update 25/11/2010 - unfortunately, despite the explanation below and the fact that it has been live for almost 5 months, this week I have been told that it is unclear as to the intention of this thread from the title. Therefore to avoid any confusion, this thread is intended as a resource for those who want to feed a raw diet - simple as that. It has a lot of information collated into one place to make it less confusing to newbies and also discussion on feeding a raw diet including problems encountered and resolutions to these. Those who are making up their minds are welcome also. I ask everyone to please keep on topic, as we are now on almost 600 posts and those people who are using this as a resource, as per the original intention, are now finding it difficult to wade through the off topic posts and find the information they need. Their questions are also getting lost and going unanswered because of this. I hope that is clear - happy feeding! ------------------ I have found myself answering lots of threads on raw feeding lately, so thought I would put together some of the basics for people – hope its useful If anyone else would like to add more, please do...also if you have any specific questions not answered here, please post and one of us will answer! I have posted a series of posts here, so scroll down to see: - 'The Basics' - 'Switching to a raw diet' - 'Pros and cons of feeding raw' Updated Links - 'Where to buy supplies' & 'Further info' & 'Precautions' Updated Links - 'Sample 2 week meal plan' to give you some ideas - 'Pictures & preparation tips' Lots of pictures of the kinds of things you will be feeding and info on preparing meals (Incl. Sleeping Lion's thread) - 'What about cats?' please see hobbs2004 great thread for feeding cats a raw diet: http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-health-nutrition/111455-thinking-feeding-raw.html - By request 'Feeding puppies' section coming soon! Ok so the basics are as follows: Model: I feed a raw diet originally based on Tom Lonsdale’s ‘Raw Meaty Bones (RMB)’ or prey model style feeding (see resources below for links to websites and books). This means that you feed as close as possible to a wild diet or whole raw prey (but most make this up with parts of the animals). Some feed veggies, some feed fruit, some feed table scraps...in moderation, most fruit and veg will not harm your dog - but they are not a NECESSARY part of the diet, and there is currently no known nutritional requirement for them, as everything can be found within the raw meat/bones/offal etc components. If you DO choose to feed veggies and fruit, please be aware that some of these items fed in excess can be harmful. For those who would like to feed veggies as well, see sleeping lions post quoted below with some great piccies of the food and nutritional breakdowns, further down in this series. How much: You need to feed approx 2-3% of their expected adult body weight (if still growing) per day, or of their ideal adult body weight (if they have stopped growing) per day. 2% would perhaps be for a dog with low exercise or overweight. 3%+ would be for a dog with high exercise daily, perhaps sports dogs and also puppies. Somewhere around 2.5% suits most average adult dogs. Large breeds have slower metabolisms so they tend to need the lower % and small breeds have a high metabolism so often need far more than 3% even. What? Remember the roughly 80:10:10 ratio – which is approx 70-80% muscle meat (incl. heart, tripe and oily fish), 10-20% bone (within some of that meat), 10% offal (this should be ½ liver and half other offal such as kidney, spleen etc). However, this is a very rough guideline and should be tweaked to suit the dog - for instance many feed more like 15-20% bone and as little as 5% offal. Either way it usually equates to somewhere in the region of 50-70% of the diet as lumps of meat with bone in...the remainder of the diet being made up of boneless chunks of muscle meat, incl heart/tripe etc, plus a small amount of offal like liver & kidney. On top of this, many feed a couple of eggs a week (whole and raw). (see next post below about switching to raw) NOTE: None of this has to be religiously stuck to on a daily basis – as long as over a period of weeks this adds up to roughly the correct amounts – and each dog is different, so some may need slightly lower bone, some might not be able to tolerate that much offal etc etc, hence the variable % stated above too. Additional info: if you would like to feed veggies/fruit also in 'Pictures & Preparation Tips' post below. Some ideas for meals: could be a chunk of meat of beef, lamb, pork, chicken, rabbit, turkey, venison, oily fish such as salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines, a bone-in meal of rabbit/chicken quarter or pork/lamb ribs etc...heart from any of the above animals, beef/venison tripe...the list is endless! Size of pieces: The size of the pieces should always be appropriate to the size of the dog and the bigger the better! For instance, I would not personally recommend feeding something like a chicken wing to anything larger than a small breed, as this could easily be ‘inhaled’ and swallowed whole...instead a chicken breast and wing quarter or even a half chicken is much better for medium + breeds. Type of bones: You should preferably avoid any weight-bearing bones of the large ungulates (i.e. avoid leg bones of cows etc) as they are so dense that they can chip the enamel of a dogs teeth. My rule of thumb is that if I can stick a knife in the bone, then it is soft enough to feed (think pork/lamb rib bones, chicken/duck/rabbit bones etc)... When? Feed whenever it is suitable to you – obviously with a puppy they would need a number of feeds per day, but by the time they are 6 months you would normally move them onto 2 meals a day and then once they have stopped growing many raw feeders put them onto 1 meal a day, often in the evening as it is most convenient. However, I personally feed twice a day still as this works for me and Maggie & the cats. RESOURCES: Ok so for a good overview of this, take a look at Tom Lonsdale’s site and books (PM me if you would like a copy): Raw Meaty Bones and the UK RMB Lobby: United Kingdom Raw Meaty Bones Support & Action Group Some good info explaining the basics and answering common questions: Difference between prey model & BARF Answers to common questions Worried about things like bacteria, frightened your dog might choke on a bone? – take a look at these common raw feeding myths and worries here for some answers to your fears: The Many Myths of Raw Feeding Useful article here also: Removing the Fears Associated with Raw Feeding Want some support from a massive worldwide group of like-minded people? Join the Yahoo lists below: RawMeatyBones : RawMeatyBones rawfeeding : Raw Feeding for dogs and cats! RawPup : Rawfed Pups Raw K9s (you can even ask to be assigned a mentor for this one who will help you through raw feeding every step of the way ) Also see the post a few below with 'Links to further information'.