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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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Dave T
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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 [email protected] She is very reasonable. There are usually a couple of suppliments involved as well.
 

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Dave T
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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.
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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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Dave T
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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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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!

I think I am ready to begin home cooking and ordered this today.

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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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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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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Dave T
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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
Can you point me toward the "home cooked group"??? Is it a yahoo group?
 

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Dave T
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I would not go by what other people feed their dogs. Ask Tammy what she recommends.
 

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I would not go by what other people feed their dogs. Ask Tammy what she recommends.
uhhhhhh... what DO I recommend? :D

I think every person needs to make the desicion on how and what to feed thier pet based on thier own feelings, education, time and desire. :peace:
 

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Dave T
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uhhhhhh... what DO I recommend? :D

I think every person needs to make the desicion on how and what to feed thier pet based on thier own feelings, education, time and desire. :peace:
right on, but we're talking about what to do once you decide to do home cooking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
My havanese is almost 3 years old, so he's not a puppy anymore. I don't think he is playing me. He just really hates kibbles. I bought another bag of high quality kibbles 2 weeks ago and he ate it once, but by the second dinner, he was over it and wouldn't eat anymore. By contrast, when I put down the homecooked food, he is all over it and licked the bowl clean. I know that some people say to starve the dog until he eats ("dogs will eat when they are hungry" etc.), but it really makes me sad watching him - like I wrote in my original post, he once went 5 days without eating anything because we didn't give him anything but kibble. I don't think that is any way to feed my dog. I mean, sure, he will eat it when he is starving, but I really don't like the sound of that - he hates kibble so much that he would rather starve himself before eating it, that bums me out.

Anyway, I have been pureeing his veggies with a blender and mixing it with cooked meat. So far, it's working really well and he likes his food. Also, it doesn't take me that long to make the food since I puree the veggies with a blender and I usually do a large amount and do one preparation for a few days. Freeze whatever I can't use within 3-4 days. My question now is: since many of you mentioned that different dogs need different things (which I totally agree), how do you know that you are feeding a complete and balanced diet then? is there some kind of test I can ask my vet to do? I read someone did blood tests...will that show me if he is getting all his nutrients?

I don't have any issue so far with what I am feeding my dog - no diarrhea or runny stool like some of you have mentioned - his fur/hair looks really healthy and very soft. He doesn't seem any less energetic. So, I'm not sure what else to be wary of. The only issue that I have now is that my little boy always asks for seconds. ;-)
 

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Dave T
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My havanese is almost 3 years old, so he's not a puppy anymore. I don't think he is playing me. He just really hates kibbles. I bought another bag of high quality kibbles 2 weeks ago and he ate it once, but by the second dinner, he was over it and wouldn't eat anymore. By contrast, when I put down the homecooked food, he is all over it and licked the bowl clean. I know that some people say to starve the dog until he eats ("dogs will eat when they are hungry" etc.), but it really makes me sad watching him - like I wrote in my original post, he once went 5 days without eating anything because we didn't give him anything but kibble. I don't think that is any way to feed my dog. I mean, sure, he will eat it when he is starving, but I really don't like the sound of that - he hates kibble so much that he would rather starve himself before eating it, that bums me out.

Anyway, I have been pureeing his veggies with a blender and mixing it with cooked meat. So far, it's working really well and he likes his food. Also, it doesn't take me that long to make the food since I puree the veggies with a blender and I usually do a large amount and do one preparation for a few days. Freeze whatever I can't use within 3-4 days. My question now is: since many of you mentioned that different dogs need different things (which I totally agree), how do you know that you are feeding a complete and balanced diet then? is there some kind of test I can ask my vet to do? I read someone did blood tests...will that show me if he is getting all his nutrients?

I don't have any issue so far with what I am feeding my dog - no diarrhea or runny stool like some of you have mentioned - his fur/hair looks really healthy and very soft. He doesn't seem any less energetic. So, I'm not sure what else to be wary of. The only issue that I have now is that my little boy always asks for seconds. ;-)
good question , you don't . I strongly recommed that you get a consultation with a nutritionist. Sabine ,at Better Dog Care does it for a very reasonable fee. You fill out a questionaire online and she will calculate everything right down to the no. of calories. One can do it from certain books but that is not personalized like it would be with her. She has helped dozens of people on here. ,from kibble diets to homecooked and raw. She is very helpful down the road if you have questions. Here is her email [email protected] and feel free to check out her website. She is a certified pet nutritionise website is http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page=main
 

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ya, it sounds like you are definitly on the right track with your havs diet!!
But there really is no way to KNOW if it is nutritionally balanced, until years down the road they develop some sort of issue or problem because of lack of a certain nutrient or to MUCH of a nutrient... this is where getting a nutrition consult comes in! :D
Check out Dave's link... if you are going homecooking, you really want to make sure your hav is getting everything she needs!!
 

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:) I have an email submitted to her as we speak. I am moving ahead with a consultation as Dionna, yet again, is rejecting her kibble (which I serve in the morning). This is day five or six of kibble rejection and now I have been giving her a sample kibble that I got from the spa/resort where I got the Santa photo. She is eating those kibbles but I am only giving her a very small amount because I was not really sure if they were ok or not. So I went by the vet today to have them review the kibble package and they said it was fine and also gave me a list of others to try. The problem is, she is picky and even when she does eat kibbles, she eventually will stop as time passes and then I am back to square one. Her current kibbles changed their formula and since that happened, she has not been as keen on them. She is eating her home cooked dinner with gusto. Hence me requesting professional guidance :) Even if Sabine has a few kibble suggestions, that is fine. I am just at a loss as to how to proceed regarding all of this.

Also, when Dionna gets too hungry, which happens when she does not eat in the morning, she gets a bile/stomach acid build up and she will often end up throwing up by afternoon. So eating in the morning is very important medically for her. So I am hoping that Sabine can come up with some kind of plan for Dionna as she is like my child and I love her dearly!!!!!
 
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