Feeding raw to my dogs is an ongoing learning experience, but as long as I know that feeding raw means that my beloved pets are getting feed an appropriate diet then I am all up for the journey! And, just like in life, with every journey comes a bump here and another there….. and that is exactly what occurred to me and my pooches in our raw diet journey. All the sudden we encounter some “issues” that appear to be a serious issue, but is likely nothing.
DISCLAIMER……… What you are about to read is not by ANY MEANS intended to replace veterinary care or advice. What you find here is a recap of my experiences while feeding raw to my dogs. With every issue we encounter I had to do a research to understand what is going on in my dog’s body. The following are my experiences while having my boxers on raw.
Throwing Up: first thing to understand is that there is vomiting and there is regurgitation.
Regurgitation: generally occurs shortly after eating, and takes little effort to bring up. Generally, it comes without warning and the dog will open its mouth and plop out its last meal. Why does this can happen? Check it up and you will find that there are several reasons like: the dog ate too much, ate too fast, too much fat or the meat just didn’t sit well in the stomach.
My oldest one Mylo does this quite often, and it is usually when he gets up his bed to walk around before digestion begins. If you see that the food your dog spits looks like a bunch of the mushy food, digestion has not begun. If this is the case I let Mylo re-eat it, and if he seems not interested I just clean that up and fast that meal.
Vomiting: vomiting is the body’s way of saying “I don’t want this in here”, and this is a good thing. This tells you that your dog’s body is responding accordingly, better out than in. Vomiting can occur for many reasons, three of them are:
– eating foreign objects (hovering out walking or surfer counters)
– illness and
Hunger can occur when feeding on a rigid schedule. I used to have my boys on this type of schedule and when sometimes I couldn’t feed them accordingly Mylo vomited gastric juices (a yellow looking phlegm) So now i make the meals more unpredictable or trading up for bigger food less often. Also vomiting can occur when dogs have recently switched to a raw diet and are not used to digesting bones. Feeding raw green tripe and other digestive enzymes help the dogs body adapt to the new way of processing food.
Less Poop!: Wo0-Hoo!!! Think about this: if you insist on feeding commercial dog food, take a look of how much kibble goes in compared to how much gets pooped out… it’s pretty equal, and sometimes more waste then food that was eaten! You gotta wonder… what nutrients did they actually get? Because a meat, organ and bone based diet is species appropriate to dogs, the food is more available to their bodies allowing them to absorb more nutrients and thus less waste.
Blood in Poop: Newbies to a raw diet will have bodies that aren’t fully adjusted to this diet and will pass bone fragments in their stools. Now, those bones have to pass through and generally do without any issues, however it is possible it has irritated something on the way out. Bright red blood (like in fresh cuts) can generally be attributed to irritation. If you are seeing consistent dark reddish brown color (digested blood) then you should inquire with your vet. If you notice a clear mucous sac around the poop, the body creates this to help pass the waste, nothing to be alarmed about- just the body working.
Diarrhea: If the diarrhea last more than a few days and are persistent a fecal exam is a MUST! However, diarrhea it is a normal bodily function that occurs for a lot of the same reasons as throwing-up. A dog on a raw diet need about 10% bone content. Bone helps bind stools together. Keep in mind some dogs need more than the 10% bone for stool management and some dogs are good with the 10%.
White, dry and crumbly stool means you are feeding TOO MUCH bone. Dark and loose stool means NOT ENOUGH bone. Either way you need to find the proper balance for your dog.
If you are new to a raw diet, you must keep in mind that certain proteins can be TOO RICH for brand new stomaches (to raw). Influences, beef, lamb and organ cuts are considered too rich. This is why it is recommended to introduce new meats slowly 3/4 chicken and 1/4 beef, then the next time 50-50 and so on. You could also give your dog chicken for 3 weeks and then switch to beef. I did this with my digs so I was able to see how their body reacted to each protein. So now I know that chicken is a NO-NO for them, but turkey and beef is a YES-YES.
If your dog has a bad diarrhea you can fast him to give his GI track a break, or offer some low sodium broth with water to keep them hydrated. The difference between true diarrhea and loose stool is that diarrhea is difficult for the animal to hold in and is kinda loud (yuck) and can happen a few times.
So, what to do about diarrhea? Well, if it is true diarrhea I personally would take my dogs to the vet, but, if it is some digestive upset, I fast my dogs a meal or two and I give them low sodium chicken broth to keep them hydrated. Sometimes i just fast them and let the system do its work.
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