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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Cool Chicken bones?

Dear Members,

My name is Hernan and I recently took in two beautiful young Havanese dogs and I have been fervently researching how I can best feed them. These are the first dogs I have ever owned, and so my knowledge deficit was extensive! After much research, I decided on a commercially available raw frozen diet (Stella and Chewy's) and a dehydrated raw (Honest Kitchen).

My question is the following:

I recently discovered that I can place a whole, chicken in the slow cooker for 24 hours and that the bones soften and disintegrate to the point that I can mash them with a potato masher and the whole mixture becomes a mushy meal with no discernable bone fragments. I add this mixture to the Honest Kitchen dry mix. Does this homemade chicken meal concoction sound like a reasonable, healthy addition to feed? I figure that the bone meal I've made is healthy combined with the rest of the meat on the bird. The only thing that makes me nervous is all the warnings I've read about feeding cooked bones, even though the chicken bones have been completely pulverized.

I plan to start using "Embark". Does this chicken/bones addition throw off the calcium-phosphorous ratio of the food? Does it affect the balance of other nutrients in the food?

I also feed moderate amounts of raw organs and supplement with kelp, salmon oil and vitamin E.

However, it is the question about the slow-cooked chicken bones/meal that I really need the most guidance with.

Any experience with this? Thank you so much for your help!

Hernan
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2010, 07:55 AM
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Hi Hernan and to the forum,

I have had Gucci (my one and only Havanese, and first pet EVER, so I relate with you on that account) on a fresh meat/homecooked diet for about 2 years now.

I do feed her mostly chicken, either chicken breasts which I will cook every few days (bake, pan, boil) OR I will also put the whole chicken in a pot and boil it for an hour or two and then I'll pull the meat off the bone, use the stock to make soup for us humans, and toss the bones out.

I'm curious, why you want to feed the bones? I'd be afraid to, even though I have read some places about feeding them crushed/soft chicken bones, I still always worry that that one 'tough' or dangerous piece would end up in their intestines reaping havoc.

Since I use the smaller chickens, the meat feeds her for about 3-4 days, depending on her appetite. I've had a really hard time with getting her to eat veggies and fruit, so I have to mix supplements into rice cereal or risotto..or brown rice or here lately, I've been feeding her quinoa with the supplements/vitamins that she's lacking from her bull headed-ness to not eat veggies (I've tried and tried, but she'll just eat 'around' them, lol)

I did find one for a fresh meat diet that works well, I'll post the link in a bit, I just got called into work, so I've got to cut this short for now.

I can put together some helpful links for home-cooking if you are sure you want to go this route. I personally believe I can do a better job than the kibble companies and guarantee no contaminants

Kara
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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Hi Kara and thanks for your input! You asked why I want to feed the bones? I'm no nutritionist, but everything I have read points to the fact that dogs and canines in general derive a great deal of nutrition from the whole animal including organ meats and bones which provide calcium and nutrient-rich marrow. In fact it's key ingredient in most of the better commercial raw diets. I feed my Havs a commercial raw diet that includes bones (Stella and Chewy's). I would like to be able to grind raw meats and bones myself, but like most people, I don't have the equipment to do that. I do however have a Crock-Pot! So when I discovered that the chicken bones soften over 24hours in the Crock-Pot to the point that they can be completely pulverized by simply using a potato masher, I felt that I might have found a good alternative. Given the fact that muscle meats are high in phosphorous and that bones are high in calcium, feeding the bones is important to maintain the calcium/phosphorous balance. Too much of one or the other results in an unhealthy balance of these important minerals. I admit that my understanding of this is only rudimentary. This website might explain it better:
http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/breeding/calcium.htm
Anyway, that's probably a more long-winded answer than what you expected! I would love to have some guidance on making a wholesome, balanced homemade diet for my little furballs! So would you please send me those links?
Thanks, and I'm glad to be on the forum!
Hernan
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 05:10 PM
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Yes, that's where it gets tricky with natural meat diets, making sure all the nutrients are met, I have the phosp/calcium in the supplement I give her.

I've seen those studies before and the 'critics' will say that domesticated dogs have evolved to the point of not being able to ingest/digest and/or tolerate bacterias, etc that they encountered in the natural setting years ago. (I'm no expert and I'm not convinced one way or the other )

But I will say that every opinion out there on homecooked diet has an equal opinion against the theories of one group and it gets pretty confusing (and frustrating) with contradictory opinions on everything.

However, about a year into it..I had our vet run a blood panel on Gucci to check her nutrient levels (I forget what its called but I expressed that I wanted to know if the homecooked route was causing any deficiencies) and the She passed with flying colors, in fact..My vet said she had better results than some of the other 'healthy' kibble fed dogs she's seen and she wouldn't lecture me against it since I was doing okay... So if you are ever wondering how the electrolyte levels are fairing, they can test it for you.

Have you checked to see if a butcher could maybe grind it up for you? I haven't cooked a chicken for more than a few hours, but maybe it can even be cuisinart-ed? lol

Sounds like you'll do a fine job, and I do think that diet is everything, you can tell by their coats, their breath, their bowels, lol..and their behaviour

Kara
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2010, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hernan View Post
... In fact it's key ingredient in most of the better commercial raw diets. I feed my Havs a commercial raw diet that includes bones (Stella and Chewy's). I would like to be able to grind raw meats and bones myself, but like most people, I don't have the equipment to do that. I do however have a Crock-Pot! So when I discovered that the chicken bones soften over 24hours in the Crock-Pot to the point that they can be completely pulverized by simply using a potato masher...
Hernan
Hi -- I'm No specialist either, but one thing I've heard time and again is that the longer you cook things the more likely you are to cook those "vital nutrients" out. I mean 'Soft bones'??? How good could they be?

I would opt for raw pork - ham - beef bones myself.

I give Snickers the Holistic little bites diet, supplemented with a little plain Yogurt and cooked chicken, and once a week or so a ham bone. She loves spending time on the deck worrying that bone down to a nub, and she sure seems healthy enough.

Just an opinion from another owner.

Cheers!

Jim and Lynda and Snickers and the new P&P machine Snoopy.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 07:39 PM
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Herman,

If you want to feed bones-make them raw-I would never feed any type of cooked bones. I do think that the chicken bones can splinter and that would be horrible for your dogs.

Get them the wings of the chicken-break off the small wing part and let them chew on that. I also don't do rawhide of any type.

You can buy different types of bones from some great web-site for the "kids" to chew on.

This is all JMO
Pat (humom to)
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