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your thoughts on home cooked diet vs. commerical dog food
Old 12-19-2012, 02:31 PM   #1
mswhav
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your thoughts on home cooked diet vs. commerical dog food

Hi everyone,

My havanese is a very picky eater. I have tried all sorts of dog food brands with him (wet and dry). He usually gives it a try once or twice, but after that, he is over it and he goes on a hunger strike (he once went 5 days without eating because we wouldn't give him anything else other than kibbles).

Then a month ago, I decided to just feed him a home cook diet and he loves it! He never gets bored and he cleans up the bowl. I read up on a lot of ingredients to make sure I feed him only ingredients that is good for him. A usual meal would be boiled chicken, chopped carrots, green beans (no additives anything, not even salt). Sometimes I replace the chicken with baked salmon and the vegetables with something else (canned pumpkin, sweet potatoes, bok choy, kale, spinach, broccoli, blueberries, apple) I occasionally give him fat free plain yogurt or cottage cheese for calcium.

I have been feeding him a variation of these food for about a month now and he loves it and licks his bowl clean. He also looks really good - no health issues or bathroom issues. No diarrhea ever!

I keep reading that the food needs to be complete and balanced, and I wonder whether I am feeding him a "complete and balanced" meal but what does that even mean? I look at the kibble that I got him and then the food that I made, and I am not trying to be immodest, but there is no way that kibble that sits on the shelf for months and months looks more nutritious than the natural, organic ingredients I feed him. It is like feeding a human total raisin brand all their life instead of eating a varied diet of good, healthy ingredients. (I stress varied and healthy...obviously a lot of people eat very poorly).

I am a bit skeptical of commercial dog food, simply for the fact that it is processed and made to last a REALLY Loooooonnnggggg time on the shelf - how can food like that be good for you? I also know that a lot of commercial dog food use subpar animal flesh (not that human-grade animal flesh is all that great, which is why I am a vegan). Knowing all the antibiotics and crap that goes into the meat and the worse parts go into dog food - it pretty much makes me doubt that commercial dog food is really all that great (even the premium ones).

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on homecooked vs. commercial dog food. Please share your thoughts.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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I feed my family all organic and when we get our new puppy I plan on feeding him the Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diet. 10 years ago I had a Portuguese water dog and fed her food that I made by hand - I'm thrilled to discover that now they have a lot more raw food choices then they did back then. My bible was the book Bones and raw food by Ian Dunbar. (an australian vet). Friends also liked the book dr pitcairn's natural food for dogs and cats.

You need to be careful of the calcium and potassium balance of what you are feeding ( I think - it was a long time ago). I also seem to remember something about dogs can't digest vegetables directly - which is why I juiced vegetables for Izzy and gave her a couple of tablespoons of veggie with her meal. I mostly fed raw meaty bones - chicken wings and backs and turkey necks and she also got a variety of whole fish (yes, heads and all) weekly. And a couple of whole raw eggs with the shells. I had a terrific breeder and terrific holistic vet who guided me along. I did blood work twice a year at a minimum to make sure her diet was balanced

Now, with a husband and a toddler in my life, I'll probably choose to feed some sort of frozen raw food patties that already has everything ground up in it.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:54 PM   #3
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good for you. You're totally correct, home cooked is the healthiest way to go. I would however consult with a nutritionist to get everything right and balanced. A number of us on here use a lady named Sabine from ask@betterdogcare.com She is very reasonable. There are usually a couple of suppliments involved as well.
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Old 12-19-2012, 05:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by showelott View Post
I feed my family all organic and when we get our new puppy I plan on feeding him the Bones and Raw Food (BARF) diet. 10 years ago I had a Portuguese water dog and fed her food that I made by hand - I'm thrilled to discover that now they have a lot more raw food choices then they did back then. My bible was the book Bones and raw food by Ian Dunbar. (an australian vet). Friends also liked the book dr pitcairn's natural food for dogs and cats.

You need to be careful of the calcium and potassium balance of what you are feeding ( I think - it was a long time ago). I also seem to remember something about dogs can't digest vegetables directly - which is why I juiced vegetables for Izzy and gave her a couple of tablespoons of veggie with her meal. I mostly fed raw meaty bones - chicken wings and backs and turkey necks and she also got a variety of whole fish (yes, heads and all) weekly. And a couple of whole raw eggs with the shells. I had a terrific breeder and terrific holistic vet who guided me along. I did blood work twice a year at a minimum to make sure her diet was balanced

Now, with a husband and a toddler in my life, I'll probably choose to feed some sort of frozen raw food patties that already has everything ground up in it.
hi and welcome to the forum . Good for you too. The "BARF" diet, an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones And Raw Food was created by Ian Billinghurst. The acronym was coined by Debra Tripp. Ian Dunbar is from Great Britain. One thing with these raw commercial diets is that they are not totally balanced either. Suppliments should be added. Yes, since those foods are formulated under the exact same rules as dry food - short in certain nutrients
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:52 PM   #5
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I won't ever feed my dog a raw diet. I know there is a lot of debate on this since a lot of people really believe it is the best diet, but the animal flesh from the factory farms these days are not the same as the animal flesh killed by the dog's ancestors, wolves, in the past. The animal flesh now are diseased - think about it, don't you wash your hands even after just touching chicken?

Really, those of you feeding them raw animal flesh should research where these animals come from before feeding them to your dog - it is not safe. I recommend reading "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Saffran Foer - he wrote this book because he was on the brink of fatherhood and was faced with making dietary decisions for his child, which is not unlike many of us for our dear dogs.

I will give my havanese cooked chicken, salmon and turkey, but never raw. I will give him raw, chopped veggies, which is very good for him.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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I won't get into that debate but chopped veggies will do very little for your dogs nutritionally. They need to be cooked or pureed.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:24 PM   #7
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As Dave said, every dog is different. And every commercial food and home cooked recipe is different. If you want to go th home cooked route, don't go it alone. You will need a pro to help you create a well balanced recipe and help you tweak it til it is right for your pup. As some one who failed home cooked (and so did my dog... Turned outhe was allergic to supplements and I could not handle a more complicated recipe that didn't require them.) I would say truly look at the time it will take you...will you be able to sustain it... Will you want to after the novelty wears off... Or your finicky little one turns his nose up at ven your home cooked fare?

There is no question that home cooked is healthier in the long run, but If you answer
your pups finickiness with better and better food choices you could create more of a problem. How old is your dog? Puppies like to play you, to see what they can get away with. And they are experts at it. Especially our beloved Havanese.

If you want to and have time and energy and the will to consult a pro...I would say go for it. But I would also consider getting your pup (especially if it is a puppy, and you ae setting up tye rules of the house) to eat what ever it is you put down when you put it down. I played the the game with my first dog, Jasper. Finally I realized he was getting too much food and too many treats and he could afford to be picky with his mealtimes. Don't get me wrong, my boys are plenty spoiled! They now eat commercial raw... My allergic boy Cash gets Bison. So I am not condemning going the mile for our pets... I just think it is a big decision.
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I'm jumping on the bandwagon!
Old 12-26-2012, 07:48 PM   #8
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I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

I think I am ready to begin home cooking and ordered this today.
Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural...Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural...
It seems like a place to start and apparently contains recipes and directions on supplements. I'll report back once I actually make my first batch and the pups are able to try it.

Alanna
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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If going the home cooked way, beware of doing it yourself as your dog may end up lacking in key vitamins and minerals. Most of the dogs I've come across that were on a home cooked diet had horrible digestion issues (obviously not planned well). Raw diets, I second whoever said to be wary of the quality of meat. If I had the time and money to home cook for my dog I would, but I don't so she gets a high quality kibble with a bit of protein and veggies that we have for dinner.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:33 AM   #10
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I am all for the home cooked route, however, you have to be vigilent with the supplements, they often get picky and try to eat around the vegetables, unless you sometimes puree them like baby food, but then you have to switch up the vegetables because they have different key nutrients. I have alot of vitamins and vitamin powders that I use, flax, olive oil, different little things she'll get each meal and so far her health has been great. You have to do your research and be mindful of what doesn't sit well with them. Gucci's tummy gets upset with turkey and buffalo, so we mainly do lamb, chicken and sometimes venison if I can get my hands on it, with cous cous, rice (not a lot, I worry about the natural arsenic) fresh potatoes mashed (she loves them), crushed up cheerios is another grain I'll use (which has vitamins added, but I only do those once every 2-3 weeks)

When you make the commitment, know that you'll be doing butt baths for a few weeks/month until the adjust their water intake down. They drink alot more water when they eat dry kibble, it would be like a human only living off of Fritos and Tostitos with vitamin powder in it, so they drink more to digest it, and with the home cooked, they get more water through food source, so for awhile, they will have loose stools until they naturally just start craving less water ..that was one of the helpful things I learned in the home cooked group I joined when I started out, had I not known that...I probably would've thought she was allergic to everything I was feeding her.

I do not mind cooking for my dog, I cook for my DH, my kids, everyone else..I just do her cooking the same time I do the family cooking, since she flips her nose up on food that is frozen, I usually make it to last 2-3 days.

Kara
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