Let's Talk Dogs
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by Anne Roditis
Category: General Nonfiction/Reference
Description: With twenty-six years of experience in the breeding and exhibition of purebred dogs, the author shares with her readers everything she has learned, from offering advice in acquiring a first puppy, to training, exhibition, breeding, health, and old age. In clear and concise language, with easy-to-follow instructions and simple explanations to both common and not-so-common problems one might encounter, this book offers dog owners everywhere a handy reference guide for the care and rearing of the pets they love so much. [Genres: Non-Fiction / Reference / Animal Care]
eBook Publisher: Amber Quill Press, 2006
eBookwise Release Date: December 2006
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [228 KB]
Reading time: 149-209 min.
Puppy Feeding Guide
Usually, responsible and caring breeders will supply you with a feeding guide for your puppy at the time of sale. Each breeder has his/her own feeding strategies, which work well for the breed they have. Be guided by that breeder and their knowledge.
I've included a diet section on what I feed my growing puppies in this section as an example and a referral. Remember, any changes made to the pup's diet must be done gradually. Too sudden a change may result in intestinal upsets.
This is what I feed pups of weaning age. I generally begin mine at approximately four weeks of age. At this stage I hold them on my lap on which I have a placed a towel (can be a rather messy experience for the inexperienced puppies). I have prepared a little human baby cereal with the glucose and milk substitute.
The cereal is warmed to body temperature and made to a consistency of thin porridge. I gently guide the pup to the saucer--as small a one as possible--and encourage them to lap it up. Some will do so with very little encouragement; others will not. For the latter, I will dip my finger in the cereal mixture and gently put it in their mouths. Just to give them a taste of the good things. Some will like it; others still prefer their dam's milk. With the latter, you must persevere. Take the dam away from her puppies for more extended periods of times during this process.
I will do this once a day for the first week, bringing the puppies to five weeks. Generally, by then, I can leave the saucer of cereal in the puppy pen with the puppy or puppies and remind them to eat. They do like to sleep a lot and often forget to eat! I do this while I have separated mum from them for longer periods of time. Every couple of hours, I'll wake them, take them to the saucer of food and remind them they must eat.
By six weeks of age, they're ready to eat more solid food. I use a good grade of hamburger/minced meat, the one sold for human consumption. I cook rice and pasta, to which I've added some mixed vegetables, but nothing too starchy such as potatoes. Finely ground carrot is good; peas, green beans, pumpkin, spinach, celery, and parsley are all added to the cooked pasta, rice, and minced meat. The easiest method I have found to get the raw vegetables to the right consistency is to use a food processor to grind them into a pulp.
I feed this to the puppies in a sloppy consistency. They usually love this and sometimes prefer this to the cereal, but I still continue to offer them the cereal mixture, as well as plain lactose-free milk with a little glucose.
By making it puree, it would somewhat resemble what some bitches do for their pups whereby they regurgitate their partially digested food to wean their puppies onto solids. I begin to gradually introduce them to mashed stew, then finally they have the same as the adult dogs. All is fed at room temperature.
Once the puppies are on to the mashed food, not puree, I will often feed them one meal of grilled fillet of fish. Please make sure there are no bones. I also feed them a boiled and mashed up egg as another meal. All things to make life easier are welcome here. Minced chicken is another favorite.
I like to feed puppies at least one meal a day of natural yogurt, to which I've added the glucose and probiotics. I feel this is important for creating just the right bacteria in the gut.
Fresh water is available for the puppies at all times. Dry puppy food is not introduced to my babies until they are at least ten weeks old. I then buy the one specially formulated for puppies, which is rice-based. Here's an example of a diet sheet I supply with any puppy bought from me.
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Breakfast: To be fed at 8:00 AM. Offer baby cereal made for human babies, with a teaspoon glucose powder added. Make sure it is not too thick in consistency. Give 1 mls of liquid calcium supplement orally. If this amount of calcium gives the pups diarrhea, decrease the dose. Increase to 2mls for Toys gradually over six weeks and larger amounts for larger breeds. There is usually a guide for dosages on the bottle if the calcium you have bought is for use in dogs.
Mid Morning: At approximately 10.00 AM. Offer lactose-free milk or milk substitute without glucose.
Lunch: At approximately 1.00 PM. Puppy stew. Give high calorie vitamin concentrate paste or another suitable liquid multivitamin at the correct dosage.
Mid Afternoon: At approximately 3.00 PM. Offer yogurt mixed with probiotics and glucose. Also give 1 ml vitamin C liquid.
Dinner: At approximately 7.00 PM. Offer a boiled egg mashed, or grilled fish, or minced chicken. Give 0.5 ml cod liver oil. Cod liver oil should only be given twice a week and gradually increase the dosage with age.
Supper: At approximately 10.30 PM. Offer lactose-free milk or milk substitute.
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Diet for Dogs
I have heard and read of many who advocate feeding dogs raw meat or bones as the sole diet. These people claim it is the natural diet of dogs in the wild. I've been informed of people feeding whole prey animals that have not been slaughtered, with fur and feathers intact.
Although I can understand the reasoning of such actions, I must confess personally I feel revolted to even think of my dogs as undomesticated wild animals. I do not breed wild dogs; my dogs are quite domesticated. My vet, and the many vets I've dealt with over the years, always warned of the very real danger of a dog consuming large amounts of bones in their diets. There is a danger of dogs swallowing small pieces of bone, which may get lodged at one of many places in their gastrointestinal tracts. Certainly there is also the risk of rabies being transmitted to dogs with this form of feeding in countries where rabies is a risk. I do not condone this method of feeding at all.
For many thousands of years, dogs lived with humans and not only survived but thrived on food from the dining room for thousands of years. Only in the last hundred years or so have we been led to believe dogs cannot survive without packaged food. We now not only feel we must feed our dogs "quality" canned or packaged food, but that it would be harmful if we were to give them scraps from our own home-cooked meals How did this change in mind sets come about? Well, as packaged dog food became available it was a boon to all those busy dog owners who were rushing off to work, etc, Also, the dog food manufacturers promoted their products as healthy and nutritionally well-balanced.
As the industry grew and the advertising dollars poured out people began to accept the myth that, unless their beloved pet was fed "specially" processed foods, it was in danger of malnutrition. This acceptance has become so overwhelmingly prevalent that many are actually fearful of feeding their dogs food they and their children eat everyday. When people started questioning the veracity of the dog food makers' claims and challenging the actual nutritional value of canned or bagged dog foods, the industry came back with a new answer--gourmet/premium dog food. Now you can get the same tasteless gunk or dried out biscuits as before (maybe with a few added vitamins or minerals), but in new and more expensive packaging.
However, people are becoming more conscious about the dangers of hormones, preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotic supplements in our food intake, but few still stop to consider the ramifications of opening a can of dog food into their pet's food bowl. Most would never consider feeding their family canned foods or processed fast foods for every meal of every day of every week of their lives.
So what about our dogs? Granted there are pet food companies who do provide good quality food for your pets, but unfortunately most are content with dishing out poor substandard meals that contain things you wouldn't feed yourself. So if you wouldn't give it to your children, why are you forcing your dog to live on it? Look past all those glitzy, expensive pet food advertisements and think about what you should really be feeding your dog for optimum health and condition.
Recently, there have been claims that feeding natural and raw is the best method of nutrition for our dogs. Again, the ramifications of this method of feeding, taking into account the risks associated, such as bacteria, hormones, preservatives, risk of infection with protozoa, salmonella, e coli, etc., in my opinion are too great to risk this method of feeding for my dogs. Yes, handling and preparation are a big factor in reducing the risk of contamination, but if I would not eat my food raw for exactly the same risks, or feed it in this manner to my children, why risk my dog's health?
You can learn a lot about whether you are feeding your dog right simply by the consistency, odor, and color of their stools. I did feed my dogs raw food for a period of time to see if there was any noticeable benefit, as claimed by the experts. During this time, I did not notice an overall improvement in condition as opposed to when I was feeding my dogs cooked meals. Their stools were not as well formed on the raw diet, there was a distinctive odor present, and sometimes I would also notice a small amount of blood and mucous mixed into the stool, which did concern me. That was when I decided to change their diet back to cooked, with the addition of raw vegetables only.
This latest trend of feeding dogs on a completely raw diet stems from the belief that wild dogs or wolves hunt, kill, and eat prey, and so it must be the natural and best diet for our dogs as well. I'm not raising wild dogs. They are and have been domesticated dogs for many hundreds of years. Animals in the wild do not have any choice other than to eat live prey. To assume wild animals are in better condition than our domesticated dogs, due to their diet, is a high assumption to make.
I wonder if these wild dogs or wolves were fed cooked meals as opposed to hunting their own prey, would we see a decline in their overall condition for the worse or would it improve? As this question can't be answered until all wild animals from the canine family are fed in this manner, I'll continue to feed my dogs what I consider the safest and most nutritional method, and one that has worked for me for over twenty years.