Q: How do I feed my dog a raw bone?
A: Keep the raw bone in the freezer until you are ready to serve it to your pet. When you are ready to treat your pet, remove the bone from the freezer, unwrap it from all packaging and run it under cool water for approximately 1 minute. Find a "bone friendly" area and give the bone to your pet. If you are feeding your pet a raw bone for the first time, only let him have it for 10 minutes. Take the bone away and store it in the refrigerator until the next day. On day two, your pet can have the bone for another 10 minutes. Once again, remove the bone from your pet and store it in the refrigerator. On day three, your pet can have the bone for as long as he'd like. This weaning process is only for the first bone. Raw bones can be richer than other chews like rawhides; therefore in order to make the experience a good one for both you and your dog, we recommend this gradual approach. Future bones do not require this weaning process. Never leave your pet unattended with a raw bone.
Q: Aren't I supposed to cook or boil bones?
A: No. Please don't cook or boil real bones. This is what makes a bone dangerous to pets. Cooking changes the composition of the bone, making it susceptible to breaking and splintering. Raw bones are more malleable and safer for pets to chew.
Q: Aren't raw bones messy?
A: Yes, they can be. We recommend treating your pet in his crate or a room with a floor that's easy to clean up (like the kitchen or mud room). Some clients have good results training their pet to eat their bone on a throw blanket or rug that can be easily washed when through. Once the exterior of a marrow bone has been cleaned off though, the bone is fairly clean to transport.
Q: Will my dog eat the whole bone?
A: It depends on the bone. Marrow bones or femur bones are very strong weight bearing bones. Your dog will clean off the outside of the bone and continue to enjoy the delicious marrow in the middle of the bone, leaving the shell intact. Some wear on the edge of the bone is normal. Ham bones, lamb bones, knuckle bones, duckling wings and duckling necks are consumable bones. Your dog will most likely consume the entire bone. These bones require consistent supervision. Although these bones are malleable, you should always watch your pet to make sure he's chewing the bone and not gulping large chunks.
Q: I'm switching pet food. Do I need to do it gradually?
A: While some pets adapt to sudden food conversions with ease, we do recommend that you make the switch slowly. Start by mixing 25% of the new food with 75% of the old food at each meal. Over the next 5 to 7 days, increase the new food and decrease the old food each day keeping the total quantity of food consistent. If your pet is very digestively sensitive, make the switch a little slower. Adding plain canned pumpkin, digestive enzymes or probiotics to your pet's food can also help with the transition.
Q: Should I feed my pet the amount suggested on his bag of food?
A: It depends. Most of the suggested feeding amounts on the back of food bags are over stated. This is one of the reasons so many pets are overweight. Each pet has a different metabolism and activity level and should be fed accordingly. I have two dogs that are about the same age, breed and weight, but one eats twice as much as the other due to his metabolism. Watch your pet's weight over the course of a month. If he gains weight, feed a little less. If he loses weight, feed a little more. Ultimately, you should be able to judge what is the "correct" amount to feed for proper maintenance.
Q: How do I know if my pet is overweight?
A: Your pet should visually have a nice tummy tuck between the chest cavity and the hips. You should also be able to feel your pet's ribs easily. If you need to poke or manipulate your fingers to feels the ribs, your pet is overweight. On the other hand, if you can feel deep depressions between your pet's ribs, your pet is underweight. We cannot stress enough how much weight affects the health of your pet. It is imperative that you strive to keep your pet lean. Obesity can lead to several health problems and shorten the life of your pet.
Q: My pet looks hungry - am I feeding him enough?
A: Oh, those sad eyes will get you every time! If your pet is at an ideal weight (see above) then yes, you are feeding enough. Pets are experts at turning on the charm, how do you think they got domesticated in the first place? They know how to train their humans into giving in. I know it's tough, but remember that you are the parent - be strong! Keep remembering that you want your pet to live longer and gluttony is not the way.
Q: Why should I feed my pet a raw diet?
A: Because it promotes optimal health. Dogs and cats are carnivores (look at their teeth - they were meant to tear flesh), not omnivores and certainly not vegetarians. A raw food diet feeds your pet physiologically how they were meant to eat. If your pet didn't have you to put food into their dish each day, they would eat a rabbit, a bird, a squirrel, raw meat bones and all. This is how they are built. They have very short GI tracts that are highly acidic and meant to break down raw meat. They are not built like humans that require meat to be cooked to avoid being sick. Dogs and cats only produce 25% of the digestive enzymes required to break down their food and assimilate its nutrients. The rest has to come from their food. Dry and canned food is cooked and devoid of any of these enzymes. It is actually more difficult for them to break down dry food than it is for raw. Also, the cooking process of dry or canned food eliminates many of the nutrients they so desperately need. Raw food is rich in digestive enzymes making it easier for dogs and cats to break down and assimilate its plentiful nutrients. Raw food diets are devoid of grains, additives, artificial colors and artificial preservatives. The result is a stronger, healthier immune system and thus, a healthier pet. We have seen raw diets significantly help pets that are suffering from allergies, cancers, chronic diarrhea, the pain from hip dysplasia and many other ailments.
Q: How long does the raw diet last in the refrigerator once it's defrosted?
A: Treat the raw diet just like you would raw meat from the grocery store. Use it within 3 days for optimum freshness.