CLEO

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Monday, February 27, 2012

DAY 9 OF RAW MEATY BONES

 

It's Day 9 of the kids' raw diet now, and things are going pretty well. 

Today I made an order for organic/free-range chicken (DQ Clean Chicken) from Good 4U Delivery. As I only called today and their delivery to the Ampang area is on Monday only, they didn't have whole chickens available, so I ordered chicken wings and chicken leg quarters.

I was quite please with the delivery as all the chicken came frozen and packed quite nicely, 1 chicken leg quarter per pack, and 4 chicken wings per pack. So I didn't actually have to re-pack anything.  I will let you know how the kids take to the DQ chicken in a couple of days.

Observations:
I'm glad to report that Lucky has had really nicely formed and firm poos for the last 3 days. I am really hoping that this means that his tummy is recovering well and that he will not have a relapse.

I guess I am really amazed that he has good poo just from eating raw meaty chicken bones. I wish I had realised this sooner instead of subjecting him to so many different courses of anti-biotics and medication for the last 2 months.

Cleo and Belle seem to be doing really quite well too. 

Rascal's poo has also improved after I ensured that he got his fair share of chicken wings and not just the leg quarters.
Rascal playing with Mishka

Friday, February 24, 2012

RAW MEAT DIET FOR DOGS AND CATS

Here's an interesting video on raw diet for dogs and cats...



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wLTlqnMMg

"Dr. Becker is a licensed veterinarian in the state of Illinois and is certified in veterinary acupuncture and veterinary homeopathy. She opened her clinic, the Natural Pet Animal Hospital, in 1999 and founded the Covenant Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 2002. She has been voted one of Chicago's top 10 veterinarians and has appeared in the hit show Animal Planet. Dr. Becker is also the author of the pet cookbook Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats".

DAY 6 OF RAW MEATY BONES

We are now coming up to the one week mark my kids' raw meaty bones diet. I am getting a bit more used to the idea of feeding them raw meat, and the fact that all of them seem to thoroughly enjoy it makes it a bit easier. I have stopped blanching the meat before feeding them and they seem to be perfectly fine with it.

Lucky inspecting his chicken quarter
What is interesting is that Cleo and Lucky who are generally picky eaters, seem to look forward to their meal times now. I no longer have to sit with them and coax them to eat and yes I had to do this almost everyday. Meal times used to take 30-40 minutes. Now Cleo finishes her food in about 5 minutes while Lucky takes about 10 minutes with no coaxing from me.

At the same time, Belle who usually scarfs her food down in 20 seconds flat, now eats alot slower; while Rascal who would always eat his food but at an incredibly slow pace, is now eating much more quickly. And Rascal actually finishes before Belle now.

Cleo & Lucky chilling after their dinner.
Observations;
Cleo seems to be doing okay on the raw diet with no real issues after the first day of "detox". Her energy levels seem to have improved which is great.

Belle seems to be managing fine too, and she seems to be less hungry compared to when she was on kibble.

Both Cleo and Belle have small, firm poo that doesn't seem to stink as much as when they were on kibble.

Lucky (who has had a tummy upset for the past 2 months) has improved significantly without any further medication. His poo is no longer mushy and is quite nicely formed. I will continue to observe him for the next week to ensure that there is no relapse.

I have, however, on my friend Vicki's advice, split Lucky's meals into 4 portions for the day instead of 2. I should really have known this as this would be what I would normally do with his kibble when his tummy is funny.

But I think the whole idea of raw just overwhelmed me and I forgot this basic rule of small meals for dogs with upset tummies. This seems to have helped Lucky significantly. Additionally, Lucky is currently only getting chicken wings and breast (with bone) as these are softer and more digestible.

Rascal, had a mushy poo today, although it was only a small amount. I am not sure if  it's because I have perhaps moved too quickly for him; in that he has been getting mainly chicken leg quarters (since Lucky is taking all the wings for all meals).

So I am now putting him on only chicken wings and breast quarters from this evening till his tummy stabilises. 

Thoughts:
Although, things seem to be generally going well for my lot, I will not be quite so bold to say at this point that a raw diet is the best way or the only way to feed your dog.

I am still trying to read as much as I can on raw diets, and how to ensure that my pack gets a balanced diet (note that this is different from a balanced meal).

I have come across many websites that are pro-raw and many that are anti-raw. Every time I come across an anti-raw diet site, I start to wonder if I have made the right decision. 

But for now, as the "results" have been positive so far, particularly in relation to Lucky's tummy, I will be sticking with it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DAY 4 OF RAW MEATY BONES

Cleo inspecting her chicken wing/breast quarter

We are now on Day 4 of the raw diet for my pack and generally things seem to be going pretty well.

Cleo and Belle had really nice, small, firm poos this morning. Both boys have yet to do a poop, which is good in a way, particularly for Lucky as it means his tummy is managing the chicken wing and breast quarter form last night quite well.

I have been blanching their chicken slightly before feeding them (for my own peace of mind), and today I didn't blanch it as much and they seemed to be fine with it.

Belle was the only one who didn't eat her breakfast. I am not sure if it's because she actually was not hungry or because she didn't like it that raw. Having said that, usually if she has not had enough to eat or is hungry she will howl and bark until we give her more food. And today she didn't... So perhaps she is actually feeling full from eating these raw meaty bones?


Cleo chomping down on her chicken quarter
I currently buy chicken enough for 2/3 days as my freezer isn't quite large enough to store more meat than that. I clean the chicken (although the Sakura chicken that I buy seem to be really quite clean with not much slime and no smell) and pack them into small zip-lock bags for each dog's meal, and freeze them.

At the moment, I am giving them 2% of their body weight divided into 2 meals.

I defrost the meat by leaving it a couple of hours at room temperature and then stick it into the fridge for their next meal. 
Defrosting the kids' dinner
Their meals individually packed and frozen
When I was last at the supermarket, I paid a bit more attention to the different types of chicken that were on offer. 
Nutriplus Chicken
The Nutriplus chicken costs about RM13-18 depending on the weight is Antibiotic Residue Free. This basically means (without going into too mich detail) that the chickens were given antibiotics during the farming process. Then prior to being slaughtered they are taken off the antibiotics

DQ Clean Chicken
 The DQ Clean Chicken is supposed to be organic and completely grass fed. No antibiotics are fed to the chickens at all during farming, and the chickens are allowed to roam freely and have plenty of exercise and fresh air etc. See their website for more details. The DQ Clean Chicken is however alot more expensive at about RM24-29 at Isetan for a relatively smaller bird.

Kami Sakura Chicken
And finally, this is what I feed my lot. The Kami Sakura Chicken. These chickens are supposed to be hygienically farmed using special Japanese Techniques and are not fed antobiotics. They also have access to sunlight and have space to roam and exercise. The chickens cost RM23.90 per bird and weigh approximately 1.2-1.4 kgs.

Right, so this is my update for the day, and I am hoping that this information would be useful to potential raw feeders in Malaysia.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DAY 3 OF RAW MEATY BONES

Right some updates from yesterday...

Their evening meal last night went really well. Everyone ate their chicken with gusto including Belle. She has now gotten the idea that this raw stuff is actually food and seemed to enjoy it.

Nobody pooped at all last night which is also good I guess cause it means that the chicken is not disagreeing with them as much as I feared.

Cleo waiting for her ball
This morning however, Lucky had a very awful mushy poo. :-( I am hoping that this is just the detox effect. So we shall see what happens tomorrow or later today. The rest of them had pretty well formed poo but I have to say that all of them had the smallest poop I have ever experienced with any of them! I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. 

I mean it obviously shows that they are digesting almost all the food that they have eaten and it's not just passing through their system like kibble. When they were on Orijen they only pooped once a day compared to twice a day on their previous kibble, but their poo was still quite sizeable.

Cleo getting ready to catch her tennis ball

This morning's breakfast went really well too. Everyone ate with no issues or complaint. So I am quite pleased with that.

They also ate their evening meal easily and seemed to really enjoy it. Lucky had his first chicken wing and breast quarter. And he managed it pretty well.

And she catches it perfectly
These pictures of Cleo were taken some time ago... and since she has been feeling poorly she has not been too keen on playing fetch or catch with her tennis ball. She normally is nuts about her ball. So I am really hoping that this raw feeding will bring back the old Cleo or at least increase her energy levels.

I am sure that there will be alot of you thinking that feeding raw must be incredibly expensive. That was what I thought too initially. But after I sat down and did some math, I realised that it wasn't more expensive than my feeding them kibble.

And let me just add that I am purchasing chicken from Isetan, which is probably one of the more expensive supermarkets in Malaysia (i.e I would say that its the equivalent of Waitrose in the UK), and still it comes up cheaper. Just to give you a cost comparison, here are the details of what I have spent and am spending:

Cost of feeding 4 medium/large dogs for a month on kibble and cooked chicken:
2 bags of Orijen 6 fish formula at RM304 per bag   = RM 608
Fresh chicken breast meat at RM70 per week        = RM 280
Baked Lamb ribs to clean teeth RM 80 per week    = RM 320

Total cost = RM1,208 per month

Cost of feeding 4 medium/large dogs fresh raw "Kami Sakura" chicken
I need 1.5 chickens per day, which is about 45 chickens a month
Cost per bird = RM24
Total cost =RM1,080

So I know you're probably thinking but I have not included the lamb ribs, but then since they are already chewing real bones, they don't need the ribs anymore. And my cost of feeding them is still cheaper than kibble and chicken supplements eventhough I am buying a pretty expensive chicken from an expensive supermarket.

Additionally, you can probably feed your dogs for a lot cheaper if you shop at Carrefour or Tesco, and of course if you go to the markets.  A normal chicken from my local supermarket (which is still pretty expensive) is only about RM15 per bird. And today I just saw in the papers that Tesco was doing a promotion for RM3.99 per bird.

And of course, from what my friends have told me and from what I have read, once your dog has adapted to a raw diet, you can start varying their meals. You can use organ meat, eggs, fish etc for some meals which would bring down the cost further.

So really the cost of feeding raw shouldn't be a factor that prevents you from switching your dog to raw. I'll be honest and say I am not sure if I will stick through with it for the long term. It will really depend on how well the kids are doing on a raw diet but if I quit it certainly will not be because of the cost.

I am hoping that my observations etc will be useful to those of you, who like me, are apprehensive about feeding raw.

Monday, February 20, 2012

RAW MEATY BONES FOR MY KIDS

I have finally made the switch from kibble to Raw Meaty Bones or BARF ( Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food only) for my 4 kids, i.e. Cleo, Lucky, Rascal and Belle; after contemplating it for a few years. Admittedly I am not sure if I will stick to it but I have finally attempted it. So what prompted me to make this change?

Well the main reason for this is because Cleo gave me a big scare last month. She suddenly developed severe intolerance to exercise. Previously, Cleo was super fit - we can go for brisk walks in excess of an hour on hilly terrain with no problems at all.

But one day in mid-January, I suddenly noticed that Cleo was lagging behind on our walks. I was mildly concerned but put it down to her perhaps being tired or just feeling poorly for one reason or another. I mean she was eating well and did not display any other symptoms or signs of being ill.

But the next day, she lagged again; and on the third day she lagged really far behind. I was beginning to worry and on the fourth day, after 15 minutes of walking, she turned off on our road and went home. I took her to the vet immediately but we could find nothing wrong. So he suggested that we do an x-ray of the chest as well as of her hips in case her hip was giving her problems.

Cleo has been diagnosed with a severely enlarged heart...


We took her back to the vet the next day and she had her x rays done. When I picked her up that evening, our vet told us that her hips were fine, but that the x-rays showed that she had a severely enlarged heart.

He suggested that we do a complete blood test to rule out any other disease etc, and made an appointment for us to get an ECG, ultrasound of the heart and stress test done for her at the Gasing Veterinary Hospital.

We took her to the Gasing Hospital the next day and had all the tests done. All the tests showed that Cleo's heart was functioning perfectly, eventhough her heart was severely enlarged!

The blood tests result also came back and all her organs were functioning well and all the readings were normal. While that was good news, it also meant that we do not really know what is causing her to tire so easily.

We went back to our vet the next day, and after a lengthy consultation/discussion we agreed to observe her carefully for a month, and then to repeat the tests again at the end of February to rule out/confirm heart disease.

I have since put her on a range of supplements (Vitamin C, Vitamin E, CoQ10, Hawthorne, Flaxseed Oil & Oxyfresh etc.) based on what I have read on canine heart disease, and she seems to have improved a little, but she is not the same Cleo as before. Now we can just about manage a slow walk for about 20-30 minutes.

Everything that I have read so far regarding heart disease seem to indicate that whatever the diagnosis might be (although Cleo's only diagnosis at the moment is an enlarged heart), conventional medicine will only control the symptoms and make the dog more comfortable, and will not cure the disease.

There were, however, lots of articles etc that indicated proper nutrition (hence the raw diet) and supplements could possibly improve the condition and, in rare cases, reverse it. So this is the main reason that pushed me to finally try a raw diet for my pack.

Lucky has been having a bad tummy for weeks and we have no idea what is causing the problem.
The second reason that prompted me to make the switch is that Lucky developed some kind of tummy problem and has had awful poo on and off for almost 2 months. The only consolation is that he hasn't got diarrhea per se, in that he only goes once a day, but when he does it really is quite disgusting.

We have had his stools tested a few times for various things and apart from a high bacteria content, he has no parasites of any sort or any other obvious issues. He has been on various meds and supplements which seems to help, but as soon as he comes of it, he goes back to having nasty poo.

Most recently, he was put a clay supplement to soothe and calm the tummy. This seems to have worked the best for far but we have just completed the course on Saturday. And on Sunday, his poo went back to being only semi-formed and quite mushy. Our vet has now ordered another stool test, and if his condition does not improve soon, he will have to get an ultrasound and scope done too.

I don't really want to subject Lucky to a scope, so I did quite a lot of reading and again, all that I have read seems to point towards moving to a raw diet!!!


In the past they used to eat a mixture of kibble (Lamaderm - which was pretty good for them), boiled chicken and yoghurt. Last year, when Orijen (which is supposed to be biologically appropriate and is - in my opinion - probably the best kibble you can give your dog) became more readily available at pet supply stores near me, I switched them to Orijen, and continued to supplement with boiled chicken and yoghurt, and they have been doing really well on that although it did cost me an arm and a leg each month to feed all 4 of them Orijen.

So from all the reading that I have been doing for the both of them, I have come to the conclusion that feeding raw is probably the best way to go. I think this has been something that I have known for a long time but have been just too scared to try.

I had a million concerns like: contamination concerns, choking hazards of raw bones, will the bones cause them to have tummy problems, do I have the ability to balance their meals etc, and most importantly will I be able to obtain fresh meat and bones that are chemical free (and organic?) at a reasonable price.

I finally decided that I would start them on raw chicken and went to Isetan on Saturday evening to buy the "Kami Sakura" chicken (this chicken is supposedly reared with very high standards, and are not your typical battery chickens. They apparently are not fed antibiotics/hormones and are semi free-range, with access to sunlight and exercise etc.).

They had their first "raw"  meal yesterday evening. As I was still a little nervous, I decided to blanch the chicken by pouring boiling water onto the chicken before feeding it to them in an attempt to reduce the amount of bacteria on the chicken. I know this was probably stupid and probably didn't do much to reduce the amount of bacteria as the chicken was still raw, but it made me feel somewhat better.

Sunday evening - First Raw Meal

Cleo (30kg) - a chicken wing and breast quarter (300g)
Lucky (22kg) - chicken breast meat only as his tummy is still wonky (200g)
Rascal (16kg) - a chicken leg quarter (200g)
Belle (16.5kg) - a chicken leg quarter (200g)

The verdict? 

Cleo, Lucky and Rascal ate their chicken with no problems at all. They seemed to really enjoy it. Cleo and Lucky finished their meal pretty quickly that I didn't even have time to take a picture.

Rascal ate slower, but he always eats slowly as he is a bit of a gentleman. But Belle, who usually inhales her kibble in 20 seconds, struggled. She took 40 minutes to finish it as she is not used to having to work for her food. She got really angry at one point and started barking at the chicken because she just didn't know how to eat it. But slowly she managed to eat it all.

Rascal - eating his chicken leg
Belle trying to figure out how to eat her chicken.
After the meal:
Later that evening, Cleo had a really nasty poo. It was really disgusting! But I was prepared for it as everything I read told me that they may have terrible stool and may even vommit for up to a week as their bodies would go through a detox of sorts.Nobody else did a poo.

Monday morning - Second Raw Meal
Cleo (30kg) - a chicken wing and breast quarter (300g)
Lucky (22kg) - chicken breast meat only (200g)
Rascal (16kg) - chicken breast meat  and a chicken feet (100g)
Belle (16.5kg) - chicken breast meat  and a chicken feet (100g

Again, Cleo, Lucky and Rascal ate their breakfast happily. They actually seemed really content after finishing their meal and looked like they were smiling! Belle struggled again and this time only managed to eat half her meal - which is really strange as Belle is possibly the greediest dog I know. I had to harden myself and remove the uneaten food and hopefully this evening she will eat all her dinner.

After their breakfast, on their morning walk, Lucky did a pretty decent poo. Okay I know all this talk about poo is probably a bit off-putting, but it is a good indicator of how well your dog doing is doing and/or accepting their new diet. And mind you Lucky has had nasty poo for a while now, and this has to be the best poo that he has had in a long while.

Admittedly, this could be due to the clay supplements that he was on, but he completed that on Saturday and he still had horrid poo on Sunday morning. So I am not really sure whether the raw food or the clay improved his condition.

Cleo's poo this morning was very small but already semi-formed and not disgusting like the night before.  Rascal and Belle had semi-formed poo...So I hope they continue to improve, and more importantly that Cleo will start feeling better.

I shall try to keep a journal of sorts on their progress on this raw diet and hopefully it'll be helpful in one way or another to anyone else who is contemplating to make the shift but is too nervous to do so...

In the mean time, here are some articles/links that might be helpful to anyone contemplating a raw diet.

Links:

Raw Meaty Bones
Raw Feeding FAQs
Myths about Raw Feeding
What is Best: Cooked or Raw?
How Much to Feed Calculator

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