Thanks for the advice!
To be honest I had wanted to switch him right to the raw meat and bones, even gave him a very fresh (and wiggling, lol) sardine once when we were cooking some for ourselves. He swallowed it right down without even a bite.
I'm not sure exactly how big your dog is but if he is a mini poodle, I doubt he is very large. I doubt he could swallow a whole chicken wing. I don't mean the little small drumstick and the other part seperated. I mean them still hooked together. It's probably not a real big deal if he does. A dog's only purpose for chewing is to make the food small enough to fit down the throat. If it does that, there is no need to chew.
However, you do want him to chew for white teeth so the secret is to feed him large enough pieces that he can't swallow it without chewing. A drumstick would probably fit the bill in that department. Maybe a thigh. I doubt he can swallow a whole wing.
I've seen videos on youtube of dogs eating wings and they are so careful- crunching off small bits at a time- I was thinking if I went this route first he'd have the understanding that this really is for him, not just a scrap that fell on the ground that he'd better wolf down before I take it away, lol. And then hopefully he'd learn to crunch up and chew it as he goes.
My dogs are a little larger than yours (Great Danes). They can swallow a chicken leg quarter whole and do so regularly. IT doesn't mean they don't chew it. They crunch it a few times and then swallow it down.
Don't think of dog eating manners in the same terms as human manners. When we eat food, we chew it into a mush before swallowing. Digestion begins in the mouth. Dogs merely crunch the food until it's small enough to fit down their throat then they swallow it. Digestion for a dog, begins in the stomach. Occasionally, particularly when first learning, dogs may swallow a piece that is too large. In that case, they merely bring it back up, re-chew it and swallow it again. My dogs have done that countless times. It's rare now, but it still happens occasionally.
Sure would be nice to not mess with the grinder though!
Let him do his own grinding. You won't ever have to have dental work done if he eats his own animal parts by himself.
As far as the veggies, I had them purreed to juice and pulp, so I'm sure his teeth and jaw structure shouldn't inhibit the digestion, though possibly his belly would still struggle?
The big thing is that there are no nutrients in fruits and veggies that aren't in the meat, bones, and organs of the prey animals that eat them. Your dog gains nothing even by eating even pureed fruits and veggies. If you want to feed them, fine. They probably won't do any harm but don't expect them to contribute anything to your dog's health.
I'd read somewhere that wolves will go for the stomach and intestines of their prey first since that was the main source of their veggies- I was trying to simulate that with the purree in the mix.
Lot of people have read that. However, From David Mech's Wolves: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation
"Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and...consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart and liver. The large rumen [, which is one of the main stomach chambers in large ruminant herbivores,]...is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilled. The vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site."
"To grow and maintain their own bodies, wolves need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system."
David Mech is considered the world's foremost wild wolf researcher spending 30 years observing wolves in the wild.
In the case of my own dogs, I have fed them whole rabbits on many occasions. They always rip open the body cavity, pull out the stomach, sissor it open with their teeth, shake out the contents and eat the stomach. My dogs just pull out the intestines and leave them in a neat little pile otherwise untouched. They then consume the rest of the rabbit leaving not a scrap of anything else.
Also the MOST open minded vet I've ever talked to had basically this to say about feeding raw= It certainly is no worse than feeding dry if you can learn to cover all his nutritional needs, but the studies really haven't been done yet to show it's better. (I do understand that this doesn't mean it ISN'T better either though, lol)
Keep that vet!!! The only rules for raw feeding that are carved in stone are:
1. Feed a variety of animal parts from a variety of animals.
2. Feed mostly meat, some, bone, and some organs. The exact ratios aren't all that important.
All nutritional needs will be met. It has been that way for millions of years. Nature designed it that way. It has been that way with my dogs for over 7 years.
I know you're right about the teeth-cleaning aspect of letting him chew up his bone, I do view my current regimen as lacking in that respect. I think what I'd like to do eventually is give his morning meal one way, and his evening meal the other.
If you insist on grinding your dog's raw food, you are just dumbing down his diet. You gain nothing by grinding and you loose a lot. That doesn't mean every meal needs to have bones. It's fine to feed boneless meals. I do a ver times a week but he needs whole foods. Remember he enjoys eating whole foods just as you do. How would you like your filet mignon ground? Or lobster tail?
Anyway, think about it. After you get used to feeding whole parts, you won't feel a need to grind. Watching dogs tackle whole parts is a joy.