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Raw dog food in a Kong?

DanielleDL

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Does anyone here put your dog's raw food in Kongs? If so, how do you keep your dog from getting bits of raw food/raw food slobber all over the place? When Bobby used to eat fresh cooked food in Kongs, I'd have him eat on a towel, but he didn't always stay there. Or is the raw food contamination issue overblown if it's a quality source of meat?
 

Dr. Jeff

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For my own dogs, I haven't stuffed a Kong with raw food.

What's your goal Danielle?

If you're trying to slow down Bobby's eating, maybe try this cool feeding tool that helps dogs (and cats) slow down and stimulate healing through instinctive feeding:


Dr. Carol from Mine Pet Platter will discuss this briefly during the 5/14 De-stress With Your Pets retreat.
 

DanielleDL

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My goal is to simply make eating more interesting and stimulating. He's not a super fast eater, so that's not an issue, but it feels more species appropriate that he would have to work a little for his food (and the Kongs come in handy if we're trying to keep him entertained for longer). He does have some licky pads, so I could put the food in those just as easily (and less messily). He likes the Kongs because it really becomes work to get to the stuff at the bottom (Bobby has to chew on it to loosen stuff, or he'll drop them to try to dislodge stuff) but food tends to get scattered more with the Kong, which is my concern with stuffing them with raw food. The licky pads don't include any real chewing (other than using his front teeth to scrape the shallower, nubbly sections of the licky pad), and the Kongs he will actually chew.

At some point I will introduce RMBs, so that will fulfill that portion of species appropriate feeding (chewing, ripping), but the Kong is a nice substitute in the meantime. Again, raw food contamination of the surrounding eating area is the concern.
 

GinnyW

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Hey, get those bones in there! A "raw meaty bone" is a hunk of food, such as a chicken wing/leg/breast, a few ribs, a turkey neck or wingtip. There's no need to break him in somehow. Let him start eating naturally. A dog's "interest" in food is to get it IN there; no need for games to slow him down, other than the prototypical ripping, mashing, and tearing.
 

DanielleDL

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@GinnyW - I really do want to! The reason I've been putting it off is because (1) I have a few questions and (2) I don't have any bandwidth for the stress caused by something going wrong. The idea of Bobby choking (or cracking teeth) scares me silly, so I need to have my head wrapped around RMBs fully before proceeding. Hopefully by getting the answers to the questions below, I'll become confident enough to do it.

Background: The clerk at SFRAW suggested lamb necks and one other thing that I can't remember (ribs I think). They didn't recommend anything with smaller bones because of choking hazards for a large dog (Bobby is 65lbs). They also advised against weight bearing bones. I also read that turkey necks are fine, but the SFRAW clerk advised against them, because smaller bones are more likely to be a choking hazard for a large dog (feel free to chime in as to why they're safe since I'm still learning and want to know ALL the arguments before deciding).

Questions:

(1) What do I do if Bobby is choking? How do I even recognize choking? (I assume it will be obvious, but I still want it described)

(2) How would I know if he got impacted by a bone and what do I do about that?

(3) The RMBs that SFRAW suggested are an entire day's worth of calories. Bobby is used to two meals (I'll be trying to ease him into one meal, but it hasn't happened yet. Too many things on the to do list). Is it ok to give Bobby a small breakfast (because he'll be expecting it) AND an RMB, and just shave calories off subsequent meals (we're trying to shed a few pounds off of him cuz of his surgery leg, so we don't want to be too cavalier about how much he eats)

(4) Since I'll have to monitor him while he eats (and will most likely be working at the same time), is a towel enough of a "bib" so that he doesn't get raw food and raw slobber all over something that's hard to clean, like a carpet?

And "interested" was the wrong word to use. Bobby's very food motivated, so interest isn't an issue. We're trying to make his food more challenging to help him expend energy and work his smart doggy brain while eating his food. :) But yes, I do want to give him RMBs, I just want to make sure I'm educated and ready for any mishaps (if I had a human kid, I'd learn CPR before letting them learn to swim, that sort of thing) :D
 

GinnyW

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Gosh, BIGGGG post... Firstly, dogs instinctively know how to eat stuff. The reason we don't feed tiny stuff is they won't chew it. Most anything they swallow can be digested - they don't masticate, but just get everything small enough to swallow. The stomach acid does the rest. They occasionally will try to swallow a piece, gag a bit and get it back up for more crunching. Their jaws do not move laterally, so mashing things is all they do. It's been working for a LONG time...

OK, next: I like lamb necks fine. They are completely edible. I also like whole turkey necks, which will just get mushed from one end to the other; no smaller pieces involved.

There is a difference between choking and just getting a piece temporarily stuck and gagging. They WILL un-gag themselves. Worry when they cannot breathe and fall over from it. There are quite a few information sources on how to do Heimlichs on dogs; I have never had to, nor do I know first-hand of anyone who has. Worrying about this eventuality is no excuse not to feed prototypically, in any case.

Impaction means a blockage in the stomach or intestine, or even further down. I will confess here that my big Amstaff got a turkey leg knuckle stuck at the top of his rectum. Symptoms were that he could not poop; simple as that. Only a bit of straining, nothing remarkable. But I know my dog and his patterns... The vet and I did 4 or 5 enemas with no results, walking and running him to try to incite a movement. Then we just went fishing - no anesthesia, no sedation, just a big ol' hemostat and a couple of sweet vet techs.... He was none the worse for it. Now, out of caution, I whack the heck out of the knuckles - I don't feed the turkey drum shanks anyway; they seem splintery to me. But I cut the knuckles off and cross-cut them.

I wouldn't fuss over going to one meal; just feed a little snack, smaller every day, and then skip it. Honestly, one meal daily is much healthier for dogs - us, too; the body doesn't need to be digesting all day long; it takes energy away from valuable metabolic repair processes. I'm assuming you want to feed some mushy stuff in a bowl for part of the meal, and then a smallish bony bit. I do that, but I also have days of just a big piece of prey. Supplements do not have to be given every single day. In fact, FOOD doesn't have to be given every day; fasting is good for all concerned. Or feed a nice big meal one day, and a tiny treat meal the next. Mix it up; it's nature's way.

I'd not bib him, but would feed in a room, a crate, on a rug, in an ex-pen. Give him space to move around, surround his food, poke it about.

Now, about the "challenging" bit: I don't believe in making his regular meals into an intellectual exercise. Eating big hunks is plenty of challenge. Play other games to train or condition - we do lots of balance work, for instance. Let him eat as close to naturally as possible; he'll be a happy, happy boy. Oh, and DON'T HOVER. Just watch from a distance:)

Okay, I'm sure we both left stuff out, so go ahead and ask more. This is a grand adventure, where both you and Bobby get to fulfill your destiniies:)
 

DanielleDL

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@GinnyW - I love your long posts, Ginny, especially about raw feeding/RMBs. This is such great info, and I feel confident enough to add a lamb neck to the shopping cart this weekend when I go to SFRAW.
I also like whole turkey necks, which will just get mushed from one end to the other; no smaller pieces involved.
You mush them or the dog does?

They occasionally will try to swallow a piece, gag a bit and get it back up for more crunching.
Ok, yes. I might be confusing gagging with choking. I call the gagged up bits "second snacks" :p And it's something I just have to get used to.

I'd not bib him, but would feed in a room, a crate, on a rug, in an ex-pen. Give him space to move around, surround his food, poke it about.
Sorry, I didn't mean I was actually going to put a bib on Bobby (although he would look so cute and he is a messy baby) 😆. I just meant that a towel would catch all the ickys on the floor and be his bib of sorts. Yes to giving him space (so maybe a few large towels) and not hovering (I do know to leave him alone when he's deep into chewing something. He's not a resource guarder, but he does get very focused when he's into chewing his cheek sticks and we know we better have something really good to swap it with if it's time for him to stop).

So the scenario is, I buy him a lamb neck, and then on a day I can hang out with him (from a distance), give it to him and he just gets to eat it until he's done? Easy peasy? Should he only get, say, half of it so I can monitor his bone tolerance (since there's already bone in his SFRAW grinds as well). I'll ask SFRAW this question too, since it's their food I'm using.

Thanks again Ginny. Again, I love your raw food posts!
 

Dr. Jeff

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give it to him and he just gets to eat it until he's done?
Yes, easy peasy and perhaps only give 30-50% at first to monitor his response.
 

GinnyW

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You know, they do better than we think they're going to:) And on the turkey necks, the dog crunches them, maybe not into separate pieces, but into a big, floppy mass which can be swallowed.

So, way back, in about 1999 or so, the raw feeding bunch persuaded me to go for it. I handed a chicken wing (way too small) to my 80 pound dog, and, predictably, he went "Chomp, chomp, GULP!" and looked at me expectantly: "Wow, mom - you got more of that?" I was properly alarmed, gazing at him and thinking I had just killed my dog....

We've all been there....
 

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