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Thread: Food: Home prepared v High Quality Commercial

  1. #1
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    Default Food: Home prepared v High Quality Commercial

    Forgive me if this topic has already been coverd. I did try searching but didn't find specifically what I was looking for.

    So, I am wondering what everyone's feelings are on home prepared versus high quality commercial dog foods?

    Because up until now we always had large dogs & quite a number of them (8 at one stage) it just wasn't practical for me to be preparing home made meals for the dogs. However old father time has changed all that and our number & breed is smaller, so I'm toying with the idea of trialling home prepared or at least mostly home prepared meals for the dogs. I'm thinking along the lines of cooked up meats, veg, rice & other grains and also occasional raw meats (human consumption quality) & bones. I'd still like to feed the occasional meal of high quality kibble too as that can be extremely convenient on occasions.

    Anyway, I would like to hear what you are all doing re feeding, why you chose the method you did, and what the advantages & disadvantages are for both you and your dogs.

    Many thanks!
    ~ Sam, Sonny & Beau ~

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    Ouch - touchy, touchy subject! But my two cents.. my puppy was raised on a home-cooked diet the breeder makes (and sells at top vets in our province). I believe, the process of cooking a balanced home cooked meal totally can not be ensured to be nutritional/healthy 100% because so much can go wrong. Dog food manufactured has kept a lot of dogs alive well past life expectancy. If you research is good, you watch your pet for signs, I believe a good kibble (sometimes switched around) and adding some fresh foods is the best of both worlds. I dont feel its a compromise but rather the highest way to go. I do not agree with raw diet - opps there go the sirens with opposing views coming on...

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    I feed premium kibble and prepared raw food (Nature's Variety). I was very unsure about feeding the raw, even though it's prepared and has all the nutrients the dog needs. But now, I wouldn't feed Mia anything else. She's done SO good on it and I couldn't find a kibble anywhere that didn't upset her stomach and give her runny/mush poo. I feed her the NV Raw venison with frozen green beans on top, a squirt of Grizzly Salmon Oil and some probiotics and she LOVES it and has had nothing but perfect poo (weird that it's so important, I know) since she's been on it. My Golden gets a kibble/raw mix, since I'd go bankrupt trying to feed him a 100% NV raw diet... I'd like to start adding a little home cooking to their diets occasionally, though. Just haven't gotten around to it yet...
    Denise, Wrigley (Golden-5 Yrs.) and
    Mia Bella (Cavalier-2 Yrs.)

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    It's a very touchy subject but in order to get the right combination of minerals and vitamins for your doggie, I'd go with a high quality dog food.

    We had to cook for our beloved Charley, in the last year or so of his life.
    The vet gave us some minerals and vitamins (powder) that HAD to be added daily to meet the proper requirements for a dog.

    I agree with Debbie, use a premium dog food supplemented with a small amount of veggies, cheese, fruits, etc.

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    Thanks for your input guys. Hey I didn't realise that this is a touchy subject

    Okay, I still want to hear more opinions on this.
    ~ Sam, Sonny & Beau ~

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    I don;t think it is always touchy -- but some people can feel that one diet alone is what should be fed and any other choice is wrong -- and make people feel really guilty about it. There are quite faddsh things that folks will say MUST be fed as well. I think you can feed many things.

    I personally think dry food diets are extremely boring for a dog for a lifetime -- like eating a bowl of the same fortified cereal at each meal -- and dried extruded foods have to have most nutrients added back in as most of the real food ingredients lose much of their nutritional value once highly processed into kibble. Often the food sources are quite poor too of course. A good quality kibble is really worth it I think, and I always encourage people to add frsh food to this type of diet if it forms the basis of the dog's meals -- and to rotate around different foods every few months too for nutritional, shape and flavour variety.

    I like feeding what you are proposing -- some kibble, some homecooked, a bit of raw, mostly as bones (I do have some issues with how well bones are actually digested though, from personal experiences that were a bit worrying!).

    Dogs do not need much of a different diet than a balanced human diet and did well for centuries off human leftovers, castoffs, and butchers trimmings. The pet food industry is only a recent phenomenon -- a post worl war two convenience and way of using up foods not used in the commercial manufacturing industries, like rice hulls, meat 'derivatives' etc.

    I mostly feed homemade stews that are a mix of meat, veg, and usually rice, barley or oats. I cook it for 3-4 hours, remove bones, blend it well by hand (I don;t puree it as some people do), and freeze in containers that last 2-3 days. I either feed this alone or with some kibble. There are a few recipes in the Caring for your Cavalier section. I use whatever veg is around, frozen mixed veg or beans, all sorts of things. For meat, usually chicken or turkey or ground beef (if the latter I don;t cook it for more than about an hour, sort of like you would a a chili recipe). I enjhoy making up a fresh batch each week or two.

    It isn't hard to make your own raw mix, and again there are plenty of recipes out there from good reliable nutritional sources. This is phenomenally cheaper than buying it in.

    It is easy to get the recommended supplements if you want to add those in though I cannot see how it makes much difference to add in something like kelp power -- I mean dogs in the wild survive on a very varied diet and don't have artifical supplements added in. As with humans a healthy fresh varied diet will provide all the nutrients a dog needs but it is important to read up a bit to make sure you know what is needed in a varied and nutitional diet for a dog.

    I almost never feed kibble alone -- I always add in things from fish to yoghurt, some fresh or cooked veg, etc.

    Some feel over-supplementing is not healthy. As in humans high levels of vitamins etc can cause problems. I don't use any supplements at all except fish oil caspules a couple times a week if I remember.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    This is all very reassuring. Thank you Karlin for such a comprehensive reply.

    -- but some people can feel that one diet alone is what should be fed and any other choice is wrong -- and make people feel really guilty about it.
    Yeah, it is a shame when people do stuff like that. It is never productive.

    The pet food industry is only a recent phenomenon
    And one that is starting to annoy me somewhat. Here in Australia I could be eating lobster, crabs & truffles for the same price we pay for "premium" dog food & no matter which way you look at it, is only made up of very cheap ingredients.

    Like you, with the number & size of dogs we now have, I could get away with doing a once a week cook up for the dogs.

    Well, I better get my pots out then.
    ~ Sam, Sonny & Beau ~

  8. #8
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    I would do a mix of both using a human grade premium dog food as a baseline which you can increase or decrease depending on what or how much home cooked stuff you give.
    If you do decide to go with only home cooked food you need to make sure you are giving the right supplements also.
    Luvzcavs xx
    Harry (tri) and Digby (blen).

  9. #9
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    The thing is, if you feed a balanced and varied 'real food' diet you do not need supplements, though you can add them if you like. . Dogs like humans are omnivores and survivors and have systems well adapted over millenia to benefit from whatever mix of foods they can gather in. As with humans, as long as you have an interesting variety of foods -- primarily meat and some veg, ideally rotating the meats and adding in some small amounts of offal like occasional heart, liver etc -- the diet will not only be nutritional but arguably, the sources for vitamins and minerals will be superior to adding in chemically-derived supplements. Note many human nutritionists argue this too -- the best source for vitamins and minerals is generally always food itself, not a pill or powder. It is known that vitamins and minerals within a food seem to have greater punch than what should be the same, in a pill, probably because they combine with unknown elements in the food in some way to boost the value and digestibility of the vitamins. It is known that some and perhaps even much of the excessive amounts of vitamins/minerals taken in pill form are simply excreted in urine in humans, especially if you drink tea or coffee within a short time of taking the supplement.

    The reason all the supplements are in a dried or tinned dog food is not because they are needed in addition to what few natural ingredients are there, but because the natural ingredients no longer offer much nutritional value due to the way dried foods (in particular) are processed into kibble.

    With cavaliers, I find I can actually feed the dogs cheaper on homecooked stews than on kibble or tins (we don't have the option of premade raws here). I get bulk package chicken thighs or one huge turkey leg for very little at the butcher or supermarket and can feed three dogs for little more than a couple of euro a week. Occasionally I get beef instead. A raw diet would be more costly, as the main component is meat.

    Interestingly a friend of mine says the same for her large dogs -- she had three dogs, two big labs and a lurcher (the elderly lab had since passed on at around 16 -- all are rescue dogs of uncertain age) -- and she says it is much cheaper for her to feed homecooked and raw than to buy premium kibble. All her dogs thrive on this diet, basically the same thing I make, and she has the support of her holistic vet, who is one of the better vets in Ireland and very well informed on nutritional issues (he is a raw food advocate too). Miss Daisy the elderly lab did superbly for 4-5 years on such a diet and I'm sure it contributed to her longevity and zest for life; she was a great eater til the end. Considering my friend thought she got her as a dog with maybe a year left to her life -- she had a great run of it.

    I can post a couple of useful books later on for anyone interested in trying some fresh food diets -- am very behind on my 'real' work at the moment and don't have time to find them.

    I really like to encourage people to venture beyond the world of dried kibble. Dogs lived for centuries with humans without ever seeing a fortified bag of kibble and giving a nice variety of foods in a balanced way can at the very least be a welcome addition to your dog's food bowl or even its primary constituent. I know some are not comfortable with ltering diet too much and feel better using a kibble -- but if so, do consider adding in a bit of fresh cooked meat, a sardine or two, cottage cheese, some fresh chopped or pureed veg or fruit... daily or a couple times a week. All that adds interest and variety for your dog and is tasty too!
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    Upon bringing Dudley home who is now 3 years old, the breeder had him on a totally raw diet.
    I followed this diet for over a year, I also tried many different pre-made Raw Diets. Dudley grew not to enjoy the RAW with the exception of RAW Chicken Necks which he devoured. He would actually hold out for those necks, I loved the fact that he was eating necks as his teeth were in wonderful shape. Because of the constant battle of him manipulating me I switched to Kibble, I now feed both of them EVO always mixed with either boiled Chicken/Beef and veggies.

    They are doing very well on it and I feel good that they are not bored with mealtime.

    Just boiled up a entire batch of Chicken plan on chopping it and re-freezing it in ziploc bags.
    Mom to Daniel, Derrick, David
    Dudley 3 Years Old
    Darby 1 Year Old

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