Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Do You Eat Better Than Your Dog?

One of our golden retrievers will be 14 years old in a few days. She is a sweet girl and has had multiple health issues over the years, including hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, severe ear infections, skin infections, fatty lipomas, cataracts, hematomas, hot spots, weight loss and gain, oily skin, GI upsets, hair loss, food allergies and skin allergies. At one point she was allergy tested. Am I the only one that owns a dog that is allergic to cats? I remember one attempt included changing her food bowl from plastic to stainless steel in case that was it. We also had her on various types of prescription food, including crazy mixes of alternative sources of protein, because she was likely allergic to chicken (and every other source of normal sounding protein). I'm sure I'm leaving something out, and I'm also pretty sure one of our vets is floating around somewhere on his yacht named Miss Molly about now.

Approximately 5 or so years ago Molly was in the worst shape of her life. We were battling so-called allergies year round. She was getting dipped in some funky chemical every week and taking allergy shots weekly, along with various meds and antibiotics. Her feet were almost bare from licking and biting them, she had about 7 hairs total on her scraggly tail, she was blowing out her undercoat, her hair was changing color and her skin was oily and stinky. We could bathe her and by the time we had her dry she was stinky again.

Around that time we went to a regional dog show to see a dog in our family compete. We got to meet the breeder of these beautiful German Shepherds and began hearing about the way he fed all his dogs. We went with him the evening before the show to let his dogs out. Keep in mind it was the middle of summer, and while they had been bathed before arrival and were in an air-conditioned vehicle for the night, they still were kenneled and in close temporary quarters. Being the dog lover I am, I was in heaven and had to touch and play with every single dog that night. What I immediately noticed was how soft their coats were and that they were not stinky whatsoever!

He fed them a preservative-free, fish-based dry food combined with fresh people food! He obtained the dry food from a breeder in Spring, Texas who had developed the formula after being dissatisfied with other commercial foods available for dogs. (I'll provide sources below). He did food prep each week so it wasn't overly burdensome.

Back home, we knew it would be some trouble to cook for the dogs, but our Gracie was getting kind of hefty and poor Molly was pretty much dying on the vine. We took another look at that special brown-colored styrofoam dog food Molly was eating. What did we have to lose? We contacted the breeder and got all the resources and information for the diet.
Here's what we started feeding them (and still do):
  • A fish-based, preservative-free dry dog food
  • Boiled chicken breast
  • Steamed carrots
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fresh garlic
  • A vitamin/mineral powder supplement
  • Fat free plain yogurt
  • Once a day they also get green beans
Within 4-6 weeks Gracie had trimmed down and we saw drastic changes in Molly. Her tail hair grew back and her feet had hair, even between her toes. Her coat was thick and full, her skin was oily and she wasn't stinky. Her weight leveled out, her ears cleared up, her skin was less itchy and she had more energy. We couldn't believe it.

So where am I going with this? While we had started feeding our dogs this great healthy diet we were still unprepared for our own meals. Often we would feed them, talk about how great they were doing and then look at each other and say "what do you want to eat?". You can imagine we frequently ended up in restaurants or making other convenient but unhealthy food choices. It hit us about the same time: our dogs were eating better than we were!

Gracie and Molly, so neglected!

Here's what Jack LaLanne had to say about what he fed his dog Happy so many years ago:


Dog lovers: do your dogs eat better than you? What about the rest of their care? Do you take time to give them fresh water, exercise, timely feedings, plenty of rest and love but neglect yourselves in these very important areas?
Water, exercise, whole fresh food, rest and love. Wow, what's good for the dog is also good for the human!
Heidelberg German Shepherds
Keystone German Shepherds and Kennels

We purchase products from Heidelberg German Shepherds and Keystone German Shepherds and Kennels. We do not have an affiliate relationship. Please see my disclosure statement.


Smoketheblowfish said...

Would you mind lending me a Golden for a week? That would definitely bring up the spirits around our house. Nothing says "you're home" like a Golden Retriever. Kelley, give them a hug from us.


ps. great advice on the dog food. We gave Hootie Science Diet, fish oil, some scraps of grass-fed beef, and an occasional piece of cheese (he preferred cheddar).

Kelley Moore said...

Smoke, I should send Gracie your way. She would liven up the place immediately. Her entire goal in life is to pester as many humans as possible. But she is a love muffin and that face! I cave every time. I will give them a hug from you and in honor of Hootie. I've been thinking about him and about you a lot lately.

Anonymous said...

Nice post!
Great looking dogs, Kelley! Those gals look pretty comfy...terrific advice for dog owners as well...nice!


LivingPrimal said...

For the past six months or so, I have been cooking for my dog. I had changed the way I was eating, being careful about what was going into my body, why shouldn't he eat the same? Now every week I roast him a free-range chicken, which I mix with organic veggies from my CSA (everything from green beans, and carrots, to broccoli and zucchini) and brown rice or whole wheat coucous. Mix it all up with a good amount of homemade, full fat chicken broth, and he is one happy pup! Snacks include boiled chicken and beef livers, bits of cheese, chicken jerky and pork rinds. I'm trying to change over the cats as well, but they are more finicky. At least for now, we've ditched the canned food and they get roasted chicken or tuna fish with their grain-free dry food.

Kelley Moore said...

LivingPrimal - thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I guess he is one happy pup, I would be happy too! Thanks for highlight these things that we all could be eating (including the dogs!). I especially like your snacks for them. k