Feeding your Cane Corso
One of the most frequent comments we receive when people meet or see our dogs is, "Good Lord! How much does it cost to feed that beast?"And, one of the most common questions we receive from our kennel clients is, "What should I feed my Cane Corso?" In this post I'll share our dogs' feeding regimens from puppy on up.
All of our pups are started on their mother's milk and remain on her milk until three weeks old. At three weeks, we begin to supplement mother's milk with organic goat's milk or a high quality puppy replacement formula. This is about the time puppies little teeth are cutting through their gums (usually before three weeks) just enough to become irritating to mom. Oftentimes, she'll start to feed less so, in order to ensure the pups are continuing to receive essential nutrients, we begin to supplement. By week four we begin to blend a high quality kibble (we do not do grain free anymore due to more recent studies highlighting the dangers) with the goat's milk, creating a gruel, and feed the puppies three times a day. By the time they are five weeks, we introduce them to raw chicken. We start with bone free and by the time they are six and seven weeks, they are eating bone in chicken. [*Dogs are able to easily digest raw chicken bones as they are soft and pliable unlike cooked or roasted chicken bones. We do not recommend ever giving your dog a cooked chicken bone because they can splinter and break.]
Starting your pup on raw has a number of benefits. The protein and calcium and amino acids contained in raw chicken aide in the development of strong muscles and bones and can make a tremendous difference in the overall musculature of your Corso. We have seen first hand the difference between kibble fed pups versus raw/goat milk/kibble fed pups and it is dramatic. Genetics plays a part in the physical development of your dog; however, like any mammal fed a clean, natural diet versus a processed, dirty diet, the one with the better diet will have an overall better appearance and superior development: coat, skin, eyes, muscles, bones. In addition, feeding your pup raw allows their urge to chew to be satisfied. It takes a puppy about forty five minutes to gnaw through a bone-in chicken thigh. Between the meat, the fat, the bones, and the connective tissue, your puppy's eyes will be rolling back in his head in ecstasy as he chews himself into blissed out fatigue. So, feeding pre-packaged, refrigerated "raw" food from the pet food is *not* going to give you the same result as feeding raw from the butcher. And that brings me to my next resource, the local butcher.
As our pups continue to grow and we begin to expand their raw diet to include a variety of meats, it becomes extremely important to develop a relationship with a local butcher. Not only can they get you amazing pricing that a chain grocery store cannot, you can also specify the types of cuts you are interested in. So, instead of buying whatever cuts are available off the shelf (they tend to put the more expensive cuts out because the profit margins are higher), you can request whatever you want. We have friends who are breeders who go to New York once a month and buy a truck load of meat and freeze it. Thankfully, we're able to procure ours locally but they also squeeze in a visit to family while they're there. Following is an assortment of what we feed our dogs: pork (no pork bones as they tend to be brittle), beef (no beef bones as they tend to be brittle - soup bones bigger than the dogs paw are okay because they tend not to be able to break them and we take them away as soon as they eat all the marrow out of them), salmon, tuna (fresh not canned), sardines (fresh not canned), eggs from our chickens (shell and all but if from the grocery store, no shell as they are coated with shellac). This is all fed in addition to a high quality kibble to ensure a well rounded source of vitamins and minerals. We've discovered when our dogs are lacking something, they will let us know by eating whatever fruits and veggies we, as a family, are eating. But we don't make it a point to feed our dogs fruits and veggies, though many raw proponents do.
I hope this post was helpful when it comes to how to feed your Corso puppy. I promise you will be blown away by your Corso's development when fed a raw diet; a shiny, healthy coat; perfectly white teeth and healthy, pink gums; strong, well developed muscles and beautiful bone. I'll be posting some ways to transition an adult Corso to raw as well, so please feel free to check back frequently. And, if you have any questions or success stories, please feel free to share!