Sunday, July 31, 2011

Figuring out this dog food business again

Blogger still has some issues, so I have to comment to anything you post up here in this field.

Barb left me a comment on my last post that really had me thinking half the night.  I loved her idea of budgeting $1 per pound for meat.  She also feeds each of her dogs about a pound a day or a little more.  When I feed the dogs raw meat, I have been giving them a lot more than that.

Fact:  My dogs are very overweight, 75 and 85 lbs.  The average weight of boxers is 60 to 70 lbs.  So I'm not doing them any favors by feeding them the volume of chow that I have been feeding, raw or dry.

Unfortunately, they're used to that amount. Twice a day.  This morning I cut back on the dry to one cup each, and added some homemade chow.  After they ate, they looked at me like I was nuts and went back to licking the now empty bowls.

Fact:  When my dogs were eating more raw food than kibble, they started losing weight and coats got really shiny.

Time for a change.

Here's some info I found on the web:
Dogs lack the digestive enzymes to properly break down plant cellulose and absorb the nutrients from raw fruits and vegetables. These should be cooked or run through a blender first if you want your dog to derive full nutritional value from them. However, if you simply want to give your dog low-calorie, fun treats, raw fruits and vegetables are fine too. Dogs often enjoy broccoli stalks, carrot, celery and summer squash chunks. Virtually any pitted fruit or berry makes a nutritious snack. Yams and sweet potatoes, though sugary and starchy, are good for dogs. Some of the new grain-free kibbles include sweet potatoes as a major ingredient.

Read more: Fruits & Vegetables for Dogs |

So, here's some other ideas I'm using to suppliment with good stuff while my fat pooches get used to less food.  This might be on the cheap for you if you have a bumper crop in the garden:

I have hens, so eggs are a given.  An egg a day.
Green beans - I was surprised to see that the huge, institutional size can really wasn't much cheaper than buying regular size cans.  But if you can stock up on them when they have a sale, that'd be pretty cheap.

Again, this is just MY take on how to give my obese dogs a healthier diet instead of dry kibble and bacon grease.  I swear, if you have ever seen dogs that were fed raw meat and veggie/fruit treats, it'd make you a believer in it.  The last time I gave each dog just one chicken thigh and leg, I put dry kibble in the bowls.  Hardly any was eaten throughout the day.  I figured they were just holding out for the good stuff.

So tomorrow I'm heading to the greyhound supply place and picking up a case of race lean meat.  Current price on that is about $0.50 a pound = $1 a day, if I do what Barb does, giving each dog a pound.  That's affordable, about the same price as feeding them Purina. Right now my dogs are used to the bulk of a lot of chow, so I'll add some veggies to their diet, too.

Will I pitch the kibble?  No.  I don't live that close to the supply place and I want my dogs to have something if I run out, ya know?  I'm going to take a couple gallon freezer bags of kibble and put them in the freezer.  During the winter, I can get snowed in here for a few days at a time.  I'll also keep making bone broth occasionally, so I'll have that in the freezer to go with the kibble when they get that.  I added some half cooked grated carrot and zucchini to the bone broth and mush that's in the frig now.  They'll get a lot less kibble today and more homemade.  I should get into the routine easily enough, so maybe the kibble will end up being peacock and chicken feed in the end.