kachoom avatar image

Raw Feeding Update

I should warn you guys that I have inadvertently written you a novel here. As I state at the bottom of this post, I guess I had a lot to say about this. =)

I’m a pretty new poster but have been reading this board for a while (and love it). I know there are at least a few folks who have either been feeding their bulldogs a raw diet or thinking about switching them to one. Accordingly, I thought I would update everyone on my own two bullies’ (Eddie and Alex. Yes, after Van Halen =P) ongoing transition from a combination of kibble and commercial raw to a full diet of non-commercial raw, in case anyone might find it interesting or helpful. When I started, I was over-confident in my pair’s ability to switch with no complications, resulting in the spectacular and horrifying diarrhea fireworks that I then, traumatized, shared in this post:

http://www.bulldogsworld.com/f/bulldog-medical-health/raw-food-runs#comment-1649009

After doing a ton of reading, I decided to begin anew by starting the dogs on a probiotic and initially feeding them items with heavier bone content, in the hopes that doing so would stabilize my guys’ stools (bone, apparently, is a binding agent, and loose stools may mean that dogs are not consuming enough of it; I should also mention that I follow PMR, rather than BARF guidelines, although I do supplement with fish oil and vitamin E). For two days, I fed them each an 8-ounce chicken back as a morning and evening meal, and lo and behold, things firmed up nicely. Incidentally, people weren’t kidding when they warned me that raw feeders eventually become poop experts. If anyone had told me a month ago that there would come a day when the sight of my dogs’ feces would have the power to make me clap my hands and jump up and down in glee, I would have referred them to a mental health counselor. However, that’s apparently what I do now – get all excited and try to high five my confused (and somewhat appalled) husband. Over dog poop.

Once Eddie and Alex’s digestive systems seemed to have stabilized somewhat, I switched to rotating them through chicken backs and chicken leg quarters. This worked well for the first week, but soon, come bathroom-break time, I found myself standing out in the back yard with two depressed-looking, straining, and mildly constipated bullies. I took this as an indication that I was now feeding too much bone and have since switched to giving each dog one bone-in meal in the morning and one boneless meal (chicken breasts) in the evening. As of now, their stools are just about perfect, so I’ll remain on this schedule until I see a need to tweak again. We’ve started our third week on raw, so I’ve just begun introducing a second meat source in the form of turkey necks. Because Eddie and Alex have responded well to them, I’ll keep alternating those and chicken backs as their morning meals. Next week, if things continue to go well, I’ll start alternating evening meals between boneless chicken and boneless pork.

Interestingly enough, the dogs and I paid a visit to the bulldog vet yesterday to follow up on an eye issue for which Eddie had recently been treated. I have yet to inform him about The Big Diet Experiment, because I’m scared he’ll lecture me about having lost my mind and report me to the SPCA or something. He commented on how much better their coats looked this time and on the fact that Alex’s yeast problems appear to have improved significantly. He then offered, as usual, to express their anal glands and was amazed by how little material he was able to produce (the husband and I, meanwhile, exchanged a look of amazement about the fact that what he did manage to get out did not nearly require the building to be evacuated. The last time the vet did this for our dogs, a vet tech came in and explained that several people had requested he spray air deodorizer around. This time, it didn’t smell AT ALL).

So, thus far, the benefits of raw feeding seem to include fewer allergies and yeast-related problems, improved coat health, and poop that is tiny and odor-free (I’ll admit I did not buy that last one when I heard people talk about it until I experienced it for myself). I’ll also add that I have never seen my dogs this excited about eating (this is not a big deal for Alex the Garbage Disposal, who has always eaten anything we put in front of him. However, it’s huge for Eddie, who is a little princess about food and whom we had to “tough love” into eating commercial raw but who now stampedes towards the food towel every time I open the fridge. On this diet, he has already gained the remainder of the five pounds I have been trying to put on him for years and is now a beautiful 52 pounds).

As for any negatives…I will say that raw feeding takes more planning and preparation than feeding kibble or commercial raw, and that this can be inconvenient (especially if your husband acts like a squicked-out little girl at the thought of handling raw food and likes to watch the feeding but routinely leaves it for you to actually carry out when you come home from class at 8:30 PM). I will also share that the transition to raw can be extremely emotional for some people (i.e., me), because a lack of experience contributes to worrying about any adverse reaction that your dogs may have and quickly concluding that it can mean only one thing: That you are killing them with your ignorance and your wacky ideas.

My other big fear was that the dogs would vacuum their food down whole and die. I’m not kidding, people – I researched and practiced the doggie Heimlich maneuver AND learned the route to the emergency animal hospital closest to my house before gingerly offering each dog their first piece of bone-in chicken. I also burst into tears the first time each dog had to work a little to hork up a chunk of food he hadn’t chewed well enough the first time, not realizing this was normal. The hard-core raw feeders on some of the online bulletin boards and groups I’ve frequented would probably turn their noses up at the way I still hover a bit and the fact that I’ll still often swoop in to manually help a dog if he looks like he’s about to do something stupid with his food. However, I’m definitely beginning to see that, with close supervision and adherence to feeding them appropriate bone-in meats (i.e., nothing small enough to be swallowed whole or large and hard enough to crack teeth), my dogs are actually very safe.

Ultimately, this process has been very much worth it for me and my guys, and I’m very excited to see how they continue to do on it. I apologize for the lengthy post – I guess I had a lot to say about this! =)

Susie, Eddie, and Alex

 

2bds2010's picture

Good for you

That is great news!! It has been 3 weeks so far for us. I am not brave enough to feed primal. It sure would be alot easier.....I have been coursely grinding chicken with the bone. I use equal amounts of bone in breast and leg quarters(=perfect poops). 20-30 lbs at a time then freeze in containers. I recently tried a bag of Sojo's vege blend. Its a air dried vege/fruit blend that you add water to. They love it.....So, can I say that when we got our 1st bullie that I thought we were doomed with the stink, the yeastie eyes, wiping butts everytime they came into the house, massive shedding, massive gas. Gosh, I could go on and on.....Feed raw and it will all go away!! I too was at the vets office and in the waiting room full of all these stinkie, tear stained bulldogs was my beauty. Severval people made comments on how good he looked. "Wow, he doesnt have any stains". "You must work really hard on his cleanings". I had to giggle....Its RAW people...Try it.....The best thing for bullies......

Carol and Kofi's picture

Glad to see that it's going so well for you!

You've given me some great tips! Love my grinder, although I also feed backs and miss cut chicken breasts without grinding. That Sojo's sounds interesting. I may give it a try. Kofi's going to puppy camp for a week next month, so I may need some pre-packaged for that time.

Love to hear how your guys are doing!

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

Yay!

I'm so glad to hear that things are going well for you also (I remember that it was your raw feeding post to which I initially responded with my first story). I am so happy to see that there is potential reprieve from the health problems that often plague our bullies. =)

judy wilson's picture

thank you

your doing a wonderful job....and your experience is normale...and its what keeps people from feeding raw...getting away from the old wives tales...your going the right way...take your time and have fun...i love feeding raw becasue it is fun the dogs are happier...and as you have seen for your self their health is starting to improve as well...your story was great and i hope it helps others to see the true benefits of feeding a raw diet...thanks again....its always good to hear the good and the problems it makes others know oh ok i am doing it right...

keep up the great work and keep us posted.....

Carol and Kofi's picture

Hi Judy, I love

that picture! Is he saying....."now Mommy?"

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

Thank you as well...

...for your supportive feedback! I've learned a ton by reading your previous exchanges with Carol and Cathy, and those posts were a big part of what finally helped me feel brave enough to take the plunge. I will definitely keep everyone updated. =)

Susie, Eddie, and Alex

Katie and Chumlee MN's picture

Thank you for sharing

I am not a raw feeder although I am extremely fascinated by it.  I love reading about it and learning about it.  These updates are awesome the longer the better! 

 

<3

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Skasqueeeeeeakaaay!!

 

Katie & Chumlee


Carol and Kofi's picture

I agree! They are some

cleverly written experiences for sure!

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

It's nice to know...

...that people actually read all of that! It's so comforting to be able to discuss these things with other bulldog owners. There is something really fascinating about raw feeding - I spent about a month or so just reading and thinking about it before I finally dove in. =)

Susie, Eddie, and Alex

Carol and Kofi's picture

Hi Susie, I enjoyed

reading your post. I love to hear the experiences of others on raw.

Kofi will be three months on raw the 19th. She is also doing wonderful. I have become much more relaxed about her feeding schedule. She has had a hard time with the turkey necks, so I exclude them. I grind and also make sure she gets raw meaty bones three or four times a week.

It does take a bit more time, I agree, but the results are so worth it. Actually, when I figure in the time it took me to travel across town for her kibble, and how disgusted I was that they never had the size bag I wanted, I believe feeding raw is easier for me.

I still feed mostly chicken, but beef and pork every week or so.

Have fun, and keep us posted! I love hearing about the positive health benefits. Kofi had only developed a slight seasonal allergy, and had no problem with the anuls, so I am encouraged by the improvement that others are seeing.

Hugs to your guys.

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

I'm glad...

...that you enjoyed my post - after you posted to my initial one, I went and found the book you suggested (I actually was able to download it directly to my Kindle). It was a very quick read, and I found it really helpful. I agree that the results are worth any additional time commitment, as is the fun of getting to put actual thought into your dogs' meals and the pleasure of watching them chow down on something they really enjoy. I'm really excited about the idea of getting to the point where I can introduce more variety into Eddie and Alex's food (but am forcing myself to go slowly, so that I don't create problems). Thanks for the support!

Susie, Eddie, and Alex

CathyandAudrey's picture

Glad to her it's going so well!

I remember how I dreaded telling my vet I was rawfeeding. He really wasn't too concerned at all about it so I was SO relieved. He did say not to feed her meat only, and to include veggies, but I never feed her veggies.

Good to see your poopy issues are resolved :-) Isn't it nice to NOT have your dog's gas blow you out of the house on a regular basis? And SO awesome that your vet noticed a difference also!

I only feed small amounts of bone, mixed with her boneless meat. Since I only have one dog to feed now, she has been getting a lot of beef, this week it's boneless chuck. I keep all her food in a plastic bin in the fridge, we don't usually freeze her food once it's cut/chopped. Except for the organs, they get frozen in small baggies and a week or so's worth taken out at a time.

The only bone she gets is chicken bone, and my husband chops it with a huge cleaver for her. She is missing most of her chomping back teeth, (they just never grew in!) so she really struggles with whole chicken peices.

She does get fish oil as a supplement, and I also give her digestive enzymes/probiotics with every meal.

For parasite control she gets diatomaceous earth with every meal, and garlic in the morning every other week. In between garlic weeks she gets her Heartworm Free. (it has garlic in it and I don't want to give her too much).

Audrey consistantly looks fantasic, with very little grooming efort. No more need to have the baby wipes to clean her butt after each poopy trip! Her coat is soft and shiny and she only sheds seasonally now. I LOVE the results on raw! It may take more time than scooping kibble out of a bag, but she is SO worth it.

 

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Cathy and Audrey  

I recently started raw too so I enjoy reading all your

raw updates...but we are having some gas issues now on the raw-never really had that before and with 4 of them in the house-WHEW!!!

I am feeding ground turkey with the original Sojo's and added varied veggies...any suggestions on the gas issue would be helpful:)

Carol and Kofi's picture

How long have you been feeding raw?

I started Kofi on chicken, ground turkey should be good too. I'm not really familiar with Sojo's, but I know that some veggies can cause gas. I would think if you feed a variety, that you should be fine.

A good probiotic to boost the good bacteria in the gut and/or digestive enzymes are good to use in the beginning. I also use yogurt from time to time. I always add unpasterurized  ACV to the mix to get friendly bacteria also.

Kofi has been eating raw for three months now, and has very little gas. In the beginning it may be a problem, but once your guys adjust, it will be so much better than the kibble diet.

Hope this helps. Keep us posted. I love to hear from the raw feeders!

 

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

I will second...

...Carol's thought that a little more time may ease the gas issue. My two had HORRIBLE gas the first week or so, but it seems to have leveled off over the past two weeks, and we only experience the occasional silent-but-deadly moment lately. I'm hoping that with more time, even these will fade into distant memories. =P

Susie, Eddie, and Alex

2bds2010's picture

Sojo's Blend

I recently started with the sojo's grain free fruit and vege blend. It has Broccoli in it. That may be what is causing the gas. My girl had a touch of gas when she started but now seems good with it. Im on my first bag and really like it (so do the dogs) . It has added calcium to even out the bone ratio in raw feeding. Its very easy. I am also going to try Honest Kitchen's  vege blend when Im done with this bag. They are based out of San Diego, Ca and it sounds awesome.

kachoom's picture

Thanks for describing your

Thanks for describing your storage system (and posting a photo of it - I just saw the one in your other post). That's really helpful, because I'm still trying to figure mine out. Right now, everything is bagged into two-serving portions in my freezer. I take two days or so of baggies out at a time and thaw it out in a dish in my fridge (with an opaque plastic cover over it, so as not to offend my husband's delicate sensibilities. He has particular difficulty withstanding the sight of turkey necks =P). I still get nervous with the bone-in meats, and I actually bought a mallet in case I wanted to whack the bones for the dogs to break them up a little beforehand. I think the dental benefits remain, even if the bone is cut or chopped up, because they still get to chomp them (and I've heard that raw meat itself has enzymes in it that help their teeth). That's always an option, for sure. The picture of your girl as a puppy always makes me smile. =)

Raw Feeding

I know, another post about raw feeding!

So, I'm slowly convincing my husband to let me switch to raw. I figured my best bet was you ask those experianced bully owners for more information. Like how many times a day, general amount (Tank is setting at a solid 66-70lbs.) Price range? Right now he gets two cups of Purina One, twice a day. For a 18lb bag, it's nearly $25. I want to keep my boy as healthy as possible, and out here in Korea, there are NO experianced bully vets.

Anything is helpful!

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Wouldn't know that he just got a brandnew $60 bed! My forever puppy Tank.

Carol and Kofi's picture

Hi ShadowAnn

You may want to start a new post with any raw questions, so your post won't be missed.

Kofi has been on raw for three months. It has proven to be much more convenient for me. When you figure in savings on vet bills, raw feeding is probably much more economical.

I always suggest the book that gave me the confidence to just go raw all the way. It is Raw Dog Food, Make it Easy for You and Your Dog, by Carina Beth MacDonald. It is a fun easy read, and I think you can purchase it to read on the internet.

You really do need to read up and learn all you can. It is not a hard thing to do, but to get the proper proportions of meat, bones and organ meat, it takes some research. Carina makes it easy and stress free.

She feeds four dogs raw, and says the cost is comparable to kibble. 

The benefits for Kofi have been, thicker coat, seasonal allergies gone, no gunky eyes, no doggy odor, very little shedding, clean and healthy teeth and gums (a biggie in the canine world), fewer and odorless poops.....and she LOVES it.

You will find lots of support here, so don't hesitate to ask. I think you will get the most info from the RPM (raw prey model) for canine sites. That's what I found, anyway.

Hope this helps, and don't forget to post above in new post, so we won't miss you.

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Kofi and Carol

 

kachoom's picture

One site I found helpful...

...when I started was the following:

http://preymodelraw.com/how-to-get-started/

It talks a lot about guidelines for how much to feed, as well as providing some suggestions about how to get started, week-by-week. The book that Carol mentioned is also excellent. I hope this helps!

Susie, Eddie, and Alex