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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about trying to do some home cooking for Merry and just wondering if anyone else here does an alternative diet or cooks food for their dog. If so any recommendations on cook books or any other advice you can offer?

I was initially concerned about getting the nutrients properly balanced.

She's been a picky eater. Rather, I should say she typically starts off loving a new food. For the first few weeks she's enthusiastic. That gradually wears off to the point where she doesn't want to eat at all.

Then on top of that, there's been so much concern about the foods and quality controls.

Do any of you make food at home for your pups?
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I am thinking about trying to do some home cooking for Merry and just wondering if anyone else here does an alternative diet or cooks food for their dog. If so any recommendations on cook books or any other advice you can offer?

I was initially concerned about getting the nutrients properly balanced.

She's been a picky eater. Rather, I should say she typically starts off loving a new food. For the first few weeks she's enthusiastic. That gradually wears off to the point where she doesn't want to eat at all.

Then on top of that, there's been so much concern about the foods and quality controls.

Do any of you make food at home for your pups?
Picky eating and home cooking are two different issues. You have total control of the picky eating... that is a learned behavior... she is training yu. (very well... Havanese are smart! ;) )

Home cooking can be a very good option IF it is done REALLY WELL. It can also be the VERY WORST option if you don't know what you are doing. I strongly suggest that you talk to Dave's friend, Sabine (he can give you the contact info) to help you develop a nutritionally balanced diet if you decide to home cook. If not Sabine, at least consult with another experienced canine nutrition specialist. This forum is NOT the place to learn this.
 

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I feed my dogs a raw homemade diet. But as Karen says, this needs to be properly balanced or you can have some issues. The main problem is not getting the calcium phosphorus ratio correct. This can result in the leaching of calcium from their bones resulting in some skeletal issues. However, to avoid this you just have to make sure that you provide an adequate amount of raw meaty bones. The diet also needs to include the appropriate amount of organ meats because that is where they get many vital nutrients. There are also different schools of thought on whether or not dogs need veggies. I have been raw feeding for 8 years and my dogs are super healthy and love their food. However, as Karen suggested I wonder if you could consult an expert to guide you through this. I believe some holistic vets provide guidance also. I have read a few books on it but very confusing and differing opinions. Before I fed my homemade raw I fed my dogs commercial raw food by Nature’s Variety. You might want to start with that since it is balanced. When I switched my dogs from kibble to Nature’s Variety raw there was an awesome difference in them. It is also helpful to have a holistic vet that supports raw feeding. The one downside of raw feeding is if your dog has any issue, a vet who does not support raw feeding will immediately blame the raw food and this can result in them not finding the root cause of something. I made some blunders when I first started feeding a homemade diet, however I believe it is the best thing I have done for my dogs. And once you see how much your dog will love it’s food, you will not be able to turn back.
 

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Dave T
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Picky eating and home cooking are two different issues. You have total control of the picky eating... that is a learned behavior... she is training yu. (very well... Havanese are smart! ;) )

Home cooking can be a very good option IF it is done REALLY WELL. It can also be the VERY WORST option if you don't know what you are doing. I strongly suggest that you talk to Dave's friend, Sabine (he can give you the contact info) to help you develop a nutritionally balanced diet if you decide to home cook. If not Sabine, at least consult with another experienced canine nutrition specialist. This forum is NOT the place to learn this.
ditto ... here's Sabine's email [email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes. I have been very hesitant about trying to go the home cooking route for reasons mentioned — getting the nutrients right, needing to know what they need and that the commercial food would have that all figured out.
And of course the various convenience issues — keeping up with making what they need and if traveling what to do away from home.
I just started giving it more thought due to these recalls and get current issues with the skin and possible allergies.
Re being a picky eater. Yes! She is training us — my husband in particular. She’s got him wrapped around her little paw.
Ever since the day when we were visiting the puppies at the breeder’s house and we were sitting on the floor and she walked over and climbed up on his lap and curled up to take a nap. Then her sisters did the same. But she was the one who picked my husband and settled in for a nap.
When I say she’s picky, she seems to start off liking a food and does well on it for a few months. But then after a few months gets bored and then eventually walks up to the bowl, cautiously sniffs and walks away.
 

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I joined in May before I brought the love of my life, Che, home. I was freaking out because 6 weeks later and he had me running around not able to get him to eat anything. It definitely was a taste issues because he would gobble down bacon treats if I let him. Now I see these eating "issues" are not just ours. Che is behaving exactly the same as these puppies in these posts. He goes crazy for a particular food then won't even look at it a few days
/week's later. I was really feeling like a failure of a puppy parent until I spoke with my Vet who told me this CAN be normal in some particularly smart dogs.
I don't like the idea of just waiting until he's "hungry enough" to eat whatever I put out so what do I do? I had 5 different types of food out one day and he turned his nose up at all of them.🤯😰😢

Right now, last 3 days, he's eating chicken, rice and I try to mix in some kibble...but who knows how long his taste for that will last... ANY IDEAS to help me find a good balanced diet that he will actually eat WOULD BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL!!!

Grateful in SF.
 

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I don't like the idea of just waiting until he's "hungry enough" to eat whatever I put out so what do I do? I had 5 different types of food out one day and he turned his nose up at all of them.
I know that it's hard, but you really have to be strong. Even if you want to change food or move to an option like home cooked or fresh or something, at this point he will always be looking for something "better" if you don't resolve this first. Do NOT feel guilty, it is NOT bad for him. I think it will be nearly impossible to find a balanced food that he likes because no matter how good it is, he will "like" it for a short time and then hope for something else, and he believes he will get it. I do understand that we want our dogs to enjoy their meals, I feel the same way. But if you are putting out 5 different types of food and he won't eat, it's not because you are not feeding him the right thing.

I think it is very easy to feel guilty and self doubt about these things because it's common in our culture to show love through food and cooking. But it's not always the eating of the food that really matters, it's the act of taking care of the person or pet, based on what they need. Your dog needs to learn to eat what you give him, so you shouldn't feel guilty for teaching him that, even if it means he misses a few meals in the process. You are giving him what he needs.

Once he is eating, that is the time to consider making changes to his diet.
 

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I joined in May before I brought the love of my life, Che, home. I was freaking out because 6 weeks later and he had me running around not able to get him to eat anything. It definitely was a taste issues because he would gobble down bacon treats if I let him. Now I see these eating "issues" are not just ours. Che is behaving exactly the same as these puppies in these posts. He goes crazy for a particular food then won't even look at it a few days
/week's later. I was really feeling like a failure of a puppy parent until I spoke with my Vet who told me this CAN be normal in some particularly smart dogs.
I don't like the idea of just waiting until he's "hungry enough" to eat whatever I put out so what do I do? I had 5 different types of food out one day and he turned his nose up at all of them.🤯😰😢

Right now, last 3 days, he's eating chicken, rice and I try to mix in some kibble...but who knows how long his taste for that will last... ANY IDEAS to help me find a good balanced diet that he will actually eat WOULD BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL!!!

Grateful in SF.
I just watched a great video on how improper food storage can result in pickiness. Here is the link if you want to check it out.

https://www.havaneseforum.com/6-general-discussion/136808-food-storage-possible-cause-pickiness.html
 

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The behaviorist who works with Oliver said that people eat for wayyyyy. different reasons than dogs do. Dogs, according to her, do not need variety. They thrive on routine. It makes them feel safe, and part of the reason owners unwittingly make their dogs anxious is by not honoring routine. She went on to say that this is why dogs need to be transitioned to new foods, why their stomachs are sensitive to quick changes, unlike humans, who thrive on variety. The exception to this is play and walks, other things that actually EXPAND their brain capacity. But things like food, naps, specific place to sleep, etc....Example, if your dog refuses a food and you switch it immediately, you are teaching the dog that they should not be satisfied with one food. They aren't devious in the sense that they're "playing" you. It's more that if they refuse, you switch, they must have been correct in not accepting the food. And on you go with the cycle.
 

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OH my word Che is SO CUTE!!!!

I totally agree with what has been said. Is he in good weight? If so and no medical issues he is fine. A healthy dog won't starve themselves. I have been lucky with Sophie, she eats like a racehorse! And begs for more. I feed her 5 little meals a day because of her IBD and while I'm fixing it for her she is barking at me to hurry up then dances and whines while it's warming in the microwave. And she is very thin (not too thin but fit).

I know several people some with havi's and some with other small breeds who stress over them not eating much and go to great lengths to get them to eat anything. But...their dogs are all quite overweight! I am sure this is not the case with Che but they all claim the dogs eat very little. I was on vacation once with one of these friends and she had her dogs food down so she would "eat more". I saw the dog go over and eat enough for a full day in one sitting and didn't want to eat the rest of the day. My friend was cutting up cheese and other treats to try to coerce her to eat more. (and this dog was obese).

Again not comparing you and Che to these dogs at all! But just an example of picky eaters and how they can self regulate. I really wouldn't worry if Che is healthy. He may not eat what he currently is being fed readily because he has learned he may get something better. I would offer him his food, if he does't eat it pick it up after a few minutes and don't offer him anything else until next meal time. He will learn to eat as much as he needs when he knows nothing else will be coming along.

I also agree about the nutrition. It is very easy to not have it balanced and over time it can cause nutritional deficiencies. You probably won't see signs of it until it has advanced to the point of causing issues. Sabine would be a good one to consult with. I home cooked WITH guidance for Sophie's first 4 years (she is 5 now). It turned out in the end it was the worst thing for her IBD. I am now feeding her Royal Canine Low fat canned....a crap ingredient food I never dreamed I'd be feeding her. But it has pretty much saved her life. That's another thing to consider, not every diet is going to be ideal for every dog.

I feel for you because I know how stressful this dog food thing is with the recalls etc etc.
 
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