Raw diet? Do any of you feed it for your dogs?

wordbox

so in love!
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Feb 26, 2007
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I'm considering going with the raw/BARF diet (minus bones) for one of my dogs.

She's riddled with various health issues (skin allergies, frequent ear infections, anal glad problems, etc.) and is constantly miserable. We've tried so many things (changing her dog food multiple times, various supplements, Benadryl, allergy shots, prednisone, creams, sprays, prescription shampoos, natural remedies, etc.). If you name it, we've most likely tried it!

The only thing that really seems to help is the prednisone. However, I hate having her on such a powerful drug and it isn't meant for long-term use. She's also a total headcase on it and when she's on it we can't stand her; she spends her days licking the floor and driving us nuts in various other ways. Not her fault, of course, but it still gets to you after awhile.

We recently tried to wean her off the prednisone (since the bad allergy season is over) and have her on Benadryl. It's not helping much at all. She has another ear infection. Her skin is still super itchy... while I was gone for one hour today, she itched her neck raw and chewed on her legs.

We started her on a new supplement called The Missing Link (we went with the canine plus formula, which includes a joint supplement). But I was doing some reading and am considering putting her on a raw food diet. I'm starting to think her food might be a source of her skin issues (we've tried various types, including hypoallergenic, without success). We spend a lot of money on our dogs' food (Innova EVO), trying to avoid nasty things like yeast and dyes and by-products and allergens, but what's the point when she'd probably do just as "well" on some cheap crappy food at this point?

Okay, this got long, sorry! Just wanted to give you some background and see why I'm considering going raw.

Have any of you done this? Got any tips? Success stories? What do you typically feed? I know someone who owns a meat shop, so I'm hoping to get quality meat (regular and organ meat) for a decent price, and will supplement with vegetables and eggs (in addition to the Missing Link supplement).

Thanks for any input!
 
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smallfry

My Sweet Angel
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Dec 18, 2005
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The poor baby...I sympathize with you both, as my Molly has suffered with allergies as well. But don't be discouraged - there is relief out there!

I have a few questions for you: What breed is she? Have you done an elimination diet to discern what food(s) she is allergic to?
 

wordbox

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She's a beagle.

I don't remember exactly, but we did work for awhile with an animal nutritionist/natural health "guru" to find foods for her. The woman is no longer around and unfortunately my dog's condition has gotten worse since when we worked with her (as she's aged... she's 6 now but was only about 2-3 when we worked with that woman).

I'd definitely be willing to do it, but am through with switching from kibble to kibble. I'd rather make her food or go raw than keep buying commercial food. I know some dogs are sensitive to processed and dry foods. We do know that our dog has seasonal allergies, but I think her food is contributing to the issues as well.
 
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BomberGal

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Aug 25, 2009
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Raw is great, but you need to be careful to make sure the "menu" is balanced and portions are appropriate to the individual dog. Food preparation and sanitation is time consuming as well.

Have you had allergy tests done to try and pinpoint specific allergens? I second checking for dietary allergies too. As if she is allergic to chicken, beef or pork... Going raw isn't going to help unless you have access to other protein sources.
 

smallfry

My Sweet Angel
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Dec 18, 2005
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Molly is 6 years old too! She is a french bulldog and allergies are very common in this breed. I had Molly on a raw diet, and she did well until she developed some gastro issues and my Vet wanted her off the raw.

I'm not a fan of commercial kibble and canned foods, so I have been cooking for her for years now. I give her boiled organic chicken breast and either plain oatmeal, rice or whole wheat pasta. Veggies and fruit for snacks and organic pumpkin cookies as treats. I love to cook for her and she LOVES her food! One thing to note is when home-cooking, you really need to supplement with vitamins. I like Balance-it, which is a powder that you sprinkle on the food. They actually have a website where you can plan menus based on your dog's specific needs as well. This way you will know how much to feed.

She is also on a very low dose of prednisone and that really keeps the itching at bay. My Vet does blood work every six months to be sure that the med isn't affecting her kidneys/liver.

So, back to your original question...raw is definitely a good option, as long as you are using fresh, high quality products and take sanitary precautions to reduce bacterial contamination. I know there is some controversy regarding raw diet, but it certainly can't hurt to try it, as long as you do lots of research before you make any changes. I hope your baby finds comfort...I know those itchies are unbearable.
 

wordbox

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Feb 26, 2007
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Thanks you guys.

I definitely plan on doing more research, and will probably talk to our vet as well.

We've discussed having specific allergy tests done (where they test, then give shots based on the allergens to build immunity to them) but it is expensive to do it all and I know that it often doesn't even work. I don't know if she has any actual food allergies, either (we know for sure that it's mostly seasonal). I would rather try an elimination diet than have testing done. We've spent a LOT of money this year on non-routine vet bills, and we have a new baby and we're down to one income.
 

wordbox

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I'm thinking I might be more comfortable making the food but cooking it, too. I have a baby and bacteria would definitely be a concern of mine.
 

boxermomof2

Member
Jul 21, 2009
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I've been feeding RAW for 8 years now and I would never go back to kibble. If I was forced to feed kibble, it would be a grain free variety. Dogs are carnivores and their digestive tract is not designed to digest grains.
I would begin by removing all grain and corn from your dog's diet.

My mastiff puppy had all the classic signs systemic yeast from eating a diet high in grain. Puppy vaccines also put her immune system into overdrive. I've never seen a dog scratch as much as she did before I switched her over. I thought she had fleas. Her ears were a mess, her nail beds were black, and she had red patches between her toes. It was only a matter of time before she would begin chewing her feet.
I switched her to RAW, removing all grains and veggies(for now) and giving her human grade probiotics everyday. Two months after the switch, her nail beds and ears are clear (she has one dark nail bed left), no scratching, and feet are getting better. I've been told by a veterinary naturopath that getting over all this will take patience and time.
I'm telling you this because you may see some improvement but it will take time to undo all of it. Many RAW feeders will tell you that a dog will go through a detox stage when you make the switch.

RAW does require research. It's totally worth it! FYI, studies have shown there is salmonella in kibble too. Personally, I would be more careful with kibble around young children.

If you are serious about RAW feeding, I would recommend that you talk to experienced feeders on RAW discussion groups. Also, the food preparation takes more time than filling a bowl with kibble, but not a lot of time once you understand how to put the diet together. Pre-made diets are as easy as kibble but more expensive. I would say the biggest difference is the space required. It takes more space to store a RAW diet. I have a few freezers full, but I am feeding a mastiff puppy and a large boxer! Plus, I store a few months worth of food. :smile:



I'm not sure what you mean about feeding RAW minus bone? Dogs need bone for calcium, it's important to balance phos-cal levels in a dog's diet. You can purchase ground raw. Is that what you mean? You don't want your dog chewing whole edible bones?



I'll give you some websites to help with your research

Myths about RAW
http://rawfed.com/myths/omnivores.html

Raw feeding site with helpful info-
http://www.krisannriorawfeeding.com/whyfeedraw.htm

Raw feeding FAQ
http://www.rawlearning.com/rawfaq.html

One of my favorite boxer sites!
http://newcastleboxers.com/diet.shtml


Easy to follow books for beginners-


RAW Dog Food Make it easy-
http://www.amazon.com/Raw-Dog-Food-Make-Easy/dp/1929242093/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291905829&sr=8-1

The author's discussion group is VERY helpful too!
Yahoo Raw-Lite
http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/RAW-lite/
They can help you address the health issues with a natural approach.



Wonder Works by Dr. Tom Lonsdale
http://www.amazon.com/Work-Wonders-...05/ref=sr_1_27?ie=UTF8&qid=1291905907&sr=8-27



Pre-made RAW food I've used and like-

A Place for Paws
http://www.aplaceforpaws.com/

Nature's Variety
http://www.naturesvariety.com/InstinctRaw/dog/all

Primal
http://www.primalpetfoods.com/education/calc


Bravo
http://www.bravorawdiet.com/


My current supplier (we meet his truck in our area once a month so it does require freezer space)-
www.mypetcarnivore.com





Here are the top grain free dog food companies on our boxer board-


http://www.orijen.ca/orijen/about/

http://tasteofthewildpetfood.com/

I've used acana kibble for training treats and my puppy loves it!

http://www.doggiefood.com/acanapaci...medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=pricegrabber


Good luck! I know it's not easy when your dog is sick.:hugs:
 

wordbox

so in love!
O.G.
Feb 26, 2007
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Thanks again everyone.

boxermom, thank you for all the wonderful resources. By "no bones" I meant no whole bones to chew on; we've had bad experiences in the past with (raw) bones and would rather supplement the calcium than give her entire bones.

She's already on a grain-free kibble:
http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1488

Thanks again, everyone. It's so frustrating. I feel terrible for my dog and we're sick of medicating her with something terrible in order for her to find relief. I'm pretty much over taking her to the vet; I like our vet but nothing is truly helping and I think we need to dig deeper. It's made doubly tough by having an infant in the house that requires most of my attention.
 

lizavet8

"Ruffian"
O.G.
May 3, 2007
1,231
73
Lonesome Dove
OP, I really feel for you. Allergy?Atopy dogs are really frustrating for owners. As a vet, I find them some of the most difficult cases to work up, especially if the allergies are environmental. I assume you've tried Atopica? I've some success with this drug for seasonal allergies. I agree that the testing and hyposensitization thereapy dosen't work very well most of the time.

If the allergies are not food-related, sometimes immunosuppresive therapy (Atopica/Prednisone) is the only answer. There are long term side effects to these drugs, but sometimes people have to make the decision about quality of life versus long-term effects. I know how frustrating this can be.
 

Ladybug09

So Sweet!
O.G.
Aug 2, 2007
28,690
338
Born in the USA
I did briefly when my dog was diagnosed with cancer, but I used alread prepared raw patties that had the nutrients added to it to balance the diet. My dog loved it.
 

oogiewoogie

Life is good.. :)
O.G.
Mar 27, 2007
6,347
8
Beachy SoCAL...♥
We use the prepared RAW food...


We had Miso on Stella & Chewys frozen patties for almost a year (she stopped eating it)


and she's currently on:


Addiction Dehydrated RAW (I purchase from Amazon) and she's loving it!

http://www.addictionfoods.com/usa/products.php

I also recommend having this book around ...Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats .. there is a lot of useful holistic remedies and RAW recipes, supplement receipes, and break down on how to start feeding RAW if that's the route you decide to take.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157954973X/ref=oss_product


Oh.. and omega's for the skin!


Good luck :smile:


Thanks for the links Boxermom!
 
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boxermomof2

Member
Jul 21, 2009
5,205
37
Thanks again everyone.

boxermom, thank you for all the wonderful resources. By "no bones" I meant no whole bones to chew on; we've had bad experiences in the past with (raw) bones and would rather supplement the calcium than give her entire bones.

She's already on a grain-free kibble:
http://www.evopet.com/products/default.asp?id=1488
I understand. You have to do what you feel most comfortable with. You are not alone. There are a lot of RAW feeders who are not comfortable with feeding whole prey.

If you purchase "complete" ground RAW mixes, they will include ground bone so there is no need to supplement calcium. I think Bravo sells a meat only variety, so pay attention to ingredients.
If you want to use meat with no bone, you can supplement with bone marrow powder or egg shell powder. You need to be careful, too much calcium can be bad for the dog's joints.

I consulted with a holistic vet in my area and she gave me a book written by Dr. Pitcairin. It is very helpful guide to supplementing a home prepared diet.

http://www.amazon.com/Pitcairns-Com...=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291926321&sr=8-1

The potatoes in your current kibble may be a problem. They belong to the night shade family and can exacerbate inflammation.
 

boxermomof2

Member
Jul 21, 2009
5,205
37
I also recommend having this book around ...Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats .. there is a lot of useful holistic remedies and RAW recipes, supplement receipes, and break down on how to start feeding RAW if that's the route you decide to take.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/157954973X/ref=oss_product


Oh.. and omega's for the skin!


Good luck :smile:


Thanks for the links Boxermom!

We were posting at the same time!!

I give the book and omega's a thumbs up!:tup:

My two get Grizzly's Salmon oil everyday!!
http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-All-N...BR6E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291925727&sr=8-1


Another natural supplement for coat and overall health is coconut oil.
I give this with fish oil. They both beneficial for different reasons.
http://www.northcoastpets.com/pdf_files/coconut_oil.pdf

I recommend introducing new foods slowly, one at a time. You have to give each new food a 2 week trial to see how your dog responds before introducing the next. If you join a RAW discussion group, they will tell you to start with one food. It most always chicken. I'm not a fan of chicken, I prefer rabbit myself- but that's another thread! :smile: