necks and wings are easier to crunch through.

Also - I personally watch my dog eat each of her meals so I know she doesn't have any problem with the bones. She eats everything quite well (a very good chewer) but occassionally will have trouble with a beef rib or pork neck bone if too big/thick. If she starts mouthing the bone and doesn't finish it within a few minutes, then I just take it away. It's rare I need to do that though.

Good luck with the transition over. I did it with my pup - made a lot of mistakes in the beginning with amount/percentages. Now that I have worked through them and figured out what works best with my pup, I love having her on a raw diet.
 
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