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Dogs

 
                          
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Anyone have any suggestions how to feed a dog using food grown or produced on your farm?  I know modern dog food has a fair amount of wheat and other grains which never was a large part of their diet prior to captivity( although they do eat cereal grasses for an unknown reason).  I am just thinking that I do don't plan on eating much meat or fish on a very regular basis.    Eggs are a fairly easy and reliable source of protein and fats can I feed my dog an egg heavy diet?

I was thinking of also raising meal worms as a protein source for myself, chickens and maybe a dog.

Some feedback/thoughts would be helpful thanks!
 
Emil Spoerri
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you can feed him the guts humans don't typically eat from slaughtered animals as well as raw sour milk
 
Jami McBride
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There is a lot of info about this on the Internet.

Here are a couple links:

http://www.outoftheearth.com/natdiet.htm ; Natural raw diet for dogs

http://leerburg.com/diet.htm ; All Natural Diet for Dogs

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/articles.php?more=1&p=360 ; Sample diet for dogs and cats

~Jami

 
Kathleen Sanderson
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If you are keeping poultry for eggs, what you could do is feed the dog (s) basically whatever your family is eating, and add cooked eggs to that (raw egg only once a week or they'll get a biotin deficiency).  Unlike cats, dogs are omnivorous, and can do pretty well on the same food we eat -- as long as we are eating a healthy, balanced diet sans junk food.  Low-carb would be best for dogs -- and for most people -- but just a regular healthy human diet will work.  My farm collies at times have done well on a sole diet of raw old-fashioned rolled oats soaked overnight in raw goat milk or kefir made from raw goat milk.  I added culled chickens and a weekly raw egg to that; later I was raising rabbits for the dogs, too.  Never had any problem with worms in puppies on the oats/raw milk diet.

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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you can look up the BARF diet (bones and raw food). some people who raise goats feed mainly goat meat and bones and a mineral supplement. I looked into briefly but I would need to raise more goats and have a bigger freezer as it is they just get goat meat when things get especially tight and I can't get dog food when we are out.

during my research I found there are quite a few nutritional considerations to take into account if you plan on making your own dog food long term. If I got to a point where I couldn't buy quality dog food (no corn and wheat- a bit of oatmeal seems ok) then I would go ahead and start.

the quality of dog food makes a huge difference in the health of the dogs IMO. If I feed any dog food with corn or wheat in it they all almost immediatly start stinking to high heaven.  since all my dogs are much loved and played with pets that is just not acceptable.  so far have a pretty good record of long lived healthy dogs also and I think the good dog food, however pricey, is the reason and worth it. although I also don't keep purebreds and that makes a difference.
 
Fred Morgan
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Our dog gets leavings from butchering and cukes from the garden. Don't ask me why, but he begs for cucumbers! He likes oranges too and papaya, especially papaya.

He is a bit spoiled to say the least, he gets a bath once a week, and also lots of time with me walking the plantations. And of course, there is the required ball toss. 

He is roughly three years old, and is solid muscle. English Cocker Spaniel.

 
Leah Sattler
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I have one dog that was a wild little scavenger when I took her in......she will even eat saurkraut.......coulnd't believe it.......she was begging me for it and I figure I would show her that I didn't have anything she wanted and I gave her a forkfull.......she wanted more weirdo.
 
Gwen Lynn
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A friend of mine once had a Rhodesian Ridgeback. That dog LOVED fresh mushrooms! If you were in the kitchen slicing them, he'd come in and sit and stare at the counter where you were cooking, until you gave him some. He was a fun dog with a really interesting personality!
 
                    
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Dogs have a very complex diet, more than most people realize. The science on the barf diet is not completely there. Dogs eat bones in the wild, but they also ingest some of the hide with hair on it. Apparently this hair provides a cushion in the digestive system for the bone particles to pass easily. If your dog is eating bones at home, they might run in to some digestive issues. A good sight to really read up on is http://www.healthyhappydogs.com/. I was going to go with a natural meat diet, but it is pretty expensive. I found a pretty good product called Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul, since I switched to it, I have noticed a huge difference in stool quality and his coat, also his breath has freshened. And it's only $33 for a 35lbs bag. Sometimes a raw diet is not as easy as one would think.
 
Leah Sattler
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I agree that it wouldn't be easy. I could theoretically feed goat to all my dogs but I am happy with and can afford quality dog food without corn and wheat and so providing my own dog food just isn't worth fooling with to me. it is more complicated then it appears at first. I briefly looked into it and decided there was too much speculation involved in the recomendations for my own comfort. especially since dogs have been domesticated for so long. I seem to be developing a history of happy healthy old dogs. my last lived to 15 or 16 and I have one now that from our calculations must be around 9 or 10 with zero health problems............knock on wood.
 
                        
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My dogs love chicken jerky.  It can get pretty pricey and they would eat a whole 15$ bag if they had a chance.  I found that every once in a while chicken tenders are on sale for not much at the store.  They are already boned.  Just freeze 1/2 hour and then slice as thin as you can and then dehydrate over night.  Freezing helps to get the slices evenly cut with a sharp slicing knife.
 
                    
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What about raising pastured rabbits specifically for dogs and cats?  Do they need anything other than grass?  Seems like you could almost have a business selling fancy people rabbit meat for their pets....
 
                        
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Oh I would hate to see that happen!  Of course that is the natural order of predation but I would hate to see the process brokered by humans.

My little greyhound killed one of my rabbits.  I still have not quite forgiven her.

My rabbits mix their rabbit poop with my shredded junk mail and their left over timothy hay and the whole thing goes on my garden.  To me that is a much greater contribution than the meat of their little bodies could make to any carnivore/omnivore.

Rabbits (and goats) need hay in addition to alfalfa pellets, scraps such as potato skins and carrots, dried fruit and sunflower seeds.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I got my rabbits primarily for dog food.  I no longer have the two dogs (found other homes for both of them, thankfully), so am slowly cutting back on the numbers of rabbits, but they do make good dog food, and they can be fed primarily on 'pasture' (browse, weeds, and so on -- just make sure you don't feed them anything poisonous).

Kathleen
 
Leah Sattler
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while thinking on this it seems to me like rabbits would be a great way to go. feeding a whole carcass seems much more natural. wild predators eat the contents of the stomach and ingest hair and feathers. of course that would mean making the presumption that domestic dogs digestive systems are still the same as their wild counterparts. healthy human food scraps would probably be appropriate too when you take into considerationg the length of domestication and major changes humans have instigated on our canine companions genetics. 
 
                    
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Wombat, I was under the impression that rabbits breed so quickly that you could have a healthy population and get all the benefits of their droppings and mowings, while also having a steady supply of food for a dog. 

We have high protein forage growing in our fields, I doubt we'd need to supplement their pastured diet with much else.  We're even thinking we could cut and dry area of it and at least make part of our hay needs for winter. 

Would feeding your dog raw meat make them acquire a taste for blood?  I wouldn't want my dog to "self harvest."

Leah, I was thinking of skinning the rabbit before feeding it to your animal.

You could keep the rabbit fur for other things.  Mittens, hats.....I have this cool book on Canadian snow shoe making, and there are photos of long strips of rabbit fur leather woven together into one of the warmest looking children's coats I've ever seen. 
 
Leah Sattler
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I think dogs have an innate "taste for blood". just like we innately enjoy sweet things or fats that have a certain mouthfeel. on forums pertaining to the subject there seem to be quite a few lgd's that get raw goat meat. and it doesn't make them eat the goats they are guarding.

from my experience also, alot of the killing that domestic dogs do of livestock has little to do with them wanting to gain sustenance. (not always of course but for the run of the mill fido) its just fun to chase stuff and the chasee happens to get killed in the process. they don't chase a ball to eat it they just chase it 'cause its fun.

ask the poor little kitten my dogs had cornered two nights ago   why can  I shoot a goat but not a kitten ?
 
                    
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Yeah, you're right.  It's more of the fun of the activity rather than the need for blood. 

Two of our neighbor's dogs killed an adult DEER this summer.  That's hardcore.  They had the advantage of cornering it in a fenced area. 

I bet our dog could handle a whole rabbit, no problem.  I just really like rabbit fur....
 
                        
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When my little greyhound killed my rabbit, she just grabbed him by the back of the neck -- this is called  'quick kill'  but the rabbit took several days to die.  I suppose if you had males and females they would 'go forth and multiply'.  I only have/had males and both were in the 12 to 14 year range.  So there is no population problem.  2 male rabbits make quite a lot  of usable compost -- ready to use -- mixed with shredded paper and hay.

I didn't expect the puppy to go berserk and tip over the rabbit cage!
I got her at a local shelter and there is a dog track nearby so I expect she was bred to be a rabbit chaser.  That's what the dog track is.

When I was a kid it was my job to collect rabbits (frozen) from my uncles traps and help him dress down the pelts.  I noticed similar pelts were being sold in the Hobby Lobby craft supply near here over Christmas season.  It takes a lot of pelts to make anything.  I would definitely advise Faux Fur -- on sale now at target -- instead of actual rabbit skins.  Its warm and you can wash it.

As for meat - or raw meat I think dogs need it to be healthy.  Its a  compromise I have to make since I myself am vegetarian.  I think Ive already said I get meat from the local butcher and the local deer processing plant for the dogs.  Not for me.  I eat tofu!
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Wombat, have you ever considered just how 'green' those fake furs really are?  They are all made with petroleum products.... Fur-bearing animals are a renewable resource, just like our livestock, and I don't think there is anything wrong with humanely harvesting a percentage of the population.  They certainly aren't endangered at all.  Now, if you live in a warm climate, you probably have no NEED for fur clothing, but those who live in climates with cold winters may find that furs are very useful for keeping warm!  They cut the cold winds better than woven clothing.  'Natural' textiles for cold climates are furs and wools. 

I don't suppose the dogs absolutely need the fur off the rabbits that you harvest for them; if you leave the fur on the feet, the head, etc. (any place that you can't use the fur for anything), that would probably be plenty of fiber or whatever their bodies use the fur for.  When I fed my dogs rabbits, I was leaving the fur on, just because I was in a hurry and didn't have time to deal with processing it (one of the reasons I wanted to find other homes for the dogs -- my life has been getting hectic -- there were a number of other factors, too, such as one of the dogs had killed a couple of my chickens), and they left very little sign of rabbit left when they were done.  When I fed them culled chickens, though, there were feathers all over the place.  I guess they don't 'need' feathers in their diet, LOL! 

Oh, and as for rabbit reproduction, they can be harder to breed than you think!  Don't count your bunnies before they are old enough to butcher!  (My version of 'don't count your chickens before they hatch'!)

Kathleen
 
                    
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wombat, it's obvious your rabbits are pets and you're emotionally attached to them.  Any vegetarian is obviously going to be upset by a discussion of meat rabbits, but the rest of the posters in this discussion have a completely different view of the animal in question.  We see that when you allow them to "go forth and multiply" they create food for other animals in a very low impact way, as well as increase the fertility of the rest of the land

Your bunny would have had much less suffering at the end of its life if you'd taken the initiative to put it the rest of the way out of its misery immediately after your dog bit it.  Just my horrible opinion. 

Why are bunnies cute?  Because we think they are! 
 
Ken Peavey
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My neighbor gave her dogs carrots as a treat.  They took to it readily.  I almost always have a few carrots somewhere in the beds and have offered her all she wants for her dogs.  From the carrots, she has moved into all sorts of vegetables.  Lettuce does not go over well, but turnips and peas in the pod are popular. 
 
                    
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My dog will eat almost anything, but he really loves fruit.  We taught him to harvest his own blackberries (and he avoids the pink berries, going for the fully ripe stuff!) and he is still finding dropped apples under the snow to munch on.  I'm sure it supplements his diet with good stuff.  We give him raw bones whenever we can, he will happily work diligently to get the marrow out. 

I was talking to my old homesteader friend yesterday, he said rabbit doesn't have enough fat to be the exclusive feed for dogs.  So, rabbits and eggs?  Rabbit and fat scraps from pork or cattle
 
                    
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Another thing our dog loves is nuts!  Of all kinds.  He'll steal them quietly outside to crack if we leave a bag on the floor.  It's got to be a good source of fat.  And since he cracks them himself, it's not that time consuming of a dog food for the human involved.  Could too many lead to health problems?  You couldn't feed a dog an entirely nut based diet, could you?
 
Leah Sattler
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marina - our old place had alot of pecan trees. my stock dog mix sat out back and crunched pecans constantly. apparently she was able to derive some nutrition from them as she was fat fat fat and I couldn't feed her hardly any dogfood. I gave her just enough to make sure she got some of the minerals she needed about a handful. she gets the same now but is a bit more trim (and no longer has pecans)  we lived there for 8 years and she is going on or around 10. anecdotally of course.....nuts didnt' seem to hurt her....she is still going strong and loves her job putting up goats for me. ....she is known for terrible terrible gas though....not sure if the pecans had anything to do with it......
 
                        
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My malamute would not even come in the house when the pecans were coming down in late fall.  She would crack the nuts and spit out the shells and spend hours and hours doing it.  If she came in she brought a mouthful stuffed with pecans to work on while she was away from the tree.  Im not sure if she liked the nuts, or she didn't want the squirrels to get them!

An excessively gasey dog is a sign of digestive problems.  Might need probiotics or enzymes.
Some people recommend a T of yogurt with each meal (not the kind with sugar or artificial sweetener) but some dogs may be lactose intolerant.

http://dogs.about.com/od/dietandnutrition/a/gas_in_dogs.htm



 
Terry Jenkins
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I used to manage a small rescue zoo with lots of resident meat eaters.  For awhile, we raised our own chickens, rodents, and rabbits to supplement their commercial zoo diets. We never had enough so we ended up buying frozen, whole carcass mice, rats, rabbits and quail, and eventually gave up raising them on site.  Yes, we always fed the entire animal including guts and fur or feathers.  For awhile I fed my home cats all raw, and bought bags of mice from the zoo, which they relished.  I had too many dogs and couldn't afford it for them, but with enough commitment you could raise enough meat for your dogs and cats.  Chickens love mice too!  Dogs are easy because they can eat such a wide variety of foods, while cats are finicky and are also obligate carnivores.

I think about it a lot, and now if I get to the point I can't afford or even find good dog and cat food, I'll just feed the dogs mostly plant material supplemented with eggs and wild rodents, and leave the cats "mostly" to their own devices.  We have lots of rabbits, ground squirrels, gophers, voles and mice that are fair game when they get into my dwelling and food garden.  DH and I are eating a vegan diet now.  It's for health, not philosophical reasons, but we do admit it has been a kind of spiritual relief not to "have to" kill and eat animals.  So raising them for dogs and cats would be a little harder to do now as well.

One thing I have never heard about is feeding mealworms or other "bugs" to dogs or cats.  In the wild they will both eat grasshoppers and such.  Anybody know?

Terry Jenkins

 
                        
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my greyhound just found a nest of new born mice.  She ate most of the babies but the rest she just left laying around in the cold -- no interest in them now.  Mama mouse escaped.
 
Gwen Lynn
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wombat wrote:
my greyhound just found a nest of new born mice. 


Pinkies! My friends Jack Russell's used to eat pinkies all the time. They'd find them in horse stall bedding.  Nothing like a dog with a mouthful of mice getting in your face, wagging it's tail while chomping on the last few bits of baby mice. Mmmmmboy! 
 
Leah Sattler
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awe geez. I always have to walk away when a dog finds a mouse house full of pinkies. the squeeking and crunching combined disturbs me. i don't mind them eating them I just don't want to have to hear it!

my dogs love eggs. they would be a great way to grow a dog food supplement without having to deal with the killing aspect for those that can't quite bring themselves to raise and kill livestock for them but still wish to contribute home grown food in the diet. milk might also be an option depending on the individuals tolerance of it.

i am curious about the feeding insects thing too.
 
Jennifer Smith
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I scramble 2 eggs in a little olive oil, with a touch of whole milk, seasoned with garlic salt ... and feed it to my dogs each morning. 

I an considering adding some more throw ins... brown rice as soon as I cook some up, sounds like maybe some carrot...I think the add ins may change depending on what is in season.

I also feed a quality puppy chow. 
 
                                      
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What kind of person allows their rabbit to suffer for several days before dying??  I'm really having a hard time understanding the callousness of that statement and the lack of compassion.  Not cool, Wombat, not cool.
 
Jennifer Smith
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bubblemama wrote:
What kind of person allows their rabbit to suffer for several days before dying?? 

My guess is someone who hopes it will somehow get better.
 
Leah Sattler
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often we don't know when or if an animal will die from it injuries. it can be difficult to judge how much suffering is worth a possible positive outcome and that is for each person to decide for themselves.

I have seen animals recover from some crazy injuries. my dog was hit by a car. she couldn't stand up to urinate and was urinating blood. she suffered no doubt. the vet gave her something to keep fluid from her collecting in her lungs (maybe some sort of diuretic?) and said that beyond that just the diagnostic expenses would be tremedous. so we went home to watch and wait and give supportive care.  she still has some trembling in her right front leg and a scar over her eye, but now, years later she is happy and healthy, loves her job and still the best dog I have ever and will ever have and I am glad I gave her a chance.

I cared for a horse once that darn near ripped his back leg off in a freak trailering incident. it was a horrible injury but he lived and worked as a beginner school horse for many years after teaching first time riders the very basics.
 
charles c. johnson
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My uncle feeds his dog musk melon rinds and sun dried sweet potatoes. I took some cucumbers that were to big peeled and cored them and told my two dogs it was a bone.
 
Jami McBride
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Ha!  Charles, if you forget the subject of this thread your post is very funny after the last two.....

I love the cuc story.
 
Jennifer Smith
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travisr wrote:
I know modern dog food has a fair amount of wheat and other grains which never was a large part of their diet prior to captivity( although they do eat cereal grasses for an unknown reason). 

I believe wheat grass is like a super food for everyone...
wheat grass juice has all kinds of health benifits, no? 

Oats and oat grass is super horse feed....
 
Ardilla Esch
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Ken Peavey wrote:
My neighbor gave her dogs carrots as a treat.  They took to it readily.  I almost always have a few carrots somewhere in the beds and have offered her all she wants for her dogs.  From the carrots, she has moved into all sorts of vegetables.  Lettuce does not go over well, but turnips and peas in the pod are popular. 


I feed my dog a lot of carrots as well.  I usually shred one or two into each bowl of food or just give her a whole one.  She also gets apples, spinach, bell peppers, and scraps of a lot of other veggies.  Since she has starting eating more fresh veggies, she doesn't eat grass nearly as much - it seems to be fulfilling a nutritional need.

And along Jennifer's comment - the grass my dog prefers is the volunteer wheat/barley from the straw mulch.
 
gary gregory
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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http://www.seefido.com/html/dog_sense_of_taste.htm

I would have thought dogs had more taste buds not fewer.   

 
Seth Pogue
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Is yourdog nervous?  Stressed?  Melatonin works wonders, 1 mg/70 lb. , sublingual.  Even one dose some times has a near-permanent effect of calming and relaxing (not sedating!)
 
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