Happy Dogs

What dog doesn't look happy when they are face down in their food dish? It hasn't always been that way for us - both our dogs were off and on picky eaters most of their lives. Henry had been known to not eat for more than a day for no reason that we could discern.

When we moved here the dogs had been eating a fancy designer expensive dog food. I liked that it was more real nutrition and that they produced smaller stools. I figured that their bodies were actually absorbing more of the food due to less filler.

Lucy - like many floppy eared dogs - has had problems for most of her almost nine years with fungal infections in her ears, especially when the seasons change. She also had bad dandruff and chewed her feet almost compulsively.

A few months ago she was really in a bad way so we took her to the vet. After examining her, he recommended an elimination diet - just rice and tuna or salmon to start with. He also sold us her usual ear medicine and some shampoo.

So, we changed the dogs over to this new diet, which now consists of tuna, rice, frozen peas and chicken all mixed together. Being a vegetarian I don't like to mess around with cooking chicken so I bought chicken breasts (quite inexpensively) at Sam's Club to add to the food.

Both dogs are now enthusiastic eaters. They eat it up and then check each other's dish, just in case. They lick the little pieces of rice off the floor. Lucy's skin has cleared up beautifully, she only licks her feet once in a while, and I can keep her ears under control with cleaning every week.

I like the fact that they are eating without a lot of fillers and unknown additives. It is a bit expensive but no more so than the fancy food...and I am happier knowing that I am taking good care of our best friends!

Oh, and the treats that we give them now in place of store-bought dog cookies? Carrots!


islagringo said...

I'm going to have to save this post as a Favorite so I can find it again fast, should we ever make good on our threat to get a dog!

I love that you put the bowl for Henry at a higher height for him. A little thing but very thoughtful.

CancunCanuck said...

Such cuties! Since getting the kittens I've been reading a lot on homemade animal food. Makes a whole lot of sense to me! For us, making the cat's food ends up being cheaper than the packaged foods. The "good" animal food in cans is sooo expensive!

Jackie said...

I have always heard that salmon could be dangerous for dogs due potential poisoning. Maybe that is just raw salmon and cooked is safe? I had a cocker for 16 years and she was one constant ear infection after another.
I like your tile flooring, It is very rustic but yet elegant at the same time with the diamonds .

Steve Cotton said...

Professor Jiggs has bookmarked this page with a note that his back legs may be giving out, but fresh food in the bowl makes everything taste better. When his bag of food runs out, I may put him on this diet. What portions do you give the dogs?


Interesting.... is it brown rice?tuna with the oil? cooked chicken breasts? Once a day? Do they drink bottled water?
I have read a tbls. of canned pumpkin is good.
Thanks for the helpful post.

Cynthia Johnson & Mike Nickell said...

Very good post, Nancy...and Sitka only drinks bottled water - why would I give her tap if we won't drink it??

1st Mate said...

Nancy - I found boneless chicken thighs are even cheaper than breasts and the dogs love 'em. I've been mixing ground beef or chicken and rice, thinking for a while about dropping the kibble but unsure what nutrition of Rthey'd be losing. I add two tablespoons Red Star yeast (the kind that tastes like cheese) to the meat when I cook it, and have had a huge drop in tick population.

Glad to hear Lucy's skin problem is clearning up.

Nancy said...

Hey Everyone!

Yes, I am really glad Lucy's (the big dog) allergies have cleared up so nicely.

Before we went on the new diet I had her on a dog food for allergic dogs and it was a salmon-rice mix so I think salmon is ok for dogs.

I use white rice just because I'm a bit lazy with the time it takes to cook but if I see a good price I might switch. I buy it at Sam's and put it in the freezer to make sure we don't get those rice bugs in our house.

The tuna I buy is water packed. The label says there is some soy in it, but they seem to do fine with it.

I'll look for the chicken thighs next time, good idea. Once I find yeast I think I'll add that, too. And I'm sure the dogs would like the pumpkin, but I'll probably look for fresh and cook it myself. Sometimes I add a little olive oil.

Lucy is about 65-70 lbs and she gets about 6 cups of food, once a day. About 3cups of rice, 1/2 chicken breast, a can and half of tuna and about 1/2 cup of peas.

Henry gets the same mix but about 3 cups. Once a day.

Jonna had a great post about mixing her dog's food wuite a while ago, but I can't find it now. She used more meat than I do, I think.

jillian said...

Nancy, Tripod has a crusty ear thing happening now that she is constantly picking at. What is the name of the medicine you use for Lucy? Thanks! jillian

Billie said...

We had a dog that we were about to have to put to sleep because of cancer. He wasn't eating so I started making his food. Rice, some hamburger meat, some boil egg, and then lots of shredded broccoli or carrots (cancer fighters you know). He got to feeling better and lived another 2 years with a very nice quality of life. I'm glad your babies are doing better.

New Beginnings said...

That is wonderful news. Jackson had the same problem when he was a pup with chronic ear infections and allergies. My holistic vet suggest we switch to the raw meat diet and ever since then, he has not had one ear infection (and that was 3 years ago!).

Nancy said...

It's interesting how many people I am hearing from who have done something similar with good success!

Jillian, the ear medicine the vet gave Lucy is Otomax. I think it is Ottomax in the US. That in conjunction with ear cleaner once a week cleared the infection up, and the diet is keeping her pretty stable, at least so far. Good luck with Tripod.

patm said...

I'm always happy to hear of examples of good results from homemade dog food. We have a 14 year old and 8 year old schnauzers that are going strong on homemade dog food. No bad breath or itchy skin. Search on the web for Dr Pitcairn for recipes that include needed vitamins and mineral supplements.
Keep up the great work on your blog!