Focus on nutrition from DogwisePosted: May 16, 2010 Filed under: Lotsa Lhasa Info 1 Comment
|From Dogwise: It’s very interesting to watch how trends in both human and pet nutrition seem to run in tandem. All of a sudden, obesity in people seems to be the hot topic, with several recent documentaries having been broadcast and books written on the subject. The experts all seem to agree – it has to do with the kinds of food we eat in modern America, combined with a sedentary lifestyle. And while obese pets are less common than obese people, there are similar concerns about what we feed our dogs. Which brings us to Feed Your Pet Right – The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat by Marion Nestle (author of What to Eat – for humans) and Malden Nesheim. Based on the success of the book on people food, the authors have turned their attention to an in-depth analysis of pet foods, both the pros and cons. Marion is a professor of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU and brings a great deal of expertise to this effort. The book will really help you decide what the best course of action is for feeding your dog or cat.
Sticking with this theme, here are some other suggestions to improve what you feed your dog:
My personal dog-feeding odyssey started many years ago, when our vet insisted we quit the “table scraps” and Purina and put our old dog on Science Diet, and the stuff literally killed him; he went from a pretty healthy 16 year-old to dead in less than six months. I searched around for a decent kibble and found only Wysong back then, so I fed that for a few years. Then, still dissatisfied, I discovered Ian Billingshurst and BARF, then Kymythy Shultz and her Natural Diet. We gathered together all the ingredients and had a big production going in the kitchen once a month, and made our own “raw diet”. Dogs were healthier than on kibble, but it was a big hassle. When I got the Apsos, we switched to Nature’s Variety and Primal with some added chicken necks and kefir, and other stuff. Expensive, but still not quite right, and besides, I eventually learned, it’s pasteurized, so all the good enzymes are killed off. Dogs still had skin issues and gained weight easily. I kept on researching. My revelation came from the http://www.rawfed.com group and other related sites that say BARF is waaay too bone-heavy, and dogs don’t need carbs. Carbs very,very bad for dogs! That’s why they’re fat! (Carbs feed cancer, too, in both carnivores and humans).
The Raw Diet folks say they don’t need veggies, they don’t need grains, especially. Dogs still have the teeth and digestive system of a wolf; nothing has changed except the shape.
So, feed them like the carnivores they are, like wolves: RAW meat, replete with all the digestive enzymes they need. Wolves eat about 80% meat, 10% edible bone (not weight-bearing bones) and approximately 10% organ meat. Feed about 2-3% of ideal adult body weight. Feed about 50% red meat (beef, pork, elk, venison, etc) . The only supplement is Salmon Oil.
(I also feed them eggs and raw goat milk, because we have it.)
I gave it a try when I got the BIg Guy. Heck, he even still looks like a wolf! The Apsos are just little, hairier wolves. I started him off from day one on the Species Appropriate Prey Model Raw Diet, and the apsos joined right in. Thought it would cost me a small fortune, but was happily surprised when it cost me no more to feed one giant dog and three apsos than it did to buy the pricey stuff for the three apsos alone! It’s been six months now, and people actually stop me and ask me what I’m feeding him! Both trainers we have used so far are very impressed. My vet is totally supportive, as she feeds raw, too. So that’s very helpful. I thought the apsos would get raw meat all over their beards, but it hasn’t happened. Everyone eats every bite with gusto and grunts of joy! They lick each other’s beards clean, as well as their crate mats. Sadie’s skin issues cleared up in one month. Their ears are clean, their eyes still drain, but less. They simply smell better, have fresh breath, clean teeth and more energy. Zeke is still a food hound, but even he has lost a pound. Watching Sadie consume a Game Hen breast is awesome! She loves it! Zeke can power through a chicken leg in no time. Wyatt is an eating machine. And the “Big Guy” has grown evenly and without the growth spurts and bone problems large breed puppies often have when fed grain-based kibble. An added bonus is that they have tiny little poops. About once a day. The German Shepherd’s poops are about the size that the apsos used to be when eating Primal and Nature’s Variety! Why? Because they are digesting and utilizing ALL the food I’m feeding them now! Their poop looks like coyote scat, minus all the hair and feathers.
Bottom line for me is that this diet is wonderful. My dogs are healthy and happy and satisfied because they are using their teeth the way they were meant to be used.
I’ve learned to scout out sources of great protein for them from grocery stores, mark-downs, butcher shops, Costco, etc. Feeding is easy. I guess the only real investment, aside from just jumping in with both feet, has been that they need their “own” freezer/refrigerator to store all their food, so I can stock up when I find great buys or get “free” elk meat from a local butcher, etc.
I do hope we’re all evolving in our thinking about what we’re feeding ourselves and what we’re feeding our critters. My mantra for a long time now has been “Eat Real Food”, and that applies to my dogs as well as to us.
Something to think about….