Raw Diet?! to feed or not to feed?!?! there are pro's and con's, lets hear emm :)

    I am curious and want as many opinions as I can get on RAW diets?  I know some of the pros, but what is the down side?
What are a few tips and tricks of the trade?
Whats a good way to only supplement with RAW and not feed it entirely.
Do you feed only organic?
If you dont believe in RAW, why?
I am looking into this very deeply, and sometimes i just like real time thoughts rather then articles and such. so every thought counts please!
   

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Hi, we fed our dog raw food for the last 21 months of his life. He thrived on it. Incredible. We believe that may have contributed to his longer life after diagnosis. We wished we had done it years earlier; we'd heard of it but didn't know anything about it until we went to a holistic veterinarian. It's very pricey though. Maybe use some raw, some high end kibble.
We used a local brand called Arusha, all organic. Always fresh and flash frozen. There are many brands. Salmonella would be an issue if it is allowed to thaw and then refreeze or if the packer has issues.

We should have been feeding him this from the start. We did quick fry one side prior to feeding. We were also told we could make our own with organic meat. We chose to use the commercial brand as it's convenient. We used a bison with 20% veggie mix.

Conventional vets will tell you not to due to salmonella, and...because then you may not buy the kibble that they sell in the waiting room. I would suggest you do your homework.
You can buy it in frozen bags in little medallions that are easy to thaw and just mush up. They are complete and balanced. The company is called Nature's Variety, and you can mail order it if you can't find it near you. Try this website--it has lots of info just about feeding it too:

www.barfproducts.com

Dogs love it. The cats are on the fence so far, but the dogs absolutely adore it.
There was a recall on Nature's Variety due to salmonella contamination.
Oh snap. Good thing I bought the lamb this past time! Can't trust anyone.
I've used Nature's Variety freeze-dried medallions on longer backpacking trips to save weight. Add oil. Too expensive for our routine use.
Our regular Darwin's stuff, I thaw and repackage the ground raw meat in rations in small baggies, refreeze them inside an airtight O-ring seal screw-top plastic can. Buried inside the pack, this'll keep for 2-3 days in the mountains (there's often snow available, and nights are cold). It's absolute bear bait, but maybe no worse than kibble.
Raw meat diet seemed to cure our first corgi of the severe itching/chewing skin problems that may have been a consequence of food allergens (grains?) in the dog food. We stuck with it.
We have a local company (Darwin's, Seattle) that delivers frozen bricks of raw meat to our door in big re-used styro freezer boxes. I don't even want to know what we're paying for it. 1/2 cup twice daily. We add a SMALL (like, 1 tbs) bit of Wellness kibble, unnecessary but it softens the poops just a bit. We tried increasing the kibble at one point, that was OK but their poops and breath got smelly and I think their teeth/mouths were dirtier.
Their poops are small, firm, and much less smelly; a plus when you live in the city and have to pick them up.
They really seem to thrive on this.

Originally, we fed Sirius raw meat that we prepared ourselves, including giblets, smallish raw chicken drumsticks and wings and whole chicken necks. All of these were swallowed -- gulped -- whole -- with no problem, until one bad day when she was fed a turkey neck and choked to death. This is difficult to remember, but must not be forgotten. A tragedy. So beware of that.
We feed Ed and Gem Nature's Variety too(thanx for the recall info Sam)We go with the convenient medallions...take a days worth out of the freezer the nite b/f and put in the frig and it is ready to go. They get a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of Raw and dry(Canidae) because it is expensive to just go with the raw. I've had really good success so far with them maintaining their weight with this method.
You asked about the down side...the only down side I can think of is that you have to be more careful about keeping things clean..like washing their dish each and every time(cuz it is raw) I am a clean nut so I make sure to wash in hot, soapy water as soon as they are done eating. I do know of some who just throw the medallions out in the yard and their dogs just love to eat it up that way, but we like to monitor what they are eating so we don't. Oh I just thought of one more down side...you need to have access to a refrigerator so if you do a lot of camping, hiking etc. I guess that could be an issue, although we just stick it in a cooler when we go and it is fine. Hope this helps!
One thing to keep in mind is whether or not you will be expecting other people to watch your dog. If you travel and have dog-sitters or board at a kennel, you would need to consider whether the other people feeding your dog would be able to keep up with the raw.

You also need to watch for bacteria; I'm a fanatic about cleaning after handling raw meat. I personally don't like the idea of giving it to my dogs and having them have it on paws and snouts and stuff, though I respect that others have a different view.

You also need to be really careful about maintaing balance of key nutrients; you need to follow a specific plan and not just give them random pieces of meat. Someone just posted their dog got malnourished on their first attempt at raw, until they started following a plan. Keep in mind that things like calcium and phosphorous need to maintain a proper ratio to each other, so just adding vitamin supplements is not necessarily enough. Think of days of yore where well-fed people got scurvy or rickets from missing key nutrients.

For me, it would be too much work. I don't cook for myself and my husband half the time, let alone prepare meals for my dogs! But to each his own. Some of the extravagant claims of raw proponents actually make me less likely, rather than more likely, to explore it, to be perfectly honest.
For dogsitters, just prepare regular rations in little baggies that can be thawed one-at-a-time. I collect screw-cap plastic jars for this.
Yes, there are sanitation issues. Keep meat on the bottom shelf in a leakproof bin. I'd expect parasites to be more of an issue than bacteria -- this is why we invented cooking in the first place -- the stuff we buy is allegedly human-grade. Right.
It's very easy when you buy the frozen patties. You just take them out of the freezer the night before. Our dogs health was the most important thing to us anyway. While we were away our sitters easily used the raw. It cost us about 14.00 per pack of 8 so ya, about 120.00 a month. I read that feeding a dog a diet of only dry kibble is akin to us eating dry cereal forever. The new school is also about using some moist food. Just an aside; my little cat lived 23+ years (yes, I had her the whole time) and I attribute it to the fact that she never ate kibble. It is deadly on the kidneys. I don't care how much fresh clean water is supplied.
I sent dogs away with handlers and traveled with raw and use dog sitters LOTS. Now that there are grain-free kibbles easily available we use that in combination with Bravo, but I never had anyone object to feeding it. When we had our house fire last year the boarding kennel offered to feed raw too, but they asked us to provide it and they were an hour away and we couldn't make it work, so the dogs got good kibble, But they were VERY willing to do it.

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