Spycar, could you outline which parts of the getting started guide you would change and how you'd change it? I've come to respect so much of what you've written during the time I've been here. Plus, your dog...Oooooo la-la! Sheer stealth and sheen. I was just now going through it...haven't finished it all yet. But I am doing some real no no's. For instance, the universal advice to give big pieces of things. I give my dogs pieces of chicken bones and they're small! I've been feeding an approximately balanced meal each meal as you suggested, which has helped them become more regular in their bm's. When I was feeding bones every other day, they'd be constipated that day and too loose the next. But with this way, they're only getting 10% of their meal in bone, of course, which means it's teeeeeeeensy. Like a half of the largest joint of a wing or a toe or two from a duck foot. We're talkin' 4 lb Poodle, 7 lb Poodle and 10 lb Chi mix. If I feed more than that, they'll get impacted. They do seem to chomp on it quite a few times. Matisse, my 7 lb Poodle, perhaps not as much as Maurice, the wee one. So it is a little unnerving. I wonder if I should go back and try the every few days thing. Maybe it was for another reason they were getting loose...like too new at this?
The other thing I didn't do is wait so long for liver and even other meats...I was in a hurry to get that variety in them. I think I started out with just chicken but in a week or less, I moved onto something else for a few days, then onto something else. And the next thing I knew I wasn't paying any attention to that and just fed them all kinds of stuff. Luckily, they had no sensitivities or allergies to anything. I'm not even convinced this is necessary actually because commercial food that they had been eating was varied also. There were all kinds of formulas in the dry and canned foods. I fed kibble, canned, frozen raw sometimes, dehydrated raw from Stellas sometimes. I just switched them every day when they were on canned, which they were most of the time with some kibble also. I chose the "premium" foods and apparently they have lots of different meats. So they were use to eating chicken, lamb, venison, beef, buffalo, duck and more. Maybe they just got use to sampling something different pretty much every day.
Anyhow, I was wondering what types of concepts or advice in that guide you see differently. What would you or anyone reading this change?
Ashley, as far as freezing, I had always understood that meat should be frozen for two weeks to kill most parasites. But Pacific northwest fish has a parasite that is not killed by freezing, only by cooking. So, I don't feed that. I feed Icelandic sardines. Anyhow, maybe I misunderstood and it is not important IF the parasites only reside in the intestines. BUT...what if they escape the intestines and work their way into the heart muscle or lungs? Or during butchering, someone handles the disgusting parts and then cross contamination occurs and a couple icky parasites wind up on something else? I feed hearts and gizzards. And lung for an organ meat. Anyhow, maybe I'm wrong about the necessity of freezing first...which is good because I have, a couple of times forgotten to freeze and just fed when I brought something home. So far, so good. lol. Also, I often times find that although I take the meat from the freezer the evening before and put it in the fridge, it is not always completely thawed. I give it to them anyway. It works out fine. I'd be hesitant myself, to feed a frozen bone because maybe it could break a tooth if it's too hard. I feed chunks of meat and a piece of bone and a little organ each afternoon around 4:30. Then take out of the freezer what's for the next evening/late afternoon meal.
Anyhow, hope things will go well for you. It takes a little adjustment time, for sure. But it's been well worth it for my dogs. What kind of dog do you have Ashley? 10 weeks old! What a cute age. This is going to be an adventure.
I have two major issues with the Getting Started Guide, and one that's more minor.
The biggest problem is the recommendation to start with way too much bone.
The Guide says:
I recommend feeding chicken backs for the first 2-3 days...After the 3rd day I would add in chicken quarters alternating with backs every other meal.
I think this is very bad advice. Really bad. And on this forum, other forums, in real-life discussions the consequences of over-feeding bone replicate themselves time and again. The amount of bone in chicken backs alone is excessive. It can cause GI distress, vomiting, and constipation. There is no good reason to over-do the amount of bone to this degree. Quarters/drumsticks/thighs already have more than adequate bone (about 2.5 times PMR ratios) to keep stools firm, and nearly doubling that again with backs most likely to cause problems.
The advise to over-load dogs with excessive bone is done with the aim of reducing the chances of explosive diarrhea (aka cannon-butt); however, the cause of cannon-butt is almost always a dog's being feed a greater percentage of fat in their raw meals than they are accustomed to eating. Dogs/and puppies need to be conditioned to fat-burning and fat-metabolizing. Fat burning is the best possible thing for dogs, but especially for those transitioning from high carbohydrate diets, a rapid change over to a high-fat diet can cause GI upset. Fat takes different digestive enzymes to be released by the pancreas, and there are even inter-cellular changes that happen when dogs are conditioned to burning fats.
So to prevent "cannon-butt" I'd advise stripping the skin off the chicken pieces at first. The leaving progressively more of the skin on as stool prove firm. This approach gets at the source of the problem, as opposed to over-feeding bone to compensate for too much initial fat.
Fat is vital to good canine health, and should be the primary energy source over the long-term, a dog just need a little time to condition to a higher fat diet.
The second major issue I have (which you IMO wisely ignored) is the advice to delay organs for many months. I think this is bad advice nutritionally (as organs are vital sources of nutrients that puppies especially should be getting) and also bad advice from the perspective of developing food aversions. Having a dog that doesn't like liver, kidney, or other organs is a huge problem, because organ consumption IS NOT OPTIONAL.
So I'd advise anyone to start feeding organs (like chicken liver) very early, but to start with tiny pieces and to work up.
The more minor point is the "progression." While it is probably smart to introduce one protein at a time, to see is there are any issues, the specific order is not set in stone. After chicken, I'd prefer to start something like lamb or beef where one can start serving their organs (in slowly increasing amounts) earlier. Pork (listed as an early suggestion) seems to be a protein that takes many dogs some getting used to, so I'd personally move pork to a late-stage protein. Availability and economy would be factors for me too. I think any number of progressions would be fine.
I do think that balanced PMR ratio meals made it easier on the dog's digestive system. It is certainly my habit and I've never had my Vizlsa have issues with constipation or diarrhea.
Thanks for the kind words about Chester. He gets stronger every day.