So Far, So Good!

The food is going over really well!  There’s no stomach upset, and no change in their need to go out to do their business, but they’ve only been fed the new recipe for two days.  Time will tell.  I’m optimistic, though!

There’s no evidence of them being overly hungry.  I wondered if the fact that I’m feeding somewhat smaller portions would go over like a lead balloon, but by weight, the new food is much heavier than the kibble was.  Granted, there’s more water in it, but it’s nice to know that they’re getting real pieces of chicken and eggs.  It’s feels good to have seen the meat they’re eating.  I cooked it.  I chopped it up.  For their entire lives so far, I’ve trusted animal food companies with that part of my dogs’ diets, and I wonder what I’ve actually even given them over the years.  I shudder when I think about it, actually.

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That brings me to another thought.  Bags of dog food always list “crude protein” on the back.     I, obviously, need to know what that means.  Does it mean digestible protein?  Also listed are “crude fat,” “crude fiber” and “moisture.”  If all of these items add up to less than HALF of the whole bag, what the heck is the rest of what I was feeding.  It must be fillers, right?  But what does that mean, and what does it consist of?

My next thought about this whole process is how do I know I’m giving the right amount of everything in what I’m feeding?  I did the math and realized that the food I made is something like 65%, not-so-crude protein, 25% fiber and 5% veggies, I also supplemented fats and vitamins and the moisture just came naturally in the process by cooking the rice.

There’s going to be some trial and error, and I’ll have to pay very close attention to how they’re doing.  I’ve decided I’m going to email my vet to tell her that I’m doing this new thing. I read somewhere that veterinarians get very little schooling on nutrition.  In the course of their learning, I think it’s like one semester.  Vets, correct me if I’m wrong.  But my vets are really amazing women who are really sensitive to the issues I’ve had with Tripper and Spritzer, so I’m willing to bet they’ll be cheering me on from the sidelines.

That’s about it for now.  It’s a cold, April night and I’ve started a fire in the wood furnace and am ready to call it a night.  I did all kinds of weeding and cleaning out the gardens today, assisted for a while by my friend Hyla and her awesome son, Connor who disappeared into the woods and returned with a deer antler, a liquor bottle, an old shovel head and some wire fencing.

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but I digress… Hyla and I exposed all kinds of new spring growth when we removed all the old, dead stuff, but the forecast I heard this evening is calling for sleet and snow tomorrow morning.  We have long winters in Maine, but I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else on earth.

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Thanks for taking the time to read!  Please offer any tips, hints, suggestions if you have them?

Enough already!

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Nutro dog food?  Recalled.

California Natural dog food?  Recalled.

Innova?  Recalled.

It happens over and over to me.  I get my dogs on a new, supposedly “good quality” kibble, and guess what?  Recalled.

OR, a great food gets bought by a company with a bad reputation, so I leave before the recalls start happening.  Remember when Solid Gold was actually solid gold?  I had great results with it.  I loved that stuff.  Canidae?  They let me down, too, when they were recalled back in the early 2000’s.

So, here’s where I’m at, now.  It’s like a lightbulb came on and I have this thought… “why do I TRUST my dogs’ nutrition to these dog food companies who are clearly more interested with profit than honest-to-God NUTRITION?”  I’ve been feeding my dogs “rendered animals.”  I’ve fed them corn.  There’s so much sugar in corn that i don’t like to eat it very much, but I give it to my dogs.  Why?  Just because it’s in so many dog food brands?  Is it really a good thing to feed things I wouldn’t really want my dog to have because it’s IN dog foods and I can’t really do anything about it?

It’s all stopped making sense to me.  I’ve decided I’m going to control 100% of what my dogs consume.

Tonight, I made my first batch of dog food.  I used boneless, skinless chicken legs and thighs, brown rice, eggs, spinach, oats and added a vitamin supplement and fatty oils.  I’ll explain the recipe later if anyone is interested.  It’s a slightly mellow recipe from what I understand, so that I can let my dogs adjust to the new feeding program with as little stomach upset as possible.  I cooked it, because I’m not comfortable with feeding raw at THIS point.  I know a ton of people who have good luck with raw, but I’m not there yet.  I don’t know enough.  I’m open to change, but for now, my main concern is getting away from commercial dog food, and making sure my dogs are eating better than I am.

I decided to blog and keep track of what I’m feeding, and how the dogs do on what I’m trying.  I feel really good about what I fed tonight, but nervous because I’ve been programmed to think that dog food is the best thing to feed my dogs.  But that’s really all it is, right?  Programming?  I’m going to try to get reprogrammed in a direction that makes more sense, and might even be cheaper.  Who knows?

Here’s a brief introduction to my crew up here on Apple Lane:

Spritzer, is my youngest Jack Russell Terrier.  She has Hemorrhagic Gastro-Enteritis, which is a nightmare.  I’ll talk more about that, all in good time.  I’m sure you can piece together that it sounds like stomach upset and blood.  That’s what it is, alright.  Awful!  She’s afraid of new people, and I’m trying to work on that with her, but the habit is really hard to break.

Tripper is a 6 year old Jack Russell Terrier with blood issues we’re trying to work though.  He has protein issues and has been VERY hard to put weight on.  He’s athletic and outgoing, has great manners and does agility and some obedience.  He’s sort of my “dumb blonde.”  No offense to blondes, I happen to be one, myself… I’m just not dumb.  Tripper is a little un-sharp.  He’s trainable, but surprisingly lacking in “common sense,” I guess.

Devon is a 13 year old Jack Russell with teeth troubles and a heart of gold.  My husband calls her Twerp.  She’s my sidekick, and she’s rarely leashed.  She’s like a little person in a 10 inch, black and white, furry body.  She is the FIRST to figure things out, and she’s super manipulative.  You’ll get annoyed at petting her, tell her, “enough, Devon.  I’m done.  Chill out.  No more petting!”  Five minute later, you’ll find yourself petting her again because she started rubbing her head, like a cat, on your hand, and you just started stroking her head again without realizing it.  It’s so weird.  If you’ve ever heard it said that “Jack Russells train people,” it’s not a lie.  I’m pretty sure Devon is a first class human trainer.

Delta is a 10 year old Doberman with teeth trouble who has a history of fatty tumors all over her body.  I actually had a bunch of them removed and biopsied, and she had a hard time recovering and healing from it all.  She’s been through a lot.  She has the sweetest disposition, but I’ve seen her increase in size when she’s feeling protective.  She can prickle out the fur on her shoulders and neck, down her back to her tail when she means business.  She’s also on guard most days, staring through the dining room windows at the bird feeders so she can alert me if squirrels have invaded.  I open the door, and she ploughs out to go after them, but they’re always long gone.  They zip off into the trees the minute the front door opens, so she stops and stares into the trees at them for a minute, to let them know they’re lucky to have escaped.

So this is my introduction.  I’ll be posting photos and videos along the way.  Thanks for stopping by my blog!