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Getting Started Feeding Raw

Basic Principles
AWMA 2016 OmaOt Vitosha Malinois we feed and recommend the finest food and supplements for your Malinois – Oma’s Pride! Feeding a raw meat and bones diet is our modern-day attempt to replicate the ancestral diet of our dogs, which they are genetically designed to eat.  As with anything new, feeding raw may initially seem a bit daunting, but with some education and effort you will soon become comfortable with it, and will develop a routine that saves you time and effort.  You will know it was worth it when you see how much your dog enjoys and thrives on its new diet. Since you are dealing with raw meat, you will want to use good sanitation practices.   Stainless steel bowls are unbreakable, easy to clean, and don’t harbor bacteria.  Wash all bowls and utensils, and wipe up any spills.  You may want to feed raw meaty bones outdoors to minimize any mess; some people feed bones on a towel or other mat that can be easily and regularly washed.All of Oma’s raw products are sold frozen, and are typically sold in various weights.  If you have a large dog, it is most economical to purchase the large packages.  Allow the food to thaw to the extent necessary (i.e., not warmer than refrigerator temperature) to be able to divide it into portions, repackage, then refreeze.   An inexpensive kitchen scale can help you with apportioning your dog’s food while you become comfortable with feeding raw.  Repackaging also allows you to customize your dog’s diet with supplements and other foods; we believe that variety is the key to your dog’s health and well-being, and that there is no one-size-fits-all food.  Size your food container to ensure that your dog will consume all of its refrigerated food within 2-3 days.  Ideally you should allow each meal to come to room temperature before feeding it to your dog, but do not microwave the food in an attempt to “warm it up”, or otherwise cook any food which contains bone.  For convenience, such as when traveling with your pet, Oma’s also offers freeze-dried and dehydrated products. In addition to the primary nutritional benefits, your dog will not get bored with its food if given some variety.  Assuming your dog does not have any allergic or other health-related problem with a particular meat, select something, such as chicken, and slowly alternate other protein sources into its diet. We like to feed a red meat about twice a week. When starting to feed raw, it is easiest to begin by feeding ground mixes and some plain meats.  Adult dogs do not need bone in every meal.  You can feed meals of fish or tripe.  Keep a couple of cans of mackerel in your pantry in case of an emergency, or if you forget to thaw your dog’s food.  Fresh-frozen mackerel and freeze dried salmon are available from Oma’s, as well as frozen salmon, sardines and tuna.
Making The Switch
rock_ball omaSome people choose to gradually transition their dog from a commercial food or kibble diet to a raw food diet, while others will proceed with an immediate “cold turkey” changeover. To switch “cold turkey” fast your dog for 24 hours.  Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water.  This will help clear the old food out of its system.  Begin feeding one of the Oma’s Meat and Vegetable Mixes (with or without added plain meat) for the first 7-10 days.  The mixes contain ground bone and will help the dog’s digestive tract prepare to eat whole bones.  Most people start with the chicken or turkey mix, as they are mild and easy to digest.  After 7-10 days you may start introducing raw meaty bone meals. To gradually transition your dog, feed your dog its regular kibble in the morning and one of the Oma’s Mixes in the evening.  Gradually decrease the amount of kibble in the morning meal while you increase the amount of raw in the evening meal.
  • Days 1-5:      75% of present food in a.m., and 25% raw food in p.m.
  • Days 6-10:    50% of present food in a.m., and 50% raw food in p.m.
  • Days 10-14:  25% of present food in a.m., and 75% raw food in p.m.
  • Day 15 on:    Feed according to age and % of body weight
If your dog starts leaving its morning meal of kibble, it is ready to transition fully to raw, and you may begin feeding the raw food twice a day.  After your dog has been on only raw food for 7-10 days, you may introduce raw meaty bone meals.
Raw Food and Kibble should not be fed within 5 hours of each other.
They digest at very different rates, and feeding them together could lead to major digestive upsets.  However, if you feed a grain-free kibble, you may add some raw meat to it (ground beef, turkey, tripe, etc.) as long as the raw food does not contain any bone.
How Much To Feed How much does your dog weigh?  How old is it?

General Recommendation Feeding Chart (total daily food consumption, fed twice daily):

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Weaning to 1 6-10% of Body Weight
1-3 years 2-5% of Body Weight
3 years and older 1.5-3% of Body Weight
As a general rule of thumb, feed puppies 6-10% of their body weight per day; the difference will lie in the breed and level of activity of your dog.  For example, a 50 lb. Newfoundland puppy would be fed closer to the 6% ratio, so 50lbs. x 6% = approximately 3 lbs of food per day.  A sporting breed dog may be fed at closer to the 10% ratio.  A high-energy puppy will need more food than a more sedentary dog.  Puppies grow and change constantly, so expect to be making regular food adjustments in that first year. For a dog approximately 1 to 3 years old, you would feed from 2-5% of its weight, again depending on the breed, the dog’s level of activity, etc. An adult dog’s food portion could range from 1.5% of its weight (for a senior dog) to 3% of its weight.  Again this may vary slightly depending on the individual dog and its environment. Your best gauge as to whether you are feeding the correct amount is to do a weekly “rib check”:  Place the heels of your hands together over the dog’s back and let your fingers rest along its rib cage.  You should be able to easily feel the ribs (like feeling the back of your hand).  The ribs should not be overly visible (or with coated breeds, feel like your knuckles when you make a fist).  If your dog is too heavy (i.e., you’re searching to find its ribs), reduce the daily ration by ¼ lb. for the week.  If the dog is too thin, increase by ¼ lb. daily for the week.  Recheck and make further adjustments as needed. Some experienced raw feeders opt to randomly fast their adult dogs for one meal or one day each week.  This allows the digestive tract to rest and helps cleanse the body.  It simulates the dog not always getting a meal if it were in the wild and hunting.  If you do fast your dog, be sure to provide plenty of fresh water.
Using Whole Bones
IMG_8378Once your dog has adjusted to eating raw meat and ground bones, you may start adding whole, raw meaty bones to the diet.  There are basically two types of raw meaty bones – those that are meant to be fully consumed as part of the meal, and those that are meant primarily for recreation, being slowly consumed over a longer period (like knuckle or marrow bones). Turkey necks, chicken necks, ducks necks, chicken  backs & frames, pork necks, lamb breast, etc. all make good morning raw meaty bone meals.  If you feed your dog 3lbs of food a day, you would feed 3-4 turkey necks for breakfast and 1.5 lbs of food (mix) for dinner.  10 chicken necks equal about 1 turkey neck.  You might even try feeding your larger dog a Cornish game hen for a meal. We suggest feeding whole bones as the morning meal and feeding a ground mix (with any added supplements your dog may need) at night.  Whole bone is beneficial to a dog’s diet.  It gives their system something to digest for an extended time, which allows for maximum absorption of nutrients at night.  It also helps clean their teeth, acting like a natural dental floss. Never feed your dog a cooked bone; the cooking process makes bones brittle and splintery, which can endanger your dog’s life.
Adding Supplements
Oma’s does not add supplements to its products because a dog’s total nutritional needs are as individual as they are.   Most dogs will benefit from the addition of a digestive enzyme, as well as kelp and alfalfa (found in our O’Paws Herb & Ocean Balancer), and fish oil.  Other supplements should also be given, as needed, with the evening raw mix meal. If your dog has a dry coat it may benefit from some added Salmon Oil (available from Oma’s), or extra virgin olive oil or safflower oil.  If your dog has persistent skin problems, we suggest providing some extra virgin coconut oil, available from a health food store. Please take note of any excessive itching, which could indicate that your dog is allergic to a particular protein source, which you would then want to eliminate from its diet. There are many other forms of supplements, and food variations, which you may want to consider, depending on your dog’s age and individual health issues.  You may include plain (live culture) yogurt, cottage cheese, or probiotic kefir as part of your dog’s varying diet plan.  Once or twice a week, you can mix in a raw egg, including the shell.  (If you are concerned with the size of the shell pieces, get a dedicated coffee bean grinder and grind the shell, storing any unused shell in the refrigerator.)   For dogs that have some joint problems, consider adding Oma’s Advanced Mobility supplement. Always verify the appropriateness of other food supplements before giving them to your dog.  For example, garlic is healthy and a wonderful flea and tick repellent, but onions are toxic to dogs.
ot vitosha dogs ivan natalia omaOnce you are fully comfortable feeding raw, you may want to try green tripe.  This is not the white bleached stuff available at the supermarket.  Green tripe is one of a cow’s stomachs, and its contents.  It is very smelly and takes some getting used to, so warn your family and try feeding it outside at first.  That having been said, dogs love it and it is very good for them. Tripe is available ground up and frozen, or freeze dried (although it still smells).  Tripe is a staple in many European dog meals.  You may feed tripe (using it as a supplement) with one meal every day.  Just substitute a portion of your dog’s meat and veggie mix with an equal amount of Oma’s ground tripe.  Otherwise, simply dedicate one night each week to feeding solely tripe.  Keep in mind that as always, your individual dog should be your guide as to what works best. To minimize fuss or mess when feeding tripe daily, you might want to try Oma’s tripe patties.  Oma’s freeze-dried, crushed tripe is ideal for sprinkling on the meals of small dogs, and for getting finicky dogs to eat.
Treats & Recreation
Oma’s has an entire line of freeze dried items, which make excellent, healthy treats.  For example, turkey hearts are full of heart-healthy Taurine.  You can also buy various frozen organs, and cook or dehydrate them to make convenient treats.  For example, beef heart can be cooked like a roast with some added garlic powder, then cut into small cubes.  Freeze small amounts in snack-size zip lock bags for quick thawing.  Great for training!! Oma’s offers a variety of beef and buffalo recreational bones, as well as dried trachea and bully sticks, to satisfy your dog’s urge to chew, and to keep it happily entertained. Dogs love fresh fruit such as melon, apples, bananas, strawberries, etc.  However, as fruits may be high in sugar, don’t overdo it.  Also, do not assume all fruits are okay for your dog; for example, do not feed grapes or raisins.
Oma’s Pride Suggested Daily Feeding Regimen For Dogs Whole Bone in the morning: Chicken, Turkey & Duck Necks ; Chicken Frames or Backs ; Turkey Frames ; Duck Carcass ; Lamb Ribs & Breast ; Beef Ribs Meals at night: *
Dr. Harvey’s Premixes (Canine Health or Veg to Bowl) with plain meat Chicken Mix ; Turkey Mix ; Lamb Mix ; Beef Mix ; Tripe or Performance dog ; Fish ; Duck ( a ‘good fat’…not recommended to feed by itself) ; Exotics (Add calcium if feeding these constantly.)
Knuckle Bones ; Smoked Bones ; Marrow Bones ; Pig Ears ; Any Freeze Dried Items ; Bully Sticks ; Beef Treat Rolls ; Dried Trachea
Multi-vitamins (Fundamental Vitality, Herb & Ocean Balancer) ; Joint Complex (Advanced Mobility) ; Digestive Enzymes (Digestive Performance, Fundamental Vitality)
Borage ; Coconut ; Olive (100% green) ; Fish (Salmon, Sardine, Anchovy)
How much to feed:
puppy doctorsPuppies up to 1 year ~ 6-10% of body weight** 1-3 years ~ 2-5% of body weight** Over 3 years ~ 1.5-3% of body weight**** Total daily consumption fed in 2 meals to adults and 3 or 4 meals to puppies.