So, as I stated earlier this month, I wanted to explore the world of creating natural, real meals for our dogs, Princeton and Charlie. Our lab, Princeton has suffered from allergies and inflammation for the last few years, and I find it a blessing that in learning so much about how what WE eat affects US, I can use the same tools to help extend the life of our fur babies.
Charlie, our baby schnauzer, at just nine months old, started to have seasonal allergy reaction and itchy paws and I knew I didn't want him going through his life suffering if I could help strengthen his little system.
So much of what's in conventional dog food, or "kibble", is processed fillers and harmful grain ingredients that react in dogs bodies much like they do in ours.
Now, I am not going to say this is cheap. But I believe in giving them the best life I can for what I can afford. We already bought higher end dog food before starting the natural dog food endeavor. Princeton has been on a grain-free food for a few years now, which has definitely offered him improvements in his health. However, the vet and our trainer has Charlie on an Iams Puppy, which I'm just not 100% comfortable with him consuming.
So, I went for it, and I got some meat, eggs, and veggies to make them a "Pup" loaf. The full recipe is below, but the process was SUPER easy and this was pretty affordable. When I did the math on the cost of the trade off natural/higher end dog food, it ended up $10 more a month for Princeton and around $5 extra for Charlie. To me, that's totally worth it.
I have about nine recipes that I'd like to try, and to make it a permanent switch I will be talking to a holistic vet so I can make sure they get the fats and vitamins they NEED to thrive. Always make sure you speak to your vet or a naturopathic or holistic vet to supply your pet with the best diet for them. We decided to make this switch because they are both regularly at the vet, and are in great health.
Sprouts carries a full line of supplemental coconut and flax oil and vitamins for dogs for those wanting to feed their pups a natural food diet. I loved seeing all of the healthy options. They also carry a line of dehydrated "real food" packaged items, but beware, my pups tummy's tolerate the natural diet well, but something in the dehydrated mix made them quite sick as they didn't keep the food down. It may have been the barley, as I feed them a mainly gluten-free, grain-free diet with lots of healthy fats.
I'd love to hear your plans for feeing your dog naturally, your experience or any questions you may have as I take on this journey. The recipe below is easy to pin to save for later.
While I'm exploring the world of natural food for my dogs, I wanted to put out a list of foods to never feed your animal. There are healthy fruits, meats and vegetables for our furry friends and then there are some that, although healthy for us, can harm them.
A handy little pinable graphic to keep on hand.
A year ago, that title would have sounded absolutely ridiculous to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a dog person. I am most definitely a dog person. My two dogs, Princeton (an 11 yr old lab) and Charlie (my 9 mo old schnauzer) are my fur-children. We stuff their Christmas stockings, we throw little birthday celebrations for them, and Charlie even may have had pro pics of him in a graduation cap when he graduated training school, but I never thought I'd be making their food.
That was, until recently. A couple of years ago our lab started developing allergies. I could see in him some of the same symptoms I was experiencing, so for almost two years now, he has been gluten and grain free. We buy high end dog food and treats for both, but it wasn't until our little one had an allergic reaction and started licking his paws (at only 9 months!) that I realized I wanted to look into a healthier, more natural approach to caring for our fur babies.
My first thought was of course, we can't afford to feed another two mouths the same food we eat. We are, after all, trying to have a human little of our own & that isn't cheap. But as I started doing more research I realized it can be a lot more affordable than I initially thought. (JOY!)
My plan is to switch Charlie to a natural food diet (consisting of proteins, minimal grains, vegetables and some fruits for snacking) with the added fats and supplements he needs as a growing puppy. For Princeton, since he's so large and WOULD eat us out of house and home, I plan to stick with his higher end grain-free dog food and add in healthy fats to the food to help heal some of his issues.
In comparing the options, raw against cooked food, I have decided to do an all-cooked food diet. Since we are trying to conceive, there is just too much risk to have raw meat in our home. So while I support the decision of those who want to feed their dogs a raw diet, it just doesn't make sense for our family to do so.
I will be updating along the way with our journey and some of our recipes. I'm excited for the journey to give our little fur boys a healthier life. I'd love to hear your stories on natural food diets for YOUR fur babies and advice on how you supplement.
I also posted a handy pinable post on the top foods to NEVER feed your dog.