Feeding your dog a natural RAW diet can be tricky and confusing in the beginning so here’s an example of how to start raw feeding:(please see previous blog also)
Chicken, because it is one of the easiest to get hold of, is probably a good meat to start on (or turkey if you can get it). If using minced chicken/turkey from suppliers be aware that most are made up of pure chicken carcass! This could be anything from 30-50% bone and cartilage depending on how meaty they were in the first place. Know your supplier! If it is carcass just remember the majority of the food needs to be bone free, especially at first and more so when introducing to a new puppy. Try and aim for 10% bone content. Use chicken fillets to bring down the bone content if necessary.
Don’t worry too much in this first couple of weeks about trying to balance the diet but do make sure that the majority of the food is muscle meat and not bone which can make the dog very constipated and worse an impaction. Keep an eye on the poops, if they become a bit too dry add more muscle meat (breast) or if too loose a little more bone might be needed.
If you dogs settles ok on chicken you can move onto another protein source in the second week.
Still using your chicken based meals start to introduce one new protein source. Green tripe is a good one to go for as it is naturally balanced. Slowly introduce over the next week along with the chicken. If all goes well by the end of that week then you can move onto week 3, if not, take your time it can sometimes take a little longer.
Time to introduce a new protein source, making sure your dog is getting some bone in the mince. If at any time during this stage your encounter a bad reaction by way of diarrhoea then go back a step to your cushion of chicken until things get back to normal.
Following on weeks:
Gradually add new foods to your dog’s diet until you have tried most things. You might want to start to introduce some offal at this stage but make sure it is just one thing at a time and in very small amounts. This way if something upsets him you will know what to avoid and saves having to go back to the beginning each time or work on an elimination diet.
By now you will ideally be making sure the diet is balanced in 75% – 80% muscle meat; 10% – 15% bone and 10% offal of which 5% needs to be liver. Kidney is probably the easiest to get hold of for the other 5% offal. Heart, whilst strictly speaking is not classed as offal for purposes of raw feeding, is very rich in nutrients and needs to be treated in a similar way to offal and introduced gradually. Some people find it better to feed a little offal daily and others feed a couple of times a week, but be warned too much in one go could upset your dog.
When choosing offal/lights (lung) etc just be aware of the original size of say a rabbit (which would be a complete meal in the wild) and the ratios you are feeding. You wouldn’t want to be feeding a complete meal of say lung or heart on a continual basis, as it would be out of proportion to the animal.
Free range organic Eggs are an excellent source or nutrition a few times a week. As I like things as nature serves them I tend to give the shell too but this must be ground down to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar or grinder for it to be of any use, other than roughage.
Oily fish can be fed whole and raw but often come back so worth cutting up and serving mixed with tripe or something else. Tinned sardines or mackerel in spring water, oil or tomato sauce are also handy to feed. If you do not feed fish you can supplement with a good quality fish body oil (FBO). More details of that in the files.
Veg can be added for those that wish to use it but please make sure it is liquidised thoroughly raw or lightly steamed to help break down the cellular walls. Freezing veg is also said to help break down the cells walls.
Remember meals can be balanced ‘over time’ so you don’t have to do a bit of everything every meal time, however, it is advisable to feed bone meals regularly rather than a lot in one go or you risk constipation. Feeding a week’s worth of offal in one go could also prove to be detrimental and your dog could end up with the squits :/
Please read articles in the files and do your research.
Some people prefer to use complete meals rather than DIY. There are a number of suppliers offering this type of food, some more balanced than others. Choose carefully and read the ingredients. Try and start with one flavour for a few days before moving on.