Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Aug

The Primal Eating Plan for Dogs

We imagine many of our readers are strict adherents to the Primal Blueprint. You’re downing almonds by the bushel, guzzling fish oil, and avoiding grains like the plague, but what are you feeding Fido? Our bodies have had over ten thousand years to get used to agrarianism – and the stuff is still killing us! Commercial kibble has only been around for fifty years. Imagine how dogs feel.

Consider the wolf, a dog’s closest relative. Wolves are hunters and scavengers, relying primarily on animal protein. They are not, however, accomplished chefs. Check out a wolf’s den. No pots, no pans, no range stove. Not even a salt shaker. They were on the raw diet before it became hip. You won’t see wolves feasting on Purina; they eat raw meat, and lots of it.

Genetically, dogs are virtually still wolves. They weren’t even domesticated until 15,000 years ago. So, for some 5,000 years the furry guys were tagging along with hunter-gatherers, munching on the leftovers: meaty bones, organ meat, maybe a bit of mammoth rib-eye (if they were lucky). They were scavengers – like their wolf ancestors – and they flourished as our utilitarian companions. Why else did we keep ‘em around for so long? Sure, eating our leftovers may not have been the optimum doggy diet, but it was certainly better than the dry, over-processed sawdust that passes for dog food today. Modern dogs are pampered softies. Store-bought dog “food” works for them because they don’t do much more than sit around and sleep.

And does commercial dog food really work? Well, it certainly keeps them fat and alive. On the same token, the Western grain-based diet keeps us fat and alive, too, but we all know how we feel about that. Just as Big Pharma’s tendency to prescribe expensive band-aids masks the insidious nature of modern nutrition, so too does the veterinary community give the impression that cancer, bone disorders, and other canine illnesses just happen to man’s best friend. Nutrition, according to them, has little to do with it. But just in case it does, they just so happen to sell an expensive kibble – Science Diet, Nutra-Max, or whatever garbage their corporate sponsors have paid them to promote – that will fulfill all of your dog’s dietary needs. What luck!

Before you listen to the vet, check out the ingredients on the package. For you Primal Blueprinters, the results will shock you. You’ll see stuff like lamb meal, ground rice, wheat, corn, sorghum – and that’s for the premium brands! Why would you feed a carnivore grains? Somehow, we doubt wolves were out there shucking corn and harvesting rice. And just what is lamb meal? From Wikipedia, it is “the dry rendered part from mammal tissues, prepared for feeding purposes by tanking under live steam or dry rendering.” After all that processing, what little remaining nutritional value of the “meat” cannot possibly counterbalance the filler ingredients. The dog gets full, and even happy (hey, we all know that dogs will eat anything with a stupid smile on their faces), but the nutritional deficit adds up. You can stick with the kibble, but prepare yourself for a lifetime of vet bills, doggie dental bills (the most preventable expense ever), and vast amounts of smelly stool.

The truth is following a Primal Blueprint for dogs is the best way to ensure happy, healthy dogs. Best of all, you’re already used to preparing your own Primal-friendly meals, so the transition to a specialized dog diet shouldn’t be a huge leap. It’s easy, too: no cooking, no seasoning, no prepping. Just look at what wolves eat (read: any meat they can get their paws on) and go from there.

The Chow

A Primal eating plan for dogs should consist mainly of organ meat, raw meaty bones (like chicken carcasses or turkey necks), and muscle meat, naturally and humanely-raised if you can swing it – just like us! Really, any animal product is acceptable. Wolves ate a wide range of animals, but it’s probably unrealistic to feed your dog antelope, elk, and deer on a regular basis. Some pretty affordable options include:

Turkey: necks, backs, wings, drumsticks, gizzards, hearts
Chicken: carcasses, backs, necks, legs, wings, organs, eggs
Whole, oily fish: sardines, herring, anchovies, mackerel
Beef: stew meat, ground chuck, organs, marrow bones

Dogs don’t need filet mignon to lead happy, healthy lives. The first things wolves go for are the organs of a fresh kill. They prefer the cheaper, fattier, more nutrient-dense meats, and sticking to them makes it possible to feed your dogs grass and range-fed animal products.

The Transition

Going from traditional kibble to raw feed can be a little unnerving for newbies. Try to resist the impulse to do a half-kibble/half-raw dietary transition. This will only confuse the dog’s digestive system and lead to explosive diarrhea. Remember – you’re not switching kibble, you’re replacing poison with real food! Go cold turkey (pun intended). Puppies are blank slates and will take to the diet immediately, but older dogs may need a couple days to get used to the new food. Prepare for detox if your dog’s been on kibble for awhile. Vomiting, diarrhea, bad breath, and itchy skin are all par for the course. Don’t worry… ride it out!

Stick to fairly basic foods at first, like turkey and chicken necks. Dogs love to gnaw and chew bones, so this will come natural to them. If your dog’s a gulper (and most reformed kibble eaters are), hold the bones for them while they eat to promote proper chewing. Once they’ve figured out how to chew, you can start adding different meats.

The Benefits

To truly see the benefits, you have to try the diet out for yourself. Results tell the tale, but some common benefits include:

Shiny, soft coats: the Primal eating plan for dogs will imbue your pal with a beautiful luster. Heads will turn at the dog park; you better get yours spayed unless you want a promiscuous, irresponsible single mother on your hands. Fish oil supplementation makes this even more noticeable.

Pearly whites: eating clean food and chewing raw bones will clear up any plaque deposits and leave your dog’s teeth gleaming.

Lower vet bills: eating food the dog is evolutionarily designed to eat will take care of the allergies and minor illnesses that account for most vet visits.

Lower costs: buying wholesale and shopping for bones and organ meats are actually considerably less expensive than purchasing “premium” commercial dog food.

A happy, long-living best friend: the oldest dog on record was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey who dined exclusively on kangaroo and emu. Your dog will live a healthier, fuller life on a Primal eating plan.

Firm, odorless poop: on a raw, Primal eating plan, dogs waste little of what they eat. That means stool is small, hard, and without much odor. It also turns into white powder after a day or so, making cleanup effortless. Also, the added strain of passing hard stool will naturally express your dog’s anal glands, rendering another expensive vet trip obsolete.

Common Concerns

Don’t dogs choke on bones?
Not on raw ones. Cooked bones splinter, and they can get lodged in a dog’s throat. Raw bones are pliable, and the calcium content is absolutely integral to a dog’s health. Plus, chewing bones keeps the teeth clean. No more astronomical dental bills!

What about food-borne bacteria? Isn’t raw meat dangerous?
Wolves seem to do just fine eating days-old carrion. Dogs’ stomachs are equipped to handle bacteria in much the same fashion, so don’t worry about contamination. Still, humans are vulnerable, so wash up!

What if my dog is constipated?
Again, the straining is actually good for your dog. But if it absolutely refuses to come out, a little raw canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) will do the trick. Raw pumpkin also firms loose stools.

How much should I feed?
Let’s use a sixty-pound retriever mix as an example. Assuming it gets plenty of exercise, feeding about a pound and a half to two pounds of assorted meats and bones is plenty. Everything varies from dog to dog, of course. If you can’t feel its ribs, reduce the food. If its ribs are a little too prominent, feed more.

Just meat?
Vegetables can be added to your dog’s diet. In fact it is recommended. Carrots are fun to crunch, and broccoli, spinach, and celery can be ground up and added to a mixture of ground meat. Supplementing with fish oil is also recommended for a shiny, healthy coat.

Have Fun

Have fun with it. Your dog is an incredibly eager eater, and watching the transformation is a true joy to behold. Go slowly and listen to your instincts as a Primal eater yourself.

Do you have dogs you feed Primal food? If not, are you thinking about making the switch? Hit us up with a comment and share your stories!

Kamia The Wolf, storm gal, This Year’s Love, Crocodillicus, tanakawho, NiteLynx Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

What is the Primal Blueprint?

The Definitive Guide to Primal Eating (for Humans)

Raw Meat (for Humans)

The Primal Eating Plan for Cats

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. No use in criticizing raw unless you’ve tried it with your own dog, then draw a conclusion. Since kibble is only about 50 years old, what did dogs eat before?

    We recently acquired a rescue corgi and the first day in our home we switched him to raw. He almost dances at the sight of the meat in his bowl. His teeth are cleaning up, and his fur shimmers with a silky gloss.

    Many of the kibble foods are produced by companies like Colgate, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble and we know the profit line is what motivates them. There’s no money in feeding raw so of course they’re not going to encourage it. Why should we line their pockets instead of what’s holistically best for our dogs?

    Andrea wrote on October 14th, 2011
  2. I have a 9 week old cocker spaniel. On our first vet visit last week, the vet told me to feed him Science Diet kibble and cooked pasta. When I mentioned other foods like fresh meat, bones and sardines,he replied, that no other food would be nessesary, and that most of the foods I suggested was far to fatty for a dog and would cause pancreatitis.

    I was shocked, and came home feeling confused as every dog I have ever owned I had fed a mixed diet to. I felt it was cruel to condem a dog to a life of bland dehydrated biscuits. Besides the question of quality of commercial foods in general, I certainly wouldn’t like to eat a boring monotonal diet of biscuits my entire life, no matter how many synthetic vitamins and minerals they contained!

    SO I came online to do my own research. Raw diets make sense. I started giving him fresh meat and chicken wings, goats milk with a few fresh vegies and herbs out of the garden in the processor. Also found K9 Natural, which has raw green tripe in it, which is near impossible to find anywhere here in Australia. It’s been a week and his poos have changed from runny very smelly, to firm and tolerable. Only time will tell if I am doing the right thing. But in my heart it feels better to feed a natural diet than a processed one.

    Melissa wrote on October 16th, 2011
  3. Can I also add. My cocker had only ever eaten processed dog food from the breeder. When I gave him fresh chicken for the first time it was amazing, I watched him come alive!

    Compare a dogs reaction to a bowl of kibble to a serving of fresh meat or a bone. If that isn’t evidence enough, than I don’t knwo what is.

    Melissa wrote on October 16th, 2011
  4. I think it’s important to remember that it’s vital for your dogs to also get a lot of raw vegetables in as well.

    Wild dogs are omnivores with a high opportunistic meat diet- I know when I’m just hanging outside with my dogs they’ll nibble on grass and leaves all the time.

    Also the stomach is generally one of the first things wolves eat in the wild which will have tons of vegetables in it unlike a lot of the meat you buy in stores.

    Also you should still take into consideration the quality of the meat you get because meat loaded with hormones and riddled with disease might be better raw than cooked for your pups, but could still cause tons of problems. Wolves that eat meat in the wild are getting a lot of nutrients from the vegetables that the animals eat that our US factory farmed animals can’t compare with. Go organic grass fed only and add tons of veggies to your dogs diet!

    Sylvie wrote on October 17th, 2011
  5. I have my dog on the Raw diet and my vet seems to think it is crap. He told me the green tripe is terrible and that this diet does not provide calcium.
    He eats turkey necks, chicken backs and feet and raw chicken and beef with the bone int from our local butcher.
    What are your thoughts. Does he need a supplement with this diet?

    Linda wrote on October 21st, 2011
  6. Mark, I’m impressed! I started following your site fairly recently, and stumbled upon this post in the archives. So many people look at me like I’m crazy when I say the majority of what I feed my dog is fresh animal products. The only thing I can think of is that you forgot eggs! So many people preach their benefits for people, and they can be arguably even better for dogs! Talk about healthy fats and just plain good :) My mini foxie loves them.

    Cassie T. wrote on November 10th, 2011
  7. I’ve read a lot of websites and posts debating the merits of a raw diet over commercial pet foods.. and the criticisms of commercial pet food. I sure don’t have a scientific/nutritional background to be able to adequately analyze which is better. For that matter, there are no scientific (long term, unbiased, double-blind) studies examining either one. What is published is biased and not credible.

    Health effects from diet, especially in dogs, take time (sometimes years) to manifest. Then there are genetic and individual characteristics, all of which means some animals tolerate bad nutrition better than others and Fido’s shiny coat may not be entirely attributable to his diet.

    Proponents of a raw diet for dogs base it, in large part, on the fact that dogs evolved from wolves. But there are scientists who claim dogs actually evolved from jakals. Even though dogs share a large percentage of genetic material with wolves, their domestication over thousands of years has led to differences in GI tract and more. Humans are 98% genetically related to chimps, but a similar diet obviously doesn’t make sense. Even if dogs and wolves were anatomically identical (they aren’t), it doesn’t mean they are functionally the same. Human GI tracts are anatomically identical, but functionality is different (e.g., lactose intolerance, etc.). All of which is to say, the idea of feeding our Golden Retriever – who wouldn’t know the first thing about ripping apart an elk – the same diet as a wolf, may not be exactly sound.

    We assume raw food is nutritionally superior to commercial pet food because, as humans, we’ve heard consistently that raw food has more nutrition than cooked food. And, it makes sense to assume raw food is better than commercial kibble which is extruded and subjected to temperatures known to destroy nutritional values. But does anyone know what nutritional levels animals need? Even the organization responsible for overseeing the pet food industry says the science is inexact and there is a lack of knowledge.

    To begin with, dogs have hinged jaws, unlike cows, for instance, who can ‘masticate’ veggies. This means dogs’ jaws are not designed to slide side to side to help digest veggies. If you feed your dog veggies, at least cook them to help with their digestion..

    At the end of the day, we plop the bowl down on the floor filled with whatever we assume is best for our animal. If they are healthy, we know we’ve made the right choice. Again, health problems can take years to show up, so maybe we’ve fed them well, or maybe the effects just haven’t shown up yet. Or maybe we got lucky with their genetics.

    I personally feed my dog a raw diet, but that doesn’t mean that I believe ALL commercial pet food is bad, or nutritionally unsound because I don’t know. I choose a raw diet because I have more control. That said, I am concerned about subjecting my dog to salmonella and no one knows for sure what that means over the long term. Within a few weeks I plan to cook her meat to eliminate the risk.

    Kate7 wrote on November 15th, 2011
  8. Salmonella is not an issue with dogs fed raw for a while. Dogs who have been fed raw will have a ridiculously acidic stomach to deal with bacteria-laden raw meats and to liquify bones. This is why dogs have been seen to busy bones with meat attached. Once bacteria rots the meat they’ll go back for the meat which is sweeter in taste. They can handle it. Raw fed dogs have stronger immune systems so they can deal with any bacteria that makes it through. They also start killing bacteria as they chew, dog salive is antibacterial while humans don’t have that particular antibacterial component in our saliva (forget what it’s called). Dogs fed cooked meats or carbohydrates have compromized immune systems AND less acidic stomachs, more bacteria survives and overwhelmes the dog making him sick. Does not happen with raw fed dogs. Some salmonella bacteria and e coli can pass through the dog’s digestive system and come out in the stool, you can say that the dog will be an asymptomatic “carrier” of e coli and salmonella. Well, surprise surprise, please wash your hands when washing up after dog stools! Besides, if YOU are healthy with a strong immune system (see primal blueprint) you will also be able to deal with a smidgen of salmonella or e coli making it into your mouth somehow. Anyway, don’t forget to provide our furkids with rich organs and small fatty fish too!

    Joseph wrote on December 13th, 2011
  9. IMO, no need for vegetables for dogs. Meat rots in acidic environment over time. This is not good for the dog. Hence their digestive system is short. It’s meant to take in meat and bones and organs, break it down, push it out quickly. There’s no time nor the proper enzymes to crack that tough cell wall (not cell membrane) to get at the goodness. I tried giving my dogs raw, grated carrots and corn when my education was still a bit lacking. Went in raw, grated carrots and came out raw, grated carrots. Also, went it corn on the cob and came out corn on the (different) cob. :) Meat, bones, organs on the other hand, they eat a chunk as big as their head. Their stool is barely the size of one of their paws. They use it.

    Joseph wrote on December 13th, 2011
  10. This is a great info source. we just started on raw for our goldendoodle. She had a bout of gastro prior to this and we wanted to do the best we could by her. We’ve been researching like mad while the dog yips for more of the good stuff. Just wondering if anyone has heard of nutrigenomics-a more specific way of zeroing in on what a dog might need based on its biogenetic make-up. Would this explain why some have an iron stomach and others are sooo sensitive to certain foods?

    c. palumbo wrote on December 13th, 2011
    • Back when feeding commercial my elder one was sensitive (many vet visits) and the younger one had an iron stomach. After cold turkey to raw, the elder one had violet diahrrea for a week and the younger one took it in stride. Now sometimes my elder one still had diahrrea but only once in a blue moon (three/four times a year) while the younger one, I can’t remember, maybe once or twice over the last two years feeding raw. I guess individual differences play a part. Never heard of nutrigenomics, sorry, but as long as you give the vital macronutrients and remove the poisons (grains/carbs) they will adapt. But if you’re new to raw feeding there is a transition time unless you’re lucky. Stomach acids were weak because carbs don’t need such strong stomach acids. Once you give them raw, stomach needs time sometimes to go back to what they;re meant to do, pump out acid do dissolve RAW, uncooked bones which are soft and pliable as opposed to cooked bones which are brittle and will generate shards. Also will happen when you introduce rich rich organs like liver. Start with heart, that’s always required, introduce liver later on. Both my dogs will have a bout of soft stool when given too much liver but it clears up next stool session. Watch the poo, best indicator. Too white and too dry and too hard to push out = too much bones. Too watery = too little bones. They also take the same fish oil that our family does, just twice a week for them since it’s formulated for 100KG humans rather than 8KG Shih Tzu’s. I wouldn’t worry too much with specifics, get over the hump and you’ll see great benefits. If you’re paranoid like I was about no veggies at all then try giving them some, won’t hurt really. But if you start seeing them in the stool the same color and consistency as they went in then you know for sure feeding it to them was completely useless. Good that you’re researching, very responsible dog owner! This IS a great info source, there’s better out there for dog nutrition. Funny thign is that I love my dogs, got them started on raw feeding after reseach two years ago. Myself, Primal Blueprint only two weeks ago. :S Oops.

      Joseph wrote on December 13th, 2011
  11. so where do you get raw meat for dogs….the store is expensive.

    dean wrote on January 31st, 2012
    • Watch the sales at the grocery store, stock up whenever meat is under $1.00 or $1.50 per pound. (Make sure it’s not “x% solution added”, the salt can give dogs the runs.)

      Make it known to family and friends that you’ll take any expired meat off their hands. Craigslist is helpful too. Also if you know any hunters, tell them you’ll take any scraps off their hands.

      See if there are any raw-feeding co-ops in your area:

      Some people have success talking to the meat department manager at their grocery store and getting meat past the sell-by date. Some people have been told no. (I’ve never tried it, I have 3 small dogs, I’d be overwhelmed with meat if I used this method.)

      My dogs have their own chest freezer, it’s helpful to have a lot of room when you find good deals.

      Abby J wrote on March 4th, 2012
  12. I know this post is quite old but I just came across it and read with interest. My dogs have been fed a primal diet since they were puppies, they’re now almost 4. They eat much better than we adults do. Our holistic vet recommended the diet since one of our girls has hip displaysia so we needed to keep her nice and lean to not put any unnecessary pressure on her hips. The other, it turns out, is actually allergic to beef (common in poodles), corn syrup and soy! So many commercial dog foods contain these ingredients, it was almost impossible to find a dry food that didn’t (there is one, a brand called ARTEMIS) So, fresh chicken wings and necks, organ meat and vegetables is what they eat. They also have fish oil, flaxseed oil (good for their coat) and one has a glucosamine formula to help manage any joint pain. Their stools are exactly as described above – small, odourless and turn white and crumbly in a day. We are often told our girls are too thin, but I think society is so used to seeing overweight, unhealthy dogs, that a slim, healthy energetic dog is unusual. Our girls weigh around 11kgs. When we got them from the breeder, we were advised that full size should be between 10-15kgs. On the weekend, we will meet for the first time one of their litter mates…he is the same height, but 23kgs…it will be very interesting to see the difference.

    Jo wrote on February 29th, 2012
  13. My dog has epilepsy and is going on for 5 years. He has been fed on meat fish and bones, with selected veg for about 2 years now. He is on full human medication for epilepsy and Epilease for dogs. He has bad itching and scratching problems, which we are treating. Any tips on addition to diet? we do put olive oil on his food and give him multivitamins. He is not a very happy doggie!

    Pamela wrote on March 13th, 2012
  14. Hello,
    my puppy is 10 weeks old now and I had him on the raw diet for about a week now (he loves it!). But my only concern is that now I notice his pee is a dark yellow almost orange. Not just in the morning all day. I did use febreze to get the smell of pee out of my house, but I haven’t used it days thinking it was that. Is that normal on raw food?

    Sara wrote on March 14th, 2012
  15. I have a 4 pound yorkie that is the pickiest eater in the world. He won’t touch kibble or canned dog food. After research and experimenting with his food interest I fees him cooked chicken breast and sometimes beef if he will eat it. I’ve tried raw and soft cooked eggs (he won’t touch it). Now he eats a mix of gently cooked chicken breast, raw chicken wings and chews on raw cow bones. He won’t eat veggies or fish or fruit at all. Even if I mix it with ground meat he is not interested. He is overall very healthy but has bad rank gas and white dry sandy looking stool. He has been eating this way for several months and the poop has been like this since. He is only 2 years old. Is this normal and should I try to feed him anything else?

    Carla wrote on March 16th, 2012
  16. this is a cool article. Feeding raw to dogs makes total sense. I switched my dog over to a raw diet a few months ago and he is doing great! I feed him a brand called OC Raw Dog. It is a complete diet and made from human grade ingredients! I am glad my dog is a “raw” dog now!

    packygal wrote on April 2nd, 2012
  17. I have a 3 year old BUGG. Lots of ‘environmental allergies” (tested tested and re-tested) and I have been buying the Raw Food diet consisting of raw beef/bones; fish; veggies BUT she is always hungry. Constantly and has put weight on. The other day I tried her on kibble from Natural Balance and she left her plate and I didn’t hear from her the rest of the day she was full and content.

    Mixing both slowly to introduce this new food and she doesn’t touch the raw. I would continue with it but she is clearly not getting enough and she is putting weight on however I do buy her the dried Oxtail and the dried pig ears from my supplier.

    I would have thought the other way around would be the answer because it is heavy on the meat and veggies but she doesn’t get full and is always tapping for more.

    What do u think?

    Natalie Sztern wrote on April 9th, 2012
  18. I tried the raw diet with my super sensitive Staffie. EVERY time I tried, he immediately vomited up whatever he ate. Profusely. Repeatedly. It was horrible. The poor baby got so sick each and every time (tried when I first brought him home at 9 weeks and again when he got older around 6 months and 10 months). The whole “ride it out” thing doesn’t reflect the fact that the dog’s body is rejecting the food because it cannot digest it properly. NOT a good idea to put your pup through that hoping that he will eventually “ride it out” -gave me SERIOUS concerns about his health after just one day. Try letting a 75 lb dog vomit for three days straight each and every time you feed him (because you don’t want to mix processed kibble and raw meat diet). At that point, he’s both starving and exhausted from being sick. Day three, I had to give up -worries about physical toll and dehydration. I tried chicken (he is allergic), then beef RMB (vomiting was WAY worse). The only “raw” food he can handle is carrots, and they don’t digest!! lol. Any suggestions?

    Nikki wrote on May 3rd, 2012
    • Hi my bc girl will sometimes vomit after rmb she has raw marrow bones as a treat a few times a week, her meals consist of raw meat that has bones ground up, pulped veggies, fish oil, probiotics/ prebiotics( she has a sensitive belly too) kelp and alfalfa. Try really small amounts of ground raw mince and bone with a little pumpkin to start maybe 4 times a day tk start with and sew how he goes and gradually build it up. I would feel awful if my girl was eating it all then throwing it all up again. Also give him a little time to calm down after exercise and before make sure you give him at least an hour after a rmb to digest it otherwise he will throw it up. Hope this helps let me know how you get on :-)

      Helen wrote on May 14th, 2012
  19. i have learned a lot today – reading here. i have a 2 1/2 year old 11 pound yorkie and we started today transitioning him to raw. we are transitioning with with “instinct raw” (natures variety) we bought from from the freezer at a local pet store. however-we have a freezer full 0f ground elk and deer (hubby’s a hunter) mixed with a little beef suet. is this sound? when i cook wild game for us you can tell he is just praying i will drop some.;o) i feel leery about the bones… are they necessary? is fish oil all (a few veggies) all i need to add? we have been giving him glucosamine for his hips…what do you think? appreciate any response when you get a chance, thx for all this info. cp

    Cathy wrote on May 6th, 2012
  20. Cathy – Uncooked bones are safe, good for his teeth and contain glucosamine. You can add some organs from those deer carcasses, even (ick) brain, tendons, stomach lining, etc. Hope it helps :) Though keep in mind, I’m no vet.

    We just got a three-month old puppy and are agonizing over what to feed him. The raw animal parts diet has me convinced but about everyone I know has been yelling at me that I’ll be killing my dog on this unbalanced diet they are not made to eat, as they have evolved (as have we, apparently) since hunter-gatherer times.

    The only argument raised that truly has me concerned is what to do when travelling. He’ll end up eating 700g-1kg of meat every day. Does anyone have an idea as to how (or what) do I transport all of it (say, if we’re travelling in the desert or an otherwise relatively meat-free environnement) ?

    Thanks, I’m really at a loss here…

    Val wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Hi Val, I go camping a lot with my bc, I had the same problem in my head. A good quality cool box that has hook up to charge from your cigarette lighter in a car. The other thing I did was find a good quality steam cooked food that doesn’t need to be kept cool. If its going to be warm and I don’t have the car, I keep her food in a cool box with plenty of ice packs enough for 2 days then for the rest of the time or until I can get to some raw food supplier I use the steam cooked stuff which doesn’t effect her digestion. As long as you use something that is similar to what your dog eats normally then you should be fine for a week or so. The one i found works best is this :
      Hope this helps let me know how you get on.

      Helen wrote on May 14th, 2012
  21. Max is my 4-year old rescue. He has been on raw for at least 8 months. He has been scratching his ears for about 3 months but not sure why. Vet couldn’t find anything. Everything I have read says it is too much protein.

    My other rescue is great on it. She scratches and was shaking her head but not like Max.

    I’m not sure what to do now. I have Max on only beef mix but he is still scratching/head shaking constantly. Would cooking the meat help?

    Any ideas? Thank you.

    Donna wrote on May 14th, 2012
    • Hi Donna,
      What other meat have you tried Max on ? Beef and chicken are apparently the worst ones if your dog has allergies. Also try cleaning his ears with a little vitamin E oil do it on a daily basis for a couple weeks and see how that helps.

      Good luck :-)

      Helen wrote on May 14th, 2012
  22. Is there any site or any advice for breed specific raw diets??? I have an American bluenose pit bull… She is 5 months and I want to start her on a raw diet but mdont want to give her the wrong meats any advice??

    Schaz wrote on June 6th, 2012
  23. Wow!! I am in complete agreement with feeding dogs raw meat! I have just recently started making Molly*s food, I was cooking chicken liver and giblets, but the raw diet makes more sense (Molly is 4 months old), I made some dry food with flower and oil and added turmeric spice(for joints), now I am not so sure if that is alright for here, could you possibly get back to with an idea of how often to feed her raw meat, I feed her 3 meals a day, I give her the liver mixture in the am and the dry food at lunch and supper, now I am wondering if that is too much, she is quite active, anyway I would appreciate any advice you can give. I certainly cannot afford the vet, so I want her as healthy as possible.

    Keep up the great website! I am going to refer it to everyone I know with a dog!

    Kelly and Molly

    Kelly Groves wrote on June 25th, 2012
  24. My vet says that dogs are susceptible to e-coli contaminants and salmonella as we are. It all depends on the butchering of the animal and the processing. She still advises to cook the meat to avoid illness.

    Paula wrote on July 30th, 2012
  25. I just started getting this from What do you guys think?

    Javier wrote on September 27th, 2012
    • Hi javier, I’ve had a look all I can say is try it for a few weeks and note how your dog is getting on with it. Any reason you don’t want to just feed raw?


      Helen wrote on September 27th, 2012
      • It’s mostly a timing thing. I spend so much time cooking for myself and my wife (which she’s not paleo so it makes it harder) that to make something else on top of that would be rough. I was thinking of maybe adding some chicken from time to time. Mostly bad excuses to be honest.

        Javi wrote on September 28th, 2012
  26. I understand but why not try raw for 2 weeks and see how you get on fitting in to your routine. It really isn’t complicated at all you just need yo remember to get your dogs meat for the day out the night before and set it in a tub/bowl to defrost over night. I personally feed twice a day but do what ever works best fr you and your dog. On the evening meal especially if your cooking veg just cut a bit extra and chuck it in with your dogs meal ( you can feed cooked too from time to time, get them left overs used up) once you get into the routine I’m sure you will find it really simple to do.

    Helen wrote on September 28th, 2012
  27. I’m concerned about the quality of the meat. Would I have to buy organic grass fed raw meat and organs?

    Nathan wrote on October 18th, 2012
  28. I have an English Mastiff and an American Bulldog. The mastiff was raised on the raw meat and when we got him earlier this year, we switched our bulldog and she LOVED it.

    I have one problem. The mastiff is a male and his piss is putrid. The smell is just like rotten meat. Is there anything we can add to his diet to help remedy the matter?

    Also as a chime in here – we get all our dog food from the local butcher house. They sell the scraps, bone paste (sawdust from bone saws) and beef hearts. They only charge $0.25 per pound… way cheaper than prepacked dry garbage.

    Kim Mullican wrote on November 26th, 2012
  29. Awesome post! I am going to try and get my parents to switch our dog to raw food- I KNOW she will benefit from it! Do any of you notice a difference in your dog’s energy levels? Are higher energy dogs more mellow on raw food?

    Elisa wrote on November 27th, 2012
  30. I have been feeding my dog, a medium-large yoorkie, since he was a puppy. It just didn’t make sense to me to feed him corn!

    But I have been concerned about whether he was getting proper nutrition. I felt that since wolfs ate like that then his gut was probably designed to eat meat as his primary source of nutrition. I feed him chicken, turkey necks and various type of red meat including some liver and kidneys. I did this just following my one intuition.

    I recently decided to check the internet to see if anyone else was doing the same thing.

    I am glad that I am not alone, and that others agree with me. I am certain we are right. It is so logical. And these purveyors of corn are so full of crap! I hear of dogs that seem to be almost always sick and the incredible fees these vets charge. My dog is five years old and has never been sick, period.

    I think the vets are in with the corn scam. Sick dogs make them rich!

    John Dupont wrote on March 24th, 2013
  31. I am going to start feeding raw tomorrow….to my 5 dogs…nervous though….been reading a lot about it….learned a lot from Pat McKay….

    justjiji wrote on April 10th, 2013
  32. Our beagle Thomas has allergy dermatitis. The infection was so bad, he scratched himself unceasingly, licking his butt, scratching and then infection set in the sores that he developed. The vet gave him an antibiotic. He turned out to be allergic to the antibiotic. He broke out in little bumps all over. His entire body was covered like a gourd with these hard red bumps, that have become very crusted. He is very sad. So a friend of mine suggested this site and diet plan. It makes SOOOOO much sense. I am going to try it. I pulled the kibble, and fed him a few left over fish I thawed from my freezer. He chowed them quickly. We will see how it goes. Tomorrow he will get some chicken legs, carrots, and brussle sprouts (stuff I have left over in fridge) and see how he does. Please pray for my boy! He is such an awesome dog.

    Thomasthetankpuppy wrote on July 17th, 2013

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