*Dogs have a set of solid molars and extremely strong jaws that enable them to crush and chew raw meaty bones
such as necks, backs, wings, ribs and carcasses. Through the consumption of such bones, they are able to acquire
and easily assimilate a natural form of calcium essential to skeletal health all the while promoting tooth and
Raw meaty bones
are to be completely consumed. These bones are considered "soft bones" and do not splinter.
These bones should only be fed under your watchful supervision so as to ensure your pet does not consume these bone(s) too quickly.
Dispose of any unfinished bones as they do dry out and can become brittle.
What to Feed your new Puppy
A completely new approach to the way we feed and care for our pets!
As a society we adopt into our homes companions that with just
one look, one cocked head or just one tail wagging can
melt our hearts to become true members of our family. We only want the best for them.
To learn how to feed your animal the healthiest and most life saving diet — watch these videos — read our FAQ section — see and read my own personal experience — get informed by reading my article at the bottom of this page in addition to doing your own research. Your Pet will "Thank You" with fewer vet bills and many happy and loving years shared.
Alternative Diet (a/k/a) :
Holistic — Homemade — Raw
Meat — Hypoallergenic Diets for Dogs —
All Natural/Organic Diets — BARF Diet
My Story —
My oldest and most beloved
feline, a/k/a Gus, will turn 19 years old on June 23,
2012. This is a current picture of him and you can see he is
just beautiful for his age. His coat is thick and silky with
almost no shedding. His eyes are bright and his teeth are
white. He's lean, muscular, active and playful almost to the
point of being an extremely younger cat. "Why am I telling all
this to you, since I am a breeder of Yorkshire Terriers and
The sad truth is I almost had
him "euthanized". He kept getting sick with UTI's. The
vet would write prescriptions over and over again. He'd get
better and then he would get sick yet once again.
This went on for many years. Everytime he went in his box he
would cry out in pain. Eventually he just stopped using the
box altogether. The vet suggested prescription cat food and so
I decided perhaps it would help. Needless to say having three
cats, I basically was forced to feed all of them the same food
since it is hard alienating one to feed a separate diet. Gus
is very finicky and would not eat if isolated from the others.
Well the food was costly and we really didn't see much in the
way of results. However, there was one change that was
noticeable. He started to lose his fur. It got really thin to
the point of his tail almost having no fur. He could be
described as looking like a "Chemo Cat". I was heart broken
because I just knew I did everything I could for him and he
wasn't getting better. I felt certain I would have to let him
As a rule of thumb I don't
make hasty decisions and I just let this idea of him being so
sick roll around in my brain for a few days. At some point it
just darned on me that "what we eat is what we are" and that
made me decide to see if there was an alternative measure I
could use to save my little guy. The internet was the first
place I went and there is where I found so much information
about alternative diets for both cats and dogs. Since he is
the love of my life I decided to prepare home-made food and
thought that at the very least, I tried to save him. Never did
I expect to see such amazing results. Several months went by
and this is when I noticed his coat getting fuller, his body
getting leaner and those UTIs became something of the past. He
became his old self again — running, jumping and playing. Gus
is turning 19 years old. That is equivalent to how many years
in human terms. He has been on home-made food and now
primarily a "Raw Diet" for the past 9-10 years. The proof is in
the pudding. I know in my heart I extended his years and not
only that but very healthy years. A vet who checked his urine
samples was quite impressed when I told him I
was making home-made food. I was apprehensive in telling him
because most vets are against anything other than the usual.
This vet actually said, "I wish more people would do this".
I too agree with his statement. — Well all I can
say is I hope I look this good and can run and still play the
way he does when I'm what ... "92". LOL (It sure would be
(Sadly and with a heavy heart I today, August 25th, 2012 help
Gus to the Rainbow Bridge. My heart in broken and my tears won't stop.
You will always be loved and always be my inspiration to care the very most
in providing the best for all God's loving companions. I love you Gus.)
I will be providing kibble
with each of the puppies I adopt out or if you prefer I can
start them on a Raw Meat Diet. The kibble used for feeding
your new puppy will be holistic and I will provide enough
additional food to get you started on the right path for a
healthier and happier pet while at the same time preventing
large vet bills and undue suffering for either you or your
pet. Should you have additional questions please contact me
via our contact page.
What to Feed your new Puppy
A completely new approach to the way we feed and care for our pets!
As a society we adopt into our homes companions that with just
one look, one cocked head or just one tail wagging can
melt our hearts to become true members of our family. And
as such we want the very best we can offer; no less than what
we want for anyone we love and care for. Unfortunately for
many pets and their owners a sad reality is sweeping our
nation. Our furry companions are getting sick; they are
developing the same illnesses that humans exhibit. Some
examples are: overweight, diabetes, urinary tract infections
(uti), kidney stones and crystals, allergies, lackluster coats
and the list goes on and on. Veterinarian bills are
escalating, prescriptions are flowing and still our pets are
not getting better. In fact they are getting worse and many
are dying a premature death.
You may ask "Why is this? What is different today than 40 or 50 years ago?" My
question to you is, "when you think of pet food what's the
first thought that comes into your mind?" You probably just
visualized a large bag of kibble or a can of dog food with an
appetizing picture of chunks of meat.
Over the years little by little we have become brainwashed into thinking and
believing that this particular food or that particular food is
the key to a healthy and happy dog. Pictures of beautiful
shiny coats, dogs and puppies romping around playfully —
these are the images used to convince us we should
be feeding our family pets this or that food product.
These companies have gone so far as to currently make breed
specific foods, food designed for this ailment or that. A
healthy diet is just that — a healthy diet. Its all a
con-game to suck us into believing their food is the right
food for our animals. If these products are so good
and healthy and designed specifically for a breed or a
condition, then why are so many animals not getting
better with many dying? The answer is simply greed. Its
all about profit for these large corporations that convince us
they care about our pet's well-being but in fact are providing
food filled with fillers that are non-digestable, tainted with
prescription drugs used to treat previously sick animals that
are now incorporated into the food you are feeding your pet by
means of "animal by-products" (dead animals harvested from pet
shelters, farms and even road kill). Many animals are allergic
to grains ... never were dogs meant to eat grains and their
digestive systems are unable to handle this "main" ingredient
used by these companies to keep the cost down while satisfying
your pet's hunger. These grains cause many symptoms some
lesser and still some more serious. Try to learn more
about what really goes into the food you are feeding your
four-legged family member.
As veterinarian bills mount and people are asking why to these
many health issues a movement has been happening and is
spreading like wildfire. The internet has become the main source for finding answers on
how to care for a pet with medical issues. Many are beginning to understand the relationship
between diet and health while at the same time learning more and more about these corporate
giants that knowingly provide our animals with inferior quality food, a/k/a garbage. If you can
reflect back just recently to all the dog and cat food recalls of some of the top name brands
that so many of us trust and also remember how many beloved pets had died because of the
greed of corporate giants whose sole purpose in life is profit margins then you will begin to understand how little these companies care about the welfare of your pet.
"Nestle's Pet Food Politics (University of California Press, September 2008) details the recall of
more than 100 brands of dog and cat food containing wheat gluten from China that was contaminated
with the chemical melamine, which according to the FDA prompted 17,000 consumer complaints, includ-
ing reports of 4,150 cat and dog deaths."
These corporate giants care about one thing — money!
Q: What do you recommend I feed my pet?
A: We recommend an "Alternative Diet".
You have three choices. It's great to cook for your pets or feed them a raw diet. The third option for those who cannot prepare home-made food or are uncomfortable about Raw Food (BARF diet), there are many good holistic foods and this is what we choose to feed all our puppies. Our breeder dogs are all on a Raw Food diet as we believe this to be the best. Contact us for additional information for choosing the right diet for your puppy.
At Hollingberry we prepare our food daily from frozen meat & bones together with fresh grated vegetables or thinly sliced vegetables adding fish oil, a very small amount of garlic, sometimes herbs for flavor variety and once a week "Probiotics and Brewers Yeast". Eggs with whole shells, small amounts of cheese & fruits are also offered on occasion.
This is our preferred method; however you can experiment with what your dog's taste are but try to stay within the guidelines offered below and again we highly recommend you doing your own research and/or contacting us should you have additional questions.
Guidelines for Feeding your New Puppy a "Raw Diet"
What is the recommended % content of meat and vegetable?
A balanced diet for a dog is considered to be about 75% meat and bones, and 25% fruit & vegetables. For cats the meat and bones part should be closer to 90- 95%.
How much food do I feed my dog each day?
Every individual dog should be observed for weight changes and feeding amounts adjusted accordingly.
These are guidelines only.
Puppies: (weaning - 12 months) and pregnant / lactating mothers should receive 5-10% of their body weight.
Adult Dogs: (12 months and up) should receive approximately 2-3% of their ideal body weight.
Should I grind the bones?
Bones do not have to be ground, it's more of a convenience choice. When giving ground bones you will still benefit from their nutritional aspect, however, the benefits of chewing, ripping and subsequently cleaning the teeth , will be missed. It is still the best choice in case of pets who cannot chew because of dental problems, sickness or weakness, and may also be more convenient during the transitional stage. It is highly recommended to complement the ground bones with whole raw meaty bones at least 3 times a week, to promote the chewing, gnawing and tearing along with the dental benefits.
What supplements should I feed?
Supplements are a tricky call. Some say it is unnecessary while others over supplement, and that is where the danger lays. Vitamins B and C are water soluble, which means whatever the body does not use, is eliminated in the urine. You basically cannot "overdo" the vitamins except too much can cause loose bowels (that's why you often see it recommended to supplement with Vitamin C "to bowel tolerance"). Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and it IS possible to cause problems by over-supplementing — sometimes the problems can be as bad if not worse than UNDER supplementation caused by an inferior diet. At Hollingberry we give little in supplementation and rely heavily on the nutritional benefits of a natural balance raw diet.
As a general rule supplements should be given to make up or balance what the diet itself may lack. For example, a dog that doesn't like fish can definitely use some fish oil as a supplement for it's fatty acids content.
There is no magic formula and supplements should be considered on a pet-by-pet basis and only when necessary.
How do I handle raw food safely?
The general rule is to handle raw food the same way you handle human raw meat.
But aren't chicken bones dangerous?!!!
- Thawed food can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3- 4 days
- Leftovers can be kept but should be refrigerated immediately
- In the case of bones we recommend that the bone be discarded after use as old bones become dry and brittle
- Defrost the food unopened in cool water or placed the refrigerator for thawing
- Always keep the food frozen until you are ready to use it; do not refreeze thawed food products
- Wash utensils and working surfaces with hot soapy water in the same manner you wash your own
- Stainless steel or other non porous material dishes are recommended
- Make sure the pets dish and feeding area is thoroughly washed after use
Raw chicken bones are great for pets and are probably the most common bones; As long as they are not cooked. The cooking process changes the bone's constitution and the way they break. A cooked bone (especially the longer thigh and leg bones) tend to splinter and create very sharp edges. Raw Chicken bones are soft enough for cats and toy dogs to chew and digest. Wings, necks and back (carcasses) are a great addition to any raw diet, and are also good for puppies and kittens even before they actually eat them. Make sure to discard of leftovers.
My dog tends to inhale food!???
Dogs tend to do that. The chewing process is very different with carnivores then it is with us (or herbivores). They do not have flat molars that grind the food. Some Dogs and cats will chew food only to the point where it is small enough for them to swallow and not necessarily more. Their digestive system is designed to digest bigger chunks of food then ours. If you are feeding ground raw food your dog may literally skip the chewing part and just swallow mouthfuls. The same is right for small pieces (for large dogs). Keep an eye on your pet when dealing with midsize bones, as they don't always estimate their swallowing capacity correctly and they may seem to choke and then regurgitate for a second try at chewing the same piece. The best way to "teach" chewing properly is to always give RMBs that are a size too big.
Is feeding your pet a raw diet really expensive?
Feeding your pet raw food costs less than you might think. There is a wide range of meats and food combinations, which can dramatically reduce the every day cost. In the long run there will also be great saving on health and vet bills.
How can I feed my dog a raw diet for a reasonable cost?
The best way to reduce the costs (without compromising) is to buy bulk. The bigger the cheaper.
Another way is feeding whole carcasses, i.e.; whole chickens and make veggie mix separately to balance the diet. Buying whole chickens (for example) in bulk will make a great base for a raw diet. There is plenty of variety available even without the more exotic (and expensive).
What are the benefits of feeding raw food to my pet?
There are many benefits associated with the raw food diet. Here is a brief list of the most commonly observed:
What about risks such as Toxoplasmosis, E. Coli and Salmonella?
- The teeth become whiter and stronger
- The skin and coat become healthier and shiny
- Bad breath and odor are minimized or disappear
- Allergies disappear
- Better metabolism - weight lost or gained
- An overall stronger immune system
- Stool will be less in quantity and odor
- Your pet will feel and act lively
Risks are almost non-existent to healthy adult animals. Dogs and Cats have digestive systems designed to handle and destroy many bacteria that are harmful to humans such as Salmonella and E. Coli. They have a short, acidic digestive tract, which easily digests raw animal protein, fat and bones. If your pet is ill, or very old/weak please consult a pet health care professional who is experienced with raw feeding. Handling and hygiene of the raw meat should be in the same fashion as the any other meat, and your pet's dishes and eating area should be thoroughly cleaned after each meal.
But what about bacteria on raw chicken?
Raw chicken may contain bacteria. Your dog's digestive system can easily deal with it. (Our bodies can't and therefore we need to cook the food). Remember dogs naturally eat feces, soil and buried bones and lick their private parts. Their tolerance to bacteria is much higher than humans. Handling of the pet's food should be done with the same standards as any other raw meat to be consumed by humans.
Help! My dog is having negative reactions to this diet!
Very often, when dogs (or people) make a switch in their diet, albeit a more balanced, nutritious diet, they oftentimes display negative symptoms such as (in the case of some dogs) runny eyes, itchy skin, rashes and pimples, bad breath, vomiting and/or smelly ears. Don't be Alarmed: this is a part of the body's adjusting/healing process. In other words your dog's body is mobilizing toxins which have been stored in the his cells. These symptoms will minimize with time, usually within a week or two.
Can a dog or cat get salmon poisoning from eating raw salmon products?
Yes, although cats are said to be immune to it dogs are not. It is caused by a bacterial-like organism (Neorickettsia helminthoeca) that lives in little flukes (flatworm), which parasite on wild salmon. The poisoning is fatal on one hand but treatable on the other. The problem is that symptoms appear 5-7 days after ingestion so it is hard to detect.
Freezing, cooking or smoking the fish will kill this organism and will make the fish harmless. It is best to use prolonged freezing as a means to kill the organism (and for storage) or you should opt using a high quality Salmon oil for supplementing Omega 3 in your dog's diet.
Can I cook raw foods?
Cooking is not recommended. Cooking destroys the enzymes and some nutrients in raw food defeating the purpose of feeding a raw diet. Microwaving to defrost is also not recommended due to the uneven nature of microwave heating. Some of the food gets cooked when defrosting in the microwave. If you forget to take the food out to thaw, our suggestion for a quick defrost is to place the container in a dish of cool water in your sink (with the plastic rap). That will speed up the thawing process. In general you should plan ahead to remove our food from your freezer and allow it to defrost in your refrigerator as you would with your own food.
Can I mix raw meat with kibble?
It is not recommended. Although mixing is sometimes a way to transition from commercial pet food to a raw diet, it may actually put more strain on the digestive system, as they digest at different rates. Raw food is much more digestible, taking only 3-4 hours, while the kibble usually takes 9-12 hours. Kibble is a cooked processed product that is harder for the dog to digest because the molecules are bound tighter together. When raw meat and kibble are mixed together the meat will digest, meanwhile leaving some of the kibble to rise to body temperature and ferment. The bacteria level in the dog's digestive system will then rise and could eventually cause unwanted problems.
Doesn't eating kibble keep my dog or cat's teeth clean?
If anything, kibble will do the opposite. The chewing of something hard (and starchy) will not add to clean teeth. The way to naturally clean teeth is through chewing and gnawing on RMBs (Raw Meaty Bones), creating strong jaws and teeth in addition to healthy saliva necessary for keeping their breath fresh.
How Do I Feed Raw Food While Traveling?
Most kennels will accommodate raw or home-prepared food if they have a refrigerator/freezer on hand, just call and ask. If you are taking your pet on a trip, use a cooler to keep the food at a refrigeration temperature with dry or regular ice. If you are traveling for longer than a few days, you can also take some dehydrated (preferably raw) food. Stopping at the local market and buying some human grade chicken is always a good choice.
I've always heard that dogs and cats shouldn't eat human food...
This is a common myth. Our grandparents and great grandparents fed their pets with raw scraps from their own meals because, at the time, there was no such thing as bagged kibble and canned pet food. However, pets should NEVER eat cooked bones from leftover meals from their human companions.
Dogs and cats are carnivores and have the jaw structure to rip, tear and swallow prey animals. They do not have flat molars like humans meant for chewing things like grains and whole vegetables. In fact they have no need for a human like diet, which is rich with carbohydrates and grains. Their digestive tracts are short and manufacture very harsh gastric juices meant to digest whole raw meat and bone and move it through their system very quickly. So in reality, feeding your pet raw food is not feeding them human food per se, but in fact, feeding them a species appropriate diet close to what they would get when eating a prey animal.
Will raw food help my pet's allergies?
It's possible. A switch to raw food may alleviate allergic symptoms your pet may be having. There is a good chance that simply stopping the consumption of highly processed, grain based, commercial pet food, will improve those symptoms. Many pets are allergic to protein in grains. These allergies can be seen in symptoms of chronic yeast infections, skin rashes and stiff joints or arthritic conditions. Long-term exposure to large amounts of grains, for these animals, can be a precursor to more serious and permanent illness over time. But it is never too late to switch to a raw food diet. Pets of any age can be given a new diet and benefit from it very quickly.
Won't eating raw meat make my dog vicious?
That is a common urban myth. Your dog will not become a vicious hunter just because he has a raw diet. You may however, notice more liveliness, especially if your dog used to be bloated and lethargic after meals.
But my vet doesn't think that feeding raw is any good
According to many Vets the focus in their studies is not nutrition but how to 'fix' the pet's health. The little instruction they ARE given in regards to nutrition is given by the commercial pet food companies themselves. Lack of knowledge and experience are what will usually be a Vet's reason for objecting to a raw diet. Consulting a vet who is holistic and believes in Raw Food Diet is recommended should you be interested in pursuing a healthier diet for your pet.
Can I feed my pregnant/ lactating dog raw food?
Yes, it is the best thing for her. As far as quantities, you will probably want to increase them significantly, especially towards the middle to end of her pregnancy. Do more research if not sure. When lactating it is especially important to increase bone consumption and plenty of water.
Can I give raw food to puppies?
Puppies can start eating (or try eating) raw meat even before weaning. Wings, necks or backs can be an excellent way to introduce solid food to puppies and get their little jaws used to chewing. This will prepare them for later and give some relief to the lactating mom from the puppies' biting.
How do I learn more?
Taking responsibility over your pet's feeding is a big step for many new owners. We encourage everyone to seek information, listen to different viewpoints (pro and con), read books and generally educate yourself. HollingberryYorkies can assist you and there are many good resources via the internet. Love your pet and do you homework. Only you can decide which diet is best for you and your pet; however should you decide on a "Raw Diet" I sincerely believe you will be rewarded tenfold with few vet bills and a healthy companion for at least what should be a normal pet life of approximately 16 years or more.
Adoptive pet owners are always welcome to contact HollingberryYorkies
for additional dietary information.
YES, we are bias — we feed all OUR pets/breeders a naturally "Raw Diet".