So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Luke 1:45

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This One's for the Dogs

 The last time Hubby took Rocky to the vet's office, as he was checking out, the receptionist said, "There's that stocky boy." Hubby looked at Rocky and said, " You hear that? She's calling you fat." She said something about not using that particular word and they chatted some more.

But the little experience led to his designation at home as 'Stocky Rocky.'  And he has always had a bit of a weight problem. While he is full - blooded Min Pin and supposedly his father was only 9 pounds, I have had less and less confidence in the breeder we bought him from as the years have passed.

And, frankly, I think we might end up in trouble for it if we somehow managed to keep him below 10 pounds. He just seems more muscular than that. He is overweight though and by several pounds.

That is something we have been working on -- well, I have. Part of the reason he is overweight is that Hubby seems to believe he should have dog treats on a regular and consistent basis.

In addition to the fact that this makes him overweight, it also tends to upset his stomach (which is particularly sensitive -- he's had pancreatitus twice already). I got a little pushy about it a couple weeks before we went on our little trip to Arkansas for Independence day. That's why he has a little bit of a waist in these pictures.

Now that we've gotten back, Hubby and I were talking about this and we've decided to try something different.

I've lost weight solely from taking a lot of additives out of our diet so why not the four-legged members of our family as well. A couple of years ago, I remember one of the bloggers I read regularly discussing how she fed her dogs. She had done it the same way for all of their 10 years and they had only needed one vet visit for an issue (a parasite). In addition, her vet had commented on their good health and diet.

So we decided to give it a try. A lot of the recipes I've found called for raw meat but her recipe is cooked due to stomach sensitivities in one of her dogs. Sound familiar? It sounded like just the ticket to us.

We've been giving it a try. Rocky loves the food so far and would gladly take more of it. The other reason he's overweight is that he's kind of a pig.

We've been giving him 1/4 cup three times a day plus his CET chew (for his teeth). This is based on his ideal weight of 8 to 10 lbs as opposed to the 18 pounds he currently weighs.

I had to google how much he needed to have per day. I tried to use a dog food calculator that calculated his ideal weight but it was very confusing. So, in the end, I just converted her dog's weight (she is in Australia and uses metric) to pounds and divided it to come up with Rocky's serving. If he were more active or younger, I might increase it slightly or conversely decrease it for a much older dog.

We initially planned to give him 1/4 cup twice a day by using that conversion and his chew in between but he walked around staring at us like we were starving him and began banging his food dish in protest. Since he's quite a bit larger than his ideal weight right now, we decided it might be better to take his amounts down to the correct one a little more gradually. That way he wouldn't think he wasn't being tortured and we didn't have to endure his mournful looks. And we seem to have hit the right amount with the three times a day.

He seems to think that his new food is awesome and the only time he's had stomach issues was the morning after Hubby gave him two or three treats one night. I pointed out AGAIN that they are pretty rich for his tummy.

Another benefit -- one that I really like -- is that I now know exactly what is in his food. No chemicals or additives I can't pronounce.

And I'm looking forward to comparing his health once we complete our little experiment.

Once he is eating twice a day, this recipe will make enough to last just over a month. It costs around $8. The bags of food we've been buying have been about the same so knowing he's getting something better in quality is worth it.

And if it saves us just one vet bill (like the $500 one for his first bout of pancreatitus), that will have been well worth the little bit of time it takes to make this.

You can read about her experience with the recipe here, here and here. This is her recipe which we used (converted).

Appx. 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1½ cups raw brown or white rice
1 cup raw barley OR lentils
1 cup raw pasta
2 cups chopped vegetables - it can be whatever you have on hand but NOT ONIONS or LEEKS.
1 spoonful of Vegemite or peanut butter (optional - we didn't use it)

Place all the above ingredients into a big stockpot. Cover with water and stir to break up the ground beef. Bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. When it's finished cooking, top up the stockpot to the rim with water and leave to cool.
When it's cold, place into portion sized plastic containers and freeze until you need them.

One note: Dogs are omnivores so this works for them. Cats, however, are true carnivores. You would need to use something different for them. Since Calista is still a kitten, we haven't changed her diet and probably won't, at least until she is an adult. She still needs more calories as a kitten not to mention other needs as she grows.

UPDATE:  After a year of using this food, we are hooked. Check out the results here.

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