I was wondering if anyone knows whether it's okay to mix canned fish food such as tuna or sardines in with dry food for a cavs diet. Star has become bored with just the dry stuff and she absolutely adores anything fishy like tuna or sardines. I'm also concerned that she's putting on weight - does anyone know if this kind of diet is particularly fattening?
I occasionally feed sardines -- they have EFA and the dogs love them. I don't feed them often due to their possible mercury levels. Sandy
A couple of things: if she's putting on weight, then cut back on the amount you are feeding, and/or increase her exercise. What is her sze now, and how much do you feed? Treats have a way of boosting calorie intake significantly for small dogs too! Here's some great info on appropriate feeding:
As for fish -- as noted fatty tinned fish can have mercury especially tuna so be careful about feeding large amounts. I split a tin of sardines between my two cavaliers, mixed into their dry food, once a week or so. Get the fish in brine and drain well rather than the veg oil which has tons of extra calories. They also like fresh cooked fish (take out bones) and also, you can make dry food more interesting and nutritious by adding all sorts of things. I add mashed banana, sliced fruits, boiled chicken, cooked minced beef, depedning on what it around. I'd rarely just give a bowl of dry food.
I noticed that you use boiled chicken and cooked mince. I always give my girls raw chiken breast and raw mince. Is that not the right thing to do?
Julie and the girls
Where i live, the stores have sardines and tuna and salmon in water. That's what i get for myself, with no salt added. I'd think that might be best for dogs too, to get the kind with no salt added. The kind with added salt has anywhere from 250 to 450 mg of sodium per serving. The kind without added salt has about 40 or 50mg sodium. I think dogs would not mind the lack of saltiness, they'd love the natural flavor. I'm glad you asked this because i had been wondering if i could just give the these fish meats right out of the can, as opposed to cooking fresh fish. Some brands advertise no mercury. I wonder how they can do that. Farm raised fish i guess.
The no salt added is the best; that brine has a lot of salt for a little dog.
I am pretty wary of raw beef as there have been documented deaths of dogs from eating it. I feed raw chicken however -- mostly as necks so they get the bones. I nearly had one of mine end up in the emergency room due to a wing sitting in two sharp pieces, in his belly for over 8 hours and I will tell you -- the bones do NOT just digest right down as a lot of raw advocates inists. They were just as sharp and pointy as when they went in which really was an eye-opener; so I don't feed wings unless cut into pieces. But necks have much softer crunchy bones and those seem to go through fine. I like them having some raw bones in their diet.
I think raw is fine as long as people know how to handle raw meats and round out all the nutrients but I just felt it was too bothersome to feed a raw-only diet. And to be honest I have not seen any difference at all from when I fed only or primarily raw -- and I do think there are risks in feeding this diet (which many feel are outweighed by benefits). I believe more in feeding real food as opposed to processed kibble which has to have added nutrients to make up for all that is lost in processing. But I find kibble very handy and know that by feeding some meals mixed with kibble, the dogs get the range of nutrients they need too. :)
Those are all my opinions based on a lot of reading, talking to people, and experimenting! I think we all make choices based on what suits us and we feel suits our dogs. I'd always encourage discussion and also, considering all the evidence and all ideas equally; but I really hate the 'food nazi' approach where people are told all they feed is wrong or their opinions are wrong or every study that disputes a point of view is wrong. I grew up with a beautiful, show-quality Great Pyrenees from one of the great US breeders of this breed (the Rhodes in California)and she was fed -- as were all dogs in the 60s/70s -- supermarket canned and dry food with lots of table scraps plus raw knuckle bones now and then! She looked glorious (more than once my folks were stopped on the street by pyr people who asked if she was being shown as she was such an excellent breed example), never went to the vet for a SINGLE illness, and lived to 13, which if you think is old by cavalier standards is ANCIENT for a giant breed. She only got a bit stiff in her last year or two; you'd have though she was a young dog til then.
I wouldn't feed such a 'junk diet' now (but I'd keep the scraps and bones in the diet! :lol:) simply because I believe in more wholesome food for people and animals :) but I also think people see what they want to see in a lot of the faddish diets. Just be sensible and don;t listen to those who make you feel you MUST feed this or that or you are mistreating your dogs. I like breeder Laura Lang's approach -- she changes around kibble and feeds a wide range of fresh food and sometimes raw, which means if you get one of her dogs -- as my parents will be taking one of her retired girls -- they can eat everything and aren't fussy. One of the weird recommendations I often see is DON'T feed your dog a range of foods or they become demanding. I would think it is the other way around! Mine are happy with just about anything in a dish because I too feed them a really wide range of foods -- this makes it really easy for Margaret who boards them (but she insists on cooking them up bits of chicken and mince anyway! :lol:). And means I don't have to drive in search of food if the ONE thing they eat isn't in the house. And mine have never been ill in 2.5 years (Leo has SM but that is genetic).
Ooops I didn't intend that as an essay but food discussions often get that way it seems! I think there are few topics dog owners get more worked up about. And few topics that can be used to make dog owners feel as manipulated and guilty. Go with what suits you, ask lots of questions, try new things, see what your dog likes. icon_thumbsup
Interesting thoughts, Karlin. If you mix around your foods does that include kibbles, which everyone says should be changed gradually? One of my girls has IBD and I have to be careful what I give her. She can't have too much chicken otherwise it can trigger an attack. She does , however, get a small chicken neck each week so that she chews something for her teeth.
Julie and the girls
Yep that includes kibbles. Mine have no problems changing around foods. I think when you only feed dogs on a single food (or cats) it makes them more inclined to be choosy and also to have potential digestive upset when you introduce anything new. But of course there are dogs that are inclined to stomach upset anmd if so I'd always move cautiously and looking for a kibble or food they tolerate well.
In my experience many dogs with sensitive stomachs do far better on home cooked or raw diets than kibble but such diets take more time and commitment.
I know Laura Lang regularly changes kibble brands as we discussed this recently; I don't know if she gradually intriduces every change but I am inclined to think not as she feeds such a wide variety of fresh foods too (from greens to berries and fruits and veg to meats).
Thank you for all your comments. Star weighs approx 23lbs right now and looks pretty pudgy. She gets plenty of exercise so it's obviously just down to diet.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned treats Karlin, I've figured out that between me and my partner we were giving her too many of those doggie biscuits and bits of cheese. He's the worst offender so I've banned him from giving her anything so I can monitor everything that she eats. I've begun to mix either tinned fish or cooked meat with some kibble and am keeping the portions smaller than usual. She really doesn't like veg so I'm wondering how I can start including those. Does anyone know if things like rawhide chews and pigs ears are fattening?