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Discussion Starter #1
So right now my girls are on Wellness 5 Core Puppy food and Ziwi Peak (for lunch). They both like the kibble, but I don't want to keep them on it. I want them on a 5 star. Bella loves the Ziwi, and Izzie eats it, but not near as much as she should.

When we had Nature's Variety, she LOVED it. Gobbled that stuff down. I can get it locally. I stopped feeding that because if each of them have to have 3/4 medallions each a day, that stuff is WAY too expensive. Someone told me that is way too much for them and that the directions on the back are always more food then you should give them. If they don't have to have 3 medallions a day each, I think we can afford it!

Or, I was thinking about THK. I would have to buy it online, but since it's dehydrated and not frozen, it's okay to buy online. It just seems like it has a lot things they don't need in it. I know that NV is 95% Meat, Organs, and Bones, and 5% Fruits and Veggies.

I really like the pre made raw, and I want to get the most for my money. Can someone who is experienced in one or both of the foods help me figure out how much my pups should eat of it, and when one would be cheapest? We are hoping to purchase in the next week. I'll prolly mix a lil Ziwi in too.

Oh, and I thought about Stella and Chewy's.. but we can only get the freeze dried locally, not the patties, so that's out.

Bella is 3 lbs 15 oz and Izzie is 2 lbs 2 oz.
 

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So right now my girls are on Wellness 5 Core Puppy food and Ziwi Peak (for lunch). They both like the kibble, but I don't want to keep them on it. I want them on a 5 star. Bella loves the Ziwi, and Izzie eats it, but not near as much as she should.

When we had Nature's Variety, she LOVED it. Gobbled that stuff down. I can get it locally. I stopped feeding that because if each of them have to have 3/4 medallions each a day, that stuff is WAY too expensive. Someone told me that is way too much for them and that the directions on the back are always more food then you should give them. If they don't have to have 3 medallions a day each, I think we can afford it!

Or, I was thinking about THK. I would have to buy it online, but since it's dehydrated and not frozen, it's okay to buy online. It just seems like it has a lot things they don't need in it. I know that NV is 95% Meat, Organs, and Bones, and 5% Fruits and Veggies.

I really like the pre made raw, and I want to get the most for my money. Can someone who is experienced in one or both of the foods help me figure out how much my pups should eat of it, and when one would be cheapest? We are hoping to purchase in the next week. I'll prolly mix a lil Ziwi in too.

Oh, and I thought about Stella and Chewy's.. but we can only get the freeze dried locally, not the patties, so that's out.

Bella is 3 lbs 15 oz and Izzie is 2 lbs 2 oz.
I've recently done quite a bit of thinking over food for the pups so i'll deposit my $0.02.

I feed THK and I have since November. Both of mine were having coat issues and while not completely fixed, Godric is still thinning a bit but Gretel has the softest coat of her life and other than a little bit with the weather her shedding has all but stopped.

Gretel has always had rancid breath and while not fixed, she's much better and I believe it's because of the kibble she was on before causing tartar etc.

That said, I really do like THK but it does leave something to be desired. I tried them on Keen first, then Thrive, and I just ordered Force. I'm having a hard time keeping weight on Godric, but he's also growing like a weed so I do give him 1/2C. daily, usually a heaping scoop.

I think the conclusion i've come to is that i'm going to keep them on THK as their base, and supplement in as I see fit with things like raw, and the freeze dried S&C. It's affordable and while some formulas are better than others I believe that with a little supplement it's adequate for my pups.
 

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I haven't fed THK so can't advise you there. But I can chime in on the NV!

Is Natures Variety the only pre-made frozen raw you can get? Can you get Bravo or Primal? I like to rotate through the different ones. You can use Stella and Chewy's freeze dried also. Just crumble the patty and add a few teaspoons of warm water. It turns into a canned food consistency.

Ok, I have a bag of NV chicken in front of me. There are 48 medallions per 3 pound bag. So that means each medallion is exactly one ounce. When I use this as a meal for Brody, he gets ONE medallion. He is a 2 year old adult and weighs 5 pounds.

A puppy should get 2-3% of it's projected adult weight. So if you are expecting Bella to be 8 pounds and Izzy to be 5 pounds as adults, then Bella would require about 4 medallions a day - 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening if that's all you fed. Izzy would get 2.5 medallions a day or one in the morning and 1.5 medallions in the evening.

So by these calculations, assuming this was the proper amount for them and they weren't too thin or too heavy - one bag would last about a week.

If that stretches your budget too thin, you could do one meal of the NV medallions and the other meal could be chicken breast. Or you could get leg quarters on sale (no sodium added, keep the sodium at 100mg or less per 4 ounce serving) and cut the meat off or let them chew the ends of the bones that have the cartilage and then take the bone away. They would get some good chewing action that way for teeth and recreation. (I wouldn't let them eat a leg or thigh bone though, as that would be way too much bone, but chewing on one, especially the knobby ends, would be fine).

Eventually I'd like to see you adding in more red meats either through the NV flavors or by adding in some red meat in place of a meal. This would come later though.

To my thinking... doing one meal of the NV patties which are complete and balanced and then doing at least a few meals at least per week of fresh meats would stretch your budget and be a good compromise! There is enough bone in the NV to keep their stools regulated, but you could also adjust as needed by using bone-in meats along the way.

Hope I haven't confused your issue!! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
DH just found another store in our area that sells Bravo Raw, they also say on their site they can usually order if they don't have the brand we want. Yeah, if the NV lasted us about 2 weeks for both my pups, that'd be okay... But buying 4 bags a month is a bit much. Doing chicken would work. We are getting our tax refund next weekend so I was planning on stocking up on their food a little, so I'm wanting to find something that'll work, but is not super spendy.

I wanna know more about THK, since a $40 4 lb box turns into 17 lbs. I don't know how much they'll need of that and how long it would last them.
 

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DH just found another store in our area that sells Bravo Raw, they also say on their site they can usually order if they don't have the brand we want. Yeah, if the NV lasted us about 2 weeks for both my pups, that'd be okay... But buying 4 bags a month is a bit much. Doing chicken would work. We are getting our tax refund next weekend so I was planning on stocking up on their food a little, so I'm wanting to find something that'll work, but is not super spendy.

I wanna know more about THK, since a $40 4 lb box turns into 17 lbs. I don't know how much they'll need of that and how long it would last them.
I feed a 10lb box to two chi's and it lasts a bit over 2 months.

It's cheaper to buy the 10lbs I think, I pay between 50-70 (with shipping) depending on the flavor and I feed a total of 1cup daily between the two - 1/4c at each meal.

Gretel is adult at just under 6lbs and Godric is behemoth, i'm not sure his exact weight but he's close to 8lbs.
 

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My girls would have to have like double that right? Since they are puppies?
I don't believe double that no, in December that would have made Godric 6 months old and I was still feeding him 1/2c daily.

He is a wee bit on the thin side, but he's healthy and active and he eats well, I switched him to the higher protein thrive and he "beefed" up a bit.

If you were worried and looking to save a bit, you could always supplement THK with things like egg, and chicken and there are other alternatives as well.

I primarily started THK because Godric is downright intolerant to any form of kibble, it tears his stomach to bits. It's not a wonder food, but I do think it's a good starting point and this week i'm actually beginning to integrate raw into their diet along with THK.
 

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You could always do a combination of THK, Bravo or NV pre-made, ZiwiPeak, and some fresh raw meats as well. To me, that would be the best of all worlds! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
PHP:
I think that I'm going to do THK, add a lil of my Ziwi to it, as well as some raw ground meats or eggs. As well as do some raw chicken wing meals once in awhile. I need to know how much to give them of chicken wings though. Like, chop it in thirds, let them each have a chunk? Some areas seem more boney than others on the wing though. And I've tried looking on their site at how much to feed my pups, but nothin. Should they each get 1/4 cup 2x a day?

Oh, and Embark or Thrive? Thrive has a lil less meat, but I'll be adding some anyway and it seems like it has alot less extra stuff in it then Embark does, and it's cheaper. But more ppl here use Embark right?

Right now they free feed with the kibble cuz Izzie snacks throughout the day and doesn't eat alot at once. But with NV she'd gobble down a whole ounce at once and want more, so I'm hoping it'll be the same with THK, and I can feed just 2x a day or so..
 

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I think that I'm going to do THK, add a lil of my Ziwi to it, as well as some raw ground meats or eggs. As well as do some raw chicken wing meals once in awhile. I need to know how much to give them of chicken wings though. Like, chop it in thirds, let them each have a chunk? Some areas seem more boney than others on the wing though. And I've tried looking on their site at how much to feed my pups, but nothin. Should they each get 1/4 cup 2x a day?

Oh, and Embark or Thrive? Thrive has a lil less meat, but I'll be adding some anyway and it seems like it has alot less extra stuff in it then Embark does, and it's cheaper. But more ppl here use Embark right?
PM Huskyluv, she'll help you out figuring out your portion sizes. It may take her a day or two to respond but she was my "thk mentor" and she knows the ropes.

I tried Godric on Embark, sadly it's too expensive for me to feed to two pups at the rate of a box every two months. Thrive has higher protein yes, that's what I beefed Godric up on but if you're doing your add ins then you should be fine on any of the formulas I would think.

The reason why they have more "stuff" is just filler and with the less expensive formulas you get more filler, you'll see some formulas mix up very different than others e.g. with Thrive it takes less water than say Keen for the same amount of food.

I'm just now getting into feeding the raw as supplement, but Tracy always has excellent advice about that as well!
 

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For the raw meat meals - you can do chicken wings and yes, just cut in thirds or give the drumstick part to Izzie and the middle portion and wing tip to Bella. Or you can get a 1 pound cornish hen and whack it up into about 8 pieces of bone/meat and those chunks are about 2 ounces each. Some people like chicken necks, although they are very bony (mostly bone) so I think of them more as a chew rather than a meal. (Some are very meaty though so use your own judgement). Bone in chicken breasts work well too and have a better meat to bone ratio. Or you can give a section of the wing with some extra boneless meat on the side. However you want to do it is fine. I personally like cornish hens for Brody. The bones are easy and it's just the right size. But you can do regular chicken parts if you want.

I would go slowly on the eggs as they can sometimes cause loose stools. Ground meats are fine, but they do carry a heavier bacterial load because they are ground - more surface area. So if you are a germaphobe, that could be an issue. Usually it's not an issue for the dogs, but you should be aware of it.

Once they are doing well on their chunks of chicken with bone, you can graduate slowly onto other proteins such as a bite of pork with the chicken, or a bite of beef. Gradually add in a couple more bites with the familiar chicken until they have a whole meal of it and are tolerating it well. Other meats that work that have edible bone are pork riblets, or pork ribs. Be cautious of sawed bones (like in pork chops) as they can splinter. Lamb breast has great edible bone that is easily consumed. They can enjoy the gristly ends of beef ribs as well and pulling meat off ribs is great for teeth and chewing recreation.

Since you are planning on doing THK and some Ziwi, you probably won't need to add additional organs, but you can do an occasional sliver of liver or kidney if you want as a treat. (Not a whole meal of it or you'll have loose stools, you have to build up organ tolerance over time.)

Whew, someone shut me up!!!! ha ha. Well, that should get you started. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So we got some bone in chicken for them today. DH cut them into 1 oz chunks. Izzie did super good, chewed slower and is still working on her bone chunk (I gave her a lil more bone then Bella cuz she tends to have softer poops). But Bella scarfed hers down QUICK. I don't think she even chewed up her bone much, if at all. It wasn't very much bone, but enough that I'm worried about her pooping it out. I heard that the acids in their stomach can digest those?

Did I do it right?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okay, so Bella just went to finish off Izzie chunk of bone, and swallowed the whole dang thing. I was freaking out cuz she gagged a couple times, and then her stomach was contracting. She threw most of what she just ate (within the last 5-15 min), including a big chunk of bone and a big chunk of the meat (not chewed at all).

Izzie did well with slowly gnawing on the bone, but not Bella. What can I do for Bella if these bone chunks won't work?
 

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Okay, so Bella just went to finish off Izzie chunk of bone, and swallowed the whole dang thing. I was freaking out cuz she gagged a couple times, and then her stomach was contracting. She threw most of what she just ate (within the last 5-15 min), including a big chunk of bone and a big chunk of the meat (not chewed at all).

Izzie did well with slowly gnawing on the bone, but not Bella. What can I do for Bella if these bone chunks won't work?
Ok, if Bella is a gulper you have two choices.... feed really big, or feed really small. By that I mean give her a chunk as big as her head that she has to slow down and gnaw on and that she can't swallow or else dice it up into tiny pea sized pieces. Choking can occur if the piece is too big for her to get down and she gulps it. It is something that you should be aware of.

If you are feeding a huge piece and she eats off it for awhile, then trade up to something else and take away until the next time. Don't just swoop in and try to grab it or else she may resource guard. Raw food is high value. Once it gets to a gulpable size, then dice it up tiny or give to Izzy who will eat smarter.

Some people try to train them to eat slowly by holding onto the piece of chicken and letting them gnaw on it and work on it that way. Some dogs see that as a threat, that you are trying to get their meat, and they will try to grab it and hork it down.

If she does manage to swallow a larger piece of bone, don't worry. It will either come up, or it will digest. You will become a student of your dogs and their eating preferences and styles and then you can make adjustments. It's all part of the learning process.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Tracy. I gave them a couple small chunks with no bone today, and Bella again gobbled hers down instantly without chewing at all. Izzie took time with hers and I had to put her in the pen to eat. Bella was seriously trying to climb in to get her's. Is it okay if she just slurps it up like that? Should I cut her meat into smaller pieces so they are easier to digest? I wasn't sure if you were talking about just cutting up the bone into small pieces, or the meat too.

A chicken drumstick is was too much for Bella to eat right?
 

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Thanks Tracy. I gave them a couple small chunks with no bone today, and Bella again gobbled hers down instantly without chewing at all. Izzie took time with hers and I had to put her in the pen to eat. Bella was seriously trying to climb in to get her's. Is it okay if she just slurps it up like that? Should I cut her meat into smaller pieces so they are easier to digest? I wasn't sure if you were talking about just cutting up the bone into small pieces, or the meat too.

A chicken drumstick is was too much for Bella to eat right?
Bella may just be a snarfer. It's OK. She may gradually slow down as she gets older or she may be a dog that is very food motivated and eats quickly her whole life. Feeding them separately is good. You don't want Izzie feeling like Bella is going to steal her food. And Bella needs to learn to eat her own without trying to gobble up others food as well. Her body will digest it, whether it's cut up into tiny pieces or larger chunks. It's hard to cut bone up into teensy pieces unless you have a grinder and then there are no teeth/jaw benefits. Try to get some bone chewing in if you can, it helps their teeth and gives them a nice workout.

Bella needs about 4 ounces a day. It would depend on the size of your drumstick. That would definitely be more than 10% of her bone allotment, but you could allow her to chew the ends of the bone and then take it away. (Remember to trade up so she doesn't start resource guarding).

You can also do some soup bones if you want for recreational chewing. They are the marrow bones for soup in the grocery store. The femurs of the cow that have a little meat on them and the marrow in the middle. I poke the marrow out, it's too fatty, but they are a good chew toy for puppies as long as they are not SUPER CHEWERS. This is another case of knowing your dog.

Most raw feeders will say to never feed weight bearing bones of large animals like cows (which is what these bones are- the femur) but if you have a toy breed without super jaw strength - they will probably be fine. Larger breeds can crack teeth on them. I occasionally give these to Brody for recreational chewing. He doesn't make a dent in the bone, but he loves to chew on them and get off all the meat and then gnaw on them. I think they are fine for puppies. Once they dry out - into the trash they go. But again, use at your own risk as these are very hard bones and not meant to be swallowed - just chewed. I just thought something like that might be good for Bella ... give her something long lasting to gnaw on.
 

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Most raw feeders will say to never feed weight bearing bones of large animals like cows (which is what these bones are- the femur) but if you have a toy breed without super jaw strength - they will probably be fine.
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but when you say weight bearing bones: I bought the pups some "knees" from the pet store the other day, I forget the animal but they didn't have other ingredients aside from a preservative so I thought it'd be okay just as a one time "treat" - is a knee a weight bearing bone, as it's more involved?

I didn't let them have the whole thing, just got a taste but Gretel was snarfing so I took it away. I looked inside there is squishy stuff I assume is marrow perhaps? Just wondered. I'd love to get real bones, but my local market doesn't sell any type of bone included meat other than chicken, well ribs too of course but nothing fancy like all you raw feeders find!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, I will prolly try some drumsticks, so she has to chew and not just swallow stuff whole. She is a really good chewer, much better than Izzie. So I am not sure about the soup bone.

How can I teach Bella not to get Izzie's food once she's done? Cuz if she can, there is no stopping her.
 

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I don't mean to hijack the thread, but when you say weight bearing bones: I bought the pups some "knees" from the pet store the other day, I forget the animal but they didn't have other ingredients aside from a preservative so I thought it'd be okay just as a one time "treat" - is a knee a weight bearing bone, as it's more involved?

I didn't let them have the whole thing, just got a taste but Gretel was snarfing so I took it away. I looked inside there is squishy stuff I assume is marrow perhaps? Just wondered. I'd love to get real bones, but my local market doesn't sell any type of bone included meat other than chicken, well ribs too of course but nothing fancy like all you raw feeders find!
Were they 'smoked' from the pet store? If so, they are cooked and I would say not to use them at all. The ones we have at our pet stores are all smoked and that means cooked. Only use raw bones. You could always do pork or beef ribs (watch the sodium levels though, nothing more than 100mg per 4 ounce serving) as they are a great chew! Some grocery stores will carry pork necks also and they can also be good for chewing.

Thanks, I will prolly try some drumsticks, so she has to chew and not just swallow stuff whole. She is a really good chewer, much better than Izzie. So I am not sure about the soup bone.

How can I teach Bella not to get Izzie's food once she's done? Cuz if she can, there is no stopping her.
Feed them separately. Either in separate crates or even in separate rooms if you have to. Bella should NEVER be allowed to go after Izzie's food.
 

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PHP:
Oh, and Embark or Thrive? Thrive has a lil less meat, but I'll be adding some anyway and it seems like it has alot less extra stuff in it then Embark does, and it's cheaper. But more ppl here use Embark right?
Thrive is not grain free, not sure if that matters or not to you, but Embark is grain free. (Their grain free formulas are Embark, Force, and Zeal) I only use the grain free formulas and I mix them with ZiwiPeak. Good luck with whatever you decide. :)
 
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