Giant Schnauzer Feeding Information
BEFORE YOU START
Before getting started, I highly recommend you to research by reading at least one
(if not more) of the books available byqualified individuals on the topic of feeding
a raw diet. You need to do your own homework on this topic before just jumping into
feeding a raw diet. I say this from experience. When we got our first giant we
were told that he would quit eating his kibble around 8 months old, and that we
would need to switch him to a raw diet. We were like yeah ok,that’s not happening,
Im not feeding my dog bones. Is this guy crazy? NO!! I assure you he was very
much right on. At exactly 8 months old our Giant quit eating his kibble. He also had
a really dull coat and what we like to call eye boogers. He was also under weight
for his age. So we decided to follow the breeders instructions on feeding a raw diet. We
started with a leg quarter in the am and kibble in the pm. We soon had him
on leg quarters, livers, chicken necks, and some red meat. One week after starting
him on this diet we had to let his collar out a notch. The second week in we noticed
his coat looked amazing and very shiny. His “eye boogers” were also gone.
We actually had to buy a new collar a month into feeding him raw. He gained
weight, not to much but he was perfect. He was getting so much nutrients in the
raw diet that his body was not wasting anything. His stools would basically
turn to dust. (Another Major plus) There are things you should take into
consideration if you have children. Always make sure to clean up after your Giant after
feeding time to prevent any contamination to you or your family.
WORKING WITH A VETERINARIAN
It’s probably a good idea to have blood work done on your dog before you start
feeding a raw diet and then again around six months to a year after being on the
diet. If your vet is completely against raw feeding, perhaps you should get a second
opinion. Your dog’s vet may have excellent surgical and other skills, but you
both need to work together when switching to a raw diet. Don’t be afraid to
work with more than one vet.
There definitely are vets who approve of and promote feeding raw diets and can
be a valuable resource to help you make the transition. Some of these vets are
listed as Homeopathic Veterinarians or perhaps you can ask other pet owners if
they use a vet who works with dog guardians who feed raw. You want and need
a professional to work with you, not against you.
There is no one technique that is ‘correct’ for our dogs, but there are certain
principles or guidelines that assist owners in designing a feeding program.
Always feed human grade meat and fish.
Never feed a meat-only diet. Such a diet is highly unnatural and unbalanced. A
meat-only diet provides too much phosphorus and protein and will cause severe
problems over time. Always include bones.
Never feed cooked bones of any sort — feed raw bones only.
When beginning the raw diet, some veterinarians suggest feeding one food at a
time (such as ground chicken meat, bone & organ) for one-week increments. This
is meant to monitor what meats work best for your dog. Once your dog has
gone through this initial ‘break in’ period, then you should begin feeding the
variety of meats and raw meaty bones to achieve a balance of nutrients.
In the beginning, weigh the amount of food you feed your dog until you see how
much (or how little) your dog needs and until you become accustomed to the
amount to feed according to your ‘eye’. It’s very easy to overfeed in the
Feed as wide a variety of meats and other foods as possible, after the initial
‘break in’ period.
Avoid synthetic mineral and vitamin additives — they create an imbalance.
Some dogs may go through a brief period of detoxification that lasts only a few
days. This is a good sign that the body is ridding itself of the accumulated toxins
from the previous diet of kibble. It manifests in one or more of these ways: loose
or mucous-like stools, runny eyes, or their coats may deteriorate before they then
improve. After the detox period, the dog will begin to appear and feel much
better than before.
THE BASIC FOODS TO FEED
Remember that the digestive system of dogs, unlike humans, is both short and
acidic, designed to handle bacteria by not allowing it to ‘blossom’ within the
The meat proteins you can feed would include poultry, lamb, fish (no raw
salmon, however), beef and bison, rabbit, etc. Muscle and organ meat of these
animals should also be included. The fat attached to meat contains the best
source of essential fatty acids. It’s important to know that cancer cells grow and
reproduce using the energy from carbohydrates (kibble is loaded with
carbohydrates) but cancer cells are not able to utilize the energy from fats.
Organ meat, because it is so nutrient rich, should be fed in smaller amounts and
in smaller proportion to other meats. Many people suggest and find that feeding
organ meats once a week is a good starting point to begin and gauge how each
dog ‘handles’ it. If it causes loose stool, just feed a smaller portion next time and
perhaps less often.
Raw eggs can be added to the meat, from once to a few times each week. Eggs
are very economical and contain several vitamins & minerals, B vitamins,
sulfur containing amino acids, zinc, and more. There is some controversy
about feeding whole raw eggs to dogs. Many sources state that repeatedly
adding whole raw eggs to a dog’s diet can cause a deficiency of the vitamin
biotin. Raw egg whites contain avidin, an enzyme that ties up biotin (makes it
unavailable for absorption into the body). Because of the nutritional benefits of
raw yolks, many dog owners get around this by feeding the yolk only and then
partially cooking the white that can be added to the meal, or served as a treat.
RAW MEATY BONES
When you think of it, a prey animal is made up of a lot of bone. Not only is there
benefit to the ripping and tearing of the meat off the bones, but there is also an
abundance of nutrients by chewing and eating the bones that contain calcium
and nutrient rich marrow.
Raw meaty bones are things such as chicken (any poultry) wings, backs & necks,
turkey necks, carcasses; beef, bison and lamb neck; oxtail; etc.
An ideal ‘starter’ raw meaty bone for dogs is chicken or turkey neck because of
the smaller bones and abundance of good cartilage. Then you can graduate your
dog to wings, backs, etc.
GREEN LEAFY VEGETABLES
In the wild dogs don’t consume vegetables, except to scavenge. Dogs do eat
grasses, however, and so do the ungulates, small mammals, and birds that wild
dogs would prey upon. The vegetable matter would be obtained from the
partially digested stomach contents of prey. Dogs cannot digest cellulose so
whole vegetables will just come out the same way they went in, unless you
pulverize them first in a blender or food processor.
Examples of green leafy vegetables include: varieties of lettuce (not iceberg
lettuce) such as green or red leafy lettuce, romaine; greens from carrots, beets,
chard; limited amounts of spinach; dandelion greens (no pesticides), etc. You
may also safely serve raw veggies or fruits to your dog as treats, which will not
pack on the pounds that kibble-based treats do.
Recreational raw (not cooked) bones are intended for your dog to gnaw on,
which also provides mental stimulation and keeps the teeth and gums clean and
healthy, while giving the jaws and shoulders a bit of a workout. Rec bones are
usually large beef or bison knuckle bones or ribs with little or no meat. They are
NOT intended to replace a meal — they are strictly for recreation and an
economical way of providing extra bone to fulfill your dog’s calcium
requirements (especially on days when fed red meat meals (which do not usually
contain bone). Many people feed recreation bones two or three times a week.
PROPORTIONS/RATIOS TO FEED
Meat and Raw Meaty Bones:
Most books on the subject suggest feeding an average of approximately 75-80%
muscle meat and raw meaty bones, (including about 10% organ meats and bit of
extra bone to make up for the loss of calcium rich blood).
Green Leafy Vegetables:
Although some people feed less, most sources recommend that green leafy
vegetables (pulverized) may constitute about 20-25% of the dog’s diet. Some
sources do consider this percentage high, however, and feel that only 10% of the
dog’s diet should include green leafy vegetables.
Essential Fatty Acids: these are incorporated as part of the meat and raw meaty
bones (including fish) as well as in the form of fish oils by bottle or capsule. Feed
according to directions or instructions from your Vet.
HOW MUCH TO FEED
The Whole Package:
To give a specific formula or broad statement about the exact amount of food to
feed is not possible. Like us, the amount of food your dog needs depends not
just on its age or size, but is also dependent upon the individual’s metabolism,
exercise levels, the climate, and other aspects.
That said there is a formula to use to get you started, but use it as a guideline and
be sure to weigh the food in the beginning.
For active, working dogs begin feeding 3% of the dog’s ideal body weight.
For sedentary dogs, begin feeding 2% of the dog’s body weight.
Puppies should be fed 4-5% of their current body weight and pups should be reweighed every two weeks so you can adjust the food intake.
SHOPPING FOR RAW FOOD
With shrewd shopping, the cost of feeding raw is not expensive. Take advantage
of sales, discounted past due date meats, buying food that is not well liked by
humans (such as the organs, tripe, etc.), and possibly buying a chest freezer so
you can take advantage of these advance purchases.
To locate meat and raw meaty bones (remember: chicken necks & backs, turkey
necks, carcasses, organ meats, etc.) you may find some of these at inexpensive
prices in your own grocery store. Also check out butchers, slaughterhouses,
poultry processors, ethnic markets, fishmongers, local farmers and at farmer’s
Next time you’re grocery shopping, talk to the meat manager or butcher and ask
what they do with their off-cuts. Get to know your local butcher as well —
they’re especially busy during and after the fall hunting season.
Those ethnic markets often have a variety of frozen fish at economical prices.
There are now businesses that sell human-grade raw food for dogs, with several
locations across Canada. Check your phone book or do an Internet search
through Google using the keywords: “raw dog food supplier Canada”.
For the greens, since such a small amount is needed, you can simply toss in the
food processor whatever you have on hand since most of us usually have greens
in the house.
The natural oils and any other natural supplements can be purchased either at a
health food store or one of the raw food distributors.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
To get close to Mother Nature, keep it simple when feeding raw. Use the 75%
raw meat/bones and 25% leafy greens plus other nutrients as your guide to
feeding your dog the natural way. Both you and your dog will be happier, your
dog will be healthier, and you may even be inspired to begin choosing and
eating more naturally as well.