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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi! Im Kells,
I am getting a dog in May after 20 years of desperately wanting a dog! (I am so extremely excited :D) I am determined to be the best puppy-mama I can be so, I of course want to feed a raw diet! I just have a few things that are not entirely clicking for me. I kinda want to feed ground/minced food, because it's a lot less space consuming (I promised the room mates I wouldn't keep the raw dog food in the community freezer so Dog (I am getting a rescue so I have no idea of breed/gender, we have been calling future dog 'Dog') gets my whole minifridge to itself!). However, I am not opposed to feeding more prey-model if that is legitimately better.
While feeding on minced food, I was wondering how to properly integrate RMBs into the diet? I don't want to grind them up in the food too, because I want Dog to be able to chew and get its teeth clean. Would the best way to do this simply be make one or two meals a week just RMBs and have it add up to the weekly reccommended amount of bone? The whole 'balance over time' deal?
What do you all reccommend as a good starting meal schedule (in terms of foods to get a dog used to a raw diet)? I was thinking of offering raw chicken and chicken liver as training treats to get Dog used to it, and then start making that more and more substantial each day.
I am going to admit, rather sheepishly, that I do plan to feed a mix of kibble and raw (preliminary research says that the whole 'kibble digests slower' is actually not true and it's okay to feed kibble and raw) simply because it'll be easier to make money stretch a bit further. Not that I'm low on funds, I'm just very into saving :)
I am very determined to give a lucky, lonely shelter pup the best life it can, and I have been doing LOADS of research to make that endeavor possible! Any and all tips, tricks, hints, advice, etc. you have would be GREATLY appreciated!

Much love and good vibes,
Kells!
 

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Welcome to DFC! Feeding prey model is the most beneficial way to go, considering the whole bones provide wonderful teeth cleaning, calcium and other minerals. Also with chewing not only whole bones, but whole chunks of meat as well provide mental stimulation. Ground meat does contain a higher bacteria level from the grinding process, which isn't normally a problem with a healthy dog, but it is something to think about.

If you are going to feed whole bones, then you will be feeding whole meat as well, since the bones are covered in meat. So, whole chunks of boneless should be fed as well.

Balance over time means feeding a variety. Simple as that. Something different each day, and including organs either weekly, or small amounts at each meal. That's really up to you.

Begin with bone in chicken like quarters, and stick with only those for a week to a week and a half. Nothing but chicken. Then, assuming poops and all have gone well, continue chicken, but add bone in turkey like necks, and do the same. Then move on to pork, then beef, lamb, venison etc......The red meats are the last proteins to introduce because they are the richest ones. Once all of that is done, you will introduce a very small amount of organ like liver, and work up. It's SUPER rich, so take it easy on those.

I wouldn't feed raw and kibble together. Some dogs are ok with it, others not. I am one who in the beginning made that mistake. I was cleaning s**t off the walls in our bedroom for three hours. Just FYI.
 
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Alright, prey model it seems to be. One thing I've noticed with people who feed prey model though, is sometimes the dog still wolfs the food down. Now, I know I don't have Dog yet, but I've never met a dog that didnt eat his whole dinner in under a minute flat (except my boyfriends 12 year old beagle, but he is a super sweetheart) and I'm mildly concerned about bloat.
I intend on using the local butcher block around here so hopefully with time they can give me good deals on things :) Im also in the middle of po-dunk nowhere farmland so I may be able to put out a thing in the newspaper/craigslist for good meat scraps. I wanna find someone local to buy good eggs from anyway.
On the kibble, Ive heard some dogs do really well on it, some don't, so it's really up to Dog and Budget. If it turns out that I can feed raw more easily than the kibbles I was going to rotate through, then that's what I'll do! TO clarify, I dont intend on feeding raw and kibble simultaneously, like at the literal same time, but at different meals. I don't know if that makes a difference or not in the whole 'digestive upset' thing.

So what about feeding whole fish? Does anyone have any experience with that at all?
 

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I feedprey model raw in ground form. I also add bones for teeth. If you feed ground, you will need a stand alone freezer unless you are planning to use a premade raw.
 

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I'm excited that you're so excited about getting a dog! What a happy time for you - and for your new best friend!

However, and at the risk of being offensive - if you know that feeding raw is the best thing to do why on earth would you even consider kibble? Sure they can eat it. Dogs, to their detriment, can eat almost anything. It might be cheaper and it might not - I know people who feed raw for zero dollars.

I have a sneaking suspicion you may not believe in your heart that a fully, true, raw diet is enough. And people who are halfway committed often don't stick with it. You just have to make up your mind to take that leap of faith that feeding raw meaty bones (not ground up for space or safety reasons) is the absolute best for your dog. And you want to give them only the best.

Feeding alternate meals of raw and kibble is still feeding kibble. Almost all dogs with their garbage guts could eat kibble, raw, and smelly roadkill all in the same meal and be perfectly fine. But only two of those things are good for them and one of them is not kibble :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Xellil, I honestly do know that it is the best for them, and Ive known dogs who have been fed raw and absolutely thrived (neighbors Boston lived to be almost 24!). It's really just a money thing. I am a :whispers: college student... and it really is a money thing. As I said, if it turns out that it's totally feasible in my budget, then all raw is what Ill do!
I plan on buying food for Dog every 2 weeks, as I get paid every two weeks and there is a really good butcher shop on campus. I dont know how diverse their selection is, but Im looking into a mail-order meat service that'll deliver to Indiana and maybe getting a Costco membership. Athough there is an Aldi's really close by, and they recently went full on organic!
But yes, I am so very, very excited to finally have a dog to train and hang out with and all that. I am very happy, and the next few months will be excruciating until I can get Dog and have it in a good forever home!
 

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Alright, prey model it seems to be. One thing I've noticed with people who feed prey model though, is sometimes the dog still wolfs the food down. Now, I know I don't have Dog yet, but I've never met a dog that didnt eat his whole dinner in under a minute flat (except my boyfriends 12 year old beagle, but he is a super sweetheart) and I'm mildly concerned about bloat.
I intend on using the local butcher block around here so hopefully with time they can give me good deals on things :) Im also in the middle of po-dunk nowhere farmland so I may be able to put out a thing in the newspaper/craigslist for good meat scraps. I wanna find someone local to buy good eggs from anyway.
On the kibble, Ive heard some dogs do really well on it, some don't, so it's really up to Dog and Budget. If it turns out that I can feed raw more easily than the kibbles I was going to rotate through, then that's what I'll do! TO clarify, I dont intend on feeding raw and kibble simultaneously, like at the literal same time, but at different meals. I don't know if that makes a difference or not in the whole 'digestive upset' thing.

So what about feeding whole fish? Does anyone have any experience with that at all?
Feeding large, whole cuts that are to big for the dog to swallow will make them chew, rather than gulp. Also, you can feed those cuts frozen or partially frozen and they will have to chew even more.

You can feed whole fish, but the right ones to be beneficial. You want to feed wild caught oily types like salmon. The benefits of fish come from the oils which provide needed omega 3's. Farmed fish are lacking the omegas. The catch...it can't come from the pacific northwest. Those can carry a parasite that causes salmon poisoning. I don't have access to good quality fish, so I feed fish oil as a supplement. That is an option for you too.
 

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You live in Indiana? Where? I used to live there. My Pet Carnivore has the best meat, and we could drive to their freezer in Indy and pick it up. They also deliver. You should check out their website.

You can feed raw on the cheap. You need chicken quarters which you can get at WalMart for 39 cents a pound. Some liver. I lost my job five years ago and didn't get another one for over a year. My dogs ate a lot of chicken. You can also beg friends and family to give you meat when they clean their freezers. There are lots of deer hunters in Indiana, if you can get an in with them - they will give you scraps for free, often.

If I could buy everything from My Pet Carnivore I would but their shipping is prohibitive since we moved. They aren't the cheapest by any means, but for quality and for adding some pasture raised goodies they are certainly worth it and are reasonable if you don't have to pay for delivery.

I still order organs from them.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Awesome, thanks! Im back and forth between Indy and West Lafayette (betcha can guess where I go now XD) But yeah, I think I have 125 a month alotted for Dog right now, but I can probably move some funds around. I just cant buy in bulk too much because I have very limited freezer space.

Also, thanks NaturalFedDogs. Ive heard that freezing the fish for 24 hours prior to feeding can take care of the parasites?
 

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I lived in Lafayette and Mulberry for 10 years. Nice place. Good school!

The salmon with the parasite shouldn't be fed at all. Other fish are ok without freezing. I don't feed salmon myself - too pricey and the "real" wild salmon are in trouble. Affordable salmon is farmed and not good for human or animal. And salmon are large fish prone to mercury concentrations.

I do feed herring and sardines. You want smaller oily fish, wild-caught. You don't have to feed fish at all. I didn't feed any fish or fish oil for a couple of years until I found another source I liked.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
My father is from Mulberry :p
I would like to feed fish if I can, mostly because that Boston I was talking about earlier literally slurped them down and loved them. I do plan to buy a high quality fish oil though, so I can supplement some omegas.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Also, I was wondering what bones would make recreational bones? Obviously I dont have Dog yet, so I dont really know the size of the dog, but I'm planning on getting a medium size dog, hopefully around 40-60 pounds
 

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I personally don't ever give rec bones, and they really aren't recommended because they are generally dense, weight bearing bones from large animals. Those types of bones are bad about chipping and breaking teeth. Depending on the size of the dog you decide to get, and you want to give something to chew on, you can give frozen pig ears, or even turkey necks. Frozen, they tend to last a little longer.
 
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Discussion Starter #14
Alright, cool, that knocks some money off the table. I was just looking at Reel Raw Dog and to get to that free 50lb shipping mark is SO expensive! I think I'll stick to local. Also My Pet Carnivore delivers to Lafayette which is literally three miles from where I'm sitting so that's good. Still looking to really buy from local butchers though.
 

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Local you will usually get better deals. The more butchers and farmers you can find the better.
 
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I found a place in Florida that ships here cheaper than the "free" shipping in Reel Raw. I buy a lot of turkey hearts and for $3.29 a pound if I remember correctly I could get a 40 pound block of solidly frozen turkey hearts from Reel Raw. I can get it already bagged for less money from Raw Feeding Miami. I like the meat from Reel Raw but just can't afford it.

You can look for sales from My Pet Carnivore. I just love their stuff. I could never buy everything from there, but for things you'll never find locally and for things you don't feed in bulk they're fantastic. I can't say how much I miss them, because our local dog meat company has such low quality I refuse to buy from them at any price.

for my 65 pound dog, I buy pork shoulder roasts. He eats the bone, but it keeps him busy for a long time. i cut about half the meat off. I used to buy goat heads for my dogs but that store closed down. Ethnic groceries often have great things for dogs. Not giving you advice but your first dog might be a bit smaller than that, both because of the roommates and because of the storage space for food as well as the cost. Everything is cheaper for a smaller dog but time.
 

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Alright, cool, that knocks some money off the table. I was just looking at Reel Raw Dog and to get to that free 50lb shipping mark is SO expensive! I think I'll stick to local. Also My Pet Carnivore delivers to Lafayette which is literally three miles from where I'm sitting so that's good. Still looking to really buy from local butchers though.
If you're feeding grinds, Reel Raw is a good value but the other stuff is a bit more costly.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
What I was planning on doing was feeding ground for a month-ish before feeding full on PMR, just to get Dog's body all ready for the transition. I know it's not necessary by any means, but it would definitely make me feel better, since I am adopting a dog whose background I have no clue of and whose bodily functions I am not totally attuned to yet. I was planning to get ground chicken/bone/organs, ground beef/bone/tripe/organs, whole ground rabbit carcasses (fur and all) and ground tripe and spleen. Which, for a 50lb dog (again assumptions are being made) at the low end of feeding (1lb) would be ~100 for a month, which is doable for me. All those grinds have close to a 80/10/10 ratio, so I feel like it'd be pretty balanced, and the added tripe would helo to really get Dog's digestive system ready. Does that sound reasonable before transitioning to PMR?
 

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Well, I'm not the one to answer that since when I get a dog they are on full raw from their first meal. I adopt/rescue older dogs and I never have a clue what their background is - doesn't matter. Sick, well, emaciated, fat - that means nothing. They're going on raw. It's worked fine every time.

the suggestion I would make is don't feed organs for a few weeks. That's why you normally start with a lighter meat like chicken. chicken bones are also easier to digest to start with. If you feed organs, if you feed too much, if you feed too rich, your dog is likely to get diarrhea.

I also don't believe that diarrhea is "normal" or that there is a transition period. Diarrhea is not normal. The transition is "here's your raw meat."
 

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When I have a dog that absolutely has to have grinds for some reason, I get one protein. No organs added, no mixed proteins. Just something like ground chicken. You just have absolutely no control. There could be an extraordinary amount of fat, which has happened to me and I ended up with about 20 pounds of nothing but blubber with maybe a little chicken in there. That's why I like responsible places like My Pet Carnivore, their meat is good and it's always what they say it is.

The 80/10/10 rule isn't something you want to follow from the first because organs are out the window. I actually feed way less organ than that. I'm not sure where that rule came from. Organs have vitamins that are fat soluble, not water soluble, and the organs store them. I probably feed 2-3% organs but I don't really track it.

I also feed more fat than the 80/10/10 rule which doesn't even include fat. A dog fed prey model raw gets energy from fat. It greases the joints and the organs. Makes the skin shiny. Supplies energy. You don't normally start out with a lot of fat because of diarrhea issues, but within a few weeks all my dogs are eating quite a bit of fat.

And the first rule is "over time." If you worried about doing a ratio every meal you will always be obsessing over the ratio.
 
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