Thursday, February 23, 2012

More Thoughts on Raw

Riley eating her first chicken back. (2008)

A few of you had some comments or questions that I wanted to address.
Seven won't eat rabbit, but goes cross eyed for bitter "No Chew" bandaging.

If you feed commercial dog food and would like to add a little raw food to your dog's diet, I really feel that the turkey neck is your best choice.  The turkey neck seems to be easy to digest for many dogs.  The bones are small and easy to chew, but the neck itself gives the teeth and jaws quite a workout.  I would feed the turkey neck as a meal substitute.
Jessie (1995)

Also regarding turkey necks, your commercial dog food should have a balanced calcium/phosphorus ratio.  Meat contains phosphorus and bone contains calcium.  Feeding a turkey neck is not going to grossly effect your ratio because it has both meat (phosphorus) and bone (calcium).  But just feeding raw meat without bone on a regular basis might do that.  At the track, greyhounds are often fed a mixture of raw meat and a commercial food.  I am not sure how they address the calcium/phosphorus ratio, but I would not recommend recreating such a mixture unless you are addressing those nutrients specifically.
Katie (2002?)

I choose to feed the chicken backs and other raw food in the morning and the kibble at night.  I do not mix the two meals as a rule, but I have and no one died... or even got sick.  I have heard that dogs are able to digest raw meat without getting sick because they have short digestive tracts and any bacteria on the meat is dealt with quickly and is not inside their bodies very long.  There is a theory that kibble takes longer to digest and therefore if mixed with raw food will slow the entire digestive process down making the bacteria on the meat more likely to do harm.  I am not aware of any science behind that and cannot say for sure if that is true or not true. Racing greyhounds are successfully fed a mixture (and the raw meat they eat is often not fit for human consumption) so I learn towards not true.  But it also depends on the dog and how they handle it individually.
Travis (2002)

I have no experience with freeze-dried, grain free dog food so I do not have an opinion about it.  But at this point, I am open to all foods.  Reagan taught me that raw food is not ideal for everyone.  But I have also seen it go the other way.  One of my first greyhounds, Teresa, ate commercial dog food the first year I had her.  She visited the vet frequently for all sorts of things like urinary tract infections, skin infections, horrible teeth and gums, and anal gland problems.  She had none of those problems once she was switched to raw food.  So commercial dog food is not ideal for all dogs either.

All in all, I think it is best to be open to all sorts of different foods.  You might think feeding raw is expensive and complicated, but it might be a lot easier than cleaning up diarrhea or taking your dog to the vet frequently for chronic problems.  If you love feeding raw food already, just keep in mind you may one day have a dog that does not thrive on raw.  If you feed commercial food, your dog might do better on grain-free... or not.  Interesting, we recently switched one of our old ladies (Julie, nearly 13) to a medium quality chicken and rice food.  Her stools were just too firm on grain-free food we use.  Never thought I would see that happen in a greyhound.