As a zoologist, I have always been interested in feeding my dogs a more species appropriate diet. My dogs have been introduced to a variety of foods and had 'stomachs of steel', but I used kibble as the base. I use meat, eggs, cheese, fruit and veggies as training rewards.
In march 2010, Jessie was tested for thyroid and adrenal fucntion and both were on the low side. I thought I would start with food (the building blocks of the body) to rule out allergies and other possible causes of the low thyroid.
I also started my new dog Lucy on raw the day after we got her. She transitioned easily as she too had been fed all sortsof different foods first. Both dogs are hihgly motivated as I now use their raw food as training rewards.
Some basic info to remember:
It's not rocket science! And a wide margin for error is allowed! Each dog is different.
80:10:10 (follows the 'prey model' of raw food diets)
80% muscle meat, 10% organ meat, 10% bone
Watch the amount of fat in the meat source (10-40% depending on how active your dog is)
Use unenhanced meat (no flavoring, coloring, antibiotics, salt etc) . Organic meat is ideal!
Feed 2-3% of your dog's body weight daily (2%x30 lb dog= 0.6lb of food,
3%x30lb dog=0.9lb of food)
When feeding puppies, feed 3-4% of adult weight.
Can also feed upto 15% of fruit/vegetable matter (pumpkin, squash, spinach, celery, yam, berries, apples etc)
Supplementing with vitamins/minerals is optional
Some people use salmon oil for Omega 3's
*start with 1 type of meat and feed only that for 3 weeks (to see if your dog has an allergy)
* you can use almost any type of meat chicken, beef, pork, turkey, fish, lamb, rabbit, kangaroo, venison, moose etc whatever is locally available & cheap.
*start with pure muscle meat only
*then try some bone (breast or back bone of fowl) (your dog will learn to chew the bone)
*add tiny amts of organ meat (watch for diarrhea) and increase to 5% of total meal
*try feeding with skin (fowl), you may need to make a cut or two at first
(often fat hides under skin so remove as needed)
* dogs LOVE eating raw and they thrive under it.
* many health problems can be solved by switching to raw
Recent DNA studies (Boyco 2009) point to African village dogs as being much more genetically diverese than Asian dogs-indicating that this might be where they originated so their diet should be more similar to African wolf diets which contain plant materials (one species of wolf eats as much as 50% fruit).
A study for feeding Maned wolves indicates: "Canids appear to retain a broader array of metabolic pathways for the processing of nutrients, indicating a greater degree of dietary flexibility. Facultative carnivores (canids) need the diversity of metabolic pathways that is characteristic of species that feed on a broad array of foods." source; http://www.nagonline.net/HUSBANDRY/Di...
Another DNA study the same year (Jun-Feng Pang et al) that dogs originated from south east China and noted the Tibetan wolf also has the curved back coronoid process of the apex of the jaw. This is present in dogs but no other wolf species.
Some solutions to common challenges:
"My dog won't eat raw meat." Try warming it up before feeding. Over time, reduce the amount of cooking until it is raw.
"My dog vomits the meat 5 minutes after eating" Usually this is because the meat is too cold. Check to see that is is fully thawed and feed. If it is, try warming it to room temperature and feed. Over time, your dog should get accustomed to eating meat straight out of the fridge.
"My dog wolfs the food, bones and all." Try breaking the meat/bone into small pieces and hand feed. For some reason, most dogs chew small pieces more thoroughly than big pieces. Or try giving a piece that is mucht oo large to be swallowed and this forces them to chew off pieces
"My dog won't eat a whole bird." Try cutting it oen and slice into the meat in several locations. Over time decrease the amount of cuts. Often with whole animals, dogs don't recognize the animal as food until they can see and feel the meat.
Look for Intro to Feeding Raw Part 2
Myths, Facts & Resources
An update of Jessie. Before we started feeding raw, her blood test showed low TgAA, which indicated her adrenal function was not operating properly.
After 1.5 yrs of feeding raw, I had her bloodwork rechecked and ALL her levels fall within normal range, exactly where they should be! I had 30 different tests done by Dr. Jean Dodd's at www.hemopet.com (Free T4 ,T3 -verified by repeat analysis, Free T3, Thyroglobulin Autoantibody (TgAA), Total Protein, Albumin, Globulin, A/G Ratio, AST (SGOT), ALT (SGPT), Alk Phosphatase,GGT, Total Bilirubin,BUN,Creatinine, BUN/Creatinine Ratio, Phosphorus, Glucose, Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium)