Recently I began feeding my dogs raw. It’s been an adventure – that’s for sure! I bought a small chest freezer and find myself excited about finding beef liver at the supermarket. I even forget to buy myself something for dinner sometimes because it’s not as much fun as looking for deals on different items for the dogs!
Here are some things I have learned on this new adventure:
- Life is very fragile. It is amazingly easy to break up a chicken leg quarter using a hammer. It is also very easy to wring a chicken neck. I have never tried this on a live chicken and I don’t intend to although I’m told stories about my great grandparents in the old days.
- Dogs can swallow whole chicken bones and be OK. Their systems are made to handle it. I’m really glad that mine are all chewing or learning to chew though. I don’t want any of them to choke!
- The temperature of the food makes a big difference in how well it is digested. If it’s too cold, then they may barf it up – even 12 hours later. Puppies are more sensitive to temperature than older dogs.
- Beef hearts don’t smell very good.
- Chicken necks have a LOT of fat on them.
- What you think may be an allergy or sensitivity to certain meats may not be one! A couple of my dogs were having trouble with certain grain free kibbles. It got to where all I could feed them was grain free fish and even then they weren’t doing all that well on it. I kept noticing that I couldn’t feed grain free chicken, yet I could give them dehydrated chicken breast all day long with no problem. It has to be something about the kibble itself that was causing our issues. We are currently eating all meats with no problem.
- You can buy meats and Raw Meaty Bones that I never would have imagined at Walmart and other grocery stores. These include beef tongue, ox tails, pork necks, beef liver, chicken gizzards, and pigs feet. Most of it can be purchased in bulk cheaper at a local butcher though. Beef and chicken liver is really cheap no matter where you get it.
- If you buy in bulk, it doesn’t cost anymore than buying high quality commercial kibble. However, it does take a lot more time. You have to defrost different meats, cut them up and weigh the amounts for each dog, pull off skin if there is too much fat, break bones in chicken leg quarters, etc. Not everyone does as much prep as I do, but it makes me feel better to cut it up to some degree to prevent choking – especially if there are bones.
I’ve been doing this about a month and I’m still learning more and more about raw feeding. It took the dogs a couple of weeks to adjust to the new diet, but I am glad I made the change. The dogs act much healthier than they used to. One in particular has shown a major improvement in her coat and her skin and feet aren’t itching her like they were. And she just seems like she feels better in general!
Feeding raw has been an experience, but it’s also been fun! I still haven’t traveled with it, so I’m sure that will be interesting. I look forward to learning more!