View Full Version : Need advice for baby steps to feeding raw...

25th January 2013, 01:26 AM
I was quite intimidated by the idea of raw food. I never doubted its health benefits, but was concerned about how difficult, expensive, and messy it could be. I found a really great pet food store a couple blocks from work that specializes in locally processed, raw food. They have freezers full of random animal parts and I don't even know where to start! The woman working there was very helpful but I cant help but still have some concerns.

Salmonella, bacteria, etc....Im worried that them eating these animal parts around the apartment that they could make me or them sick. I will regularly wash their blankets and beds, but what about on the carpet?

Small bones... what do I have to be worried about here? Can they easily choke on the bones? Are there any parts I should stay away from?

I started with rabbit spines that I cut into 3-4 inch pieces. I gave them one each as a treat and they seemed to love them. Kept them busy for about 5-10 minutes.

I also purchased frozen beef green tripe, which I am thawing a bit at a time and mixing in with their orijen kibble. its soooo gross :grnyuk:.

I also feed fruits and vegetables like apple wedges, banana, green beans, berries, sweet potato, etc. Any other suggestions on what I could mix in, and how I can make sure they're getting all of their nutrients if I eventually cut out the kibble entirely?

1st February 2013, 03:38 AM
Have you looked into freeze dried or dehydrated raw foods? Seems like you can get the health benefits with less of what you are describing. Both Stella's & Chewy's and ZiwiPeak have good feedback and are easy to feed.

1st February 2013, 07:11 AM
I started with Ziwi Peak and some bones, then moved full raw. I do BARF patties and raw meaty bones now. It's really easy with the pre made patties!

1st February 2013, 11:21 AM
I do half kibble or ziwipeak and the other half premade raw patties made by a local place :)
Then lots of meaty bones. I am not willing to feed only raw at this stage, maybe one day.

Brian M
1st February 2013, 01:09 PM

My four have been on raw for about 4 years now and they all love it .I prepare my own with a variety of meat such as beef ,rabbit ,lamb rib (I check the bone size and hardness carefully ) ,chicken etc ,it is all human grade which I buy from our local butchers and I then add a variety of veggies and fruit and top it off with a 3-4 whitebait and a teaspoon of goat yogurt .I also add supplements and as I am not keen on bone I give bonemeal as well .It is more time consuming and I also purchased a freezer just to keep all their meat and fish in but I actually enjoy doing it for them .

1st February 2013, 05:10 PM
Thanks for your input everyone!

I think I will purchase the dehydrated raw and give that with some bones, fruits and vegetables for one meal a day, and feed kibble the other meal. If that goes well I will switch to full raw.

Unfortunately I live in a tiny apartment and only have a small freezer so I dont have much space for frozen raw.

Brian, have you ever had any problems feeding raw bones? You say you use only bone meal, are there choking risks giving smaller bones? I am giving them rabbit spines right now and those have small bones - should I be worried?

I like giving them bigger bones because it keeps them busy and cleans their teeth.

Thanks again!

2nd February 2013, 05:46 AM
Make sure you get a snood to keep the "mess" out of the ears! It made my life easier, not sure if others have had the same experience? The Ziwi will not cause any issues but the dehydrated ones where you add water will get in the hair around the ears.

2nd February 2013, 10:47 PM
Snoods are a must!

Bones are a personal thing - some people are for them, some against for different reasons so I will just tell you what I do for bones...

Mine get raw only (never cool) non-weight baring (soft) raw meaty (meat included on the bone adds additional cleaning effect as well as making the bone a complete meal due to different vitamins and amino acids that the bone alone would be missing).
Mine get bones 4-5 days a week as a meal. They get fed twice a day so morning or evening will be a bone - they consume the whole thing, and are always supervised (not good to leave a dog alone with a bone or any chew for that matter). If I ever feel a bone gets suspect (looks like they could choke or something) I just trade it from them with a treat and throw away. Here are the bones mine eat:
- chicken wings (I would say they get these the most often - I taught them to chew these and eat slowly by holding one end for a while before they ever got them on their own...now they are so delicate with them!)
- chicken necks (nice and soft...need to make sure they don't gulp and swallow in one bite - try holding one end with pliers and "teach" them how to chew a bone slowly. This teaching method works for all bones)
- turkey necks
- chicken carcasses and backs
- most rabbit bones
- lamb necks (cut the fat flap off the top)
- kangaroo tails

Those are really my staples that I get from the butcher. Necks and backs are non weight baring so easy for them to consume.

As with anything though, dogs can choke. But it's not just bones - lots of chews, treats and even kibble can do that (had a dog at the small animal clinic I work at come in asphyxiated from choking on kibble bits that were too big for him and he ate too fast. So it is always just about being careful and supervising with everything you give your pet. Personally I think the benefits of bones in the diet are amazing and I spent time teaching mine to go slow, so it works for us :) but I find everyone has different views, so I just wanted to share what works for my crew!

6th February 2013, 03:14 PM
Yesterday I purchased some "Mango chicken" raw casseroles, some chicken necks, and some ground quail on bone. For dinner I fed them both about a 1/3 c of the mango chicken with some green beans and a little wedge of kiwi. Poor Gracie threw up her dinner a couple hours later (on the only carpet in the apartment, of course :bang:). Should I be mixing kibble in to slowly get her used to this?

I also purchased some NRG Deyhdrated raw roast beef. So I figure if I'm rotating the orijen 6fish, orijen chicken, raw chicken & quail, and then the roast beef dehydrated, they'll be getting a good mix of different proteins throughout the week.

I guess I will keep the majority of their food kibble and slowly mix in more raw, since last night seemed to be a bit of a shock to Gracie's system.

8th February 2013, 11:40 PM
My Cavies are both on Stella and Chewy's freeze dried raw diet. I (also) had limited space and wanted to make sure that my pups got the BEST I could afford. I buy from Chewy.com because they offer great promos throughout the year, and both of my dogs LOVE it, Stella and Chewy's also have several different meats available and they are interchangeable, so you can keep their diets diverse without fear of an upset tummy. I provided a link to where I buy it, but the food is sold in a lot of locations.


8th February 2013, 11:42 PM
I guess I will keep the majority of their food kibble and slowly mix in more raw, since last night seemed to be a bit of a shock to Gracie's system.

And I did transfer my dogs over more slowly than usual when I moved them to raw. I didn't have any issues so I would imagine that's the key.

9th February 2013, 04:31 AM
Thanks for the link, I also feed Stella and Chewy's freeze dried food. Great to get a site that offers some discounts!