I've been learning and reading about feeding our dogs natural foods such as meat and fish. I've been wanting to at least supplement our current grain free kibble with more protein and perhaps switch to all RAW diet. Last week I fed the boys chicken livers and poor Seamus had terrible diarrhea. Since then I've conversed with Andrea Johnson who is a wonderful resource for RAW diet and nutrition.

Last evening I started again by giving each of the 3 doodles a raw chicken thigh. At first each one dropped it on the floor with curiosity..... licked it, ate the skin and within about 5 minutes realized they could actually eat it and started to happily start snacking on it. Because it is raw, the bones are still soft and flexible and they easily chewed them up.  They clearly enjoyed them, as if they were the raw beef marrow bones I give them occasionally. As long as their digestive systems tolerate the chicken thighs without problems we are on to other chicken pieces (will go slower and gradually introduce new meats, just like when the kids were little with baby food)....

I was terrified they would choke on the bones but my resources assure me they can eat and digest without problems as long as the meat IS NOT COOKED.   Will keep all updated. 

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Comment by Kathy Janes on September 23, 2011 at 7:33pm
Delta Society forbids RAW diets, so I guess we are out on this one.
Comment by Liz and Seamus on September 15, 2011 at 4:52pm
My boys LOVE it, we're giving them either a thigh or drumstick or breast each in the evenings and 50% of the kibble in the morning. Their poops are DELIGHTFUL, much smaller and firmer than usual, and I already see their teeth getting whiter with chewing those raw bones.
Comment by Rachel on September 14, 2011 at 7:10pm
Liz, I too have been reading about feeding RAW/B.A.R.F diet. You have inspired me to finally bite the bullet and let my doods try some raw meat. I bought some chicken wings this evening and they LOVED it. I don't know if I could ever go comepletely RAW but I'm going to try doing it at least a few nights a week and see how it goes.
Comment by Liz and Seamus on September 12, 2011 at 12:17pm
Thank you, Karen. You made several excellent points. I appreciate hearing about the cereal mites, that is news to me and as an asthmatic with atopic dermatitis myself, I find the discussion wonderful. However, no one has to fear, in NO WAY do I plan to eat any food RAW. I don't even like Sushi!!!!
Comment by Karen and Jackdoodle on September 12, 2011 at 11:36am

I'm so glad that everyone's dogs are doing well with the addition of raw foods in their diets. I do think this is very helpful for digestive issues as well as oral health. I also believe that fresh foods are important in any dog's diet.

I do feel a need to comment on the references to itching and scratching, though, because this is something that I have an awful lot of experience with and knowledge about, most of it gained the hard way.

Itching and scratching as it relates to allergies has nothing to do with whether food is cooked or raw. Itching that is caused by allergies is triggered by a histamine response on the part of the circulatory system, and it is triggered by either substances that are inhaled, such as dust mites, pollen, etc., or it is triggered by something that is ingested.

Only 10% of all allergy symptoms in dogs are caused by food itself. But, there are other factors that can cause these symptoms to be related to food. These are the Omega fatty acid content, and the presence of storage or cereal mites.

Cereal mites (or storage mites) are now believed to be responsible for at least half of asthma symtoms in children that were previously believed to have been triggered by dust mites. They are similar creatures. (For more info on these highly allergenic creatures, here's a link: http://www.doodlekisses.com/group/thefoodgroup/forum/topics/storage...

When you eliminate grains from the diet, you do away with much of the cereal mite issue. When you eliminate kibble, or any kind of dry food, you eliminate 100% of the cereal mite issue. The mites live in particulate matter, and obviously, there is no particulate matter in fresh food, whether it is raw or cooked. The same is true of dehydrated commercial raw products like Honest Kitchen. So if your dog is allergic to storage mites, as mine is, not feeding kibble will stop the allergic reaction to the mites. It has nothing to do with the food being raw.

Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have been shown under clinical trials to reduce the inflammation associated with many skin conditions, including Psoriasis and Atopic Dermatitis. So when you switch to a diet that has a higher amount of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and a better ratio of 6:3, you will also see a reduction in itching and scratching. Again, this has nothing to do with the food being raw.

Even in cases where a dog actually does have an allergy to the proteins in a particular food (and all allergy symptoms are triggered by proteins...all organic matter is composed of proteins, and even hay fever symtpoms are triggered by the proteins in the weed pollen), those proteins are the same whether the ingredient is cooked or raw. The amino acids in chicken are the same whether the chicken is cooked or raw. You do lose a small percentage of the nutrients in any food when you cook it, but the amino acids remain the same.

In addition, itching that is caused by a histamine reaction to allergens of any kind will not abate immediately; it can take two weeks for the histamines to leave the circulatory system completely, unless you are using an antihistamine drug. So changing foods, regardless of what kind of change you make, cannot make an immediate difference.

I have no doubt that raw foods and fresh foods are very beneficial for teeth and digestion for many dogs, but they really cannot "cure" allergies; allergies are not curable. It is very important to me that this be made clear, because many people immediately think of food when a dog exhibits the itching and scratching associated with any kind of allergy, and I have known of two dogs personally whose Atopic Dermatitis was so severe they had to be euthanized to stop the suffering. I know that I received a lot of well-meant advice about dietary changes when JD first showed signs of severe allergies, and it caused me to delay his treatment and prolonged his suffering. Since allergies get worse as a dog ages, it is very important that any dog who is showing signs of severe allergic symptoms be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. The treatments are much more effective when started early, and you can avoid the use of dangerous drugs by starting early immunotherapy treatment.

Comment by Liz and Seamus on September 12, 2011 at 7:24am
The boys are loving raw diet transition. I'm giving them 1 cup of grain free kibble in the morning and raw meat in the evening. Their stools are smaller and nice and firm. On the kibble I had taken to give 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin daily to keep their stools firm (and help the anal glands) but that doesn't seem neccessary anymore. Charlie seems rather bewildered by the raw thighs, so I cut his up for him and he seems happier (afterall  he's an old man at 7 yrs old). Seamus and Red both have sensitive stomaches and tendency to be very itchy but haven't seen that with the raw!
Comment by Jane, Guinness & Murphy on September 11, 2011 at 3:41pm
Liz, this is pretty interesting.  The breeder that I got Guinness from fed all of her adult dogs a raw diet.  She would just toss the pieces of raw chicken out on the deck and they would "have at it".  She always claimed that she never had any digestive issues feeding them this way.  It just wasn't "my thing", but now I do have my Doods on the freeze dried raw and they are doing great with it.  It will be interesting to watch how your Doodles' digestive systems handle it.
Comment by Deborah and Lettie on September 10, 2011 at 8:20am
Maybe I've had better luck but my dogs have eaten raw since they've come to live with me and no one has choked.  Their stools are smaller and any undigested bones have passed.  I give them only thighs, drums, or wings, along with other veggies, fruits, yogurt, hard boiled and raw eggs.  I only give the chicken at one meal per day with another protein at the other or just veggies and fruit at the other.  I have recently switched to Healthy Kitchen's Preference which is the dehydrated veggies and fruit sans protein and they love it.  So much easier than making my own.  This diet has done away with the itching and scratching.  I did alot of reseach before beginning and I still like to "tweek" it now and then.  Good Luck
Comment by Tracy Farmer on September 9, 2011 at 11:56pm
Liz...be careful with letting them eat chicken bones, raw or not.  I have seen many a foreign body surgery done on dogs who ate raw chicken.  It's not pretty.  It's life threatening and a very expensive surgery...about $1500-$1800.

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