Educate me: raw feeding!

Recently our local pet shop has started selling some cool new products. I’ve never had a ‘local’ pet shop before, they’ve always been at least 15 minutes drive away. This one is a 10 minute walk, so I approve 🙂

They recently started to stock some Natures Menu products. My partner has limited me to buying one product of theirs’ a week (damn you impulsive Bipolar traits…), so here’s what we’ve tried so far:

  • Venison with Blueberries canned food
  • Rabbit and Cranberry canned food
  • Lamb and Chicken Meaty treats
  • Duck with Plum Country Hunter

We like their stuff, it’s good. It’s expensive, sure, but the ingredients are top notch and the dogs are really impressed with everything – even Zoey, who can be incredibly picky.

The Country Hunter is actually a complete meal, but we’re using them as rewards. It says on their site that you can add a little water to the bite-sized pieces to make it even tastier, so we will have to give it a try.

Here’s a video of Kasper doing some fun training ‘games’ the other day. This is one of his favourite games of the moment: basically I send him to his bed, he has to wait there, and after an indefinite amount of time I send him onto the couch and he has to wait there. Repeat, over and over again.

Kasper *loves* this game. I think it has to do with the fact that the amount of time I ask him to wait varies, which he finds exciting and which keeps him on his toes. He also never knows how many repetitions he has to do before earning a click and his reward – it’s like doggy gambling!

Towards the end of the video there are a few clips of me testing Kasper’s impulse control. I love that I don’t have to ask him to “leave it” anymore – he knows. He’s also very comfortable with me placing treats all around him; he stays statue still and retains eye contact perfectly. He can be awesome sometimes 🙂

As you can see in the video, his distance work is going pretty well. I can send him to his bed from the other side of the room, same with the couch. He holds his stays well, his impulse control is fab and he is loving training! My favourite thing about the video is how happy and confident he looks.

Anyway I emailed Natures Menu to ask for some advice about feeding the dogs raw bones, as they also sell raw products. They haven’t emailed back, booo! **ETA they replied today and have said they their vet will respond when she is back from annual leave – thank you guys! 🙂 **

If any of you readers have any experience with raw feeding, I’d love to hear it too.

Brief history: in the past we have fed Kasper raw bones. I don’t know what they were (I’ve been a veggie for eighteen of my twenty-five years, I know nothing about meat) but they were sold as ‘dog bones’. Every time Kasper ate one, he bit off huge pieces, which he promptly swallowed. These pieces were 1+ inch in size, and they caused him to be sick violently. One time he even swallowed a 3 inch shard of bone, which caused him to become very ill and we only narrowly avoided an operation.

Every time he had a bone we supervised him, but the problem was once he got a piece off he wouldn’t trade it (this was several years ago). Eventually we would yell “walkies!” and my partner would take him out whilst I threw away the bone. This also worked for when he would vomit and try and resource guard and re-eat the puke.

rawbone1

Zoey has only tried raw bones a handful of times, and twice she has been ill after swallowing large bits of bone too. I have no idea why. It’s not even because the dogs feel stressed and pressured to eat them quickly; they are separated when given them, we leave them well alone, and if we do need to get a bone off a dog we trade it for something better (eg. walk).

They never have bones now, and haven’t for a long time. I don’t want to feed them a completely raw diet – I don’t know enough about it yet – but I do want to feed them bones as a treat, eg. once a week.

So: why did the bones break apart like that? They were fresh and raw. I have done some research, because I really want to give Kasper and Zoey raw bones on a weekly basis, and it seems that turkey / chicken / duck necks or wings are the best and safest for inexperienced chewers. Even so from what I’ve seen the necks are pretty big and could be swallowed in large chunks.

I did find a site selling ‘wing tips’ that are roughly 1.5 inches in length. They could be a good starting point, I guess.

Any advice for us? I’d love to give the dog a bone, but it makes him ill! I’ve read wonderful things about health improvement and beneficial teeth cleaning when eating raw bones, and I feel we are missing out…

Finally (I will shut up soon!) Kasper can go in the paddling pool when it is full now – yay! We have been playing pool confidence games, so check out the video. He looks *so* happy and relaxed!

Oh! Finally finally, if you stumble across another blog featuring Kasper and Zoey, it’s for our website, so we can post updates without overwriting the old ones, etc 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Educate me: raw feeding!

  1. I have given up on bones. Stitch won’t touch the raw ones and I don’t like giving him cooked. He gets a high quality Kibble and i chop a bit of cooked chicken to add. He also likes cottage cheese stirred in. 🙂

    How fun to see Kasper’s beautiful fluffy tail in action.

    • We have the opposite problem here haha! I wish my dogs knew how to eat sensibly 🙂

      I don’t think I’ve ever tried either of our two with cottage cheese, and I’ll bet they’d really like it. That must be rectified.

      Oh Kasper’s darn tail. It seems to need a trim and grow longer every time I look at it. It’s very long and swooshy at the moment – I appreciate you calling it beautiful, I see it as bothersome, but I far prefer thinking of it as a thing of beauty!

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