Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Good Day Hunting and Raw Diet for Dogs

I guess any day hunting beats a day at work. :) Eddie came home with an 8-point buck this time. We spent at least 2-3 hours on Wednesday cutting up the two bucks from last Saturday's successful hunt. So it looks like we'll be at it again on Sunday.


The kids enjoy helping--we've worked out a nice "assembly line"--Eddie does the main butchering, Thomas is the "transporter," so he picks a section of bone (maybe a bit of ribs, a leg bone, or backbone) and a chunk of meat and puts them on the scale. Then Emily puts that into a ziploc bag and I close the bag and put it in the freezer. Today I was able to finish bagging up the butchered deer meat and bones--we ran out of ziploc bags so we put what was left in a large trash bag and stored it in the spare fridge. We feed our dog a raw diet (also called BARF, for Bones And Raw Food, yum!) at least 7 months of the year. We try to keep the weight in each bag between 1.5 to 2lbs for Nute, because of his size, about 70lbs.


How much of his food is from a raw diet depends a lot on how successful the hunting season was, of course, but we also supplement what Eddie kills with chicken necks, wings or legs on sale at the grocery store. When I can't find anything for a good enough price, Nute eats regular dry dog food, with some table scraps and a couple raw eggs per week.


The raw diet was recommended to us by a dog trainer who also is a dog breeder. We used to buy the pre-packaged raw diet through her from several different suppliers, but it was a bit expensive. This is one company that makes a raw food product, but it's not one I've used before.


About a year after Nute had been on this diet, I was with him at the vet for his shots, and they asked if I brushed his teeth (as if!). I told them no way, we just feed him a raw diet, so the bones he chews on must be keeping his teeth really clean. The dry food will stick to the dog's teeth and lead to build-up. As long as he's not eating the pre-packaged raw food, where it's all ground up, his jaws and teeth are getting a good workout.


There are a lot of other benefits to this diet, which more closely resembles what a wild dog or wolf would eat. This site lists most of them, and you'll be able to find others listed elsewhere.


I'm not an expert on this type of diet, and I'm certainly not a vet, so if you're interested in feeding your dog (or cat) a raw diet, you should read up on it first--there's a lot of information on the internet. You could also talk to other pet owners who are using this diet with their pets and see what they think of it.

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