Why did I switch to a raw dog diet?
It was a culmination of things to say it best. My Dane had just bloated for one, and I learned that RAW fed dogs are less prone to bloat! I was tired of kibble manufacturers changing formulas, keeping up with ingredients and the growing expense of quality feed.
For months I researched the RAW dog diet before jumping in and yes, I had raw feeding questions to;) Luckily, I've been involved with Danes forever it seems and running my websites, know many, many people with tons of experience.
Eight years feeding RAW now, I'm finally able to pay forward my experience and the experience of many long time RAW feeders who've become trusted friends. Raw feeding benefits have been amazing and results came very quickly. I trust you'll experience the same if choosing to go RAW with your dog!
Tip: Additional raw dog diet articles with helpful how to info are available via our Feeding Great Danes main page both by "in context" links & "related article" links in the right column. Use the breadcrumb trail below in the blue header or your browser's back button if you came from that page:)
Raw dog diet, the way of the wolf..
Many canine enthusiasts believe bones and raw food is the way of the wolf. Our dog's ancestors have eaten this way for thousands of years. In the wild it is live foods that nourish and fuel the body of a carnivore. When a carnivore kills a herbivore such as a rabbit, or other small prey, it eats meat, some bone, some organ meat such as liver, kidney, or lung, and even some stomach wall which contains enzymes and nutrients from organic matter. This nutritious meal provides live enzymes, phytochemicals, antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that help a carnivore stay healthy and strong in the wild.
Of Interest: Wild wolves can live over 20-years feeding on forage and raw prey! Read more about the prey method of RAW feeding following the link to that awesome article at our Feeding Great Danes main page!
Many RAW feeders actually mimic this prey model RAW diet as discussed in detail with our Prey Model RAW feeding article.
Your dog is a meat eater..
From the shape of its teeth designed to cut through flesh an cartilage, to the power of its jaw capable of crushing bone. Couple these physical traits with a fast acting, highly acidic digestive system meant to break down soft bone and tissue and it's obvious, dogs are designed to eat meat! Sadly and excluding premium kibble foods, most commercial pet food both kibble and canned contain over 50% grain! While grain works well as a binder to hold food together it has no nutritional value to your dog. With such a rapid digestive system dogs are not capable of pulling nutrients from grains and this results in major piles of poop.
More interesting, grains are metabolized by your dog into sugar (glucose), which is known to promote diabetes, feed cancers and cause other disorders and illnesses in dogs. Many Great Dane owners feel a raw dog diet of bones and meat alone doesn't provide proper nutrition and add vegetables, fruits or greens to the diet. Others may add ingredients such as oils, vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements. This is not necessary to feed RAW in its siplest form!
TIP: For additional info on dog illnesses and health concerns in Great Danes, check out our health section located on our site's main navigation menu!
The RAW dog diet is not rocket science! It is best to keep it simple, especially when you begin. You can tweak the diet at any time based on your dog and its needs. Be sure not to miss "a beginners guide to raw" for a comprehensive run down before getting started. This article, available on our Feeding Great Danes main page, talks further about ratios of meat to bone, as well as, how much raw to feed based on your dog's weight.
The Basic Ingredients..
Before you begin feeding a raw dog diet take a second to review the basics. We're starting from scratch so fly right over this if it's elementary to you.
Meat and bones are the main ingredient, most people start with chicken or turkey, you can also feed lamb, pork, beef and fish. We have included vegetables in our list yet some feed no veggies at all. There are many different ways to feed a raw dog diet, please understand, over time you will learn what works best for you and your dog:)
The Meat: Should include a variety meat including raw meaty bone (RMB's) & muscle meat. This is the
staple of your raw dog diet and should make up about 90% of each daily meal.
(Chicken) necks, legs, gizzards, backs, breast, quarters, wings, (Turkey) necks, legs, wings, hearts, (Pork) pork ribs, shoulders, necks, (Lamb) ribs, shoulders, shanks, necks, (Beef) parts, hearts, liver, (Fish) caught fresh, canned works well.
Exotics: (Offer different protein and nutrients to keep the digestive system entertained.)
Buffalo, Kangaroo, Rabbit (whole carcases work), Duck, Ostrich.
Organ meat: (Variety of organs as much as possible.)
Liver, kidney, Lung, Green tripe (ground stomach).
INGREDIENTS TIP: Best bet is to go with chicken, it's cheaper and more readily available, then substitute other meats and organ meats every couple days or so to provide different protein sources.
Veggies: (Totally optional as many RAW feeders don't use veggies.)
If you decide to feed the veggies choose things like carrots, broccoli, peas, green beans and such. Note that your dog's digestive system is no efficient in breaking down cellulose in vegetables so it's good practice puree them into a liquid and pore over the meats to facilitage nutrient availability.
Other ingredients: (optional)
Raw eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, (Oils) flax seed, coconut, extra virgin olive and salmon oil. (Organics) Organic kelp and alfalfa powder help with shedding, (Vitamins) vitamin C and vitamin E, (Acidophilus) a capsule at mealtime helps digestion and reduces gas.
If you choose to use the vegetables with the raw dog diet you can puree them in advance for quick freezer storage. Separate the meats into meal size portions before you freeze them. (frozen meat is hard as a rock, we made this mistake before:) Now the easy part, grab that portion of thawed raw meat, add a half cup of liquefied veggies, crack an egg and throw it in the mix, the shell too. Garnish with some yogurt or cottage cheese add your supplements and vitamins, stand back and watch the feeding frenzy.
(Making the weight).. Simply grab an electronic scale and zero out the bowl. Next start adding your meats to meet your desired weight, simple and easy! (Speed eaters) Some dogs will try to inhale this great tasting meal, adding a little water often slows them down a bit. You may also try serving larger portions to speedy eaters, for instance, try feeding a whole chicken thigh rather than a drumstick.
For best results keep everything real simple. Don't worry, you will soon work out the specifics. Your Great Dane will let you know what ingredients she likes, how much she needs to eat and everything else just by being a dog. See, it's not difficult at all. Your Dane will definitely benefit from raw feeding, there's no doubt about it:)
Kindly note, choosing the proper diet for your Great Dane is absolutely your decision. Yes, while we do feed raw we cannot recommended the proper diet for your dog. Information contained on this page and across our website is intended to assist health minded dog owners evaluate and decide on the best feeding option for their dog.