Feeding Our Dogs

Snowycreek's Philosophy of Food

We have been feeding a natural diet here since March 1999. We are delighted with the results. It is true what they say about the benefits of a biologically appropriate bones and raw food diet. We have better coats, wonderful teeth, decreased stool volume, and decreased stool odor. No doggy breath, better muscle tone, and far fewer vet bills.

After many years of feeding high quality kibble and yet, still battling dry coats, itchy skin, itchy ears, tarter coated teeth, and digestive upsets with any new addition, we finally took the plunge. We switched cold turkey, and have never looked back.
 Since then we have successfully whelped and weaned many litters. Mom and babies come through with flying colors. Back when we started, my boy, was facing general anesthesia to have his teeth cleaned, in no time at all, his teeth were as white as his 4 month old child. Beautiful firm poos, that turn to chalky dust and don't knock your socks off with the stench. I can't remember when the last time I needed to medicate for itchy ears, runny eyes or flaky skin. I will never go back to commercial dog food!!!

I have found it to be less costly than kibble!  And, it is possible to do this for a number of dogs and work outside the home. Once you get the hang of it, prep time is minimal. The dogs love it, and never refuse a meal. We have traveled with it, with no problems.

We use a combination of Pitcairn, and Billinghurst, it has worked for us. The main bone ingredients are not available in sufficient quantity in our area, so we use some grains. I would encourage everyone to seriously consider taking charge of your dogs health. Research the net, there is lots of info, read the books and take the plunge. You won't regret it.

Sincerely, Chris

Raw food basics:

The key points to remember with a raw diet are:

  • Balance over time.
  • Use a variety of meats. The enzymes in pork are different than the enzymes in beef, etc. 
  • The calcium and phosphorus ratio should be 1:1. Meats are high in phosphorus, bones are high in calcium and whole prey, fish, eggs and tripe have a balanced ratio.
  • Organ meat should not exceed 10% of the diet. Feed liver once a week (or several small servings per week) and try to find an organic source if possible because the liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body.
  • Feel free to feed ‘weird and icky things’ such as chicken heads and feet, beef trachea, tails, lung, kidney, testicles and pizzles. Beef trachea, trim, chicken and turkey feet are loaded in natural chondroitin and glucosamine which help to build healthy joints.
  • If feeding wild meat, pork or salmon, be certain to freeze the meat for four weeks before feeding to reduce the risk of parasites.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, parsley, dandelion greens, cooked sweet potatoe, pumpkin are all excellent additions to a raw diet.  Veggies must be run through a blender or processor before using.
  • Raw fish (preferable whole) can be fed for one or two meals per week. You may also opt to feed fish oil.  Flax seed oil also contains a good amount of Omega 3 but it is plant based and some dogs do not do well on it.  Omega-3 eggs might be a good, safe alternative to the above if the mercury and toxin levels in fish are a concern (and they should be).
  • NEVER feed cooked bones of any type. Raw bones are soft enough to bend and digest easily. Avoid weight bearing bones.  For optimal safety, meal times should always be supervised.
Diet and Recipes.
Morning meal:
Oatmeal Porridge with "stuff"

Prep: For each cup of oatmeal flakes use 2 cups of water. Boil the water, remove from heat and add oatmeal. Let stand until soft, about 10 minutes.  If you are only feeding 1 or 2 dogs this can be prepped in the microwave, just as you would your own porridge.

Serve: My guys get one cup of this in the a.m. with about 1-2 oz of organ meat chopped up and every other day a fresh raw egg as well. Sometimes I add yogurt, or cottage cheese or whatever I have around. They get 1 Tablespoon of Alfalfa  and 1/4 tsp of Kelp sprinkled on top! 

Evening meal:
Rice mix and raw meaty bones

Prep: In a large roaster pan put about 1/3 cup of canola oil, add 20 cups of rice, and 40 cups of water. This makes approx. 60 cups of rice.  Sprinkle with about 2 tsp's of garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of dried parsley. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, cook about 5 pds of kidney and liver in a large stock pot, simmer while the rice cooks.
To the cooked rice add 5 lbs of raw red meat, (vary the meat). Initially it needs to be ground so that they can't pick it out of the mix as they adjust to the diet, chunks of meat are used.   2-3 lbs of raw vegetables or fruit,  done in a blender or food processor. Add the broth,  chopped cooked organ meat, raw muscle meat, and pureed veggies, mix until rice is moist.   Store in the fridge. (If you are making this in smaller quantities the basic proportions are: 2 parts rice, 2 parts meat, and 1 part vegetables.  This recipe can be divided into portions that will feed your dog/s for about 4 days, store the other portions in the freezer until needed.

Serve: My guys get one to two cups of this mix along with appropriate raw meaty bones. For them that is approximately 2 -3 chicken backs, or 2 chicken frames. If the dog looks skinny, feed more, if they look fat, feed less. Chicken backs, necks, and feet are good because they have the right proportion of meat and bone, if you feed very meaty parts all the time, your dog will get too fat, and the Calcium/Phospherus ratio's will not be balanced. 

Approximately 3 times a week I dole out chew type bones, these are large animal bones that provide recreational chewing and a varying amount of meat and marrow. I always "supervise", ie I am at home and can intervene if there is an "incident". We have not had any problem to date, but I believe it pays to be cautious.

1 cup yogurt, use a whole fat yogurt with 'live' culture
1 Gallon Milk
Candy Thermometer
2 large bath towels
Large pot Crock pot

Turn crock pot on low. Meanwhile heat milk in a pot on the stove to just boiling. Watch, don't let it burn. Cool to 120 degrees (can cooI in coId water bath in sink). Add the yogurt and stir well. Pour mixture into the prewarmeal crock pot. Put on the lid and turn the crock pot off. Wrap the crock pot in towels and let sit I0 hours or overnight. Pour off the whey (save for food for dogs) Put in containers and store in frig.

Billinghurst Patties.
1 Ib vegetables put through blender or processor
1 lb ground meat, (any kind)
1 cup (approx) yogurt
3 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 lb chopped organ meat
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
Kelp powder...up to 4 tsp
1 tsp Vit B

Mix and form into patties. May be made in large quantities and frozen. Individual patties are useful, for traveling and if leaving pet with non-barfer..
Beef Mix:
Mix hamburger half and half with canned pumpkin.  Throw in a couple of eggs, shell and all.
Veggie Mix:
Puree beef, or pork or chicken liver half and half with Romaine lettuce, (or any other veggie or fruit), add a couple of eggs, shell and all.  Freeze on a cookie sheet in serving sizes, (1/2 to 1 cup) then toss into a freezer bag and use when needed. 
Training Treats.
Beef Jerky
2 lbs extra lean ground beef
1 TBS salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 and 1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke
Optional, cayenne, jalepeno puser, worsteshire sauce, soy sauce, tabasco.

Mix all ingredients together well, make into thin strips on dehydrator racks or foil lined oven racks. If using oven set the temp to 160 -170. Done when dry not brittle... after about 6 -10 hours. Alternately, cut cubes of meat from beef brisket, soak over night in Teriayki Sauce and then cook in oven as above.

Beef Heart
Marinate the whole heart in a zip lock bag with crushed garlic for a couple of days. Or just rub with parmesan and onion powder and garlic and bake immediately. Cook at 250 degrees for several hours until dry, not hard.

Liver Cubes
Liquify (ugh) 1 lb. chicken liver in a food processor or blender. If using pork or beef you may need to add a tad of water. Add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp garlic salt, and 1 tablespoon oregano. Spread on cookie sheet greased with oil, spread it 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick (should have the consistency of peanut butter). Cook at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cut up and freeze right away. Defrost what you will use in about 2 days.

Canine Nutrition, web links.

http://www.naturalrearing.com/ - NaturalRearing.com
http://www.b-naturals.com  hosted by Lew Olson PHD, read her newsletters!
http://www.dogaware.com  hosted by Mary Straus, excellent site with information on all types of feeding. 
http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com  Comparisons and analysis of commercial foods 

Vitamin C
For dogs 50-100 lbs
Up to 4 months .... 500 mg daily
4-18 months 1000-3000 mg daily
Adult 3000-6000 mg daily

Vitamin C can be given to "Bowel Tolerance", ie increase until stools get soft then back off 500 mg.

Most Common Allergens
Brewers Yeast (Nutritional Yeast is better)

Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 3 and Omega 6. Omega 6 is plentiful in a raw diet. Omega 6 is available in the skin and fat of chicken, Omega 3 is added to the diet in the form of cold pressed fish oils, flax seed oil/ground flaxseed, Sardines. Cold water fish body oils contain all 3 of omega 3 fatty acids./ALA, EPA, DHA. Flax contains only ALA but supposed to convert to EPA and DHA in the body. 2 Tbsps of ground flax seeds/day for GSD sized dog. Increase the flax if you experience skin problems during de-tox. Some dogs may not tolerate the flax, so use fish oil capsules.

Pups at 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 weeks can suck and bite at chicken backs and wings. Then grind backs, add gr beef, whole eggs. Make oatmeal slurry with chopped liver, heart, processed veggies. Pups have better muscle, better coordination, no coccidia. Decreased odor in puppy pen. Decreased stool volume and water requirements make housebreaking easier.

Anti - emetic
I/4 -1/2 tsp fresh ginger about 20 minutes prior to travel. Ginger snap cookies also work.

Balanced Diet
Balance is achieved over a period of time, each meal does not have to have everything in it.
10 bone meals, combined with 4 green leafy meals, 1 starchy meal, 1 grain/legume meal, 1 purely meat meal, 2 milk meals and 1 or 2 offal meals over a 2-3 week period will provide an over all balance.

Slippery Elm
Used for diarrhea and gastric upset
1 rounded tsp in 1 cup water. Boil then simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and 1 TBSP Honey - cool. Keeps at room temp for several days. Give 2 tsp to 2 TBSP every 4 hours as necessary.

Number 1 homeopathic med for swelling, injury or trauma. Get it in "30" strength and use pre and post surgery. Twice a day with injury

Some people are concerned about feeding raw eggs because they have been told that the enzyme Avidin in the egg white, ties up Biotin and therefore creates a deficiency. This would only happen if you fed a diet low in Biotin ..ie crappy dog food and only egg white. The egg yolk contains plenty of biotin. Dogs fed whole eggs (4-5 per week) for years with no problems.

Contains minerals and vitamins, iron calcium copper and magnesium. Pantothenic acid innositol, Vit. E, B Vitamins. Be careful of giving to much as it is high sugar content.

BARF Motto
Keep it simple
NB When they first start eating this way,  they act like they can never get enough.
If there skinny feed them more, if they're fat feed them less.

No more tarter build up, good dental health, clean breath
Improves jaw throat and chest muscles.
Chewing prepares the stomach for digestion
Psychologically satisfying to the dog, improves mentation and attitude.

Markedly decreased water consumption due to the higher water content of natural food.

Stool is firm and acts as natural evacuator of anal glands. It is almost odorless. It is small. In 1-2 days it turns chalky white and disintigrates. Stool eating is virtually eliminated.
Books: You should own and read at least one of these!

"Give Your Dog a Bone" and "Grow Your Pups With Bones" by Dr.Ian Billinghurst

"Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats" by Dr. Pitcairn DVM PHD.

"The Ultimate Diet" by Kymythy R Schultze A.H.I.

"Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog" by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown


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