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CANINE NUTRITION BOOKS



Rory enjoying a (gutted) rabbit


Our Glens are fed a raw diet, primarily consisting of "rmb's" (raw meaty bones) and other supplementary foods. The raw food diet is often referred to as a "barf" diet, which is an acronym for bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food.

Why feed raw meaty bones? Because dogs are carnivores. Their dentition, jaws and digestive system are designed to cope with eating and processing raw meat and bones. N.B. We only feed raw, meaty bones to our dogs. Cooked bones are much harder and more brittle, and splinter easily. The sharp edges of splintered, cooked bones can be dangerous.

This page describes my experience of raw feeding our Glens. If you were to compare their meal plans to those of other raw-fed Glens, they would probably be quite different! What I describe here works for me and my dogs. It is quite a "personal" thing. For me, the raw feeding journey has been (and continues to be!) a learning experience. It is an on-going process of discovery of what my dogs like to eat, what they don't like to eat, and what is the optimum amount to give them. I feel comfortable with the principles of raw feeding and I think that my happy, healthy and fit Glens are testament to the benefits of a raw diet!

If you are considering feeding your dog a raw diet, then I would recommend that you do some "background" reading first. I feel that it is important to have a basic understanding of the principles of raw feeding before embarking on this new "way of life". Borrow or buy (and read!) at least a couple of books on raw/barf/natural feeding. (Please click here for canine nutrition books). These will be an invaluable source of reference, especially in the early days. I would also suggest joining one of the numerous raw feeding e-mail lists. There are people on these lists with a wealth of experience of raw feeding, and they are happy to share information and give support. Please see the Links and lists link.

Essentially, raw feeders include some bony content in their dogs' meals. Other than this concept, raw feeding "menus" can be extremely varied! The types of rmb used will vary, depending on availability and cost. Some people feed grains, fruits and vegetables, and table scraps; others don't. Some people feed their dogs using the "whole prey" model e.g. Rory (above) eating his rabbit. Some people give whole raw meaty bones and others prefer to grind the bones first. Some people fast their dogs one day per week; others don't. There is no "right or wrong" with raw feeding, although opinions will invariably differ!

The page has been divided into sections. To go a particular section, please click on the link below or scroll down the page:


THE BENEFITS OF RAW FEEDING


WHAT DO OUR GLENS EAT?


SUPPLEMENTS

SUPPLIES AND STORAGE

"REASONS TO BE CAREFUL"

LINKS AND LISTS


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Updated & revised: Feb 2005


THE BENEFITS OF RAW FEEDING

Much of the evidence about the benefits of feeding your dog a raw diet is anecdotal, but here are some of the benefits that we have noted:

A picture of good health!

  Good general health.

  Keeps molar teeth free of tartar.

  Good "workout" for jaw and neck muscles.

  Less doggy odour.

  Sweeter breath.

  Firm stools; fewer stools and not so smelly!

  The dogs love it!

Our Glens are in very good health, with super coats. They are in excellent physical condition and maintain fighting-fit weights.

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WHAT DO OUR GLENS EAT?


Changing to raw

We have been feeding our Glens a raw diet since April 2001. Rory was then 2 years and 8 months and Breege was 15 months old. They were changed overnight from a "home-made" diet of raw meat (but no bones), raw vegetables and cooked brown rice to the raw diet described below. They do not have any grains in their diet now and only rarely have vegetables. Raw meaty bones (rmb's) are the mainstay of their diet. Chicken wings and then carcasses were their first rmb's. Other rmb's were gradually introduced, one by one, over a period of months.

Our third Glen joined the family in January 2005, aged 7 weeks. She had been weaned onto "conventional" dog food but by 9 weeks of age, she was eating the same foods as the big Glens! She started the transition with small breakfast "tasters" over the first week or two, and then she was introduced to raw chicken wings. We decided to wait until Tierney's permanent teeth came through before giving her bigger bones. Whilst she still had her milk teeth, her rmb's consisted of a mix of ground chicken carcasses/wings and whole chicken wings. Please see Tierney's Diary for notes on her feeding regime and growth.


Amounts to feed

Raw feeding is not an exact science! The percentages and calculations i.e. "recommended" daily amounts and ratio of rmb to non-rmb meals, have been explained in this section as a "guideline" for those people who need a rather more defined starting point to the raw feeding journey!

When I switched my (then) young adult Glens to raw, I did not do any calculations. I simply started off with one or two chicken wings each and slowly added in more to their daily diet. Yes, they did lose some weight initially but, over time, they regained that weight and, by then, I had a pretty good idea of what foods and what amounts suited my dogs. I don't tend to think of rmb's in terms of weight per meal i.e. in ounces/grams, but rather in numbers and size i.e. 4 big chicken wings or 5 small ones; one large chicken carcass or two small ones; one lamb neck; one turkey neck; one large piece of oxtail or two smaller pieces, etc.

When feeding your dog, please take into consideration the following:

(i)

Age of dog
A growing, active youngster will require more to eat than an elderly, more sedentary dog of the same breed.

(ii)

Activity levels
A working dog or one with an energetic activity/exercise regime will need more to eat per day than a less active dog of the same breed.

(iii)

Health
A sick dog, or one that has recently had surgery, will probably need smaller meals during its recovery period.

(iv)

Bitches
Nursing bitches will need an increased daily amount of food to ensure adequate lactation for satisfying the requirements of their growing pups.

As a rule of thumb, it is suggested that puppies are fed approximately 2 - 3% of their predicted adult weight, or up to 10% of their current weight, in total volume of food per day. I worked on the 10% calculation to start with, which meant that by about 13 weeks, Tierney was eating as much per day as (and sometimes more than!) the big Glens. By this time, she was generally having the same amount of food for breakfast as Rory and Breege. To accomodate the requirements of an energetic and growing puppy, I slowly increased the number of chicken wings and the amount of ground chicken mix.

Tom Lonsdale's recommendations for an adult dog are 2 - 3% of current weight, assuming that the dog is not grossly overweight! If a dog needs to reduce weight, then 2% of the standard "ideal" weight for the breed would be a sensible suggestion. Conversely, if a dog needs to gain weight, then feeding daily amounts of 3% (or more) of the standard ideal weight should help put some meat on the bones.

Ian Billinghurst ("The BARF Diet") suggests a ratio of rmb meals to non-rmb meals of 60%:40%. The daily ratio of our Glens' rmb meals to non-rmb meals varies between 50 to 80% rmb and 20 to 50% non-rmb i.e. the rmb meals generally make up the larger part of their daily diet.


Raw feeding calculations

Our adult male Glen weighs in at around 48-50lbs and the female tips the scales at 40-44lbs. Using the 2 - 3 % recommendation for daily amount of food, here is how to work out (in pounds, ounces and grams) what my two adult Glens should be having, based on their current (optimum) weights:

 

Rory

Breege

Optimum (current) weight:

50lbs

44lbs

Total lbs per day:

2% of 50lbs
(.02 x 50)
=
1lb

to

3% of 50lbs
(.03 x 50)
=
1.5lb

2% of 44lbs
(.02 x 44)
=
.88lb

to

3% of 44lbs
(.03 x 44)
=
1.32lb

(1lb = 16oz)
Total oz per day:

(1 x 16)
=
16oz

to

(1.5 x 16)
=
24oz

(0.88 x 16)
=
14oz

to

(1.32 x 16)
=
21oz

(1kg = 2.2lb)
Total grams per day:

(1 ÷ 2.2)
=
450g

to

(1.5 ÷ 2.2)
=
680g

(0.88 ÷ 2.2)
=
400g

to

(1.32 ÷ 2.2)
=
600g



The "rib test"

A good way of assessing most breeds of dog, to see if they are too fat, or too thin, or just right, is to do the rib test. If, when you run your fingertips along the ribcage, you cannot feel the ribs, then your dog is probably carrying too much weight. If you can feel every single rib as a really bony prominence, then your dog is probably too thin. What I look for, when I run run my fingertips down the ribcage, is to be able to feel the bumps of the ribs, with a just bit of "covering" on them!


Our Glens' menu

As our Glens are usually walked in the morning, I prefer to give their rmb meal in the evening, so that they have some quiet " digestion time" overnight. NB. Dogs shouldn't really be exercised within about three hours of a big meal.

See below for approximate daily amounts, per (adult) dog. The foods we feed more regularly are at the top of each list.

Breakfast

Supper

~ 120-200g raw minced beef
~ 130-200g raw minced green tripe
~ small tin of sardines in oil (85-120g)
~ 2-3 dessertspoons of goats yoghurt
   with one whole raw egg (and shell)
~ 120g raw liver
~ 120-200g cubed raw turkey
~ ½ raw lambs' heart
~ couple of raw lambs' kidneys

~ 3-5 two-jointed chicken wings
~ 5-7 single-jointed chicken wings/tips
~ 1-3 chicken carcasses
~ length of lamb backbone
   with 3-4cm ribs each side
~ lamb neck
~ oxtail
~ turkey neck
~ whole (gutted) rabbit

Chicken wings and carcasses are demolished very quickly, as the bones are relatively soft. Turkey necks are also crunched up fairly easily. The lamb necks, ribs and oxtail take much longer to eat. Their jaw and neck muscles get a really good "workout" with these rmb's, as it can take up to half an hour for our dogs to eat them.


Fasting

I don't routinely fast my dogs, as they tend to have similar amounts of food each day. Sometimes, they will skip a meal themselves and leave what's on offer, but that's not generally one of the rmb meals! There is, however, one situation where I do fast my dogs, and that is when I am planning to give them rabbit. For my dogs, a rabbit is the equivalent of about two days' worth of meals and so I fast them the day before a rabbit meal. They have a small (non-rmb) breakfast the day before, but no evening meal. On their rabbit day, they don't get any breakfast. Depending on how full they are the following day, they may have reduced rations again!

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SUPPLEMENTS

One of the reasons for owners making the change to raw feeding is because of health issues with their dogs, and so they may supplement to target a particular health problem. Other people feel that they need to supplement to ensure that they are providing all the nutritional requirements for their dogs.

I tend to think of the breakfast meals as being "supplementary" to the main rmb meals. These meals offer some more variety to the diet, and provide alternative sources of beneficial nutrients.

If you are new to raw feeding, and your dog is otherwise fit and well, I would suggest that you initially just concentrate on the new diet and not worry about too much about supplements. When you feel comfortable with raw feeding, then do some research and come to your own conclusions regarding supplementation.

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SUPPLIES AND STORAGE

The only food that I buy from the pet shop is frozen green tripe. Everything else comes from our butcher, the local farm shop or the supermarket. The butcher provides us with chicken carcasses, turkey necks, lamb necks, and lamb ribs free of charge. The chicken wings are usually frozen when I buy them, so I defrost them, package them up into meal-sized portions and then re-freeze them.

Our butcher sells frozen "pet chicken mince" in 500-600g tubes. These contain ground chicken carcasses and wings, and sometimes chicken liver as well. If we ever have to leave the dogs in our local boarding kennels, we supply the pet mince tubes, as the people who look after the dogs prefer not to give whole bones.

For anyone wishing to grind rmb's for their dogs, this NORTHERN TOOL UK grinder copes well with chicken wings and cut up chicken carcasses, using the coarse blade.

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"REASONS TO BE CAREFUL"

One of the benefits of raw feeding is that the dogs produce less stool, which is of a firmer consistency and less smelly than the stool of a "conventionally" fed dog. However, some dogs on the raw diet have a tendency to constipation, as does our Rory! In the early days, he became impacted and needed to have an enema under general anaesthetic to clear him out.

We are now rather more aware of Rory's bowel habits than perhaps we used to be! It is noticeable that if Rory misses out on a walk, he has more difficulty with his bowels. If I notice that he is straining, or struggling to have his bowels open, then I will either miss out the next rmb meal or substitute it with a tripe meal, and give him some olive oil. On the occasions when we are going on a long car journey e.g. to a show, when we know that the dogs won't get a decent run, then I may miss out a meal or give a non-rmb meal, perhaps with some vegetables, the evening before.

Exercise helps to keep the bowels regular and working! Cutting down on the bony components of the diet and increasing the non-bony foods can help with constipation.

The other "blip" we had, again in the early days, was when Breege got a chicken wing caught in her throat. She had tried to swallow the bone whole, without crunching it first. Fortunately, it was easily dislodged and she then eagerly returned to the rest of her meal!

Some dogs have a tendency to bolt their food i.e. they don't bother to crunch it first before swallowing. These dogs may need a little more supervision initially i.e. holding the bone in a "fist" or with some pliers; or they may need to be segregated from other dogs at mealtimes to encourage them to eat more slowly; or they should be offered larger bones, which cannot be swallowed whole.

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LINKS AND LISTS

This is by no means an exhaustive list of links, but I would recommend that newcomers to raw feeding visit the sites and pages listed below and join one or more of the raw feeding e-mail lists. Please also click here to go to another page listing some canine nutrition books.


~ United Kingdom Raw Meaty Bones

http://ukrmb.co.uk

~ Raw Meaty Bones

www.rawmeatybones.com

The following pages (via RMB ARTICLES) are a useful "first base":

Diet Guide
Diet is the Cornerstone of Good Health

www.rawmeatybones.com/Diet.html

Expanded Diet Guide
Diet guide for domestic dogs and cats

www.rawmeatybones.com/diet/ExpDiet.html

FAQ
Frequently asked questions

www.rawmeatybones.com/faq.htm

~ Learn how easy it is to feed a raw diet

www.rawlearning.com

~ Raw Fed Dogs

www.rawfeddogs.net


~ Raw Irish Glens E-mail List

raw-irish-glens-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

This group is for owners and breeders of Irish Glen of Imaal Terriers who feed their dogs a raw diet. We can discuss feeding the Glens the raw way and exchange and share our experiences. Also we are happy to guide new beginners.
To join this list, please click on the e-mail link.

~ BritBarf E-mail List

BritBarf-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

This is a discussion list for those in the UK, relating to feeding dogs a raw diet.
All are welcome, whether experienced, beginners or who just want to find out more about the benefits (and risks) of feeding raw.
To join this list, please click on the e-mail link.

~ Good Email Lists on Raw Feeding

www.rawlearning.com/rawlists.html

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