10/09/2008

Know Thy Dog

First off- I am sorry for the lack of postings! My laptop cord finally bit the dust and I had to wait for a new one to arrive. My battery was completely dead, but now I'm back in business!

On topic now, I see alot of people wanting specifics about what to feed, when to feed and how much to feed. The most important bit of advice I've ever come across is "know thy dog." All dogs, and cats for that matter, are individuals and while some can tolerate an entire meal of liver without any change in stools, it would give others the raging poops for a week.

No one can tell you how your dog or cat will react to certain foods, amounts or feeding frequencies. The guidelines such as feeding 2-3% of ideal body weight is not 100% science. Some dogs require less than 2%, some require 4%. Pick a percent and up the food intake if your pet is losing weight, decrease food is there is unhealthy weight gain. You should be able to see a clearly defined waistline, not see the ribs but by pressing lightly, be able to feel them. Keeping weight down will lessen the stress on joints, help reduce the risk of heart problems, diabetes and breathing troubles. Unhealthy weight can also contribute to liver problems, increased anesthetic risk, lower quality and quantity of life, reproductive problems, heat intolerance, skin/coat problems, digestive disorders, decreased immune function and possible increased risk on cancers (information taken from http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=2&cat=1660&articleid=694).

What to feed also requires the "know thy dog" motto. If you find your dog/cat doesn't tolerate a certain food, don't feed it. There's no rule that says to properly feed a raw diet, they must eat x, y, z meats.

Some folks feed their dogs/cats once a day, some twice, some feed 2 days worth of food at once, gorging and resting their dogs (this is only applicable to dogs, cats should NEVER go a day without eating). This may be helpful for dogs that never seem to get enough to eat. It is good to occasionally let your dog fill it's belly. For an explanation, visit this link http://k9joy.com/dogarticles/stomach.php which was found on Jessica's Raw Pets Blog.

Raw feeding is a very flexible diet plan. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Let your dog or cat be your guide. Judge the correct amount to feed on body condition. Monitor stools when introducing new foods, or when switching from smaller frequent meals to once a day feedings or gorge 'n rest style (again, this style of feeding is NOT recommended for cats- gorge 'n rest information will only ever apply to dogs). Keep in mind soft stools are not a bad thing and usually occur when no bone is fed. Understand and learn to distinguish between actual diarrhea (animal cannot hold it, has accidents in the house, stool is like water) and soft/slightly runny stools. Watch for too much bone which will produce crumbly, often white stools (which are white coming out, not like when they sit in the yard and dry out) and can cause discomfort when defecating. Using bone can bulk up the stools to relieve anal glands.

Happy feeding!

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