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fish based diet
  • arina83arina83
    Posts: 8
    I'm still in the research phase as far as exactly how I'd feed a Shiba, but I'm heavily learning towards raw. Unfortunately, I'm severely allergic to beef, lamb, pork, turkey & chicken...I can't even walk by the meat case at the supermarket without having an allergic reaction. In my case, my airway starts to swell shut. I'm fully open to trying alternative proteins (ostrich, rabbit, goat), but fish is the safest for me since I'd be the one feeding. I'm fine with eggs and dairy.

    How do Shibas do with diets where most of their protein comes from fish? Can I feed fish skin and bone in addition to fish meat? I eat a lot of fish and buy fillets from whole fish from a high quality fish market. Sometimes, I'll cut the skin off the fish before I eat it and some of the fish have bones that are difficult to remove from the fish, so I just cut that portion out. Since I buy so much, I freeze everything before I eat it.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1211
    I definitely wouldn’t recommend an exclusively (or even majority) fish diet for a raw fed dog. It’s easy when feeding raw to feed what is most convenient (like some people get in the habit of feeding only chicken), but the balance of a raw diet comes from variety. I only feed fish once a week, and you have to be cautious about some stuff like feeding fish with low mercury levels and freezing them for at least 24 hours to kill bacteria and parasites. Salmon poisoning disease can be fatal for dogs, so salmon should be frozen for a week or more or cooked. Bones are okay if the fish is in a whole, raw form. Cooked fish bones are much more dangerous.

    But I still wouldn’t feed fish more than twice a week. Though fish can absolutely be good for dogs, feeding any protein exclusively would cause issues for a raw fed dog. Especially with fishy reputations for containing toxic metals. Omega 3 is good, but probably not in huge quantities. I think fish have pretty high magnesium and phosphorus levels, which is another good in moderation thing. Too much fish could be harmful, though.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2018-05-11 17:23:07
  • arina83arina83
    Posts: 8
    Yeah, I feel like a bit of an idiot now for posting that. After I made the post I read about the issues with feeding raw fish, so now my plans are cooked fish.

    I've done quite a bit of research into the whole issue of fish and heavy metals like mercury, and issues can be avoided. I'm also fortunate in that the fish market I buy from tests their fish for mercury.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1211
    I do feed some fish raw. I think the bigger concern would be achieving a balanced diet with only one protein. It’s easier for humans since we’re not carnivores, but variety is very important for raw feeding. I’ve read that there should be a minimum of 4 “staple” proteins that you feed regularly, and additionally others should be added occasionally. That doesn’t mean 4 different kinds of fish.

    Here’s an article addressing the issue with feeding only chicken:
    https://therawfeedingcommunity.com/2016/11/19/dont-just-wing-it-chicken-only-raw-diets-are-not-balanced/amp/

    I don’t know the specifics about what fish has too much / too little of, but I am confident that it would not be a balanced long-term diet. Variety is really important for raw feeding. Most raw feeding guides specify to feed fish only once or twice a week.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2018-05-13 00:12:12
  • JackStateJackState
    Posts: 131
    If you fed all fish, the dog's Ω6:Ω3 ratio would be out of whack* by having too much Ω3. That's the other end of the pendulum compared to a dog eating all chicken (as Lilikoi alluded to) and therefore having relatively too much Ω6 and needing fish oil supplements. Theoretically you'd need something like flaxseed oil supplements if you fed all fish. This isn't even addressing other possible nutrient imbalances--there are more dimensions to consider than the ratio of types of polyunsaturated fats your dog is getting.

    *What's in whack? I need to walk back what I said about too much Ω3 because there's not enough evidence to define what too much is; we know a lot about too much Ω6 because we have lots of chances to observe that in developed countries eating lots of grain-fed beef and poultry (and grains themselves). We don't know a lot about what happens in humans with lots more Ω3 because prior studies of Inuits who consume way more fish and therefore Ω3 than other polyunsaturated fat sources have recently had a wrench thrown at them. We discovered in like 2015 that almost all the Greenlander Inuits they looked at (and found they had low heart disease while consuming relatively more Ω3 than Ω6 [... like 1:3 but don't quote me except that the Ω6<Ω3]) have this special gene mutation related to fat metabolism that make it an apples to oranges comparison to apply that to other human populations. But we have observed in the US that various heart and arthritis and other problems related to inflammation goes down as people's diet decreases to 5:1, 4:1, 3:1 etc ratio of Ω6:Ω3. Meaning, the sweet spot for humans is not above 3:1 but may not necessarily be the Greenlander 1:3ish (plus we don't know if that high Ω3 tra nslates to different issues).<br />
    Strictly speaking we know even less about how Ω6:Ω3 ratio affects dogs, but the general and correct thought is that we can extrapolate pretty well from observations about humans. So we don't really know the magic number for dogs, but we can grasp at something else. It's the naturalist fallacy to say a wolf's natural diet is necessarily the best and healthiest diet by virtue of it being from the wild. Evolution fills niches--and wolves fill the niche of predators eating deer and rabbits and such and thriving on those various 4-legged bags of nutrient mixes--but it doesn't necessarily mean that niche has the absolute ideal conditions for the health of the species filling it (also evolution selects for a species as a whole propagating and that doesn't always translate to each individual living as long and healthily as its body could). But anyway stepping away from my rant about "natural=best", we do know venison and rabbit work even if we don't know they're absolutely perfect. The Ω6:Ω3 ratio in venison happens to be like 2.8:1 (and I've also seen 2:1 so ballpark), but it is way closer to balanced than grain-fed beef or especially especially chicken.

    Tl;dr, don't feed purely fish for the polyunsaturated fat ratio, but also probably some other nutrient imbalances that I did not even touch on.
    Post edited by JackState at 2018-05-16 21:08:02
  • arina83arina83
    Posts: 8
    Proteins I know are ok for me to be around are fish, dairy and eggs. I don't know if I'm allergic to rabbit, venison, llama, goat or any other exotic meat I can find that isn't $$$$. This is why I have a list of about 20 different raw dog food companies to research. I'm totally opening to trying those...but the question is what happens if all send me into anaphylaxis?

    Flax would be the wrong thing to feed to add more Ω6 to the diet. Flax is naturally high in Ω3. The reason I feed flax to my horses is to add more Ω3 to their diets. While herring, mackerel and salmon are all high in Ω3 (>1500mg per 3oz cooked), not all fish is high in Ω3. Cod, haddock, tilapia, catfish and other species contain <200mg per 3oz cooked. I'm also lucky in that I live on the coast, so its easy to find a wide variety of fish. <br />
    I've also been to Japan twice and got to know the country pretty well. The vast majority of the protein people eat is fish, with soy a close second. Chicken, pork and beef are eaten...but most of the meals my home stay families made were fish based during 2 2 week study tours I did when I was in high school. So the thing that's been bugging me. Shiba Inu come from Japan, its their native habitat if you will. I can't seem to find the answer to my question....how are Shibas fed in Japan? Does their diet mirror their humans? The Japanese also have a much different relationship to both food and nature/animals than we do in the West, and my gut feeling is their philosophy on what's appropriate to feed animals would be different.

    I think we're coming at the issue from slightly different POVs @JackSlate but with the same general premise. What I wonder is if Shibas might be more like Greenlanders, to use your analogy. But I don't have enough information right now to test that hypothesis.

    Some of this might make you shake your head, but its so quintessentially Japanese. https://www.tofugu.com/japan/dog-ownership-in-japan/
    Post edited by arina83 at 2018-05-18 03:56:33
  • JackStateJackState
    Posts: 131
    arina83 said:

    Flax would be the wrong thing to feed to add more Ω6 to the diet. Flax is naturally high in Ω3. The reason I feed flax to my horses is to add more Ω3 to their diets. While herring, mackerel and salmon are all high in Ω3 (>1500mg per 3oz cooked), not all fish is high in Ω3. Cod, haddock, tilapia, catfish and other species contain <200mg per 3oz cooked. I'm also lucky in that I live on the coast, so its easy to find a wide variety of fish. <br />


    Ah I just pulled something out because I was thinking of good plant-based oils. You're right, I should have looked it up first.

    arina83 said:

    I've also been to Japan twice and got to know the country pretty well. The vast majority of the protein people eat is fish, with soy a close second. Chicken, pork and beef are eaten...but most of the meals my home stay families made were fish based during 2 2 week study tours I did when I was in high school. So the thing that's been bugging me. Shiba Inu come from Japan, its their native habitat if you will. I can't seem to find the answer to my question....how are Shibas fed in Japan? Does their diet mirror their humans? The Japanese also have a much different relationship to both food and nature/animals than we do in the West, and my gut feeling is their philosophy on what's appropriate to feed animals would be different.

    I think we're coming at the issue from slightly different POVs @JackSlate but with the same general premise. What I wonder is if Shibas might be more like Greenlanders, to use your analogy. But I don't have enough information right now to test that hypothesis.



    I'm even more out of my element here, but hearing that they're from the mountainous regions of the islands I suspect their diet would have been less seafood based than the modern japanese diet (Greenland's habitable areas are like directly on the coast & its fjords). But aside from that I agree there's not enough to point away from feeding them like any other dog.


    I don't know about other possible nutrient deficiencies with all fish. Before I just went with what seemed like a good kibble brand, I was using this (https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list) to plan and to throw into a spreadsheet using mg/1000kcal target values from... my notes say "FEDIAF 2013" and "NRC 2006". I can make a mean spreadsheet, but I gave up when I figured out I couldn't algebra my way into knowing how bioavailability of XYZ works.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1211
    Also, just because a raw diet is biologically appropriate and what dogs ate in the wild, it doesn’t mean it’s always more healthy. Many wolves only live until the age of 3 and have plenty of nutritional deficiencies. We definitely want our dogs to live longer, healthier lives hahaha. But feeding only one protein on a raw diet isn’t a healthy way to feed raw and negates the entire purpose of raw feeding. Unless you’re aiming just for survive rather than thrive.

    Definitely look into some premade raw options. If it ends up not being a feasible option for you to feed raw, that’s okay! You could still supplement their diet with fish or maybe pull off a half raw diet, where one meal is raw and the other is kibble. Since we travel a lot, Ozzy often eats kibble or freeze dried for his dinner meals when we’re visiting family or camping.

    People criticize kibble or other convenient food because eating the same meal twice a day every day for years would create some serious boredom with food. I’ve seen a lot of raw feeders refer to it as the “mac and cheese diet,” when even raw feeders just get caught up in preparing huge batches and feeding the same thing day in and day out. But when it comes to raw feeding, that can be much more dangerous. Every meal is not necessarily perfectly balanced with every piece of nutrition that a dog needs to thrive. Some days they might get more bone, some days they might get more organ, and the aim is for balance over time. The few studies done on raw feeding are usually pretty critical about it because they don’t look at a balanced raw diet. They look at a German Shepherd and her pups who died after being fed “a raw diet,” aka the same protein every day with some rice or bread. I think it’s generally safe for most vets to advise against a raw diet because, if not done right, it can definitely be damaging.

    Also, if you would be cooking fish, the bones wouldn’t be safe to feed. So you would have to find another way for them to get their bone content.

    Unless you can find like a knowledgeable, professional holistic kind of vet to help you make sure that your pup would be getting all of their nutrients and not be overdosing on ingredients that would be safe in moderation, I don’t think it’s advisable at all to feed a raw diet consisting of mostly one protein. Especially for a growing puppy. I would never have fed Ozzy raw as a puppy on my own hahah... I didn’t know much about raw feeding when I first got him, and it’s so important for growing puppies to get all the nutrition they need. Ozzy was weaned on raw and I fed premade raw that I ordered and had shipped to me monthly for the first 8 months of his life. Super pricy, but they had done all the work to make sure that a growing puppy was having all of their nutritional needs met. I’m still unsure if I will order from the same raw company ($120 per month) when I get a second pup, or if I’ll feed kibble or freeze dried and supplement with raw until she has matured.

    Just because a diet is healthy for one group of people doesn’t mean it’s healthy for everyone. Feeding a raw diet to dogs is not always better if it’s not well balanced. Maybe explaining your situation to some premade raw companies that you’re researching could help point you in the right direction. I think they would likely have some fish formulas or tips about balancing a fish based diet, or maybe they’d even have access to some more unique proteins that might be safer for you to handle.

    Also, I’m sure you probably are familiar with this by now, but the body doesn’t have a reaction the first time you’re exposed to an allergen. So if you find a good source for something exotic like kangaroo meat or something and don’t have a reaction to it, make sure to be just as cautious the second time you’re exposed to it. From what we were taught in my anatomy class, it’s normal to have no reaction upon first exposure, but every time after that will continue to cause an increasingly more severe reaction.

    My iPhone is having some annoying nonstop autocorrect issues typing this hahaha. Tried to go back and fix the ones I noticed. Sorry if I missed some.
    Post edited by Lilikoi at 2018-05-21 22:14:45
  • JackStateJackState
    Posts: 131
    Yeah I'd feed kibble if I needed an epipen at the butcher.

    For my own geeky curiosity, have doctors ever told you exactly what the allergen is? Like with most people's fish allergies, it's the β-parvalbumin family of proteins that's the trigger.