This week’s newsletter has been created & our Blog followers are getting the TEXT only version before it even goes public! Lucky you ;)
Lots of “New & Noteworthy” items and announcements this week – in fact, I don’t know if I even got everything in there…so many cool things available right now at SFRAW. TIP: Be sure to read to the bottom where you can learn about a special discount offer available this weekend.
SFRAW MEMBERS: Remember you can always CALL 415 225 0589 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in having us reserve anything you need/want from available inventory. We can also deliver right to your door (cost & details for delivery options can be found towards the bottom of the email).
LINK to view the newsletter in your browser: http://eepurl.com/brjMRb
GUEST SPEAKER: OLIVER STARR “PREY MODEL FEEDING FROM A WOLF EXPERT” (check out comments for link to materials & see photos from that night)
You’re Invited to Attend This Special Event at SFRAW
GUEST SPEAKER: OLIVER STARR “PREY MODEL FEEDING FROM A WOLF EXPERT”
THURSDAY MAY 14TH 7PM @ SFRAW (250 NAPOLEON STREET, UNIT G, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94124)
Learn about prey model feeding from a well known wolf advocate, conservationist, researcher, writer/speaker, former professional athlete and SFRAW member, Oliver Starr. Oliver will speak about how he feeds his own animals: Arctic Wolf, Aqutaq and Wooly Malamute, Bixby. Through his 30-years experience of working with, researching, educating about and caring for wolves, Oliver has developed a unique raw diet and feeding program which closely replicates the diets of wild canids.
PLEASE RSVP by emailing us: email@example.com or calling 415-225-0589 Space will be limited.
Oliver’s ambassador wolf, Aqutaq will be in attendance for you to meet. This is a unique opportunity to meet a wolf and learn about feeding raw from one of our own members that is an expert writer and speaker on this interesting topic.
MORE ABOOUT OLIVER STARR
Oliver Starr is an entrepreneur, a writer and a consultant. He has also been a professional road and mountain bike racer, a big wave surfer, and a highly competent skier. He is the youngest person in history to ride a registered century bike ride – an accomplishment he achieved when he was only 7 years old. It took him over 9 hours. Upon completion he was asked if he was tired. He responded that he was not. He then closed the door of the vehicle in which he was traveling, buckled his safety belt and was asleep before the car had left its parking spot.
Currently Oliver is the Executive Editor of GTDtimes, a web site that is focused on aggregating all the best news and information related to David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” paradigm of personal and professional productivity.
In recent years past Oliver has been the founding blogger at two nationally recognized blogs: MobileCrunch, a TechCrunch Network Blog and The Mobile Technology Weblog. He was also the Senior Vice President of Business Development and Chief Mobility Officer for Foldera and prior to that was the CTO of one and CEO of two other start-up ventures that he helped lead from inception to acquisition.
Educationally, Oliver’s focus has always been on the sciences with a particular interest in ethology, biology, biochemistry and kinesiology. Oliver is nationally recognized as an authority on mobile devices as well as sports performance and pharmacological and dietary means of improving both general health and athletic performance.
He is a prolific writer and a seasoned public speaker who frequently participates in technology conferences both in the US and abroad. Oliver can be reached at oliver at owstarr dot com or via phone at 415-704-4544.
- To give thoughtful consideration to and conduct business in a manner that honors the health and well-being of all species (human, wild, farm and domestic animals);
- To be a discriminating purveyor of high-quality, ethically produced, truly wholesome & pure, genuinely natural foods & lifestyle products;
- To develop and produce the best wholesome raw pet foods and truly natural pet products with a focus on using pastured, organic, local, sustainable, wild-crafted ingredients;
- To provide these products and services at a fair cost to both the consumer and supplier;
- To support outstanding ranches, farms, small businesses and individuals that work hard to produce products with integrity and honor;
- To unite a diverse community that share a common interest in wholesome foods & Natural Rearing;
- To cultivate a compassionate and informed community that educate, inspire, and support one another;
- To mentor through education about feeding whole fresh food diets to pets and Natural Rearing principles.
SFRAW was originally founded in 2003 with the goal of making high quality, ethically produced meats from excellent sources more affordable. At the time, I was feeding 10-lbs of raw food every day to my two Great Danes, two cats, and large foster/hospice dog. I had a difficult time being able to afford, and source, the types of meats I wanted to buy for my animals — meats that were sustainable, humane, and ethically produced from small local ranchers. As a long-time environmentalist and ethical vegan, I simply could not stomach the idea of supporting/buying and feeding my animals factory farmed, industrialized, confinement operation produced meats — the inhumane and cruel conditions under which the animals were raised, unhealthy results (for the economy, humans and animals), and damaging impacts on the environment were all considerations I made in choosing which meats to buy and which farms to support. But being able to afford the high cost of buying these meats from a typical retail natural grocery outlet or my local butcher shop, and finding a selection of these types of sources was a challenge. This is how SFRAW was born and this goal will always be a big part of our mission:
We get inquiries regularly from people interested in feeding their dogs and cats raw, but have not made the switch because they have concerns about the associated costs of feeding this way. While it may be true that feeding fresh, wholesome foods from some of the best, highest quality meat producers available may cost more upfront than feeding kibble — we maintain that the benefits of feeding a fresh foods diet, and supporting ethical, sustainable meat producers are more than worth it in the end. One local company, Feed This!, put together this chart that reviews the net cost savings of feeding a raw diet. Often, when feeding a 100% fresh foods diet, you can realize significant savings on veterinary, grooming and health costs — one of the major benefits of feeding raw is the daily and long-term improvements in health (physical, emotional and behavioral) your dog or cat can experience when given the opportunity to thrive on a biologically appropriate, nutrient-rich, fresh, whole foods diet.
One such inquiry came through recently from a prospective member with two, 110-lb. young male Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They had a monthly budget in place, and wanted to know if they could afford to feed their dogs raw within their budget. Luckily, I am very familiar with the challenges of feeding large quantities of food on a budget!
I first suggested that she review our last blog post to determine how much they would need to feed based on activity level and age and to review our guide for determining proper body composition and management of their ideal weight.
My next suggestion was to consider feeding a proven, easy-to-follow and moderately priced meal program that I prepared many years ago for a wonderful Great Dane named Xander (Xanders_Menu). Xander was just weeks old when we started him on this menu, and he’s absolutely thrived on it for over 8 years. He’s now an active, fit and supremely healthy senior that continues to enjoy and thrive on this diet. For a SFRAW member, the overall cost for Xander’s menu (including veggies & supplements) averages out to around $3-4/lb. with today’s pricing.
I then decided to crunch the numbers (both nutritionally and economically) to prepare the below menu for feeding a “Frankenprey” style, cost-conscious diet to be prepared at home using SFRAW sourced ingredients: FrankenPrey Cheap Cuts (PDF). The preparation for this style of feeding is not so much with measuring and mixing things together, but portioning out the cuts into the sizes that you need to feed them (per meal or per day or per dog or cat – whatever works best for you), packing for the freezer and then defrosting to feed “as is” parts and pieces.
From our very excellent sources/producers, here in San Francisco (where the cost for food is considerably higher than other places in the US and the cost of living is among the highest according to many, including Forbes), the lowest pricing I could put together and still maintain a good, varied/reasonable (not too restrictive or skimping on high quality muscle meat), nutritionally balanced diet was around $2.50-$3/lb. If these dogs consume the average amount of 2% their body weight in food a day, two 110-lb young, active Ridgebacks would require 132-lbs of food a month and the cost for food would be a bit over $300/month.
The diet I put together includes seafood/fish, so you may not necessarily need to supplement with fish oil/EFAs or SFRAW’s most excellent Red or White Gold supplement (which I strongly recommend!) This plan is a stripped down, “just the basics” foundation menu that does not include added beneficial foods or supplements, seasonal foods (such as raw goat milk or pastured eggs) or vegetables, herbs, seeds, seaweed, natural vitamins/minerals or other nutrient boosting foods. For their best possible health, I do recommend including some of these nutritional enhancements, at your discretion, in supplemental amounts. This menu and budget also does not include treats.
On the other hand, my menu plan does not include the frequent deeply DISCOUNTED “one time only deals” and “on special” items we score for our members and work hard to find to keep your overall costs as low as possible. The products and prices listed on this menu are our everyday low SFRAW member prices (Jan 2015) on products that are available regularly at a great price. The monthly menu and plan costs could certainly be lowered by incorporating some of these discounted products we offer on a regular basis. That being said, my suggestion to include seasonal extras and whole food supplements (which will add to the cost) along with incorporating those discounted specials we offer, would probably average out the cost per lb. to remain around the same as projected on the menu plan ($2.50-$3/lb).
Of course, it is more expensive to feed prepared raw foods, but not by much for at least the SFRAW Halibut/Salmon Formula ($4.50/lb) and SFRAW Chicken Formula ($5.85/lb). By feeding a prepared raw formula, you can enjoying the convenience of something prepared and packaged for you (simply defrost and feed!) plus the added benefit and security of providing a complete and balanced diet with the addition of wonderfully healthy, nutrient dense “booster” or extra foods included in these blends. However, for the budget minded SFRAW member, or for those preferring to feed a Frankenprey style diet (based on non-ground whole parts & pieces), this menu provides you with a suggested shopping list, menu plan that provides nutritional balance and expected costs.
I hope this proves that feeding raw through SFRAW can be a lot more affordable than one may expect!
Lastly, there are additional suggestions on how to feed raw on a limited budget available here. However, the SFRAW mission and goal is not to find the least expensive meat possible — our mission and goals are to procure the highest quality, humanely-raised meats and offer these products are a fair market price (“the best meat at the best price”). To learn more about the economics of supporting healthy and humane meat production, we suggest reading the following articles:
http://www.americangrassfedbeef.com/comparision.asp (yes, we realize that this is written by the American Grassfed Beef organization)
Body Condition Scoring Chart & How Much To Feed
Maintain your adult dog or cat’s score to within the 2-3 range of the body condition score chart included below.
If your animal is initially below or above these mid-range scores of 2-3, be sure to calculate how much food they need to consume per day by using their IDEAL body weight (not their current body weight).
After you determine the suggested amount to feed based on their ideal body weight, consider this your starting amount to feed per day when you first switch to raw feeding. The suggested daily amounts below include all foods being consumed by your animal – treats, meals, snacks, meat, bones, formulas/grinds and all other foods being consumed.
Make Adjustments, If Necessary
If your animal starts to move beyond the 2-3 body score by gaining too much weight, feed less. If they become too thin, feed more. Individual metabolisms and energy requirements can vary dramatically. Pay close attention to your animal’s body condition to accurately determine the amount of food they need to consume to maintain their IDEAL weight.
Important Consideration for Raw Fed Puppies: If you have a growing puppy and you are feeding raw during the growth period (from weaning through 12-months and up to 2-3 years of age, depending on your breed and dog’s expected adult size):
First, **congratulations** on doing the best thing for your puppy’s health, structure, development, immune system and longevity! You are providing your puppy with the very best opportunity for a long & healthy life.
Second, it is important to keep these pups lean until they have completed their growth and reached full maturity. We prefer to see growing raw fed puppies maintained at a score of 2-3 for ideal health and safe, slow, strong and steady growing.
On Feeding Seniors: Healthy, less active animals and seniors generally require less food per day to maintain a healthy body weight. However, some very aged seniors may double or even triple their daily nutrient requirements, especially when faced with illness, debility or a diminished functionality of their digestive system. This last issue may inhibit an animal from properly absorbing nutrients from their diet. You may want to consider incorporating a high quality digestive enzyme supplement to assist their aging digestive systems in breaking down and absorbing the nutrients in their food. Some seniors flourish with the addition of home-prepared cooked wholesome foods (broths and stews) along with supplements to enhance the nutritional quality of their diets.
In every case, let your animal’s well-being guide you (superseding the recommendations made on any chart) to feed whatever amount they require to stay healthy and fit.
Consider Nutrient Density of Different Foods
Foods that are higher in macro nutrients (calories, fat and protein) will maintain a proper body condition more efficiently than foods that are lower in these macro nutrients.
Per ounce, higher density foods generally include duck, beef, pork and lamb. The more fat and skin you feed, the more calorically dense the food will be. All bones are high in calories and fat – as well as being mineral rich, which is their primary nutritional benefit and reason why we feed them to dogs and cats.
Chicken, fish, game (emu, rabbit) and/or commercially prepared raw foods that add water for processing, or include produce/vegetable matter, dairy or eggs will be lower in these macro-nutrients. In this case, you will need to feed more of these foods to maintain the same body composition.
SFRAW brand products are made with whole animals or over 90% meat based ingredients with less than 10% produce and other wholesome “superfood” ingredients to enhance the nutritional quality of our Formulas. We never add water for processing. To minimize processing and maintain nutritional integrity of our fresh, wholesome and exceptional ingredients, we never overgrind. SFRAW grinds & formulas are very dense and potent nutritionally, which means you can usually feed less of our foods to your pet compared to feeding other brands of raw food to maintain an ideal body composition.
Macro-nutrients found in common foods (raw, estimated averages) per ounce:
|Per 1 oz serving||Calories||Carb||Protein||Total Fat|
|Bone marrow, raw||251.18||0||0||13.58|
|Duck, raw (skin-on)||113||0||3||11|
|Beef, ground, raw (75/25)||83||0||4.5||7.1|
|Lamb, ground, raw||80||0||4.7||6.6|
|Pork, fresh, ground, raw||75||0||4.8||6|
|Bison, ground, raw||63||0||5.29||4.52|
|Beef, ground, raw (grass-finished)||54||0||5||4|
|Turkey, ground, raw (85/15)||51||0||4.8||3.6|
|below 50 Kcal/ounce|
|Veal, ground, raw||41||0||5.5||1.9|
|Chicken, ground, raw||40||0||5||2|
|below 25 Kcal/ounce|
|Goat milk, raw||16||1.8||1||0.7|
|Non-Starchy Vegetables (avg) raw||8||2||1||0|
Feeding Charts: How Much Raw Food Your Pet Should Consume
(Determined by ideal body weight, age and activity level)
|Ideal Adult Weight||ounces/day||pounds/day||#/week||#/month|
|High Metabolism (Athletes)|
|Ideal Adult Weight||ounces/day||pounds/day||#/week||#/month|
|Mellow & Chill (Seniors)|
|Ideal Adult Weight||ounces/day||pounds/day||#/week||#/month|
Below please find some past email inquiries regarding the topic of switching puppies to a raw diet and answers to common questions. I hope this is helpful for all the happy households with New Year/Christmas puppies and will inform those expecting new puppies in the spring (which, btw, is the ideal time of year to whelp and rear puppies & kittens!)
Note: Some personal details were withheld out of consideration for the person submitting the question. These exchanges are dated from 2005-2010. I have reviewed the answers to ensure that the information given remains accurate as for recommendations on how to proceed and what to do, however some products referred to, prices/costs listed are not current.
QUESTION: “I look forward to you meeting my new puppy and wonder if you might have time this week. I also have an ulterior motive in that I got holy (your favorite swear word) from her breeder yesterday that I am neglecting her nutrition and not allowing her to grow properly. This was followed by an email this am begging me to put her back on puppy kibble. I’d love it if I could get your opinion on if she’s too thin and if there is anything else I can be doing to support her growth. Thanks for all your help- (name withheld)”
ANSWER: Just want to get back to you real quick before we meet…
1) Raw fed puppies stay healthiest when they are kept lean. This is especially critical during the growth phase. In fact, besides not feeding the correct ratio of Ca:P, exercising too much (over-exercise); feeding too much or letting the puppy get heavy (over-nutrition), are the only real things that can cause serious growth problems (there has also been a link associated with the distemper vaccine and HOD in puppies – but this is for another discussion). Staying lean is most critical in giant breed dogs, but it’s important for all puppies.
2) Raw fed puppies enjoy slower, more even growth compared to kibble fed puppies. Kibble fed puppies will experience spurts in growth while raw fed puppies will normally have nice, even and slow growth.
3) All puppies that are getting their basic nutrient requirements met will end up the size and conformation they are genetically programmed to end up having/being. They have to be literally starved or fed a grossly imbalanced diet to have diet impact their growth or adult size. Raw fed puppies will absolutely grow at a different rate than kibble fed dogs, but they will end up whatever size they were meant to be (genetically) in the end.
I hope this helps. I have noticed that many conformation show dog people generally prefer for their dogs to be more full figured or heavier than pet or athletic/working type dogs can be for the show ring. However, I would recommend keeping your Bulldog puppy at what you feel is a healthy weight, and keeping her lean and fit. This is the best thing for her long term health and development. I agree that we should meet soon so I can see how she’s developing, and also go over what it is she is eating precisely to make sure nothing is being missed and we’re on the right track. She may be smaller than her siblings right now (specifically, they probably have rounder tummies – which kibble puppies are apt to have and raw fed puppies do not), but she will end up the correct size in the end. Is there a raw feeding Bulldog breeder your breeder can consult with for reassurance that your puppy will dazzle in the show ring at a healthy weight and size in the end?
More observations here: http://shapingchaos.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/puppy-growth-patterns/
See you soon!
QUESTION: I might be getting a great dane puppy in a couple of months and am very interested in feeding raw. Would like more information (costs) and would like to chat with others about their experience.
ANSWER: Welcome to the group! Excellent of you to be doing all this research *before* bringing home your new puppy – well done!
I’m the founder/owner of the group and I’ve had raw fed Great Danes since 1991. I have two healthy, active (touch wood), 10 year old Great Danes that were put on raw when I adopted them from rescue (Minna at 12 weeks old, Ben at just over a year old), and have recently helped to plan the raw diet menu of a dear friend of mine’s Great Dane that she got from a breeder when he was 8-9 weeks old. She started him on raw pretty much on day one and he is now a big, healthy, gorgeous 2 year old.
You will find several Great Dane people in the group here – welcome to the club! :)
How much you spend each month depends on two main things:
1) How much food you need to feed. How active your dog is and what their individual metabolism is will determine this. Unfortunately, this is something you won’t be able to know for sure until you start feeding your individual dog and find out how much food they really need.
For example, my two actually need to a lot of food to maintain a healthy, lean weight – even as seniors. My tiny girl eats just as much as my moderate sized male (even though there is a huge weight difference between the two of them – she has a hummingbird’s metabolism!) while my friend’s extra large sized young Great Dane is really “thrifty”, meaning he hardly needs to eat very much for his size in order to maintain a healthy weight – even while he was a growing puppy. He eats much less than mine need to each day.
The feeding recommendations I give for puppies is feeding 3 times a day until a year old; and feeding 5-10% their actual body weight or 2% their expected adult weight to start. These percentages are just average starting points; you will probably need to modify the daily feeding amount based on how your dog looks. Too thin – feed more; getting chunky – feed less. You will want your puppy to stay lean during the growth phase for healthy structural development.
2) Which foods and proteins you choose to feed. Going with a prepared commercially available product or custom food service is the most costly way to feed raw. DYI feeding is less expensive. Chicken, duck, and turkey are usually inexpensive choices; beef, lamb and pork are moderate in price; exotic meats such as bison, goat, rabbit, pheasant, venison are usually more expensive. I think mixing up the different protein price ranges a bit rather than feeding a diet of mostly poultry is healthiest; but if you use poultry as a base and enhance the diet with the more expensive meats a few times a week, you can put together a healthy, affordable diet – especially using SFRAW as a resource. Our prices are close to wholesale.
For example – my female Dane has a major poultry aversion/food intolerance, so I end up feeding mostly tripe, beef, lamb, pork, bison and goat – the more expensive meats (of course!) I do not feed the cheaper poultry meats very often – occasionally I will feed some turkey, but it’s not the mainstay beef, pork and lamb are. As I said, my dogs are very active and eat A LOT for their ages and sizes (through the age of 7.5-8, they ate 8 lbs. of food a day – now they eat closer to 5-6 lbs. a day – equally split between the two of them). I like to supplement their diet with dehydrated meat treats, pureed veggies a few times a week, Apple Cider Vinegar, EFAs, a variety of nutritional foods, my Healthy Powder + Seasonal Herbs, and our seasonal offerings of raw goat milk and truly pastured eggs. My food bill through SFRAW, over the past 4 months has averaged $267/month for the two dogs and one cat (my three turtles and two birds also enjoy some of this food stuff, but they hardly count since they eat so little) – again, this monthly bill depends on what I’m buying. When we have “one-off” overstock or discounted products available from suppliers – you can get food at very inexpensive prices and this will cut your bill back even more. Looking at the other Great Dane people in the group’s invoices, and knowing who has one or more Great Danes in the household, the average I come up with is $110-150/month per dog. I do not know if these people buy products outside of the group -? I buy exclusively through SFRAW for all my food and treat needs.
I did not have my own freezer, at my own house, to use until 2005 – so it can be done. However, it was a major, MAJOR hassle to not have one, and I spent an incredible amount of time just moving food from coolers to freezers at friend’s houses and such back-and-forth/up and down, once I started buying once a month through SFRAW. Before that, I could just barely fit two week’s worth of food into the top of my regular sized freezer section – and nothing else at all could be in the freezer and part of the refrigerator, too. I would strongly suggest that you buy a freezer if it is at all possible. It will make your life SO much easier and you will be able to save money by purchasing cases of stuff when the Niman freezer sales happen. You can find inexpensive, used freezers on Craig’s List.
As for the kibble. I look at it this way – feeding kibble during the critical growth phase is a lot like weaning a human baby onto a diet of 100% fast food a la McDonald’s instead of the ideal of fresh, home-grown or home-prepared or organic whole foods. I don’t see ANY reason whatsoever, if you are interested in feeding a fresh foods diet to your puppy, to start them off on the wrong foot like that. I know there are certain veterinarians that will recommend kibble for the first year – but IMO it is their (lack of nutrition and kibble pet food company influenced) education and fears talking. You are doing your research, and from what I can tell, you are not going to “just wing it”. Your puppy’s diet will be based on one of the many well researched published diet plans and/or the recommendations from veteran raw feeders. So long as you carefully follow recommendations made by any of the well-known published authorities on the subject, you will be fine. By feeding fresh foods to your puppy from the very start, you are laying a strong foundation for their best chance at enjoying a vibrantly healthy future into adult-doghood.
I know there are a lot of firsts you are facing and you are jumping in with two feet – but I think it is also a testament to your good decision making abilities to have already come to these conclusions:
1) feed a fresh food diet
2) join a group such as SFRAW for guidance and support
3) choosing a Great Dane as your first dog (sorry, I AM a wee bit biased! Haha)
Now you just need a great trainer and to brush up on what you need to know about canine behavior (check out the books we have for sale or dogwise.com); figuring out where you guys are going to go for puppy classes and daily socialization; and a smart and supportive veterinarian. You may/may not also need a good dog walker. Actually, we can help with these things, too. Where do you live?
I hope I have answered your questions. I bet others will jump in with different perspectives and insights that will be of even more help!
PS – You must bring new puppy with you to the pick-up so I can meet him/her. Pick-up day is a good chance for puppy socialization, BTW.
QUESTION: <SNIP> (long-time member, on getting a new giant breed puppy after having her older raw fed dog pass away) It is very exciting. It will be a lot with an infant, but we wanted a good training foundation before our daughter starts walking. How do I determine how much to feed? Are lamb necks and chicken necks too high fat? I am reading books on diet and the volhard and rawpup mailing lists. My biggest problem with feeding my last dog was weight gain (as in too much). Thanks for all of your help.
ANSWER: Great news on the new puppy! How exciting!
You can feed puppies nearly the very same diet you feed an adult dog – just be sure to not overfeed (particularly important for giant breed dogs). Keep the puppy *lean* and you will be just fine. Overfeeding will cause growth problems.
I have attached an example of what I put together for my friend’s Great Dane puppy, Xander. He’s from German lines and is a big boy with very good structure. He’s grown slow and evenly; he has had zero health issues so far – really perfect growth. We don’t know how much he weighs (since he never goes to the vet), but I would not doubt that he’s around 150-170 lbs. He’s VERY VERY thrifty – meaning, he keeps a nice, normal weight without needing much food at all – which she has been very lucky with. My guys would be emaciated on this little food; even though they are now 10 years old and not as large.
Anyway, I have attached his menu, which was prepared for ease & economy during his first year. He is now two years old, but “we” (I am his “auntie” and was originally in charge of his diet) started him on raw at around 8-9 weeks old. She has chosen to use the Xkaliber and chicken backs as his mainstay and the variety comes in with the meat veggie meals (found on the SFRAW.com site here, here and here) and other bone choices (he likes duck necks, feet, and pork necks). When he was a very young pup, we did about the same diet but we did not do a bone-only day – he was not started on this until after a year old. I wouldn’t fast (or even bone-fast) a giant breed puppy until after a year old. BTW – I do think that the Xkaliber is an excellent choice for puppies.
I started Minna on a home-prepared Wendy Volhard diet at 12 weeks old with meaty bones like chicken necks/backs and pork necks given 3-4 times a week. This was in 1998. By the time she was almost a year we had moved into the diet I feed them now, minus the tripe products, which I didn’t have access to until a little later. I got Ben at 16 months old and put him on pretty much the same diet they eat now (again, minus the tripe, which I didn’t start to feed until probably 2001–??). I used Grandad’s and Feed This! for those nights when I was too busy to make my own, or for my partner to use, and got deliveries from them sporadically/occasionally through 2001/2002. Gabe (my first Dane) was adopted at 10 months old in 1991, and was fed the Pitcairn diets (first edition book c.1985). He ate a lot of grains, butter and eggs… I think if I got a puppy now I’d feed primarily a prey-model diet of 80% meat; 10% bone and 10% offal enhanced with traditional nutritional foods like raw goat milk, pastured eggs, tallow/good fats, bone broth, and my Vitality Blend.
As for the how much question – it’s tough because it just really depends on what their metabolism is like. Minna eats a huge amount of food for her weight and stays very thin, while Xander eats practically nothing for his size and tends to gain weight easily. Xander’s “mom” is very good at looking at him really objectively and she has always kept her previous Great Danes on the thin/lean side. His nickname was “Fatpuppy” for a brief moment in time because I told her he looked a little too heavy at one point and to back off on the food a bit. She completely agreed and adjusted his food intake accordingly to keep him lean and healthy.
But generally, with puppies you start with 5-10% their body weight or 2% their expected adult weight. We did 2% for Xander, but we did not expect for him to be any larger than 130 lbs. or so – he ended up being larger, but needing less than 2% his adult weight. The Volhard diet has amounts listed in her book for the different puppy weights.
Be sure to start on the low side as for food amounts in the beginning, because too much food can cause pretty explosive diarrhea! Start slow and feed three meals a day until a year old, then you can drop off to one or two meals a day.
Raw, locally pastured goat milk is another awesome food for puppies – so I’d pick some of this up if you can. Add a little honey or molasses, a tiny bit of baby oatmeal, and an egg yolk and you have a great puppy milk replacer type formula that is a great addition between meals or topper for the transition period. You can add slippery elm bark powder to it if there is any digestive upset or just add this in place of the oatmeal.
No, the lamb necks and chicken necks are not too high in fat. I wouldn’t worry about fat with most of the things sold through sfraw (the pork tails, higher fat lamb and pork trim aside) unless your dog has problems digesting it. Chicken backs are a great starting bone for puppies.
The pick-up is on the 17th – see you then!
QUESTION: “Hello, I recently have adopted a 13 week old, Bernese/Aussie Mix. He was being fed kibble and wet canned food. I want to switch him over to a raw diet. Is this possible to do at his age and I believe gradually doing it is the way to go. He is about 22lbs now. Thank you, L”
ANSWER: Congratulations on adopting your new puppy! What a lucky pup to have found his way to your loving home where he will get the best care possible.
Very good that you have decided to feed him a whole food diet. Without question, the sooner you get your pup on raw, the better. Getting youngsters onto whole foods, provided in a raw/unadultered/unprocessed state and completely eliminating all commercial treats & foods makes the world of difference for increasing their chances for a lifetime of health/wellness. The best possible scenario is with puppies/kittens out of a line with generations of raw fed/Naturally Reared parents on both sides, but most people have no other choice but to just start as soon as we can with rescues or purchasing from a breeder that has not fed raw.
Understand that there is no need to switch slowly – especially with puppies! The sooner you get him off kibble/canned, and on to wholesome, nutritious foods, the better his health will be. Puppies immune systems and bodies are developing by the day when young, and providing them with the tools they need (feeding wholesome raw food, eliminating immune damaging substances/foods) during this time will have a profound and lasting influence for their lifetime. I recommend simply donating the commercial foods back to the rescue, so it doesn’t go to waste.
Hope this helps! Have a wonderful time with your new bundle of joy! I bet he’s so cute & fluffy. Please bring him by the warehouse so we can meet him; we’ll happily support you with your puppy socialization program by giving lots of treats & praise. :)
QUESTION: “Hello, I have 2 great dane puppies that require 4 lbs of meat a day and a male that requires the same. The other female dane and lab require about 2 lbs each per day. Due to no deep freeze and cost I have been crock pot cooking, kibble and less meaty bones than I want. Ideally at least 2 of them need yo be off kibble due to skin and GI problems. We have hit up most local grocers and they can’t disperse scrap or outdates. We have asked all hunter friends and a few ranchers. I have debated if I raise my chicken and rabbit if I could ever kill them. (Had to do chickens as a kid and rarely will even eat it now.) Just use our eggs. Help. I love my dogs but feeding kids matters too : )! M”
ANSWER: When I started SFRAW, I was feeding 10-lbs. of food/day to my Great Danes, foster mutt & cats so I can relate! It can be a struggle sometimes. SFRAW was originally created so that I could better afford to feed high quality raw foods from exceptional producers/sources (organic, pastured, local, humane) while helping others to do the same.
I did not have a freezer for the first 15 years of feeding raw but much of this time I was able to afford to buy food weekly from good local butcher shops or natural foods stores. Once I started SFRAW and was buying in bulk, for several years, I used a chest freezer located at a friend’s house (up three flights of stairs…) along with using coolers. When I had a lot of food come in at once, I frequently rotated food between the small freezer I had above my fridge, the refrigerator and my coolers. It was a hassle but it worked. The big marine coolers with the special insulation that keeps food cold for up to 5 days are almost like having a freezer; the trick is to keep them full by adding frozen food or ice. I suggest getting a few of these if you can you probably won’t find them used because people that have them usually never part with them. Be sure to get the ones with the sticker that declares they keep things “cold for up to 5 days in 90 degree heat” these are the best ones.
You can find affordable used freezers on Craig’s List. Over the years I’ve bought a few different ones (for $50 and $75; they were both large, upright ones that were in good, clean condition). They are worth the investment.
We have a lot of different products that may work for you – I’m not sure what your budget is. Some of the more affordable products we sell are (member prices listed):
Humboldt Raw Beef Pet Food Blend, BULK 50# cases (2/25# bags) for $57.50 A chunky grind of the following: 50% beef liver, 40% beef heart/other offal mix, 10% ground calf bone. The fat content varies, but is not to exceed 20% fat. Not a “complete & balanced” diet. Intended for supplemental/occasional feeding only; to be used as part of an overall balanced diet. SFRAW recommends feeding this organ blend 1-2 meals a week or mixing this blend with an equal portion of plain muscle meat. You may need to provide additional calcium to balance the phosphorous in this food in the form on a calcium supplement, pre-mix pet food product or consumable raw meaty bones. (sadly, this product is no longer available)
Commodity Products from Petaluma Poultry: Rocky and Rosie products are sold as commodity, so availability has to do with excess supply on these products. When sales for Rocky and Rosie go up, they do not have much in the way of spare parts to sell as commodity and customers that order commodity will be shorted. If you can afford to gamble a little on shorts, then commodity is your best bet. Prices on commodity products do change with the market. Therefore, prices listed here are close estimates – you may owe money or be owed money if prices are different on the day of delivery.
(*) COMMODITY CHKN LIVER CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $37.80
(*) COMMODITY CHKN GIZZARDS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $37.80
(*) COMMODITY CHKN HEART CVP 20 lb. (approx. wt.) $18.90
(*) COMMODITY CHKN BACKS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $13.50
(*) COMMODITY CHKN CARCASS CVP 40 lb. (approx. wt.) $13.50
(*) COMMODITY Chicken Feet – 40 lb. (approx. wt.) case, $32.40
Liberty Duck Carcass Bones (2 carcasses per bag), 5-7 lb. bag for $3.40
GreenTripe.com’s 100% Green Tripe, ground in 5 lb. chubs, 40 pound case for $93.95
Marin Sun Farms Beef Pet Food: 75% Muscle Meat (15% fat) Ground w/ 10% Liver/Kidney – 10 lb. bags, $26.90 Ingredients: Single/course grind of 10% liver/kidney, 15% fat, 75% muscle. Not a “complete & balanced” diet. Intended for supplemental/occasional feeding only; to be used as part of an overall balanced diet. You *absolutely must* add/provide adequate calcium to balance the phosphorous in this food in the form of a calcium supplement, pre-mix pet food product or consumable raw meaty bones. (sadly, this product is no longer available)
So, those are a few of the less expensive options we have and my own suggestions on things you can do besides growing your own food (which may not actually be the least expensive option when you consider all of the costs associated with raising and processing your own meats).
Lastly, although we do not support all of the suggestions made on this list, there is a list created specifically for people looking for creative ways to feed a raw diet as cheaply as possible/next to nothing called “The Lis List”. You can find it through the RawFeeding group. Here’s a link to the FB page version.
Food safety, food quality, and supporting fair or humane farming/ranching methods are not top priorities/considerations for most of the options listed on “The Lis List” – this is why we would not condone some of the options described, but there are some interesting ideas on sourcing free or extremely inexpensive meats to be found here.
Hope this Helps & Best Wishes,
QUESTION: “I am brand-spanking new to raw, and my adults aren’t on it yet. My question is about starting puppies. They are 26 days old (3 1/2 weeks). Their first meals have been raw organic hamburger and goat’s milk. While most are tolerating it well, a couple of them are having chunky stools with watery output. Any advice is welcome. L”
ANSWER: Welcome to SFRAW! I applaud your efforts in starting these puppies “off right” with a superior diet of fresh, nutritious foods. Puppies that are born of raw-fed adults and started on raw foods when weaned are remarkably healthy overall! When you are used to seeing what kibble-fed puppies/kitten look like, it is truly astounding how completely different these babies can look and behave compared to those that are kibble fed.
Kittens and puppies born from raw-fed parents generally have stronger immune systems; stronger/better developed muscles; are much better proportioned overall (they look more like small adults than the typical, swollen bellied, stumpy legged babies from kibble-fed parents); enjoy a slower, steadier/healthier growth rate and superior bone/muscle development overall with healthier conformation/structure, IMO. Not to mention the smaller, less smelly poops; stronger resistance to parasitic infections; shiny coats; bright and healthy eyes/noses, etc. found in raw fed adults, too.
One of the very cool things about weaned-to-raw puppies/kittens is they usually learn at a very young age how to safely consume meaty bones. Some adults that are switched to raw later in life can take a really long time before they will carefully and safely eat bones (and some never learn!)
When done right – you will be amazed at how healthy and better off raw-fed youngsters are. It’s like the difference between human children raised on a diet of just McDonald’s fast food (sodas, shakes, fries, burgers) vs. a kid that eats fresh fruits, vegetables, and such from their own garden/farmer’s market, with meals prepared at home without processed junk added and drinking pure water instead of sodas. I always find it a little sad when someone tells me they are waiting until their puppy/kitten is done growing first (or worse, wait until they are sick on kibble) to start feeding a fresh foods diet – why, when given the opportunity, would you give a youngster you care about junk food instead of providing them with the best possible fresh/nutritious foods to grow up strong and healthy on?
That being said: it is, however, quite bold to start off with raw feeding for the very first time ever under such circumstances. Until the age of 4 weeks, puppies really should eat nothing but their mother’s milk; 3.5 weeks is a bit too soon to start them on any other foods, no matter how natural or healthy the foods are. Do you have a raw feeding breeder mentor you can work closely with or a pro-raw veterinarian that can guide you through each and every step of this? I would encourage you to connect with one or the other or both – you really must have someone that has done this more than just a few times (preferably 3-4 litters or more) to guide you through it every step of the way. If you need some names of people, I can try to help connect you to people I know that have experience with raising raw-fed litters.
It is not normal for them to experience digestive upset when switching to raw and getting the right balance of nutrients is absolutely crucial at this age. You DO NOT want to “just wing it” or you can cause/experience some serious developmental or even life-threatening consequences.
I normally foster/adopt rescue animals and am not a breeder myself, but I would be happy to refer you to others that may be willing to help mentor you through this.
Have you already read Dr. Billinghurst’s book, Grow Your Pup With Bones and/or Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s book, The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat? If not, it is a good idea to get a copy to refer to regularly. Read, make notes, and re-read to be sure you are not missing anything at all!
Here are some online resources with weaning puppies to raw information, but please do not just rely on the internet for all information – please make some real people contacts you can email/meet/call and speak to directly for advice and aid:
Hope this helps!
QUESTION: “Hello, over the past month, i have been switching my puppy (Ridgeback, 6 mos.) over to raw foods. the initial period was pretty bumpy (surprise, surprise), but she has been slowly adapting. We have been alternating RMBs, with Offal, Muscle, and Veggie-Mix. I am using the ‘Switching to Raw” book. i do have a couple of questions:
- She intermittently still gets the runs (especially, when i feed her offal meet–hearts/gizzards.) when do dogs generally stop having tummy troubles? 2. I have started to give her vitamins (E, fish oil) could this also lead to tummy troubles?
- Some of her chicken wings this morning were a little on the frozen side (or not totally thawed) could this be problematic.
Thanks for all your help! – V”
ANSWER: Welcome to the group and to feeding a healthy fresh foods diet to your puppy!
- She intermittently still gets the runs (especially, when i feed her offal meet–hearts/gizzards.) when do dogs generally stop having tummy troubles?
Puppies (and kittens) in particular shouldn’t have many issues
switching over to raw foods. It is unusual for digestive issues to go
on for more than a few days-to a week, in my experience, when young
animals are switched “cold turkey” to a raw diet (those fed kibble
mixed with raw/doing a slow switch can have a harder time and take
longer to readjust to the new foods IMO). However, feeding a meal of
pure offal will produce soft stools in most dogs – this is considered
a normal consequence and not anything to be considered about. Some
people feed small amounts of offal in every meal or moderate amounts
along with other foods (such as meaty bones or muscle meat) several
times a week to minimize this result. Or just deal with the soft
stool from the offal meals and not worry about it. Are you able to
feed some liver, too? You shouldn’t leave liver completely out of
the diet. You don’t need to feed a lot, but it’s important.
- I have started to give her vitamins (E, fish oil) could this also lead to tummy troubles?
Not usually, but if she is sensitive to something you are adding, it
could. Be careful not to overdo with the vitamin E or the fish oil
(I assume you are referring to fish body oil, not cod liver oil) for
several reasons, but I bet you are doing just fine if you are
following the recommendations given in the `Switching to Raw’ book.
- Some of her chicken wings this morning were a little on the frozen side (or not totally thawed) could this be problematic.
Yes, if she is sensitive to the temperature of her food. I have a 10-
year old female Great Dane with Irritable Bowel Disease (a form of
vaccinosis) which was pretty awful the first year of her life before
she was treated homeopathically (it has been in remission for many,
many years). Anyway, although her IBD is in remission, she cannot
tolerate frosty foods – feeding fosty/frozen foods will result in
diarrhea every time. She prefers her food to be cool, room
temperature or even warm. Incidentally, she also does best on a diet
of tripe, pork, lamb, goat and beef – she won’t eat chicken or duck.
She’s not the only dog (or cat) I know that requires food to be
served at moderate temperatures. My other Great Dane has no problems
eating frozen or frosty foods and he’s just a few months younger, so
he’s an older guy, too. So, it really just depends on the individual
animal. A truly healthy dog can and will eat just about any food
item without a problem, but if your dog has food
intolerances/allergies or chronic disease which is affected by diet,
you may have to adjust the diet to suit their specific needs or
Hope this helps!
I spent New Year’s Day making our incredibly beneficial truly pastured, traditionally rendered beef lard supplement, “White Gold”. We’ll have a fresh new batch available this Sunday for all those that have come to rely on it for their pet’s weight maintenance, joint health, improved mobility, immune function, and improvements with skin & coat issues. We offer this product in a few different formats: $9/0.5 pint freezer-safe glass jar; $18/pint. We also sell the cracklings produced from the rendering process which make for an incredibly high value (if not a bit stinky/messy to handle) delectable, nutritious treat for both dogs & cats $18/pint.
For the past year, I’ve been researching GMO-free, soy-free, ecologically produced, minimally or unrefined, food-based sources of vitamin E to include in our Formulas and sell to our members. Supplementing with a good source of natural vitamin E is important for those that regularly feed fish oil, fish and seafood. While our Formulas, Vitality Blend and Veggie Mix all include wonderful, organic, fresh, whole food ingredients that are high in natural sources of vitamin E, there are circumstances when a dog/cat may require an additional boost in antioxidants such as vitamin E – for example, when feeding lots of fish/fish oils, or if they are at risk for cancers, neurological diseases or struggling with inflammatory conditions such as allergies, itching, arthritis and some GI disorders.
If you regularly feed fish or fish oil to your dog or cat, it is vital to supplement with adequate amounts of natural vitamin E (400 IU vitamin E per every 1,000 mg fish oil is a good general guideline, or 200 IU vitamin E given twice a week when fish is part of the regular diet).
Fish oil supplements without added vitamin E and/or feeding regular or large amounts of fish/seafood to dogs or cats may cause a vitamin E deficiency.
In cats, especially those fed fish-based diets, vitamin E deficiency can be potentially fatal and may cause a condition referred to as Yellow Fat disease, Steatitis or Pansteatitis.
Deficiencies of vitamin E will cause cell damage and death in skeletal muscle, heart, testes, liver, and nerves. It is essential in keeping the cells of these organs alive and functioning. Vitamin E deficiencies have been well documented in both cats and dogs. ‘Brown Bowel Syndrome’ is the condition usually used to describe a cat or dog suffering from inadequate vitamin E. These animals have affected bowels which ulcerate, hemorrhage, and degenerate. In addition, the cells of the eyes and testes can also be affected.
While reversible through proper vitamin E supplementation, a deficiency in this vital nutrient can have serious health consequences and is not worth the risk!
Additional symptoms of vitamin E deficiency in may include:
– hyper sensitivity to pain
– lack of muscle tone
– skeletal problems
– muscle weakness
– leg/feet swelling
– weight loss (although no loss of appetite)
– premature aging (changes in coat color, for example)
Research on vitamin E is ongoing – currently, there are eight known forms of natural vitamin E found in nature and the best sources for this nutrient are all plant based. While grass-fed meat, liver and eggs may be the most biologically appropriate foods for our carnivores and higher in vitamin E than conventional meat/eggs, animal foods are generally a poor/low source of this antioxidant. Natural gamma tocopherol provides unique benefits including reducing inflammation, regulating factors that guard against certain cancers, and activating genes involved in protecting against neurological diseases and aging. It is absolutely critical that we provide dog and cat’s diets with adequate levels of natural vitamin E – particularly when we feed them fish oil or seafood/fish. This is why I provide a free bottle of PhysioLogics brand high gamma tocopherol with every bottle or bag of my Healthy Powder supplement, and why we add this supplement to our Formulas.
“Paleo” approved (“paleo” foods frequently translate nicely when making recommendations for carnivores like dogs & cats) whole food sources of vitamin E include spinach, turnip greens, chard, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, asparagus, collards, kale, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Most vitamin E supplements are made from safflower or soy – which is increasingly problematic when considering GMO concerns, the serious environmental consequences of large scale soy and safflower production, as well as concerns with feeding soy to dogs and cats.
We include locally grown, fresh, raw certified organic spinach, turnip greens, chard, collards, kale, and pumpkin seeds in our Formulas, Vitality Blend and Veggie mix (the veggie mix does not include raw pumpkin seeds). As a fat soluble vitamin, food sources of vitamin E and vitamin E supplements must be combined with adequate amounts of healthy, stable, unrefined beneficial fat to allow for proper assimilation.
In the past, I would have recommended Wheat Germ Oil as a nice, food-based vitamin E supplement. Wheat Germ Oil was a great food based supplement when organic, cold-pressed and minimally processed – it is one of the foods highest in natural vitamin E. The problems I have with Wheat Germ Oil these days include how difficult it is to source truly GMO-free wheat products, and how damaging wheat production has become to the environment. In addition, wheat may be a health risk for many dogs and cats because of allergies and intolerances. Not to mention the problem that Wheat Germ Oil is not incredibly stable, and is highly susceptible to rancidity and oxidation (like fish oils). That means supplementing with these oils can actually be toxic and incredibly damaging (and why we strongly promote the alternative option of feeding whole fish/seafood rather than fish oils and/or using our White Gold, which is a far more stable EFA choice). While pre-GMO landscape, organic, cold-pressed, unrefined fresh Wheat Germ Oil was a wonderful and highly beneficial fat supplement during the spring and summer seasons, and provided a nice boost in nutrition for pregnant and nursing animals in the past, the agricultural landscape has changed during the past 10-15 years, and I can no longer recommend it.
After extensive research, I have determined that unrefined, organic Red Palm (fruit) Oil may be the best choice to replace my currently recommended high quality natural, gamma tocopherol vitamin E supplement. I first started researching and using Red Palm Oil with my birds many years ago. Red Palm Oil has been used for many years as a beneficial whole food supplement in avian husbandry – it has developed a reputation as promoting improved vision, cardiovascular function, skin & feather condition, coloration, immunity, and reproduction in birds and exotics. In birds, red palm oil has shown to decrease the desire to pluck or chew, allows feathers to grow in, reduce dust/dryness, and those feathers are strong and glossy. Recently, it has been touted as the latest superfood for humans and is being promoted by many natural medicine and nutrition researchers with promoters and advocates for this supplement from both the paleo and raw or vegan perspective.
While there are serious problems with palm oil production in some regions of the world, some palm oil production is a major threat to orangutans and, when refined, may be a risk to our health, there are a few stand-out choices for producers manufacturing a high-quality, ethical product without the environmental/ecological concerns. There are some exceptional brands offering organic, unrefined red palm oil that are working to protect the environment through sustainable production methods, and to provide for an improved quality of life and healthier local economies through fair-trade programs for the farmers producing their oil.
Our newest product – RED GOLD – combines truly pastured, traditionally rendered beef fat with organic, unrefined red palm fruit oil, organic fresh grated turmeric, and organic freshly ground black pepper providing a delicious food supplement with an incredible boost in nutrition; a unique source of vitamins and antioxidants. The cost is $10/0.5 pint and $20/pint jars. Yes, we have cracklings from this batch available, too!
Organic Red Palm Oil provides a unique selection of antioxidants and phytonutrients including six forms of tocotrienols/tocopherol (vitamin E), mixed-carotenes with high level of alpha-carotene (pro-vitamin A), plant squalene, phytosterol complex and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). These nutrients offer potent cardioprotection, neuroprotection, and skin nutrition, as well as having powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown that dietary red palm fruit oil, taken in moderation in animals and humans, promotes the efficient utilization of nutrients, activates hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes, facilitates the haemoglobinisation of red blood cells, and improves immune function.
Organic Turmeric is a best known as a delicious, richly-colored spice used in curries and mustard. Turmeric provides a generous dose of antioxidants and has impressive anti-inflammatory properties with a wide range of beneficial action on the body from several different compounds (curcuminoids, aromatic-turmerones and volatile oils). It is a well-tolerated, effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis and encourages healthy liver function. In a recent study, turmeric produced significant improvements in shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling for arthritis patients. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are also showing promise for this spice affording protection against neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Consuming the whole fresh root (rather than the powedered version or the isolated curcumin found in turmeric) is proving to be beneficial in healing neuological damage and regenerating stem cells in the brain. In order to allow for the proper absorption of the beneficial properties of turmeric, it needs to be consumed with fat — which is why adding turmeric to our fat supplement is such a great idea.
Organic Black Pepper is a natural, whole food source of piperine. Black pepper/piperine dramatically (up to 2000%) improves the absorption of the potent active chemical constituents found in turmeric. Don’t worry, although pepper can be a little bit spicy, the flavor profile of our Red Gold is mild and balanced so that your dog/cat should enjoy this addition to the diet. We’ve noticed that most dogs and cats absolutely love the taste of rendered beef fat/lard/tallow! If you are concerned about palatability, or you just want to stick to the original White Gold supplement, this remains an excellent choice for EFA supplementation to support and improve your pet’s health.
I hope you and your animals will enjoy abundant health with these two very good, high quality nutritive fat supplements!
Yes, we do sell marrow bones and other recreational bones, but when we do, the sale *always* comes with a heavy dose of education and a gentle warning that these bones are, indeed, the most dangerous ones that we sell and should only be fed to dogs for which you are fully confident can enjoy them safely.
What does “enjoy them safely” mean? It means your dog will not bite down hard on them or chew vigorously on them. The right candidate for enjoying these bones is one that will carry the bone around for days (or weeks) and lick it gently. Be sure to select a bone that has been cut to a safe size for your dog’s mouth (not too small to become a swallow risk, and not a risk for getting caught on their jaw, as pictured here).
Weight bearing bones from large animals (like cattle) are very dense. They can fracture your dog’s teeth and will break up into sharp shards when broken/cracked, which is a safety issue. Marrow bones are usually cleanly stripped and well-trimmed of attached meat, then cut down to size, during the butchering process. The modern “fit for human consumption” butchering process removes the important, nutritious and useful meat, connective tissue, and hide attached to this bone (as nature provides) to safely and properly cushion the ingested bone fragments during digestion.
These bones can also get caught in your dog’s mouth or jaw – and if swallowed, they can do some serious damage.
Marrow, gelatinous and knuckle bones are all considered recreational bones — which are also referred to as WRECkreational bones because of the problems they may cause. We strongly recommend & promote the feeding of raw MEATY bones – which are different than the recreational bones. Below you can find our feeding suggestions for raw bones. If your dog can safely manage marrow bones, that’s great, and we have them here for you — but please make sure that you are aware of the risks associated with these particular types of bones before offering them to your dog.
The below list of raw bone suggestions was originally written & complied in 2005. Note: We no longer sell Niman Ranch brand products (we are lucky enough to get BN Ranch turkey & beef from Bill Niman’s current operation now!) and we have a lot of new products and producers available these days, but this gives you a good idea of things to try with your dogs & cats. The TIPS listed at the top are relevant & important to review.
|Raw Bone Suggestions from SFRAW|
|The larger and meatier the bone, the safer it is to feed. Look for bones that are the size of your animal’s head (they will not be able to swallow the bone whole or without chewing first). Bones that are cut into small pieces are more of a risk to feed as they can be swallowed whole without being chewed. Feeding bones/parts the very same size of your animal’s throat are the most dangerous as they can get lodged in the esophagus; animals can misjudge their ability to get the piece down their throat safely.|
|If a bone is not super meaty ‘as is’, feed it as a topper or dessert to a portion of muscle meat (ground, stew or trim), organs/offal, soaked/cooked or sprouted grains, or pulped veggie/veggie-fruit mix. Feeding boney bones alone without enough non-bone material (meat, organs, or other bulk) may cause constipation or an impaction.|
|Do not feed long or weight bearing bones unless you have an animal that carefully chews the meat off the bone or licks the marrow out of the bone only. Do not feed these bones if your animal is apt to bite down hard, chip off pieces and/or crack them open. Long and/or weight bearing bones are most prone to splitting or cracking into sharp shards. These are the types of bones that are more likely to cause obstructions, intestinal perforations, get lodged in the roof of the mouth, and cracked teeth when chomped on.|
|Weaning / Very young puppies or kittens(will gnaw on these bones while learning to eat them safely)|
|Oxtails, cut in half|
|Pork necks (they will chew, but not consume)|
|Pig feet / trotters|
|Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces|
|Quail, whole or cut in half|
|Tiny-Small Dogs + Adult Cats(some dogs may be smaller than adult cats and need bones cut down to size)|
|Chicken backs, cut in half|
|Duck necks, cut in half and lengthwise|
|Duck, whole cut into pieces|
|Pork necks, cut (just recreational for some)|
|Beef necks, cut|
|Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise|
|Bison tails, cut in half and lengthwise|
|Turkey necks, cut in half and lengthwise|
|Turkey tails, cut in half|
|Cornish Game Birds, whole or cut into big pieces|
|Quail, whole or cut in half|
|Goat bones, cut|
|Lamb necks, cut|
|Lamb breast, cut|
|Lamb flaps, cut|
|Medium-Large Sized Dogs|
|Chickens, split or quartered|
|Rabbit, whole or cut in half|
|Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)|
|Pork butt, bone-in|
|Pig feet / trotters|
|Beef rib plates, whole or cut|
|Oxtails, cut in half and lengthwise|
|Turkey carcass bones|
|Turkey, split or quartered|
|Cornish Game Birds, whole|
|Lamb necks, cut|
|Lamb breast, cut|
|Whole ewe or whole lamb, cut|
|Chickens, whole, split or quartered|
|Pork tails (high fat content, feed sparingly)|
|Pork butt, bone-in|
|Pig feet / trotters|
|Beef rib plates, whole|
|Turkey carcass bones|
|Cornish Game Birds, whole|
|Goat bones (cut 6-way or 6-8″ pieces)|
|Lamb necks, whole|
|Bones Suitable for Animals Prone to Pancreatitis(all bone is high in fat; you will need find lean cuts from lean animals)|
|Cornish game birds|
|Chicken (remove skin and fat)|
|Turkey (remove skin and fat; tails not suitable)|
|Recreational Bones for Small-Med-Large Sized Dogs with Very Soft Mouths(if they never bite down hard; will chew meat off bone without cracking open)|
|Beef knuckle bones|
|Beef marrow/soup bones|
|Bison soup bones|
|Pork soup/knuckle bones|
|Pork marrow bones|
|Lamb marrow bones|
|Super Meaty Bones(these products are reliably very meaty)|
|Rabbit, whole or pieces|
|Niman pork necks (fairly meaty)|
|Niman pork butt, bone-in|
|Niman or Prather pig head|
|Niman picnic, bone in, smoker trim|
|Niman pork hindshanks|
|Niman pork leg, bone-in|
|Niman pork bone-in shortloin|
|Niman loin, bone-in|
|Niman back ribs|
|Niman beef shanks, whole hindshanks|
|Niman beef lion tails|
|Niman beef short ribs, “English Style”, whole|
|MSF beef rib plates, whole|
|MSF beef shanks, whole or cross-cut (super duper meaty)|
|Chicken, whole, split or quartered|
|Chicken whole legs|
|Turkey, whole or split|
|C&M goat bones (super duper meaty)|
|Niman lamb shoulder|
|Niman lamb leg|
|Niman foreshank (fairly meaty)|
|Niman hindshanks (fairly meaty)|
|Niman whole carcass|
|Niman lamb necks, whole|
|James Ranch Whole Ewe (fairly meaty)|