A few weeks ago, i posted about choosing a raw diet for our corgi, Pocket. We decided to follow the basic guidelines of the Raw Meaty Bones movement, plus additional fresh veggies. We had one minor setback, but are otherwise amazed by the changes we’ve observed in Pocket so far. I’ve had several readers inquire about how it’s going, so i thought i would post this update with our observations.
- Pocket gained weight! She’s never been much into eating, and never weighed more than about 19.5 pounds. But, after a few weeks on Raw Meaty Bones, she weighed in over 21 pounds! Woah! Needless to say, we cut back her food to body weight percentage to under 20%…. so i feed her anywhere over 3 pounds and under 4 pounds per week, more or less depending on activity levels. Getting the amount right is pretty easy: each Monday we weight out the entire week’s worth of food, and keep it in a freezer bag in the freezer, thawing out her next day’s portion in the fridge the night before.
- She is strong! Ripping and tearing at meat activates every one of her little muscles. You can see them bunching and tensing while she pulls the meat off, and her jaw gets a great workout as she gnaws away at the bones. She even gets some ‘core’ workout when passing her stools, as they tend to be a bit hard and boney.
- She hardly poops at all! I had read many times that a dog fed on high quality food defecated less frequently and with smaller poos, but never noticed a difference when switching from a ‘low grade’ kibble to a ‘high grade’ kibble. Oh, man i notice a difference now! She poops maybe 1 to 2 times a day. 3 Max. And they’re tiny and break down in the dry sun. She used to poop 3+ times a day: stinky, runny, messy poops. Sorry for the tmi, but hey: everybody poops!
- Her fur is soft and her eyes shiny. She’s always had soft fur, especially the white bits. It is WAY softer now, and super shiny. Her eyes glisten and are generally clear of mucous. She also has zero ear problems, where they used to itch her and be prone to scabbing and gunk buildup.
- She looks plain healthy. Our local vet may be skeptical of the RMB diet, but she couldn’t complain about Pocket’s health. She’s active, happy, alert, sleeps well, can leap onto the couch with the greatest of ease, and now finally enjoys eating!
- She’s an animal! At first she was scared of the hunks of goat neck and fish head thrown at her, but now she takes them down like the little wolf dog she is. I’m sure there’s some psychological boon to a dog eating like a dog, instead of chewing on the same lumpy, processed non-food every day.
- She chipped a tooth. The RMBs weren’t the actual cause of the chipped tooth (i blame a frisbee for that), but they did aggravate it. Her carnaissal tooth was just slightly chipped, but after chewing on a goat neck the chip appeared to grow in size. I don’t think the tooth chipped to the pulp, but it does make me nervous and is something I’ll be keeping my eyes on and her vet aware of. From now on: she gets poultry, rabbits and only small, soft bones more suitable to her smaller teeth.
- Travelling is a little tricky. If we’re not bringing food in a cooler, it’s hard to travel with her food in tow. Kibble travels well, but i’d rather skip the kibble and bring a small cooler and some frozen chicken wings.
- Maintaining a balance: although Mr. Lonsdale says he has seen plenty of dogs fed only turkey backs maintain good health, i want to be sure my dog gets plenty of variety. Presently, she gets mostly poultry. When we get land, we’ll raise meat rabbits for the whole family to dine on and she’ll have more variety more easily obtainable. For now, i just keep my eyes peeled in the grocery store and at the farmer’s market for what i can pick up cheaply.
As you can see, the pros definitely outweigh the cons. We’re happy with our choice, Pocket’s happy with our choice, and i bet your dog would be keen on trying it. In response to some reader questions, i thought i’d answer them for the benefit of all my readers. If you have others, please comment! I’ll be happy to give you my honest opinion and welcome the opinions of all my readers.
Question: Does Pocket get messy when she eats the raw meat? That is really my only hesitation. I don’t want my dogs carrying raw meat all throughout the house and getting blood/guts everywhere. Where do you feed her?
Answer: When the weather is nice, she eats on the porch after we eat lunch (we also practice pack dynamic based dog training, so she eats after we do). If it’s raining or she’s eating after dinner, we feed her in her crate. She really doesn’t make much mess, and tends to lick up any blood that may be left over. We do wipe down her crate after every few meals to reduce the risk of bacteria getting ‘nasty.’ As far as Pocket herself, she doesn’t get messy at all, and spends considerable time rolling about and licking her paws after a good meal.
Question: Is feeding RMBs expensive?
Not at all. Pocket weighs about 20 pounds and eats about 3-4 pounds of food each week. Most of her food comes right out of our refrigerator: I buy whole chickens and cut off the breasts and thighs for us, and she gets the back, frame, wings, neck and gizzards. I also buy bone in cuts of meat, and just cut out the bone (leaving plenty of meat on it) for her to gnaw on. Other than feeding her stuff that would otherwise be wasted, I also pick up ‘reduced for quick sale’ meat at the market, buy ‘guts’ and other old meat from a local rabbit farmer, and have plans on trapping small critters at a friend’s house.
Do you feed your dog a “natural” diet? Please share your experience with us!
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