Sunday, April 29, 2012

Exploring new methods for dog food

Anyone who knows me will tell you I am passionate about dogs, particularly Labrador Retrievers.  I am extremely selective in what I feed Molly, my black Lab.  I long ago gave up on the general selection of dog food found in the grocery store. . . words like "animal by-products" really aren't acceptable to me in a list of ingredients.  Several years back when there was a real scare in the dog food industry and dogs were dying in large numbers, I switched to homemade dog food, after carefully researching what should go into it.  For awhile, I fed Molly a mixture of cooked brown rice, cooked chicken and raw grated carrots.  At times I would include hard boiled eggs with the egg shell included (it adds calcium to the dog's diet) and fresh raw spinach.

After feeding her this for a number of weeks, I took her to the vet for her annual shots and spoke with him about what I was feeding her.  He told me it is extremely difficult to get all the nutrients a dog needs in homemade dog food and that he didn't recommend this diet for more than several months.  He also stated that during the dog food crisis, it was almost always a smaller breed of dog that died, that larger dogs, while they may have become ill, usually did not die.

It was about that time that I switched to Blue Buffalo dog food, again, after carefully doing research.

Molly has thrived on Blue Buffalo.  But it has become quite expensive - $60 now for a large bag.  From time to time, I include my homemade mix in her diet to make the Blue Buffalo go further.

Several years ago, I worked with a woman who raises Dobermans who had always fed a diet of raw food and bones.  Well, now!  That was a hard one for me to accept!

Enter Lois, From Lois' Hands.  Find her blog to the right of your screen in my Blog List.  She has two Labs and both are active in Agility competition.  Her dogs are fed a raw food and bones diet.  They are obviously doing quite well.

She pointed me towards reputable information on this kind of diet and I am busy learning as much as I can about it.  I checked with the farmer where I buy all my meat and eggs.  He can supply me with raw bones and will even give me a sample in my next order so that I can try it.

I'll keep you posted on how far I get with this new idea.  Meanwhile, I would be interested in hearing from any of my readers who feed this kind of diet to their dogs.


4 comments:

  1. Don't be shy about asking questions! Daughter Catherine is the one who got into this and prepares the dog food here. It is a labor of love to be sure. Chicken necks (meat, bones, skin) are part of the regular diet. Larger raw bones are for treats once in awhile and gnawing in the back yard. The rest of the diet is raw meat (turkey, deer, chicken, beef....) ground, then mixed with ground (that grow above the ground and below the ground) veggies. There's more to it and I'm glad Catherine will be happy to give you more details. :)

    Hugs,
    Lois

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    1. One source I found said raw bones do not splinter - that was a big concern I have. Trust me, I'm sure I will be coming to you and Catherine getting your opinions on what I find!!!

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  2. I have a 5 year old Irish Setter and I raised him primarily on raw meat. He always had access to dog biscuits but never really ate more than say a cup full a day. The only bones I allowed him were marrow bones.

    When he reached 4 years old, I noticed him itching like crazy after eating meat so I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with a severe meat allergy. He had itched so much he had no hair left around his eyes. The vet informed me that it is becoming more and more common in dogs with a high meat content in their diets because of the (excuse my language) crap being put into chickens, beef etc... and that if I was ever to give him meat again I would have to experiment with meats he had never eaten before (horse, camel etc...).

    I sometimes still give him a small portion of meat because I keep thinking 'imagine if someone said to me, well you're allergic to food so you have to eat this one flavour of cracker for the rest of your life.' Wouldnt you just love it if someone said to you one day, 'would you like an orange?' How much itching would you be willing to accept for that change in flavour and texture?

    I still love the notion of a dog fed almost entirely on bones and fresh meat (Flynn ate marrow bones cut in half length ways) but I would say it depends where you are going to get your meat from.

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  3. Barkley has always had a very sensitive stomach. He'll throw up at most rawhides and gets an upset tummy if I change his biscuits to anything other than ones I make or a kind I get at my vets.

    Ii get a more expensive dog food, but I need to try out the Blue brand. Before his cancer surgery to remove the eye tumor he lost about 12 pounds and it's slow in coming back on. If he eats too much he gets an upset tummy. I'vve been supplementing the dry with chicken breast, brown rice and some veggies (he LOVES frozen peas) but I think a better quality food will do a lot.

    You do love your dog, it shows.

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