Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

How We Feed our Dogs

We have large dogs and good quality (not grocery store) dog food is not cheap. They have both done well on a good quality kibble diet, but when you homestead you are always looking for ways to keep costs down. So if the livestock feeds us, then it should be reasonable that it feeds the dogs as well. So we gradually changed the dogs over to a prey model diet. No this is not the BARF diet in which you grind, chop and cook endlessly to keep the dogs fed. This is a simple, takes a few minutes a day, prey model diet. Dogs are carnivores, not omnivores. There is a ton of information on the web about a prey diet for dogs and more about prey vs. BARF so I am not going to even try to repeat it here. Needless to say we feed a prey model diet that sometimes has some extras thrown in here and there. One of the things that I have found is to look for balance in the diet over the course of a week. Whenever we butcher anything all useable parts are either fed right then or frozen for later use. The dogs get organ meats at least once a week (source of vitamin A), fish once a week (a can of sardines will do or a can of mackerel or salmon, fresh is better if possible), and the rest of the time the majority of their food is butcher trimmings (all that gristle, fat and silverskin), parts that we don't typically eat (pig feet, snouts, ears, animal brains), rabbit, chicken and whatever else we have extra. Butchering day around here is a big affair with both the cats and the dogs. The dogs clean up the heads and guts (we save large animal organs for later except kidneys which the cats get)and the cats get all the small animal organs along with their own gut pile. I know sounds gross. We have gone this way for several reasons. One we have always supplemented butchering scraps and bones as more of a treat than anything else. Then I started learning about the link between processed pets foods and the high rate of cancer in pets. Then we lost Cujo our Rhodesian to a very aggressive cancer. Don't know if there was a true connection or not in his instance, but he was 12 and had eaten kibble all his life. Three is that Valentine has terrible skin allergies and it doesn't seem to matter what kind or how high a quality kibble she is on, so we are hoping that totally raw will help with that. We have been completely raw for 3 months now and the dogs are doing well. It has certainly helped our pocket book. No huge change in Valentine's skin allergies just yet, but we are hoping as she has grown some of her hair back. Dakota is a healthy weight and very active, Valentine has lost some weight (she was overweight) and has never been very active plus she is 10. I think it just makes sense that if we produce our food then we should be able to produce for the dogs as well. As for the cats, they mostly hunt and are supplemented with meat scraps, fish heads, fish, and kitchen scraps. They are fat, happy and healthy. Don't be afraid to go raw if that is something you think you can do. I know neither of them has bad breath anymore and neither of them has terrible gas anymore and both of them have lovely shiny white teeth. I will say though that giving them bones with meat and grisle on them is messy so they get those outside. The other downside is picking up all the uneaten portions of bones. The one caution is to make sure that all the bones are raw, not cooked. Happy Tails! Kathryn


Rachel Matteson said...

Thanks for the information. I really learned a lot but guess I'll stick to dog food since it has more nutrients that can keep the dogs lean and healthy. The females also produce better puppies when maintained with dog food. :)

Kat said...

And your experience would be? There are many breeders that are now and have been moving to the prey model diet which was developed by a veterinarian. There are no nutrients found in commercial dog food that are not found in the raw diet. Just curious as to your experience or expertise. Blessings, Kat

Kelle said...

We do the same as you and add to this( our dogs have no allergies)egg, veggies( steamed) and brown rice, whole grains cook til soft kelp, garlic, honey and some sea salt( 1/4 tsp per meal) Now not all of this is added each feeding but we mix and match sticking with kelp, raw meat garlic and a grain or rice. We've also added brewers yeast from time to time but only 1/8tsp.
I always go back to what do wild dogs eat and they've managed to survive all these years. Sometimes I think that human intervention has cause a lot of the problems we see in our animals. Thanks for sharing, maybe someone will have the courage to try feeding a natural raw diet to their dogs and cats now :O)

Kat said...

Hey Kelle, We leave out the grains and most veggies. They do get a small amount of each only if we have some leftover from a meal or I feel like throwing in something to add some bulk. Our dogs eat muscle meat, organs, fat and bone. They do get eggs about once a week. From the research that I have read dogs don't digest carbohydrates well and those lead to allergies and inflammation in dogs just as they do in humans. Glad your dogs are doing well, I am hoping to see more improvement with Valentine and her allergies. Blessings, Kat

The Dog said...

Well, from an Aussie point of view, my dogs....massive Sth African Boerboels have NEVER eaten anything except raw meat,bones, fruit and vegies.
Most of the meat is good quality flaps (rib cage) and necks. The vegies come straight from the vegy patch. Broken or cracked eggs are also given.
I think some people get a bit over zealous when feeding dogs.
Adding bits of this and a teaspoon of this....just a waste of time.