German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When I researched a raw diet most resources I found encouraged feeding variety and percentages of raw meaty bones, muscle meat and organs. In theory these ideas sounded good, but my methodical mind couldn’t put aside all I had learned about how important certain nutrient levels and proportions were when I was researching dog foods. Dog food is formulated based on specific needs that were researched over time and I wanted that research to apply to my homemade diet as well.

So my mission changed from percentages to specifics, i.e. finding what nutrients my dogs needed and what nutrients they were being fed. I am not saying that percentages are bad or wrong, I am glad they work for most of you, but percentages simply weren’t good enough for me and left me feeling unsatisfied. I wanted to know more.

I learned how to analyze and balance a home prepared diet with advice I received from Tula here on the board and her experiences with the folks over at K9Kitchen on yahoo groups. I am no expert and I am not a nutritionist either. I just try and do the best I can with the numbers I can find.

I use the National Research Council’s guidelines for the ‘Nutrient Requirements of Dogs’. Their past recommendations from 1985 are available for free online. After much new research, time and testing they published updated 2006 guidelines which are the ones I now use. The new guidelines are not yet available for free, but Monica Segal had special permission to publish them in her latest book, Optimal Nutrition.

Now you have the info that tells you what your dogs need and you need to find the nutrients in the foods you feed. The foods I feed are based on individual tolerance/taste, availability and cost. I have chosen to feed and balance the dog’s diets with turkey necks, chicken quarters, beef heart, ground beef, ground turkey, beef liver, white potatoes, eggs, canned salmon, canned mackerel and supplements.

All the nutrient profiles of these ingredients (excluding bones) are available online for free on the USDA database, http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ I search for nutrients per ounce.

The analysis for the ingredients that include bone can be found in either/both of Monica Segal’s books. The book K 9 Kitchen had the turkey neck analysis and Optimal Nutrition has the chicken quarter analysis. She includes lab analysis of other raw meaty bones also.

Now you need to create a spreadsheet. I list the vitamins, minerals, etc on the left going down and the foods I feed across the top. I list out the nutrients per ounce and leave a box where the number of ounces that are fed can be changed and automatically calculated. Once I see the comparison of what the dog needs (calculated based on weight) vs. what the foods are providing I can then tweak the amount of each ingredient and supplement when necessary.

The supplements I have found that I needed are manganese, magnesium, zinc, cod liver oil, kelp, vitamin e and fish oil. The supplements are dependent on diet, i.e. Sasha cannot handle much ground beef so she needs a zinc supplement, Penny doesn’t get as many potatoes so she needs a magnesium supplement.

The mineral ratios I goal for are calcium/phosphorus 1.3:1, zinc/iron 2:1 and zinc/copper 10:1.

That’s it. The hardest part is creating the spreadsheet and entering in the information. I weirdly love Excel so this was the program I used.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,828 Posts
Go Natalie! I just couldn't stand the random feeding concept either and wanted to know that I if I was going to go to the trouble of feeding raw, I was feeding the best diet I possibly could. I just didn't want to go through all that spreadsheet stuff and went the wimpy way and had Monica do it for me for my adult dogs


I currently have a puppy and have her doing my diets for him too as they are only growing once and I don't want to screw him up. I want to give my boy the best possible chance to be the healthiest he can. I was getting adjusted diets every few days when he was little and now that he's 4 months old, it's about every week and a half.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,509 Posts
Natalie - Have you fed raw to a puppy? Is the calcium/phosphorus ratio the same? Does the calcium/phosphorus levels (not ratio-or perhaps the ratio) need to be lower/different for a pup?

I know
this is and would be, your $0.02 but I appreciate your knowledge and opinion
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,348 Posts
Natalie-- you are my hero. You always have me in absolute AWE!! I drink up your posts, reading and re-reading them. What you have learned and researched is absolutely amazing. Amazing!!

I am just starting raw with Grimm. It is clear to me that I cannot do all the supplements I wish, regularly.. they will end up being scattered, and even salmon oil will not be able to be an every-single-day thing. I can either do premium kibble, or a very cheap, sadly inconsistantly supplemented raw. I am doing the best my disability income allows. But I am forever grateful and in awe of your input on this forum!!! You must have the healthiest dogs ever!
I so appreciate every post you write, and all your work in this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
oohh, someone bumped my thread and it wasn't me- how cool


Originally Posted By: Barb E.Natalie - Have you fed raw to a puppy? Is the calcium/phosphorus ratio the same? Does the calcium/phosphorus levels (not ratio-or perhaps the ratio) need to be lower/different for a pup?
Barb- to be honest I do not know as I have not fed raw to a puppy so it's not something I have looked into. I started Penny when she was 1 year old so for her I used the adult guidelines and they were reprinted in Segal's book.

I would venture to say yes, they are different as puppy's needs for vitamins and minerals are much higher then the needs of adult dogs.

Segal's site says re puppy consults that, "Puppies have a very high demand for vitamins and minerals. Their changing needs during the critical first year of life translates to a variety of changing diet plans. Dietary changes may be expected every time the puppy gains a few pounds of weight. "

http://www.monicasegal.com/catalog/product.php?cPath=24_28&products_id=84

One thing I do know is that growth and nutrient requirements for puppy are not parallel. A 20# pup will need double the nutrients as a 10# pup, but will not need double the calories. So you can't take a 10# puppy diet and feed twice as much once the puppy is 20#. This is where the challenge comes in as you must fit the right amount of nutrients into the right amount of calories.

If I were grow a puppy on a homemade diet I would search out the latest NRC book, perhaps at your local university library, and get filled in on all the growth details. I know that there are guidelines for puppy in the book.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,392 Posts
My feeding methods are not nearly as well researched as Natalie's, and I acknowledge that more information is always better than less. I salute her diligence and study, and I continually learn new things from her.


But for what it's worth, my raw feeding method for puppies is fairly straightforward. I've raised two pups this way (a GSD and a Corgi), and the third is currently being fed the same way (Leonberger). All with results I and my vets are pleased with.

My method: puppies are fed exactly the same diet--and exactly the same amount per day--as if they were adults.

The meal size is based on 2% of the dog's expected adult weight. (with all the usual disclaimers about your dog's meal size may be different, watch his weight and adjust.)

by way of illustration:
If you anticipate a 100 pound adult dog--2 pounds of food per day.
Same dog as a 12 pound pup--2 pounds of food per day.
30 pound pup---2 pounds of food.
50 pound pup---2 pounds of food.

The only difference is that puppies require softer bones until they finish teething, but even so, In my experience, poultry, rabbit and fish bones are no problem for any size pup.

In this way, the amount of nutrition/calories is gradually reduced as the pup gets bigger. The bigger they get, the less food they are getting as a percentage of their weight. It's an extremely gradual way to do it, without having to recalculate based on a pup's growth spurts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Originally Posted By: BrightelfNatalie-- you are my hero. You always have me in absolute AWE!!
I do believe that you are giving me too much credit, but I thank you for your kind words.
It feels nice to know someone cares about my input as you can see when I posted this in August I got one reply, lol. But that's okay- I just keep giving to ya'll anyways


Originally Posted By: BrightelfIt is clear to me that I cannot do all the supplements I wish, regularly..

I can either do premium kibble, or a very cheap, sadly inconsistantly supplemented raw.
A 'good' raw diet does not mean a heavily supplemented diet- your simply goaling for balance. For some diets this equals supplements, for others not.

One thing I like about looking at my spreadsheet is that it tells me what to supplement for. This way I can go buy what I need and nothing else.

Take the brewers yeast you were asking about as an example- it is full of B vitamins- but my dogs don't need any supplementation for B vitamins as I can clearly see in my spreadsheet that all the B vitamin bases are covered through the foods they eat. It might be a nice added bonus, but they don't *need* it and knowing this saves money and time fretting wondering.

Originally Posted By: BrightelfYou must have the healthiest dogs ever!
Sasha has health of iron, but Penny suffers from allergies and itches a lot. I have learned that there are no magic bullets, even a raw diet, so we manage the best we know how.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,509 Posts

Thank you Nat and Tracy.
I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to feed my next pup and getting as much figured out as I can in advance

It won't be raw (unless I win the lottery) but in an attempt to figure out the whole calcium/phosphorus ratio/level/etc 'thing' I thought I would look to the raw feeders.
The interesting thing is that when I inquired about the Calcium/Phos (Calcium 2.123 % Phosphorus 1.3 %) from the Nature's Logic folks I got:
Quote:Dear Barb,

Thank you for your email and interest in our products.

Our food is very good for large breeds especially. The reason is because all the calcium comes from real food and all the vitamins come from real food.

When a food has added chemically synthesized vitamins and minerals added they can have a negative effect on structural growth and development. This does not happen when feeding a whole food diet only like Nature's Logic.

Sincerely,

Scott Freeman

Customer Service
Nature's Logic
PO Box 67224
Lincoln, NE 68506
Previous responses from dog food manufaturerers with calcium over 1.5% had said not to feed to GSD pups. This Nature's Logic is ALS "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Nature's Logic Natural Chicken Meal Dinner Fare provides
complete and balanced nutrition for All Life Stages."
http://www.natureslogic.com/products/dp_dry_chi.html

*Sigh* it is so confusing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I created the spreadsheet myself in Excel. I am still using it and it is working great for my two! If you are seriously interested in seeing it pm me your email and I'll send you a copy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
646 Posts
i'm still learning about raw as i feed my guy; i have a question for all of you experienced folks...

i keep hearing/reading that turkey necks are ok to feed, but no one ever mentions chicken necks; can they be fed too?

as always, thanks for so generously sharing your knowledge and experience; it sure makes my life easier
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,225 Posts
Chicken necks themselves are great, the only thing is they may be too small and a lot of GSDs could end up gulping them. They're better for the smaller guys unless you have a neck from a mutant chicken.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,225 Posts
I read a post on here where someone was using chopped up chicken necks as a training treat. Since I've never done that, I'd wait for advice from someone who has fed chopped up chicken necks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,034 Posts
The main reason for worry about gulping is when things don't fit. If a dog tries to gulp down something and it gets stuck - that's a problem.

But, I really doubt chicken necks would get stuck in an adult GSDs throat. So I wouldn't worry about gulping those.

The other issue with gulpers is they lose the benefit of the chewing - the teeth cleaning aspect. So - give them something big (like a full leg quarter) once a week or so and that takes care of that problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,220 Posts
Originally Posted By: DianaMI read a post on here where someone was using chopped up chicken necks as a training treat. Since I've never done that, I'd wait for advice from someone who has fed chopped up chicken necks.
I used cut up ones for Hardy in OB. Not exactly the cleanest or easiest treat to use, but it worked, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,008 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Originally Posted By: LisaTnatalie, where did you get the zinc ratios? From the NRC guidelines?
Yes if you look at their recommendations and divide them out those are the ratios you come to. When I asked the k9kitchen group what mineral ratios/interactions I should watch out for these were stressed as being most important.

NRCs recommends 2.0mg zinc, 1.0mg iron and 0.2mg copper per kg of body weight to the .75 power per day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27,245 Posts
I am bumping this great thread, it is sure to be useful to all the new raw feeders that are asking Q's! Thanks Natalie for the info.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top