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Thread: Raw diet

  1. #1
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    Default Raw diet

    I have a 6 month old male cavalier. I'm feeding him blue menu grain free kibble and canned.n I was thinking of switching to a prepared raw diet because he's always itchy! What are your views on a raw diet?

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    Sorry your post seem to have gotten a little "lost" but I want to reply for you. Here's what I think about feeding our cavaliers. If I really took the time to get myself educated in dgo nutrition I would feed my dog a homemade or perpared raw diet. I do think its the best what to go. However, I do not currently know how to prepare a well balanced raw diet so I simply don't. I also do not know about a home prepared cooked diet (obviously). There are a really wide range of good quility dog foods out there commerically. I do not see any harm in switching to a raw commerically made food, just make sure you pick a good one. dogfoodadvisor.com I think is the name of a trusted site for info.

    My question is why is your dog itchy? Are you bathing too much? Are you maybe missing something else that could be causing him to itch? Hmmmm just some thought. I noticed Fletcher was itching a lot more lately. So I was grooming him really well just to see if his skin was weird, image my surprise to find a flea IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER! I do treat for fleas year round however I missed the Dec treatment...go figure!
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
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  3. #3
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    Itching can be caused by a lot of things. It could even be something as simple as dry skin (you can add some fish oil to the diet). As far a a raw diet goes, it's more effort than I'm ever willing to do (but don't let that hold you back). However, if you do go that route, be sure that you are feeding a balanced complete diet. There's a nutritionist/vet(?) who sells diet plans (woman's name, I don't remember). I'll go through the forums and try to find the name for you.

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    It's Monica Segal who does raw diets and advice -- www.monicasegal.com -- it's fairly complex to work out a balanced diet on your own, but you could do a commercial raw or a mix of raw and say kibble. There is lots and lots to learn however before diving into a raw diet. I am a big proponent of going raw or part raw, especially with the huge body of evidence now that a varied fresh diet is essential to good gut bacteria which are linked to good health. i am cautious about bones however.

    For a dog that is itchy: this is probably something you want to work through with your vet before guessing it might be a diet issue, especially as 'always itchy' means he's probably a bit uncomfortable . There can be many many causes, as others say, and allergies are not that common. Many raw diets include the proteins etc that actually are the causes of allergies, too, so that's why it is really best to have a potential issue checked by a vet.

    For a young dog, itchiness could be caused by fleas, flea allergy, rabbit mites, any range of skin conditions. If the dog scratches at its ears, it could be an ear infection, outer or middle. If the dog chews at its paws, it could be allergies, chemicals used for cleaning or in the garden, etc.

    Unfortunately there is also a high rate of a neurological condition called syringomyelia in the breed that often causes dogs to scratch. There may also be other symptoms. Any itching/scratching which remains undiagnosed in a cavalier should have the vet referring the dog to a vet neurologist. It's estimated that over half of all cavaliers will eventually have this condition. In a large clinical study about a fourth of cavaliers had it by age 1. It is very commonly misdiagnosed, sometimes for years, as allergies or ear infections in a dog. More info at www.smcavaliers.com, here on this site in the health library, very comprehensive info at www.cavalierhealth.org, and info for vets and owners at vet neurologist Clare Rusbridge's website: http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/Syringomyelia/.

    We have a lot of owners here with cavaliers with CM/SM and lots of advice and support if you do find this is where your investigations take you. But you will want to investigate all other possible causes first. It is important not to make a guess at causes of itchiness but work with a vet to try to understand the cause.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie Murry View Post
    ... I was thinking of switching to a prepared raw diet because he's always itchy! What are your views on a raw diet?
    We've been feeding home-prepared raw meats and vegetables for about 18 years, on the recommendation of our holistic veterinarian. We've never fed a "prepared" raw diet, but I know that there are a few good brands. Most of the best are packaged frozen. But there is one really simple one that we use when traveling with our dogs. The brand name is Honest Kitchen. This product consists only of freeze-dried vegetables and greens. We add water and wait about 10 minutes, and then we add raw meat, usually ground beef or beef chunks. I think it also offers a freeze-dried product which includes meat, but we have not tried it. Another freeze-dried brand we have heard good things about is Grandma Lucy's.

    All raw meat diets required certain basic supplements, the most basic one being some form of calcium to balance the phosphorous in the raw meat.

    I would never consider feeding any raw or home-prepared food without the advice of a really good holistic vet.
    Last edited by RodRussell; 13th January 2014 at 03:30 PM.
    Rod Russell

  6. #6
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    In the UK raw feeding can be such a contentious subject that I'm almost terrified of ever bringing it up around my vet. That being said, my dogs in the last couple of years have been fed raw in part and kibble in part, depending on multiple factors though normally my own health and ability to prepare their food.

    One of my younger two had severe itching problems which improved with two things: firstly, I did a long process of removing various things from her diet to look for improvement, and her itching subsided when she no longer had access to chicken. Secondly, it seems she's sensitive to biological washing powder, so we switched to non-bio liquid and that's helped a lot.

    When I feed kibble I avoid chicken, which is surprisingly difficult! James Wellbeloved do turkey kibble which they've done well on but they don't bound to their bowls and nom it right up - they pick when they're hungry.

    Now when I feed them raw, they're climbing my legs to get at their bowls and diving in like they're starving, emerging licking at the meat on their snouts, burping happily, and cleaning the leftovers from each others ears.

    When I decided to start preparing them raw myself I researched some dietary requirements, and as Rod suggested I contacted a holistic vet for some advice. But one of the most helpful things I found was looking at prepared raw diets that had received 5* ratings and investigating the ingredients. Two companies I use (UK based but still) were Nutriment and Wolf Tucker. As an example, here's the ingredients for Duck Nutriment:

    British Duck with Bone, Fresh Carrots, Fresh Pumpkin, Fresh Broccoli, Fresh Green Curly Kale, Scottish Cold Water Salmon Oil, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Raw Sea Kelp Powder (Laminaria japonica), Bilberry Powder (Vaccinium Myrtillus), Spirulina Powder (Spirulina platensis), Wheat Grass Juice Powder, Barley Grass Juice Powder, Chicory Root Powder. Whole Milled Flaxseed, Whole Milled Sesame Seeds, Whole Milled Sunflower Seeds, Wheat Germ Oil (natural vitamin E)

    For home prep I was adding carrot, kale, kelp supplement, cranberry, cod liver oil and a small amount of Bio-Cardio with CoQ10, amongst other veges occasionally but generally staying away from things like white potato.

    There can be some rumours about dogs choking on bones and oh so much arguing about how dangerous bones are. Well, it does happen. Dogs can choke on bones. Naturally never feed cooked bone, and generally small, soft bones (chicken carcass for instance) tend to be safest. I give my guys lamb ribs as a chew and marrow bones as a real treat, the ribs tend to be very spongey and they chew them from the ends, only removing small amounts of bone at a time. Of course, dogs can also choke on kibble. I had the unfortunate experience of this myself, when one of my guys, I guess, inhaled during swallowing and got kibble lodged in his throat. When he couldn't dislodge it, husband had to stick his fingers down there to give him a hand. I suppose just eating comes with risks, no matter what it is!

    As others have said, there could be other causes of his itching and you might want to take him for an allergen test or a skin scrape to find out what's wrong. If you do decide to feed raw then it can be very rewarding and I've yet to meet a dog who doesn't warm up to it, and there are prepared, well reviewed, well balanced diets if preparing it from scratch at home is overwhelming or takes up too much time.

    Good luck!

  7. #7
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    As with some of the responses here, I too feed a home made raw diet, I've had advice from my holistic vet and add spirulina and Chinese herbal supplement for skin issues. My dogs are happy and healthy. They also get bones but nothing cooked. I do give them kibble once or twice a week, a vet recommended one for skin. When I adopted my 3/4 cav she was stained all underneath from continual skin problems, the diet has improved it 100%.

    I find with itchy skin washing them using malaseb shampoo and using a oatmeal based conditioner to soothe the skin works best, malaseb is fantastic stuff for skin issues, I don't know where my girl would be without it!

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