Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fad Diets

Think about the last time you were in a school cafeteria. As you looked around at the tables riddled with milk cartons, wadded up napkins and plates of cold food, you might have noticed a group of boys all gathered around their leftovers concocting a nasty mix of butter beans, pizza, burnt french fries, salsa, and mayo and looking for someone to eat it. I refer to these kids as the mad scientists and their only goal is to create the nastiest pile of goo out of whatever was served for lunch that day. If you happened to miss them the last time you visited a elementary-, middle school- or high school-aged child, be thankful.

I couldn't help but think about these mad scientists as I was making the final preparations for my girls' big diet switch this week. Yes, I've come to the dark side and today we officially moved to a BARF/Raw diet. For my non-hound readers, this diet consists of feeding the girls 50% raw meaty bones (chicken backs, chicken necks, turkey necks, beef ribs, etc.), 20% raw muscle meat (pretty much any meat that doesn't have a bone in it and beef heart is considered muscle for some reason), 20% veggie mix, and 10% raw organs (liver, green tripe, etc.).

So, why in the world would I do this? Isn't kibble easier? (yes, especially when I feed them at 5:30 am) Isn't this expensive? (not compared to the premium kibble I feed) Aren't bones bad for dogs? (not unless they are cooked)

Really the main reason I decided to make this change was seeing the physical difference in the many dogs at coursing events who are fed raw (I would guess 90% of them are). Their coats are shiny. Their teeth are amazing. Their breath is non-offensive. Their weight is perfect. They have tons of energy. In general they are the picture of health. I could really see a big difference between what my dogs looked like and what their dogs looked like. After a lot of research and a lot of reading, I decided to take the plunge.

Right now we don't have a big freezer to hold a bunch of frozen meat for the girls, so I can't really buy in bulk, but I did purchase 35 lbs of chicken backs and necks on Sunday and spent the evening weighing and packaging them into individual portions so it would be mindless no matter who is feeding them. Some seasoned raw feeders may call me a wuss because I wore a glove to handle all that raw chicken, but I just didn't want to get it all under my nails. I don't mind touching it, just not 35 lbs of it all at once.

Then on Monday I spent time making the veggie mix, which will make up 20% of their diet. Dogs do not digest the nutrients in veggies unless they are pre-digested or broken down in some way. So in order to replicate the way a dog would eat the stomach contents of it's prey (which is how they would get these nutrients in the wild) you whip out the handy dandy food processor, pretend to be a mad scientist and mix a bunch of raw veggies together and throw the goo in the freezer. I had to take a picture of these radishes that I got to pulverize into the goo for the girls. Aren't they lovely?

Now, I hated sitting next to those mad scientist boys when I was in school. It always made me sick to my stomach to watch them mix a bunch of crap together on their plates. Heck, I hate going to those giant southern buffets that serve fried fish, spaghetti, tacos, collard greens, and ham all right next to each other. The mix of smells kind of put me over the edge. I was a tad bit concerned about how I would handle mushing up all those veggies, but I did okay until I added a bit of tuna to make it more appetizing for the girls. That almost made me lose it. I think I made enough for at least a month, so the next time out maybe they will like the veggie goo without the fishy smell.

The girls thought mom hung the moon as I went to the fridge at 5:30 am to serve breakfast. They handled their chicken back meal easily. It took them about 5 to 7 minutes to finish and they have been satisfied all day so far, something I was a bit concerned about. Also, no upset tummies. This is the first day of a lifestyle change and not a fad diet.

Maybe my mastering of the veggie goo will allow me an honorary membership into the mad scientists club. While I won't sit with them at their lunch table, I'm thinking my stomach may be more iron-clad after a few more weeks of feeding raw meat and organs. Then again, let's revisit this if I ever get the nerve to serve up a plate of green tripe.


Addie said...

Welcome to the Mad Scientist Club! I recently joined myself, and I couldn't be happier with how my boys have responded.

Fellow Mad Scientist

Zan said...

Oh goodie, another convert. You see this greyhound, coursing, BARF stuff is really a cult. You're indoctrinated and feeding your pups raw food starts to seem normal. Oh wait, it is normal. It's what dogs survived on for thousands of years BC (before kibble).

Seriously, my pups love it and I think they look and feel great. The best part is the "happy tail dance" they do at summer time.

Gotta go thaw out some turkey necks:-)!

Stephen said...

Evil geniuses think alike!! I converted several years ago and haven't looked back! (thanks honey!)

Take the plunge Heather! Go out and find that upright/chest freezer (or two!) and load it up!! Then you can move into the elite club that brings home 400lbs at a time!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Welcome to the club! Just wait until you open a can of mackeral. If you thought tuna in the mix was bad...... :-)


Zan said...

Oops - i mean supper time.

Addie said...

I just had to say that the mackeral is mega-gross, but oh, how the dogs love it. As nasty as it is, it's indispensable in case you wake up in the morning and the turkey necks haven't thawed out yet.

gyeong said...

The ingredients sound yummy. I'm sure my kids would love it. Good excuse to buy a chest freezer.

Marie said...

Sardines are pretty bad too. How much do you feed them weight wise average? I just wanna compare to my akita. I'm considering a greyhound someday. They are on y list of favorite breeds.

Angel said...

Their diet sounds awesome - stomach churning mixing aside. I'm super impressed that you're doing this for your lovelies.

Amy said...

I just have one question...what do you give them for snacks? turkey neck bits?... :)

Blog Ring Moderator said...

Thanks for all the support everyone. We are almost done with week one and the girls have loved every second of their new eating pattern. They were having a hard time, er "going" so I added in a couple of chicken gizzards and the veggies a tad bit earlier than I had thought. It all went well though - thank goodness.

Marie, to answer your question, I feed them each 2% of their ideal body weight a day. So Seka gets 1.2 lbs (she should weigh 63 lbs) and Roxy gets 1.1 lbs (she should weigh 56 lbs). Akita's are beautiful dogs. I bet a greyhound would make a good companion for him or her :) I bought 2 cans of sardines tonight. I couldn't find canned mackeral. Is it with the rest of the canned fish?

Blog Ring Moderator said...

Amy, for snacks I'm making them oatmeal, cheese, i freeze their kongs with yogurt, peanut butter, and i sneak in a liver treat or two. I have a food dehydrator that i haven't used in a long time. i may try my hand at making some dehydrated liver treats for them once they have had it raw.

thebellagreyhound said...

BARF = greyhound cult. Once you are in there is no going back : )

In Oz we can buy it already made in big 2kg tubes of meaty veggie goo. I love it because it means less touching of gross stuff!