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Written by
Ed Frawley

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Q&A Feeding a Raw Diet

Disclaimer: I am not a vet or a health care professional. Feeding a raw species appropriate diet can be a controversial topic, and like any feeding regimen can have health risks associated with incorrect feeding and preparation. DO NOT FEED COOKED BONES, ever! Cooking bones changes the molecular structure, they become brittle and may splinter and injure or kill your dog!! NO COOKED BONES.

Do your own research FIRST before diving into a new method of feeding your dog. Read as many books and articles as you can, talk to successful raw feeders and find a mentor, and use your own judgment and gut instinct. If you aren’t comfortable with it, DON’T do it. Remember there are many ways to feed your dogs, with many variations. Just because I don’t cover it here, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

The ideas and opinions in this section of the web site are my own, and come from feeding my dogs this way since 1994. I am constantly evolving, tweaking and changing my ideas as my knowledge and experience increases. Take any ideas I present here at your own risk and discretion.

I hope you and your dogs enjoy many healthy years together. Congratulations on making the first step towards one of the most important things you can do for your dog.

Cindy Rhodes

Questions & Answers


  1. I am interested in feeding the BARF diet, what do I do first?

  2. My vet told me my dog would get sick or DIE from feeding a raw diet? I am having second thoughts about switching.

  3. Why should I switch my dog to a raw diet?

  4. Is kibble actually bad for my dog? He seems really healthy.

  5. I want to breed my female. Is it ok to feed a raw diet to pregnant dogs?

  6. What about my new puppy? He was fed kibble at the breeder's place. How do I switch him? I don't want him to get sick

  7. What is a RMB?

  8. What is a recreational bone?

  9. I have heard that you should NEVER feed your dog chicken bones! One of the foundations of your feeding program is chicken! Aren't you afraid your dogs will choke or the bones will splinter?

  10. I was told that if you feed dogs raw meat, they will become vicious and kill animals. Is this true?

  11. How Do I Make The Switch?

  12. What Should I Expect At First?

  13. I have heard that raw is much more expensive than kibble, how much will it cost me to feed my dog this way?

  14. I read somewhere on the internet that feeding a raw diet reduces vet bills? How does that work?

  15. It seems too complicated to feed a raw diet, I don't have any free time to spend on this. How much time does it take each day to prepare the food?

  16. What Do You Feed Your Dogs? Can You Send Me Some Menu Plans?

  17. How Do I Know Each Meal Is Balanced?

  18. How Much Do I feed?

  19. I'm Not Sure I Am Ready To Switch To Raw, But I Don't Want To Feed Kibble. Do you have any suggestions?

  20. I have small kids and I am worried about Salmonella and E-Coli!

  21. What about Grains? I read that you don't feed them to your dogs . Why not?

  22. What supplements do I need to use?

  23. How often do you use supplements? The label says to give it every day.

  24. What is ACV?

  25. What are probiotics?

  26. What are digestive enzymes?

  27. What about vegetables?

  28. What kinds of meat can I feed my dogs?

  29. Are there parasites in raw meat?

  30. I want to feed a raw diet but whole bones scare me! Can I grind them up before feeding?

  31. What kind of equipment do I need to grind RMBs?

  32. I see that some places sell pre-ground raw pet food. Are these ok to feed? They seem very expensive though!

  33. Can I buy RMBs at the grocery store? If not, where do I find them?

  34. What about feeding Raw and Kibble together, is that OK?

  35. I forgot to thaw out my dog's next meal, can I feed it frozen?

  36. I left my dog's raw food out of the fridge too long and it smells bad! Is it safe to feed it or should I throw it away?

  37. Wendy Vollhard and her husband have written a number of articles or books on feeding a raw diet. Some of your information is different that what they recommend. There seems to be a conflict among experts here. What are your thoughts?

  38. I own two Pomeranians.  They are 20 months old, and weigh 2 1/2 and 3 pounds each.  I wish to feed them raw bones; could you please tell me what type of raw bones would be best for such tiny dogs?

  39. Troubleshooting various problems with the raw diet


  40. I just made the switch to raw and my dog won't eat! He sniffs the food and walks away. What should I do?

  41. My dog takes his chicken pieces and buries them under the couch cushions!

  42. I can't get my dog to eat the chicken with bones, what should I do?

  43. We started our litter of pups off on a raw diet. Everything was going great, until they recently began scratching and some losing fur. What do you make of this and what do you suggest we do?

  44. My dog chews the legs for about a minute or two, but then swallows the leg bone whole without breaking it up. Is this okay for her? Will she be able to digest the whole leg bone as it is?

  45. Can I feed my pup RAW food about 3 times a week and then all natural dry KIBBLE for the rest of the week? Will this schedule mess-up my dog's stomach, or will my pup get used to this?

  46. My vet recommended that my lab lose some weight. Am I doing this the right way? What do you think?

  47. Are rawhide chews OK to give to a dog on a raw diet?

  48. My dog has diabetes and cushings, can you recommend a raw diet for him?

  49. My dog is too thin and I'm feeding a raw diet, how do I put weight on him?

  50. My dog has excessive thirst, excessive drooling, heavy breathing, lethargic and loose stool. Could this be diet related?

  51. Did I start my dog on too many different meats too fast?

  52. My vet said eating raw chicken is unsafe for humans and why would you risk your dogs health by feeding them raw chicken?

  53. I have 2 chihuahuas and have switched them to a raw diet but I’m terrified. They choke on their chicken drumsticks and act like they are choking to death. Can you help me?

  54. Our dog was recently switched to a raw diet. She did fine for a couple of weeks and then started to vomit yellow bile and even vomited right after she ate a couple of times.  I know there are a couple of books you recommend, will they help us with this?

  55. My dog has been on a raw diet for 3 months and she is constipated, what can I do?

  56. You stress the vitamin E is very critical in the raw diet, but I can’t seem to find the reason for that and am interested in knowing. I would appreciate your thoughts.

  57. Do you recommend warming up the meat portion of a dog’s food when feeding raw?

  58. My trainer asked what I was feeding my dog while assessing her behavior. I feed a raw diet of chicken, turkey, beef and some fish. He told me that the red meat was going to her brain causing too much blood flow and giving her like a dog headache which causes her to run around like a chicken with her head cut off.  Have you heard of this before?

  59. I noticed that you feed canned Mackeral and canned Salmon. Is there to much salt in the two of these or will it be fine?

  60. I have a Giant Schnauzer 10 week old puppy. I noticed today that his front legs are bowed. Is this normal for a puppy?  I feed 3/4- 1 # of raw chicken necks every other day. Should I cut that down? I read your article on Pano and didn't know if bowed legs was considered Pano. Please advise.

  61. I’m switching my 6 month old dog to a raw diet, will she start jumping on the counter when we are fixing meals thinking it is her food?

  62. My pup continually has loose, watery stools. At first she had gardia, but no longer tests positive for it. Any advice?

  63. My dog has been on raw for a month but he keeps getting diarrhea. Any input would be appreciated.

  64. I purchased raw chicken thighs and legs and just noticed the expiration date was 12/10/10 (today is 12/12/10). Is it safe to feed this?

  65. Our dog starting shedding a lot last spring after 2-3 months on a raw diet. Our vet said it was from feeding her raw food and wanted us to switch her to a kibble. Could her shedding be because she’s allergic to chicken?

  66. I have been feeding my dog just meat (alternating between chicken and organic beef) and eggs. Could I cut the meat in half and also feed her cooked brown rice or oatmeal for the other half of the meal? Would she still be getting all the nutrients she needs? I realize that dogs don't need grains, but I was hoping this would help cut costs.

1. I am interested in feeding the BARF diet, what do I do first?

Let me start by saying I don't like the acronym BARF (which stands for Bones And Raw Food) I think it is an unpleasant term so I don't use it. I prefer the term raw diet so that's how I will refer to this method of feeding from here.

I recommend you start by reading a few books, they are available at the Leerburg web site bookstore. All the books sold about health and nutrition are good but beginners will especially benefit from Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats by Kymythy Schultze and Raw Dog Food by Carina Beth McDonald. We give both of these books to our German Shepherd and Malinois puppy customers and rarely get questions about feeding a raw diet.

The internet is also a very good resource, with lots of Yahoo raw feeding and dog nutrition lists. It's a great way to read about other people's experiences, problems and successes with a raw diet. Be aware that there are also many ANTI-raw folks out there, so be prepared to wade through the controversy and make up your own mind.

We have a great deal of information on the Leerburg Discussion Forum. There are many posts on feeding raw foods, tips and questions from beginners and experienced raw feeders. You can register and post your own questions or just read through the existing information. Be prepared to spend some time reading, there's lots of material to sift through! You can also find health, training and health related topics discussed here.

Some people switch right away, but most take an average of weeks or months to take the plunge. Stay within your comfort zone, and do what you feel is best. It's your dog and your decision! Don't let anyone make you feel bad or wrong for taking your own sweet time.


2. My vet told me my dog would get sick or DIE from feeding a raw diet? I am having second thoughts about switching.

This is one of the most common emails I get from people researching a raw diet OR from our puppy customers after they take their pup in for a wellness exam. When I hear this, I tell folks to find a new vet! Whether you ever switch to a raw diet or not, when veterinarians use this type of scare tactic with NO basis in fact for it, I get upset.

Most vets have very little nutritional training, and what they get in school is funded by the pet food companies. Vets and their staff are also given kickbacks, free food for their own pets and other perks for pushing their products in their office. How do I know this? I worked in the veterinary field for over a decade and before I made the switch to 'real food' for my dogs, I was guilty of promoting Science Diet and Hills Prescription Diets right along with the vet. To all those dogs and cats from years past, please accept my apology! I just didn't know better.

Vets that don't understand the dietary needs of dogs (and cats) will recommend kibble or canned food, so that each meal is complete and balanced. They will tell you that your dog will get salmonella or e-coli from raw meat. AND BONES! They will tell you your dog will have his digestive system punctured and impacted from feeding bones. (Raw bones are the foundation of this diet, cooked bones are a big taboo! ) These myths just seem to keep on being passed around, with no hard evidence to back them up.

Truth be told , bacteria is everywhere (take a sample of kibble and have it analyzed sometime, you would be amazed!) Dogs eat poop, road kill and lick their behinds every day. . Their system is different from ours. If we ate the stuff they did, WE would get sick . Dogs have a short digestive system made to handle raw meat and bones, the bacteria that is present isn't a problem for a healthy dog. Read the books I suggest in the first section, for more detailed information.

We balance the meals our dogs eat over a period of time, much like feeding your human family. Do you have a nutritional analysis printed out for each meal you feed yourself or your kids? I think not. ? Vets and dog food companies have convinced us all that we aren't 'smart enough' to feed our dogs without them making some mystery concoction out of grain and who knows what into little pellets we unquestioningly pour into our dog's bowl each day, year after year.

I am going to again emphasize that you never feed cooked bones, that includes steak bones and those smoked real bones they sell in pet supply catalogs. They splinter and can be dangerous. I get emails from people who say they have done this all their dogs life with no problems, and to them I say…”no problems, YET.” Why risk it?


3. Why should I switch my dog to a raw diet?

Raw whole foods are what are dogs are designed to eat. Raw foods are full of enzymes, protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Most raw feeders report healthier dogs, full of energy and vitality. There are less illnesses, clean white teeth and fresh breath. Visits to the vet for skin and ear infections and dental cleaning become a thing of the past. We see less year around shedding in our dogs, increased muscle tone and stamina and more mental and physical fitness. Just like us, dogs don't need all those artificial flavors, sugar and preservatives that many kibbles include in their ingredient list. Kibble fed dogs produce voluminous, incredibly smelly piles of waste…. Raw fed dogs stools are small, compact and crumble up and disappear in a matter of days. The health benefits go on and on!


4. Is kibble actually bad for my dog? He seems really healthy.

The main ingredient in most kibble is grain, which is NOT an appropriate food for dogs. Dogs have no nutritional need for grain and it is the root of many allergy problems. Many commercial foods have artificial color, salt, sugar and flavoring added to get the dogs to eat them. Just like us, dogs can develop a taste for junk food. (which is what I consider most commercial dog food, JUNK FOOD) Kibble is cooked at a very high temperature to create the familiar little nugget we are used to seeing. Cooking destroys enzymes, essential fatty acids, vitamins and beneficial bacteria. Cooking breaks down the proteins and amino acids in meat and destroys most of the nutritional value that may have been present in the food in it's natural state. The processing kibble goes through makes all the dogs internal organs work harder to extract the nutrients that have survived the extruding process.

Dogs have teeth made for ripping and tearing meat, not chewing grains and veggies. Even the new generation grain free kibbles are highly processed and cooked at extreme temperatures. Species appropriate nutrition is the foundation of health for all living things, and kibble is not appropriate nutrition for a canine. Dogs can 'live' on poor quality food, just like it's possible for humans to 'live' on McDonalds happy meals. If you are reading this FAQ page, chances are you would like your dog to THRIVE, not just survive.

Feed your dog what his body needs to thrive instead of falling into the trap of believing the commercial pet food companies expensive advertising campaigns.


5. I want to breed my female. Is it ok to feed a raw diet to pregnant dogs?

Absolutely! Pregnancy and growth are 2 of the most physically taxing times in our dogs lives and feeding an easily digested diet can make the whole breeding, whelping and weaning process easier and more successful. Pregnant dogs have a need for extra carbs, which we provide to our breeding females in the form of pulverized vegetables. If you have the desire to breed your dogs, you owe it to them to do the research necessary to make the right food choices for the health of mom and pups! We carry books that outline the “ HOW-TO's” of feeding dogs a raw diet. These can be purchased at the Leerburg online book store.


6. What about my new puppy? He was fed kibble at the breeder's place. How do I switch him? I don't want him to get sick.

There are 2 schools of thought on this and I have done it both ways.

There is the gradual switch method, which changes the pup's diet a little bit each day until he is eating 100% raw. There is the cold turkey switch, which changes the pup all at once from the familiar diet, to the new food.

I feel that many times puppies do a bit better with a gradual switch, due to the stress involved with leaving the litter, travel and new environment. Keeping the diet familiar until the pup is settled in can make the transition easier for the puppy's immature digestive system. When the pup is eating, drinking and having normal bowel movements, then I suggest to start by adding a small amount of ground meat (without bones) to his regular food at each meal.

Don't overwhelm his system by trying too many different things at once, and I never add supplements to a pup's diet until the switch is complete and he is eating a variety of raw ingredients without digestive upsets of any kind. For more detailed information about ingredients for your pup's diet please check out the Leerburg bookstore. We carry many good books on raw feeding.

Our Leerburg and Kaiserhaus puppy customers receive educational materials and a transition diet print out to use when bringing their new pup home. We wean all our puppies from mom onto a raw diet, and strongly encourage our puppy customers to continue with a raw diet for the life of their dog.


7. What is a RMB?

RMB is an abbreviation for raw meaty bone. Raw meaty bones are soft enough for your dog to chew and eat completely. RMBs are the foundation of the raw diet. A few examples of RMBs are chicken wings, chicken backs, chicken necks, turkey necks, lamb necks, pork necks and oxtails. We use chicken leg quarters for many of our RMB meals. Many people say that small dogs can't handle leg quarters but our 11 pound Phoebe has no problem consuming them. We start our GSD and Malinois pups on leg quarters at 3 ½ to 4 months old although I am sure they are capable of handling them at an earlier age.


8. What is a recreational bone?

A recreational bone is a larger bone that your dog will chew but NOT completely consume. What may be a recreational bone for a Yorkie, may be a RMB for a Rottweiler. Some examples of recreational bones are cow femurs, knuckle bones and marrow bones.

I like recreational bones for puppies up to the age of about 6 or 7 months, but if the bones are left out and become dry they are like a cement block! I know many dogs that have permanently damaged or broken their teeth on recreational bones. Use discretion with this type of bone. Also be aware that when they dry out and drop they can have shards break off that could be potentially dangerous to your dog should they swallow them.

The last risk from recreational bones is damage to property and personal injury. I had a dog years ago that would sling her recreational bones around the living room. Glass coffee table, vases, and lamps become targets for this type of flying projectile. ? They also really hurt when you step on them when walking barefoot across your carpet…


9. I have heard that you should NEVER feed your dog chicken bones! One of the foundations of your feeding program is chicken! Aren't you afraid your dogs will choke or the bones will splinter?

This is the number one myth associated with raw feeding. If I had a dollar for every time I got an email or a question about chicken bones, I would be able to retire.

RAW chicken bones are wonderful food for dogs. They are soft, easy to chew and digest and readily available. NEVER ever feed cooked chicken bones! (or any other cooked bones, for that matter!)

I suppose your dog could choke on chicken bones, but he can also choke on kibble or one of his toys. If your dog is a gulper (i.e. swallows chicken pieces whole) he may do better with larger portions, either a half or whole carcass as opposed to legs or wings.

There are risks present with every choice we make, so it's up to you to make the choices you can live with and feel comfortable with. Compare the risk with the benefits and make your own decisions.


10. I was told that if you feed dogs raw meat, they will become vicious and kill animals. Is this true?

Here is another myth. Chasing and killing animals is prey drive, a natural behavior seen in dogs no matter what their diet.

Dogs don't correlate the food we give them with live animals hopping around in the forest or on the farm, it just doesn't work that way. Our raw fed dogs have been taught not to chase our guinea hens and horses, and they are raw fed for the last 12 years plus. When friends bring their kibble fed dogs here to visit, they want to chase our livestock until taught not to… chasing, grabbing and sometimes killing animals is an instinct in dogs (and cats) and not correlated with the diet they are fed.


11. How Do I Make The Switch?

I would recommend BEFORE you take the plunge that you have done adequate research, have your reference materials close at hand and you have purchased your ingredients to get going. It may help to keep a log or diary of meals at first, so you can go back and see what meals your dog likes or dislikes, which ingredients cause gas or diarrhea, etc. If you have a mentor, make sure you have his or her email address handy in case you have questions.

I would also recommend having your dog given a thorough physical by your health care professional before you switch. Some folks run a blood profile. I don't think it's necessary in most cases but it doesn't hurt. Be aware that if your vet is not PRO raw, he or she may try to derail you. I would suggest that you find a raw friendly vet before making the switch, if it's at all possible.

There are two ways to switch with the first being cold turkey. This method seems to work best for healthy adult dogs. You can fast them for a day or so if you wish before you switch, but the way I would recommend is to throw away your kibble, and start feeding raw. It's that simple! Keep everything very simple for the first few weeks, I would suggest chicken necks/backs ONLY for the first 3 or 4 days. Make sure the dog is digesting everything properly (no diarrhea or vomiting) before you add another type of food to the meals. Hold off on all supplements for several weeks. I would also wait several weeks before adding richer foods like liver, eggs or canned mackerel.

The second method is the gradual switch. Basically you add a bit of raw food to the dog's meals each day, in increasing amounts while decreasing the kibble. This may work for some dogs, but in my experience (and I have been feeding a raw diet since 1994) it takes longer for the dog to adjust and there are more frequent bouts of loose stools. I would recommend cold turkey for most adult dogs and some puppies.

If you decide you will be feeding veggies, wait until the dog is eating a variety of RMBS and different meats before you add them to the diet. We use them occasionally and I personally don't think they are necessary but some dogs seem to do well with the additional fiber. Remember, veggies need to be thoroughly cooked or pulped in order for dogs to digest them at all.


12. What Should I Expect At First?

Good question! The answer is varied. Some dogs switch without a problem and eat with gusto. Other dogs love the food but may have some digestive upsets for a short period of time while their system adjusts to real food.

Then there are the dogs that won't eat a raw diet. In many cases I think these are dogs that have been fed a variety of flavored treats, and processed foods. Raw food has little odor compared to many of the commercial pet foods out there, and I think that some dogs are addicted to the flavorings and additives. Many times there is a lot of owner anxiety over switching to the raw diet and the dog picks up on that.

For the dogs that won't eat 'real' food, you may need to use your imagination at first. Sprinkling parmesan cheese or lightly browning (LIGHTLY) some hamburger may get the dog eating. In some cases I think the dog just doesn't know a piece of raw chicken is food! You may need to be a bit of a cheerleader at first but once they get the hang of it, most dogs thoroughly enjoy their raw meals. I have reports from owners whose dogs are actually excited about eating for the first time in their lives once switched to raw.

A healthy dog won't starve to death, so you may have to just allow the dog to skip a meal here or there until they get hungry enough to try it.

Of course, if you have any doubts about your dog's health please consult with your health care professional!


13. I have heard that raw is much more expensive than kibble, how much will it cost me to feed my dog this way?

Raw can be expensive BUT so can kibble. In my experience, it probably costs about the same in the long run. If you buy your dog's meat from the prime meat case at the grocery store, it may get expensive in a hurry! Pre-ground and prepackaged raw diets can be very costly also.

I have learned to be a bargain shopper. Wal Mart and small grocery stores can be a great place to stock up on chicken leg quarters and canned mackerel and sardines. I made a deal with a local rabbit farmer to save me all the trimmings when he butchers rabbits. I order chicken back/necks and pork hearts in bulk from a local restaurant supply. Our local family owned grocery has marked down meat almost every day and runs great specials on chicken and ground beef. Friends that hunt give me their freezer burned venison from last years hunt.

Buy in bulk when you can and repackage into more manageable containers. We are feeding a lot of dogs every day so we thaw out 20-40 pounds of meat every day. you may only need a pound or two for each day so your packaging will differ from ours.

There are lists on the internet that only deal with suppliers for raw feeders. This is a great resource for finding co-ops and suppliers in your area. It's much easier now to feed raw than when I started back in 1994, there are so many more options.


14. I read somewhere on the internet that feeding a raw diet reduces vet bills? How does that work?

The main way our vet bills have been reduced is by virtually eliminating the need to take our dogs for skin and ear conditions, chronic illness management (i.e. pancreatitis, colitis) or dental cleanings.

Injuries, hip evaluation radiographs and occasional blood work for health screening are the occasions for a visit to our vet these days. Our dogs are healthier, and our vet bills stay down! How cool is that?


15. It seems too complicated to feed a raw diet, I don't have any free time to spend on this. How much time does it take each day to prepare the food?

This is a commonly asked question. It takes as long as you want it to! Here at Leerburg we are feeding between 15 and 25 dogs every day. We prepare all their food at the same time. Each dog gets a different amount with different supplements which we have typed out on a daily roster for food prep. Total time for measuring, placing in bowls, adding supplements and clean up is 15 to 20 minutes. That's about 1-2 minute per dog, per day for food prep. Some of our dogs are fed twice daily and their evening meal is made up in the morning, with the regular daily food and refrigerated until evening.

Once you get the hang of it, it's just as fast as feeding kibble. (and way more fun!)


16. What Do You Feed Your Dogs? Can You Send Me Some Menu Plans?

We feed our dogs a variety of items. They get chicken, turkey, pork, beef, lamb, fish, rabbit, goat, duck, venison, bison, tripe, liver, eggs, and occasionally leftovers from our plates!

There are excellent guidelines for meal plans in several books at the Leerburg Online bookstore and on this page of our web site.
*Please note on these menu pages that veggies are optional.*


17. How Do I Know Each Meal Is Balanced?

You don't! Don't worry about balancing every meal, it's just not necessary. Feed a variety of fresh ingredients each day and aim to balance the diet over time, not each and every day. Rotate your ingredients over a period of 3 weeks and you will achieve BALANCE OVER TIME. Your own meals aren't balanced every day, are they?


18. How Much Do I feed?

The rule of thumb for healthy adult dogs is 2-3% of their optimal body weight. If they are overweight, aim for the DESIRED weight, not their current weight. Same for an underweight dog, take their desired weight to figure your starting amount for each meal.

Take your dog's weight (or desired weight) and multiply x 16.
This will give you your dog's weight in ounces.
Multiply his weight in ounces x .02 (or .03 for 3 %)

Example=my Malinois Raine weighs 62 pounds. She weighs 992 ounces. (62 x16)

I multiply her weight in ounces times 3% to get the feeding amount of 29.76 ounces. (992 x .03)

I round it off to 30 ounces of food per day for Raine, or approximately 1.9 pounds.

Chances are that some days I will feed Raine 2 pounds per day, and some days 1 3/4. I don't typically use a scale for my own dogs these days, I am pretty good at eyeballing the amount needed.

This will give you a starting point for determining the amount to feed your dog each day. If he seems thin, increase food daily. If he seems chunky, decrease. This is where your journal or diary comes in handy, if you are the kind of person that likes to keep track of this sort of thing. I just wing it most days. Be aware that you should be constantly monitoring your dog's condition and activity to adjust your feeding.

Puppies eat anywhere from 5-10% of their body weight daily while they are growing. It's important to keep young dogs lean and not overfeed them. I like to see a hint of rib, but not too much. Skeletal development is something that can be compromised by putting too much weight on soft, still developing puppy bones. Be vigilant about your pup's body condition and adjust your feeding accordingly.


19. I'm Not Sure I Am Ready To Switch To Raw, But I Don't Want To Feed Kibble. Do you have any suggestions?

I would recommend a dehydrated raw food called Honest Kitchen that we have been carrying here at Leerburg since October 2005. We have heard great things from our customers who use this product, and have had good results using it in conjunction with our homemade raw diet with our dogs here at Leerburg/Kaiserhaus.

It's convenient, the dogs love it and it's the next best thing to a raw diet! We use this food exclusively for traveling with our dogs.

It's a good choice for boarding your dogs too, as many facilities don't have freezer space for your dog's raw meals while you are on vacation.


20. I have small kids and I am worried about Salmonella and E-Coli!

Bacteria is EVERYWHERE, on your counters, in your fridge, your sink and if you feed kibble, ON THE KIBBLE too.

Whether you have kids or not, I would be aware of the health hazard that MAY be present when handling any raw food product. Don't be overly worried or fanatical about this, just be aware and sensible.

If you use the same safe food handling practices with your dog's food, that you do with your own, then you should be fine. Clean all surfaces with antibacterial cleaners, wash your hands frequently and clean all dishes and utensils with hot water and soap or run them through the dishwasher. We use rubber gloves when handling the cases of meat for our dogs, and buy the disposable latex exam type gloves specifically for this purpose.

If you worry about where to feed your dog with kids around, I suggest a crate that can be easily wiped out with antibacterial cleaner. Some people put a plastic table cloth or shower curtain on the floor for their dogs to eat on and others only feed their dogs outside. You should do whatever works for you and your situation.

Some folks even wash their dogs face off after they eat, just to be safe. I am not saying I agree or disagree with these practices, just giving you some options and things to think about.


21. What about Grains? I read that you don't feed them to your dogs . Why not?

I don't feed grains for a couple reasons. Dogs have no nutritional need for grains of any kind and they are terribly hard for dogs to digest. Grain is also one of the main offenders in allergy problems in dogs. Those 2 reasons alone are good enough for me to not include grain in my dogs diets.

Some people feed them with good results. Some dogs seem to do well with a little grain added to their diet occasionally. If you feed them and your dog has gunky ears or itchy skin, try removing them completely from the diet. (this includes dog biscuits and treats too) You may be surprised that your dog improves a lot and I have gotten emails from folks whose dogs have been “cured” of allergies by simply taking grain out of the diet.

Food for thought and something most vets won't even suggest.


22. What supplements do I need to use?

The honest answer is that I don't know that you NEED to use any supplements if you are feeding a species appropriate diet that is balanced over time. However, many of us raw feeders feel that there are nutritional 'gaps' in our feeding regimen so we add supplements to help round out our dog's diet.

There are 2 supplements that I use regularly. They are salmon oil and vitamin E soft gels.

I use probiotics occasionally, during times of stress, travel, diet change or when I get a new pup. Probiotics are helpful for restoring the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract after antibiotic therapy or illness.
Some folks add Kelp and Alfalfa and powdered Vitamin C to their dog's raw meals.

Digestive enzymes are good for dogs new to a raw diet, in some cases.
There are many different schools of thought on supplements and my views are constantly changing.


You can see a list of supplements we carry on this healthcare page.

For more information on what each supplement does and how it should be used I recommend visiting the Leerburg online bookstore and checking out our books. Many of the raw feeding books we carry go into scientific detail about what each food and supplement provides the body.


23. How often do you use supplements? The label says to give it every day.

I give supplements to my personal dogs 3-5 days a week. I don't have a rhyme or reason for that, it's just how it works out most of the time. Leerburg's breeding dogs get their supplements every day, which vary from dog to dog according to age, condition and breeding status.


24. What is ACV?

ACV=apple cider vinegar

Some folks add ACV to their dog's food to aid digestion, help the body fight toxins and unfriendly bacteria.
I have used it to wipe out one of my dog's ears in the past when she had some inflammation, it seemed to have a cooling effect. Some people use it as a rinse after they bathe their dogs, to combat itchiness.

I don't have a lot of personal experience with using it, but many people swear by it. You can google Apple Cider Vinegar and come up with lots of information.


25. What are probiotics?

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in the healthy intestinal tract. They keep bad bacteria and fungi from upsetting the natural balance. Using probiotics can help restore normal gut function after stress, surgery, diet change or antibiotic use. We also use this at Leerburg when weaning litters onto solid food.

We carry a powdered probiotic that is added to your dog's meals.


26. What are digestive enzymes?

Digestive enzymes help the body break down food so the body can assimilate the nutrients. Enzymes are present in raw food, but cooked food has an absence of enzymes. The body must use it's own limited enzymes to break down cooked food and the body's enzyme producing organs are worked overtime to help digest the food.

Enzyme supplements are commonly used by dogs that have compromised ability to digest food, either from a digestive disorder or disease like EPI (exocrine pancreatic insufficiency).


27. What about vegetables?

There are 2 camps of raw feeders, the veggie feeders and the NON veggie feeders. I find myself somewhere in between.

I don't feel that my dogs need the veggies, but sometime they enjoy left over steamed green beans or broccoli from our family meals. Vegetables need to be broken down by cooking or pulverizing for dogs to be able to access any of the nutrition and since cooking destroys the enzymes, the best way to serve veggies is raw and pulped or pulverized in a food processor.

Pulping veggies is a lot of work in my book, so I don't do it anymore. I used to spend one afternoon every few weeks using my food processor on veggies and freezing them in Tupperware containers. Some people make a veggie 'glop' of pulped veggies, liver and other stuff they want their dogs to eat.

Veggies can be good fiber for dogs that tend to get constipated or overweight dogs that would benefit from fewer calories. Veggies can add a bit of bulk to the meal so the dieter doesn't feel so deprived.

When I cut the veggies out of my dogs diet the only difference I noticed was the LACK of occasional dog 'gas'. That's a positive reason to not feed veggies around here, we have five house dogs :)


28. What kinds of meat can I feed my dogs?

Depending on your location you will have access to different local meat sources. We feed beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, goat, buffalo, venison, elk, fish, rabbit.

Some folks feed moose, bear, ostrich or kangaroo.

Variety is the key to a successful raw diet.


29. Are there parasites in raw meat?

I would say the meat purchased as “fit for human consumption' should be safe from parasites. I would not feed my dogs anything that wasn't fit for human consumption anyway!

Some raw feeders won't feed pork because of the possibility of trichinosis, but if the meat is inspected I don't worry about it.

I don't know if I would feed a wild pig to my dogs or certain wild game like bear or beaver. We do feed wild venison without issue.

It's said if you freeze meat at zero degrees for 3 weeks it will kill parasites but I don't have personal experience with that, so take that into consideration when selecting meat for your dogs.

Note from one of our customers:

I only have one comment, I would not feed my dog bear meat. The reason is Trichonella. This is quite common in bear meat, especially raw bear meat. There are quite a few cases of trichinosis in people each year in the USA, and they are almost always from bear meat. I wouldn't trust freezing to take care of this parasite. It is a nasty and painful infection. I had been feeding my dog deer meat, but the advent of the wasting disease has made me leery of using it for myself or my dog. We will get any deer I shoot this year checked before I or my dog eat it. I switched my dog (Labrador Retriever) to Raw Food after buying the books and videos, and reading the articles on the Leerburg site. As always a good source of sound advice.


30. I want to feed a raw diet but whole bones scare me! Can I grind them up before feeding?

You can certainly grind them, but it's a lot of work for you and the dog will miss the physical exercise of ripping, crunching and chewing his meals. Several of our older dogs have worn their teeth down over years of bite work and carrying around toys, so ground RMBs may be an option for them at some point. So far, all my dogs can still handle a chicken leg quarter, even without perfect teeth.

Unless there is an underlying medical or physical reason for grinding for your dog, I would recommend feeding RMBs whole.


31. What kind of equipment do I need to grind RMBs?

I believe most raw feeders that choose to grind like the Maverick Grinder or the Northern Tools grinder. A Google search on either of those should take you to places to purchase them. I don't endorse OR have experience with either of them, but belong to several raw feeding email groups with people who get good results with these models.


32. I see that some places sell pre-ground raw pet food. Are these ok to feed? They seem very expensive though!

I think pre-ground is OK to feed occasionally, although once again your dog will miss the whole 'chew up the RMB' experience. It's expensive as a rule, sometimes 3 to 10 times more expensive than doing it yourself and I am not sure I really believe the ingredient list. I am a skeptic and how do I know that what they label as buffalo and veggies is really buffalo and veggies? Maybe it's some road kill or mystery meat? I like seeing the ingredients that go into my dog's meals and when you buy a ground item, you have to take their word for it.

I AM guilty of buying ground RMBs for my cats, from a raw feeder supply that delivers to my home. (Did I mention we feed our 4 cats a raw diet also?) :)


33. Can I buy RMBs at the grocery store? If not, where do I find them?

You may be able to buy some items at the grocery store. Leg quarters and wings are usually easy to find at the store.

I would check your local yellow pages and look for restaurant meat suppliers, or search the internet for raw feeding co-ops in your area.

We buy from a restaurant supply but due to high gas prices we have a 10 case minimum order, which is 400 pounds. Unless you have a lot of freezer space or some friends to split orders with this may not work for you.


34. What about feeding Raw and Kibble together, is that OK?

Many people want to do this! I guess I don't understand why you wouldn't just ditch the kibble once and for all? It's like eating a healthy meal and then having a Big Mac or box of Hostess Twinkies along with it. Get the junk food out of your dog's diet and watch him thrive!

I personally don't feel combining raw and kibble is OK and many dogs have digestive upsets when RMBs and kibble are mixed together.

If you absolutely MUST do this, at least feed raw for one meal and kibble for the other. I feel that it's easier on the dog that way.

Switch your dog to Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Raw Food and continue your education about raw feeding in the meantime.


35. I forgot to thaw out my dog's next meal, can I feed it frozen?

I would try to gently thaw it by running some cool water over it a bit but I have fed frozen food many times. Some people say you CAN'T feed frozen RMBs, but my logic is that if my dog found a frozen squirrel out in the woods he would carry it home and gnaw on that squirrel-sicle until it was eaten. I am not sure it's great for their teeth to eat frozen solid hard food on a regular basis but I have done it many times without incident.

Do not thaw your dog's food in the microwave! It will start to cook and change the structure of the bones and damage the enzymes in the meat.

If you can't bring yourself to feed frozen food, then keep a couple cans of mackerel on hand and feed those instead or better yet, order a bucket of Honest Kitchen dehydrated as your backup food.


36. I left my dog's raw food out of the fridge too long and it smells bad! Is it safe to feed it or should I throw it away?

My dogs don't have problems eating some pretty ripe stuff. I am not sure I would feed spoiled meat to my dogs but if it's a bit stinky and 'off' I will still let the dogs munch on it. The riper, the better in their book!

I would not feed even slightly gamy or nasty smelling meat to a pup or dog with a medical issue or compromised immune system.

If you worry about things like that then just throw it away. No sense taking chances !


37. Question:

Hello Ed and Cindy,

I recently obtained a pup from a breeder on the East coast. The pup actually came from Germany (pure ddr). Anyway, our breeder highly endorses the All Natural Diet of Wendy Volhard. I have been comparing the ingredient list that she recommends to the one you recommend and there are some major differences. For example, she lists several dairy products to supplement at times (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.), she also recommends things like Brewers Yeast, Honey, Molasses, various Fruits, and a few select grains (in small portions). The info on your web site seems contrary to these ingredients. Are you familiar with Wendy Volhard and her nutrition recommendations? If so, what is your opinion of her guidelines? Who is to trust? Her web site is www.volhard.com. I would appreciate any advice that you would have to offer. Sometimes the battles of the experts can be very confusing and overwhelming. Thanks Ed!

Sincerely,
Nick

Cindy's Answer

I don't agree with adding brewers yeast to any dogs diet, for any reason. We do use yogurt occasionally, for puppies and dogs that have had antibiotic therapy. Cottage cheese is given very occasionally to puppies and pregnant dogs. Grains are not necessary for dogs, and can cause many problems. We don't use them.

The best advice I can give is to do research, educate yourself on what a dog is designed to eat and make a decision that you are comfortable with. This is a recent addition to our web site, and is a work in progress.

I don't consider this a battle of experts, they have their opinions and reasons for feeding their dogs the way they recommend, as we do. I don't know if the Vollhard's' are breeders but if you want to find out how good your feeding regimen is, try breeding for a while. It's the ultimate test of a diet. If the diet is inadequate you will have increased vet bills, smaller and weaker litters ,and reduced health and fertility in your breeding stock. We are constantly evolving in this area, but one thing I know for sure is that grains are not a part of our feeding regimen and our dogs have never looked better or been healthier. I believe that as breeders, we have much more experience than most and experience is a great learning tool. You have the luxury of learning from our mistakes and our successes.

The one rule for you to remember when taking care of your dogs is “there are no rules.” Do what works for your dog, and what you feel comfortable with. The important thing is never stop learning and asking questions. Good luck with your dog!

Thanks, Cindy Rhodes~Leerburg Kennel Manager


38. Question:

Hello Cindy,

My name is Nicholas and I own two Pomeranians.  They are 20 months old, and weigh 2 1/2 and 3 pounds each.  I wish to feed them raw bones; could you please tell me what type of raw bones would be best for such tiny dogs?

Thank you very much,
Nicholas

Ps:  Leerburg's web site has been a lifesaver for me.  I have received four of your books, and two of Ed's DVDs.  I get the Honest Kitchen dog food from Leerburg, got two of the fine puppy leashes, as well as other products.  Thank you all so much.  When I adopted my two tiny bundles of joy when they were each four months, I was not ready to raise two little dogs.  But, thanks to your wonderful website, I landed on my feet.  Thank you all so very much!

Answer:

Hi Nicholas,

Thanks for the nice email.  If you want bones that they can consume entirely, I would suggest chicken wings, necks or backs.  You may have to cut them up into a suitable size for a meal, I think a whole chicken back would be a HUGE meal for a dog that tiny.

Keep in mind that something like a chicken leg or beef rib would be a great recreational bone for a dog that small.   You may have to limit the amount of time the dogs spend gnawing on them if there is a lot of meat on them and there is a need to limit their calorie intake.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


39. I just made the switch to raw and my dog won't eat! He sniffs the food and walks away. What should I do?

This is a common issue with dogs that have been fed a processed food for an extended period of time. Many times the dog isn't sure it's food, as raw food has little odor compared to kibble with it's added flavors. Some kibble even has stinky fat sprayed on to entice dogs to eat it.

Like us, dogs can become addicted to 'junk food' and you will have to be very patient with these dogs. Sometimes it involves LIGHTLY browning the outside of the meat you are offering, or adding a little bit of parmesan cheese or garlic salt. Do NOT cook anything that contains bones!

Many of these dogs do best starting with raw burger, instead of chicken parts. Once they are eating the burger well, then try adding other types of food. Sometimes dogs prefer a completely ground up meal (bones and all) at first. I don't recommend staying with ground RMBs but whatever it takes to make the switch is worth trying.

Whatever you do, don't give in too quick! Many folks will try feeding raw for a day or two and then go back to kibble. Tough love is what is needed in some cases! If you are unsure about your dog's health, then see a vet before you change the diet especially an older dog or dog with a pre-existing health problem.


40. My dog takes his chicken pieces and buries them under the couch cushions!

Sometimes this means you are overfeeding your dog. He is saving the extra for later. We notice that our pregnant females do this sometimes (not under the couch cushions), they hide an extra chicken leg quarter under their blanket or in the corner of the whelping box.

Some dogs just like to eat on their own schedule. I have taught my dogs to eat when the food is presented or lose it. For house training this is very important and also for dogs being trained on a regular basis. I manipulate my dog's hunger to my benefit for a reward system in tracking and obedience.

I personally don't like the idea of a raw chunk of meat being stashed somewhere in my house. My dogs are fed in their crates and if they chose not to eat right away (in the first 15 minutes or so after I put the food down) then I take it away until next feeding time. They learn in a hurry to eat when they have the chance.


41. Question:

I recently just started my 7 yr old Gordon Setter mix on the raw diet, haven't had any problems with runny stool, my trainer/boss introduced me to raw I had never heard of it before, she gave me a chicken back to try, told me not to feed him for 24 hrs to get the dry food out of his system and that would decrease the chances of diarrhea.  well, I did that and then offered him the chicken back but he wouldn't eat it, tried it that night and the next morning. still nothing.  so I wondered if maybe it was because he has no front teeth, they are all worn down in front and his top canine teeth are broken so i thought maybe he couldn't eat it.  I adopted him, that's why his teeth are bad he was running as a stray.  He loves the ground turkey, she told me that maybe he just hasn't acquired the taste of raw yet and feed ground turkey for a few days.  Well I've fed him that for a week, and then another friend who feeds raw gave me some ground chicken back to try.  I tried that this morning, he sniffs it and walks away.  I tried giving him a spoonful of it with some plain yogurt, but he just ate the yogurt and spit the meat back out.    I don't know what to do, do you have any suggestions?  I'm worried about him getting bad rotten teeth if he only eats soft food like ground turkey.

Answer:

Some dogs just don’t realize that chicken pieces are actually food.  You may need to smash the chicken back up with a hammer or something, to get the dog to try it.  Once they taste it and realized it’s ok to eat, they typically do just fine.  You can also try holding the chicken and letting him gnaw on it while you hold it.  I find that most dogs do better with a bone in chicken breast at first, instead of backs or necks.

I would also recommend these books, Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats and Raw Dog Food. 

You can also go to our Feeding Dogs Page for a list of articles and books that will be helpful to you.

I wouldn’t worry about his teeth at this point, eating ground foods only is not ideal but it’s better than kibble.  I would make sure you are balancing his diet.  If you are only feeding ground meat with no calcium source, you can cause health problems for this dog long term. The books will help you with that.

Good luck!  I hope this helps.


42. Question:

Dear Mr. Frawley,

My husband and I are new to feeding a raw diet with our competition Rotties. Our trainers, Steve and Melanie, turned us onto your website for specific menus and supplements. So far, we have purchased Salmon oil, kelp, and alfalfa from you. We were feeding Canidae to our litter and didn't like the condition of their coats or their growth. However, once we switched them to raw their coats shown, their growth picked up, etc. However, in the last month their coats are growing dull and 2 of the male pups are actually losing hair and are very itchy. The pups are now 5 1/2 months old. We feed mostly chicken using backs, leg quarters, and necks. We supplement with vit C, E, salmon oil, kelp, and alfalfa.

Could you please give us some suggestions?

Thanks,
Marie

Answer:

I would discontinue the kelp and alfalfa for now. Alfalfa can cause scratching in some dogs.

I would also try adding more variety in the diet, and add red meat like beef or venison when you can. Some dogs can scratch on a chicken heavy diet. I would also look at the labels on the chicken you are feeding and make sure there is not a lot of added solution. Some of the leg quarters I see for sale in the store are up to 12% added solution, and I am not sure if that couldn't be aggravating to certain dogs (depending on what is in the solution).

If you don't have any of the raw feeding books we carry , I would highly recommend several of them.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


43. Question:

I started my 3.5 month old GSD puppy on a raw diet this Saturday. I fasted her for a meal (so no breakfast) and she got raw chicken for dinner. I decided on a cold turkey approach. I haven't been able to find any chicken backs or necks at any stores nearby, but my grocery store had leg quarters on sale so I grabbed a couple packages of those.

Her first two meal was the thigh part of the leg quarter, plus two spoonfuls of cottage cheese and yogurt. We've been giving her cottage cheese and yogurt pretty regularly since we got her.

Her second meal was two chicken legs. When I watched her eating the legs, she chewed the legs for about a minute or two, but then swallowed the leg bone whole without breaking it up. Is this okay for her? Will she be able to digest the whole leg bone as it is? It freaked me out pretty good seeing her just up and swallow the entire leg.

Answer:

I don't like just the drumstick part of leg quarters for dogs any larger than our Corgi. It's not that they can't digest the thing if they swallow it whole; I worry about a choking hazard.

They are the perfect size and shape for a bigger dog to wedge in the throat/airway.

I'd either give your pup the whole quarter so he's forced to chew or switch to the bone in breast that is soft and easy to chew.. I wouldn't worry about the extra meat, especially for a growing puppy. My feeding regime continues to change and evolve as I learn more and find what works and doesn't work for my own dogs.

My dogs I've go through a basic prey model guideline.

In the average prey animal, the ratio of these parts is approximately:

5-10% organs (1/2 of this amount is liver)

10-15% edible bones

80-85% muscle meat (and the rest of the critter)

I don't have access to a lot of whole animals to feed, so I do what may be called "Franken-prey" lol

I make up a prey animal out of different parts. I might feed beef muscle meat, pork liver and chicken RMBs for one meal. Whatever I have thawed and whatever is on sale goes in my dogs' dinner. I do feed bigger pieces to my gulpers, so they don't choke. Raine and Morgi the Corgi will swallow just about anything whole, Rush and Bravo are more dainty and they chew everything up, no matter how small it is (go figure)

Of course, until your puppy is doing well on just chicken you would not be advised to add supplements or other protein sources or organs.  I’d also take the dairy out of the diet unless it’s plain sugar free yogurt with active cultures.

Cindy


44. Question:

Hello Cindy!

How are you? My question is: Can I feed my pup RAW food about 3 times a week and then all natural dry KIBBLE for the rest of the week? I am planning to do RAW food about every 3 days. Will this schedule of dry kibble for about 2 days and then raw food for a day mess-up my dog's stomach, or will my pup get used to this? I do not have time to feed raw food all the time but I still would like to feed raw food as much as I can. I am planning to feed INNOVA because you guys have it listed as one of the best all natural dry kibbles. Thanks a million again! I LOVE all the videos I bought from you guys!

Mark

Answer:

Hi Mark,

Every dog is different. Some dogs have no issue with going back and forth and others can’t handle the switch. I think I’d give it a try and see how it goes but just get ready to scrap your plan if your pup gets diarrhea or vomits. I’d probably make sure to use a digestive enzyme with all his meals.

Let me know how it goes.

Cindy


45. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Jake is an 84# lab.  He is all muscle.  Ever since one of our vets suggested that he lose a little weight, I have been focused (probably too focused) on his weight. (The joke is...the vet is fat!!!) As a lab, and an active one, Jake likes to eat. I give very few snacks, and even then, a snack is raw ...a bone with a little meat on it, sometimes a chicken foot.  I feed according to your guide (your vitamins and all), and even then, he licks his bowl clean and continues licking to get every morsel. (I'm actually feeding the amount for a 74 pound dog since that's what the vet recommended he weigh!) The weight issue has pushed me to skin all the chicken and turkey before I feed it to him or grind it. (Yes, I even bought a grinder! :)  It's a hassle and it takes the fun out of preparing his food in large quantities. My question:  Does the skinning make that much of a difference? If I am feeding the right quantity, should I just leave the skin on? Does he gain anything important, other than fat, from the skin?)  I'm thinking that if he gets skin with the meat at the right quantity, perhaps he won't even need a snack now and then. Any advice is a big help. 

Many thanks!

Best,
Cherie

Answer:

I never take the skin off, when feeding my dogs.  I also don’t really go by a number on the scale, I go by the dog’s physical appearance and how they feel when I put my hands on them.

For a dog that struggles with weight, I’d probably NOT grind their food.  I think much of the satisfaction they get is from chewing on the pieces.  If you give ground food they gulp it down before they even realize they ate it.

If I need to cut back the calories, I just reduce the amount of food without removing skin.  You can also try feeding a lower calorie food, like rabbit. It’s very lean.  I find that with my working dogs if I feed rabbit for days in a row they tend to slim down even if I am feeding the same amount as I would of chicken or beef.

Thanks for the kind words!  I hope this helps.

Cindy


46. Question:

I have a quick question for you. I will be switching to a RAW/BARF diet very soon and was wondering about rawhide chews. Currently they can keep my Vizsla very occupied and that can be very convenient with an inside dog. Are rawhide chews considered "ok" on a RAW/BARF diet?

Thanks,
Michael

Answer:

I don’t feel rawhides are safe for any dog, no matter what their diet.

I’d go for a knuckle bone or one of the safe chew toys we carry on our website. Rawhides can cause digestive upsets and blockages as well as being treated with potentially dangerous chemicals used in the bleaching process. I would never give these to any dog that can chew up and swallow pieces from them. (which would be most dogs). 

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet. I highly recommend them.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. You’ll find rawhides have been discussed in the past on our website.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


47. Question:

I need some help with my cairn terrier who is 7 and has cushings and diabetes, we have already had the eye surgery so he will not go blind. I need an easy turkey or chicken raw diet for him to be recommended to me ASAP for HIS sake and mine. Thanks.

Answer:

Because of your dog’s health challenges, I would recommend a consult with a vet who is supportive of raw feeding before changing his diet.

We have a list of vets that has been compiled by our customers. We are providing this list as a service; please do your own research into any health care provider you choose for your dogs.

I’m not a health care professional and I don’t have experience feeding dogs with cushings or diabetes, I would hate to give you the wrong advice.

Cindy


48. Question:

I have a very active German bred shepard. I feed him based on your 95 lb male raw diet. He weighs approximately 85 lbs, he's too thin. I feed him once a day, any suggestions on how much more and times I should feed him to bring his weight up, would be much appreciated.

Thanks much,
Winston

Answer:

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet. They are great references to have on hand, I highly recommend them.

Whenever I have a dog that needs to gain weight, I simply add another feeding each day. Every dog is different and you'll need to play around with the amounts to get your dog to the desired weight. I never go by a number on a scale, but go by the dog's body condition. I have no idea how much any of my dogs currently weigh because if they look too thin I increase their food, and if they look too chunky I decrease. I want to see a hint of rib.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the web site for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A's and posts on our forum. Raw feeding is a very popular topic on the forum and web site.

Cindy


49. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a 2 year old GSD - He is being tested for pancreatitis and other Digestive ailments (result are not in yet). His symptoms are excessive thirst, excessive drooling, heavy breathing, lethargic and loose stool. They started 2-3 weeks ago and have gradually gotten worse.  (He also has severe skin allergies in the winter.) The emergency vet tested him and said it is nothing life threatening. My vet is doing additional test and has put him on a prescription ID dog food and within three days, his symptoms have improved dramatically. (He is not on any medications or antibiotics). In your opinion, could I put him on the Honest Kitchen brand, what type would you recommend or is there something better I should be feeding him?  He was on Royal Canin dog food. I want to do what is best for him. Please just point me in the right direction. 

Thank You,
Dina

PS - I have several of your DVDs (Pack Structure, Basic Obedience and Dominant Dogs) They have been life savers. Thank You.

Answer:

I would recommend either a raw diet or one of the Honest Kitchen grain free formulas, either Force or Embark.  I think that until you get a diagnosis it might be smart to sit tight on changing the diet around too much.

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

I’m hoping the vet tested him for pancreatic insufficiency (sometimes called EPI).  Good luck with him, let me know what you find out.

Cindy


50. Question:

My dog is on a raw diet. He's a 7 month old 40lb boxer/pit named Tyson. At first I started with a wide variety of meats (chicken backs/neck/liver, ground chuck, tripe, egg, etc.) and I'm afraid I've moved to fast. I was also mixing it with wet food or dry kibble. He has had bad diarrhea since the change and I'm wondering if it's his system getting used to the raw or if it's or the different variety of raw meat being introduced to quickly. If so, and I'm to start him slow and work towards a completely raw diet, I am definitely interested in your product instead of still using kibble. Your thought?

Beau

Answer:

I believe you’ve made a variety of common errors which happens with people new to raw. Too much variety too fast can certainly give a pup diarrhea and we NEVER mix the raw diet with kibble and canned food. 

I’d suggest before you get going again you first educate yourself on the proper way to switch and to the appropriate foods to use for a dog new to raw.

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, you’ll use them a lot at first. Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding.

If you do want to use a commercial diet in conjunction with the raw diet, then I would recommend the Honest Kitchen products. We use Embark for puppies and growing dogs. There is a question and answer section on this page about how to use this food along with a raw diet.

Another helpful tip is to use digestive enzymes and probiotics while the dog is acclimating to the new diet. These 2 things can really help during the transition.

I’d also direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website. It will find posts, articles and Q & A’s that deal with your search terms. The raw diet is one of the most commonly discussed topics on our forum.

Cindy


51. Question:

Hello,

I took my dog in for a check up and talked to my veterinarian about the raw food diet you push and she said; bad idea. She said dogs will contract Campylobacter and salmonella from raw chicken just like humans. She said eating raw chicken is unsafe for humans and why would you risk your dogs health by feeding them raw chicken?

I've been making my own dog food; cooked with a protein source such as  elk; oryx; deer; chicken; pork or beef mixed with brown rice; cooked vegetable; eggs; powdered calcium; salmon oil and some dry high quality dog food. My dog is thriving on this combination.

What's your take on this my vets comment.

Regards,
Belden

Answer:

First of all we don’t push a raw diet. (strongly recommend, maybe J )  There is not any reason for us to push anything on anyone for their dog.  We encourage people to ask questions and become more educated.  Once they do that 99% of the time they will switch to a raw diet.

Your vet is typical, many close minded vets use scare tactics to sway people from even investigating raw feeding. Keep in mind that most vets get very little nutritional training and most of it comes from the big money pet food companies like Iams and Hills.  I think they honestly don’t know, and they regurgitate the info they are fed in vet school by these companies. 

I’d ask your vet about your dog licking his behind; does she not think there are bacteria there?  Dogs and people have a completely different digestive system; they can safely eat things that would put you or I in the hospital. 

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding, I think you’ll find the bacteria and vet issues covered there.

Cindy


52. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I love your website and have been devouring it... how cool are all of you!!!... but no one ever talks about raw feeding toy breeds... I have 2 eight pound chihuahuas... I have been raw feeding since december but I have to tell you... it is terrifying and I dread every meal... I have only used chicken so far... they say to use the size of their head without the snout... I am not visual so that alone is hard!...so for example, every night I get out 2 drumsticks, 2 wings, 2 thighs, split a back and neck etc... is that too much for one each for those little guys?  they act like they are starving afterwards!  I hold each piece while they devour them but when it gets down to the end, they often grab it and run... my one gulps the end of the chicken drumstick and looks as if she is almost choking to death... she slinks away, choking and even has fallen over... I am going to have a heart attack before they do!!  I know they need the chewing for dental and emotional health... someone suggested just crating them in different rooms and letting them at it without them worrying the other will grab it or I will take it away....

Then when I branch out... like oxtails have big bones, beef bones are big turkey legs, necks etc... what do I give them to chew on for fun... have the butcher cut up marrow bones into smaller rounds? Just give them a beef rib?  won't they choke on that too?  can I just give them a raw egg for their meal or canned sardines instead of meat now and then?  is it mackerel or salmon? Should I get a meat grinder... but then they don't get the benefit from chewing?  I do worry about the salmonella but I spray everything down with vinegar after and I am no germaphobe by any means!... the several choking incidents have almost paralyzed me... of course all the vets around here scare the shit out of you about the bone thing and vaccine thing... I know they are wrong but those few incidents are scary... I would gratefully appreciate your help... before the next choke!! 

Thank you so much,
Jennifer

Answer:

I believe you need to be more educated on the overall process of raw feeding.  Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, you’ll use them a lot at first.  Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding. All of your questions are answered in the article and the books.

Feeding small dogs is really no different than feeding big dogs, they just eat less food.  Usually dogs choke because you give them pieces that are too small. Feed larger pieces that force them to chew or grind their food, if choking is a real worry.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

Cindy


53. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Recently we switched our 7 year old dog named Molly (she resembles an australian shepherd) from kibble to raw feeding. I switched her cold turkey and it seemed to work well the first 2 weeks then she started to throw up yellow bile and even vomited right after she ate a couple of times. I started with chicken necks then chicken quarters. My wife definitely is happy we switched but the bones are a concern for her but not for me. (I love hearing the cracking and crunching!) Then when Molly started to vomit my wife insisted we start cooking the meat (no bones). We boil chicken, pork, beef and throw it in the food chopper. It seems to be fine but I wish my dog was gnawing on a RMB. After 7 years of kibble her teeth definitely need RMBs. She doesn't stink anymore and no more itching! We were having to give her a bath once a week! And it still didn't help! My question is.... is there some type of preplanned diet I could use as a guide to go back to raw? You recommend a couple of books which I have written down but do they give the information I am looking for? The vomiting definitely concerned us and we just didn't know what to do at that point. Was it too much chicken and bones? Any advice would be great.

With Regards,
Brad and Debbie

Answer:

I would suggest adding digestive enzymes to her meals, until she is acclimated to her new diet. Sometimes dogs have issues digesting the bones at first and will vomit. It’s not really a big deal in most cases, but I’ve found the enzymes help most dogs with the switch. Chicken leg quarter bones can be tough for many dogs new to raw, I prefer to use bone in chicken breast for the transition. The bones are softer and easier to digest.

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, you’ll use them a lot at first.  Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats.  We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding.  

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


54. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I've written before you've given great advice. I have a 14 month old female bulldog. I've had her on a raw diet for about 3 months now. I'm feeding her chicken, hamburger, etc. mixed with natures varieties natural frozen raw diet venison/ rabbit, chicken. She's having problems with going pottie. She has to push real hard & it takes a while. Some times by parts maybe 2-3 pieces come out she walks away & the process repeats its self and sometimes takes her a good 15 minutes to go. I have her on pro-biotics after the antibiotics she was on for an infection. She's been on them for about a week now. I give her the small dose from the scooper that comes with the pro-biotics. How long should I keep her on the pro-biotics & what can I do about her constipation?

Thanks in advance,
Rob

Answer:

You can add plain canned pure pumpkin(NOT pie filling) to her food, a couple tablespoons to each meal. You can also add a bit more boneless meat to her meals to soften things up.  The Nature’s Variety patties are good but I think they have a high amount of bone, which tends to constipate the dogs. I’ve used them when I’m traveling and my dogs have experienced a bit of constipation.

I’d keep her on the probiotics for a while, if I remember right she was on antibiotics recently?  It won’t hurt her to keep her on probiotics for the long term.

Cindy


55. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Two weeks ago we started our one year old  dachshund/terrier male on a raw diet. We adopted him in October and he was very underweight and had dry flaky skin as well as a mild case of demodedic mange. He is eating chicken necks in the am and Oma’s Pride raw mix at night ( we live very close to Miller Foods in Ct where Oma’s Pride is made).  We are supplementing with sardines, eggs, cod liver oil, olive oil and O’Paws fundamental vitality, which is a powder supplement of vitamins and minerals.

He is doing very well so far. I have been reading as much as I can about the Raw diet, but I was wondering if you could answer one question for me. You stress the vitamin E is very critical in the raw diet, but I can’t seem to find the reason for that and am interested in knowing. I would appreciate your thoughts.

Thank you,
Cheryl

Answer:

I would recommend having these 2 books in your library, you’ll use them a lot at first;  Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats.  We give both of these books to our puppy customers and we almost never get questions on raw feeding.

Vitamin E is needed with any oil supplements. The system uses the vitamin E to protect the delicate polyunsaturated oil from free radicals.

Most agree that the added vitamin E is crucial in protecting these PUFAs ---- enough do to convince me, and since E is beneficial in several ways, why not use it.

The system can usually handle free radicals (less efficiently as it ages), but if antioxidants like E are in short supply, then one of its tools to break the chain of oxidation ("rusting" could be a way to describe it) is weakened.

Long story short: Fish oil uses vitamin E, so if we give fish oil, we should give E as well.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


56. Question:

Hello Cindy!,

Thanks to you and the information I have attained from your web site and the books you recommend, my two female G.S.D.s have never been happier or healthier. We are all very happy. I wanted to know if and or how you would recommend warming up the meat portions of their food. I don't freeze much so it is mostly just out of the fridge. I have been soaking the chicken quarters etc. in a ziplock bag in warm water and then I hear about plastics leeching out. We could go crazy. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Many thanks,
Jeff

Answer:

I don’t warm up my dogs’ food.   I usually either serve it room temp (set it out for a while) or cold from the fridge.  My dogs have no issue with it.  I’ve heard some folks say that if their dog eats cold food they will vomit but that has not been my experience.

You are right, we can make ourselves crazy by worrying about all this stuff but just do what works. If you worry about plastic then take the chicken out of the bag and just drop it in the warm water.  The dogs won’t mind if it’s a little waterlogged.

Cindy


57. Question:

I have been taking my RR to a dog trainer for some help and the good news is the trainer has been stressing the same philosophy as the DVDs I have bought from your website so that makes me happy, however when he was assessing the RR behavior (we are having issues with jumping and biting our hands and clothing) he asked what we were feeding her, I have her on a raw diet of chicken, turkey and beef (and some fish). He told me that the red meat was going to her brain causing too much blood flow and giving her like a dog headache which causes her to run around like a chicken with her head cut off.  I have cut the red meat but have you ever heard of something like that? I have two of the feeding raw diet books and do not recall issues like this mentioned in either of the books or numerous articles I have read. Also, we have put her back into stage one of the pack structure leadership program because we have done too many things wrong (something the trainer pointed out). Both the video and the trainer brought us to this decision. Anyway thought I would ask the off the wall question about red meat.

Answer:

Basic on the comments that your trainer made on raw feeding, I would question their knowledge. Personally, I would probably not be able to train with anyone who is that misinformed but feels the need to pass along bad information anyway... that is one of the dumbest comments I have heard about raw feeding to date, and I have heard some doozys! :)

Cindy


58. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I noticed that you feed canned Mackeral and canned Salmon. My question is, is there to much salt in the two of these or will it be fine?

Thanks! ........Tim

Answer:

I usually rinse it in a colander before feeding.

Cindy Rhodes


59. Question:

Good morning Ed,

I have a Giant Schnauzer 10 week old puppy that I'm feeding a raw diet, and 1C origen dry (large breed puppy) food offered for extra (usually not touched). I noticed today that his front legs are bowed. Is this normal for a puppy, as growth rates vary?  I feed 3/4- 1 # of raw chicken necks every other day. Should I cut that down? I went to your website (super great web site Ed... thanks for ALL the info there. I'm recommending it to the breeder of my Giant to link to from his webpage). I read your article on Pano and didn't know if bowed legs was considered Pano. Please advise.

Supplements I give:

2 t WHOLISTIC Pet Canine Complete (Ingredients: Certified Organic Kelp, Certified Organic Flax Seed, Hydrolyzed Whitefish (Whole, Dried Fish Fillet), Vitamin C*, Certified Organic Garlic, Organic Lecithin, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, Amylase, Protease, Protease II, Protease III, Lipase, Cellulase, Lactase, Peptizyme SP ®, Maltase, Invertase, Bromelain. *Vitamin C as Ester C)

1/4 t Halo Vita Glo Xtra-C Instant Vitamin-C Concentrate Natural Supplement (Ingredients:Ascorbic Acid, Lemon Pulp, Lime Pulp, Tangerine Pulp, Grapefruit Pulp, Orange Juice, Rose Hips Extract and Cranberry Extract.)

1/2 t Earth Animal Herbal Internal Powder, Yeast-free for fleas (HERBAL INTERNAL POWDER (Yeast Free): Formulated by Dr. Bob Goldstein An organic, herbal blend of Alfalfa Powder, Garlic Powder, Blue-Green Algae (Spirulina), Kelp Powder, Papaya Leaf, Nettles Leaf, Hawthorne Berry Powder. These ingredients will help cleanse the blood, bitter the blood, support circulation, help deter fleas and ticks, mosquitoes and black flies.)

PS I just ordered Kelp & Alfalfa powder from you

Thank you and I appreciate your comments.

-Kathy

Answer:

Bowed legs are usually one of the first signs of rickets (a nutritional problem)

I’d refer to some raw feeding manuals to determine the proper amount and type of food to feed. Chicken necks are almost all bone, it may be that you are feeding too much bone content/calcium.

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

Pano is presented with pain, not bowing of the legs.

Cindy Rhodes


60. Question:

Hi Cindy,

As always thank you very much in advance for you help and the answer. I am going to switch my 61/2 month old GSD to raw.

I have a couple questions.

She is our house dog and would like to train her as a personal protection dog. I work nights and she spends the day with me and the evening with my wife and children.

How should we direct her during the cooking time of our own meals? She is always following my wife by her side during the house work (cooking, laundry...).

Will she start jumping on the counter thinking it is her meal? I would put her in crate during this time however my wife likes her company.

Also, it looks like she is ready to be fed just once a day. Should she have her meal in the morning or evening?

Thank you again and looking forward for your answer.

Answer:

Hi Robert,

What you feed the dog should have no bearing on the rules and regulations you set for her in the house. Rules are rules and she should be expected to behave appropriately. If your dog is jumping on the counter, it’s because you haven’t taught her not to and it has nothing to do with a raw diet. I’d refer to Pack Structure for the Family Pet for reminders on how the dog should be expected to behave. Personally, I don’t let my dogs hover around in the kitchen. I make them go lay down away from the food prep area or I crate them.

The timing of your dog’s meals should be according to what works best for you and your dog. If it works best to feed her in the morning then feed in the morning, if it works best for a different time of day then I would go with that.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


61. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have a rescue pup, Shepard mix (small) about 8 months old. She seemed to have normal stools when we got her. I first started her out on a grain free natural kibble (call of the wild) and she had loose stools. She had a stool sample done and we found out she had gardia. We treated her with Pancur for 5 days and she had VERY loose watery stools during that time and for a couple more weeks after, we decided to switch her to raw diet cold turkey and the runny poop continued. We had another stool sample tested and it came back negative for worms or gardia but she continues to have runny poop and gas. I know she can have normal stools because I saw them when she first came to us. It was a month on natural kibble and about a month on raw and still is usually pudding and occasionally watery. Be were told by friends that Gardia is very hard to get rid of and I googled natural cures and found that GSE (grapefruit seed extract) was a great anti parasitic for both dogs and people and not harmful so as a precaution I began giving her drops in the ground beef, just in case the test was a false negative. What I am feeding her is chicken mostly, leg quarters, I feed her 2 times a day, a leg, little ground beef meatball and an egg  in the morning, a thigh and a ground beef meatball in the evening. I am also giving her a probiotic cap once a day (she is 8 months and about 30 lbs). Anyway she still has pudding poop and we have had her for 2 months. I know our vet would ask what we are feeding and blame raw diet. I ordered Perfect form from your website and am waiting for it to come in the mail we will see what happens. I am at a loss though, any advice for me?

Thank you
Courtney

Answer:

The first thing I would recommend is to make sure you have reference materials on hand since you appear to be new to raw feeding. The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet.

If a dog is having continuous soft stools, then you need to give a bland diet until you get her gut settled down. I wouldn’t be feeding chicken leg quarters or eggs. I’d likely cook some white meat chicken (no bones) and rice and feed that until her stools were normal. I would then GRADUALLY add some raw ground meat and if she was still doing ok, maybe go to bone in raw chicken breast. Leg quarters would only be added much later after she was having no issues with the bone in chicken breast. Eggs can cause loose stools in some dogs, so remove those from the diet for now.

In addition to probiotics, I would also suggest digestive enzymes.

Cindy Rhodes


62. Question:

I am a firm believer in a raw food diet, we have had our 5 month german shepherd on it now for about a month, but he keeps getting diarrhea. I am super careful with his food, nothing is cross contaminated, his bowl is thoroughly washed after every meal. I give him chicken, a little bit of pulverized veggies a few times a week, eggs with shells, gizzards, hearts and occasionally liver. We have him on all the supplements as well. He has now had three episodes of diarrhea, no blood, and no other side effects, he acts perfectly normal. I have given him pumpkin and that seems to help. For a couple of days I was on vacation, he had diarrhea before we left, I got some healthy kitchen dehydrated food for him and he ate that for 3 days, and his stools were totally normal, last night I gave him raw and once again he has diarrhea.

At a loss, I really don't want to abandon the raw food, but I can't take the diarrhea anymore.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Tamara

Answer:

I think you are giving too much variety, for a dog that new to raw I don’t add supplements and I don’t add organ meat.  When I do add organ meat, I add like a dime sized piece.  Gizzards are ok, but hearts and liver can cause diarrhea. Eggs can also give some dogs diarrhea.

I’d back up and go to a very simple diet, single protein source, no veggies, eggs, organ meat or supplements and I’d also add some digestive enzymes for the next several weeks.

Only when you have had a long stretch of completely normal stools do you add ONE ingredient and see how that goes for a number of days.  If you are doing all the things you have listed, you have no way of knowing what the problem may be.

The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet

Here is a Q&A section on raw feeding.

For future questions, you might benefit from learning to use our SEARCH function, which is located in the top left corner of every page of the website.  If you type in your key words or question it will find you articles, Q & A’s, free streaming video and links to threads on our discussion forum.  Our website has over 16,000 pages and it’s very likely you’ll find the information you are looking for.  I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

Customer Comment:

Cindy:

I have a comment on the question that was posted below.  First of all, I do not feed a raw diet.  However, my 5 year old GSD had frequent diarrhea for the first year and a half of her life.  I started adding the supplement that you sell from your website, ProBios. There was a dramatic reduction in the frequency and duration of her diarrhea.  She still gets it occasionally, but it clears up usually within a day. I add the Pro Bios to every meal.

I just also want to say that your website is wonderful.  I look forward to your news letters.  My dog is extremely well trained and very healthy thanks in large part to the information on your website. 

Thank you!


63. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I have been feeding my 11 month old Doberman pup a raw diet for several months and it has been the best change we could have made for her. She loves this diet. Regarding chicken… I purchased raw chicken thighs and legs and just noticed the expiration date was 12/10/10 (today is 12/12/10). The smell if off a bit an wanted to know if it is not safe to feed this expired meat to our dog. Thanks so much for your guidance.

Kind regards,
Joan

Answer:

Usually 2 days over the expiration date isn’t going to matter to a healthy dog that is accustomed to a raw diet. Every dog is different though, and if you have any doubts it may be best to discard it.

Here is a Q & A section on raw feeding.

If you don’t already have these books, I highly recommend them. These are the 2 best books for learning about the raw diet  Raw Dog Food and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes

Thank You:

Hi Cindy,

Thank you so much for your quick response. I was on your website reading questions from other folks and enjoyed all of the helpful responses. There is so much support and information on your site, I just love it! Not sure why we humans have so much trouble wrapping our brains around the natural eating habits of our canines. It is amazing how much we put our human eating habits onto our pets. It is quite obvious, dogs love raw diets, well, at least mine does.  Again, thanks for making yourself so available to all of us. This has been the best thing we could have done for our puppy. She is happy and so very healthy… her name is “Joy”! 

Kindest regards and Happy Holidays! 

Joan


64. Question:

Hi Cindy,

About a year ago we adopted a 1 year old Plott/Sheppard mix. We decided at the time to raw feed and bought an assortment of books. Since we raise our own poultry, chicken was the natural choice for protein. We would grind the chicken along with the bones, and add some carrot or other vegetable, a touch of molasses and a little vinegar. After 2 or 3 months (it was March) on the diet we noticed Zoe shedding a lot. Since she was new to us we weren’t sure if the shedding was natural for her breed(s) or if she was having an allergic reaction to her new diet. Our vet at the time said he believed it was because of the diet and recommended that we change her over to a natural kibble, one with very little grain and one that does not use chicken. He was a holistic vet, but was not real found of the raw diet. He was worried about Salmonella and E coli. Zoe’s shedding did get a little better, but I’m not sure it was because of the diet. Is it possible that my luck is so bad that I adopted the only dog on the planet that is allergic to chicken?  

Answer:

Dogs do a full shedding twice a year, usually once in the spring and once again in fall. This is normal. Vets that are not well educated on raw feeding usually try to talk their clients out of it.

I hate to tell him but there is salmonella and ecoli just about everywhere, including in kibble. If you watch your dog, I’m sure you’ve seen her eat chicken, rabbit or deer poop (my dogs do) or lick her own behind. The bacteria scare tactic makes me really annoyed with some vets.

I don’t know which books you have, but The 2 best books for learning about the raw diet are Raw Dog Food  and Natural Nutrition for Dogs & Cats. We give both these books to our puppy customers and rarely have questions about the diet.

I’d also cut out the veggies for now and get rid of the molasses.

Usually dogs that are sensitive to chicken do a lot of itching and have seeping eyes or they will have digestive upsets.  If you raise your own, that’s awesome! I have found that my dogs only react to store bought chicken that has the “added solution.”

If she is shedding more than seasonally, I’d add salmon oil and Vitamin E. I actually supplement all my dogs with this regardless.

Personally, I’d find a new vet. I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


65. Question:

Hello Cindy,

I just have a question. I started my dog on a raw diet when she was 4 months old and she has been on it ever since. She is now 15 months old. I have been feeding her just meat (alternating between chicken and organic beef) and eggs. She also gets salmon or cod liver oil, olive oil, calcium with vitamin D, vitamin E, Vitamin C, and a probiotic. She also once in awhile gets table scraps or carrots to munch on. But my question is, could I cut the meat amount in half and also feed her cooked brown rice or cooked oatmeal for the other half of the meal? Would she still be getting all the nutrients she needs? I realize that dogs don't need grains, but I was hoping this would help cut costs, as feeding all meat gets expensive for us. Thanks so much for your help, this is all still somewhat new to me.

Thanks,
Daina

Answer:

I would not recommend substituting grain for meat in a dog’s diet.  A poorly designed raw diet can cause a multitude of issues for a dog.  Dogs have no nutritional need for grains, so substituting that for animal protein would be detrimental.

If you can’t afford to properly feed the dog a raw diet, you may want to try a premium grain free kibble (although in my experience it’s no cheaper to feed a dog quality kibble and may actually cost more in the long run when you look at overall vet costs).

Sorry I don’t have an easy answer for you.  It would be better to go to NON organic meats to cut costs, if you have to make a change. You can also see about buying more protein sources in bulk from a restaurant supply to get a better price.

Cindy Rhodes




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