Pre-Packaged Raw Diet??

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#1
Hello, I've got a couple of questions.

I have a new puppy at home (Pit Bull/Great Pyrenees, five months old) and she has been on a decent food her whole life (Chicken Soup for the Puppy Lovers Soul) and I would like to change her to a full raw diet.

The only problem is I can not do a whole prey model diet. I just don't have the freezer space at this time. I do have a butcher lined up and will be getting chicken necks, chicken wings, whole chickens and other cuts of meat and organs to feed to the pup (named Kaylee) but I will not be doing it as a whole diet, or everyday.

But I do want to do a raw diet so I'm stuck using prepackaged raw.

I was planning on using:

Nature's Variety
http://www.naturesvariety.com/conte...n=naturesvariety:444E2F1C0501c2FB66tJX10230B1

Paw Naturaw
http://www.pawnaturaw.com/analyses.html#chicken

Nature's Logic
http://www.natureslogic.com/products/dp_rf_bee.html

I will be switching around between those (not mixing the raw together) and feeding different meats and adding raw eggs with the shells.

I want to know if you believe that this is ok, if these pre packaged raw is a good substitute until I can go full raw. Is there anything I should add? Any supplements you would suggest?

I was planning on using:

Wholelistic Canine Complete
http://www.thewholisticpet.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=542&ParentCat=40

Organic Green Alternative Herbal Supplement
http://www.animalessentials.com/moreinfo/organicgreen.html

Is this a good idea? Or not? Or do you believe it's not needed?

Basically I any suggestions you might have or helpful tips. I just want to make sure that this will be good for her.

Thanks!
 

Hillside

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#2
I use the Nature's Variety and Django does really well on it. I haven't tried any of the other kinds, so I can't give you a review, but I am very pleased with the NV. They also have an NV Instinct canned food that is nice to keep on hand for those days that the frozen isn't thawed yet. Django has had no issue switching between those two, an dhe generally has a sensitive tummy. If you can, find a place that sells the 2 pound chubs, they are MUCH cheaper than the patties.
 
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#3
Nature's Variety is my number 1 pre-made raw.


I currently use Bravo because it is FAR more affordable and because I feed RMBs for one meal, and pre-made for the other so it all works out. But NV is a fantastic pre-made raw if you can afford it.
 

DanL

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#4
Afford it is the key word. All of the pre made's that I've seen are far more expensive than if you went to the grocery store and bought a few days worth of food at a time, which in itself is a lot more expensive than buying in bulk. A pit/Pyr mix is going to be a pretty big dog. You don't want to be feeding a dog that needs 3lbs of food a day something premade that costs you 3 buck a pound.
 

ihartgonzo

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#5
I agree with DanL... the absolute CHEAPEST pre-made I have ever bought was $2/pound. You will be paying a ton for a growing, giant breed puppy.

I think it would be a lot easier/cheaper to buy a spare freezer, or buy as much as you can fit into your freezer at once. If you can afford pre-made, my favorite is Primal, but NV is very good.

The supplements you listed look good. Supplementing is up to you, and how you feel about how complete your dog's diet is. I feed kelp, leafy greens, tomatoes, fish body oil, vitamin e, several dairy products, and solid gold multi-vitamins for supps.
 
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#6
How about looking at making your own premade raw which you can make into patties or put into smaller containers and thaw a few at a time. This is what I do. I got a nutritional consult from Mordy on her site and now food process everything together--it's much cheaper.
 

Gempress

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#7
I also agree 100% with DanL. Pre-packaged raw for a dog that size is going to be very expensive. My two eat about 4-5 lbs of food a day, combined. If I fed pre-packaged at $3 per pound, that would be $450 per month. Ouch. You could buy a nice car for that price.

But right now, I average about $2-$3 a day to feed raw to my dogs. It costs only about $75 a month, which is the same amount I used to spend on quality kibble. I think that's pretty good, considering I don't have a butcher or anything as a source for really cheap meat.

Why wait for a freezer? You don't need freezer space to feed raw at a reasonable price. I feed very similar to prey-model raw (except that I throw in veggies on occassion), and I don't use a freezer. Our freezer isn't very big, and is already full of "people" food. I just pick up what the boys need for a few days and keep it in the fridge.

And ironically, the better the meat is for the dog, the cheaper it is at the store. Boney chicken quarters, pork neckbones, pig's feet, turkey necks, beef heart, tripe, eggs, canned fish, organs, etc., are all very cheap. They average about 50-60 cents a pound here. Of course, the cashiers will think you have very odd taste in food, LOL.
 

SizzleDog

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#8
See, $2/lb is dirt cheap out here - meat in this area is insanely expensive, it's normal to see cheap ground beef selling for 3.49/lb, cheap ground turkey for $3.29/lb, etc.

There is literally nowhere in my town that sells meat for less than 2.50/lb, no matter the type or guality.

So prepackaged raw actually is cheaper for me. ;)
 

Gempress

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#9
See, $2/lb is dirt cheap out here - meat in this area is insanely expensive, it's normal to see cheap ground beef selling for 3.49/lb, cheap ground turkey for $3.29/lb, etc.

There is literally nowhere in my town that sells meat for less than 2.50/lb, no matter the type or guality.

So prepackaged raw actually is cheaper for me. ;)
Really? That's insane. Our beef prices are about the same as yours, but everything else is a lot cheaper. I can get a 10 lb bag of frozen chicken quarters for $4.50. I can't imagine paying that much for meat.
 
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#10
Ok guys, you've inspired me!

Though the pre-packaged wasn't as expensive because I do get it whole sale, it still will add up fast. Luckily, she's isnt't going to be huge, I'm guessing only around 60-65 poundish. Maybe taller than my Mastiff/GSD/Rott mix, but not as bulky.

My main problem with freezer space is that I won't have any until summer when the freezer can go out and defrost.

I personally want to get another freezer but thats up to my parents and they don't seem to be in love with that idea.

But, I do have a butcher not only in walking distance but also next to the pharmacy I work at, so getting meat every few days is not a problem.

So how long about can fresh meat be kept in a very cold refrigerator?

I apparently got the lingo confused, I assumed prey model diet would include veggies and fruits, because "prey" would have the contents of the stomach. I do believe in adding in fruits and vegetable's, so that will be included...if anyone was wondering :)

Making the premade patties and freezing them is a good idea also for the days I can't be home to give them the raw or if it's my parents...who aren't as thrilled with all this as I am.

I have one question (for now) I've read a bunch of conflicting views with the percent of meat, bones, organs, muscle meat and vegetables a dog should get. What are your guys views on that?

Any other helps full hints appreciated!

Now, I'm off to start figuring out a raw diet...good thing I'm stocked up on raw for a few days
 

Gempress

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#11
I have one question (for now) I've read a bunch of conflicting views with the percent of meat, bones, organs, muscle meat and vegetables a dog should get. What are your guys views on that?
I'm not one to ask about percentages, LOL! :D I am a very relaxed raw feeder. I don't pay attention to percentages, I don't give suppliments, and don't really have a specific plan I follow. My philosophy is that if I just give my dogs a good variety of healthy foods, they'll be fine.

This is really all I worry about
-Even though probably 50-60% of their diet is chicken (because it's really cheap), I want to be sure they also get other protein sources--beef, pork, turkey, etc.
-They get a decent amount of digestable bones.
-A few ounces of organ meat each week
-A bit of cooked veggies (maybe 1 cup) during the week. I also change up the veggies each time, to be sure they're getting a good variety of nutrients.
-The occassional meal with canned salmon and eggs to make their coats pretty.

That's it. I also follow the raw philosophy "balance over time", so they don't get bones, meat and organ in every meal. For example, they may eat three straight meals of chicken quarters with back and rib sections attached. The next day, a meal of ground beef and liver. The next day, a mix of canned fish, eggs and veggies. And the day after, a meal of pig's feet or meaty pork neckbones.

It's worked for me. They've been eating raw for about a year. The vet oohs and ahhs and says my dogs are in outstanding health and physical condition, so I figure I'm doing something right.
 

DanL

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#12
Linds, I've kept stuff over a week in the fridge for the dogs. Their standard is a bit lower than a persons and their stomach is a LOT more capable of digesting meat that you or I would not eat.

When you start raw- use only ONE source of food for a week or so, to help them get used to it. Most people use chicken leg quarters as they are cheap and readily available. Chicken backs are also good. With the size of your dog, I wouldn't do necks- they are often small and will get swallowed whole.

Read the sticky about raw feeding, it has a lot of good info in it to help you get started and of course, ask questions. A lot of us here have been feeding raw for a good while and can help you out. Just go slow with introducing the variety and you'll do just fine.

The common idea for the ratio of bones to meat is 65% raw meaty bones (your leg quarters, pork necks, ribs, etc) and 35% muscle meat (anything without bones). A few ounces a week of organ meat, supplement with eggs, yogurt, vitamins if you want, fish oil if you can't get them to eat fish. After a while you'll have them adapted to many forms of food and you can mix it up so they get a good variety in their diet.
 

Hillside

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#13
See, $2/lb is dirt cheap out here - meat in this area is insanely expensive, it's normal to see cheap ground beef selling for 3.49/lb, cheap ground turkey for $3.29/lb, etc.

There is literally nowhere in my town that sells meat for less than 2.50/lb, no matter the type or guality.

So prepackaged raw actually is cheaper for me. ;)
Same here ( I only live a half hour or so away from Sizzle). The NV chubs that I get are 5 bucks for 2 pounds. I thought my boyfriend was going to freak out over how much I was spending on them, but instead all he said was "Really? 2 pounds of lamb is ONLY 5 bucks? Wow." Granted Django is a smaller dog (31 pounds) but if you are only going to be supplementing with the raw, NV is **** good and fairly cheap, at least in comparison to the other stuff I have seen.
 

Melissa_W

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#14
You can pick up a cheap freezer on craigslist. I got one for $100. But, before that, I made do without and things worked out just fine.

I personally keep it in there no more than 4-5 days. It's probably okay for a week though.

Yeah, the fruit and veggie thing is called BARF (bones and raw food). Prey model feeders don't generally believe that wolves eat the stomach contents of their prey, so don't include veg or grain. I feed prey model which is 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ. I think the BARF diet is like 65% "meaty bones", 25% veg and 10% organ. If I were you, I would feed less veg than that though. Even if you believe the stomach contents thing, there is no way that the stomach contents make up 25% of a whole animal. Maybe 70% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ and 10% veg would be good. Either way, raw is great and I think you'll be happy with the results.

Let us know how it goes.


Ok guys, you've inspired me!

Though the pre-packaged wasn't as expensive because I do get it whole sale, it still will add up fast. Luckily, she's isnt't going to be huge, I'm guessing only around 60-65 poundish. Maybe taller than my Mastiff/GSD/Rott mix, but not as bulky.

My main problem with freezer space is that I won't have any until summer when the freezer can go out and defrost.

I personally want to get another freezer but thats up to my parents and they don't seem to be in love with that idea.

But, I do have a butcher not only in walking distance but also next to the pharmacy I work at, so getting meat every few days is not a problem.

So how long about can fresh meat be kept in a very cold refrigerator?

I apparently got the lingo confused, I assumed prey model diet would include veggies and fruits, because "prey" would have the contents of the stomach. I do believe in adding in fruits and vegetable's, so that will be included...if anyone was wondering :)

Making the premade patties and freezing them is a good idea also for the days I can't be home to give them the raw or if it's my parents...who aren't as thrilled with all this as I am.

I have one question (for now) I've read a bunch of conflicting views with the percent of meat, bones, organs, muscle meat and vegetables a dog should get. What are your guys views on that?

Any other helps full hints appreciated!

Now, I'm off to start figuring out a raw diet...good thing I'm stocked up on raw for a few days
 
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#15
Thanks again everyone!

I really am not as novice as I come off :) , but I am still learning (only been researching nutrition for 3/4 of a year about).

It's just I'm making my first real (pre-packaged doesn't count) into raw feeding and it's with a puppy, so I'm nervous about that. If it was an adult dog I don't think I would be as cautious, they are scavengers and garbage eaters by nature.

I am a huge advocate for raw and I do believe that in most cases it is the best diet to feed so I'm thrilled to be doing this.

I made another thread on feeding raw for some help on a plan :)

I think my main problem at this point is the meat to bone ratio. I just don't know how to A: tell how much bone I have B:How much bone I'm supposed to have or C: How much muscle meat to feed (does heart count as a muscle meat?) Yes I know you guys gave me a precent for the bone and meat, but I guess my problem really lies in not being able to comprehend how much bone that is when it's in the meat such as chicken backs and frames for example.

My other problem is the organ meat. If I'm just feeding liver and kidneys should I be doing about 10%? Can I get other organs like intestines and brains, maybe from the butcher (like he doesn't already think I'm crazy)?

I think 5-10% vegetables is fine for me, but I don't think that would include the tripe (is that correct or does that count as part of the organs)?

Gah, I get the feeling I'm over thinking this.

I was also talking to a raw feeder today and he told me that chicken backs and turkey necks have a really good meat to bone ratio, is that true?

Oh and Mellisa, it's really not the price of the freezer but the fact that our garage is a mess right now and we already have one freezer in there. But I will have a lot more room come summer when I can take it out and defrost it, right now we have about a foot of snow on the ground...so that's not going to happen.

God, ferret raw feeding is so much easier..."here's the mouse/chick/quail/chicken etc. now eat it"

Sorry again for all these questions, but any help is appreciated!
 

ihartgonzo

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#16
Don't worry... it will get much easier, once you get used to feeding Raw. C: It becomes second nature. When I started out, I used the little white board in our kitchen, to map out their meals for each week. I balanced everything perfectly. After a while, I didn't need the board.

As far as meat to bone ratio, I feed around 2.5:1, roughly. I consider a "raw meaty bone" to be one with considerable meat covering... so you can just palpate the bone in it. Pork necks, chicken quarters, etc are boney meals and I feed them along with a muscle meat or organ meal.

Chicken backs have a good meat:bone, as do chicken wings. Turkey necks (and chicken necks) have a lot of cartilege, so I wouldn't feed them as a staple.
 

DanL

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#17
As far as meat to bone ratio, I feed around 2.5:1, roughly. I consider a "raw meaty bone" to be one with considerable meat covering... so you can just palpate the bone in it. Pork necks, chicken quarters, etc are boney meals and I feed them along with a muscle meat or organ meal.

Chicken backs have a good meat:bone, as do chicken wings. Turkey necks (and chicken necks) have a lot of cartilege, so I wouldn't feed them as a staple.
Are you considering only the weight of the bone itself in that ratio, or are you doing 2.5 boneless meat and 1 RMB which includes the meat weight?
 

Melissa_W

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#18
I totally understand, I was nervous before I started too.

The percentages are really just guidelines. The 80-10 ratio simply says feed a lot of meat and a little bone. I probably feed 10-20 percent bone in any given week. I don't think it matters, because he's still getting plenty of meat. To give you an idea, a whole chicken is about 25% bone. I would say a chicken back is 50% bone. So, you'd need to add meat to both. If you feed a chicken back for one meal, just give a meat meal the next time. Just estimate it, and you'll be fine. And yes, heart is a muscle meat.

You can count any organ as an organ. About half of the organ you feed should be liver.

In my opinion, backs and necks are high in bone. They are fine to feed, you just need to include meat meals. I think a bone-in chicken breast is almost perfect and a meaty leg quarter is pretty good too. This is just to give you an idea of what I think the ratio looks like. You can feed boney pieces and meaty pieces and balance it out over time.

Ask all the questions you want, so many people helped me when I was getting started. I post a lot on the Yahoo group helping people, so I don't mind at all.

Thanks again everyone!

I really am not as novice as I come off :) , but I am still learning (only been researching nutrition for 3/4 of a year about).

It's just I'm making my first real (pre-packaged doesn't count) into raw feeding and it's with a puppy, so I'm nervous about that. If it was an adult dog I don't think I would be as cautious, they are scavengers and garbage eaters by nature.

I am a huge advocate for raw and I do believe that in most cases it is the best diet to feed so I'm thrilled to be doing this.

I made another thread on feeding raw for some help on a plan :)

I think my main problem at this point is the meat to bone ratio. I just don't know how to A: tell how much bone I have B:How much bone I'm supposed to have or C: How much muscle meat to feed (does heart count as a muscle meat?) Yes I know you guys gave me a precent for the bone and meat, but I guess my problem really lies in not being able to comprehend how much bone that is when it's in the meat such as chicken backs and frames for example.

My other problem is the organ meat. If I'm just feeding liver and kidneys should I be doing about 10%? Can I get other organs like intestines and brains, maybe from the butcher (like he doesn't already think I'm crazy)?

I think 5-10% vegetables is fine for me, but I don't think that would include the tripe (is that correct or does that count as part of the organs)?

Gah, I get the feeling I'm over thinking this.

I was also talking to a raw feeder today and he told me that chicken backs and turkey necks have a really good meat to bone ratio, is that true?

Oh and Mellisa, it's really not the price of the freezer but the fact that our garage is a mess right now and we already have one freezer in there. But I will have a lot more room come summer when I can take it out and defrost it, right now we have about a foot of snow on the ground...so that's not going to happen.

God, ferret raw feeding is so much easier..."here's the mouse/chick/quail/chicken etc. now eat it"

Sorry again for all these questions, but any help is appreciated!
 

Dekka

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#19
See and to me backs and necks are perfect. If you ever get a chance to look at a wild animal carcass like a rabbit, there is MUCH less fat and meat on them than our domestic animals that have been bred for eons to be food.

FWI I feed about 8-10% plant matter (with egg), about 12% mixed organ meat, the rest chicken parts.
 

Gempress

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#20
I think my main problem at this point is the meat to bone ratio. I just don't know how to A: tell how much bone I have B:How much bone I'm supposed to have or C: How much muscle meat to feed (does heart count as a muscle meat?) Yes I know you guys gave me a precent for the bone and meat, but I guess my problem really lies in not being able to comprehend how much bone that is when it's in the meat such as chicken backs and frames for example.
And that's why I don't pay too much attention to percentages. ;) Truthfully, unless you scrape the meat off the bone and feed each seperately, there's no way to really tell exactly how much you're feeding of each. It's all estimates.

I'd just give it your best guess. I'd guess that chicken leg quarters with rib and back attached are probably 35% bone. And perhaps necks and backs are 85% bone. Meaty pork neckbones are maybe 60-70% bone.

My other problem is the organ meat. If I'm just feeding liver and kidneys should I be doing about 10%? Can I get other organs like intestines and brains, maybe from the butcher (like he doesn't already think I'm crazy)?
Percentage of organs depends on the plan you're on. I probably give anywhere from 5-15% on a given week (balance over time again). Maybe not as much as natural hunting would give them, but I figure that wild animals also don't get cooked veggies to supply them with vitamins and nutrients.

I think 5-10% vegetables is fine for me, but I don't think that would include the tripe (is that correct or does that count as part of the organs)?
Nope, it doesn't include the tripe. Tripe is considered organ meat.

I was also talking to a raw feeder today and he told me that chicken backs and turkey necks have a really good meat to bone ratio, is that true?
You'll find a lot of differing opinions on this. I feel that those parts are way too boney to constitute an ideal meal. If you've ever cooked them or taken them apart, you'll see that they're probably 80% bone or more. Not even wild prey have *that* much bone. I don't understand how that can possibly be a good meat ratio for a meat eater. They get their fuel from protein, not from calcium.

I feed chicken backs and turkey necks, don't get me wrong. But I don't think they're the oh-so-wonderful balanced ideal. I think that chicken quarters with ribs and back portions attached (they're usually the cheapest kind, the ones you find frozen in big bag) and chicken wings have a much healthier meat-to-bone ratio.
 

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