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I KNOW THIS IS WORDY, BUT MIGHT BE WORTH YOUR TIME... The main concept in choosing a diet for your dog is to ignore what have been taught by dog food manufacturers and think of what he would eat in the wild with no human intervention. There are so many ingredients that makes you feel it is what is necessary for dogs. Reality is that 95% of what is in dog food dry kibble is either filler or is necessary to hold the ingredients together after cooking. Common sense would tell you they were designed to be scavengers, look at what wild dogs do. They aren't going to eat a cooked dry kibble, they are going to eat RAW. How is it that our domesticated dog needs holistic and gourmet foods to survive... they don't. They need only one simple ingredient (MEAT) and the rest is FILLER. If your dog is healthy, you can feed him just about anything and he will be fine, but meat is all he needs with a few veriences. Some dogs may have more sensitive digestion systems, and need a limited ingredient diet, but they all need the same thing, you simply find the meat that agrees with your particular dog. To make it simple for you, this is the easiest list of ingredients in order of importance... Muscle Meat, Organ Meat, bone meal, water. Yep, that was a period at the end. Everything else is a variety of random nutrients or "filler". Veggies and fruits will offer some nutrients to sustain them until their next meat meal. But they do not process the nutrients of beans, fruits, veggies and dairy like humans do. They do like a variety in their diet just like we do and will enjoy many of the foods you do. But they are not what they were designed to eat.
NOTE: Avoid Vegan doggie diets that are created by uneducated Vegans, who by the way may not have correct operating brain function due to the lack of meat protein themselves. Dont send me hate mail, that is my opinion and just like you... I am entitled to my opinion. The difference in a human choosing a vegan diet, and a dog who is forced to be vegan is that a human requires only 20% meat protein to be healthy. A dog requires 80% or more meat protein to be healthy. They cant eat enough beans to make up the difference, their bodies do not absorb bean protein like ours will...
** Vegan, know that your dog is not a vegan creature. Please understand his needs and know that your diet is considered cruelty/ abusive to dogs. He will not process bean protein like you do...give him meat, or give him up! Get a bird or hamster.
Since your dog was designed to catch rodents or small creatures, they can also handle scavenging any uneaten carcass they can find including the bone and hide. When their favorite prey is in short supply, their system is designed to handle temporary fillers such as water creatures, foul, eggs, bugs and some plant material. Though it is more difficult to digest plants, their bodies can use a small portion to tide them over until their next preferred meal. Cooked fillers/veggies make it more digestible, but still reduce beneficial nutrients your dog needs as well as the moisture content. Leaving them raw, then grinding them into a nice liquid shake, meatloaf, or pate' will do nicely. The moisture content and essential oils in raw meat and fish are very important. If you cant handle feeding meat as your dog's primary diet, it is socially acceptable to feed your dog dry kibble as a staple diet. But buy doggie insurance, you will need it somewhere down the road for cancer and organ failures. Not to mention digestive upset and food allergies.
Canine system is similar to yours, but not exactly like ours. Its food break down enzymes are in their stomachs, rather than in their mouth like ours. He will gobble his food as a natural eating response. This is mainly because they are competing in the wild and need to gobble down as much as possible then move on quickly. All store bought dog foods are not created equally... I know that processed dog foods are very convenient in today's society, but are made for convenience not always for correctness. Trading convenience for a diet that is far from complete. Wonder why the life span of a dog these days is much less than in the past, up to 40% less. Or that there are more common illnesses and cancers than in the past? In order for a manufacturer to create a product that will stay edible and have a shelf life, it contains added chemicals for shelf life preservation. Then cheap fillers to add a profit margin. Now having to add hormones and antibiotics to keep their bodies from developing illnesses from the unnecessary fillers and chemicals. Not to mention that it is cooked, removing even more moisture and nutrients from the original ingredients, then needing to add man made nutrients and flavoring to make it appealing to you. Along side of that they are marketing this product to humans, meaning it should look attractive to you by adding color. OMG! Now do you wonder why all the cancer problems and short life span? Humans and dogs alike.
Dog foods are so expensive nowadays that it seems more cost effective to just add him to your grocery list as a family member while shopping at the grocery store. Keeping in mind his primary diet is meat and bone, everything else is just filler. Find a local rabbit rancher, or go to Tyson chicken on retail day to purchase organ meat and chicken necks... they freeze wonderfully in your dog's portions. The good thing about your dog is his system was designed to be able to eat things that were not fresh. Foods maybe a little older than you would eat, so mark down items at your grocery are a good economic choice, be sure to label them DOG before putting them in the freezer. Wash your hands after handling, just as you would after handling meat to cook for yourself. To help build your confidence in feeding your dog a healthy diet, remember, in the wild he will not always get to eat a meal every day. So no matter what you give him, he will be the better for it.
Mixing raw and dry is acceptable as long as your dog's system is okay with it. I feed dinner at night, leaving fry available at all times. Each dog is different, so only you will know the answer to that. There are increasingly more raw dog food diets on the market to choose from. Check them out at your pet store or online until you gain the confidence to just purchase what he needs from the grocer. Again it isnt rocket science, just start feeding your dog natural ingredients... then alter his portion due to activity levels and variety meat options, and according to his digestion, his likes and dislikes. Remember that he will not eat NEAR as much in portion as he would with dry dog food because of the lack of fillers. YOU CAN DO IT!
Make it, freeze it raw in portions...Store in containers in freezer...set out one day portion to thaw...feed raw at room temperature.
Feeding suggestions ...
1) Primary Meat meals are real muscle meat such as ground chicken, beef, turkey and chicken necks including canned fish, rabbit, venison, goat as available given once or twice a day for maintenance. I prefer to avoid pork.
2) "Snack time" offered each day opposite time of day from main meal. Non fattening and non processed. Every meal dosent have to be right on schedule. Sometimes I have to be gone all day and they will just have to wait. Teach your dog to be flexible.
3) Additional Weekly Requirements may be a variety of other needed meat products... such as fish. 10-20% of their meat portioning should be organ meat such as liver or heart. Offer at least one meal per week as organ meat if not include in his daily meat loaf.
4) Dont forget the bone meal in the meatloaf mix. You can offer a meaty bone from your butcher as a snack. Or offer chicken necks as part of your main meal, or a weekly treat as they are a great source of easily chewed raw bones. Cooked bones splinter, raw ones dont normally. The only dangerous bone is one that small enough to become lodged in the throat. Use caution when giving certain type bones for that reason. Depending on the size of your dog, a seven bone from your butcher is a good treat. Ground Bone Meal can be purchased to sprinkle or mix in with his food as desired.
5) Flax seed milled is available at your grocery store near the flour. It is a very good source of progesterone and all the omegas, just a sprinkle will do it.
A raw dog food diet typically consists of:..
> 80 % Muscle meat, on the bone or ground fat and bones included if you can find it that way.
>5% Bone meal, ground and sprinkled in the food, large raw bones to chew on as a treat are good as well.
> 10% Organ meats such as livers, hearts and kidneys
> Raw/ scrambled eggs as desired
> Preferred Veggies are considered fillers, minimize this to less than 5% of your mix. Such as sweet potato cooked, broccoli, spinach, squash and carrots. Apples or pumpkin, dairy, such as yogurt or cottage cheese. NO LETTUCE
> Fish, canned or fresh
* These ingredients can vary with store availability, or your dog's preference and tastes. Online shopping and your grocery store gives you endless options.
* including ground flax seed to keep progesterone levels up, and adds a level of omegas.
You will tweak your dogs diet as you see something does or dosent agree with him. Let him be an individual.
** This is my blog page about correct doggie diet concepts. (yes, diet is a concept because every dog is an individual and can be custom made) First, my concept for feeding any animal species is try to offer as close as possible to what nature dictates it would eat in the wild. Imagine, sometimes God gets it right. Be aware most of the wrong information you will hear about dog diets are articles written by the marketing teams of dog food companies, vets who do not raise animals, and animal rights people who know nothing of animals. Or someone wanting to sell you something, or wanting others to hear their thoughts regardless of their education or experience on the subject. Anytime you read something about a dog's diet, or any subject... consider your source. And always ask yourself, Does that make sense? If they do not raise dogs/animals, or have something to gain from the information they give you, consider it a less viable source. My father always said... don't believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see. Yes he was a redneck American Indian, but there is a lot of truth to that saying.
* My motivation of educating you is to see that my puppies have a correct diet throughout their entire lives. Reading the dry ingredient list is very intimidating isn't it? Rest easy, a dog's diet isn't rocket science, and is something that you dont have to spend years of training to learn. Those ingredients are a long drawn out way to copy nutrients that is already in their natural diet... meat. Hopefully after reading this, you will gain the confidence to feed your dog a healthier diet and be free of the incorrect political correctness of the dry dog food companies.
*** Dont want to make it yourself? Try "Nature's Variety" brand dog foods from the shelf and freezer.