Friday, August 30, 2013

Getting Back to Roots: Trouble with Raw

While I've recently posted more photos than anything else, I thought I'd do up an entry about various adjustments and efforts I've been making with the hounds lately.

As of July, 2013, Ferguson is no longer on fluoxetine. We weaned  him off starting in June, and are instead using these, "Canine Composure" treats I can buy for $15 a bag on  These seem to work just as well, but don't have any known side effects and still take the edge off of his anxiousness (though really, he's been doing pretty well since we moved from Maryland).  This was also in part because I no longer work at a veterinary office and don't get to pay at cost anymore, so continuing the medication would also be expensive.  He has been doing well without it though!

We've also been doing our best to switch back to some occasional raw feeding;  I am paranoid about their teeth, and while every vet they've seen say they are gorgeous, I am still concerned and try to do something for their teeth every day.  Since moving, I've been mostly relying on water additives and dental chew treats, but I know this doesn't compare to raw meat and bones.  I unfortunately haven't been in a good environment to feed raw due to the apartment style of living. Recently, I've been giving it my best shot, and have tried providing raw every three days or so. I have to leash each dog individually and sit in the kitchen with them while the other waits on a nearby bed for their turn.  It's taken them some time to get used to this concept (they're used to grabbing it and running away, but the carpet won't allow that) but they finally seem to be getting the hang of it.  I then have been mopping up the area afterwards in hopes of disinfecting everything.  It's not ideal and a lot more work than tossing them out in the yard with it and watching through a window.

What is also not ideal is the fact that neither dog is doing well on it.  This surprises me greatly.  In the past, I would freely give them raw whenever it was convenient and I was able sometimes up to half their meals being raw.  This included whole Cornish hens, portions of cut up chickens, chicken quarters, wings, thighs, organs, salmon, beef marrow bones, and the infamous turkey necks.  Never before had any of these things caused any stomach upset with either of them, and all books I've read on raw say you can go cold turkey (literally) and their stomachs should be just fine.  Since moving, I'll admit they haven't had a whole lot of experiences, but they've successfully eaten chicken fillets (a few dropped on the floor one night, lucky ducks) and meat covered beef marrow bones, as well as some small portions of various organ meat.  But over the past two weeks, I've tried chicken thighs and quarters, both when on sale at the store for less than a dollar a pound.  I have given them fresh, and also thawed and offered them still slightly frozen.  All of these would be human consumable, and I was hoping to make a few crock pot dishes with some of the divided portions.

 However, each time so far, both dogs have ended up with explosive diarrhea and upset, gurgly stomachs.  This discomfort usually has lasted a day or two, but has caused them to have nothing but liquid coming out the back of them, and even caused lack of appetite.  I've treated each dog with white rice, a little yogurt and pro-biotic pills, so they clear up fully in about two days.  But I hate to put them through such discomfort.

 Right now I'm trying to figure out if it's this particular chicken (lower cost store brand, though still what I would buy for me personally), or if it's the chicken protein all together (though this would be unusual for both dogs to have similar reactions to it after having no problems in the past).  For now, I think I'll try finding a local butcher and acquiring some turkey necks again, or other meat that is fresh and not potentially processed or given hormones of any kind.  It would be more expensive, but it's not worth having exploding hounds.  I suppose I could also try the super organic green type...if I recall correctly, the fillets they ate a few months ago were of this type of brand.  Who knows?  But for the sake of their health, I would really like to find out and get them back to at least partially a diet that helps slow or lessen the need for an anesthetic teeth cleaning.  I did have a non-anesthetic dental done for both of them in February 2013 (which, since I was working at the vet, cost pretty much nothing), and while I'd continue to this for them, it would be great to just do it annually, and not have to ever put them under for extractions.

I'll have to update should we have success with "greener" meat sources, but for now, no one in my home is readily willing to eat the chicken that made both dogs so sick :(.  Any input on raw experiences of a similar type would be much appreciated!
The culprit chicken brand


Sue said...

Would assume that when they have the exploding botty syndrome, they aren't get much nutrition from the raw.

It does sound like those particular bits have maybe had a bacteria.

My vet always says dry kibble is the best for teeth, but my girl won't eat completely dry, so I do add a little canned food, or sardines for a treat:) I also find a rawhide chew helps to keep her teeth looking good.

houndstooth said...

We don't feed raw here, because we just can't afford it, but I wonder if you got a bad batch of chicken.

As far as the meds go, we buy Morgan's at the Wal-Mart or Target pharmacy and get the generic version for $4/month or $10 for three months. I don't think we'll ever be off it here at our house.

Hazel said...

I never could find turkey necks anywhere, so have been using Pork neck bones. The dogs love it and their teeth look great. I have noticed that they aren't hungry the next day, but they've never gotten sick from the bones.

What is "Morgans"? I've never heard of it.