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KathyM
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30-12-2007, 08:27 PM

Switching to raw with complications

Hi you lot

A long time ago we tried Dharma on raw (this is before we had Seth) and things didn't go well, suffice to say.

However, over the last 6 months, I've got over most of the fear of trying again, and these two have both been having some raw (mainly chicken wings) as well as their usual dry food (not at the same mealtime).

We've decided to blow caution to the wind and try again, and have put up an ad for a spare freezer on Freecycle (no going back now, mwahaha).

Problem is, due to the initial attempts at raw, Dharma has a sensitive tum. She's definitely allergic to rice as a result, which I know is irrelevant for when we switch, but I suspect she could be "delicate" if we're not careful.

Other problem - Seth is ancient and has a huge amount of epulides covering his teeth which are unlikely to be removed unless absolutely necessary. He sucks food basically, he can cope with moistened or not too hard dry food, but he has to have the chicken wings bashed for him, otherwise he just sits and sucks them for hours (which although sweet is not helpful as he is a resource guarder and has to be separated at feeding times).

Because Dharma's a gulper, and I'm still admittedly nervous about bones (nowhere near as much as I used to be), AND because of Seth's probs, we've been bashing the wings before giving them.

I was wondering what other raw foods I could try before we make the full transition - or is it a case of leaping in with both feet? If the latter, I have to hang on for the freezer.

When we make the full transition, have you got any tips regarding the problems I posted? Will Seth be okay on bashed foods for good, or will he be missing out?

Thanks for your advice in advance!
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KathyM
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30-12-2007, 08:27 PM
Forgot to add: any guidelines related to their size or age would be much appreciated too - Dharma is a 50kg 4 year old Bullmastiff and Seth is a 36kg 9(ish) year old Boxer.
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Colin
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30-12-2007, 09:03 PM
Well you could start by giving them mince or cubes which are about an inch square in size.

I'm really surprised that you think Dharma could be delicate to raw meat or bones because there is nothing that can upset her stomach, and Seth might find that he will be able to eat his food a bit easier as most raw meat is pretty moist if allowed to defrost properly as it is full of blood.

Concerning how much they should eat, all my dogs weigh between 40 & 45kg's and I give them about 2kg's of food each a day. i.e.: one whole chicken, sheep's head.

Also as it takes a lot longer for raw meat to get digested I only feed them once a day.

It really difficult to tell whether or not you should jump into raw feeding with both feet because only you can make that sort of decision, but I am a believe that once you start then there is no turning back.
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Borderdawn
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30-12-2007, 09:22 PM
I remember you were quite anti raw at one point Kathy, Im pleased you are going to try again, I hope it works this time.

I dont give my Borders chicken wings as they are greedy beggars that would just swallow them whole. I do give them breast of lamb, soft bones and too big to swallow, you could maybe try that, Lamb is very gentle on tummies most of the time. Could you blend or mince Seths food, and then you could basically feed what you feed to dharma?
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Malady
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30-12-2007, 09:27 PM
I understand about gulpers. My Seku used to literally 'inhale' chicken wings, so she has to have larger pieces that she has to chew.

Age is really irrelevant when starting on Barf, it's a natural food, so age shouldnt come into it.

I agree with Colin with the other points. Raw should not upset a dogs' stomach as there is nothing there to upset it.

As for Seth, I know many people that mince all their meat for their dogs, so you could try it that way, he will still be getting the nutrition from it.
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thandi
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30-12-2007, 10:13 PM
I wouldnt be giving a mastiff chicken wings! If a dog can swallow something whole, or with very little effort, then it is too small!
As a general rule of thumb, I dont give my dogs anything smaller than their head (I realise this may take some organising with a mastiff ), as great benefit is derived from the 'work' the dog has to put in to its meal - flossing with sinews as it tears at the meat, paddling and gripping with paws - a great all round work out!
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KathyM
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31-12-2007, 10:53 AM
Thanks all of you for your advice, you've been amazing.

I know raw *shouldn't* upset her, but it did the first times (quite severe repeated colitis), and has left her with a dodgey tum - I don't know what aspect of the diet we were feeding that caused it (it was Pitcairn that we were doing then). The vet said it was a bug that has left her with intolerances, and that thought stuck for a long time. It's only recently that I've wondered if it was an intolerance from the start - her intolerances are "strange" for a dog - rice is the main one and my friend who raw feeds thinks some of Dharma's more regular problems are yeast/sugar/cereal related - maybe an intolerance in general of cereals. Maybe all along it was less related to the raw meat and more related to the "healthy powder"? Don't know if any of you have read Pitcairn at all, sorry.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it will do the same this time, I'm nervous of her having an intolerance not a bug. She's basically an odd one, and I've got over her being that odd one (rather than fearing the raw diet because of it, if you get me). That's why I've been building up my confidence with chuck wings - that's been ongoing for months and I'm over that fear, although I'd like to move on to other meats now. To be honest I'm more nervous of getting it right than it going wrong *lol*.

They had a full raw day yesterday, it wasn't necessarily by the book but it went okay. They each had a few chicken wings, then later had some fish and egg - sorry if it's not very "balanced" but we haven't had our big shop yet, and can't until we have freezer space *lol*. Noticed both of them had better poos this morning though, so that's good. I know this sounds gross, but I noticed Seth's poos were small and firm and (yuck yuck, but yay) emptied his glands.

A few folks have recommended lamb ribs to me for Seth's weight (and for Dharma's gob) - I think I'm going to need an industrial strength mincer for him? Or is pre-packed mince with bone in okay? I'm sure I read somewhere that minced foods were not okay for a raw diet - something to do with surface area and losing nutrients? I have no idea what's right or wrong so I'm half relying on you lot to guide me!

This morning I was so reluctant to feed them their dry food, I felt like I was cheating them (and I have nothing against dry feeding at all, I'm just dying to get started properly!).

As for feeding Dharma things bigger than her head - there are allotments up the road and there's a goose on them that keeps us up honking half the night - I think he might end up on tonight's menu if he doesn't shut his beak!
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Colin
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31-12-2007, 12:23 PM
[QUOTE=KathyM;1225192]I'm sure I read somewhere that minced foods were not okay for a raw diet - something to do with surface area and losing nutrients? I have no idea what's right or wrong so I'm half relying on you lot to guide me! QUOTE]

There is nothing wrong what-so-ever in giving your dogs minced meat. It does not lose any of it's nutrients or goodness. The only thing you will find is that it gets eaten really quickly as no effect is required.

As I have said before I personally believe that dogs should have to work for there food (mentally as well as physically) so if you are going to give Seth mince then rather than just put it in his bowl, put it inside a sheep's skull so that he has to work out for himself how to get to all those tasty morsels.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your dog about 2% of his body weight daily, and don't forgot to include portions of organ meat such as liver, kidney and heart etc. I give that to my dogs still frozen, but if you want to defrost it for them a then cut it up then go ahead as it really want harm them in anyway.
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KathyM
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31-12-2007, 02:20 PM
Hi Colin

Thanks ever so much for your reply! Re: feeding mince, that's a relief, thanks!

Normally I'd be 100% behind you on making them work for food - I do this with part of their diet in a different way (clicker training, using food as rewards). Downside to giving him a full meal he has to work for is that he is a major resource guarder, and already has to be split from Dharma for feeding times. Given he's got very little use of his gob (being an oldy Boxer), I think he'd be on a meal like that for hours. He can't have Kongs for similar reasons. I could up the clicker work with him though to make the most of making him work as an alternative for that sort of thing.

Thanks for the tip on organ meat etc, I was actually wondering about that. I make my own liver treats for training and was wondering if this would constitute any part of their organ meat requirements, as they're cooked rather than raw? Or should I not take them into account?

Thanks again for all your help, it's very very much appreciated.
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Colin
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31-12-2007, 02:49 PM
QUOTE=KathyM;1225342]Hi Colin

Thanks ever so much for your reply! Re: feeding mince, that's a relief, thanks!

Normally I'd be 100% behind you on making them work for food - I do this with part of their diet in a different way (clicker training, using food as rewards). Downside to giving him a full meal he has to work for is that he is a major resource guarder, and already has to be split from Dharma for feeding times. Given he's got very little use of his gob (being an oldy Boxer), I think he'd be on a meal like that for hours. He can't have Kongs for similar reasons. I could up the clicker work with him though to make the most of making him work as an alternative for that sort of thing.

Thanks for the tip on organ meat etc, I was actually wondering about that. I make my own liver treats for training and was wondering if this would constitute any part of their organ meat requirements, as they're cooked rather than raw? Or should I not take them into account?

Thanks again for all your help, it's very very much appreciated. [/QUOTE]

I wouldn't bother cooking the organs. Just cut them up in cubes and give it to them raw after training.

Yes I would include them as part of their meal as you could end up over feeding them if you don't keep a close eye on how much they are getting.

Something else you could do is cut up loads of bits of liver, heart, tongue, or kidneys and then freeze them and then go and hide bits of it around the garden so they have to use their brains to find all those tasty morsels you have hid.

As I have said on a different thread I also feed all my dogs in separate places around the house, not I have to say because they are resource guarder, but because they are all pigs and would gladly eat another meal as well as their own.
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