CLEO

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NUFF NANG

Friday, May 25, 2012

THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGAN MEAT

I think my previous post Liver, Kidneys & Stomache has probably got some of you wondering whether or not our precious poochies should be fed such "vile" things.

While most people believe that we humans should not consume organ meat on a regular basis for various reasons, we also know that organ meat is a good source of Vitamin B12. Additionally, they tend to provide quality levels of potassium, iron, protein and some of the other all-important B vitamins.

Liver in particular is always recommended for new mothers by the Chinese to "replenish blood levels".

Of course on the flip side, the liver is a metabolizing organ, meaning it is there to filter out the toxic substances that enter a body. Sometimes these toxins remain in the liver and so as a result when you do eat animal liver you may be ingesting some leftover residue of any drugs or hormones fed to the animal.

With the exception of really well made patés and maybe tongue, I am personally not a fan of organ meat. But just because I do not like organ meat, it doesn't mean that I should not feed them to my dogs.

As we all know, all dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are descendants of  the gray wolves (Canis lupus). And while we would like to think that our canine companions have evolved significantly from wolves, the truth of the matter is that dogs have only been domesticated about 15,000 years ago. This clearly has not allowed for a significant evolution, and the DNA makeup of the domestic dog proves this as the domestic dog's DNA is still 99.8% wolf.

"Since a dog's internal physiology does not differ from a wolf, dogs have the same physiological and nutritional needs as those carnivorous predators, which, remember, need to ingest all the major parts of their herbivorous prey, except the plants in the digestive system" to grow and maintain their own bodies.

Wolves usually tear into the body cavity of large prey and...consume the larger internal organs, such as lungs, heart, and liver. The large rumen [, which is one of the main stomach chambers in large ruminant herbivores,]...is usually punctured during removal and its contents spilled. 

The vegetation in the intestinal tract is of no interest to the wolves, but the stomach lining and intestinal wall are consumed, and their contents further strewn about the kill site." (Mech, L.D. 2003. Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation.).

 
I know I was quite grossed out initially at the thought of even feeding my kids raw meat, let alone raw organ meat.

However, since they have been on a raw diet, I now cannot imagine switching them back to a kibble based diet simply because I can see that they are in fact thriving on raw food.

This is most evident in the fact that their poop is significantly reduced from when they were kibble fed, therefore proving that their digestive systems are much better equipped to handle a raw diet.

And while I have not quite reached the comfort level I personally need to feed them raw organ meat (although they have had raw chicken liver once and Belle absolutely hated it), I do understand the importance of feeding them organ meat.

As such I have been cooking some liver for them once every two weeks. And I finally got round to getting them some kidney and stomache (tripe) last week. I am slowly working myself up to feeding them raw organ meat and hopefully I will be able to do this soon.

I hope that this blog post will be useful to those of you who might be considering a raw diet for your dogs. Additionally, I am attaching an article from the Dogs Naturally Magazine on  Why Organ Meat is Important for the Raw Fed Dog.
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Why Organ Meat is Important for the Raw Fed Dog

Extracted from Dogs Naturally

Raw feeders do have to be careful with what goes into their dogs however.  I think this is especially true for prey model feeders as omitting all plant matter from their dogs’ diets could potentially set them up for some nutritional deficiencies.  Unless they feed a good amount of organ meats.

Meat and bone are lacking in many important nutrients.  This is why it is important to to to feed your dog all of the organs and all of the parts of an animal that they would eat had they tracked and killed that animal in the wild.  Although some organ meats can be difficult to find, they are the most nutrient-dense part of the animal.  Best of all, because organ meats are relatively inexpensive, they give you the most bang for your raw feeding buck.

Compared to regular cuts of muscle meat, organ meats are more densely packed with just about every nutrient, including heavy doses of B vitamins such as: B1, B2, B6, folic acid and vitamin B12.

Organ meats are also loaded with minerals like phosphorus, iron, copper, magnesium and iodine, and provide the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It is important to note that animals raised outside on grass contain even higher levels of these essential nutrients than their grain-fed counterparts.
Try all of the organ meats, including lung, kidney, pancreas – anything you can get your hands on!  Here is a look at the benefits of the most common organ meats:  liver and heart.

A Natural source of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins (actually a hormone precursor) and regulates numerous functions in the body.  Vitamin D deficiency is related to muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases. It’s especially important for those who live at higher latitudes and receive less sun (since sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D).

Organ meats are known to have some of the highest concentrations of naturally occurring vitamin D of any food source, and including a source of organ meats into your dog’s diet once or twice a week, can especially in the winter time when vitamin D deficiency is most likely to happen.

Organ meats also contain high amounts of the essential fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, and omega-3 fats, including EPA and DHA. Despite popular belief, fish and fish oils are not the only source of the important EPA and DHA… organ meats are loaded with these important nutrients.

If your dog doesn’t like the taste or texture of organ meat, you can add smaller amounts of ground organ meats to your dog’s meals daily.

What about liver?

People usually ask about the safety of liver in particular of all of the organ meats. It is the liver’s job to neutralize toxins in the body (or an animals body) from drugs or other chemicals, so obviously the best choice for liver is the grass fed kind, without added antibiotics or hormones.

Liver is known to be one of the most concentrated sources of natural vitamin A of any food.  Natural vitamin A works to aid digestion, keeps reproductive organs healthy, and is a powerful antioxidant.

Liver is a great source of folic Acid, B vitamins and especially vitamin B12, which help with fatigue, mental ability and nerve health, as well as preventing anemia.

Liver also contains one of the best, most usable sources for the body, of iron. Iron is necessary for many functions in the body including formation of hemoglobin, brain development and function, regulation of body temperature, muscle activity and catecholamine metabolism, to name just a few. A lack of iron will have a direct effect on the immune system; it diminishes the number of T- cells and the production of antibodies.

Iron is essential to oxygen to the blood cells. The primary function of iron is oxygen transport and cell respiration. For an anemic person, fatigue is one of the most noticeable symptoms. The iron in liver is one of most easily absorbable and usable sources of iron.

Do you have a performance dog? Liver contains an anti-fatigue factor, which is likely to do with improving the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood cells; increasing endurance and strength in athletes of all species.

Liver contains many nitrogen-containing compounds that are building blocks for DNA and RNA. In combination with the B vitamins, this makes it extremely helpful to people with Alzheimers or other types of dementia.

While liver is highly nutritious, its precious nutrients are very much affected by heat, so never cook it or the digestive enzymes and nutrients will be lost.

Get liver into your dog’s regular diet at least once a week if possible for maximum benefit of its high levels of nutrients.

Beef heart

Because it is a muscle, beef heart is somewhat similar to muscle meat, although it is a heavier, more dense muscle. But heart meat carries a bigger punch of protein and unique nutrients.
The heart is a very concentrated source of the supernutrient, CoQ10.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is necessary for the basic functioning of cells, as well as optimizing the heart’s rhythm. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be lower in some patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, and immune disorders.

Beef heart also contains Selenium, Phosphorus & Zinc, along with essential amino acids that help build muscle, store energy and boost stamina and endurance. The heart also contains twice as much collagen and elastin than regular meat, which is good for the skin and connective tissue.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LIVER, KIDNEYS & STOMACHE

The kids have tried some raw chicken liver and also some cooked pork liver so far.

Pork liver, kidneys & stomache cooked with ginger and goji berries
Yesterday they got some pork liver, kidneys and stomache. I couldn't bring myself to give these things to them raw yet though. So I boiled all of it with a small bit of ginger and some goji berries.

I must say it went down really well with them. They loved it and it was all polished off in a couple of minutes including the soup.


Well so now I know that there will definitely be a repeat of this meal. :-)

Observations:

They all seem to tolerate it well. Their poops were just a bit softer than their normal very hard poop and slightly darker. I guess it is basically due to the fact that they had organ meat.
 
They all did have partially digested goji berries in their poop though. Initially I thought it was blood but on closer inspection I realised it was the goji berries.


*Research has shown that Goji berries have benefits against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, vision-related diseases (such as age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma) or from neuroprotective, anticancer or immunomodulatory activity.

 How to clean and cook the stomache and kidneys:

I don't know how many of you have ever cleaned stomache and kidneys but it's quite a gross process.

Here's how I do it: (if any of you have better ideas or suggestions, please do let me know how you do it)

Pig's stomache

The stomache and kidneys were soaked in water for a few hours. I kept changing the water every hour or so and you will notice quite a lot of yucky slime coming out of the stomache.

Then before cooking it, I cut the stomache open and halve it.

I washed as much of the slime of as I could and then used a big cleaver to scrape the walls of the stomache (both inside and out). It gets another wash and another round of scraping.

Then I take some coarse salt and basically scrub the stomache with it. The kidneys are also scrubbed with salt. The stomache and kidneys are rinsed properly to remove all traces of the salt etc.

The stomache and kidneys being boiled...

Boil a pot of water with 2 or 3 pieces of ginger (about 1cm each) and a handful of goji berries. When the water is boiling put in the stomache and the kidneys and boil for about 20 minutes or so. The water is thrown away and you will see quite alot of scum on the surface of the water.

The liver is boiled on it's own for about 5-10 minutes with some ginger and goji berries too.


When the liver, stomache and kidneys have cooled down, cut them into smaller pieces and serve with the soup from the liver!

Friday, May 18, 2012

MY BABY CLEO...

Found some of Cleo's puppy pictures! Can't believe that she will be 8 this year. I have no idea where the time has gone...

Cleo - when we just adopted her at 3 months old
 
Cleo's 1st birthday party with her pal Shalom who was 2 then.
Cleo's 3rd Birthday party with Shalom
Cleo in our garden - 6 years old
Cleo's 7th birthday party with Shalom
Cleo - a couple of weeks ago

Monday, May 14, 2012

FLYING VISIT TO BFS

I madea flying visit to the Bentong Farm Sanctuary last week and like the previous time I loved every minute of being there.

Here are some pictures that I managed to take. To be honest I found it quite difficult to take pictures cause all the doggies kept coming up for cuddles!



A poochie checking out some of the supplies we brought

BFS workers offloading supplies donated by the SPCA from our cars

Guarding the house!






Don't you think he is just gorgeous?





I need more hands!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

PORK RIBS & EGGS FOR DINNER!


Yesterday, the kids were introduced to yet another new meat - pork! Well they had pork ribs to be specific. I bought these a few weeks ago and put it in the freezer and only fed it to them yesterday.


I was a little concerned about the parasites that might be present in the pork that we get here in Malaysia, hence the freezing for a few weeks. Apparently any parasites that might be present in raw meat can be killed by freezing. 


Some sites recommend freezing the meat for at least 24 hours, others 3-4 days and some in the case of pork 3 weeks. I wasn't quite sure which to follow so I decided that to be safe and go with 3 weeks.

See Myths about Raw and Bold Raw for more information.


The kids really enjoyed eating the ribs. It took them much longer to finish their dinner but it was really fun watching them eat with such gusto and relish.

Yesterday was also their weekly gorge as they now fast every Sunday. So they got a chicken quarter, chicken feet and a couple of pork ribs.

The only one who didn't get a gorge fest was Cleo as she is still on anti-biotics for her UTI and so can't do her weekly fast.


When they finished their meal, everyone had a big snooze!


Mishka also had a bit of pork meat that I trimmed off some of the ribs. He enjoyed it too. If any of you are thinking of feeding your cats a raw diet, just remember to be patient and to just keep trying. Your cat will come round to it.

And don't stress if your cat doesn't like something. Keep offering different types of meat to him periodically and you will soon learn what your cat likes and dislikes. Also I have learnt, that Mishka can eat something one day, and then turn his nose up at it the next day.

So far, he likes his chicken best, followed by lamb and then I guess pork. He ate beef one day and then didn't want anything to do with it the next day... But I will keep trying. 


And this evening, although they were supposed to be fasting, I gave them a soft boiled egg each as a small snack.

Ordinarily I don't give them anything the entire day, but as Cleo was having her dinner, I felt it would have been really mean of me if I didn't give the rest of them something.


I cracked the egg for them and left the shell in their plates to see if they would eat the shell too.

I had read somewhere that you were supposed to feed them the whole egg raw, shell and all. They gobbled up the egg, played with the shell a little and then left the shell. 


See Dogs Naturally for more information on feeding raw eggs.

Observations:

Everyone had good poops this morning, so I know they didn't have any issues with the pork.
No dog seemed hungry either although they didn't get breakfast.


Oh and I can't remember if I mentioned this in my previous post, but one BIG difference from eating raw meat is that they have all pretty much STOPPED farting. They used to fart alot when they were on kibble, and now they don't. :-)


Thoughts: 

I will definitely be getting them more pork from now on. I just need to plan their meals properly as I need to freeze them for quite a bit before feeding it to them. This means that I will need to clean, pack and label each meal to ensure that I defrost the right pack to feed.

I am definitely getting more confident with each meal as they seem to just handle everything that I have tried with them really well. The only real exception being Belle's dislike for liver! 

But overall I am quite pleased that I am now able to feed them more variety. It really is so much fun watching them eat these days. And I know I must sound like a broken tape recorder, but seriously I have zero food wastage now. So it's just really great! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

BEEF FOR THE KIDS



My kids have been on a Raw Meaty Bones diet for a couple of months now. Generally, they all seem to have adapted pretty well to it.

So far, they have been having organic chicken, mackerel and lamb. They have also had some chicken liver and gizzard as well as pork liver. Belle has been the only one to NOT like liver and has struggled with eating it. So when I fed them the pork liver, I decided to boil it and everyone ate it.

I have also been practicing a one day fast per week and it seems to do them good. They have been fasting on Sundays and no dog seems to be bothered that there is no food for them on Sundays. What I do though is to give them a huge meal on Saturday evenings to make sure that they don't get too hungry on Sundays.

Last week I bought a 1.5kg strip of beef. I cut the beef up into large pieces and served it up with their chicken quarters.

Every dog gobbled the beef up pretty quickly... I only managed to get a picture of Lucky eating it as he usually waits for Cleo to finish her food before he starts to eat for some reason.


Observations: 
Poop talk again - all the kids generally have had good poos throughout their raw diet so far. On the rare occassion that they have slightly soft poo, it resolves itself pretty quickly.

Overall, all of the kids skin and coat have improved. They are all shedding ALOT less. The difference is really quite obvious.

 

Belle's skin has improved significantly. She still has a few small red-ish spots, but they all seem to be drying up.Additionally, she is also alot trimmer than she was before which is fantastic!

 Lucky's skin is also improving. He had a pretty nasty lesion on his foot for a very long time. And all we could do was control it. It has now healed completely and his fur has started to grow back. The hot spots that he had seem to have pretty much gone too. While he still itches it's very much under control now.

Rascal is doing great on his raw diet. He has put on a little bit of weight and is alot friskier.

Cleo is doing pretty well. She gave us a minor scare last week cause she developed UTI. She is now on anti-biotics for it. While I am generally against anti-biotics for myself, I guess I am not sure if I can make that decision for her. However, I am giving her pro-biotics at as well to hopefully counter the effects of the anti-biotics.

Mishka is also doing quite well. He eats pretty quickly now and although he still likes it when we hand feed him, we no longer have to coax him to eat his raw meat. He has also tried some lamb and beef and seem to quite like the different types of meat. He still does not like liver though.

Conclusion: 
I am really pleased with how the kids are adapting to the raw diet. And I am also getting more comfortable with feeding them, and am less worried about trying new things. I am still working my way up to include more variety in their diet. This week I will be introducing pork ribs to them and hopefully it will go well.

Nuffnang