Raw Diet

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    All CharmedWons puppies are weaned to and raised on a raw diet because I believe that it is the best diet for dogs.  Most kibble dog foods contain ingredients that I feel are not healthy for dogs.  The first of these is fillers.  Fillers provide no calories and thus the dog needs to eat more to feel satisfied.  These fillers (consider them fiber) are also the main reason kibble fed dogs have huge smelly “poops”.  Because fillers are cheaper than meat, it is also advantageous ($$) to the kibble manufacturer to use more fillers than the more expensive meat ingredients.   The other more critical concern I have with kibble is the preservatives and additives that are added.  I believe, as do many, that just as preservatives and additives have had detrimental effects on human health, they have also contributed to the increasing cancers seen in dogs and cats,  and the numerous allergy issues that are being seen nowadays.  Great link for some extra reading about "What's really in pet food?" Just to pre-warn you, your veterinarian will try to convince you to use kibble.  Many Veterinary practices sell kibble from their practice, so they will encourage their dog food and discourage raw diets unless you are lucky and find an open minded, progressive veterinarian.    There seem to be more Vets out there now that are starting to embrace this concept.  Yipee.

       How to learn about raw feeding?  I recommend reading the following"  Tom Lonsdale's book "Work Wonders", Dr. Ian Billinghurst’s books “Grow Your Pups With Bones” and “Give Your Dog a Bone” and Kymythy Schultze’s book ”Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats”.  The exception is that I feed NO GRAINS.  I hope that you can bring yourself to feed your puppy as nature intended…raw meaty bones as the staple of their diet.  If you don’t want the bother of preparing it yourself, you can buy commercially prepared raw diets.   Options in prepared raw diets are:

         I do have a “recipe” for you to use to make it yourself, your choice.  I make large quantities and then freeze it.  Whether you buy the prepared ground meat/vegetable/fruit mix or you make it yourself, the other component to supplement your pup’s diet is providing RAW MEATY BONES as nature intended them to have.  Whole uncooked raw chickens (cut in ¼ or ½), whole uncooked raw cornish hens (cut in ½), whole uncooked, raw rabbits (cut in ½),  uncooked raw beef ribs, canned or raw mackerel, etc.  The bones that you should avoid are those that are weight-bearing (i.e. cow femurs) as these bones are very dense (they have to support a lot of weight) and tend to break teeth.  The other bone to avoid is any COOKED BONE.  Do NOT feed cooked bones!!!  Cooked bones are the ones that cause problems when dogs eat them.  [Other items that should never be fed to dogs are: chocolate of any kind, onions – raw or cooked, grapes, and raisins.]  Remember if nature had NOT intended dogs/wolves/carnivores to eat raw meat and bones, most of the carnivores would be extinct, and except for what the human species has done in hunting them and eliminating their habitats, most carnivores thrive extremely well.   So, just buy meaty bones for your pup when you buy for yourself.  What kind of meats can be used?  Well, a good basic rule of thumb is……  if it ran, flew or swam and didn’t eat meat as a regular part of it’s natural diet while it was alive, then it qualifies as dog food.  Again, just avoid the weight bearing bones. 

        For southeastern PA we have actually formed a co-op and purchase large quantities of chicken, rabbit, emu, pork, bison, etc and because there are close to 50 of us in the group, we get excellent prices.  We typically order once a month – two different food types.  Out on LI,  there is an Armellino’s in Huntington Station.  They make a variety of prepared raw foods and I believe they also have the raw meaty bones, too.    There are other co-ops throughout the country.  Buying in bulk does help to reduce costs.

        For treats, I recommend any natural treat that doesn’t contain additives, preservatives or grains.  Good dog biscuits are available from Innova. You can find distributors at their website, www.naturapet.com  .  Wellness biscuits are also good. www.wellness.com   Natural liver snacks are great too, and the pups LOVE them.  Avoid heavily advertised products as they are mostly owned by people food conglomerates and whatever they aren't permitted by law to put in our food, goes into dog food as there is only self-regulation.

        How much do I feed the puppy?  In general, the rule of thumb is that the puppy is fed 2-3%, up to 10% of it's adult ideal weight.  I'll let you know where your puppy is when the time comes for him/her to join your family.   The vast majority of the daily intake will be meat whether it be raw meaty bones or ground meats.  A small percentage will be a vegie blend.   How to adjust amount fed?  If the puppy looks thin, you increase it; If the puppy looks a little chubby, then you cut back on the amount slightly.   How often to feed?  The pups are converted from a 3 times a day feeding schedule to twice a day around 3-4 months.  In general, the pup will begin to skip the afternoon meal, telling you that twice a day feedings is sufficient.  Remember these are growing (and active) puppies and their caloric needs are quite high.  My adults eat ½ pound of meat/veggie mix in the morning and 0.75-1 pound of RMB in the evening.  They may get up to 1.5 pounds of RMB when we are actively racing and coursing as they are burning up more calories and therefore require more food/calories.

        The question of cost always comes up with the raw versus a kibble diet.  I have found that the raw, in the long run, is less expensive, especially now with the co-op we have.  In general a good quality kibble will cost at least $1 per pound.  Raw is generally very similar.  I get whole cornish hens for 0.85 per pound.  Armellino’s prepared mixes are $1 - $2 per pound.  The big pay off is in the lack of teeth cleaning (vet visit which requires anesthesia) and other health issues.  Remind me to show you my dog’s teeth when you visit, particularly the older dogs who have never had their teeth cleaned at a vets office.

        The other question that always comes up is Salmonella, particularly with feeding raw chicken.  Again if bacteria content on raw meats were an issue, the carnivores on this planet would have become extinct long ago.  Many carnivores eat their prey over the course of several days and remember that is with no refrigeration.  I always just tell folks, use common sense, and of course, treat raw meats with the same care that you would if you were preparing it for your own meal.  All utensils, cutting boards and bowls should be washed thoroughly as well as your hands (for your own health). But that’s no different than you preparing chicken or turkey for yourself.

        Why NO GRAINS?  I don’t feed grains because I can’t remember the last time I saw a dog or carnivore grazing for nutrition.  They don’t need them and therefore I don’t give them.

         Life expectancy - is it different for kibble fed dogs?  Absolutely, it's shorter for kibble fed dogs.  Check out this link:  http://www.ukrmb.co.uk/images/LippertSapySummary.pdf

        There are several yahoo groups that may assist you in answering or researching questions.  The one I highly recommend is “rawfeeding”.  So if you are a member of yahoo groups, go to www.yahoogroups and just search on rawfeeding and join the group.  They are very helpful and extremely informative.  I get the info in a daily digest as it is a very popular chat group.  If you aren’t a member of yahoo groups, it is free and easy to join.  Even though I have been feeding raw for 7 years, I still enjoy reading and learning other folks’ ideas.

        Feel free to call or e-mail anytime you have a question about your puppies raw diet. 

 Dietary Supplements:

  • Ester C powder: 500-750mg daily.  This supports a healthy immune system.  This can be increased up to 1000-1500 mg daily for those times of high stress.

 Always have fresh water available. A 2-qt flat-sided pail that hooks onto crate door works well. Anchor it with a double ended brass snap available at hardware stores.   Most pups like to flip bowls and play in the water, so be prepared.

If your puppy gets diarrhea at any time, try giving plain old canned pumpkin, 50/50 with food, or give the pumpkin straight if the pup will eat it. 

Links for more information on Raw feeding:





Because the information there is amazing, I also recommend joining the main rawfeeding list at

Here are other sites to explore:



Foods to Avoid: