Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #3

Don't forget to hop on over to the other blogs participating in today's Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop and leave a comment!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hike Up Rattlesnake Trail

Yes, I know, I talked about our hike up Rattlesnake before, but Jessica took those pictures, and I wanted to post my own. Today is basically a picture post - cute pics of doxies! Yay!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop #2

How do dachshunds breathe when they're burrowed under the blankets? This is how. (Swift did this himself - I had nothing to do with it except snap the photo!)

Check out the other Wordless Wednesday blogs from BlogPaws Blog Hop and say Hello!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Diet Details As Promised

I previously described my search into the raw diet. Some people are strongly against raw diets, so I usually employ the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" method as suggested by members of my RawFeeding groups. Or I just say I feed the dogs a homemade diet. Most of my close friends and fellow doxie-owners know I feed a raw diet, and while they might not feed one, we don't jump down each other's throats about it. I feel that what you feed your dog is a very personal decision, and since feeding kibble is so ingrained into our society, people should not be blamed or made to feel guilty if they feed their dog kibble. It never, ever occurred to me that there was another way to feed your dog until I moved to Washington (admittedly, a little more green and liberal state).

So, enough of that! I began feeding the dogs chicken drumsticks, one a day. I found a whole package on sale at Costco for $.99/lb. The boys took right to it. Some dogs do have trouble adjusting to eating raw food, but my boys knew what they were doing! :)

After about a week, Swift looked lean and slim and trim. He actually had a waist! Dachshunds are supposed to be quite thin; you should be able to see their waist when looking from the top, and you should be able to see one to two ribs when looking from the side. Swift's poos seemed to be just right - he was going less often and the stools themselves were much smaller and harder. After a while though, they were pretty white and crumbly. Swift's teeth looked beautiful! His tartar and plaque were almost all gone, and his gums were nice and pink. I was afraid he was losing too much weight and his stool was getting too white...

Kool loves crunching the chicken bone. He's very delicate and sits on the mat while he eats, but he doesn't use his paws. It doesn't seem that Kool has lost any weight. His poo is still pretty soft, and he goes less than he did before, but still pretty often. The biggest change in Kool was his teeth! He does have some tartar and plaque left, but a lot of it is gone. (He is 8 after all). His gums are still a little black, but there is much more pink than there used to be. The vet has wanted to clean Kool's teeth for a while, but I'm hoping that the raw diet will help postpone that surgery as long as possible (if not forever!). And boy, does Kool's breath smell nice! He used to have the worst breath. And we all know Kool is a little kisser, so it could get pretty gross at times. But this new diet really helps with sweet-smelling doggie breath! As with Swift, I did have some concerns - but they seemed to be the opposite. Kool wasn't losing weight, and his stool was still pretty loose.

After doing a little more research and asking some questions on my rawfeeding groups, I discovered that while chicken is a great way to start off, chicken drumsticks are way too bony. The boys need more meat - that will help Swift's poos clear up. As for Kool, I need to start feeding him BFFLO - Big Food Fed Less Often. That means he should get two-three days' worth at a time, then skip a day or two. That will help him get the proper proportion of bone and meat and should help regulate his weight and poo. I also have to add in some red meat and liver, but those will come later. My next step is find a way to get these boys the right proportion of meat and bone. Time to find a whole chicken and see what damage they can do...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

So I'm slowly learning that the world of blogging is incredibly complex. I thought I was pretty savvy with the internet and computers, but it just goes to show that you are never as smart as you think you are. This is my first attempt delving into the world wide web of bloggers... (I know this isn't technically "wordless," but it's my first time, so bear with me!)

Check out all the other blogs participating in Wordless Wednesday and leave a comment for them!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Switching to a New Diet

I started the boys on a new diet about a month ago. I had been wanting to switch them over after talking with some people last year about how healthy it is. I did a bit of research at the time, and there are tons of opinions and options out there. I'll try to narrow it down and explain my thought process.

The first model I looked at was called BARF - Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The best website I found for this was The website describes the diet as "...feeding pets responsibly and properly to maximize health, longevity and reduce allergies and vet bills. The diet is based on human grade whole foods including raw meat, finely ground bones, offal and other healthy ingredients such as fruit and vegetables." Their basis is that dogs are omnivores and require all those types of foods to eat a healthy diet.

I was pretty much sold on this diet. The benefits were great - keeps the dogs at a healthy weight, makes coats shiny, less poo to pick up (which means they're using more of the food they eat), and the best part? Teeth! A raw diet helps clean teeth as the animal eats. They brush and floss all at the same time. It cuts down on vet bills so you don't have to get your dog's teeth cleaned.

I talked it over with my friends Amber and Anna, who both feed their dachshunds BARF chubs (a small portion of frozen meat with ground bones, veggies, etc). I looked at the prices, and whoa!! No way. Too expensive. Almost four times what I was spending on the dog food at Costco. I shopped around a bit, compared prices, did calculations (several times) and every time, I came up with the same solution. There was just no way I could afford it. I put it out of my mind; the thought came up every so often over the past year, but I just ignored it.

Then the vet told me it was time for Kool to get his teeth cleaned. He turned 8 in May, and the vet said Kool needed to have his teeth cleaned soon - it can lead to all sorts of infections with the plaque build-up. I kept putting it off, then I had a conversation with my new friend, Stephanie, when we were camping for Dachshunds on Parade.

Stephanie told me about some of the terrible things that are put into dog kibble. I found a dog food report that explained it well here. The part that got me was this:
Meat and bone meal is made of more than just meat and bone. All kinds of things find their way into the rendering pot. In addition to slaughterhouse waste, animals that fit within the 4D Rule are also rendered - that includes animals that are disabled, diseased, dead or dying. Other rendered items include restaurant grease and leftovers, road kill, euthanized companion pets complete with flea collars and the green bags in which they are transported, grocery store items such as meat and baked goods that are past their expiration date (Styrofoam tray and plastic wrap included) and much more.
I was shocked, disgusted, and horrified. That made my mind up. I was switching over to a diet that I actually knew what was going into my dogs' mouths. (There are tons of other articles if you are interested. Just Google "rendering plants dog food." Be warned - do not read before eating.)

Stephanie and her friend Star both feed their dachshunds raw as well, but not BARF. The type of diet they use is called Whole Prey Model. The best website I found for this was The theory behind this is that dogs are actually carnivores, not omnivores, and only need to eat meat and bones (including organ meats) just like a wolf in the wild would. What I found most interesting was the article dispelling the myth that dogs are omnivores. If you compare the teeth of a canine to that of a bear or human (omnivores), it doesn't have any molars like we do for chewing/crushing vegetables, grains, etc. All of a dog's teeth are sharp and pointy for ripping flesh and gnawing bone.

After doing a lot more research on the two different raw diets, I decided I fell more in line with the Whole Prey Model as opposed to BARF. I joined a couple of Yahoo Groups and a Facebook Group dedicated to raw feeding. Over the past few weeks, I've learned so much just by reading and observing these groups. I'll share some of my views and opinions some other time, but I think this post has enough information!

Overall, I'm pleased with the results after a month of raw feeding, and I'll share the details (and some pictures!) next time.