Over the past few months, I've read more than 30 books on homemade diets for dogs. Many offered recipes that were dangerously incomplete; a smaller number provided acceptable guidelines but were confusing, unduly restrictive, overly complicated, or had other issues that made me recommend them only with reservations. A few were good enough to recommend without reservation. This review is about the cream of the crop: three relatively new books (one is a new edition of an older book) whose authors have taken the time to analyze their recipes to ensure that they meet the latest nutritional guidelines established by the National Research Council (NRC).
I love you, and I wonder if you even know how rare a publication like Whole Dog Journal is. On the same day that I got my Whole Dog Journal, I also got a professional “journal” issue reviewing medical research. Without exception, every article in that magazine was research sponsored by a company that made the product being evaluated. And, surprise! All the research showed wonderful results using their products! I am awestruck every time I read a review in WDJ and it is actual, objective information, not an infomercial.
When someone becomes interested in feeding their dog a homemade diet, I always advise them to read at least one book on the subject before getting started. But which one should you choose? Guidelines run the gamut from diets that have been analyzed to ensure they are complete and balanced, to those that are dangerously inadequate. How do you tell the difference? I decided to check out the homemade diet books that are currently available. Some of them I’d read before, but wanted to take a fresh look at; others were new to me. It’s been an eye-opening experience.
The more I've learned about the meat used in pet food, the more I've come to admire commercially produced frozen raw diets for dogs. The meat and poultry used in most of these diets are far fresher and more wholesome - far more like what most of us would think of as "meat" - than most animal protein ingredients in dry (or even canned) pet foods. The products tend to produce terrific results in the dogs who consume them. Whether this is due to the ingredient quality or the fact that this type of diet is more biologically appropriate for canines than dry foods is anyone's guess. My guess is that both factors contribute to the success of the products.
You know you’ve been feeding raw for a long time when it no longer seems like a radical, ground-breaking, or – ubiquitous adjective for beginners – scary way to feed. When I started feeding raw – a dozen years and three generations of Rhodesian Ridgebacks ago – it was the Middle Ages of raw feeding. Ian Billinghurst’s Feed Your Dog a Bone was the hard-to-find illuminated manuscript (the lax editing could have stood some sprucing up by Benedictine monks), and everyone used the unfortunate acronym BARF, which stood for “bones and raw food” (or, later, the loftier-sounding “biologically appropriate raw food”). No commercial raw diets were available, and new converts dutifully ordered their Maverick sausage grinders over the Internet. The instruction booklet said the table-top grinder couldn’t be used on any bones harder than chicken necks or wings, but everyone ignored that.
Delta Society is one of the largest and best-known organizations that registers and insures “pet therapy” volunteers and their companion animals. Pet/handler teams – known as Pet Partners – brighten lives in hospitals, nursing homes, group homes, schools, pre-kindergarten programs, libraries, jails, women’s shelters, homeless shelters, senior centers, adult day programs, and a host of other facilities. But on May 19, Delta Society triggered a firestorm of controversy, complete with conspiracy theories, angry denunciations, frustration, and confusion, when it announced that effective June 30, “any dog or cat from a household where raw protein food is fed is not eligible to be a Delta Society Pet Partner.” Delta’s Raw Protein Diet Policy raises serious questions about the safety of feeding raw food regardless of an animal’s pet-therapy status.
she says.üSeven-year-old Annie looks terrific now, but she weighed 20 pounds less when first diagnosed with EPI. Annie's owner enjoys cooking for her dogs now that she has learned how to streamline the shopping, preparation, and storage.üKeely is an active agility dog. She requires a low-fat diet to prevent ill effects of hyperlipidemia, which is common in Miniature Schnauzers.üRowdy, a 12-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback, needs a low-fat diet that doesn't trigger painful gas attacks."üRocky is finally a good eater!"
Voss kept her dogs supplied with fresh tripe
We have long maintained that an intelligently formulated diet, made in a dog owner's home out of fresh, wholesome ingredients, is the ideal diet for optimum canine health. The tens of thousands of dog owners who make their dogs' food at home agree. Their dogs enjoy their food; look, smell, and feel terrific; and enjoy vibrant good health. However, some people who would really like to feed their dogs this way don't feel capable of routinely shopping for and preparing their dogs' food. Others worry that their dogs might suffer from a nutritional deficiency or imbalance if they don't formulate the diet just so. These folks are the target market for the products featured in this article: diets made of fresh ingredients (mostly meat) and frozen for convenience.
As more and more owners make the decision to switch their dogs to homemade diets, we grew increasingly aware of the importance and urgency to supply appropriate guidelines that could help people create homemade diets that would meet their dogs' nutritional needs. Over the past five months, we've presented information on homemade diets, cooked and raw, with whole bones, ground bones, or boneless. During that time, we've learned about some new products, read a great new book, tried out some sample pre-mixes and freeze-dried foods, and responded to questions from people about issues raised in our past five articles and points that would benefit from clarification. We'll discuss these topics in this final installment of our series.
Feeding a raw dog food diet to your dog is quite simple, especially once you have a system in place. Though like anything else new, it can seem very complicated when first starting out. These sample dog food diets should be helpful to dog caretakers who are considering feeding a raw diet. Even those who have been doing it for a while may learn some new tricks to make the process of finding, preparing, and storing home prepared dog food simpler.
Over the past three months, weve provided rules and guidelines for feeding a homemade dog food diet, but getting started can still seem overwhelming. This month, well hear from owners who feed their dogs a homemade diet, and learn from them how they go about it, including tips and tricks for finding, preparing, and storing the dog food.