by Karen Curley
My 14 month old collie has always been a very finicky eater. He will go three or four days without eating anything and when he finally does decide to eat, he will only pick at his kibble. I would say he averages a half cup of kibble a day. Not only that, but he would vomit bile every day because his stomach was empty but still, he wouldn’t eat any more.
I have changed his food twice, introducing new kibble gradually but to no avail. You would imagine that a $40 bag of dog food would be delicious, but I guess not!
My pup is very bony and thin, although he is full of energy, so everyone says that I shouldn’t be concerned. Even the vet said that he was fine but will probably always be small for his breed. I figure a dog should enjoy his food, not just pick at it to sustain himself, so I decided to switch to a Raw Diet.
I read a lot about the raw diet before I decided to give it a try. It makes perfect sense to feed a dog raw meat. After all, they are carnivores. From what I read, kibble is not healthy for a dog. It contains a large amount of grains and vegetables, both of which a dog (or cat for that matter) cannot digest. Kibble is also the cause of many allergies and medical problems in dogs or cats.
So, I took the plunge a month ago, feeding Brodie raw chicken quarters, oxtails, beef gullet, pork necks, chicken hearts and gizzards, green tripe and raw liver. Today, for breakfast, he ate a whole Cornish hen. These are just of the few raw meats I have tried. I must say, at first, I was a little worried about the chicken bones but they were no problem for him.
My dog loves mealtime now. He thoroughly enjoys his raw meats, crunching the bones and tearing the meat. Isn’t that what a carnivore is all about? He hasn’t vomited since he started the Raw Diet and his coat seems brighter and shinier. I feel guilty now because I let him go on for a year not enjoying his mealtime.
I joined the yahoo group: firstname.lastname@example.org which is full of tips and ideas for raw feeding your pet. Everyone on the group is very helpful and supportive, answering all the newbie questions I have had.
As I was researching the Raw Diet for dogs, I found that there are two groups of thought. One is the BARF Diet group and the other is strictly Raw Meat Diet:
The BARF Diet consists mainly of raw meaty bones, organs, and pulped vegetables like: carrots, kale, zucchini, romaine, and celery, to name a few. The BARF Diet also adds yogurt for the probiotics and supplements. There are quite a few sites online that have BARF recipes if you are interested in starting raw with your dog or cat. I tried the BARF diet with my dog the first two weeks but he really didn’t like the vegetables at all, so I went with all raw meat and organs.
The Raw Diet is just what it says, all raw meat, meaty bones, organs, and raw eggs with the shells for added calcium. This is the diet my collie loves. Here is a great site that lists all kinds of raw meats you can feed your pet: www.rawfeddogs.net
How much raw meat to feed your dog or cat depends on body weight? The rule of thumb is to feed 2-4 percent of the body weight of the dog. I’ve been feeding about 3 percent to my collie because he needs to put on a little weight which equals roughly 1 ½ lbs. of meat per day. If he starts to gain too much, I’ll cut him back to 2 percent. Here is a handy site for calculating how much meat to feed your dog: http://www.raw4dogs.com/calculate.htm
Another issue to consider when switching to the Raw Meat Diet is the dog treats. I used to buy dog biscuits and various other treats at the pet supply store. Treats are not cheap these days either. Now, I dehydrate fresh beef liver or green tripe, and then break it up into bite sized pieces. These are the only training treats I use for my dog. He absolutely loves them! They are also cheaper than the store bought treats. He will work hard just for a small nibble of these.
Here is a list of a few more raw feeding sites, if you’re thinking about giving it a try. I know my dog loves his food now and his teeth are glowing ( an added plus to feeding raw meaty bones is clean teeth – no more struggling with that doggie tooth brush.)
Some companies offer prepackaged raw food for dogs, cats, ferrets, and even horses. This is handy if you are traveling or didn't get to the meat store. Keep it frozen as a handy meal in case you run out of meat or you can bring it to the kennel if you need to leave your dog.