~FEEDING THE RAW DIET~
Submitted by ~ Pedro Gurrola.....
Ghost Town Gladiator Mastiffs
El Paso Texas
Here at Puppy Pawz we feed a modified raw food diet and
MANY times I am asked for guide~lines to go by when you
take home your new family member. So I asked Pedro
Gurrola breeder of El Paso Texas if he could write me up
some advice to follow should anyone want to!! He has taken
his time and given it MUCH GOOD thought.....
This is ONLY some advice and direction.... as only a dog's
owner would be able to clearly tailor a diet to their dog's
specific needs. There are many points of views as to the BEST
approach and I am not challenging someone else's
perspective and I simply follow my own research and
My success and failures are by my own hand rather than
by someone else's. Much of this is instinct, observation,
experience, and LOTS of trial and error.
On March of 2007 the LARGEST pet~food recall in
history was prompted in North America after reports surfaced
of renal failure in pets. A comprehensive investigation by the
FDA and USDA revealed, that certain U.S. companies had
intentionally imported melamine tainted wheat gluten that
subsequently was used in the manufacture of pet~food.
According to some of the indictments that resulted from this
investigation, it was determined that the country of origin, of
the tainted wheat gluten was China. This certainly cast doubts
about the safety of pet~food products and consequently raised
concerns about the safety of the human food supply. In the
ensuing months more reports of kidney failure came to light
and the recall expanded to Europe and South Africa. The
extensive media coverage shed some light on the widespread
deficiencies in the manufacturing process of pet~food
products. Pet food recalls have continued for reasons ranging
from: the presence of mold, small pieces of melted plastic,
toxic levels of Vitamin D, salmonella, and aflatoxin
There is one universal truth that everyone, even those with
opposing ideas on canine diet, can come together and agree
on. MUCH of the commercial kibble available is TRASH,
regardless of cost and it's only use should be as land fill and
not as a food source for dogs. There are a few manufacturers
that have made a sincere attempt to produce a kibble that
contains beneficial ingredients that address canine biological
and physiological needs. Even those manufacturers with the
BEST intentions are not able to produce a completely 100%
balanced food. The concern over the quality and safety of
pet~foods in the market has compelled many breeders and
pet~owners to re~evaluate their feeding practices. This has
sparked and renewed interest and focused attention on the
raw diet approach. The raw food approach is not, by any
means, a new concept but it has been presented as the only
viable approach to feeding our pets.
There are MANY variations to one fundamental concept
and that is to feed your dogs a raw, species appropriate diet.
Within this raw diet concept you'll find two opposing camps
that are essentially the same with only slight variations in
philosophy; BARF is an acronym for (Bones and Raw Food
or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) and RMB (Raw
Meaty Bones~Prey Model). Regardless of your affliation it
should be understood that feeding raw, BARF or RMB is a
philosophy of feeding, and it is NOT a static or fixed method
of feeding. Feeding raw is a very dynamic and fluid approach
that must be adapted and modifies to fit the needs of your
dogs based on genetics, breed, size, weight, activity level, ect.
Simply put you can not feed the same raw foods every day;
you must add some variation, daily or weekly, to the diet.
RMB and BARF share a fundamental and extremely
elementary truth and that is, canines are carnivores, therefore
their diets must consist primarily of meat, in this case raw
meats and bones. Grains should not compose any part of the
canine diet. RMB advocates feeding only a wide variety of raw
meaty bones, muscle meats, organ meats and recreational
bones. BARF shares the same principle of feeding meats but
it embraces the addition of fruits, vegetables, dairy products,
probiotics, digestive enzymes and other supplements. I
personally don't see any harm in feeding vegetables and
fruits. If it makes you feel better, do it. Human nature being
what it is, there will always be those people with opposing
ideas on feeding raw who will criticize your choices and
decisions. However, don't neglect your own comfort zone;
decide what is best for your dog based on your own research
and analysis. Only YOU can make the BEST decision for
your dog, choose your own path and follow it. Any feeding
regimen can have it's individualized health risks associated
with incorrect feeding and preparation. Much like feeding a
poor quality kibble can have an effect on the generalized
health of a dog, so can unbalanced raw diet and this is
especially true for giant breeds such as the Mastiff.....
Let's look at establishing some fundamentals. Whether you
decide to go strictly with a raw diet (BARF or RMB) or a
combination of high quality kibble and meats; the consensus
is to feed older dogs 2~3% of their optimal body weight on a
daily basis split over 1 or 2 feedings. If you are leaning
towards the kibble and meat combination I suggest 2 feedings
per day. Puppies from 7 wks. to about 5 months will eat
anywhere from 5~10% of their body weight daily, split over
Example: 180 lb. Mastiff~
180x.03 (or .02 for 2%) = 5.4pounds of daily intake; round
to 5.5 or 5 pounds to make feeding easier. You can then
divide this amount by the number of daily feedings. You will
need to adjust and tailor food rations based on your
individual dog's needs. There are certain variables to take
into consideration: breed, activity level, size, weight, genetics,
ect. This is an excellent approach to being fed twice a day
would receive about 2.75 pounds of food at each feeding.
Keep in mind that this would just be an estimation, on some
days your dog may only consume 2 pounds and on other days
possibly 3 pounds. This will be determined based on need and
don't be too concerned with slight fluctuations. It's extremely
important to maintain your sanity so don't let feeding become
**NOTE** A very good rule of thumb in determining ration
amounts, especially with giant breeds like the Mastiff is; on a
young Mastiff you should be able to see the outline of the last
rib when looking at them at a standing profile. In adults who
have developed the bone structure to carry more weight, you
should be able to easily feel the last rib, but not see it. Use
common sense; if you can see your dog's spine or too many
ribs, the dog is underweight. Adjust your feedings by
increasing ration amounts and watch for improvement. If
you're concerned about not feeding enough, remember, that
on a developing Mastiff it is always better if you have them on
the lighter side rather than overweight. You can easily make
up for low ration amounts at the next feeding. Too much
weight on a young, developing Mastiff can lead to hip
dysplasia and joint problems.
If your approach will be a modified raw food diet (kibble
and raw meats) make sure you use a grain free, high quality
kibble with an average of 23% protein and 12% fat. Some
dogs are able to handle a raw and kibble mixture at each
feeding and others cannot. That's why I've stated before that I
recommend 2 feedings if you are going in this direction. I
agree with other breeders that feeding raw meaty bones and
kibble at the same time can be a hazard since kibble digests
slower and this can slow down the processing of bone. I've
never had this problem and again it is up to each individual
owner to make this judgement call. If you want to add raw to
kibble make it organ and muscle meats such as: beef liver,
chicken liver, heart, gizzards, tongue, tripe, raw egg, and
dairy products. Save the raw meaty bones for the second
feeding of the day. Raw meaty bones consist of chicken leg
quarters, chicken wings, chicken backs, rabbit legs, chicken
necks, turkey necks, lamb necks, pork necks and oxtails.
For those who are leaning towards the RMB and BARF
diet, aim for a balanced ratio of 80% meat, 10% bone and
10% organ meat over the course of a week. Do not attempt to
balance every single meal, your sanity will suffer if you try.
Add a variety to every meal and over the course of a week or
two you will do just fine.
**Start with the basics and add as much variety as possible
to meals over the course of a week.
*Raw meaty bones and/or whole carcasses: chicken, quail,
venison, goat, duck, pork, lamb, whole raw fish, beef and
*I advise that all pork products be cooked thoroughly before
feeding. Use whatever is available to you within your budget.
If your dog is getting too much bone in their diet you'll notice
constipation and extremely white stools.
>Offal (organ meats): beef liver, chicken liver, tripe, kidney.
*Organ meats should be fed just a few times a week.
Feeding too much organ meats will usually manifest itself as
very dark, loose stools and diarrhea. I usually feed organ
meats 3~4 times a week.
>Muscle meat: heart, gizzards, tongue, beef cheek
>Whole raw eggs
Vegetables and fruit: spinach, kale, beet greens, turnip
greens, collards, parsley, broccoli, carrots, yams, sweet
potatoes, yellow squash, apples, pears, bananas, ect.
*Be very careful and do some research, there are some
vegetables and fruits that should never be fed to dogs.
Dairy: yogurt, cottage cheese, goat's milk
*Use only whole milk products, do not use fat~free or
Supplements: Probiotics, Digestive enzymes, Vitamin C,
Glucosamine, Chrondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid
*Raw unprocessed tripe (green tripe) is an EXCELLENT
source of digestive enzymes but you may have to search a bit
to find it. Probiotics and digestive enzymes can also be
purchased online or at most health food stores. If possible use
Ester~C instead of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) it's much
gentler on the stomach.
This is one week's RMB sample menu, outlining the
meal rations for a 180 pound Mastiff. The greater species
variety of meats available to you, the greater the variation you
can offer at each meal. Keep in mind that this menu is only an
approximation since I'm calculating daily food rations based
on the high end (3%) of optimal weight. These amounts are
not set in stone as each individual may consume less than I've
indicated below, based on individual needs. Search for
discounted meat prices, you'll be surprised how in inexpensive
some meats can be.
Morning Evening BARF or
Monday: 1 chicken leg quarter(1 lb.) 1 lb. of ground turkey If you choose to
Tuesday: 1 pound pork 1 chicken back (.5 lb)
Wednesday: 2 cans of sardines 1 pound of chicken wings
Thursday: 1 pound of chicken wings 1 chicken leg quarter
Friday: 1 chicken back (.5 lbs.) 1 pound of pork
Saturday: 1 chicken leg quarter (1 lb.) 1 pound of pork
Sunday: 1 pound of fish 1 lb. of chicken necks
A raw food diet should be about adding raw natural foods
to your dog's diet over the course of a week or longer. Your
pet's caloric intake should come from HIGH quality,
nutritionally complete pet food. Do not become consumed
with wanting to balance each and every meal; simply feed a
variety of fresh ingredients each day and aim to balance the
diet over time.
The key to feeding giant breeds is NOT to overfeed, which
is why it is better to feed 3~4 times daily. You want more
frequent feedings, in smaller amounts using a kibble roughly
23% protein. It's very IMPORTANT to resist the urge to
fatten them up. I realize they look more impressive and
healthy but lean and healthy is the key.
My goal in life is
to be as good a person as my
dog already thinks I am.
The MOST affectionate creature in the world
is a wet dog.