Raw Feeding

On Thursday evening I attended at talk by Nick Thompson on Raw Feeding, hosted by the lovely peeps at Chapel Farm. Although we have always fed raw, it is sometimes nice to go back to basics and be reminded why you chose it in the first place. Raw feeding is growing in popularity, and while some vets still advise against it, (I have a feeling that is more to do with profit than fact) it is wonderful to hear a vet with as much experience as Nick promoting it so passionately.

8 years ago when we got Hendrix as a puppy we researched diet and decided on raw, but back then it was less common and certainly harder to get hold of if you wanted to purchase it in handy frozen blocks. Nowadays it is much easier to get hold of and a range of suppliers from large national companies such as Natures Menu and Natural Instinct, to your local butcher and smaller independent companies.

The audience at the talk ranged from those that had been feeding raw for sometime to those that were considering making the change, so there was a really good range of questions and lots to think about.

As it was only an hour talk followed by Q&A is was just a quick introduction, but hopefully Chapel Farm will hold a one day talk on the subject, hosted by Nick in early 2014…….. I have my name down for a place already!

My main concerns with regards to diet and my dogs at the moment are;

1. Hendrix – 8-year-old chunky Labrador. What ratio/quantities/supplements should I be feeding an older dog.

2. Zephyr – 11 month old Wolfdog/Hybrid. Again quantities/ratio for puppy, plus he is travel sick and can bring up entire meal after 12 hours, are some meats more easily digestible?

Quantities

As a general rule of thumb for raw feeding, an adult dog should be fed approx 200-300g food per 10kg of body weight in each 24 hour period. This should then be split in to 2/3 meat&bone to 1/3 veg matter.

To help calculate that I have put the weights in to a chart, which shows total amount of food per day based on weight of dog, and the proportions of meat/bone and veg that make up the total.

Weight of Dog Total amount of food per day Meat/Bone Veg
10kg 200-300g 133-200g 67-100g
20kg 400-600g 267-400g 133-200g
30kg 600-900g 400-600g 200-300g
40kg 800g – 1.2kg 600-800g 300-400g

We feed twice a day, so I would just divide it in half and feed a meal at breakfast and another in the evening.

For older dogs, such as Hendrix, it was advised that the same formula be used to calculate amount of food required, but the ratio of meat & bone to veg be altered to between 30-50% meat/bone, and as Hendrix is now getting a bit of ‘middle age spread’ I will probably use the lower overall quantity of food in the range calculated.

For younger dogs, such as Zephyr, I feed the higher overall quantity in the range as he is still growing.

Digestion

Following the talk I have stopped feeding Zephyr beef and tripe as these are apparently the least well tolerated meats. The most easily tolerated and digestible is rabbit, so Zephyr has had these, plus fish, chicken, lamb and duck over the past few days. He was not keen on duck, but looooved having  a bunny to munch on! 🙂

I think the change in diet has already shown an improvement in Zephyr’s travel sickness. Although he has still been sick on journeys the quantity has reduced massively, it is nowhere near the equivalent of an entire meal coming back up, so that is progress. We plan to continue with this and will update the blog again when we have had a longer period of time to look at.

Bones

Bones play two roles in the diet of a dog that is fed raw. Firstly they have a nutritional value, which is why feeding chicken wings, neck, legs, carcasses etc play an important role. For those that are too squeamish to feed raw bones such as these, the Natures Menu and Natural Instinct packets include bone that has been minced. Secondly, bones are great for promoting dental health, as well as providing mental stimulation for your dog – this is where the larger ‘weight bearing’ bones come in.

Fruit & Veg

The rules here were pretty simple – No onion, small amounts of garlic are OK (unless you have a dalmatian, then NO GARLIC!), no grapes. It is best if the vegetables are blended as this breaks down the cell wall and aids with the absorption of all the goodness – as you can not rely on your dog to chew!

Supplements

Nick recommended in addition to feeding a raw diet, the addition of a multi-vit and a good quality fish oil.

The recommendations were Dindin’s Wickedly Raw Superfood and Nature’s Help Omega 3 Deluxe (Pet). I have ordered both of these from the internet and they cost £25 (for 100g) and £27.45 (for 500ml) respectively, including postage.

Reading

I am about to order these books that were recommended.

Real Food for Dogs & Cats – by Clare Middle

The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan

When a date is confirmed for a one day talk by Nick at Chapel Farm I will add the details to the events page of this blog – maybe I will see one or two of you there?

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5 Replies to “Raw Feeding”

  1. Jake refuses the veg, I am assuming because he doesn’t feel the need for it? He gets plenty of oily fish and some offal. He steals whole fruit and veg out of the basket to play with and naw on but doesn’t really consume any. Apart from the raw meat and bones he also gets probiotic yogurt and will eat some pasta/rice a few peas and cooked veg but I am trusting him to know what he needs. Do I need to supplement him?

    1. Hi Stella
      Tuchena never used to it veg, she will only eat it now if it is blended and mixed in with her meat. We tend to judge what they need by bowel movements and alter accordingly.
      I would guess if your dog is healthy and gets a varied diet then the need to supplement is less. We are giving the supplements a try after attending this talk as I hope it might help Zephyr digest his food better, and will then assess again. His slow digestion is only an issue on days where he needs to travel in the van, as because he is still growing I don’t think he can afford to bring up entire meals a couple of times a week!
      You are probably the best judge of what is right for Jake, and if you are concerned I would recommend one of Nicks seminars. He does them all over the country and dates can be found on his web page.

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