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February 20, 2009

What’s For Dinner?

Filed under: Raw Food Diet, Uncategorized — myminizoo @ 9:20 pm

A few months ago I did an extensive post on raw food diets for dogs and cats. If you haven’t caught that yet you can do so here : https://myminizoo.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/about-raw-food-diets/

I feel this is the healthiest diet for pet companion animals, but I realize that it can seem quite daunting to those that have never done it before. I remember when I started… I was always worried if I was using the right ingredients in the right ratios. Should I feed supplements? How much do I feed?  Am I feeding enough meat/organs/ eggs? How do I know if my menu is balanced?? etc. etc.

So to simplify things for you I decided to post a little tutorial. This should give you a bit more of an idea should you decide to take the plunge.

 Note: This is just what works for me, there are many different diet variations. You have to take what I say and use it as a spring board. I encourage anyone who is interested in starting their pets on raw to do their research. It’s a lot of work in the beginning but in the end you will have a very good understanding of your pets nutitional needs.

This post is not for the faint of heart!

Tulip Roxy and Alaska waiting at the kitchen door for supper!

Tulip Roxy and Alaska waiting at the kitchen door for supper!

The Basic Diet for the Dogs is:

60-70% Raw Meaty Bones ( chicken necks, backs, or carcasses, turkey necks or wings, pork riblets, lamb riblets etc.)

20-30% Meat, Eggs, Organs, or Yogurt ( I try to vary the types of meats and organs as much as possible, and I only feed yogurt ocasionally)

5-10% Veges ( These are really optional. Many don’t feed them at all and have very health dogs. I choose to include them usually closer to the 5 % mark. The veges are raw and pulped to better mimic the stomach contents of prey)

Supplements (Optional, some feed them to offset what they feed is lacking in the diet)

Basic Diet for Cats:

50% Raw Meaty Bones

50% Eggs,Organs or Meat

Supplements

The menu for today is:

Fresh Chicken Carcasses

 Fresh Chicken Carcasses

Fresh Chicken Carcasses

Fresh Chicken Gizzards
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Fresh Eggs
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Pureed Vegetables

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Supplements – I use Salmon Oil ( Omega 3 Fatty Acids), Vitamin C & E ( Antioxidant vitamins) and Kelp( Trace Minerals and Iodine)

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I measure out a certain amount of each ingredient according to which diet model I am following.

Amount to feed per day

2-3% of each pets body weight in food per day

Take your pets weight and multiply it by 16 to get his weight # in oz.  Then multiply that number by .02 or .03 to get the # of oz to feed  per day.

Then multiply that # by .70 to get the percentage of Raw Bones to feed, .25 to get the amount of meat to feed and .05 to get the amount of veges to feed.

Example:

Roxy weighs 22 lbs X 16 = 352 oz

.o3 of 352 = 10.5 OZ total per day

10.5 X .70 = 7.4 oz Raw Meaty Bones per day

10.5 X .25 = 2.6oz meat or extras per day

10.5 X .05= .5 oz veges per day

Sounds super complicated but its not. I am horrible at math so if I can do it you can too!

I use this as a rough guide, some days they may get a little more or a little less of something. It’s all about balance over time.

This can be closer to 1.5 if the pet is chubby, or up at 3 if the pet is very active.

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It requires a bit more effort than opening a bag of the crunchy stuff, but I think the time is worth it. My pets have never been healthier or more excited about meal times!

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November 12, 2008

About: Raw Food Diets

Filed under: Raw Food Diet — myminizoo @ 12:16 am

 

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What is a raw food diet?

 Well, the formal name for raw food diets is BARF. It sounds gross, but its just an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The diet was developed by an Australian vet, Dr. Ian Billinghurst. He felt that the reason there are so many debilitating diseases in dog and cats was because of over processed pet food. So he developed a diet that he felt mimicked the ideal diet, the diet that wolf would eat in the wild.

 Ok, but what do you feed your dogs?

 Well first of all everything they eat is raw, to supply the maximum amount of nutrients. The basis of their diet is Raw Meaty Bones. Raw Meaty Bones supply the optimal calcium phosphorus ration, and ensure than imbalances don’t occur. The bones can come from many different protein sources such as chicken, turkey, lamb or duck. An example of a raw meaty bone would be chicken backs, lamb riblets, or turkey necks. Sixty to seventy percent of the diet should be raw meaty bones, and these bones should have approximately a 50/50 meat to bone ratio. The other 30-40 % of the diet should be divided between muscle meat, organ meat, eggs, yogurt, and vegetables. Vegetables must always be pureed as dogs have a hard time breaking down the cellulose wall of whole raw vegetables.

 

The requirements are similar for cats with a few exceptions. Cats required a diet that is 50% Raw Meaty Bones. The other 50% should be divided between muscle meat, organ meat, eggs and yogurt. Cats have no need for vegetables or grains. This is because the cat is a pure carnivore. They lack salivary amalyse, the digestive enzyme that breaks down starch in the mouth. Many of the debiltating diseases in cats such as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, Diabetes, and Obesity are a direct result of feeding too many carbohydrates. The other thing to consider with cats is that they don’t manufacture the amino acid Taurine as dogs do. Therefor they must recieve this in the diet, either in the diets ingredients or as a supplement. Heart, red meat, clams and oysters are all high in Taurine.

 

 

You feed them bones? But, I thought bones were dangerous for dogs?

 

 

 It depends on the type of bones and also on how your dog eats. I feed my dogs only raw bones which splinter much less than cooked bones. They also gets mostly non weight bearing bones, such as chicken carcasses or lamb riblets. These are much less brittle than big leg bones. They is very careful and chews then bones well. I know many people who feed raw and have never had a dog choke on a bone. However, if you are worried you can always grind the bones for your dog. Grinding might also be a good option if your dog tends to gulp his food, or if you have a small dog.

Cat’s can also handle raw bones, however I chop the bones up into small chunks to make it easier for them to handle.

 

What are the reasons you feed this diet?

 

 

 Raw food is an alternative to commercial highly processed productsThe pet food industry is very poorly regulated and was invented to get rid of waste products from food manufacturing that companies didn’t know what to do with. There is no way of knowing by reading the back of the bag what quality the ingredients or what their digestibility is. Recently there was a huge pet food recall because food was contaminated with melamine. Many pets died and many are left with permenent kidney damage from this episode. Feeding raw allows you to have more control over what your dog eats. Especially with the pet food recalls this is an important consideration. Also, the benefit of feeding good quality fresh food can not be denied. Everything I feed is in its natural state and none of the vitamins or enzymes are damaged by high temperatures. Ultimately this it the diet for me but individuals have to read and research on their own and come to their own decisions.

 

 

 But why do you need to feed bones? Couldn’t I just give a calcium supplement with meat?

 

 

 Of course, as long as the calcium was given in appropriate amounts. However, the main benefit to feeling bones is that bones help clean the teeth. Dogs that are fed raw bones will never have to have a dental and you won’t have to brush their teeth. Peridontal disease it one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats and cat lead to kidney disease and heart murmurs. Another benefit of feeing bones is that the chewing action exercises the dog’s jaws and provides mental stimulation. If you don’t feed raw bones you will still have to brush your dog’s teeth.

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 Can I feed my dog grains?

 

 

 Grains are not recommended in the BARF diet as grains are not a natural food for dogs. The only carbohydrates a dog would eat in the wild would be the stomach contents of their prey, and a small amount of berries or roots. Most commercial foods use grains as filler, but dogs have limited ability to digest them. Grains such as corn can be attributed to many sensitivities and allergies. As well cooked grains digest at a different rate than raw food so feeding them at the time can cause the meat to remain in the digestive system too long and ferment.

 

 

 But why go to all that work? What are some of the benefits of feeding this diet?

 

 

 Well each dog varies, but dog that are fed raw usually experience:

  • shinier coats
  • more vitality and energy
  • less stool volume
  • reduced doggy odour
  • fewer allergy problems
  • decrease in ear infections
  • cleaner teeth and fresher breath     This all translates into fewer vet visits!

 

 How do you know that your dog’s diet is balanced?

 

 

 If you feed a diet that is at least 60% raw meaty bones with the rest being, muscle meat, organ meats, and veges your dog will receive all the nutrients he needs. Remember that everything is fresh and all the nutrients are in their most available state. They may not get everything nutrient all in one day, but over a 2 week period it will balance out. You don’t need a degree in nutrition, just some basic knowledge, and as much variety in protein and vegetable sources as possible.

 

Do you add any supplements?

 

 I add a few supplements. Different experts have different recommendations. If the diet is varied then supplements may not be necessary. I’ve settled on a few that I think are important. My dogs get Fish Oil, for the Omega 3 fatty acids with are excellent for his skin and coat. They also gets Vitamin E and C for their antioxidant value, and kelp for the many trace minerals it provides.

 

 

 How much food do you feed your dogs per day?

 

 

 Well, generally you should feed between 2-3% of the dog’s ideal body weight. If your dog is very active you should feed closer to the 3 % mark. Start with 2% and then watch your dog’s waistline and add or deduct as needed. 

 

 

 But I’m worried about bacteria. Aren’t you afraid that your dogs will catch something?

 

 

  Well actually dogs are much less likely to get sick from bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli than humans. These organisms usually just pass through the dog without causing it any harm. The only time I would be concerned is if your dog is severely immune compromised or is on steroids. These may interfere with his body’s ability to fight infection, so a cooked food diet would be a better option.   Another factor to consider is that bacteria may not affect your dog, but his feces may still have the live bacteria in it, so it’s important to pick up and dispose of it promptly to avoid cross contamination. Also, to avoid cross contamination all bowls and food preparation equipment should be disinfected properly between uses, and the dog should be fed on a plastic mat that also should be disinfected between uses.

 

This all sounds like a lot of work! How much time does it take you to prepare all this food?

 

 

  It’s not as much as you might think. I purchase other raw meaty bones and package them in 1 serving bags and throw them in the freezer. I also do this with organ and muscle meat. Every few weeks I prepare a big batch of vegetable mush. I puree a variety of veges and freeze them in Ziploc bags. Each night I take out a bag of RMB’s for the next day, every few days I take out one of organs or meat and one of vege mix. To put it all together every day takes me 5 minutes. I weigh the portion to make sure I’m feeding the right amount, then I add in the vege mix, an extra such as organ meat, muscle meat, egg, yogurt, or fish. Add supplements and you’re done.

 

 

 Well it must be expensive!

 

 

 It is probably comparable to feeding a good quality kibble or canned product. If you have freezer space and can purchase ingredients in bulk you will save a lot. Shop around and look for good deals!

 

 

 Where would I go to get more information?

 

 

 I suggest you do as much research as you can before you start. There are many authors that have written books on the subject. Do some reading and find out what the nutrition experts say.I can reccomend good books or websites if you wish If possible talk to others who feed raw. You have to get educated and find out what is best for your dog. Consider consulting a holistic vet and getting his opinion. Some holistic vets have nutritionists on staff that may be able to give you valuable advice.

Good Luck and Happy Raw Feeding!

 

 

 

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