Feeding your dog or puppy

Discussion in 'Other Pets' started by Epona142, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    I've been asked to write some information about feeding dogs/puppies, both raw feeding and information about dog foods.

    Let's start with dog food, as most people feed that. Dog food can be a huge hot button issue. There are foods out there that are distinctly unhealthy, but your dog can seem to do fine on them. Switch to a better food though, and you'll see a difference.

    The benefits of using a "grade A" food:
    Increased health
    healthier coat
    eats less
    smaller bowel movements (less "waste" going in, less coming out)
    increased life span
    decreased health issues
    less smell

    So what makes up a grade A food, you ask? Let's start with the most basic ingredient. Take your bag of dog food. What do you think it the number one ingredient? Surely meat, right? Let's take a look at the list of ingredients.

    Often you will see: Corn, meat meal, (meat) by-product

    As the first ingredient. This is bad! Dogs are carnivores. Sure, they'll eat a bit of grain or vegetable matter when they are hungry, but they are meat eaters. They are not designed to eat corn or grains. As for meat by-products, these are disgusting. You don't even want to go there.

    The first ingredient should always be a meat. And a specific meat, not just "Poultry." To make it better, three out of the first four ingredients should be a meat.

    Here we have more detailed information and a list of certain dog foods.

    It may surprise you to see some of these foods and their grades. Science Diet? But your vet recommends it, right?

    While certainly not true to all vets, the majority do NOT receive adequate animal nutrition education. So do you know where that education comes from? That's right, the representatives of dog foods, most often, Hills, the maker of Science Diet.

    The ingredients speak for themselves.

    Let's move on to raw. Raw, or more commonly called "BARF" (Bones and Raw Foods), is the method of feeding your dog an unpackaged diet consisting of raw meat and bones. This diet can be tricky to work out, but if you follow a few basic rules and do lots of research, feeding raw is a huge benefit to your pet's health.

    Bones are important; they must be raw, and sized accordingly to the dog. Bones are what clean the teeth. Almost all bones are safe in their raw form, even chicken bones. Also important is the organs, or the process of feeding "whole" foods. This can be difficult with smaller dogs, but I will explain how I go about this.

    Let's first look at a few examples of what you can feed.

    Chicken, and all poultry, all pieces, in parts from the store, or whole, feathers included
    Beef, pieces in proper size, with smaller bones
    Venison, pieces of proper size, smaller bones, hide included is a bonus
    Goat, yes goat!, same as above
    Small animals, i.e. mice, rats, chicks, rabbits, whole or in part or even ground

    The real key is variety. And including the organ meats on a small basis, as in, less organ meat compared to bone, and less bone compared to meat. Smaller animals can be ground whole, yes disgusting, but then you have a nice ground product that has everything your dog needs. No teeth benefits here, but a nice larger bone to chew can help that.

    How much to feed the dog is a case-by-case basis. I suggest you do a lot of research and then experiment on what fills your dog up. As an example, let's take a look at my chihuahua's meals.

    Monday: One chicken wing
    Tuesday: Half a cup of raw ground rabit
    Wenesday: Half a chicken wing and a bit of venison
    Thursday: A couple carrots, a little liver, and a bit of quail
    Friday: Half a quail
    Saturday: One chicken wing
    Sunday: Ground rabbit and some venison

    During parts of the year, it's even more varied. The great thing about raw is you can find things on sale and stock up. Later on, there will be beef in there, or lamb, or mutton. I usually steer away from pork, as I don't feel its a healthy meat.

    When switching your dog to any new diet, whether it is raw or a different kibble, it is very important to do it gradually. With kibble, you can start mixing the food, a little of the new with the old, and every other day, increase the new and decrease the old. With raw, you can start by perhaps giving your dog a bit of raw once a day, and increasing the amount every few weeks while decreasing the amount of kibble.

    In conclusion, I hope this has been some help to you, and shown you that better dog food is better for your pet. While I feel that any dog food is better than a homeless dog, I will always do my best to educate without being rude, and encourage people to switch from a poor food. If price is an issue, please remember, your dog will eat LESS of the better food, because it is higher quality and he will not need as much to stay healthy. Often if you do the math, you will find the better dog food is cheaper than the poorer brand. Also, your dog is less likely to have health issues on the better food.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
  2. Amos

    Amos New Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Wow, thank you so much, I didn't do the start at 100 and decrease thing, so I'll have to do that when I can tear the ingediant section off a bag.

    So far, I have two questions.. the meat can often be freezer burnt right? And for bones.. can they eat the bones? Sometimes when we leave chicken bones out or whatever the dog will bite it to bits and eat it... is this even safe? The cats do too, they can easily chomp a nice sized bone into nothing in a second. I guess I've never really thought about this :shrug:

  3. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    Freezer burn - Yes, this can be used! I know lots of people who get free freezer burned meat off of freecycle. It won't hurt your pet at all. Remember though, the meat should be defrosted, as in the wild, they certainly wouldn't eat frozen meat, unless they were in the Arctic of course!

    Bones - raw bones are safe. Only when they are cooked do bones such as chicken bones become dangerous and splinter. My little chihuahua will crunch up a raw chicken wing like its nothing. Bigger bones are tougher, but still softer when raw. There have been issues with bones before, but then again, I've had issues with dogs choking almost to death on kibble. Nothing is 100% safe.

    Cats - I know you weren't really asking, but cats can be fed raw too! I often foster cats and they either get raw, or Wellness (My preferred pet food for non-raw eaters). Cats also seem to do okay with cooked chicken bones, because of their small mouths, but I don't encourage it.
  4. Victoria

    Victoria New Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    Vernonia, Oregon
    Don't get me wrong, but I feel a bit skeptical especially the thought of cost. I have puppies, a nursing dog, a senior, and adult dog. They all have different needs. I also have a concern with bones, at my clinic we operate on many dogs with bones in the intestines that will not pass through, I realize that raw bones are better than cooked, but after seeing so many surgeries, even dogs that eat raw need surgery. I usually have an open mind, but I have my reservations, maybe if I had one dog, I would consider it. One of the old vets that I work with, she has two dogs, an old border collie, and a young pointer. She feeds whatever to her dogs. If she is at costco and needs dog food, that's what they get, if she is at Safeway and Atta Boy is on sale, that's what they get. If she is at work and needs dog food, she takes Science Diet. Her dogs are really healthy, no problems...I think it's crazy but it works for her. I think alot of the issue here is cost, I feed Science Diet Maintenance, it is available, and I get a hecka discount. When I go through over 100 pounds of dog food a month, they all do good on it,( except the nursing dog, she gets diamond puppy ) if they didn't do good on it I would change, but times are tough, so I have to pinch my pennies..
    Thanks for putting this info together, I enjoyed reading it. At the Holistic Veterinary Conference in Reno last fall they had a nice lecture on dog food, I learned alot, but it can be quite overwhelming!! Thanks again!!
  5. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
  6. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    I appreciate your input and I understand you! If there is one thing I have learned, its that not everything is right for everyone. If what you feed, works, go for it! :thumbup:

    And yes, bones can be dangerous. I mentioned this. So can kibble. So can their toys. I've worked in a vet's office as well, and I've seen bones stuck plenty of times. 99% it was cooked bones, but there is a risk with raw, just like everything else. You just have to use caution, as in with every single aspect.

    I did not post them to come down on anyone, like I also mentioned, any dog food is better than no dog food at all. As for cost, I understand the economy is tight, I'm there too! For me, feeding raw is WAY cheaper, but I have many resources some of you may not have. As for kibble, someone else has done the math, and per pound that your dog will consume, many brands, such as Wellness, came out cheaper than say, Iams or Science diet. But I can understand how the upfront cost can be daunting! I posted this because I was asked. :)

    Above all, feed what works for you and your dog. :grouphug:
  7. Victoria

    Victoria New Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    Vernonia, Oregon
    I appreciate your neutral stand, there are many things in this world that may be just the right thing for some, and not for others. Some people are still stuck on using flea collars for flea control...and you can not convince them otherwise! They swear that (Advantage) is just too expensive, but yes, in the long run, you will save $$ . Anyways, I do hope to someday go raw, once I better understand and tap into my resources, I was even cosidering it for my new pup but the thought of raw chicken freaks me out!! So one step at a time for me!!
  8. goatheaven

    goatheaven New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    South Carolina
    Epona, Thanks for the post. I also fed a higher brand kibble from a holistic store for 5 dogs (one english bulldog, 2 great pyrs, and 2 basset hounds). After losing one of the bassets to the food recall, I started home cooking and have been doing it since. I rarely ever have to go the vet and they seem pretty healthy. We only have the bulldog and one pyr now as old age took the others. My question is this: My great pyr sometimes has a recurrent ear infection that the vet can't seem to get treated so I thought about switching to raw to see if that would help. What are your thoughts? I think she may be allergic to chicken so we took her off that and it seemed her ear was better without chicken. Any ideas would be great. Thanks,
  9. nhsmallfarmer

    nhsmallfarmer New Member

    Apr 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I feed either Lamb or chicken livers or beef heart mixed with rice and then a veggie or 2 corn or carrotts they get a soup bone once a week

    I feed that to our 2 dogs (1 17yr lab and 4 yr cairne terrier) the 2 cats eat it also along with any mice they catch, lol
    I also found the lab knows when i feed up the chickens and I have found her more then once eating their grain :hair:

    If I buy any dog food its 1 20 # bag once a month and mix it with on the above mixures
  10. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    There's something we can agree on! Just the other day I posted on a thread protesting the use of Bio-Spot, which has been proven time and time again to cause dangerous reactions. Never use an over the counter flea product!! Plus, nine times out of ten, they don't work. The other time? They cause a horrible reaction in your pet. I know personally several people who have lost cats or dogs to products from wal-mart.

    It's very possible she is allergic to chicken. Luna, our chihuahua, is allergic to lamb, and used to have the worst skin infections and constant scratching until we cut the lamb out. Raw could help, or try switching to a food with no chicken, which I think you've done already. Also, trying shaving the hair under the ear and slightly around, and cleaning it once a day. I see a lot of ear infections in lop-eared dogs just because they get a lot of dirt in them all the time. It could be a mixture of that plus the food, or something else entirely. Good luck getting it under control!

  11. goathappy

    goathappy New Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Your pyr isn't getting any corn in her diet at all is she? Our pyr was getting really really bad ear infections, the infection would just run out of her ear and her ear smelled horrible. We switched food from Eagle Pack to Natural Life Lamaderm (http://www.nlpp.com/lamadermdog.htm) and the ear problem went away. We switched our 13 year old german shepherd to lamaderm as well, he has ear problems similar to swimmers ear and his ear problems got better as well. The only thing we could connect it to was corn in the diet.

    We tried the raw diet a few years ago, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of meat. With 3 pyrs, a german shepherd and a blue heeler, it was taking too much meat in order to feed them that way. We still go to the butcher shop and buy big raw bones for them and when we butcher chickens they each get a whole chicken. We also save the livers and gizzards to supplement their dry dog food. I do applaud those of you who do the raw diet full time. :)