I enjoyed reading Dr Dee Blanco’s article on “Species Appropriate Diets” today having followed a link on Twitter from Angela (aka @fun4fido) and got into a bit of a discussion with her and Sheila Atter (@cesky2000).
Basset Hounds on Barf
I went down the raw route about several years ago after reading a stack of info on the best kind of diet for your dog.
The Björkwood gang were given organic chicken, turkey and tripe (vom) twice a day plus leafy vegetables, bones and the kind of diet that Dr Blanco recommends, guided by my local organic pet food store here in Roslags-Näsby.
Initially, results were excellent. Aggie and Bernard in particular seemed to thrive on the diet. Their coats gleamed and were luscious, their mucus membranes seemed better and generally they seemed full of vitality.
After six months though I noticed problems. Bernard, in particular, seemed to get an upset stomach continually. Then very quickly he started having skin problems and he lost a lot of his coat. When he started losing weight dramatically I talked to my vet.
I then booked a time with one of Sweden’s leading nutritionists and had the dogs tested for allergies.
Seeing Aggie start to reproduce the kind of symptoms I was seeing in Bernard, I took my vet’s advice and shifted the gang over to a premium complete food – James Wellbeloved Lamb & Rice. I was given instructions to supplement this with raw offal twice a week, and to feed bones occasionally. My vet also recommended I give a measured dose of Cod Liver Oil to fit their weight.
This proved a good solution and Bernard and Aggie improved very quickly.
My pet food store tried to convince me that the dogs were detoxing from all the McProcessed food they’d had earlier – although they’d been fed on premium complete foods since they were pups.
Still, once I saw that my dogs were thriving again on complete I found it very difficult to go back to “raw, organic”.
Not All Plain Sailing
I still question what to feed my dogs. After Aggie and Winnie both had calcium shortages during their pregnancies I followed the recommendation of a breeder friend of mine and switched over to ProPlan Lamb & Rice and have been happy with the results.
The woofs only require half the amount of ProPlan that they used to scoff of James Wellbeloved and six months later on I don’t regret switching. The girls in particular are doing well and the pups from Aggie’s litter have all done very well on ProPlan Robust Chicken & Rice. In fact, I actually think this is the best food I’ve seen yet as the pups seem to have distributed the fat more evenly over their bodies.
A Bit of Both
I still give my basset hounds raw liver and heart (chicken, lamb or beef, never pig) several times a week; I also give then raw egg yolks, fish oil, fish and plenty of steamed vegetables. They’re also big raw carrot eaters.
Healthily Sceptic. I want more openness!
My experience is purely anecdotal and I am not providing any feeding guidelines or recommendations here in writing this post. Nor am I affiliated to any of the products I’ve mentioned here in any commercial way. I am purely documenting what I’ve done in the hope of continued discussion.
I do think, however, that we as dog breeders and owners need to question the kind of practice pet food manufacturers have. I want as much transparency as possible and I want to see proper documentation and openness.
Being a bit of a know-it-all-with-a-PhD I tend to question things. I know full well that even scientific research is often funded by corporate sponsors so I am naturally wary of most scientific facts. I’ll keep searching for the best foods to feed my dogs as long as I have air to breathe; that’s just how I am.
Still, I am curious to hear other stories about feeding your dog. If you have anything you would like to share, please leave a comment below.