Diet & Nutrition
I have been feeding a natural diet to my dogs for 27 years. It did not seem to be straight forward or mainstream at the time, processed dry kibbles had replaced long ago feeding methods of raw meaty bones and table scraps. I did as much research as I could and pretty much improvised until I read the BARF book by Dr Ian Billinghurst. At the time it seemed quite daunting to try and get all the ‘components’ together into one meal, but I learnt fairly quickly to balance dietary needs over a two week period, to ‘look’ at my dogs as individuals with regard to their nutritional needs and enjoy the experience of feeding my dogs real food that they enjoyed and thrived on. Today there are many manufactures providing all the necessary meals required for a dog’s diet, so it couldn’t be easier. Simply order your raw dinners and bones and get started, easy. For me though, the enjoyment I get from preparing all the meals myself, make this aspect of dog ownership the most enjoyable.
I suppose a more accurate description of the way I feed my dogs would be to call their diet ‘combination’ rather than natural. 75% of the meals are raw meaty bones and mince mixes, 10% are cooked veg/meaty muffins and home-made cookies and 15% would be extras (see below). All the suppliers for all of the diet can be seen in the section ‘Links’ but my advice to anyone thinking of changing to this method of feeding is don’t over think it, feed to suit your dog. For example, be mindful of your dog’s likes and dislikes (not the same as pampering to a fussy dog at feeding time) and do your own reading around the subject. There are a great many foods that are toxic to dogs and many that have enormous healing qualities. You will not regret this method of feeding your dog; a lively happy friend, no doggy smell, fewer trips to the vet and a dog that enjoys variety at mealtimes. There is nothing nicer than watching your dog chomping through a meaty bone, focused on the job in hand, doing what nature intended and, cleaning his teeth at the same time.
I have included some images of meals below, also some of the extras that I feed. It is important not to over supplement without knowing why- again there are some excellent books out there for reference, and I also include a sample adult mince/cereal meal and typical adult daily menu for you to look at. For anyone giving a home to a future Amabea puppy, all of the information will be provided anyway, but you may have just brought home a new 8 week old puppy, so the following may be a good starting place for you. I can also be contacted for any help and advice you might require. If I cannot help you, I will certainly be able to point you in the right direction. Remember to make the change-over from processed to raw slowly, and NEVER feed cooked bones.
Each day varies and includes some of the following foods. Apples, bananas, pears, berries, yoghurt with manuka honey, mackerel/pilchards, liver, green tripe, vegetables (raw or cooked) recreational bones, eggs, salmon, goats milk, occasional piece of toast and peanut butter, lamb mince, turkey mince, beef mince. Supplements are added to the mince mix several times per week. See the menu below.
Typical Adult Dog Diet
I feed 2 meals per day. Golden Retrievers are usually very ‘foody’ though I imagine most dogs would prefer an Am and Pm meal. Dogs get a slightly larger portion than bitches. Below is a typical daily menu for one of the girls here at Amabea. My dogs prefer their bones at the end of the day and mince/oat meal am. Ingredients can vary depending upon what I might have in the freezer/fridge or store cupboard.
AM Meal-5 times per week: large mug of raw mince (beef/tripe/turkey/chicken/lamb/pork) cupful of steamed or raw pureed veg and fruit, offal, either liver or heart but only 2-3 times per week. Occasional addition of egg yolk and yoghurt, Ultimate Nutrition vitamin/mineral tablets, Vit E and Omega-3 soft gels. Kelp tablets Autumn/Winter.
AM Meal-2 times per week: 1 cup of barley/oatflakes (soaked in cold water overnight) blended with I cup goats milk, 1 dessert spoon of Tree Barks powder and 1 teaspoon manuka honey. (This meal is optional and not essential to the diet plan)
Pm meal: 1 large raw meaty bone or several chicken wings/necks. Bones could be lamb neck/spine, turkey leg (skin removed), duck carcass, turkey back/neck, oxtail (supervised-this can be swallowed whole if too small) pork ribs, etc. Do not feed weight-bearing bones as these are too hard and could fracture teeth, e.g femurs, knuckle bones. Your local butcher may have bones for you, otherwise look at the Links page (click here) to see recommended suppliers.
Every month or so I have a baking day, when I make batches of muffins and cookies. These can be frozen and used as and when. I occasionally replace the mince meal with meat muffins, or the oat meal with oat cookies.
Remember never to feed your dog/puppy just before exercise, and after a walk leave at least an hour before feeding.
fruit & seed cookies
2 cups Rude Health sprouted whole spelt flour
1/2 cup SmartBarf
1 tablespoon Organic Blackstrap Molasses
2 tablespoons Organic Raw Coconut Oil
Melt the oil and molasses, pour into the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Add a little warm water. Roll out and cut into shapes then bake on a very low temp' to oven dry for about an hour. Cool then feed to your doggie friend for a lovely healthy Winter boost snack.