Sunday, March 19, 2006

Meat, meat - it's what dogs like to eat!

What does one feed their dogs, if not pellets?
I think pellets are a strange and unatural food. But I'm not going into the Evil That Is Kibble - there's plenty of that online. Most dogs do OK - most well, some poorly, on pellets. However, people who feed a raw- or mostly raw, or even home cooked - find their dogs do absolutely marvellously. No doggie odor, no bad breath, awesome coat, brilliant teeth, fewer allergies and skin problems and improved muscle tone. Oh - also little, practically odorless poops!
I have it on good authority that the 2006 Westminster BIS "Rocky" is on a raw diet. Many of the people I know with show and working dogs feed raw.
People who had pretty healthy pellet-fed dogs are usually astonished at the overall improvement when switching to raw. I was.
Meat. Biologically, dogs are carnivores and opportunistic scavengers. They do very well on a grain free diet of mostly meat. Or at least, minimal grains, though most raw-feeders feed none. Yes, dogs are quite able to eat and digest raw bones - it's cooked bones that are terribly dangerous. They can also handle a much higher bacteria load than humans can. I know many people - both online and in real life, who have fed a raw diet for years, even generations of dogs. I've fed this way for over five years. One dog is five and been raw fed since little puppyhood. I just had him in for a dental because he was getting the tiniest bit of tartar on a few back teeth. Otherwise they are brilliantly white. The vet proclaimed his teeth and gums perfect and scraped off a couple of microns of tartar. My other dog is about six, and I can't find a spot of yellow on her teeth.
What is in the refrigerator dog bin right now? A couple of pounds of ground rabbit. It's ground whole - bones, guts and all, and I get it from these excellent folks. A mess of organic pasture raised chicken. I get that in bulk for pretty cheap from a local poultry farm. And a tub of beef liver mixed with well cooked leafy greens and a few other random veggies.
Dogs need to have vegetables pulverised in a blender or cooked to properly digest them since they cannot break down the cellulose - they're not herbivores! I read in Dog World mag of a recent study showing that Westies (a breed prone to bladder cancer) fed dark green leafies several times a week had significantly lower cancer rates. Further studies are under way to see if this had an effect on other forms of cancer.
Some people never feed vegetables and their dogs do fine. I do; my dogs like them and they clearly have some nutritive benefits.
In my freezer - more chicken and rabbit. A case of beef heart. A bag of beef knuckle bones, because the dogs like to chew on those. Tubs of the cooked veggie mix. I make a big pot-full and freeze it in small tubs. I am taking delivery of 40lbs of green tripe and organ mix next week, which the dogs think is doggie crack. It's also very good for them, with a wide spectrum of probiotics and lots of raw enzymes. I also have a couple of packages of pork neckbones in there. And I need to get down to Utica to pick up more lamb because the dogs really like that too.
What else. Raw eggs. Sometimes I freeze them to make eggsicles. Good protein and lecithin. I keep cans of jack mackerel on hand too. They don't get supplements except for fish oil capsules sometimes - we share since I take those. They also get human leftovers and pizza crusts and such.
I could do it for way less $$ if I didn't buy pricier things like tripe and rabbit. It's still not that much more expensive than premium kibble, plus I have extremely healthy dogs who really enjoy their food much more than any dog enjoys pellets!
My vet back in Colorado - an old country vet who was used to seeing country dogs who often scavenged deer and elk carcasses without any harm done - thought it was just fine. He did raise a valid concern about puppy Cooper getting the correct amounts of calcium for his growing bones. My guide was a knowlegable Rottweiler breeder, I followed her diet. My current vet had no problems with it, but worried a bit about food-borne illness. Four years later, he's relaxed about that and acknowleges the dogs are in great condition. A former vet tech of his also fed raw to her three dogs.
Some people feed a combination of raw and good kibble, that's good too. My cat Elvis eats some raw (he really likes the ground bunny), some canned cat food and a little kitty kibble.
Here is an excellent, informative website on dog nutrition, raw and otherwise.
Got meat? Woof woof!
You can see photos of my dogs (and the cat & various other things) here. Just so you know I'm not making it up about them being in great shape!


Blogger Mike V. said...

hey, this is quite interesting, thanks!

6:12 PM  
Blogger Tired Tunia said...

Yikes. I think my dog wants to move in with you. I'm lucky I'm able to find time to cook for my human kiddos! So poor Ruff is stuck with her rabbit and potato pellet food from the vet!

7:33 PM  
Blogger Carina said...

Thank you back!
My dogs think also think kibble is fabulous stuff on the rare occasions they encounter it. (Tell Ruff they'll trade a venison potato kibble meal for
a bowl of pulverised bunny.)
A friend emailed me and asked, why didn't I promote the book I wrote here?
Check next entry. :~)

5:56 AM  
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