Addressing Dog Diets
I hate to tell you folks, but just like “complete” horse feeds aren’t healthy for your horses (being full of chemicals and throw away ingredients) dog…and cat…kibble aren’t healthy either. Yes there are some brands that are “better” than others, but how did we get sold the bill of goods that an over processed dried out diet is better than whole foods?
Think about where this all started. Someone decided to make formula for babies and told us it was better than “mother’s milk”. Then it was TV dinners. Now most of our foods we eat are packaged, and we try to tell ourselves its “healthy” because it tastes good. It just isn’t so!
Let me tell you I am preaching to myself while I am writing this. I don’t eat the best diet, because its very time consuming and costly…but I do try! I don’t get enough chances to cook so I cook big meals and eat a lot of leftovers. I try to eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies when I can get it but the bottom line is, I'm not lying to myself into thinking anything prepacked is as healthy for me as eating raw and home grown.
I started this business because I wasn’t getting the answers I needed in my horse’s diets. I cannot get all organic or home grown because that is next to impossible in today’s world. But I do my best. This also includes what I feed my 4 cats and our dog, Finn.
Finn is the biggest goofball of a lab mix that you will ever see. He is also a great service dog, and protector of “his” chickens. He also has allergies and digestive issues. I have spent the last two years trying different kibble blends and different food recipes that I call “Dog Stew” (because the feeding raw meat grosses me out) and with his digestive issues its really hard to feed him all home made…or all kibble. He is however starting to hate kibble, no matter how much we spend on the bag, and I am finally getting closer to recipes his stomach can handle. He at least has made progress. He doesn’t throw up as much as he used to, doesn’t eat as much grass, and isn’t stinky any more.
I had already started into making my own “Dog Stews” with my last dog, Torvey. Finn isn’t actually my dog, but my daughter’s. I’ve just made it my life goal to figure out how to feed Finn to be the healthiest possible and live a good long life.
Pictured below is my latest “Dog Stew” blend. Hamburger, organic barley, peas, carrots, yams, kale, basil, parsley, and an allergy blend that I am testing on him that includes things like Nettle and MSM and other histamine lowering herbs. I blend the meat to be at least 50% but too much higher than that seems to be too little fiber and he goes back to eating grass. The egg is from our free range chickens. Finn also gets rotated into his diet: chub mackerel, sardines, sometimes the stew is chicken based, bananas, apple slices and whatever else he seems to like that we have on hand, like some yogurt, kefir and cottage cheese (about a tablespoon per meal) and Tummy B Calm a couple times a week. Rotation seems to be what works best with him.
Finn still has some high end kibble (currently Arcana) since especially with the current state of the world, and the busyness of my business I cant always keep home made on hand, but making home made has made a huge difference in his health. Herbs are great, but without a solid base diet…well they don’t do miracles but they certainly make up for a lot of shortcomings!
Are you wanting to make changes to your own dog’s diet? If you are already feeding kibble, see if you can improve on the brand. Start adding real foods. Check out some websites that focus on this topic for fresh ideas. Try things in small batches. Most sites will tell you to talk to your vet, but most vets will try to talk you into trying but feel free to ask and see what they say.
The most important thing to remember, just like with human diets, variety is the key! Just don’t make drastic changes as your dog’s poor stomach may revolt against sudden changes. Check out the lists of what NOT to feed your dog, because that is always good to know. And yes, it will probably be more expensive than what you are used to, but its not more expensive than high end kibble and there are ways to cut corners…and to make it quick and easy as well. A little research will take you a long way.
We’ll continue adding to this section as it has been much ignored on my part.
Oh and the funny thing is…my cats like the dog stew too! =)