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When I started this I thought it would be great to have guest blog posts from time to time. Happily the opportunity to do this has come much sooner than I anticipated. Simone Day, the behavioural trainer who’s puppy classes Ted graduated from told me she was switching one of her dogs to raw meaty bones and then the evening that she started provided me with a running commentary of events as they unfolded. Like many owners switching to raw the first experience was highly entertaining, I knew this had to be the first guest blog and Simone kindly agreed when I asked her to tell the story.

And here it is:

“Meet Milo. Milo is a 16 month old male Chihuahua. He is classified as a ‘teacup’ as he only weighs about 1 ½ kg. We have no idea why he didn’t grow to regular size, his parents were both ‘normal’ Chihuahuas. Like Ted, Milo is not an accessory. He is a proper dog, just in small packaging. He lives with a Dalmation and a Bullmastiff. 

His friends include a Japanese Akita, a Newfoundland, a Husky, several Weimaraners, several Hungarian Vizslas, plus countless other breeds ranging from other toy breeds up. Milo knows all of his basic training commands, just like the big dogs, and he walks with them, too. Milo can often be seen romping around Greenwich Park with his friends or doing the 2+ mile roundtrip school run. He plays tug, he loves chasing games, and he play wrestles with dogs many times his size, he is a real dog.

And he has just started a Raw Meaty Bones diet. I have always a fed a good quality hypoallergenic diet to my dogs, and I give them raw bones as treats. However, Milo’s mouth is very tiny, and his jaw is about half the size it should be. His teeth are overcrowded, with many of his baby teeth still in situ, this is a really common problem with the toy breeds. His breath has become progressively worse, and he has a lot of plaque/tartar build up for his age. Unfortunately, his mouth is so small, brushing is impossible, and bones as treats and numerous chew toys (which he loves) have not been sufficient to remedy this. And, I know processed food, regardless of quality, is not helping.

It’s not just the bad breath that I have a problem with. Some 80% of dogs over 3 years of age have some form of periodontal disease according to the literature, and that can become extremely painful for dogs. Even worse, is the fact that all those nasty bacteria contained in plaque & tartar enter the bloodstream and put an enormous stress on the kidneys, which then have to work extra-hard to rid the body of this bacteria. Hence, why dogs with bad teeth have a significantly higher risk of developing kidney problems. Not good.

So what to do? Have him put under a general anaesthetic every six months to have his teeth descaled, which will cause further irreparable kidney damage or…..change his diet to something that will clean his teeth for him? Hmmmm, no brainer, methinks. So, with a little help and advice from my friends (and the internet), I purchased Milo’s first lot of Raw Meaty Bones comprising of several packs of chicken wings and a poussin that I found on special.

Day 1

On presenting Milo with his first raw wing, he was delighted! I had one excited Chihuahua on my hands. I put him in my jumbo size dog cage (to keep the other dogs from stealing it from him, they were envious beyond belief) and left him and his wing to spend some quality time together. Now comes the comedy. As happy as Milo was about his new found treasure, he didn’t really know what to do with it. He started by licking it. He licked it….and licked it……and licked it some more. The licking went on, and on, and oonnnnnnnn. I started wondering if this was even going work. But finally, after 20 minutes of licking, he shifted up a gear and started to chew on it. Yaaaaay Milo, that’s more like!

But, after 10 or so minutes of chewing, I couldn’t see that he’d made any headway with regard to actually consuming any of his wing. It was going to be a looooong night. An hour in, and the wing was showing some signs of wear, but Milo was asking to go out. So, I let him out of the cage and he went outside to do his business. Oh well, I thought, not quite as successful as I’d hoped, but he’s interested which is good. A minute later Milo came hurtling back in, and ran straight back to the cage demanding to be let back in to rejoin his beloved wing. And so, the chewing went on, and gradually, some harder biting. Then some tugging, then some ripping….et voila! Milo was eating his first raw meal.

Some 2 plus hours later, Milo finally stepped away from his new best friend and lay down. He’d managed to eat about a third of the wing (it was a large wing, as wings go), bone, skin and meat.

Day 2

After the longest evening meal EVER, I fed the dogs breakfast as soon as I got out of bed to give Milo as much time as possible with his wing before I had to leave the house. I needn’t have bothered. Milo is a bit like me, breakfast is not his favourite meal. It is not unusual for him to skip breakfast several times per week, and this was one of those mornings. Nose turned right up. Not great when he is a tiny specimen of a breed that is known to suffer from hypoglycaemia if they don’t eat regularly. But happily, thus far in his life this ‘Meh’ attitude towards breakfast has not caused him any harm.

I normally feed my dogs in the morning and again in the evening. But being slightly concerned that Milo was now on a new diet AND he hadn’t eaten anything in the morning, I offered him his wing again at lunchtime, just in case he was feeling hungrier by that time. But again, ‘Meh’. So now I’m thinking, maybe he’s gone off the idea…or maybe, he feels unwell from it! I had to remind myself that had he not eaten his ‘previous’ food in the morning, that I would have taken the ‘tough love’ stance, and he would have been offered nothing again until the evening. He’s acting normal, so there’s no reason to think he’s unwell…STOP worrying!

Roll on, dinner time….and the moment of truth. Milo always eats his dinner well. Seeing as this is all new to him and he hasn’t developed jaw or neck strength yet, I thought I’d try to make things a bit easier for him by cutting about half a dozen slits into his wing, hopefully making it easier for him to get ‘in’ to. And much to my relief, when he saw I had a new wing for him, he was prancing and bouncing about like a playful puppy. In the cage Milo and his wing went. A few polite licks to say ‘hello’ and he was off. An hour and a half later, he’d consumed half of the wing and seemed content with his efforts. Hallelujah!

Day 3

Feeling a bit more confident this morning, I presented Milo with the rest of last night’s wing (I had refrigerated it overnight). After yesterday morning, I half expected him to walk away from it. Which he did. So, I let him out of his cage. He then ran over to one of the other dog’s bowls and tried scoffing some of what they had, only to be met by a resounding ‘Milo, Leave!’, which he did accordingly. But what he did next came as an unexpected surprise. Milo asked to go back in the cage (I had shut the door of it to keep the others from pinching what was left of the wing) and proceeded to finish off most of the remainder of the wing. Yaaaaaay!

So far, Milo’s tummy is just fine, although I did order a canine pro-biotic and some Dorwest Herbs Tree Barks Powder (amazing stuff for runny tums!), just in case. Also, I’m not sure if it is just wishful thinking, or maybe at the time my breath was worse than his (!!), but this morning when Milo came up for his morning cuddle in bed, I couldn’t smell his breath. Really, that quickly?

I’m looking forward to dinner when I will be presenting Milo with half of the poussin that is waiting in the fridge for his attention….”

And here he is with it!

Simone Day MsC is the Managing Director of pawsitive (http://www.pawsitive.co.uk/index.htm), you can also find her on Facebook, search for pawsitive.