For the past 10 years Halcar Smooth Fox Terriers have been raised on a species appropriate raw diet. While we understand many people have an aversion to this idea, it is in our opinion the ideal diet.
Yes, we said raw. All of the food is raw including the meat on the bones. Wow, did we say BONES? Yep, we did. Raw bones are a perfect source of calcium and with the meaty bones, the perfect mix of calcium to phosphorus dogs need. Our dog's eat a variety of meats including chicken necks, turkey necks, beef ribs, ground beef with bone, pork necks, pig tails, ground whole rabbit, and organ meats such as beef liver, heart, and kidneys, and chicken liver and gizzards. We also feed fish of some type once per week. If I can't find affordable fresh, I use canned mackerel.
You've always been told don't feed bones, they splinter? That's why all the meat and bone we feed is raw, raw bones don't splinter; they are still flexible, easily crunched with teeth doing what they were meant to do. You should ALWAYS supervise the dogs while they are eating any of these. The only problem we have ever had since 1998, when we started the raw diet, was one of our dogs got a pork neck bone wedged in the roof of the mouth.
Raw meaty bones are about 80% of the dogs' diet. The other 20% is tripe or veggie mush. What's that you ask? Its pulverized vegetables, once again raw, mixed with eggs (raw), and plain yogurt, and just enough ground meat to make the meal appetizing. I add raw ground beef, beef kidney, turkey, and/or chicken giblets. It's important that the dogs get organ meat as well as muscle. The vegetables must be crushed in a blender, juicer, or food processor to break down the cellulose in order for the dogs to be able to digest the veggies. You are attempting to mimic the plant food that wild dogs get when eating the contents of prey animal's stomachs.
The veggie mix that I usually make contains the following: turnip greens, kale, celery, carrots, cooked sweet potato (they don't have to be cooked, but they help bind the other veggies in the mix), cabbage occasionally, apples, pears, and any other overripe fruits and veggies I have. It's important that the mix have lots of green leafy veggies. We make up enough to last for a while, usually a month and freeze it in meal size containers.
Puppies are started on raw ground turkey, ground chicken necks, and veggies mixed with organ meet. I raised my first raw fed litter in 1999. I continue to be impressed with how much cleaner and healthier my puppies are. There is very little waste, unlike when feeding puppy food gruel. By the age of 6 weeks, they are able to eat small pieces of chicken neck. I don’t know if it can be attributed to the diet, but my litter sizes have increased. While we don’t breed a lot, our average litter size in the past 10 years is 6 puppies.
Why do we feel this is best? This diet is what a dog is supposed to eat, not heat processed, dead, grain based kibble with very little usable nutrients. Processed dog food has only been available since about 1935, guess what dogs ate before that? Meat scraps, leftovers, vegetables stolen from the garden, etc. Modern dog's digestive systems have not "evolved" in that short a time span to enable them to eat and digest kibble (processed dog food).
Since switching to the raw diet we have noticed the following in our dogs:
1. They are physically cleaner, especially their teeth and breath. NO MORE doggy breath! Their teeth don't have all that accumulated tartar anymore that has to be scraped off by the vet under general anesthesia.
2. Significantly less waste. When you scoop poop from 5 dogs, less is better! What waste they have is small, chalky white/gray in color, and if left out, would crumble and wash away in the rain. When you have less waste, there are FEWER FLIES hanging around the kennel.
3. Better coats. My dogs shed a lot less. Instead of shedding all the time, now they just go through the twice a year (spring and fall) blow outs. Even that has been reduced.
Muscle tone and physical condition is greatly improved. My adult dogs are as solid as rocks. Seamus is pictured below at 16 months of age; you can see the muscle tone.
For more information about processed foods and their ingredients, check this site:
CAUTION: A raw diet is not a diet to be tried without doing your own homework. Below we have listed a number of websites and books for your best source of information. If you are interested in trying this diet we strongly encourage you to read at least one of the books below first.
Also read http://www.caberfeidh.com/NaturalDiet.htm while there are potential problems with any diet kibble or raw, we feel the raw diet is the only way to go.
Raw Food Resources
“Raw Meaty Bones”, Dr Tom Lonsdale http://www.rawmeatybones.com/
“Give Your Dog a Bone”, Ian Billinghurst, DVM;
“Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats" by Kymythy Schultze (Hay House, 1999)
“The Ultimate Diet”, Kymythy Schultz
“Grow Your Pups With Bones”, Ian Billinghurst DVM;
(there are a number of excellent articles on this website)
If this does not appear to be an option for you, there are some premium dog foods that are acceptable. Mass marketed, grocery and discount store dog food can be dangerous! Many are preserved with carcinogenic chemicals and many contain meat products obtained from less than ideal sources, including road kill and euthanized cats and dogs.
Do not feed any food with the words "by products" and avoid corn by-
Honest Kitchen dehydrated raw
Blue Wilderness grain free
Go! Natural Grain Free
Natural Balance (prefer grain free)
You can add any of the following to your pet's regular diet:
1 TBS plain yogurt
1 TBS cottage cheese
1/8 tsp fresh ground garlic
1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar (can also be added to drinking water) or in a separate meal
½ cup raw or blanched ground meat (turkey, beef, chicken, liver, gizzards, kidneys)
Variety is important! Feeding your dog the exact same food, everyday, would be like you living on Corn Flakes every day, every meal for the rest of your life. It's not nutritionally sound, and very boring. Adding the above is healthy, and will keep your dog interested in eating.
Puppies should be fed 3 times per day until they are 4 -
As previously stated, NO ONE should attempt this diet without first reading at least one of the above mentioned books. We do not accept responsibility for the use of this information. Remember that all diets have varying degrees of risk.