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    1. #1
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      Berna's Avatar
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      One Year On Raw - Our Experience (re-posted)

      It's been one year since I've started Cookie on raw. I am following the BARF model (meat and some veggies and fruits). I try to add as much variety as I can (chicken, beef, turkey, fish, lamb). I feed meat, bones and organs. I add eggs and plain yogurt.

      It doesn't take much more of my time to prepare raw meals than it did to feed my dog kibble (I did feed kibble for 6 years). Once a week I go to the market and buy fresh meat, I cut it into peaces and put them in bags, then in the freezer. I wish I had more space in the freezer but I don't see it happening any time soon.

      I will only write about my experience and the changes I have noticed on my dog.

      No changes noticed on:

      * Coat (it's shiny and healthy as it was on kibble; shedding twice a year, in spring and fall).

      * Teeth (white with no tartar; I don't brush that often though. Great teeth for an almost 8 year-old dog!)


      Changes noticed:

      * Stool (much less stool, more firm. No diarrhea or vomiting issues! When I fed kibble, those happened pretty often - once or twice in 2-3 months)
      * No bad breath or flatulence!
      * Orthopedic issues (Over the past years Cookie had a fair share of orthopedic issues - 2 ACL injuries, one of which required a surgery, and elbow dysplasia, diagnosed in August 2012. He used to limp on that elbow occasionally (maybe once a month), regardless the fact that he was on glucosamine & chondroitine supplements and restricted exercise. Since we started the BARF diet, the problems disappeared, like magic. I don't supplement his food anymore. He gets natural glucosamine from chicken and turkey necks, chicken feet and beef trachea)
      * He developed nice muscle tone (No matter how much exercise he got, how much protein the food he was on had, he never had such a nice muscle tone)


      A year ago







      Now









      * Blood panel results improved. Please not the Calcium (Kalcijum) and Phosphorus (Fosfor) levels. This makes me very suspicious of "complete super premium dry foods"

      September 2012 (Super Premium dry food)



      September 2013 (raw)





      As you can see, the levels of Calcium and Phosphorus were "off" when the dog was fed kibble, but were completely normal when the dog was fed raw. This is for all of you who have concerns about whether you can make a balanced meal when home-preparing your dog's food and put too much faith on the bag labels. Also in 2013. the dog got Piroplasmosis (Babesiosis) twice. The drug used to treat Babesiosis is very harmful to the liver. I was glad to see that there was no damage done and that the liver levels weren't too off. They were off while the dog was on kibble too, but nothing worrisome.

      * No more hyperactivity! Where did my hyper Marley go? Maybe there is some truth about dogs and too much carbs in kibble. The dog is still energetic, but not hyper.


      I would also like to add that I feel more comfortable with feeding real, fresh food to my dog than with feeding kibble and putting faith in labels and kibble manufacturers. Feeding real, natural vitamins and meat proteins, without worrying whether 30% or 40% protein is too much or too little. I do feel it is more healthy for him and I am happy to see him happy and healthier than ever!



      ETA: this post was originally posted in February 2014. A few months ago I noticed that Cookie's right elbow is giving him some trouble after too much exercise (we are used to walking up to 20 kilometres). He's usually sore the day after, but he's still a very active dog, regarding his age.

    2. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Berna For This Useful Post:

      bearbuddymarie (06-02-2014), Carlos (07-14-2014), charliebbarkin (06-03-2014), fan of fanboys (06-04-2014), Georgie (06-02-2014), MikeLynn (07-19-2014), Snowshoe (08-20-2014)

    3. #2
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      Excellent summary!

      I feed a BARF model and also feel the most comfortable feeding real food than kibble. I just couldn't block my ears and reasoning skills and continue to feed a highly processed product that did not resemble food. Something that could sit in a plastic bag for longer than a year made of unknown sources of food, additives and preservatives was contrary to everything I had learnt.

      I'd like to write a post at some stage about the practicalities of feeding raw, particularly to labs, because of their size and need to feed a greater quantity than smaller dogs. For example, it has become much easier for me once I accepted that dogs feeding style is "scavenger" and "opportunistic" and they eat NOT FRESH fruit and veges but DECAYING food quite well. So balance is only necessary "over time" and "left-over fruit/vegetables" is not only acceptable but is what they have been feeding for thousands of years. A compost heap (without certain foods toxic to dogs) would provide some necessary nutrients.
      So, keeping that in mind, I now have a container in the fridge with fruits and vegetables that us humans would normally throw out...a bruised apple or over-ripe banana. Also any peelings from apples, carrots etc. Although fruit/veges are only a small percentage of around 10-30% it makes preparing meals easier and more convenient, and cheaper with minimal food wastage. Also, I have control over what "fillers" are used, left over plain rice or pasta (again, food that normally would be discarded).

      Once I worked out the practicalities of feeding raw it became much easier. However by that stage I then realised how ridiculous it was to make feeding real food so complicated.

      Its not that difficult and also can be environmentally and economically sustainable too.

    4. #3
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      I have been keeping track on the expenses for the last couple of months and found out raw is cheaper than high quality kibble. It costs me around 65$-70$ and for kibble I used to pay about 80-90$ per month.

    5. #4
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      In my experience raw is more expensive. I think a lot has to do with where you are able to find the meat. I don't have a co-op near me nor do I have sources of full animals. Basically I have the grocery store and therefore pay people prices. I've never found chicken less than $1.99/pound--and it's usually a lot higher than that. I guess if I were to go around to butcher shops and ask for discarded parts I might find a deal. I just don't have the time when I work 9 hours a day! So I buy freeze dried raw. I get it from Chewy so it's the cheapest I can get (14 ounce bags at the pet store are around $32, Chewy sells it for $21). A bag lasts about 2 1/2 days so it is expensive. BUT!!! All the benefits are showing! Their coats especially are so shiny and soft!

    6. #5
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      Pre-made raw is expensive, so I make mine at home. I don't think it's time consuming. I've bought a small freezer about a month ago, so I can store meat that lasts about two weeks. I need about two hours to go to the market and buy the meat and about one hour to chop it and put it into bags (one bag = one meal). And I do this every two weeks.

    7. #6
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      I love this, thank you for digging it up and reposting. I searched a while on the way back for it but nothing turned up. Glad you got it. Thanks again, appreciate it.
      Charlie and Burton


    8. #7
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      Pre-made raw for me is too expensive. I don't belong to any co-op and in general buy from the supermarket, human grade food. I'm currently doing a few changes and recording changes to costs etc..

      All my previous calculations had the cost of feeding a high premium kibble or raw, BARF model as very close in prices.

      I could NEVER feed pre-made/packaged raw, its way out of my price range. Feeding 2-3% of a lab's body weight can be expensive and requires much more meat than a small dog.

      Adding fruit, vegetables and small volume of rice to the raw meat makes in possible, ie. using the BARF model. I always ensure percentages are adhered to and do a quick calculation of my mixes. I also did a lot of research!

      Its funny because one change that I had downplayed was my lab's coat!! When I was feeding Proplan/kibble her coat was in good condition but felt coarse. Feeding raw has made her coat really really soft!!! Its one thing that I really don't think about BUT its amazing that when strangers with different breed dogs pat my dog they always say " her coat is beautifully soft". Now we all know that of all the features of a lab their coat is not famous as other breeds for softness. But truly, I am amazed at the comments about her coat above anything else.

      The other change, apart from no health concerns, is she looks muscular/toned in shape.

    9. #8
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      He looks stunning, you did a very well job definitely.

    10. #9
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      beauty

    11. #10
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      I started making my dog's food when he was diagnosed with a spindle cell and a mast cell tumor at the same time. He was almost 13 - and the first vet recommended removing his limb where the spindle cell was attached because it would be impossible to get clean margins. We refused to allow that on an almost 13 year old dog. We took him to a board certified surgeon and spent a fortune having both tumors removed and he is now cancer free and no return as of yet of the spindle cell. But I also changed Moby to a grain free diet. I feed him raw that I prepare (hamburger, cottage cheese, flax seed oil, broccoli, kale, other greens, carrot, apple - and I used to put a clove of garlic until it was recommended to not do so by the vet.) I feed him Candidae dry kibble in the evening. He looks fantastic. Shiny coat, wet nose, decent energy for a geriatric, no more matted clumps of fur on his hindquarters and I think he sheds less. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to put the food together and I make enough patties to last about 35 days and freeze them in packets of 6 at a time. -moby-jpg It is more expensive than just feeding him kibble but he is worth it. I don't do this for our new puppy; however.
      Last edited by Moby and Barley's Mom; 07-19-2014 at 11:23 AM. Reason: spelling error

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