Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Feeding the dog

I get enormous satisfaction from making my dog's food. I've become something of an evangelist for a whole foods diet for dogs. Since I know how obnoxious evangelism can be, I restrain myself to speaking only of my pleasure in feeding Lugh thus, and don't try to insist that everyone else do the same.

Growing up, I thought all dogs ate dog food - i.e. kibble. When I got Lugh, my vague plan was to feed him high-quality kibble. At the local grain & feed store, I learned about organic kibble made by small, reputable companies, and started feeding Lugh that. But then I found out that my friend Lara makes her dogs' food. Lara is a gorgeous, nurturing woman, a massage therapist and yogini who's studied with Susun Weed. She's the sort of woman who lives on land, makes feminist art, and will make you a cup of tea comprising various herbs she plucks from glass jars in her kitchen. I totally dig her. I started asking her more about what she feeds her dogs. She recommended that I begin with Dr. Pitcairn's Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

Further nosing about on the web turned up a writer who's become one of my favorite proponents of feeding dogs whole foods, Christie Keith. She writes that feeding a dog kibble is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Of course, to feed a dog a whole foods diet requires research and care. But it's not difficult. Dr. Pitcairn's book has lots of straightforward, nutritionally balanced recipes. Dogs need a lot more protein than we do, most of it in the form of raw meat, and more calcium, too. They need supplemental vitamins C, E, B, and A, as well as minerals. My pantry now contains such delicacies as powdered bone meal, kelp powder, nutritional yeast, cod liver oil, and Bragg's liquid aminos.

Usually I mix up a big batch of food in my cauldron - er, soup pot - enough to feed Lugh for five days. Having done this for several months, I'm confident in making the occasional meal when I've run out of what I've made from the official recipe. I like to get creative with flavors, too. Tonight I cooked an "ad hoc" (but nutritionally balanced) dinner for Lugh. This is what he ate: Oatmeal and chopped/peeled broccoli stalk cooked lightly in organic chicken broth; supplemented with sesame oil and the pantry items mentioned above; and about five chicken necks out of the fridge. Happy, healthy dog.


olive said...
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olive said...

Wow. That is hard core evangelism. Having just stuffed my cat on Pizza Hut pizza and doritoes, I'm beginning to feel the twinges of parental inadequacy. And the gods know what was in that squirrel. I suppose I could start easy and just dust some kelp powder on his food. Maybe he won't notice. mmmm....

[off to plot against the feline overlord]