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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
 
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Conflicting Advice on Raw vs. Kibble

Me again. Sorry! I could use some experienced input, particularly from long time raw feeders.

I was planning on feeding raw, probably the Nature's Variety Medallions, since they are readily available nearby. I fed my Yorkie raw from the time she was 4 to about 14, at which point we had to start cooking her food because she couldn't seem to digest it. Her kidneys started to fail around that age, and I kept her going with subcutaneous fluids far too long. In retrospect, I know I was missing things with that homemade diet (didn't know about NV then, if it existed), and I was not giving her any raw bones. I don't think she got enough nutrients, particularly minerals, even though I was giving her supplements, oils and enzymes. She still never got cancer, diabetes, tumors, or any of the weird people diseases that a lot of dogs get, and was fairly energetic well into her latest years, but she did lose most of her teeth and had some bacterial infections in her mouth. That could be because despite dentals and brushing as best I could, she was not getting the bones. Actually, she already had bad teeth at 4 yrs. old, so I don't even know if she could have chewed them when we started her on raw at that age. I read one article on a dog that had bone fragments in its stomach from raw bone, so the bones still make me nervous, but it sounds like a lot of people do it.

I want make sure with this dog that if I'm doing raw, I've got all the nutritional bases covered.

The breeder I think I'm getting my puppy from says she used to do raw, home made, etc., but she says she was having health problems crop up on that and she has switched to Purina Pro Plan, which works for her to keep her dogs healthy. She says she has a friend who feeds expensive, grain-free commercial foods, but her dogs are not as healthy, either. I don't know the nature of the health problems she's talking about, but I still can't get my head around the idea that kibble or canned is better than raw. I mean the right raw, properly handled and prepared in a balanced way that best simulates a well rounded, wild diet. I know that wild dogs and wolves don't eat grains unless they get it partially or pre-digested in the intestines of their prey. I know they eat organs and all the nasty bits I don't like on my kitchen counter, but I'm willing to do that for her, which is why I thought I'd go with the NV or similar, and add things occasionally like green tripe, kelp, hearts, cod liver oil, etc.

Daniel, I know you do all raw. Have you, or do you know people who have done it for many years successfully with healthy, strong, disease-resistant dogs? I'm always baffled when I meet or hear about dogs who are living to 17 years old on kibble and are apparently healthy. It goes against common sense for me, and yet how do you explain that.... ?

Does anyone know if the Nature's Variety is a complete, balanced diet? I think I would add some of the things mentioned above, anyway, but does that sound like the right approach?

Sorry this is so long. I'm one of those obsessive dog owners who feels terribly guilty when I mess up. Can you tell I don't have kids? lol! I'd be totally gray by now if I did.
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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 01:36 PM
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You are always going to get conflicting information on dog feeding, especially from breeders & pet owners. If you want some solid info, I'd recommend you talk to a canine nutritionist and you'll still get varying opinions even among them.

I am a kibble feeder, but I commend you on considering a commercial product rather than making it yourself. I just went to one seminar where the speaker was saying that she would advocate home-cooked if (and this was a big if) every person would stick to the original recipe that was created by the expert that evaluated/made it, but most of us get lazy with time and eventually eliminate this or substitute that, and the recipe changes with time leaving gaps in the nutritional needs of the dog. It is just human nature to tweak or skip things with time.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 05:17 PM
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I know 2 raw feeders who's dogs are around 7-10yrs old and their dogs are very healthy. Never had any problems.

There's a wealth of information on the internet. Also if you go to the Tollden Farms website, they have a case study of a dog that was ill from a variety of factors and how raw feeding brought back his health. It documents the feeding over a year I believe.

You could also read Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs. He has 26yrs experience as a vet and is a big raw feeder advocate.

Bogart is 2.5yrs and Brando is 1.5yrs and neither have had any problems to date. Teeth are shiny white, coats are shiney, and health is great according to the vet.

Keep in mind that just because someone cooks for their dog doesn't mean the dog is getting a healthy diet. You have to ask what is being fed. Are you feeding appropriate meat and organs? Proper vegetables? Fruit? Most raw feeders are moving away from feeding fruit. Supplements?

Chances are if your parents never had kids...you won't either...

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 06:15 PM
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2 of my guys eat the raw. My little princess Bella won't touch the stuff. The boys are still young, 3 & 2, but have not had any problems. I feed Primal, as they would not touch the NV. NV is more meat and Primal is, I think, about 30% organic veg., mixed in with muscle meat. I believe they changed their formula, because my guys were not keen on it for awhile. I just got a bag and the nugget looked a bit different. Now, they are eating it without any hesitation.





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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi Daniel, thanks very much for the book recommendations. I actually just got back from a grocery shopping trip and stopped into a pet boutique on the way where they sell natural home made organic dog treats, etc. I'm even more confused and frustrated because I talked to a woman there who does nutritional counseling for both people and pets, and she says she doesn't do raw or believe in it because it is too much protein which is hard on the kidneys, that in the wild dogs would dig up roots and tubers and eat plants also (really?), and that anyway due to years and years of breeding and exposure to all the chemicals, vaccinations and crap that we are all exposed to, they are already compromised and not like wild dogs anymore. She doesn't believe in any commercial food, it sounds like she feeds a primarily vegetarian, home cooked diet with herbs and supplements, and wild salmon. She feeds some tofu for protein, but I've read many reports that soy is pretty much toxic to both people and animals. She does do grains, but only certain ones, no wheat or corn. Also that you have to rotate proteins once a month. She wouldn't tell me much else without my signing up for a $95 consultation.

I'm having a minor freakout because I want to get it right, but that part about too much protein does make me wonder if that's why my Yorkie's kidneys failed, and I think it may have started sooner than I realized.

I have heard stories, also, of dogs improving health problems when switched to raw, but it's hard to know if that's mainly because they got off of processed food?

I was really hoping to feed the NV medallions, since I thought that was a complete nutritional profile, for the most part. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, a lot like I felt when I was trying to figure this out for my previous dog, it was a huge stressor and I know I don't have the time or energy to do really elaborate food preparation for my dog, I just need it to be easier than that, and yet I can't get my head around processed kibble. It doesn't make sense to me, but now I'm not sure about the raw, either.

I will check out those books you recommended... all these questions are part of what has stopped me from getting the dog this past year, I wanted to feel prepared. I don't know, maybe I need more time for homework.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 06:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi Linda, do you get the Primal locally? I don't think I can buy it around here. Is it frozen? This is where I'd wonder if I could cut the NV with more vegetables to reduce the protein, but I'm assuming that would then throw off the balance. I wonder if there is an effective vitamin supplement that can plug the nutritional holes. I take vitamins, but I wonder sometimes how well I'm digesting and processing them, a lot of it seems to depend on companion nutrients, digestion, etc. Maybe NV for one meal, then the next meal is cooked including some grains and steamed veggies or something.
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 07:11 PM
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Petaluna, I am a little concerned about the "expert advice" you got from that woman at the store you went to. O.k., so I don't have a degree in canine nutrition, but I've spent many months and a gazillion hours perusing the internet, books, picking breeders', nutritionists' and dog owners' brains to get to a point where I think I know at least a little about the subject! I work part-time in a health food store for cats and dogs, so let's just say I'm exposed to this topic quite often. Of course I don't pretend to know it all. That would be impossible and I learn every week which I think is great.

What I did learn about ash content and high protein levels in kibble is that it USED to be that the ash level in this type of food was very high because companies included a lot of bone in the mix. That results in a high ash level which can cause kidney and/or liver issues. What reputable companies that make wholesome food you can trust NOW do, though, is not include so much bone, which greatly reduces the ash content so there is no fear of causing kidney/liver issues. The high-protein kibble will not cause those problems! If the dog ALREADY has those issues, then a high-protein kibble is not recommended, but they are completely safe for all other dogs. In fact, they are better for some dogs than lower protein diets.

So, you still get some people fearful of high protein, but there is no cause for it.

To understand what goes into dog food, and how to understand labels, this site is very informative and worth reading: http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index....e=labelinfo101 Label Information 101 - Interpreting Pet Food Labels

I totally agree with you that raw is probably best for the vast majority of dogs. I'm not convinced soy protein is a good thing either. O.k., so dogs aren't exactly like the wild wolves, it's true. I do think, however, that their diets based on the wild dogs, can help them live long, healthy lives if we feed what is most natural for a dog.

Sure, we can all think of many dogs that lived 10 and 15 years and only ate Iams, or Purina or what have you, but that's like saying "My great-g'dad smoked 3 packs/day and lived 'til he was 95!" - which in my case is true! lol) Does that mean smoking is OKAY? My mom will sometimes say "Well, we fed you pablum in a bottle and you survived!" I mean, c'mom! NO one used seat belts 40 years ago, so does that mean it was smart?! lol If someone is going to argue about nutrition with you, then he/she should at least say things based on fact, statistics and well..... gut instinct, I think! Follow your gut, Petaluna!

I dont' have studies nearby that can back some of my arguments, and I know that some dogs just don't do well on raw. We have some Havs in this forum who either got sick on the raw or who were not flourishing on that type of diet. Fine. Find out what works best for you, your family and your dog and do the research to help back you up when some of your friends and relatives and vets start blasting you for doing something so horrid as feeding a chicken neck to your 10 lbs. Havanese!!

Here are other sites to check out: http://leerburg.com/feedingarawdiet.htm

http://www.rawfed.com/myths/index.htm

http://www.professorshouse.com/pets/...w-feeding.aspx

I'm sure there are many cases of dogs living 15+ years on this diet.




Hello. My name is marj and I have MHS.




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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Havtahava View Post
You are always going to get conflicting information on dog feeding, especially from breeders & pet owners. If you want some solid info, I'd recommend you talk to a canine nutritionist and you'll still get varying opinions even among them.

I am a kibble feeder, but I commend you on considering a commercial product rather than making it yourself. I just went to one seminar where the speaker was saying that she would advocate home-cooked if (and this was a big if) every person would stick to the original recipe that was created by the expert that evaluated/made it, but most of us get lazy with time and eventually eliminate this or substitute that, and the recipe changes with time leaving gaps in the nutritional needs of the dog. It is just human nature to tweak or skip things with time.
I totally agree with what Kimberly said, about what some people do when they feed a homecooked diet. There is nothing wrong with feeding "people" food, but it has to be part of a balanced diet and you need to supplement with vitamins, egg shells, bone, oils, plants, etc... for it to be of benefit to the dog. It requires some studying and consistent measuring.

I have nothing against kibble and feed it to my two, but I am trying to get them to have a mostly raw diet, in addition to feeding kibble for convenience sake. So far, they've had raw meaty bones 4 times in 3 weeks and already some of their tartar is gone and their poop is drier and fewer.




Hello. My name is marj and I have MHS.




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“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” -Guillaume Apollinaire"
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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hi Marj, thank you so much for your comments, it makes so much sense what you are saying, and I thought the same thing about her, but she claims she's distilled her techniques from many books and published papers on canine nutrition and alternative health. What you mentioned about the ash in the kibble from bone... is it a problem that the NV has bones, and then feeding them raw meaty bones, as well? Or does the ash only occur with cooking the bone?

I really have no idea why my yorkie's kidneys failed. I put her on raw when she was about 4. She didn't develop obvious problems until late in life, but in retrospect I wonder if it started sooner. I was not giving her any bone at all, just raw meat and veggies, with some oils and supplements, but I DID give her well cooked oatmeal and rice, which I know is not part of a raw diet, though at the time I thought it was appropriate - I might have been very wrong about that. So she did have plenty of raw protein. I also thought the bone was for calcium, and the hunched back she developed by the time she was 9 or 10 could have been from bone loss or actually, what I've read, could indicate kidney pain, though her tests didn't show a problem. She had some mildly elevated numbers on liver testing, as I recall, by the time she was 10 or 11.

Basically, I have this burning need to know exactly what I'm going to do to get this dog off to a healthy start and stay on a healthy path, and I'm all off kilter now because I realize I haven't got all my ducks in a row, and I'm afraid to commit before that cause dogs are like people to me, and I feel responsible for giving them the best life and best health that I can. I spent so much money and had so much stress over my last dog, tremendous guilt for not getting it right with her and all the mistakes I made. Right now it feels like "here I go again...."

Wise words, though, thank you so much. I have a lot to think about, including whether I'm too crazy to be a good dog mom right now.
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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 07:48 PM
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I also have to say I'm a little concerned about this "expert advice" you got. Some of the stuff she says doesn't make sense. Keep in mind the issue with high protein in the past was the source of the protein not the amount. Here's a white paper on it which is a very good read. http://www.championpetfoods.com/orij...hite_paper.pdf

Also keep in mind that if you feed a raw chicken breast, it's only about 26% protein and lots of moisture. But it's protein that is easily digestable. As to the digging up of roots, I've never heard that. But a small amount of botanicals are good for dogs and are preferred over fruit. Typically a dog would get it from it's prey's stomach though.

Obviously most of the food we feed our pets is full of chemicals, raw or kibble. But at least with raw you can choose to buy organic chicken or beef, but it will be costly. To be honest with you, there's no need to freakout. If you feed a very good kibble and maybe supplement it, a balanced home cooked meal, or raw, I'm sure you are doing well by your Hav. We all try to do the best we can with the amount of information we have as well as the size of our wallet and our lifestyle.

Chances are if your parents never had kids...you won't either...
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