Sustainable Management of Food
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Nutrition is Key..
Due to the numerous health problems that arise from feeding commercial dog food, and also due to the recent unfortunate deaths of many dogs because of tainted food, I feel it is necessary to share how we feed our dogs raw, not only with my puppy owners, but with anyone interested to educate themselves on the subject.
Feeding raw might be a little more time consuming than just filling a bowl with kibble, especially in the beginning, but as you get into a routine of doing it and establish reliable sources of your raw ingredients, it really becomes just about as easy. The base of our dogs' diet is chicken. It is inexpensive, readily available, easy for dogs to digest, and is a great source of bones and fat. Feeding skinless chicken breast is not a complete raw diet!
Below is an approximate raw menu that you can use as a guideline. The great thing about feeding raw is that you don't have to perfectly balance every single meal for your dog. I know some of you have the horrifying picture of spending hours grinding and mixing endless bloody ingredients, trying to achieve perfect percentages, and worrying that you are out of liver today.
Feeding raw is much simpler. Whatever type of raw food you have today, just hand it to your dog. Over time, say over a week, try to provide variety and balance. Puppy 8 to 16 weeks - 3 meals a day: When raising a puppy, I start each morning with a short, minutes training session , and use boiled beef liver as treats cut into small cubes. I use a lot of treats in the beginning, therefore the following breakfast is light.
When short on time, I simply scatter the treats in the grass to have the puppy search for it. She never feeds her working prospect puppy from a bowl! The amounts of food that I suggest here are for an 8-weeks old puppy. As your puppy grows, start increasing the amounts gradually, so that by the age of 16 weeks he is eating about twice as much.
For example, if it sais to give 1 small chicken back to an 8 weeks old puppy, then the amount to give to a weeks old is 2 small backs, etc. Please don't feed two chicken backs in one feeding to an weeks old pup, that's just way too much.
Also, constantly monitor your puppy's condition the amount of fat on his ribs. If in doubt, it's better to err on the thinner side! If the puppy is a little too chubby, decrease the amount of food he is getting for at least a week.
Every other morning I give the following mix: Twice a week add 1 raw egg yolk to this meal. The cottage cheese that we use is "Friendship," no salt added.
I'm sure there are other good brands, but make sure that the ingredients are: That is what cottage cheese is made out of, and there must be nothing else, except maybe for some vitamins. This is important for you too, go for pure products for your family as well. When it comes to yogurt, I actually prefer the type called "kefir. This is the real deal. I actually enjoy a cup now and then myself - it's just great for you on so many levels. When they are out of "Helios," I use a different brand, " Lifeway, " but it is not quite as great as "Helios.
All there needs to be is milk and cultures, but you will also probably find that most of them have fiber added. When grinding fruits and vegetables , the smaller you grind them, the better.
You can use a blender, or do it manually. When adding ground fruits and vegetables, especially carrots , it is best to add a teaspoon of butter melted , or some sort of fat.
This helps absorption of vitamin "A" a great deal. I favor carrots because it is believed by many that adding carrots to your dog's diet regularly will intensify the red in his coat. I don't know this for a fact, but it doesn't hurt, right? Also, blueberries , although expensive, are one of those "super-foods," packed with vitamin "C". Add them to your puppy's diet whenever you can, even if just a teaspoon.
A cheaper alternative is sweet potatoes. Other mornings, I feed The Honest Kitchen products, according to the directions on the package. My favorite kinds for puppies are "Keen" and "Verve. Make sure to leave all the skin and fat on it.
Dogs don't have cholesterol problems, and your dog really needs the fat, as it is an excellent source of energy for carnivores. By the way, if your puppy or dog is too thin, the healthiest and easiest way to have him gain weight is to increase the amounts of fat in his diet.
Now, of course we have to talk about safe handling of raw chicken, or any other type of raw meat. If you buy in bulk and you should buy at least a few days worth , freeze everything except for the amount that you will use within the next two days. What will be used within the next two days should be stored in the refrigerator, under a plastic film or in a sealed plastic bag. Use one special cutting board for meat only, which should never be used for fruits and vegetables.
Wash you hands with soap after handling of raw meat. All these precautions are so that YOU don't get sick. Can't they get sick from eating raw meat? They have a very high acidity content times higher than humans! Think about them burying their prey in the wild for a few days to finish it off later - there is a very small and I mean tiny chance for your dog to become sick from consuming raw meat. It's much less common or dangerous than all the deadly things dogs get from eating kibble.
One thing for sure - never boil or heaven forbid microwave the chicken for your dog. Boiling kills the whole concept of feeding raw, plus, if it contains bones, they can become brittle and very dangerous for your dog.
Where do we get our chicken backs? For the last feeding, choose one of the following meals: Do not use ground beef. Instead, cut it into small pieces, or you can give one large piece to your puppy to chew on. No need to go for filet minion - any discounted piece of beef at your butcher will be great. Please do not buy those prepackaged meats, they are often full of "extenders," sodium, and who knows what else. Try to find a real butcher or a farmers market in your area, great for both your dog and your family.
All skin and connective tissue included. Actually, I might still give it "bone in" to young puppies, but I watch them closely with it, and as soon as I see that their teeth become strong enough to chew through the bone, I stop giving them these bones. I know, raw feeding purists will say that they give thigh and drumsticks with the bone to their dogs all the time without any ill effect.
But I can't help but worry about the sharp pieces that these bone can produce. It might take a little while for your puppy to start accepting sardines as food - keep offering it, skip a meal or two if you have to - the benefits of feeding raw sardines are just too great. Being a fatty salt water fish, it is an unsurpassed source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. By the way, I read somewhere that dogs don't absorb these essential fatty acids from flax seed or other vegetarian sources.
These will do wonders for your puppy's coat and skin , brain tissue development, AND, while eating the whole fish, your puppy will also eat the plankton, seaweed, and other wonderful stuff that the fish was eating in the ocean - what a perfect way to add minerals and vitamins to his diet! Give this 2 times a week, and a weeks old puppy can even get 2 sardines in one feeding.
I use "Blue Ridge Beef" prepackaged and frozen green tripe. It's just so much more convenient than struggling to cut a whole 50 lbs cow stomach into pieces! If you can't find "Blue Ridge Beef" products in your area they have a store locator on their website , find green tripe in a can at your local private pet store, brands such as BG Before Grain , Solid Gold, and my favorite, Tripett "Green Venison", make canned green tripe.
Green tripe is an excellent source of digestive enzymes, and also half-digested particles of grass that the cow or deer was enjoying. Give this 2 times a week. Don't bother buying white bleached tripe sometimes found in grocery stores.
It is stripped of all it's useful goodness and adds no value to your dog's diet. You can give your puppy beef or chicken liver, heart, kidneys, or a mix of these. I use "Blue Ridge Beef" prepackaged and frozen " Natural Mix " which is a mix of various beef organs, already cut up into pieces. Very convenient compared to cutting and mixing these myself. Give this times a week. Give this once a week, or more often instead of chicken backs. So to sum it up and give you an example of how to make your puppy's diet balanced , here is an approximate weekly schedule: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, sardine; Wed: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, organs; Fri: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, tripe; Sun: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, sardine; Tue: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, turkey; Thu: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, tripe; Sat: The Hones Kitchen, chicken back, sardine; The diet description for this age group would not be complete without me mentioning marrow bones.
I recommend this one. Quite an inexact science, you see. There are other variables to factor in: Food volume is one variable in the equation. Softshell turtles are thought to be high metabolism turtles who need more food.
Alligator snappers can be very sedentary a friend of mine did college research tagging them, so I know. RES are probably intermediate. Food type is key; letting your turtle gorge on romaine lettuce is probably a non-issue. Letting it gorge on ReptoMin, guppies, ghost shrimp, etc, is another thing entirely. Mazuri, ReptoMin, crickets , not vegetation by which I mean greenery, not fruits! The problem is, many foods contain either too little calcium or a poor calcium to phosphorous ratio feeder crickets, for example.
Further, a turtle with low calcium levels will mobilize calcium from the bones, weakening them. You can read a discussion of this in a Tortoise Trust article at: Humans have small glands called parathyroid glands on the back of the thyroid gland in the neck. The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone that mobilizes calcium from the skeleton. Calcium is used for much more in the body than just bone. Some medications to treat high blood pressure in humans are called Calcium Channel Blockers, which demonstrates yet another important role of calcium in the body.
You can read about it in my dietary option article at http: Be sure to remove the hard backing from cuttlebone, since turtles can choke on it. It is generally thought your turtle will not overdose on calcium; you can read a Tortoise Trust clip on this at http: D3 is necessary for the body to properly utilize calcium. You may have heard of rickets, the condition of humans who are chronically D3 deficient.
Mazuri, ReptoMin are fortified with it, and varied oral supplements are sold. Ultraviolet UV light does not pass through normal glass.
Letting your turtle get sunlight through the window, or putting a ReptiSun 5. UV Light can pass through water but loses strength rapidly.
Any bulb that produces useful amounts of UV-B light will be actively marketed as such. This production is done via a special coating in the bulb that is consumed producing the UV-B; therefore these bulbs need replacing at least every year. Plant matter generally does not provide Vitamin D3; some animal foods may.
You can overdose Vitamin D3!!! Unlike calcium, you can overdo it. While a turtle will not overdose by basking or getting some D3 in its Mazuri or ReptoMin, it very well may if you use oral D3 supplements excessively. So, how important is it to provide UV-B lighting or oral supplements to turtles?
Plants contain little if any Vit. D3; tortoises must have UV-B lights or oral supplementation. I recommend this with strong confidence. Some people have raised these species without supplemental UV-B.
I recommend UV-B supplementation light or oral for semi-aquatics. I have more rarely found adult common snappers basking. I recommend they get UV-B, too. Much of this is scientifically unsubstantiated opinion. Green, leafy vegetation not fruits: Romaine lettuce, Dandelions, Anacharis , Water Hyacinth. RES eat a lot of plant matter naturally.
I have personally assumed rightly or wrongly that green, leafy vegetation for my Southern Painted, Anacharis and romaine lettuce is probably not harmful to graze on. This assumption is based on the high-volume grazing seen in herbivores to account for the low nutritional value of vegetation.
I believe that providing romaine lettuce and Anacharis daily for grazing is acceptable and allows the turtle to placate itself. I reason many wild turtles can probably enjoy vegetation buffet at will. Meat-based products live food, frozen food, freeze-dried food, processed foods including ReptoMin and Trout Chow — once daily feeding for the first 6 months of age is good. From 6 months to a year is controversial; a predominant carnivore may eat daily, an omnivore might eat daily, and an omnivore eating a lot of plant matter every other day.
Beware wild-caught aquatic live foods due to parasite concerns lung flukes in a particular type of snail; some of us suspect fish may carry a tapeworm than can infect turtles. Recommendations on commercial vs.
Commercial — presumed to be professionally formulated to contain all needed vitamins and minerals. How can one food be right for RES and alligator snappers both? Processed foods like ReptoMin have lower-moisture content and higher protein than many natural foods. ReptoMin is maximum 8.
Compare to living things. What about all those invertebrates whose exoskeletons are made out of indigestible chitin? Processed foods likely have a much higher usable nutritional payload relative to their volume, compared to natural foods.
Processed natural — supposedly kills the parasites ex: Live food provides stimulation, particularly in large enclosures where the turtle can actually hunt for extended periods. Purchased feeders guppies, red rosies, ghost shrimp, red wriggler earth worms are examples. The first 3 examples help clean the tank while present. My stinkpot loves snails, though.
If the prey item is large enough to need shredding, it may make a mess. Rare prey items can be dangerous large crawdads; giant water bugs; etc…. Most wild turtles rare exceptions: Crickets do not have a favorable calcium to phosphorous ratio, although gut-loading them can change that.
Leafy Greens Romaine lettuce, Anacharis , Dandelions daily. Makes it easier to ignore their begging, since they CAN eat something they like. Feed meat-based products to the point of diminished appetite but not to the point of absolute stuffedness. If you have the discipline to do so, daily feeding of under half the meat-based food amount established by 3. Not recommended for most people; too hard to keep consistent! An occasional small low-value snack like a small snail on an off-day is okay, particularly for carnivores.
Frozen Spirulina -enriched brine shrimp. Live or fresh-killed feeder fish once or twice a month. Captive-bred snails not wild-caught. Feeder crickets especially gut-loaded. I do not trust trout chow for anything but a rare treat. Drop broken up cuttlebone without the backing they can choke on the hard backing into the tank at least 3 times weekly for calcium supplementation.
Use it once or twice weekly I base this on A. Oral supplementation appears a workable alternative to natural sunlight or UV-B lighting. If you use UV-B lighting i. D3 supplementation, you must change them every 6 — 8 months because they quit producing UV-B as a special coating burns off. You must not succumb to constant begging!
Feeding Aquatic Turtles - http: Feeding Tortoises - http: Live Food Choices for Turtles: D3 — a response: Dietary Options for Turtles: Care Sheets for Specific Info.: What and How Much: The title is definitive. Highfield speaks from extensive husbandry experience with a large variety of both tortoises and turtles.
Many species profiles giving an overall synopsis and often such tidbits as incubation info. Both native and exotic turtles are discussed.