Tag: dog treat recipes

Raw Feeding

 Is Raw Feeding Better for your pet?

This question is answered along with a few more.

Background:

I started researching raw feeding when my senior golden retriever decided kibble wasn’t what she wanted.  There was nothing medically wrong with her, she just stopped eating kibble.  I had to entice her to eat with raw egg mixed in or just keep telling her to eat.  Even then, she didn’t eat all of her food.

I joined a couple Facebook groups to see what all the chatter was about.  I read extensively about the Prey Model and BARF.  There is a huge controversy over which model is the best model.  The only difference is with the BARF model you include fruits, vegetables and grains.  With Prey, it’s simply raw meat, no added supplements are needed.

Research:

When doing my research I was looking for an unbiased, scientific approach to information.  I didn’t want any opinions from pet food companies (because we all know they slant their information to their best interest) and I didn’t want information from vets (typically they have very little training on pet nutrition unless they’ve done research on their own).  It is extremely difficult to find unbiased information on which model is better suited for animals.  I couldn’t find any scientific “whitepapers” on either model of feeding.

This led me to doing what I felt was right.  Yes, my dogs are fed primarily Prey Model, but they also get “treats” that contain vegetables and other starches.  I stay away from grains because I have breeds that are highly susceptible to allergies and have been on a grain free diet their entire lives.   Do I feel my dogs NEED the veggies and other starches?  No, but they also don’t NEED milk bones or other commercially made treats.  I prefer to feed them food with minimal processing and limited ingredients.  I want to pronounce everything that I am allowing my pets to digest.

Am I an Expert?

I would hardly consider myself an expert at raw feeding.  Yes, I’ve done extensive research.  Yes, I am a part of several raw feeing groups whose administrators have more years experience than I’ve been alive.  Yes, I have resources out the wazoo to help along the way.  I’ve been feeding my dogs raw for almost a year…that hardly makes me an expert…but the proof for me is in my dogs.

Noticeable Changes:

1.  My dog’s teeth are b.e.a.UTIFUL!  I suspect they will never have to have a dental cleaning.  That right there is saving me a good $1k per year in vet bills.

2.  Their coats are shiny and soft.

3.  I have a boxer.  If you know the breed at all…you know about their crazy energy levels.  Since Ziggy, my 3 year old boxer, has been on raw his energy level has completely leveled out.  Yes, he still gets crazy bouts of energy where he’s zipping all over the yard, but the energy is manageable.  Which is important to both of us.  He gets to run and be crazy without making me crazy 🙂

4.  My senior golden, the one I started this for, she eats EVERY MEAL, EVERY BITE.  She is excited to eat again!  She also has some arthritis In her hips.  She has been noticeably in less pain.  She gets up and follows me around more than ever.

5.  The poo.  Oh my dog!  The poo is amazing.  It doesn’t smell and there is so little of it I hardly ever have to pick up.  One of my dogs was a poo eater when on kibble.  I had to clean the yard after every poo so he couldn’t eat it.  Now, he isn’t even interested in eating it.

Conclusion:

I don’t think it matters which raw model you feed your pets.  I do think raw is better.  Not the kind of raw they are now selling at pet food stores, but honest, butcher found (not grocery store, prepackaged) raw meat.  Keep in mind, the “raw” food you find at pet food stores is still being mass processed.  There have been several recalls due to illness.  The only way to ensure your pet isn’t getting poisoned is to source raw materials yourself and handle it yourself.

Be on the lookout for future postings about raw feeding.  There is much to learn before you dive in deep.  In the mean time, if you have questions and are interested in getting started sooner I am just a phone call away.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  Here are some DIY healthy treats for your dog to spoil them on the day of love.

 

Flavored Chicken Chewies – Courtesy of http://kolchakpuggle.com/

Use what you’ve already got at home for your healthy treats.  Super easy and FREE!

The website I got this recipe from (link above) offered some optional marinades.  I am keeping this recipe as simple as possible just to keep unwanted or unneeded ingredients in the chews.  If you’d like to add additional flavor to your chews check out his website for ideas.

  • 3 lbs. chicken breast chunks (or thinly sliced chicken breast)

How We Do It (Instructions)

(Skip the first 2 steps if not using a marinade)

  • Whisk together marinade ingredients of your choice.

  • Place chicken in a shallow dish or plastic bag and cover with marinade. Place in fridge and marinate 12 – 24 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 425F.

  • Line baking trays with parchment paper. Lay out chicken pieces on the trays. Bake chicken 15 minutes or until cooked through.

Oven Method:

  • Reduce heat to 200F and slow cook for 3 -12 hours, flipping occasionally until jerky is dry.

Dehydrator Method:

Place chicken chunks onto dehydrator trays. Set to the HIGH or MEAT setting. Dehydrate for 2 – 12 hours, no flipping necessary, until jerky is dry

Cut a piece in half to test for doneness. Jerky is dry when there is no moisture in the centre of the treat and it is the same colour throughout.

Organ Meat Dog Treats – Also from http://kolchakpuggle.com/

Organ meat is liver and lung.  The linked website mentions heart, which you can use, but it isn’t considered an organ when feeding raw.  Heart is considered meat.  Organs are rich!  Feed a few of these treats at a time.  If your dog eats too much it may give it the runs.

Slice your organ meat into thin slices (This will be a bazillion times easier if it’s partially frozen.) The thinner you can slice it, the better you’re final treat will be. Line a baking sheet or dehydrator tray with parchment (for easy clean up, plus, these can stick if you’re not careful!) Place baking sheet in an oven heated to the lowest setting or plug in dehydrator on the “meat” setting (if you have one). Dry for 12 – 14 hours, until they snap crisp and there is no moisture left in the middle.

Dehydrating organ meat may be a bit stinky.  If you have a dehydrator try plugging it in outside to keep from stinking up the house.

Fish Chew – Also from  http://kolchakpuggle.com/

1 lb. of fresh or frozen/defrosted white fish pieces – You can use Tilapia, Sole, Haddock, Cod, Pollock etc. I use what ever is on sale.

How We Do It (Instructions)

If desired, trim the whitefish into bite sized pieces. ( Note: The fish will shrink by about 50% as it dehydrates, so cut your whitefish pieces larger than the size of chew you want to end up with.)

If you are marinating your chews (you can get some marinating ideas from the website), whisk the ingredients together. Place your fish pieces in a bowl or zip top bag, pour the marinade over them and toss the fish to coat well.

Place in the fridge and marinate for as long as you like. (I prefer to make the marinade the night before and let it sit all night.)

Lay out fish pieces on your dehydrator trays and turn on. Allow your fish chews to dehydrate for 6 – 10 hours. (Actual drying time will depend on the moisture in the fish and the humidity in your area.)

Fish chews are done when they are firm, no longer flexible and break cleanly in half.

Oven Method: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Lay out your fish pieces on a foil lined baking sheet or a drying rack. Cook fish for several hours – Mine took 4 hours. (Again, actual drying time will depend on the moisture in the fish and the humidity in your area.)

Store in a sealed, airtight container. Do not refrigerate.

Grain Free Dog Treats – Courtesy of Primally Inspired

Ingredients

  • ½ cup chicken or beef broth (or homemade bone broth) – I like the bone broth idea.  It adds additional nutrients and doesn’t add extra sodium.

  • ½ cup fat or oil of choice (bacon fat, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) – BACON FAT! Don’t know what to do with your leftover bacon fat?  Now you do!

  • 1⅓ cup tapioca flour

  • ⅓ cup coconut flour

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or just leave it out)

  • 2 tablespoons brewers or nutritional yeast

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (sometimes called ground flax or milled flax)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. In a small pot over medium heat, bring the chicken broth and fat/oil to a boil.

  3. While that is coming to a boil, mix tapioca flour, coconut flour, sea salt, brewers yeast and flax meal in a medium bowl.

  4. Once the broth/fat mixture comes to a boil, remove from heat and add to the flour bowl. Mix well.

  5. On a piece of parchment paper, press out the dough into a ¼” thick rectangle. Either cut into squares with a pizza cutter or use cookie cutters in desired shape.

  6. Bake for 15 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. When the timer goes off, shut off the oven, crack the door and leave in the oven until cool (about 10-15 more minutes).

So you are interested in Raw Feeding?

Here are some frequently asked questions from raw feeding newbies:

1.  How do I transition to raw feeding?

Typically when you are introducing new foods to your pet you are advised to start with a mix of new and old food to alleviate belly upset.  When moving to a raw diet, you do not need to mix kibble with raw food.  When you are ready to start feeding raw, just ditch the kibble and start feeding full raw.

2.  How do I know how much to feed?

The basic principle is this:

Feed 2% – 3% of your pet’s body weight.

If your pet is overweight and needs to shed some pounds start with 2% of the body weight.

If your pet is at an optimal weight, feed 2.5% of their body weight.

If your pet is skinny and needs to add a few pounds, feed 3% of their body weight.

Adjust as needed.

3.  I really want to feed raw, but it seems way too expensive.  How do I find quality food at a reasonable price?

STAY AWAY FROM THE GROCERY STORE

Source out a local butcher.  You should be able to get bulk food much cheaper from a butcher than from the grocery store.  If you live in Mesa, AZ, check out Midwestern Meats.  I get a 40# case of chicken leg quarters anywhere from $.79 per pound to $.99 per pound, depending on if they are having a sale.

When you are looking for a butcher, or source for meat, be sure to ask the following questions:

Does your meat contain antibiotics?

Is your meat injected with sodium?

Is your meat injected with water, flavors or any other additives?

You want to make sure the meat you are getting is free from added hormones, antibiotics, sodium and other additives.  Too much sodium is bad for your pets.  You want their meat to be as clean and minimally processed as possible.

Some times grocery stores will have great deals on meat.  If you are tempted to buy the discounted meat be sure the sodium is less than 100g per 4oz of meat.  Any more sodium and it will be too much.

4.  How do I know if my pet is getting a balance raw feeding diet?

Ideally your pet’s diet should consist of :

10% organ

10% bone

80% meat

Your pets should be consuming several proteins and organs for a balanced raw feeding diet.  Start out slow.  Chicken is the way to start.  Feed chicken only for the first couple of weeks.  Once your pet has solid poo consistently you can start adding other proteins.  Add one protein at a time so you can monitor their reaction.

Once you have been able to successfully add several proteins you can start adding organ meat.  Again, slowly, a little at a time, building up to 10% organ.

5.  I have always been told not to feed my pet bone.  It splinters.  But now you’re telling me to feed bone?

The bones in your pet’s raw diet is UNCOOKED.  Cooked bones are brittle and will splinter.  The bones to stay away from are weight baring bones of large animals.  These bones are super dense and are hard enough to break teeth.

Bones help firm stool.  Some dogs can’t handle 10% bone in their meals.  You will need to watch the poo and adjust as needed.  If the stool is too runny add more bone.  If it comes out white and hard, feed less bone.

6.  What about raw feeding my cat?

All the yeses!  Cats do great with raw feeding.  They follow the basic principles of raw feeding dogs.  There are some differences which will be discussed in a separate blog.

These questions were compiled from a Facebook group I am a part of.  Many people ask these very questions all the time.  I would suggest you ask to be added to the closed Facebook group, read every document in the files tab, scroll through the posts and read as much as you can from the people in this group.  They are very knowledgeable.

*Disclaimer:  I am not a veterinarian or animal nutritionist.  This information is not meant to replace veterinary care.  If you have questions or health related issues with your pet please consult with your vet.