The Dog's Dinner - by Ann Ridyard

Raw feeding for dogs

 The food diary of Pasha ~ a 7 week old commercially fed pup swapping over to RAW

Meet Pasha

001-1.jpg picture by magsmate

She came to Krisannrio on Sunday 2nd March 2008, Pasha was not raw weaned .

I thought it would be interesting and educational to keep a diary on Pasha as she is being swapped over to a raw diet.

She was weaned onto Royal Canine and was an excellent weight at 9.35 kilos at 7 weeks old, when she arrived with us.

This is the first time I have ever had a puppy that has not been raw fed or has not had some elements of a raw diet included in it's feeding plan, so this is a learning curve for me also, I thought by sharing the whole experience of the swapover anybody else in my position could benefit from my experiences of this, I will also include any hiccups we have or any problems we may encounter, I hope you find this useful.

I do apologise for the constant reference to her motions, but this is a very important aspect of this study, by watching them carefully I can guage what is happening inside 

Sunday March 2nd :- Pasha arrives at Krisannrio at about 4.30pm, she recieved her usual breakfast that morning and then water, until we left for home at around 1pm, it was a very long journey for a little pup and I expected her to be starving, as she had had nothing since breakfast.  She was not sick at all during the journey, nor did she have a bowel movement.

I gave her a drink and then at around 5.30pm I offered her some turkey mince containing the bone.

She wasn't terribly enthusiastic, she began to lick at the mince, she ate a little, but it really was only a tiny amount, she was very tired.

We then got a normal bowel movement about 10 mins later

( normal for a commercially fed puppy )

I was keenly aware that because Pasha's immune system wasn't at full thrusters yet, as she is only 7 weeks ( by 12 weeks it is ) I could get a reaction to the raw food I was giving her.

Especially since she hadn't been given any elements of raw at the breeders, and neither of her parents are raw fed.

As she hadn't eaten much, I left her overnight with a hoof filled with raw minced tripe, I was encouraged to find the next morning half on the tripe had gone.

 I now face a dilemma I cannot continue feeding raw food alongside her commercial, I must either take the bull by the horns and just switch completely, or I face weeks and weeks of trying to get her to eat raw when she is still being fed commercial and doing it like this would mean she would have to have two meals commercial and two meals RAW in a day, raw and cooked should never be served together as they digest at different rates and this could cause her more problems than just feeding RAW alone, not to mention she would probably reject the RAW for a time because she is familiar with the commercial.  I would be putting her at higher risk of salmonella and other dangerous bacteria in the raw meat as by 'easing her into the raw diet' and serving both daily, the commercial food could very well slow down the digestion of the raw food, giving those pathogens plenty of opportunity to multiply.

I decide to just do it, switch her to RAW and get on with it, so I ditch the commercial and brace myself for a rough ride !! 

Monday March 3rd :- She woke the next morning at around 4.30am in a howling rage !!

I took her outside where she immediately produced a fairly normal looking movement, but it was quite soft and shiny.

She then had a very small amount of turkey mince and immediately lost interest, this worried me as by now she should be ravenous, although she had eaten the tripe overnight.

As she has already had two new foods in a matter of hours, I was very reluctant to introduce a third, we still had not really seen what the first two new foods would cause, so I was catious.

I decided on minced beef. She was very, very enthusiastic and cleared what I put in front of her, which was a third of a pound.  After a good play I packed her back off to bed with a beef bone, she had already had the minced beef , so this wouldn't make any difference either way.

She was given her next feed at 9.30am and I stuck with the beef, again enthusiasm and a clean plate.

She then produced a very dark, soft motion, this I had expected, as she was on red meat, ideally I would have preferred her to begin on white meat, but she was having none of it !

She had two further motions of the same consistency over the next few hours.

I knew I had to get her on the white meat and tried her third meal of the day with turkey mince again.

This time she was more enthusiastic about it and by hand feeding her small balls, which I popped into her mouth, I managed to get her to eat about a third of it before she lost interest.

Her fourth meal was again minced beef, which she cleared. We still have dark, soft shiny poos, almost black, but again I expected this because she is still mostly on red meat.

Tuesday March 4th :- I decide to try her on a chicken back for breakfast, we are still on very dark, shiny poos, but nothing to be concerned about at this stage but I am keen to see them firming up and lightening in colour.

She hasn't really got into the idea of knawing a bone yet and she carries the chicken back around like a trophy, drops it, picks it up again and then looses interest.

I make slices with a knife to encourage her, but it makes no difference, so this time she has minced lamb for breakfast and likes it, she eats a third of a pound. 

She had two further meals of minced beef and lamb and then I try her again with the chicken back for her last meal, she is still not interested, so she gets lamb mince again and goes to bed with a lamb bone. We are still on dark, shiny poo. 

Wednesday March 5th:- I decide as she has already had tripe in a hoof and we didn't get a bad reaction, to feed minced green tripe today, she is wonderfully enthusiastic about it and clears her third of a pound, she is still wanting more, so I give her just a little more, she clears most of it and waddles off for another dark, shiny poo !!

She gets a further meal of tripe and two of minced beef, although I did offer her a raw chicken wing twice during the day and she wasn't interested in doing anything with it other than playing !! But she is getting used to the texture and the smell, she has never had to work at her food before and she doesn't even try.

We are still on dark, shiny poos.

Thursday March 6th :- I am getting really desparate to get her to eat white meat with enthusiasm, so for breakfast today she has turkey mince again.  Her reaction this time is different, she is a lot keener and eats half the plate straight off, which is about a third of a pound, I encourage her to finish by hand feeding again, one tiny little scrap is left.

I again give her turkey mince for the next feed and it is met with the same reaction, this time I don't need to hand feed to get her to finish off, but we are still on dark, shiny poo.

I keep trying with a chicken wing, she is still not interested (it's not the same wing by the way - just in case you were wondering !!) 

I put her back to sleep mid morning with a hoof, this time filled with raw minced chicken. She likes the hooves, she is getting into the idea of working a little for her food, the hoof is not a bone, but it is encouraging to see her knawing at it. 

When she wakes, she immediately produces a motion, because she has eaten white meat the colour has changed to mid brown, it is half firmish and half soft, still shiny, but  a great improvement.

She has a further two meals of turkey mince, but only produces 1 further motion, and it is smaller and still brown and semi solid,  this tells me that she is beginning to utilise her food more efficiently, there is less waste, therefore less poos !!

Friday March 7th:-  Pasha has been great overnight, there is no mess in her pen, the chicken filled hoof is empty and she has begun to knaw on the hoof itself.

I give her turkey mince again and she produces a fine looking poo !!  we are still not completely dry, it is still semi solid, but the shiny quality is going and they are starting to look more like the poos of a raw fed pup.

Pasha is now eating approx 1lb 5oz of food per day at the moment, still split into four meals, so she is eating approximately 7-8% of her bodyweight of around 19 lbs, this is an ideal ammount for a puppy her age and weight, so I am very happy with that.

I decide because she has still no interest in chicken wings or backs to mince them for her, it is very much a compromise for me, my own puppies were munching their way through wings at 5 weeks and so her lack of enthusiasm for them is disapointing.

Raw chicken bones form an important part of my dog's diet, mincing them is ok in the short term, but I will continue to offer her backs and wings as I would much prefer to see her eating this food in a natural state, it is more beneficial for her teeth and it is good excercise.

She gets a meal of minced chicken bones and eats every scrap of it  ~ now we wait to see if there is a reaction, there shoudn't be as she has already had minced chicken in a hoof, but the hoof was from a different source, this mince has been homemade and I am sure of the 1:1 bone to meat ratio content of it. I am keen to see her eating bone, as it is very important to her, I have chosen something with a high bone content as at the moment, she is actaully eating very little bone.

For the remaining two feeds she is given the minced chicken and clears both meals with great enthusiasm, it is a pleasure to watch her finally enjoying chicken, even if it has been minced !!

We get one further poo, mid brown and quite sloppy ~ disapointing  

Now she is eating the chicken and because of the way her diet has gone this week with the introduction of red before white meat, I do not want to upset her tummy, there is a vast difference between a sloppy poo and a puppy with diarrhoea.

I will now keep her on the minced chicken for at least 3 or 4 days, with no other new introductions until we have the type of poo I'm aiming for.

This is what should have happened in the first place !! But Pasha had very different ideas.

Saturday March 8th :-   After her meal of minced chicken bones, she produces the best poo yet !!  we are so nearly there with it, very firm with just a tiny bit of a sloppy part, right at the beginning.

This is great, it shows me that her system is dealing with the food in an efficient manner......... and boy does she like her minced chicken bones !!! She gets homemade minced chicken for the rest of her meals today, she produces one further motion and it is very similar to the earlier one.

Sunday March 9th :-  This morning at 5.30am she produced the nicest little poo !!! it is a typical 'raw fed' poo, small, quite dry and not a hint of sloppyness about it, we have cracked it !!! I am so pleased I almost want to take a picture !! but I feel that would be taking the study a bit too far !!!   

She will remain on the chicken as planned for the next couple of days, the fact that I am mincing it myself, means that I can adjust the crunchyness of it, I am mincing it on the coarsest setting available and this means that there are still bones she must deal with whilst eating, she is coping very well and I am extremely pleased with her progress.

Monday 10th - Wednesday 12th:- Pasha has had nothing but homemade chicken mince for 2 days, I am now ready to start introducing new foods to her, I am now back on track as she is eating with gusto and producing the kind of poos consitent with raw feeding.

Thursday March 13th:- Today she will be given her first raw egg, complete with shell, will be interesting to see what she makes of it !!

Pasha has a real taste for chicken now for the past couple of days I have refrained from offering her any chicken bones, but today I decide to try again and bingo !!! she eats 4 wing ends staight off, I then give her a back and she has a little go at that too, this is very encouraging.

She is still not as keen on the bones as she is on meat or mince, but that will change soon, I have no doubt.

She had her raw egg today and surprised me by eating the shell also, I didn't think she would touch it after it taking me over a week to eat chicken bones, but there she was crunching away !!!

She is now ready to have things slowly introduced to her diet, her motions have been perfect for 3 days.

Tomorrow I will give her fresh tripe again, just a piece that she can have a good chew at.

Friday March 14th :- I start her day off with chicken mince, although she will be getting a new item of food today, she will need the stability of the chicken to help prevent an upset stomach.

She will now be receiving 3 meals perday, plus bones.

The tripe, which not minced, is gratefully accepted, although I do have to chop it up small for her, she is still not prepared to put maximum effort into eating, but it will come.

She gets another raw egg today, plus shell and totally amazes me by eating most of the shell again, I was prepared to crush it into her mince later in the day, but no..it is gone !!

She finishes the day with chicken mince. 

Saturday March 15th  :-  As every motion she is now passing is good, I will refrain from commenting unless we get anything not good !!

Today she gets a meal of minced lamb, 1 of chicken bones and 1 of chicken mince, she goes to bed with a lamb flap, which is a rack of the very tiny soft ribs, they are completely gone the next day - a breakthrough with bone !!!

Sunday March 16th :- I am delighted she is showing no adverse effects to the lamb she has been given, not all dogs can tolerate it as it is so rich, but she is coping very well, her little system is handling everything I am throwing at it !! 

Today I decide to push with the chicken bones and when I go down at 5.30am, instead of offering her chicken mince( she is always ready for her breakfast and is used to having meat or mince, which she can polish off with incredible speed) she gets an assorted plate of chicken bones, 6 wing tips, 2 backs and a few small knuckles ends.

She is howling with outrage as I put her back into her playpen with the bones, I close my ears and walk away, if she is hungry, which she is !!  she will have a go at them, I'm sure of it.About 10 mins later, everything goes quiet !! I sneak a peek and she is muching on chicken bones - music to my ears !!! 

On further examination of her plate about half an hour later, I realise she has eaten all the wing tips, all the knuckles and has had a really good go at one of the backs, I let Vienna finish off what's left.

Chicken backs are superb food because not only do they have a 1;1 bone to meat ratio, edible, soft bone, which puppies can deal with (necks too would be great for this and they are meatier, but as Pasha gets plenty of meat in her diet, I go for the bonier edible options) - the backs also have scraps of organ meat attached to them, so she has also had her first organ meat !! encouraged by this, I give her a heart meal for lunch and chicken bones for tea, she eats everything put in front of her This little pup is doing so very well.

As the other dogs are having some kidney, I decide to be brave and give her a little, kidney can cause outrageous results in the poo department and the first time I ever gave kidney to adult dogs I got spectacular results because I fed too much !!! All my dogs can handle kidney now, but when you feed it, apply great caution when feeding it for the first time!! With this in mind I was very cautious about the amount I gave to her, the piece she recieved was just slightly smaller than an egg, and it disapeared immediately !!

Now we wait to see how it comes out !!

She goes to bed with her favourite thing, a hoof !!, this time filled with rabbit mince, when she gets it, it is frozen solid, so she has to really work at these hooves to get the meat out, by morning they are always empty !!

Monday March 17th :- I sniff the air as I head down the stairs, what little present will she have left for me and will it be solid ????

I am totally amazed again by this little pup, her pen is clean and she is creating merry hell to be let out, I oblige and she produces the nicest little poo outside, I did say I wouldn't comment again on motions unless they were bad, but this needs to be said- it was marvellous !! 

Today she is going to try fish, after a breakfast of chicken bones, she is presented with a whole fresh sprat for lunch, she regards it suspiciously, picks it up and immediately drops it again !!

I have a couple of dogs who are not keen on fresh sprats, but more who will eat them like sealions, so I bring all the dogs together and employ a pair of scissors to the little fish as the bits fall to the ground the dogs pounce on them and Pasha is becoming aggitated because she is not fast enough !!!

My dogs are used to being fed in this manner, I very often feed by hand and they will not fight over food with me presiding over the sharing of it, I tell them all to 'LEAVE' and continue to drop scissored pieces of fish to the floor, Pasha pounces in glee, she doesn't know what leave means yet, by the time I allow the others to join in again, she has eaten a whole scissored fish !!!

She the eats 2 and a half more !!! She has put Tiffany to shame, who is not keen, but on seeing everyone else enjoying them Tiff decides to make an effort !!

She then goes on to have a small amount of diced lamb for tea with chicken bones for afters !!

Tuesday March 18th :- Today she will try liver, the others get it once a week, and I feel she is ready to join in, she gets chicken backs for breakfast and eats with total enthusiasm !! 

We have a poo puddle, it's not full blown diarrhea and is undoubtedly the result of the kidney yesterday  I did it again and gave too much for the first time !!  What I should have done on reflection was give her a piece a quarter of the size !! but this is a very minor setback and should be able to be corrected by abandoning the plan of liver today and sticking with chicken bones to get her back on track.

She has a meal of chicken back and wing tips for lunch.

She will have only chicken for tea too, but as I am feeding all the other dogs with a quantity of heart and sprats left over from yesterday, I get distracted and don't ask me how she managed it but Pasha is muching happily in a quiet corner with a whole lamb heart and Harvey is extremely aggitated, I think she stole it off him !! 

She is enjoying it so much I don't have the heart to take it off her, but I know we are bound to get more puddles as we had one at lunch time, she really needed to stay on chicken for the rest of the day and tomorrow morning too, to put her back on track...but best laid plans and all that !! 

So I brace myself for her next toilet and am mildly gobsmacked when she produces a softer poo, but by no means can this be decribed as puddle material, her little system looks like it is working overtime producing the enzymes required to process and digest these new foods and I have to say, it is doing her proud !!

Wednesday March 19th :-  Chicken for breakfast, things are back to normal with her motion, so I bravely give her a combination of lamb and beef in minced form for lunch, it goes down very well !!

She gets a beef bone mid afternoon and makes a very impressive attempt at removing every scrap of tissue and flesh from it.

Tripe for tea :- I don't think I have mentioned the benefits of feeding tripe, whilst it is a brilliant food as part of a diet plan, it should never make up the bulk of it, a dog in a wild situation would simply not eat that amount.  But incorporated into an adult's food plan it can almost be used as a stabliser, very much like the chicken in Pasha's diet, as it is crammed full of enzymes, the more live enzymes a dog has to cope with digesting, the more he will produce himself, tripe is great for boosting your dog's ability to cope with new foods. Pasha will be given tripe approximately twice a week.

Thursday March 20th :- Raw eggs, plus shell and turkey mince for breakfast, although Pasha will happily tuck into bones now, she adores meat and minced products and eats with such joy when these are on the menu.

This is because all dogs given a chance will go for the easy option, but that's not what this diet is all about, so while I allow her minces several times a week, I do try to get a good amount of really meaty bones into her also, as fresh bones are so important for a young pup's growth.

Pasha has developed a waistline !! when she came here, she was a bundle of fluff and very round, just exactly as you would expect a 7 week old pup to look, almost 3 weeks older and on a raw diet has made her a tad leaner, this is not because she isn't eating enough !! far from it, she is a gannet  It's just that the food she is recieving now is a growth plan to ensure slow and steady developement, premium puppy foods in the wrong hands can put heaps of weight on a pup, but not necessarily create great bone, Pash still has a good covering and is growing in all the right places at the correct rate.

She will be getting weighed on Monday so it will be interesting to see her gain. 

She will be having beef again for lunch and chicken bones for tea.

She will be put to bed with a tripe filled hoof tonight 

I want to introduce more rabbit into her diet tomorrow but will see how her motions are today before we attempt.

Friday March 21st :- Pasha has reached the stage were she will pretty much have a go at anything I put in front of her, this is because she is still so young and very willing to try new foods. 

Her motions are completely fine now, if we do get the occasional soft stool, by the time she is ready to do another one, things seem to have sorted themselves out.

She loves rabbit !!! she gets this for breakfast, with chicken for lunch and then rabbit again for tea.

Saturday March 22nd :- No bad reactions to the rabbit, she has tripe for lunch and chicken for tea !!

Sunday march 23rd :-  Today she will have liver, not a lot, just a small piece, the size of my palm and quite thin, I serve it for breakfast with an egg and a couple of chicken wings.

Everything is fine at lunch time, she get a very meaty beef bone and spends ages picking every last scrap of meat and sinew off it, this bone is too hard for her to eat alot of, but she has great fun trying !!

She has turkey mince for tea, with left overs from the sunday roast, she gets peas, carrots, a few sprouts and a small amount of cabbage, Oh and a roast spud !!!  Potatos should not be fed regularly as they are so starchy, but the odd one, every now and again is fine.

Monday March 24th:-  Pasha goes for her second needle today, she weighs just under 10 kilos, a good weight gain over 3 weeks, but not a massive one, which is what i was aiming for.

When you pick Pash up, she feels solid and heavy, she is well covered but not pudgy !! she has a waistline - just !! Her bone is terrific and she is doing very well indeed on this diet.

We could actually say that Pasha is now completely swapped over, she has tried everything I have to offer her and enjoyed every bit, since around day 3.

We will continue to repeat the above 3 weeks of feeding, not necessarily in that order, but she will be fed a wide variety over 3 weeks, with the quantities being adjusted to suit her age and growth. She is still on around 7.5 % of her body weight at the moment.

She gets a rare treat this week, a friend is kind enough to give me 4 wild caught pheasants and Pasha discovers a real fondness for it, I let her have half a whole bird, a quarter for breakfast and a quarter for tea, absolutely no reaction whatsoever, poos a little darker than chicken poos !!!

I hope this has been useful to anybody wishing to swap a young pup over to a RAW method of feeding, Ann