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Raw Food for Dummies?

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

  
Levi

PSDiT
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 10:36am PST 
Considering starting Levi on a raw diet after his trainer (who feeds raw) told me about all the benefits for him. I never considered this before but now that I am I have TONS of questions. I have found lots of help already in previous threads but thought I'd post a few of the main things I'm wondering that I haven't seen yet.

A big issue is cost. I spend around $20 on dog food for him per month. If I buy the cheap stuff in bulk, will the price be comparable?

The trainer told me it will help a lot with Levi's poops because he's getting more nutrition but will it help with his gassiness as well? He's a service dog in training and I always feel really bad when he's laying next to me somewhere and lets one rip.

I know it's okay for them to eat bones as long as they aren't cooked, but is boned meat a lot better for them than boneless?

His healthy weight is around 60 lbs., though I need to put some weight back on him atm. If I want to divide his food into two equal meals a day, about how much should I give him per meal (starting with chicken)?

If anyone thinks of any other things I might need to know or that might be helpful, please don't hesitate to share!
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 11:15am PST 
A big issue is cost. I spend around $20 on dog food for him per month. If I buy the cheap stuff in bulk, will the price be comparable?

This completely depends on where you live, meat costs in your area, what type of meats you will be feeding, and what the source of the meat is. For example many people have very cheap sources of butcher scrap, can buy large quantities in bulk for very cheap, etc -- meanwhile if you chose to only buy grocery meats it'd probably be more money than that, and then if you went up another step and sourced only humanely-raised, organic meat then your cost is going to possibly skyrocket. I generally spend between $40-$50/month feeding two dogs of which are 45lbs and 75lbs, but I get a lot of bulk deals and so on, and I live in a fairly economically depressed area. Feeding a small dog will obviously be a lot cheaper. If I had a single small or medium dog in my area (I would consider my 45lb Kolbe medium) I'm pretty sure I could feed them for $20 a month, based on what is available to me. However like I said -- your mileage may vary.

The trainer told me it will help a lot with Levi's poops because he's getting more nutrition but will it help with his gassiness as well? He's a service dog in training and I always feel really bad when he's laying next to me somewhere and lets one rip.

Dog dependent... my dogs have a bit less gas when eating raw, but it can also depend on the protein...pork for example, gives Kolbe a lot of bad gas, but chicken, beef and venison generally do not. You might try a probiotic for general gassiness.


I know it's okay for them to eat bones as long as they aren't cooked, but is boned meat a lot better for them than boneless?

If you are thinking of doing prey model raw, the guideline is generally around 10% bone. It's not an issue of "better for them" -- it's an issue of proper (not too much, not too little) calcium intake. Bone-in, depending on cut, is also good for the teeth.

His healthy weight is around 60 lbs., though I need to put some weight back on him atm. If I want to divide his food into two equal meals a day, about how much should I give him per meal (starting with chicken)?

General guideline is 2% of the desired/ideal body weight per day. You may need to increase or decrease this number depending on how he does with that...older dogs often need less than that, super duper active dogs often need more, and so on. 2% of 60lbs would be 1.2lbs/day.
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Maxwell

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 11:35am PST 
A 60 pound dog if full grown might need about 20 ounces of food a day or 37 pounds a month. It is unlikely you will be able to feed raw for less than $20 a month as that would come to about $.50 a pound of raw meat. Sure you can get cases of chicken necks and backs for prices close to that but those can only be about 25% of the diet as they are very bone heavy. Some people post on Craig's List and freecyle for freezer clean outs and some people have access to meat processors and can get free meat that way.

Max isn't a gassy dog so I don't know much about that. It could help. Max will be gassy if overfed and that is about it.

Raw fed dogs need bones for calcium, bulk and fun. Bony meat is cheaper than boneless too. Unfortunately after the dog is transitioned to raw one cannot feed only bony meat as it is too much bone. For example a whole chicken is about 30% bone so would be fed with double its weight in boneless meat and some organ.

If his ideal weight is 60 pounds then multiply by 2% which gives 1.2 pounds or 19 ounces a day. Remember this is only a starting point, some dogs need more or less to maintain a good body weight. Max only gets about 1.5% of his actual body weight and there are tiny dogsters that get more like 10%!

A day's ration doesn't have to be divided equally, just get about 19-20 ounces in daily for starters and as you go on you might balance weekly so he gets about 130-140 ounces a week. I started feeding him once a day when his measly second meal was a small strip of boneless meat and moved to bigger bony/organy meals alternating with boneless meat meals because a daily amount of bony meat isn't much fun to eat.

Have a read through Chance's primer. Good stuff there.
http://www.chanceslittlewebsite.com/uploads/7/6/9/2/7692088/ beginners_guide_to_prey_model_raw_rv.6.pdf
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Mr. Jake the- Beagle

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 7, '13 12:33pm PST 
I fed my 30lb beagle about 16-20 oz of meat a day. In my area chicken is the cheap protein of choice and then i splurge on beef organs. In a month i'll spend about 20 on just the meats. 20-25lbs of chicken and then 5-15lbs of beef (depending on sales and specials. Mark downs are great too). Then come the organs. I get hearts and livers and kidney for about $10-15 a month.

So to feed my little beagle costs me about 30-35 dollars without including the fish he might get if there's a good sale. But this is less then or about what his dog food costs for a month for me. But jake was on a premium kibble Instinct Raw Boost during the times i couldn't feed raw do to no fridge or freezer.

It may be cheapter in your area depending on where you shop and what you buy. I choose to buy more expensive meats for Jake because I can. before i got my nwe job. I bought whole fryers and that lasted 1 chicken a week for jake so we might have gotten buy on like $20-25 a month. i don't really remember.

As for the gas. Jake still has it. But not as bad as while on kibble. Oh man those would be something special. The raw farts aren't so bad. He only gets them really bad if he's had a really rich meal (aka too much organ).

If your interested i'd say give it a try. Jake has done fabulously on raw. I dont' plan on going back to petfood anytime soon. Though i do keep a big bag of Instinct just incase of an emergency.
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Bullie

1284557
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 8, '13 5:07am PST 
$20/month for a 60lb dog? What kind of kibble are you using? I found that even the cheap Kirtland Signature brand from Costco would land you at around the $40/month range. Anything less than that and I'm seeing Old Roy kind of stuff. It might be $20/month for the Old Roy but the dog would probably end up spending more for vet bills due to the poor nutrition he's getting.

I understand that sometimes, one just doesn't have the money to feed anything better.

In Prey-Model Raw feeding, I found that a budget of $1/lb is doable with just regular grocery stuff but you have to be ready with some money to buy in bulk when stuff goes on sale. Which also means freezer space. A 60lb dog would need around 30-50 lbs of food a month.
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Crash- Dynamite

Live up to your- Name!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 9, '13 11:36pm PST 
I don't think it's fair to compare the cheapest kibble to RAW. Yes, RAW is not always the cheapest way to feed a dog but considering my Crash has not needed any medical attention in 5 years has saved me a lot of money. His health and well being are worth more to me then a cheap bag of kibble.
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Rexy

I dig in mud- puddles!
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 11, '13 12:13am PST 
I will echo what a few others have said...the cost of feeding raw depends a lot on where you live.

I'm in Canada, where meat prices are significantly higher than in the US and there is no way that I could feed raw to my 70lb dog for $20 per month.

If I average it out I think it costs about $50/month (some months cost much more and some months cost very little) and the only reason I can keep costs that low is because Rexy has a decent amount of freezer space for her food which allows me to scrounge for butcher scraps, freezer clean-outs, and I take advantage of any sale I can...

Heck, even the roadkill around here isn't free!! shock
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London

1262897
 
 
Barked: Fri Mar 15, '13 1:45pm PST 
Raw doesn't have to be expensive but its going to be difficult to match the cost of cheap kibble. The cheap stuff gets most of its calories from waste products(byproducts) and corn. Both of which are very cheap. However good quality kibble is not cheap either. A quick calculation on my part put Blue Buffalo at about the same price as $2/lb to $3/lb meat. Since I feed about 50% of the meals as cuts from whole chickens I get at $1/lb I'm probably cheaper than the premium kibble.
But I have a 15# dog so the costs are not horrible with any meal plan.
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