Lots and lots of people switching their dogs to a raw meaty bones diet really seem to enjoy seeing their dogs eat that way, I still enjoy watching Ted take on his dinner, especially if it’s something he’s not tried before. When I read Ryan’s enthusiasm for feeding raw meaty bones I knew I wanted to have him write a guest blog. Happily he obliged, here’s his story of why and how he started his dogs on raw, the benefits he’s seen from it and how it evolved over time.
“Ryan’s Raw Story – Embracing Change
Jewell is a 5 year old female German Shepherd / Akita mix
Goliath is a 2 year old male American Pit Bull Terrier
Discussions of dog food came up on our forum. It was a typical conversation including brand of kibble, frequency of feeding, pros and cons of the brands, etc. I had been through several brands of kibble with my first dog, Jewell, and I was already on my second brand with my second dog, Goliath. No matter the packaging, the results were usually the same: random bouts of diarrhea and inconsistent stools, bad build up on their teeth, and skin irritation.
Then, someone on the forum mentioned raw feeding and had detailed info of its benefits …
Being curious, I asked this person privately for more information. What I got was a key to the answers to all of my problems. Several websites, Yahoo groups, and books later, I found myself knee deep in meat/bone ratios, new words like offal and tripe, scales, freezer bags, and bleach (for sanitation purposes, obviously). I was ready to order my first month’s worth of food.
The Monday after the Super Bowl, I began feeding this diet I came to know as the BARF diet. I experimented over the next several months with different whole and ground parts offered by my supplier, ranging from ground whole chicken to turkey necks to cow ears and legs. Due to the convenience of pre-packaged meals, I chose to go with the ground meat, bones, and organs. The animals the dogs came to enjoy were chicken, turkey, beef, duck, pork, and rabbit. I would also purchase beef neck bones to facilitate the teeth cleaning and the other benefits that whole bones provided.
The changes I experienced were pretty much what everyone said they would be. The dogs stopped itching completely. Their teeth showed remarkable improvement. I didn’t see a single flea in the house or on the dogs. Stools were surprisingly much smaller. Jewell lost 20 pounds! It was all good. The things I DID NOT experience were the negative myths, like the dogs turning aggressive because of their taste for flesh and blood …
Currently – May 2012
I made the decision after reading Clare’s blog that I needed to go one step further with raw feeding. I wasn’t giving my dogs all that I could and it was really because I was being lazy about it. I had to go with the true raw meaty bones (RMB) model. For this month, I ordered chicken quarters, pork necks, beef tracheas, marrow bones and knee joints. I still ordered ground turkey meat and organs for the days I didn’t feed the 80/20 meat to bone ratio.
But I wasn’t done there. I went to Whole Foods (an organic supermarket) and purchased two whole chickens. The feeding of these chickens went like this:
People don’t know I feed my dogs raw until I tell them. They comment all the time how beautiful their coats are, how good their teeth look, and all the rest. When I share my “secrets” with them, I’m met with shock, confusion, and disbelief. I don’t know if more explanation makes it better or worse, but I just point back to my dogs and the compliments I got in the first place. No meds, no chemicals, and no preservatives … Just the way nature intended.
I understand why people are a little put-off by the idea of raw feeding: most of it is ignorance. Once you learn the difference between kibble chicken and organic, natural chicken, the decision is quite clear to me.
Lastly, watching them eat is enjoyable. I supervise every meal because I think it’s the responsible thing to do. But there’s something to be said for witnessing an animal behave in a natural, primitive state. They never fight over food, though two or three times Goliath has finished first and wanders over to Jewell’s spot to get more food. She gave him a stern “BACK OFF!” and that was the extent of it. Overall it’s fun for me.
Jewell and Goliath eating the last of their beef tracheas: