or should I say, food dishes?
If you've been a reader of "At A Glacial Pace" you will probably have figured out that I can be a little, persistent, bugger. When I get an idea, I run with it and try to figure out if it's feasible or not. Recently, I've had a few such ideas, but the one that I have not laid to rest is the idea of feeding Glacier and Roscoe something healthier. Glacier doesn't seem to be bothered by what he eats. In fact, he once ate seven Brillo pads and threw them up three weeks later in a compacted ball of steel wool. Yes, I was freaking out. Needless to say, Glacier is not only Mr. Jaws of Steel, but Mr. Stomach of Steel as well; quite literally. That doesn't mean that he doesn't deserve a good diet though.
As for Roscoe, I cleaned out his ears yesterday as is our routine and I pulled little bits of dried up ear wax out of his ears. His ears also smell quite badly and his fur is still coarse and falling out as if he were blowing his coat. Since we are moving in less than two weeks across the world, I am not going to do anything drastic right now because that may upset both dogs' systems even more than the stress of moving will. That said, I've decided to do a bit of experimenting and this morning was my first step in feeding my boys a healthier diet.
First of all, since returning to SC Glacier has not been eating Orijen because there are only two places in the entire state of SC that sells the food and of course, they are nowhere near us. So, he's been switched back to a middle ground food that he was eating before we left. The only difference I have noticed is that his bowel movements are much larger and that his coat may be a bit coarser, but I am not entirely sure. As I've mentioned several times before, Roscoe's ears/breath stinks, he has an over production of ear wax, he drools like crazy and he's shedding like it's spring time. Yesterday I furminated both dogs and was completely blown away at the amount of fur that came off of Roscoe. It was this brushing that got me to thinking; why not try to improve the quality of commercial food they are ingesting by sprucing it up a bit?
I wouldn't say I'm starting them on a raw diet or that what I fed them was a raw diet. I would call it an improvement diet. I didn't have a protein source that would be good for the boys, so I still fed them their kibble, but added in a few extra tasty tidbits to hopefully help Roscoe battle his allergies.
First thing's first, I know dogs do not need vegetables or fruit, but I also know that it won't hurt them either. Fruit and vegetables can add vitamins and minerals to your dog's diet that they otherwise would not get. A lot of what I have read has also said that dogs do not digest vegetables to the full capacity unless they are slightly boiled or blended into oblivion. So, I busted out the rice cooker, put a bit of water in the bottom with about a cup of carrots and set that to lightly boiling. I then cracked an egg into each dish. I had thought about adding the egg shells as they are an excellent source of calcium, but I didn't have a grinder and so wasn't sure if the shells would cause tears in the dogs' esophagus or intestines: it seems highly unlikely, but I am not taking any chances. Something for further research. I also cored and chopped up half of an apple into tiny pieces and added them to the bowls. Once the carrots were "lightly boiled" I scooped them into each dish and poured the water over the mixture. Boiling can leech some of the vitamins out of the vegetables and so I figured the water couldn't hurt. Plus, it's so hot here that any kind of hydration would be good for Glacier and Roscoe.
Once I had my concoction in their dishes, I dumped a cup of their regular kibble over it. This isn't ideal as it does not eliminate the food that Roscoe is reacting to, but it reduces the amount he is eating with the added benefit of the other foods that I mixed in. I was going to use a bit of cottage cheese for calcium/protein/vitamins and blueberries for antioxidants, but the cheese had gone bad and I couldn't find the blueberries in the freezer.
In the grand scheme of things, it's a very small step as the protein source and elimination of commercial foods/treats seems to be the stress of the raw feeding regiments, but I think it's worth a shot. Perhaps I can pick up some canned salmon and plain yogurt the next time we are at the grocery store to add to the mix of healthier options and the kibble. If this small change can make a difference for Roscoe's allergies, then I think it's sustainable. I'm still a bit squeamish about handling raw meat and feeding it to the boys (we have no idea how big our flat is going to be and so having a crate they can have dinner in may be out of the question), so for now, I'll keep experimenting and hoping that less kibble and more other tastiness will give Roscoe some relief from his itchy, smelly ears.