Today, on a very special episode of CaveGirlEats…
I want to talk about a very special guy who came into our lives several years ago and, with his big brainless head and total lack of spatial awareness, made a permanent pawprint on our hearts.
Cal was an adolescent shelter pup who we fell in love with instantly. He was fifteen times the size of what we thought we were looking for, six times the size of our house, and a million times the perfect dog for us.
Along with my husband, he’s my cuddly number-one super best buddy of all time forever.
Long ago, we converted Cal from grain-free dry food to raw food. He’s done incredibly well, and we believe it’s the right thing to do. Yet there’s so much information out there about the “right way” to do raw. Where we’ve used things like Tropical Traditions‘ raw treats and patties and various other ground-up options, along with some gnaw-friendly bones now and then, it seems like we’re missing something: the very natural act of chewing.
Thanks to Rachael of Lovely Crafty Home, I’ve become more educated on the optimal way to “do raw.” Rachael stopped by the blog recently and helped immensely with my questions about a more biologically-appropriate raw food routine, and I thought the information she shared would help others as much as it helped me.
Here’s what Rachael said about her raw routine (via a blog comment conversation):
“…I’ve been feeding my Boxer a raw diet for about 5 years (she just turned 6). We’ve only used a pre-made food a few times though. Have you ever tried a whole prey model for your pup? It’s easier than it sounds, and you get the benefits of bone chewing for teeth cleaning. My dog eats mostly whole chickens (1 chicken every 2-3 days), but she does get fish, beef, and pork as well. I have estimated that it costs between $50-$60/month to feed my 53lb pup this way, which I think is pretty affordable! Anywhoo, I wanted to mention that because I believe the chewing/crunching has a lot of value that you don’t get with the patties. Just a thought! Thanks for talking about raw feeding, I find the whole idea is still very taboo to most people.”
Rachael went on to help me with my concerns about raw bones, and other such “scary” raw-feeding realities. Here are a few of the points she shared:
Re: the bones…there is a lot of negativity surrounding the whole raw bone issue…a lot of scare tactics…it’s hard to get your mind around it at first. But actually most of the bone digestion occurs in the stomach, they basically crunch the bones but it’s not like a full chew. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself cringing.
Never ever ever give a dog a cooked bone- not a tbone to clean or a rib rack…These are likely the dogs that end up at the vet giving raw feeders a bad name…Raw bones are soft and pliable, cooked bones splinter.
Never microwave bones (as in, defrost on counter, fridge, or hot water)
Dogs will only consume (eat entirely) the bones of small prey or smaller non weight bearing bones of larger animals, i.e. your dog will not be able to consume the femur of a cow, but raw soup bones (marrow bones) make great chew toys.
I avoid butcher cut bone-in meats because the bones are unnaturally sharp, it’s just a personal preference (like pork neck bones or bone-in chops)
I don’t feed chicken or turkey necks…again a personal preference, as I feel they aren’t that nutritionally sound and are good choking hazards.
Thank you for all the wisdom, Rachel!
Who out there feeds their pets with a whole-prey model? Any advice?