There are a lot of options when it comes to feeding your dog… like too many. Lately, I’ve been toying with the idea of feeding Adakias homemade dog food because I am so terribly unhappy with all of the kibble options on the market. They’re either too expensive or full of cheap fillers and crappy ingredients. My Little Wolf is just over a year old and I have yet to find a dog food that he actually likes. When he was about 4 months old I had to get him one of those fancy slow-feed bowls because he would wolf down his food so fast that he threw it back up every time, but somewhere along the way that stopped. I can’t remember the last time he actually got excited for his breakfast or dinner. Usually he just lets it sit around all day before he finally gets hungry enough to eat.
I started researching different types of homemade dog food diets and came across a million and a half websites all claiming that their way of feeding was the best, naturally. The two main methods I came across, and I’m sure anyone who’s looked into it has heard of them, were the prey-model diet and the BARF diet.
Basically, the prey-model diet prescribes to the belief that dogs are carnivores, not omnivores, and therefore should eat a diet comprised of meat, meat, aaaand meat. This diet follows the 80-10-5-5 rule, which is just a simple breakdown of how much of each part of the “prey” to feed your dog to keep their diet nutritionally balanced. The numbers stand for 80% muscle meat, 10% bones, 5% liver, and 5% other organs. I also saw another version of this that was just the 80-10-10 rule, which combined liver and other organs into one group but even that one suggested 5% of those organs be liver so I decided to leave the former.
The BARF diet, on the other hand, believes you should feed a raw diet that includes a mixture of meats and veggies, amongst other things. One meaning of the acronym BARF is Bones And Raw Food, which believes that you should feed 60% raw meaty bones and 40% veggies, organs, ground meat, eggs, and other supplements. However, there is a second meaning for the acronym created by Dr. Billinghurst that stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, which seems to follow much of the same principles but was basically created as a branding for these pre-made patties that you can buy to feed your dogs instead of following all the guidelines and making meals yourself. Obviously this would be the much easier route, but it is very expensive and I feel like if you put in the effort to make the food yourself and really hunted around for the best prices you could easily make a similar meal for cheaper.
This is obviously just a short summation of the different types of feeding I came across during my own personal research and if you want to know more I highly suggest clicking through the links above. Of course, you can also research them further on your own but these were just some of the most helpful and easy to follow sites that I found out of the multitude.
Now, to switch away from kibble most people seem to think with either of these diets that you cannot feed raw and kibble at the same time due to a difference in digestion rate. Many suggest just switching immediately and cutting the kibble cold turkey. The common theory being that dry kibble digests much slower than raw food and then causes digestive upsets and potentially adds extra risk for contracting bacteria from the raw food because it sits in the stomach longer. I have not switched my dog’s food yet so I can’t really attest to tummy troubles, but I did come across this interesting post that supposedly debunks this as a myth. In the post, they did a little experiment with a test dog and actually showed pictures inside the dog after feeding raw food and kibble together. According to the pictures, kibble actually digests faster than raw food. Do with that what you will, but I just thought the experiment was interesting and I’m curious as to where the myth came from if it is truly so completely false.
When it comes back to kibble, I’ve tried a million different brands from expensive ($70 for 22 lbs), to cheap ($30 for 24 lbs), to the average priced brands in between. Currently, I have settled on Simply Nourish Source large breed, grain free, high protein dog food. I am fairly satisfied with the ingredients and price. It cost me $48.14 after tax for a 24 lb bag (I saved 10% buying online with store pickup at Petsmart), and a bag this size lasts him one month almost to the day. Not too shabby. He didn’t jump for joy or anything like that when I first brought home the bag, but about a week later he is actually starting to eat his food regularly and for the most part right when I set it down.
The food isn’t the only variable, though, so I cannot say that it is just because of the new brand that he is eating better. As I mentioned in a previous post, I just got Adakias a new crate and I’ve been working on desensitizing him to it and trying to make it a happy place. Queue food. Since I got the crate I have been feeding his breakfast and dinner (about 2 cups per meal) in it. The first couple of meals I had to add coconut oil to entice him to even set foot in the crate. By the way, if you have never tried giving your dog coconut oil you totally should. Adakias freaking loves it. I came home once to find my jar of coconut oil on the couch where the little stinker was trying to break into it. Luckily the jar held its own. Aside from him loving the taste, it’s actually great for dogs as well and it makes his coat super soft and shiny. It is the one sure-fire way I’ve found to make him eat his plain old kibble when he just isn’t feeling it. However, the past few days I haven’t added anything to his food and he has still been eating it right away. I may never know if it was the food or the new feeding routine that caused him to start eating better, but either way I am happy with the result and will probably continue with this brand unless something changes or until I get the itch to try something a little more adventurous like making my own dog food.
Sorry if this post is a little text heavy, I tried to keep it as brief as possible while still getting all the important stuff in there. These were all of the things that I learned while researching for my own dog compiled into one place, so I hope it is helpful for at least one person. For now kibble is what fits our lifestyle, but I do like to add bits of meat to his diet here and there and of course the aforementioned coconut oil. I even bought him chicken gizzards and liver over Valentine’s Day weekend. He ate the gizzards just like any other piece of chicken I would normally give him off my plate, but he wasn’t a big liver fan. I’ll be sure to update if I eventually decide to make the switch to raw. Till then, tootaloo.