Michael Cox wrote:
I guess my take home is that
1) It is only in fairly recent history that dogs were given prepared meals, as opposed to scraps.
2) They like meat, but they don't need it (unlike Cats!)
3) They do better on cooked food - it is safer and they can extract more nutrients from it.
Jen Rose wrote:I will put my vote in that dogs are carnivores. I feed raw and have done so for years for many dogs. In reality dogs can live on a shocking variety of foods and survive, but in my experience raw fed pooches have been the healthiest. No stinky greasy dog odor, no eye boogers, no itching, no rashes, no ear gunk, no bad breath, pearly white teeth, trim robust healthy weight, and beautiful soft coats. Not to mention less boredom when they get to satisfy carnal behaviors eating Whole Foods every day, and a very spunky pooch into old age to boot! Ok, maybe some gnarly farts now and again, but it’s worth it to me!
We flourish mostly on a combination of road salvaged deer and home raised rabbits. 4 working does should provide a daily meal for a very large dog, and they are incredibly simple to raise. I keep mine on open ground in a colony. I usually cull the males and sell the females. My breeding stock have names, but the offspring are dog food, I avoid attaching to the kits. I have no problem butchering, I know the value of the whole system. The rabbits live healthy happy lives and the dogs get food nature intended. Plus I’m not paying $$$ for premium specialty kibble that my dogs won’t get rashes from. I personally use cervical dislocation to dispatch. A shovel handle over the neck, step on the handle, pull up on the back legs. No screaming, no bleeding, no thrashing, it’s instant, and you don’t have to look. And if for some reason you don’t get it right the first time, it’s paralyzed and can’t feel pain, unlike hacking off a chickens head only halfway :s. Oh how I hated butchering like that! Cervical dislocation is the only way for me these days!
I also raise chickens and turkeys, which, if your dogs will eat poultry, can be a great way to supplement and diversify. My dog is too spoiled... she’d pick rabbit over anything any day, but otherwise she demands red meat. The booger! A small flock with broody hens can raise dozens of birds for you in a year, providing months of dog food. Many folks are terrified of poultry bones. I’m not here to debate it. My dogs have been eating raw and cooked carcasses for almost a decade. I’ll leave it at that.
The only problem with bones I’ve had was a puppy swallowing a large piece of raw deer bone. She passed it, but it was painful for her. When she pooped it out finally, boy she sniffed that turd carefully, pinpointed the bone, and said “never again” . From that day on she spat out any tough piece larger than 1”. Smart girl!
I’ve also tried quail... if you can manage to contain and protect them and want to incubate eggs manually, they’re very prolific. I will get back into them someday, but they do need a special setup. Quail make great meals for small dogs and cats. I used to dehydrated skinned quail for. Hiking with th e dogs- quail cookies! Easy, lightweight foodstuffs. I do this with fish as well, crunchy fish cookies loaded with good oils and nourishment.
I also raise pigeons, they’re not terribly prolific, but easy to keep, easy to feed, pleasant to have around, and they produce a surprising amount of meat with thick tasty fat, reminiscent of duck. I use them mostly for cat food as the dogs have plenty to eat.
My philosophy with raw meat is that every part of the animal makes the whole food. The skin, fur, tendons, blood, bones, organs, guts, brain, cartilage. Every bit of it is fabulously nourishing. Raw meat poos are small, odorless (usually), and break down incredibly quickly. If You have the means and the stomach for it, I avidly encourage going raw!