On June 7, 2018, I started my girl, a 5 1/2 year old Dutch Shepherd, on a DIY Raw diet. Now it’s been a little over one year, she is been doing fabulous, with both physical and behavioral changes being noted. Zephyr had been on Raw for 10 months, when I had her examined by our new, holistic vet, He was amazed that she is a 6 1/2 year old dog, and he attributed her weekly raw turkey neck to the beautiful condition of her teeth. She has never been to any vet for teeth cleanings, and, just to note, she has NEVER been under anasthethic, ever, in her life. She is also a fully intact female dog. In the future, I will be be taking her in for annual wellness exams, and will also have a complete blood panel done.
I put Zephyr on the DIY Raw, for general health reasons, Zephyr does NOT have any health related issues, that must be controlled through diet. I simply wanted to keep the commercial kibble diets out, and for me to KNOW exactly what I am feeding my dog.
I initially kept Zephyr’s feedings pretty basic for the first year. I wanted a good baseline as to how well she was doing. I started and kept an Excel spreadsheet, inputting daily, as to what was fed, her daily stools and condition, as well as anything that was out of the ordinary. For this first year I had been feeding ground chicken and beef mixes that I was able to obtain from my local butcher. I did question them as to percentages of the mix, and if they were close to the recommended 80/10/10 ratios. These mixes contain plenty of bone, as once or twice a week, I will notice the telltale chalkiness in her stools. I also fed a raw turkey neck once a week, as well as sardines twice a week. Initially I was adding raw eggs to each meal, and some vegies, though the vegies were quickly eliminated. Sometimes they were eaten, but not always. Zephyr does get vegies, occasionally that I share with her from my own meals. As for the eggs, after consulting with our veterinarian, he recommended, that if we feed eggs, we cook them slightly, just until the whites start to set. He said that this was a way for the dog’s system to better digest the biotin.
Now I am going to take our feedings to the next level, if you will, once I obtain a small chest freezer, to hold all of the dog’s meal ingredients. My fridge/freezer is just not big enough to hold both her meals and my own. I plan on continuing with the beef and chicken grinds as a base. Though I will also be getting whole ducks parts, chicken quarters, and continue with the turkey necks. We also plan on getting a good supply of green beef tripe, a beef heart, and both chicken and beef livers. I had fed both the beef heart and the chicken/beef livers in the past, though not all the time, mostly due to our storage space, or lack of it. But with her ground mixes having the recommended supply of offal and bone, I did not feel leaving out the heart and livers were a major problem.
Zephyr has been getting sardines twice a week, though soon, we hope to be able to start feeding her fresh caught (frozen) fish. I plan on getting my fishing gear and license together, so that I can fish and obtain my own fresh fish for Zephyr’s meals. Once they have been caught, they will be gutted, cleaned and then individually frozen for at least 30 days, Freezing helps to kill of any parasites that may have been in the fish’s system. When I feed her these fish, she gets the entire fish; head, tail, fins, and all. Usually I only thaw them out partially. And, gnawing on a partly frozen fish, just further helps to keep that tooth build up at bay.
As for supplements, we do not add in all that much. I buy Total-Biotics, a probiotic, from NW Naturals, available on Amazon. NWC-Naturals-Total-Biotics-Probiotics-Dogs I add in one scoop to each mixed meal, and the container lasts me about 6 months. I feed twice a day. I also add in to each meal, about a teaspoon of Super Essentials, from MotherEarthPet.com. This replaced the powdered kelp that I had been using. SuperEssentialsForPets I will also add in either a spoonful of yogurt on top of her food, or mix in a couple spoonfuls of goat milk.
Now in the warmer weather, only June through October in our region, I add a few drops of black walnut tincture to her food, just ONCE a day. WHOA! You’re probably thinking. Yes, black walnut can be toxic, but my vet has assured me that in LOW doses, it is perfectly safe. And she is only getting this during the warmer weather, when mosquitoes are out and active. And it takes the heartworm larvae SIX MONTHS to develop into a fully grown parasite. I accept this as a way of protecting her from the heartworm risk. For me, this is an acceptable risk! I wanted something to help protect her from the risk of heartworms, without putting all those horrid chemicals into her body.
Switching my girl to a DIY Raw diet has really not been all that much more expensive. Now if I were to buy a commercially prepared raw diet, from one of the many good reputable companies, yes, it would be quite a bit more expensive. But then, buying that way, they have already taken care of portioning out the ingredients, supplements, etc. All you need to do, is place the dog’s daily amount into the feed bowl, and let him at it. So, there is a trade off! You pay more for the convenience of someone else already doing the work. But I choose DIY. I only have ONE dog, and I am retired (well semi-retired), so this lets me know exactly what my girl is getting in each meal. A little peace of mind goes a long way!
To learn more about raw feeding, please visit Kimberly Gauthier at KeepTheTailWagging Kimberly has some very insightful blogs, as well as some good helpful information for the owner new to raw feeding. I also subscribe to Dana Scott of Dog’s Naturally Magazine. DogsNaturallyMagazine DNM does host the annual “Raw Roundup,” where you can have access to many “experts” in the raw feeding community. And I get daily emails from Dr. Karen Becker, from Healthy Pets at Mercola.com, though she does not write exclusively about raw feeding. HealthyPets
Phoenix Working Dogs is my personal blog and a veteran/woman-owned business. I, Claudia Marbury (owner), am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
I also am a customer of Mother Earth Pet Products LLC, however, please note that Mother Earth Pet does NOT provide free products for my pets.
I am a subscriber of daily informative emails with Keep The Tail Wagging, DNM, and Dr Karen Becker, however I do NOT receive ANY free products, services, or compensation of any kind from these folks.