Archives for April, 2009

Raw food as part of a Homemade Dog Food diet

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Hello to all,

If you are interested in preparing homemade dog food, you have probably come across information regarding the “Barf” diet, which is bones and raw food or biologically appropriate raw food. The Barf diet has its staunch supporters but also its detractors. The detractors’ main objection is the safety issue, which as a paranoid pet parent I can definitely relate to. The supporters contend it is the highest quality diet your dog can eat.

My experience with the Barf diet is limited. Roxie and Gypsy do get raw chicken wings and necks on occasion, and they both go a little crazy when they know raw chicken is on the menu. And, despite my paranoia, they both handle bones just fine. They don’t try to swallow pieces whole but do chew them up. My understanding is there have been cases of dogs choking on turkey necks and chicken necks because of the cylindrical shape. I handle that by cutting a neck lengthwise. My main objection to the raw bones is the extra vigilance it requires of Rick and myself to avoid sanitation and jealously problems.

However, I do incorporate raw organ meat into their diets. I use beef or chicken liver, chicken gizzards, or chicken hearts. Liver, in my opinion, is especially smelly and disgusting, but if it is partially frozen, I find it easier to cut into bite-sized pieces. Because my dogs are only 20 pounds, an ice-cube tray works perfectly to hold individual portions in the freezer.

If yor are interested in more information about the Barf diet, the book The BARF Diet by Ian Billinghurst is an excellent resource.

Happy Easter everyone!

Jean

Apr 10, 2009 | 0 | Homemade Dog Food

Homemade dog food – components

Good Morning,

One of my biggest concerns about feeding Roxie and Gypsy homemade dog food was to figure out what comprises a balanced diet for dogs.

Dogs are omnivores, which means they can eat both plants and animals. This makes sense if you consider their wolf ancestry. Wolves are predators, and they eat not only the muscle and bone from their prey, but also the stomach contents. So, if a wolf has taken down an antelope, for example, that antelope will have partially digested plant material in their stomach.

So, our dogs need mostly protein, lots of calcium (my 20 pound dogs require about twice what I do!), and carbohydrates, mostly in the form of vegetables and fruits. Another important (and I thought interesting) detail is dogs cannot breakdown the cell wall of vegetables like we humans can, as their digestive systems are much shorter. What that means is the vegetables should either be lightly cooked (steaming works well) or broken down with a blender or food processor until they are almost a mush.

I have read varying opinions on whether or not to feed dogs grain. It is an inexpensive component, but just like humans, dogs don’t really require grains. Plus their digestive systems are not well designed to break them down. I started out feeding Roxie and Gypsy grains in the form of cooked oatmeal or cooked brown rice. I found they both gained way too much weight way too quickly, so I just don’t give them grains anymore. I suppose if a dog is extremely active and a working dog it would be a good way to give them extra calories. I would love to hear someone else’s feedback on how well their dogs do with grains.

As to calcium, I do ground-up eggshells. You can also do human quality bone meal (as opposed to garden quality) but I am by nature a frugal person, so using eggshells appeals to me. I just save them in the fridge. I use mostly eggshells from boiled eggs so I don’t have to clean them out. When I use shells from eggs that are not boiled, I do wash them before putting then in the fridge. Once I get about a dozen, I dry them in the oven for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees, and then grind them into a fine powder with a coffee grinder. They will keep indefinitely in a tight container.

Jean

Apr 09, 2009 | 0 | Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food – avoid duplicate work

Hello from San Antonio,

One of the things I figured out along the way to preparing Homemade Dog Food for Roxie and Gypsy, is there are ways to incorporate my food preparation for Roxie and Gypsy with what I am making for Rick and myself. For example, on the weekends for breakfast I make a fruit smoothie (orange juice, frozen fruit, plain yogurt, flax seed, etc.) along with some eggs. Well, Roxie and Gypsy have figured out they get to share in the smoothie and eggs, so they stick right next to me during the preparation.

Another way I can do one preparation for both the humans and the doggies is using the crock pot for something like a shoulder roast or a butt roast when our local grocery store runs them on sale. I just avoid putting onions in the pot, but garlic, other veggies, or herbs are just fine.

By the way, I came across recently what I think is an excellent and comprehensive resource for Homemade Dog Food called Dog Food Secrets. They not only include a ton of Homemade Dog Food recipes, but other really helpful information like commercial dog food ingredients, daily caloric requirements for dogs, foods to avoid, and lots more.

Talk to you soon,

Jean

Apr 08, 2009 | 0 | Homemade Dog Food

Transitioning to Homemade Dog Food

Hi everyone,

I wanted to give you an update on the stray puppy that we took to the Humane Society. They already have him up for adoption, he has been given the name “Wyleeum” and they have determined he is a lab mix. I am hoping someone soon will see how sweet he is and give him a permanent home.

As I mentioned yesterday, we made the decision to feed Roxie and Gypsy homemade dog food after doing some research about the commercial pet food industry. The problem was, where to start? I really had no idea and the last thing I wanted was to do harm to my girls. I visited lots of blogs and sites on the internet, but in the end, my primary source of information was a publication called The Whole Dog Journal. They ran a series of articles which gave me enough information to get started.

I guess the main ideas I came away with is it is all about balance over time and variety. Balance over time means you don’t have to have a “complete and balanced meal” each and every time you feed your dogs, you just want to strive for balance over about a week. Variety just means you do not want to feed the same thing over and over, that just like humans you want to introduce a variety of foods to your dogs.

Also, you don’t have to just throw out all of your commercial dog food, you can transition to homemade dog food a little at a time as you settle into a routine.

If you haven’t done so already, you can enter your name and email in the box in the upper right hand corner to receive my report “Tips and Tricks for Homemade Dog Food”.

Until tomorrow,

Jean

Apr 07, 2009 | 0 | Homemade Dog Food

Why our dogs are fed Homemade Dog Food

Good morning from San Antonio,

As dog lovers, we are all aware of the pet food recall that occurred in the Spring of 2007. I felt so much sadness for the people that lost their precious pets due to inompetence, arrogance, greed, or whatever excuse in the pet food industry.

The company that distributes dry dog food we were feeding Roxie and Gypsy issued a statement that assured us their food was safe, so we breathed a bit easier. However, it spurred me to start doing research as to what commercial dog food is all about. What I found goes beyond the ingredients, which are disturbing enough, but also to the method of dry food production that basically destroys any nutritional value.

The pet food industry has duped us to believe there is no way we humans are competent to provide enough nutrition for our dogs, so we must use their products. What a crock. Our grandparents did not have commercial dog food available so their pets were fed leftovers and table scraps. Their dogs did just fine. Our dogs today have higher incidences of cancer, immune disorders, allergies and a host of other health issues, and these illnesses are occuring at younger ages. So much of it boils down to nutrition. It makes sense to me that humans would in no way thrive on the same food day after day, year after year, so neither would Roxie and Gypsy.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about transitioning to a homemade diet for Roxie and Gypsy.

Until then,

Jean

Apr 06, 2009 | 0 | Homemade Dog Food

Homemade Dog Food? Not! part 2

Good morning to all,

In this post, I’ll wrap up the story about the stray puppy.

I forgot to mention yesterday that we took the stray puppy to a nearby vet to see if he had a microchip. He did not. So, he had neither a collar nor a microchip. The vet tech also told us the puppy was 4-5 months old, and he weighed 12 pounds.

Rick set up a small fenced-off area for him in our back yard, moved the dog house (which is never occupied) for him, and gave him water and food.

The little guy really had an engaging personality and just wanted to play. So, we decided to see how Roxie and Gypsy would handle him. Gypsy immediately put him in his place, and he left her alone. Roxie, however, would not stand up for herself, so of course the puppy pestered her until we put a stop to it.

We really expected to get a call from his desparate owner that evening in response to the signs we had posted, but the phone did not ring. So, we had an overnight guest.

The next morning, I called the Humane Society once again to see if any cage space had opened up for him. It had. They gave us an appointment for that very afternoon to bring him in. The people at the Humane Society could not have been nicer, and the puppy happily greeted the new humans as they took him back. They are hopeful to have him ready for adoption as soon as they neuter, vaccinate, microchip, and bathe him. They charge a receiving fee of $25.00 which I think is totally fair and reasonable given all they do, and Rick and I felt compelled to double it to $50.00.

I will be watching their website to see when he comes up for adoption, and I’ll keep you posted.

Jean

Apr 03, 2009 | 0 | Stray Dog

Homemade dog food? Not!

Good morning, everyone,

It was my full intention to start talking about how we transitioned Roxie and Gypsy from commercial dog food to a homemade dog food diet.

However, we had a new doggie experience I would like to share.

Two days ago, we were walking around our neighborhood with Roxie and Gypsy as we do every day. Along the backstretch, a little puppy came barreling our way. He was an exuberant little guy, and was thrilled to see us. Roxie and Gypsy did not share his enthusiam, but he would not be deterred. He followed us all the way home and proceeded to whine and scratch at our front door. What choice did we have but to take him in? We had never taken in a stray so we had no clue as to what to do next. Surely someone will miss this little guy. We had a violent storm that morning so we thought the puppy got scared and escaped his back yard.

So, Rick hauled out our puppy crate to hold him while I got on the phone. I called the two large no-kill shelters here in San Antonio, and then called our doggie day care place to get some more ideas. She suggested several resources, including Man and Beast, which is a central lost and found pet database here in San Antonio. We posted “Found Puppy” signs in the neighborhood, talked to a bunch of neighbors, and drove around nearby neighborhoods to see if someone had posted “Lost Puppy” signs.

I will continue the puppy’s story with tomorrow’s post.

Talk to you then,

Jean

Apr 02, 2009 | 0 | Stray Dog

Welcome to our Whole Dog Living blog

Hi Everyone,

This is Jean McKinney, and I will be talking about various topics as to how we care for our dogs, Roxie and Gypsy, using more natural, or non-traditional methods. My goal is to keep this blog informative, but friendly and fun.

Please feel free to leave your comments, or ask a question, or suggest a topic.

Also, if you key your first name and email, and click Submit in the upper-right box, you will receive instant access to my free report “Tips and Tricks for Homemade Dog Food”.

I’ll talk to you soon,

Jean

Apr 01, 2009 | 0 | Welcome