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So after deliberating all day.. (literally all day!) I have decided I will start my dogs on raw. I was posting yesterday about switching to ZP, but after looking at the cost of ZP and the cost of just meat.. It seems a little less expensive to just go raw. Here is my plan:

I have to go out of town for 4 days in a couple of weeks, so I will just keep them on kibble until after. I plan to stock up on a month or so worth of meat. From what I have read so far, I should feed chicken or something similar for the first 2 weeks. So, what should I buy? Chicken wings? Drumsticks? Whole chickens? What meat should I add after?

More questions:

Where in the world do I find organs? Is that something I can find at my regular grocery store?

Can dogs eat raw fish?

Penny is almost 5 months old. I think I will start by feeding them 3 times a day, as they are used to free feeding on kibble. Is that okay?

I also want to keep ZiwiPeak on hand incase I forget to thaw something, etc. Is this okay to substitute for a raw meal every once in a while?

I can't wait to start them on their raw diet! Any input is greatly appreciated :)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I thought of another question:

So once they are used to a raw diet, do you only feed a meal with bone a few times a week? Do they just eat a chunk of meat on other days?
 

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missy , I know a woman that feeds her great danes a raw diet ..I will ask her what she thinks of the Chis and write what she says : )
 

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I personally started my girls with Chicken Thighs - They have enough meat and bone for most dogs to not cause any loose stools. Wings I find are a bit bony, better to start with something with a little more meat on! 2nd meat can be turkey, Rabbit, Pork, whatever you can get hold of really, but as a rule the blander the better. Our 2nd was turkey then pork.

I live in the UK so cant really answer about the organs but over here we can get them from supermarkets or from the butchers - I really do not recommend feeding them for a few weeks though as they can be too rich for a dogs system at first.

Dogs can eat raw fish (though my girls refuse to touch it!).

3 times a day is fine, I would personally have them on 2 proper meals at that age, with a small snack for lunch rather than 3 whole meals. The dog needs to be fed roughly 2-3% of their idea adult weight, split into however many meals you choose to feed - If the dog looks a little skinny on that then add a little more, if they feel a little chunky then just reduce it a little.

Ziwipeak is fine for times you forget to thaw, however you can also feed the dogs their dinner frozen, or defrost it under the cold water tap if you dont have any or would rather just feed raw. (This is what I do!)

And the bone in meals all depend on the dogs - Most dogs are fine with all-meat meals, other dogs need bone in every meal or end up with very loose stools. My two are fine with 4 or 5 non-bone meals with no problems (they can even eat all organ meals) but my friends chi's cant have more than 2 meat only meals without needing some bone added. Just go by your own dog :)
 

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I plan to stock up on a month or so worth of meat. From what I have read so far, I should feed chicken or something similar for the first 2 weeks. So, what should I buy? Chicken wings? Drumsticks? Whole chickens?

What meat should I add after?

Where in the world do I find organs? Is that something I can find at my regular grocery store?

Can dogs eat raw fish?

Penny is almost 5 months old. I think I will start by feeding them 3 times a day, as they are used to free feeding on kibble. Is that okay?

I also want to keep ZiwiPeak on hand incase I forget to thaw something, etc. Is this okay to substitute for a raw meal every once in a while?

So once they are used to a raw diet, do you only feed a meal with bone a few times a week? Do they just eat a chunk of meat on other days?
I'll try and help ya out. :) Natti gave you some great advice. I'll just throw in my two cents worth.

I like starting out with cornish hens. A one pound hen can be chunked up into 8 pieces of meat/bone and those are 2 ounces each, which is a great size to start with. I agree with Natti, chicken wings are pretty bony, so if you feed them, cut into 3 sections - feed just one section and maybe some chicken breast on the side. It's OK to be bone heavy in the beginning. Chicken thighs work OK too, but just make sure not to overfeed. Some of them can be pretty big. Too much food can cause loose stools.

Be sure the chicken you buy is NOT enhanced with saline/salt. Many brands are. Read the labels. Keep the sodium level at less than 100mg per 4 ounces.

After you are doing well on chicken for at least a week (eating well and good stools), then you can add in another protein. Beef or pork is usually next. I recommend just one bite of the new protein with the familiar chicken. Then gradually increase. It's not a race. Go slow. Eventually you want to be feeding mostly red meats. I use chicken and cornish hens for my bone content almost exclusively and the rest of the meats are red meats (lamb, beef, pork, bison, venison).

Walmart usually carries liver and kidney. Or try an ethnic market. Organs are a necessary but very small part of the diet.

Yes, they can eat raw fish. Try to stick with an omega heavy oily fish such as salmon, sardines, smelt. White fish doesn't have very much to offer, but it can be OK if they like it. Don't stress over fish. It's a take it or leave it thing.

3 times a day is OK, but remember NOT to overfeed. If you use the raw calculator, you'll see that you will be feeding very small amounts. Like a total of maybe 4 ounces a day for an average sized chi puppy. That's like a couple of tablespoons. NOT very much food. It's really easy to give them too much and then you have weight gain and loose stools. Remember that this diet is nutrient rich with very little waste so they don't have to eat very much. I'd probably recommend two raw meals a day for a 5 month old puppy, maybe with a mid afternoon snack in between.

ZiwiPeak is usually well tolerated by raw dogs. Just substitute it for a meal. NO problem.

Yes, you do a bone inclusive meal a couple times a week or however often your dog requires it and meaty meals in between. Some dogs require just a bit of bone, some require a little more. Try to keep it around 10% of the diet, but it's OK to be bone heavy in the beginning. If stools are hard and crumbly, feed a meaty meal next. If stools are loose and mucousy, feed more bone. You will learn what your dog requires over time.

Personally, I whack up a cornish hen into 8 chunks of meat/skin/bone. I freeze them in a ziplock. I take out one every 2-3 days and that is enough to keep Brody's stools firm. In between he gets chunks of meat. Sometimes he has a pork or beef rib with a little meat to really work on his teeth/gnawing. I also keep chicken wing segments in the freezer. They are easy to hand out if I notice a looser than normal stool.

Give it a go and we'll help you. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Great, thank you for the advice everyone! I won't be able to start them for a few weeks, but I will start looking around for meat that is suitable. I will also have to get a kitchen scale so I can weigh the food.

Penny weighs 4lbs 3 oz right now... However she is about the same size Lion was when he weighed 3 lbs. She is HEAVY....but doesn't seem chubby. What % should I start her at?
 

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How old is penny?
 

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I guess my other post didn't go through.

I decided to go ahead and just start them raw now. Lion really doesn't like kibble and hasn't been eating it unless he is starving. He is starting to feel a bit thin to me.

I bought a little scale, some chicken breast, and wings. I also found chicken liver to freeze for later. I cut each wing into 3 sections and added a little chicken breast to make a 2 oz meal. They both did great with the bones! I am planning to feed them 2 meals a day, and a little snack before bedtime since I am usually up late(I work until 11pm, so they are awake late with me).

I also have 10% fat ground beef in my freezer.. Can I use that for my next meat?
 

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Puppies need about twice what an adult dog would eat. So put in her weight in the raw calculator and that she is a puppy and it will tell you how many ounces per day. Then split that up into at least two meals.

Ground beef would be fine once they are transitioned well onto chicken. Just add a little bit with their chicken meal and make sure it's tolerated well. Raw ground meats tend to carry a higher bacterial load than fresh chunks so try to limit ground meats if you can in the future. There's also no chewing challenge with ground. But yeah, if you have some in the freezer, you can sure use it.

Sounds like you are off to a great start!
 

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I would rather start off a little less than required instead of more. You can always add more. Watch body condition. If they start getting chubby, cut back. Looking too ribby, up your ounces. But typically you want to feed as a puppy until about a year, which is usually about twice the adult amount.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks for all of your help so far! They just ate their 3rd raw meal and did great. They both went poo this morning, and it was teeny. What a difference! Penny did throw up a piece of bone last night, but I didn't worry too much because I read somewhere that means they didn't chew it enough.

I do have a few more questions:

Since their poo is normal, should I start feeding a little less bone and more meat, or should I keep it the same for now?

Lion gulps down the chunk of chicken breast like it is going to disappear. He looks really uncomfortable after he eats it, because he doesn't chew and it is cold. What can I do to get him to chew it? Cut it up, or hold on to it? I have to be careful not to reach for him while he is eating, or he will try and swallow it whole like I am going to take it away.

Thanks again!
 

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I think Lion should slow down once he realizes that he gets this kind of food now and it becomes more familiar. ;) You can either feed bigger (recommended) or tiny pieces. I prefer to feed bigger so he gets a workout. So give him a chicken leg or thigh or a chunk of breast, a whole wing, etc. and let him work on it. Then you will have to 'trade up' which means you give him something really yummy and remove what he's been eating and throw it in the fridge for later. Some dogs are fine with us, some start to resource guard even more. It's up to the dog. You'll just have to see.

You can also feed at room temp if you want. Or put in a baggy and float in a pan of hot water to get the temp a little warmer instead of feeding straight out of the fridge. And yeah, you can hold it for him if you want and see if that will get him to slow down. I know Heather did this with her crew when she started out and it worked well. For some dogs, it just makes them want to gulp it down faster. Again, it varies from dog to dog.

Since they are doing well and you've seen normal raw poops (which are such a great part of the diet), you could start adding in an extra bite or so of meat to decrease the bone content. If stools start getting loose, you can always add in a bit more bone. It can take some dogs a couple weeks to adjust to the 10% bone that is recommended. And some require a bit more. It's not an exact science. You are aiming for mostly meat, a little bone, a smidge of organs (which come last).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So far, so good. I fed them two meals with a little bone today (Penny had runny poo earlier) and then one snack without bone a few hours ago. Lion went and it came out in little pellets, so I am assuming that means too much bone. He is constantly begging for food and hasn't had any soft poo, so I think I am not feeding him too much.. I have been holding onto the other end of his meal for him and it forces him to tear at it and not gulp it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also, here is a photo of Lion "thawing out" after he ate this afternoon. He was shivering after he finished his wing section.



I realized my fridge is turned up too high, so hopefully the meat will thaw better now that I have turned it down. I will have to remember to put it in warm water so he doesn't get so cold!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think I will just continue to post here about out raw progress, instead of starting a new thread every time. Today is Day 4, and we are doing great! I have started keeping track of what/how much I feed so I will remember who ate what.They have both had pretty consistent poo, sometimes a little too crumbly or a little soft, but overall nothing out of the ordinary. I knew that they only need a tiny amount per day, but I didn't realize HOW tiny! I bought wayyy too much chicken. I have a whole "family pack" of wings and one of chicken breast. I also have 3 whole cornish hens.... My freezer is packed! I won't be buying so much next time. I think the cornish hens will be a better deal, because they weigh 24 oz and only cost $2.48. We are heading grocery shopping for human food tonight, so I will pick up a new protein for the dogs while I am there. I will start feeding the new protein (probably pork) in a few days.

Thanks to everyone for all of your help!
 
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