These are the chronicles of two Shetland Sheepdogs and their adventures in rally-o, obedience, flyball, agility, tracking and therapy dog work.
Also including information on raw feeding, canine epilepsy, positive training, and lots and lots of Sheltie hair!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Meat Shopping, Moose, Veggies, and Mums

Story 1: Meat Shopping

After getting the recent shipment of beef, I finally realized how pathetically empty my meat freezer was getting! I had been putting off shopping for meat because I knew I was getting a whole schwack (yes, that is a technical term) of beef soon, but that also meant that my stocks of liver and chicken, gizzards, and hearts were getting very low as well. Today I stopped by the grocery store to stock up again. 4 packages of beef liver, about 10lb of chicken drumsticks, 3 packages of chicken gizzards, and 3 packages of chicken hearts. Now the freezer is finally looking plentiful again. This, plus all that beef, should keep the boys fed for a couple of months now!

Story 2: Moose!

My boss/graduate supervisor and her husband feed their pack of dogs raw. And since they are hunters and are friends with more hunters, they have some great connections. Today she brought me a great large bag of moose bones for the dogs. There is lots of meat and connective tissue still attached. The boys LOVED them! They each got to gnaw on a bone as I puttered in the kitchen.

Now, here is a situation that you should do as I say, not as I do. After Gio's first run-in with a wreck bone, resulting in a chipped molar and a subsequent tooth extraction, I've been greatly outspoken against feeding wreck bones. Wreck bones are those large weight baring bones of big animals like cattle, deer, elk, moose, etc. What constitutes as a wreck bone for one dog might not be for another. A few considerations come into play, mainly your dog's chewing style. If you have a strong, eager chewer, then it may be best to stay away from large and hard bones. If you have a careful chewer, then you might want to give it a try. But be sure to always supervise!

I had never tried Romeo on wreck bones before, and it had been quite a while since Gio had a go at them. There has been over a year of raw feeding for Gio to get used to the idea of raw and learn how to chew bones since his last wreck bone encounter. It looks like it has taught him a lesson, as he did very well with his bone today! Romeo has always been a very careful chewer, so I wasn't concerned about him at all. Regardless, I watched them both carefully and took the bones away once all the goodness was scraped off of them. It's the ripping and tearing of the connective tissue off of the bones that is of benefit to the teeth. Chewing on the bone doesn't do a whole lot for dental health, anyways.

Though they have never met her, I'm pretty sure that my boss is now the boys' favorite person!

Story 3: Veggies

I consider knowledge and education an on-going adventure. Even if what I have going right now seems near perfect, I'm not happy with leaving it at that if there is any possibility that it might be better. As such, even though the dogs have been doing wonderfully on prey model raw for going on 19 months now, I've spoken with many people that swear by the successes they are having on a BARF style raw. There are aspects of BARF raw that I don't completely agree with, but a few other aspects that I'd be willing to give a go. As such, I am going to try adding a veggie mix to the boy's diet. I'll give it a try for a month or so, and then evaluate after that. If there are unmistakeable positive changes with the addition of veggies, then I'll continue on with them. If not, then I won't worry about going back to prey model completely. Of course, the boys get little snacks of fruit and veggie already, but not in any significant amount.

I'm starting them on 10% veggie mix per week. That will work out to two servings a week, where each serving makes up half of their daily allotment of food. While shopping for chicken bits and beef liver, I stocked up on some great veggies like spinach, sweet potatoe, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, cranberries and carrots. I cubed it all up and steamed it in a large soup pot for about 45 minutes. Then tossed it all in a blender and pureed the bejeebus out of it.

The deal with veggies, or any plant matter, is that dogs do not possess the enzymes or intestinal bacteria to deal with cell walls. So if you are feeding any plant matter to your dog in hopes of getting nutritional benefit out of it, you need to puree and/or steam the heck out of it all to break up the cell walls. I now have a large mixing bowl of veggie mush in the fridge, and two muffin tins of veggie mix in the freeze. Over the next couple of days I will continue to fill up the muffin trays and freeze 3oz portions of the veggie mush. Once frozen, into a big bag they will go and the boys can have a couple every few days in addition to their normal food. After this batch is gone, should take a couple of months to get through, I'll re-evaluate how the boys are doing and decide if I want to continue with the veggies.

Story 4: Mums

Chrysanthemums to be precise. I clearly know absolutely nothing about Mums. I know they are bright and colorful and come back year after year. So last summer we added some to the small flower garden alongside the house. They didn't do a whole lot last summer, but this summer really took off! Somewhat disappointingly, though, they just formed large green bushes. No flowers. Until a couple of days ago. The bushes are now loaded with tiny buds and they are all starting to bloom! I had no idea ...
maybe this isn't normal? Maybe these are mutant Chrysanthemums? Or maybe this is totally normal for Mums and they are just a very late blooming flower. Either way, they are absolutely gorgeous!


ball=cheese said...

Looks like Romeo is as fastidious about his appearance as his mom ... doesn't like to get his paws dirty? :)

Charlie Daniels said...

That meat looks good ... except I have trouble with chicken! ;-(



Kim said...

I don't usually talk about what I feed my dogs too much. Non-raw feeders think I am either crazy or killing my dogs. Other raw feeders can sometimes be too opinionated about their chosen method.

I feed raw, but do not fit completely into either the "BARF" or "Prey Model" methods. I feed veggies/fruits about 2-3 times a week and tripe on one of the non-veggie days. I like to use veggies and fruits that are rich in color and high in anti-oxidants. This includes leafy greens, carrots, blueberries among others. I avoid any veggies that might be gas producing such as cabbage - I have large dogs that have a higher risk of bloat. The methods behind my dogs' diet are based on my own research and on the recommendation of Bosley's breeder who has around 15 years experience in feeding her Berners a raw diet.

Most PM feeders do not use supplements at all, while BARF feeders use a fair amount of supplements. I use a natural source trace mineral supplement or kelp once a week.

Bosley has been on this diet since he was weaned and Maggie has been fed this way for 2 years now. I am happy with the results and it seems to be working for my dogs.

Bree/Reilly said...

Those bones look really good and the information you gave is wonderful. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful knowledge

inthedish said...

what luck! those are some good looking bones, and very happy dogs :)

the Corgi Girls said...

*gnom gnom gnom* We want to try moose too (Izzie packs her backpack to head to Gio's house)....

Let us know how the vegi mix goes over...

M & I

Gussie said...

Jake gets approx 1/3rd well-steamed veg. Peas, beans, leaves. Not broccoli because we realised it didn't agree with him. Carrots also go down a treat. Kim's advice is good!

Enjoy ... we noticed a real improvement in coat and general vitality.

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