Sunday, October 24, 2010

To Enzyme or Not

Different dogs...same results...I'm done!

It seems like every time I try using enzymes for my dogs they end up barfing. Bell was fine on them but Nicki couldn't take it. I put them in their food a few times and eventually Nick was barfing. A clear signal that it's not going to work for her and if I can't give it to both of them I'm not going to bother with it at all.

What are enzymes for you ask? (other than to make your dog barf?) Well they are supposed to help the dog digest their food more efficiently. I felt it was worth a try with them because I make all their food. Making your dogs food goes hand in hand with worrying that they aren't getting the right nutrition. (because they are my fuzzy kids)

I have been dead set against most commercial dog foods for some time now...ever since I read a book entitled "Food Pets Die For" by Ann N. Martin. It was a shocking read and after gaining that knowledge I was unable to feed my dogs dog food ever again...or at least not the standard ones.

Commercial animal foods are like the evil cousin of our processed fast food....full of chemicals; the lowest grade of raw product; and in the case of dog food, dead animals. Yes, commercial dog foods are made from dead animals. And I'm not saying just the factory farmed animals (don't get me started on THAT topic) but also domestic pets (flea collars; vaccines; and drugs used to euthanize included); and road kill. You heard's all in there and the companies don't want you to know it.

But the government has control of the situation right? Don't bet on it. There are very little regulations set forth for dog food companies and even fewer people to regulate it. And the regulations set forth are either broad and sweeping in nature or complex and difficult for the layman to understand. In short it's garbage in a pretty package colored and shaped to please the human eye. And the thought that comes to mind is one I'm sure you're familiar with: Garbage in garbage out.

So in order to sleep at night I make my dogs food. And I read a lot about dog nutrition. And I try to do my best to see that they get what they need. One of the things I've read many times that they don't need or need very little of is carbs. My dogs get carbs...for the most part in the form of certain vegetables. But they also get rice and that's not a carb that falls into a 'natural' diet for a dog and that's why I was trying the give them something that would ensure that they are able to process the carbs in their diet. I've found it virtually impossible (not to mention wicked expensive) to feed them enough to keep their weight at normal levels without using rice for some of their meals. And nobody wants to see a skinny dog! As it turns out I've once more (Allie was the first of my dogs with food allergies) become the owner of dogs with 'food sensitivities' or possibly allergies. I believe this was the reason that Nick started barfing on the enzymes. They are just too much for the sensitive stomach of a dog with food allergies/sensitivities.

So I will shelf that idea and more forward in the search for better food and a well rounded diet. One food I do give them is from the Honest Kitchen. It's a raw dehydrated food made from vegetables and fruits. They love it! But then these are two dogs that eat everything...including things that are not food. What I like about it is it fills in for some of the foods I just can't afford to buy on a constant basis and seems to keep their stools very normal. It is a requirement that a protein be added if using that food only. I rotate their proteins as they seem to have definite problems with certain meats. Chicken, beef and dairy are the most frequently reactionary foods for dogs. My dogs must have read that somewhere because they have a problem with all three foods! I was feeding them chicken for quite some time before I realized that was what was causing them to have diarrhea. So that not only eliminates chicken but all birds. And when they started having gas when they ate beef or cheese I knew they were no longer an option either. The real problem arises when you discover that many other meats are too similar to beef...they can't have them. And the cheese was just a much cheaper way to provide protein that is off the table now too. Currently they are doing fine on fish and ground pork but I will be experimenting with lamb some time soon.

So the search for the best dog diet continues and I'll continue to read as much as I can find about dog nutrition. The picture below of the enzymes are what I used and won't be using again. However if you are feeding your dog a commercial dog food with no problems you might want to try this type of enzyme and see if it works for your dog. Just because I can't use it doesn't mean it's a bad product. Don't take my word for it. Read up on dog nutrition and form your own opinion.

The book below is a fascinating read but be will never think of commercial dog food the same way again after reading it and you may decide not to feed it to your dog going forward. And some of the information about how dog food standards are created is absolutely heart breaking. They use live animals for the studies and it's criminal to treat animals (mostly puppies) like that in the name of science!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dog Biscuits

Well I finally got around to trying a new dog biscuit recipe for the pups. (I call them pups because they act like it but they are really incredibly active big dogs) I must say I didn't check out that recipe before I printed it and when I took a real look at the ingredients I was a little shocked to see 'sugar' as an ingredient. That's just crazy! Dogs don't need sugar anymore than we do and it's just as destructive to them as it is to us. (not that I don't love my sugar, I do..I do...really I do!)So I knew at that point that I had to 'doctor' this recipe. That's no problem really. These girls eat things that aren't even food..I'm sure they'll eat the biscuits without even really tasting them.

So I omitted the sugar and also omitted the corn meal because I didn't have any in the house. I added more oats, some wheat germ and a little more flour instead. The batter turned out to be too wet anyway (probably because they had me using 2 eggs and oil) so I added more oats to dry it out. These were supposed to be peanut butter dog biscuits but the recipe only called for 2 tlbs of peanut butter. I added three and they still don't have a whole lot of peanut butter smell or flavor to them. (yes, I ate some to see what they taste like...hmmmm, needs sugar if I'm going to like them!) They ended up nice and crunchy which is good but that's because I left them in the oven after turning it off.

Over all I am not pleased with this recipe and I won't use it again. The search for a better dog biscuit recipe is still on. Meanwhile the girls will polish these off in no time. It's gratifying to know that even my 'less than impressive' biscuit attempts will not go to waste with them.
Good doggies!