Feeding dogs


Here at The Swamp, we have been feeding raw long before there ever was a Swamp in our lives! When we first started we tried to make our own with ground beef, veggies and bone dust. It was a huge amount of work and very little variety. We then heard about a company that was making raw and we started buying from them. Over time the quality decreased to the point that the dogs wouldn’t even look at it let alone eat it. At that point we decided that we would feed raw meaty bones (RMBs) exclusively. At least doing this we knew the dogs’ food was human grade. We found a great store in East Van that stocked all sorts of different types of meat. Beef lung, pig snouts and rabbit could be found there. Once we moved from East Van it became harder to source human-grade RMBs that didn’t break the bank.

Last week we finally made it out to Surrey Meat Packers. We intended to strictly buy RMBs however, we were blown away by the quality of their ground raw. It looked fabulous and nothing like the brown/grey slurry we had seen before. We bought chicken, lamb and beef ground. We didn’t get any with veg as our dogs get lots from us when we eat. We debated the wisdom of buying all this ground raw without making sure the dogs would eat it first.

A week later and we (and the dogs) couldn’t be happier. Everyone has embraced the new food. Some of it is a little different, like the green tripe, but most of them ate that yesterday without problem. We still supplement with some RMBs as it is important for the dogs to have to use their minds and jaws to eat their food. The best part is that Stevie Ray is being exposed to so many different foods and she is embracing all of them!

If you feed raw, Surrey Meat Packers (with a location in Burnaby as well) is an excellent source for all sorts of great meat for your dogs.

Disclosure: I have received nothing from Surrey Meat Packers for this blog. I like the products.

Jesse update: When will the vets learn?

Jesse went to the vet this week as part of our annual get all the dogs to vet month that started in September. I want to flash back to a little less than 18 months when Jesse came to live with us. His back legs were in bad shape due to botched cruciate ligament surgery, he had moderate kidney disease and he was in pain. He was unable to walk very well as he little to no muscle mass in his back legs. There was a huge question mark on whether he would even be able to live pain free even on tramadol and metacam. In short he was a mess with a poor prognosis.

Over the past year and a half we have successfully transitioned Jesse to raw from his beloved kibble and canned. He is a great raw eater once he knew what to do with it. We spent time building his muscle mass and making sure he wasn’t in pain. We made sure he didn’t over play and need metacam very often, as it is hard on the kidneys.

When he saw his regular vet the other day she could not believe the transformation. He was much calmer in the office. She said his legs looked great and that he had gained just the right amount of weight. He had blood work done to see how he was faring with his kidney disease. When the vet called with the results it turns out that his kidney numbers had improved significantly as in, almost to the high end of normal. I asked the vet who called[1] what would cause his numbers to reverse so much. He said a low protein diet and good hydration could help. I told him he was eating a diet of raw meaty bones. His only comment was that we should add more vegetables.

Here is the thing, vets, as we know, get precious little nutrition education. They seem to labour under the delusion that raw meat is high in protein. Raw meat is actually 70% water. Jess doesn’t need more vegetable. Clearly what he is eating is healing and nourishing his body in all the right ways. He does not need a special lower protein diet and he certainly does not need more veg in his diet.

[1] We got a multi-vet practice.

Evangelism at The Swamp

Over the years, I have been accused of militancy in many areas of my life. It started when my friend Joe told me I was a musical imperialist. This came about on a trip driving from Calgary to Vancouver. We did not have the same taste in music.[1] We decided that we would alternate playing a tape.[2] A problem arose when he would start a tape and asked me if I liked it and I would say no. He would try another one and I would still hate it. Then he gave up. I told him to just play his music and it would be fine but he said he couldn’t enjoy it if I hated it. Clearly this all worked out in my favour![3]

I can be a bit like a dog with a bone when I find something I really love. Of course I think this is a good thing. I like to spread the word so to speak. So here are 5 things I am a bit evangelical about:

  • Raw Feeding– it took me a long time to come around to the idea of feeding our dogs raw meat on bones. I finally agreed to it when one of our Shih Tzus had to have a bladder stone removed at age 5. When I saw the stone it looked exactly like a piece of Iams kibble that she had been eating her entire life. I did a lot of research about what causes these stones to form and I learned that her system needed to be more acidic if we did not any more stones to form. Kibble fed dogs have a higher pH because of the carbs in their food. The only way to get a more acidic environment was to feed raw. Se we jumped in and we have never looked back. Our dogs are happier and healthier and our vet bills are much lower. I have written several posts about raw feeding if anyone is interested: herehere, here, and here.
  • Nasal Rinsing – another friend of mine had been trying to convince me to use a neti pot for years to deal with my allergies. I was really suffering once we moved to Maple Ridge because of all the hay. My doctor referred me to an allergist who did some skin scrapings. Unfortunately, due to my ulcerative colitis I am on immune suppressant drugs and he couldn’t get a reaction. So he told me to rinse my nasal passages daily with a Neil Med bottle. I have not looked back. I do this faithfully every day. I also spread the word whenever someone is having allergy problems.
  • Hopcott’s Meat – we have the best meat store relatively close to us. It is all hormone and antibiotic free and it tastes really good.
  • Crocheting – I have become reacquainted with crocheting. I used to do a lot in my 20s and 30s but had stopped for some reason.[4] I find it much more relaxing than watching TV and being on the computer. I can almost get into a Zen-like phase as I create something. Here are some pictures of projects I have completed recently:
Dragon in filet. Pattern circa 1900
Baby blanket
Realta Afghan
  • Apple – my first computer was a Mac Plus. It had no hard drive and 2mb of RAM. Around 1995, I decided to get a PC as I was discovering I had a knack for computers. I even had my own mobile computer repair business for a little while.[5] I stuck with PCs until about 2009. I had noticed over the years that every PC I had became really slow no matter how much RAM or how fast the CPU was. It was infuriating. I did some research and apparently as Windows degrades the machine slows down.[6] The only answer was to format and re-install windows every year. I was not into doing that. The other answer was to get a Mac. I already had an iPod, iPhone and an iPad so I knew the quality of Apple’s products. So I made the leap back to Apple and I couldn’t be happier. Apple gets a lot of flack for its proprietary ways but really there stuff just works. I live happily in an Apple world.

So, for my 12 readers, what things are you evangelical about?

[1] He likes syrupy female singers and I think I was going through my male rocker/folk phase.

[2] Yes, that would be a cassette tape! I am that old.

[3] We had a passenger with us who threatened to get out and hitchhike if we didn’t stop arguing. My dog Tippy was with us too and she liked to dance on people’s legs in the car!

[4] I suspect the reason was dogs…

[5] I discovered that I really did not like going to people’s houses to fix their computers.

[6] Unfortunately, I cannot find the original article I was referred to.

 I found a new blog. It is called Vets Behaving Badly. I have gotten into a disagreement with them about raw-feeding. I posted this very long comment (actually broken into 3 parts) on this thread.


I find it interesting that because so many of you disagree with me you cast me as a lunatic. But whatever.

So, Don!, I think the diet you are feeding your dog is awesome. I am not completely against kibble. In fact, here at the Swamp, the dogs get high quality kibble and canned about once a month. We call it McDonald’s for dogs. Our dogs also eat a variety of other stuff in addition to RMBs.

One of the vets said that it is not possible to teach everything in vet school and that what education does is teach one how to think and how to solve a problem. Well that can be true of many other degrees and disciplines. I have a Master of Arts degree and I have also been taught how to think and research. Sadly for all of you, you do not have the market cornered on critical thinking. Now, let’s debunk some of the stuff you are saying about feeding raw.

First off one of you has pointed out that dogs are not true carnivores. You said they are opportunist scavengers and not hunters (although I am sure anyone who has ever lived with a terrier would argue that dogs are indeed hunters). So if dogs are scavengers it stands to reason that they would eat carrion and other such stuff. Carrion would be full of all sorts of bacteria and other stuff, yet the dogs can eat it and they have no problem. So if they can eat half rotten meat and other stuff why can’t they eat human grade raw meaty bones that come from the grocery store? I really would like an answer to this question. If you trot out the ‘Oh no the salmonellas will kill them’ argument you will lose. Please give me a reasoned answer.

Dogs are not meant to eat corn. In fact, if you do some research you will see that the same thing that happened to human food (over-processing, full of corn) is killing us. It is also killing our pets. Dogs are not meant to eat a diet where the first ingredient is corn! Then there is the ever ubiquitous ‘_____ meal’. This stuff is rendered parts of animals that humans don’t consume and turned into a meal for dogs to eat. Why would you want to feed your dog rendered ground up chicken feathers and other such crap?  It is not bio-available to them for digestion. Then there is the ‘lets cook it at extremely high temperatures and extrude it out of machine’ process. Sounds nummy doesn’t it! Another huge issue with kibble is that dogs must reconstitute it in their guts so they can digest it. According to another vet this keeps them in a constant state of slight dehydration for their entire lives.

Now, lest you feel like you can just dismiss me as a crackpot why don’t you listen to some of your colleagues? Here are 2 links to other vets who disagree with you:

Dr. Karen Becker on why grain-free diets are not optimal for pets: http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2011/11/08/new-trends-in-pet-food.aspx

Dr. Peter Dobias answering some of the common objections (remember the ‘oh no the salmonellas!’ argument.


In fact, Dr. Dobias has never seen a case of salmonella in a raw fed dog. How do you explain that? He feeds his animals raw.

I was against feeding raw for a very long time. I only came to it reluctantly because we had a 3-year old shihtzu who developed a bladder stone. When it was removed it looked exactly like a piece of Iams kibble which she had been eating her whole life. As we did research about how to prevent further bladder stones we discovered that she needed to eat a lower pH diet. Our vet could not recommend anything at the time that would meet this criteria (it was before grain-free kibbles and foods). The solution was raw. She never had another stone.

Now onto the vaccine issue as some of you think that raw feeders are also against vaccines. We vaccinate our dogs. We do not do it every year as protocols are slowly changing at least in Canada. After age 5 the only vaccine they get every three years is rabies. Again, critical thinking has been instrumental in our decision about vaccines. We believe puppies must be vaccinated but we don’t buy that dogs need them every year. We don’t need vaccines every year of our life so why would dogs? The only exceptions to this are the flu shot and perhaps bordetella for dogs.

One more thing about raw-fed dogs is that they are healthier. We have not had to treat for fleas in so many years I have lost count. Yet we live in a high flea area. Our dogs do not get parasites anymore. When we fed kibble we had to treat for worms yearly. Don’t even get me started about the hookworm infection of 2001! We had 6 dogs with bloody diarrhea. Since feeding raw the dogs have never had worms again. Parasites are just not able to overwhelm healthy raw-fed dogs in the same way they do with kibble-fed dogs.

Someone also questioned how much dog experience I have. My partner and I have been involved in rescue for 15+ years. We have fostered, adopted and reared over 25 dogs in that time. We have seen dogs given 2 months to live because of cancer come here and live for 2 years. I know this is anecdotal but I think it bears discussing. Cancers feed on carbs (it is the same thing in humans). If you deprive those cells of sugar they don’t grow as fast. We have never had a dog with pancreatitis or a bone obstruction. Dogs are meant to crunch up raw bones! (the exception, of course, being large ungulates).

I am not a crack pot because I feed raw. It was a well thought out decision. Once we saw the results we could never go back. I personally know at least 30 other raw feeders and no one has ever had a case of salmonella or bone obstruction or e. coli. All of these people are feeding anywhere between 2-11 dogs. We and other vets cannot all be wrong.

The Raw-Feeding Debate

My mother has decided that she would like another dog. Her previous dog passed away a couple of weeks ago due to old age. As she asked, we found her a young female Maltese. We have since had her to the vet for shots and a spay. Almost immediately a discussion ensued about what to feed little Maya the Princess. My mother’s initial response was that she was not going to feed Maya raw no matter what,

Being at Casa de Shihtzustaff, Maya has been raw. She loves it. There was no way we could get her to eat her crap, extruded kibble when raw is on the menu here. Then my mother decided to pick up a book on Maltese dogs. Apparently it opens with ‘your puppy was not born in a cornfield.’ I love this book already! She is happily coming along the road to raw feeding. I told her that she could buy frozen, ground raw that is just as easy to feed as canned food.

As I am learning more about raw feeding I am even more convinced about the appropriateness of raw feeding. I recently saw the video below about how dogs who are fed kibble are in a slight state of dehydration for their entire lives. One can only imagine the stress that would place on a pet’s body. While meat is 70% moisture, dry food is just 12%. Dry food also places an extra burden on a pet’s digestive system as it must pull water to reconstitute the food to make it bioavailable. Because the food is dehydrated and extruded at a very high temperature almost all of the nutritional value is completely gone.

I have sent my mother the video. I hope it cements her decision to feed little Maya the Princess raw food!

The Conflict of Interest Dogging Veterinarians

Guest Post by Alphamutt[1]

Our recent experience with Canada West Veterinary Hospital was overall a rousing success. Piper came through her soft palate resection like a superstar, and we were very pleased with the care she received from Dr. Mark Smith and the fantastic support team (who do most of the work with little of the “glory”).

The one huge issue I have with Dr. Smith, and many, if not most vets, is the fact that they are in a clear conflict of interest when it comes to one of the most important issues of pet health: nutrition.

Our family vet, Dr. Sarah Ralph from Eastridge Animal Hospital, let Can-West know, in her referral, that Piper is raw fed. Dr. Ralph is not on board with raw feeding, but she is no longer trying to dissuade us, so we have reached a truce, of sorts. Dr. Smith took note of Piper’s status of a raw-fed dog, and felt the need to share his opinion of the practice, and sternly tell us that she would require a cooked diet for one month post-op.

I tuned out his unscientific, fatally flawed logic, as I always do now when I here “Salmonella yada, yada, yada” and other untrue and archaic comments from those who think that kibble, even the “highest quality” kibble (now there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one) is a healthy substitute for a natural raw diet for canines.

While my attention was diverted from the vet’s soliloquy about King Kibble, my eyes came to rest on a book close to his elbow. It was a reference book about canine anatomy. Guess who published this book, probably used daily, if not hourly, by all the vets at Can West?

Hills Science Diet.

Yes, that Hills Science Diet. Maker of the notoriously low-quality, high-priced *prescription*  “food” for dogs and cats.

It’s common knowledge that veterinarians receive precious little education about animal nutrition while earning their degrees. Most of that “education” is subsidized by companies that make, market and sell pet foods. Kibble and canned crap that causes many of the illnesses and diseases treated by veterinarians around the world.

Therein lies a huge conflict of interest. Vets and their clinics are hand-in-glove with pet food manufacturers who are creating patients for those vets. Vet clinics sell the products, actually push the stuff on their clients, and then treat the dogs and cats that suffer all kinds of health problems, many life-threatening or life-ending, that a kibble and/or canned diet causes.

Pet guardians need to be smarter. They need to educate themselves about the diets they are feeding their animals. Accepting one source of information as gospel, be it a veterinarian, the internet, word-of-mouth, published reports or whatever, is irresponsible and potentially disastrous.

We will continue to feed our dogs a bones and raw food diet. Aside from age-related illnesses, breed-related issues and conditions that are a direct result of abuse and/or neglect sustained before we adopted them, our dogs are in terrific physical and mental condition. They have sparkling white teeth, tons of energy, bright eyes, lovely plush coats and, in varying degrees, great intelligence.

We will also continue to enact lively debate with anyone who thinks kibble is an appropriate diet for dogs, especially veterinarians, who should make it their job to know better.


[1] Otherwise known as Deb.

Raw Feeding Myths

I have been involved in a discussion on Facebook over the last couple of days. It never fails to amaze me how the same myths seem to be perpetuated whenever the topic comes up. We have been feeding raw for close to a decade now and we have never encountered any salmonella poisoning or anything like it. Our dogs are healthy, parasite free and have gleaming white teeth. When dogs are fed a species appropriate diet they are healthier and require much less vet care. One example is that our dogs have not had fleas since we got rid of them in the house when we moved here in 2007. Now on to the myths!

  1. You do not need to transition a dog on to raw. You just switch. Feeding both kibble and raw in the same day can wreak havoc on some dogs. Kibble digests at a much slower rate than raw. Dogs have short digestive tracts and kibble digests slower than raw. So mixing the two together can cause gas and other digestive ‘issues.’ All that said, the best way, in my experience[1], is to start with chicken. Pieces of chicken have almost the perfect ratio of bone to meat. Chicken is not too rich and dogs seem to handle it well. A dog brand new to raw will generally get chicken for a couple of weeks until we see that they have perfect ‘bone poop.’[2] Once you have good solid bone poop you can move on to other meats.
  2. My most favourite myth is salmonella poisoning. It comes in various forms like we are going to get salmonella poisoning because the dogs licks us after eating or the dogs are going to it from eating raw meat. Neither is true. If you are feeding your dog human grade food and taking normal hygienic precautions[3] it will all be fine.
  3. The third myth is not really about raw food but more about kibble. I know there are lots of high-end kibbles on the market that are better than the cheap kibbles. But they are still kibbles. They have still been filled with things to bind them, heated and extruded. So while the high-end ones are better, raw meat is still the diet of choice for dogs.
  4. Again, not really a raw myth but it does fall rate a mention. Lots of people believe that dogs should also be fed vegetables. Personally, I don’t buy into it. We feed raw meaty bones. Does that mean our dogs don’t eat vegetables? No, it doesn’t. They get other stuff on almost a daily basis. Pretty much anything they want to eat they can eat unless it is dangerous for them.[4]

In my experience dogs should eat a varied diet. Ours eat all sorts of different meats and internal organs. Sometimes they get a cooked meal especially when we have lots of leftovers we will make them a ‘goulash’ of sorts. There are times when they get cooked rice and hamburger. And, on rare occasions, they get a high quality kibble with canned. We call those days ‘junk food’ days. The dogs love canned and kibble day! It happens about once a month.

Feeding a varied diet is important. Often when dogs are fed the same thing, day in day out, over the course of years they lose the ability to digest other things. Invariably, these dogs get into something too rich and they end up with pancreatitis. After that happens it is really too late – they will be stuck on vet food for the rest of their lives.

Finally, vets are starting to come around. One of our vets, who was vehemently against raw, has now come around. She is still not comfortable with it. It is interesting when she checks their teeth[5] and she asks how old the dog is and if they have ever had a dental. Generally I remind her that they are raw fed and that is what keeps their teeth clean.

If you have any questions or you want me to cover another aspect of raw feeding please let me know. You can also check out my Raw-Feeding 101 post!

[1] We have probably transitioned more than 15 dogs to raw. They all take to it with great abandon. I think Tucker loved it the most.

[2] Bone poop is generally white and crumbly. Another raw benefit is that you don’t need to scoop poop in your yard because it will just dissolve in the rain.

[3] Precautions like washing your hands after handling meat, storing it properly in the refrigerator, then everything will be fine. After all, how often do you give yourself or your family salmonella poisoning?

[4] Dogs should not consume raisins, grapes, and xylitol (an artificial sweetener).

[5] Which are usually very white and clean with no signs of dental disease.

Raw Food for Dogs Score!!!!

We decided to leave the house today; neither of us has been feeling very well. Deb has had one of the worst migraines I have ever seen her have. Her eyes were so black from the pressure. I am sure it is from the weather, which has been positively diabolical over the last couple of days. I have had a virus that was affecting my voice and my chest. I woke up exhausted this morning and was planning to go nowhere. However, someone had to go out for greens for the pigs or it would have been a very long day. Guinea pigs without greens are crazy-making. I am sure Edith was busy plotting the revolution this morning.

We went to Save-On Foods and I am so glad we did! We got chicken legs with thighs attached for $1.49 a pound. They had pork side ribs for $1.29 a pound and pork tenderloin for $2.49! Major score!

Feeding dogs raw food is so much better for them. Not only is it nutritionally superior for the dogs but it also engages them more in their food. It takes more time to have to rip meat off of raw bones and then eat the bones than it does to suck back a bowl of kibble or wet commercial dog food. Our dogs enjoy superior health being raw fed. We have not seen a flea in years or any other kind of parasite.

If you are interested in feeding raw, you can see of my other posts on the topic:

Raw Feeding Dogs 101
There is a brief bit in this post about our vet’s surprise that our dogs don’t get fleas.
Do you think your toothless dog can’t eat raw? Think again! and here with pictures.
A post wherein I debunk some of the questionable supplements that are offered for dogs.
In the post, I talk about how our senior dogs have taken to raw and in particular Mabel.

Raw-feeding 101

I am re-running a post from August 19, 2008. Original link here if you want to read the comments. I have been having discussions with several people about raw feeding so I thought it would be great to re-run this post. I have also updated with some new ideas and a new link at the bottom.

I am often asked about how one goes about converting a dog from kibble to raw. Many people, concerned about the pet food poisonings from last year, are looking for a more healthy way to feed their animals. What better way than feeding carnivores a species appropriate diet of raw meat and bone? Raw feeding is not rocket science. We have been conditioned over the years by vets and pet food companies that our dogs need all these supplement and special foods that can only be found in their expensive kibble. Now, I am not going to go into all the evils of kibble. There are lots of sites out there that discuss this issue far better than I could. Here is a good link.

There are different methods of feeding a raw diet. The two prominent ones are the BARF (bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw foods) and RMBs (raw meaty bones). People who feed BARF believe that in addition to feeding raw meat you feed raw vegetables as well. Now, I am not going to get into the debate about whether or not dogs need vegetables. Personally, I don’t believe they do. That being said our dogs do get some vegetables in their diets. In my opinion, dogs need a healthy variety in their diets which includes all sorts of foods.

Once you decide to feed raw you are faced with a plethora of choices. Should you feed ground raw? What about veggies? Grains? Supplements? It can be an extremely daunting undertaking. We first decided to feed raw when one of our shihtzus developed a bladder stone. When it was removed it looked identical to a piece of Iams kibble – which is what they had eaten for years. I did a little research and learned pretty quickly that bladder stones form in a high ph environment in the body. Feeding raw makes the body more acidic and prohibits the formation of the stones. At first we fed a ground raw that had veggies, supplements and some kind of grain ie oats, rice etc. We did this for a while until the quality started to slip and the dogs would no longer eat it. We then tried making our own which proved to be a whole lot of work and not much fun. More research let us to the conclusion that feeding raw meaty bones was the most appropriate diet for our canine family.

Now, a little definition, a raw meaty bone (RMB) is not a bone with a little meat. Think of a chicken leg and thigh and that is what I am referring to when I talk about RMBs. Another good example is pork bones, riblets, ribs, chops etc. Dogs are able to chew up and digest raw chicken and pork bones. These bones are only dangerous to our dogs in the cooked form. Beef ribs and shank steaks, for example, are also good examples of RMBs but the dogs cannot chew up the beef bones.

If you are considering starting your dog on RMBs, and your dog is a bit of a gulper, it is wise to start with pieces that are larger than the dog’s head. This will encourage the dog to chew and eat the food rather than swallowing it whole. When first starting out it is advisable to start with one meat source – chicken is usually a good first choice for many reasons. Chicken has almost the perfect ratio of meat, bone and organ (more about that later). The bone is easily eaten and digested by the dogs. It takes the dogs a couple of weeks to adjust to the new diet and there could be diarrhea. Chicken will mitigate this problem. The bone in the chicken will help to produce firm stools (bone poops). After a couple of weeks you can start to add other meats. If the dog develops diarrhea then adding some chicken bone with richer meat is one solution. For the first couple of weeks it is also a good idea to give the dog some yogurt – like plain astro or something like that.

Let’s talk about amounts of food and ratios. First of all you want to feed 1-3% of a dog’s ideal body weight depending on the dog’s activity level. You will need to buy a scale and weigh the food. You also want to feed based on the following ratio: 10% bone, 10% organ – of which 50% is liver. Now, before I lose you, you don’t need to feed this everyday. We are striving for balance over time. In our house we rotate through different meats, every other day is chicken as it is the perfect ratio. Getting the organs in can sometimes pose a problem as some dogs don’t like them. We have that problem here and have solved the problem by drying liver and other organ meats for the dogs.
A bit about sourcing the food for your dog. We find that we get really good variety from a small Asian grocery store in Vancouver. We get excellent prices and they will cut and package the meat as we want. They also have more ‘diversity’ than your average grocery store. We have found things like pig snouts, pig tails, lung, spleen, chicken feet, rabbit etc. You need to make sure that you find a reputable source for your meat. If feeding your dog organic is important to you then you will want to find an organic source.

Dog size is no barrier to feeding raw. In our house we started the pug on raw at 6 weeks of age. She had her first lamb neck slice at 8 weeks. Everyone eats raw at our house. We have a 19 year old Pomeranian who has no teeth. We were giving her other food and she started to steal RMBs from the other dogs. So we gave up. We still need to supplement her diet with some commercial food as she cannot eat the bone (no teeth) and she develops diarrhea from time to time. She really enjoys here RMBs and can strip a raw chicken leg in under 15 minutes. The other dogs are very helpful by cleaning up her bones when she is done.

What benefits can you expect from feeding raw? Overall we have noticed an increased level of health. Our dogs have not been treated for fleas since we got rid of the fleas in the house we bought. We have not treated for fleas for over 18 months in spite of the fact that we have multiple dogs who go offleash all the time. Our dogs seem to need to go to the vet less. Their teeth are pristine. All of the bone chewing, meat ripping and masticating keeps their teeth in great shape.  Raw also helps dogs who are prone to allergies. Their meals are entertaining for them and very enjoyable.
Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments and I will answer them there or expand this post. Here are some other great links:
Rawfeeding group at Yahoo – high volume list.
Raw Meaty Bones list at Yahoo

Update for October 24, 2010

Lately we have been revising how we feed somewhat. We still feed primarily raw meaty bones. However we have branched out a little more in what we feed. This is based on our belief that dogs need variety and coupled with the fact that sometimes we are not as organized as we should be.

We are now, occasionally, feeding a high quality kibble with canned. They get this about once every 2 weeks. Our smallest dog, Molly, has no teeth and is unable to eat bone although she does just fine stripping the meat off. She is now being fed some ground raw. Clio also needs some extra calories as she has always been quite thin. She has always been thin and now she seems to be burning more when she coughs. We supplement her with higher calorie meats with bone ground in so she does not get diarrhea, to which she is also prone. She really seems to like duck.

Sometimes we are cooking for them now which they also seem to enjoy. This started when we had a flu bug come through. Cooking ground meat and rice seems to help firm up their stools plus they really like it!

I think they key is variety. A dog who eats different food all the time will not get into trouble if they get into something they shouldn’t. Some dogs, who eat straight kibble, can have an adverse reaction if they get into something fatty. I have heard of dogs who end up with pancreatitis as a result. Feeding dogs a variety of foods helps keep their digestive systems nimble and prepared for anything.

Here is another interesting link about commercial pet food.

Dispatches from the Swamp – the Lazy Dog Edition

  • Deb and I went to Costco yesterday to satisfy my need to lay in supplies. I think it might be a ‘winter is looming’ kind of thing but for some reason I need to have lots and lots of toilet paper in the house. When we get below 15 rolls I start to have a little panic. This is exacerbated by the fact that the last time I went to Costco they did not have the brand of toilet paper we use. We stick to this brand because we know it does not clog up the septic system we are slaves to here in the boonies. Suffice it to say I think we have at least 50 rolls of toilet paper in this house at the moment. Ask me if I am happy?
  • Piper is the laziest dog around. Getting her out of be in the morning is like trying to wake the dead. She always stays in bed with whoever is getting up later. This morning I didn’t wake up until 12:30 pm (I was up late being sick for some bizarre reason). Piper was still sawing logs hard when I went into the shower. I came out and got dressed and she is still snoring away. This dog has now gone over 12 hours without peeing. What is up with that? As I started to seriously wake the pug, I moved her a little and up pops Sawyer’s head. He had been down to pee but then wanted to come back to bed with me. He had been sleeping hard too! He is going to be just like the pug and not want to get up in the morning. I would hate to see how they would react if we had to actually get up, you know, in the morning!
  • The CAT went to the vet today. Surprisingly, she was very, very good! She didn’t even growl once at the vet. She always mats so badly at the end of summer. I had her mat free yesterday and we get there today and she has 3 new ones. I managed to get those out with a flea comb. Bella may have a hyper-thyroid, they are testing for UTI and crystals as well. We had to leave her there so they could get a urine sample from her.
  • Speaking of the vet we got on the topic of fleas. Now this vet is completely against feeding raw. At the beginning she was quite adamant that the dogs were missing nutrients blah, blah, blah oh and the ‘you are all going to die of salmonella’ argument we hear all the time that makes me crazy. She was checking for fleas and I said I don’t think she has fleas. This led into a more general conversation about fleas and I told her we had not seen a flea on a dog of ours since January of 2007 after we re-homed the stray cat the previous owners abandoned. She could not believe it. I told her it was the raw food and that they are just more healthy and able to shuck the fleas. You can’t argue with success.
  • My mother has gone a senior’s bus trip for the next month or so. This is great for me! Every since my father was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 I have phoned every single day. I took a little break when we went away for 3 days in August but that was the only time. Phoning her every day gets to be a little tiresome. I hear the same things day in and day out. I will very much enjoy this break.