I know this subject is being thrashed at the moment and there are debates about raw verses dry.* Instead of replying to lots of thread I thought I would post my experience.
I would prefer to feed dry as it so much easier, but for my dogs health I was willing to try anything.* Kass had been bought up on Eukanuba and I wondered if dry food had contributed to her cancer.
When Ernie was sick earlier this year, and had* itchy , flakey skin I was feeding him Eukanuba. He had been on this all his life and always had problems, but never treated. I changed to Science diet. He got worse. I thought it might be seasonal, or dust. I have wooden floors and kept him away from carpet, took his sheepskin bed off him and made a syntheitc bed. I vacuumed and washed the floors every day. Nothing made a difference. Next thing was food or glocusamine. I decided changing his food couldn't hurt.
I didn't finish his bag of dry food. I immediately feed bones,* raw* and cooked meat, chicken, hearts livers, fish, cottage cheese yogurt and any meaty thing thats cheap. At first i put veges and fruit through the juicer and added this with some cooked* rice or rolled oats to fill it up.I have always feed fish in natural oil 3-4 times a week.* I had no idea how much to feed him so it was trial and error. The big down side is I* worry he* getting the vitamins he needs.* I found some natural vitamins I added to his food. I was also told if he was getting enough fresh food and bones it would have the vitamins in it.
Because of his hips I have to watch his weight so every 2 weeks I weighed him. If he gained I cut his food back. I* found about 2 cups is enough food for him. Sometimes I was too lazy to feed raw and wanted to finish his dry stuff so started adding it until the bag was finished..* If I feed too much dry food his itching started.
It has been 6 months and apart from his hips and thyroid he is great.He is looking so much healthier than he did a year ago. Often people stop me in the street to ask how do I get his coat so beautiful ,soft and shiny. The vets are pleased with his progress and* say he looks* a different dog. Best thing of all he is off his allergy medication and seems to feel good.
edited to add.
I am not sure what it is worth but I will share it. After Kassa was diagnosed with cancer of the jaw I took her off Eukanuba and fed fresh. I was told she would live a few weeks may be a month. After 5 months she was stilll looking good and had some chemotherapy. Kassy fought the cancer for 10 months and each time the vets saw her were amazed that not only was she alive but looked so healthy.
Thanks for telling us Ernie's story... I'm sure it could inspire dog owners with similar problems. Above all, your relief is almost tangible, only surpassed by what Ernie must be feeling in his entire body.
PS: Don't worry too much about food being unbalanced. It's only in the last 20 years that kibble has become so popular. Dogs have a history of a few thousand years on raw food and what would seem to be a whole lot less skin and liver problems. If we can feed our children - with a life expectancy close to 85 currently - surely we can feed our dogs for an average of 12 years. The body is a fantastic machine which would probably do a lot better job expressing itself if it didn't have to battle with our experiments in food chemistry. Doctors never cease to be amazed by the health of natives of areas with little to offer, but who are in tune with nature.
I agree 100%. I think the dog food companies have done an incredible job of convincing us that we can't possibly feed our dogs adequately, yet we feed ourselves and many of us raise children to adulthood without prepackaged and processed "kid food".Originally Posted by JP
JP - It's really interesting to me that Europeans don't seem to have gone as far astray with this as we Americans have. Is it that the dog food companies didn't promote their food so heavily in Europe or is it just a cultural thing? Americans are always looking for "quick and easy" and pouring kibble from a bag certainly is easier than giving some thought to feeding your dog fresh foods. I'd be interested to hear what you think about our feeding differences.
Everything I have read (scads of books for every different kind of vet and vet instructors) indicates that one normal adult vitamine tablet a day should do him for the vitamines. The only thing is due to his allergies you might stay away from colorings, vitamins with wheat, corn etc.
Calcium wise, I was meant to give Lya 5 Tums a day. I do not give her Tums cause they have colors, flavors and other things added. I give her the equivalent in tables without additives. But you feed RAW including bones, so you might not even need to give that much cause he is already getting a goodly amount.
Lya's butcher who sells venison to a huge number of dogs swears it is the chemicals and preservatives in dry kibble. Of course the "specialists" swear that this could not be the case. Lya's butcher is going to be putting his kids through collage on venison money while the "specialists" keep researching the issue.
Someday we will know the answer.
Morgan with Lya the Itchy
Maybe, it's just because we're usually about ten years behind!!! Actually, the whole "meal" philosophy is different. Even if lunch is eaten at work, everything stops and we sit down with a drink and chat and enjoy. Dinner is a family get together around the table with conversation, no TV. Although some ready-made meals are beginning to appear in supermarkets, most of us have never served a TV dinner to our families. Open air markets are always bustling with people and this is where I buy much of my food, happy to pay more to get a tasty farm chicken rather than a mass produced whatever. Fresh vegetables are served with every meal - only chick peas and sardines are bought in cans - and the dogs always get their share. Butchers will keep beef parings and bones for dogs. So, I guess, I quite enjoy preparing a meal for them - chopping some meat, grating a carrot and throwing in some whole rice. Kibble is being marketed pretty aggressively right now and lots of people are turning to it for the convenience. I personally sell about 20 tons a year with zero advertising, but most of our clients still use "real" food about half the time. Some, especially those with more than six dogs, rely more heavily on kibble... economics enters the equation like anywhere else. I can only hope that people will stay close to nature, even if it means me selling less.Originally Posted by Labsrme
Wow, JP, sounds like I need to move to Europe! Really, it sounds wonderful. I do cook for my family and we have sit-down dinners with no TV on, but you can't believe how many people never do that.
As far as those wonderful open air markets you have - they are few and far between here. We do have a farmer's market downtown on Saturdays during the Spring and Summer months, but that's about it. There are also no meats available for sale there, so if you want more naturally raised meats you have to go to one of the local health food supermarkets, and the meat is VERY expensive. As far as butchers, they are pretty much non-existent. I have a terrible time even finding fresh bones for my dogs.
Y'all might be 10 years behind us but it sounds like you are actually way ahead!
People do have to take responsability for feeding their children, but the last time I saw my cousin's refrigurator, there were notes plastered on it stating about how much protein, sugar, carbs, etc etc her toddler needed per day for optimal growth. Maybe it is because puppies do not come with pediatricians that we must flounder in such questions and research ourselves.
To give the vets a little credit here in America...if they told the mass majority of Americans that they had to prepare their dogs food from scratch every day they would be laughed at. No way could an American vet tell most clients to feed their dog homecooked. 95% would just say, Yeah right...and find a new vet." Shoot, I am often pleased that the majority of folks feed their dogs at all.
What would one call a puppy pediatrician anyway...we should think of something proper for such a specialty.
Morgan with Lya the Itchy
35% of my fridge is consumed with dog food.
This is the same as in N.Z. We cook each night and family all sit down together. Same as lunch time. All our products are fresh. We pride ourselves on being clean and green with natural products and being GM free. I have heard the beef used for Eukanuba comes from N.Z. We are getting more ready made foods. In N.Z. we bake all our cakes and cookies from scratch. We buy our chick peas fresh and cook them.Originally Posted by JP
AAFCO recently published a daily recomended food ,vitamin and enzyme list for dogs it included protein and fat and all the vitamins etc. required....the only thing that wasn't required for a healthy dog was Carbohydrates. This doesn't mean you can't give them some but they aren't required. The dog food companies use them as a cheap filler.
I have fed Amber a completely raw natural carnivore diet since she was 7 months old (9 months ago) and she seems to be in great shape. Her coat is perfect she has a bunch of energy and best of all her teeth are very very clean. Peridontal disease is diagnosed in 85% of kibble fed dogs by age three. but rarely in raw feed dogs. Peridontal disease leads to kidney and other diseases in dogs and people just ask your dentist.
Kelly G and Greenwoods Amber Wave RN CGC
JP, what a wonderful, sensible reply! This is truly taking the holistic approach. Family meals and quality time feed the soul, which is equally important. Summer here brings daily pleasures in the garden - my misshapen tomatoes and buggy corn are the butt of many a joke at the table, but at least we share the humor.
I have a neighbor who drives into town every single day to buy fresh, perfectly formed organic vegetables for her family from the fancy whole food store. Never mind that these vegetables have been trucked thousands of miles...at what cost to the environment? I was saddened when she told me their dining room table was only used at Christmas - the rest of the time they are far too busy to do anything more than grab their organic meals on the run.
We can indeed manage to feed ourselves (after a fashion) and our children, so adding fresh foods to our dogs' diets shouldn't be so darn difficult. I think part of the issue in the U.S. is that we take an "all or nothing" approach. The kibble companies warn us against adding anything to their" perfect" diets, the prey model raw feeders shudder at the thought of grains, fresh or otherwise, and those who feed home cooked or a mixture are left feeling like second class citizens in both camps. Feeding, whether raw, home cooked or kibble, must be done "by the book" here (often quite literally!) and there is endless obsession with minutia. I confess - I'm certainly guilty of this too. If we are cross-eyed from studying dog food labels, or exhausted from driving hours to pick up a freezer full of meat, the dogs are often the ones to lose out on our company. I like to think that when the first dogs separated themselves from their wolf cousins tens of thousands of years ago, they were seeking something more than just a meal ticket.
Or, looking at my crew...maybe not.