I wanted to share my experiences of starting my 7.5yr old dog, Einstein, on a raw diet. I’m not talking about commercially prepared raw diets, I’m saying, “give your dog a bone” diet; prey model. This diet is based on supplying what a dog may catch as whole prey; the whole body.
I have done a lot of my own research, most of which was talking to hundreds of other owners who have been feeding raw for years, reading books and any bit of research that was out there. Unfortunately, you won’t find any research in a medical journal. As long as the big commercial pet food companies are funding these journals, they will not let this secret out…they would go out of business. Instead, you will easily find articles based on ‘fear mongering’, threatening the risk of salmonella poisoning and punctured intestines. Like most things, use common sense. Wash your hands, dishes, areas where raw food has been prepared and eaten and don’t feed cooked bones. Oh right, and don’t play in or eat your dog’s poop.
A dog’s intestine is unique in its own way; it is much shorter and food travels through it quickly. It also has a unique ability to wrap soft matter (e.g. skin, tissue, feathers and fur), around hard matter, like bones. Raw bones are also quite soft and pliable, hence why you should never give your dog cooked bones, ever. Also be careful of weight bearing bones of large animals, as they are hard and big and may chip teeth.
I went to my local butcher to see what he had in meat that wasn’t too expensive. I told him it was for my dog. He knew exactly what I was talking about and told me about all of his different customers that feed their dogs’ raw and all of the different ways they go about getting the meat. He had some chicken quarters for a dollar a pound and some offal (organs). I spent forty dollars and left with a bag full of chicken quarters, a whole cow tongue, kidney and heart.
Day one, for Einstein’s first raw breakfast, I put a whole chicken quarter in his dish and said, “Here you are, now you get the good stuff “. I was surprised at how natural it was for him to get right into a raw meaty bone. Meanwhile, I’m standing over him with my cell phone in hand ready to call emergency. I didn’t take my eyes off of him for a second. Crunch, crunch, crunch…oh my goodness, he’s eating the bone! He was done in minutes. It was amazing to watch a dog eat what they are intended to eat. His jaw and teeth in action, working the way they should be. Einstein ate the whole thing with his tail between his legs, he was probably thinking, I’m not normally allowed to eat this, but here it is in my dish…I’m eating it! I watched him all day, expecting there to be issues…Nothing. All day, he was calm and quiet. Meal time is now greeted with such enthusiasm and a much calmer dog.
Einstein’s teeth have been covered in tartar and his gums, red and inflamed. They are now white and tartar-less and his gums are a nice pink. No more bad breath. His poos are firm and little, and if accidentally not picked up right away, disintegrate into dust. Einstein is now nice and lean, with great muscle tone and has a much healthier, shinier coat along with much less shedding. The way nature intended.
There are many different ways to feed your dog raw. The guideline I follow in one day is, I feed Einstein 2% of his body weight, due to his age and heart troubles. Variety is the key when it comes to what to feed your dog. In one day, the meal should be divided up in 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% organ. I feed Einstein twice a day and I usually use this guide over a few days. So far, Einstein has eaten every part of a chicken, cow meat, heart, and tongue, liver and kidney, deer meat, pork scraps and fish. The most important part of a ruminant a dog should get in their diet is raw, green tripe. This is the stomach of the animal. It is chalked full of enzymes, beneficial bacteria, and amino acids, all vital to your dogs immunity and well being. This is when Einstein gets his veggies. To mimic the prey’s stomach, I pulp some berries and plain greens and add it to the tripe. This is a good source of trace minerals and not because a dog needs vegetables. I also add a teaspoon of cod liver oil.
The prey model diet, combined with less vaccinations and other harsh chemical treatments, will ensure that your dog will live a much longer, than what we know now, as the average age, limit the chance of illness such as cancer, diabetes, urinary tract infections, allergies and the list goes on.
Speak to a holistic veterinarian about making the life of your dog a healthier one. Here are some great reference sites for your own reading.
Article by Anne who runs The Dog House