Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On The Hunt for Food

My dogs' health is always a concern for me. Their diets are an integral part of their health and finding the right food for both Glacier and Roscoe has always been a struggle. Ultimately, Mr. K and I would love to raw feed them, but we  run into two concerns.
1. The cost. From what I can tell things might be more pricy. Currently, we have estimated we are spending around 75 pounds a month on a commercial, complete wet food called Nature Diet. I think it is a brand exclusive to the UK as I've never seen it in North America when I was doing dog food research before.
2. Our flat is small. Providing a place that could be easily sanitized after meals poses a large problem. There just isn't the room for crates, or even one crate for that matter.
The biggest problem we are finding is  that nearly every food we have looked at in the UK has rice in it. I don't know what the obsession with feeding one's dog rice is, but it's everywhere.
Dear dog food manufacturers: dogs don't need rice! Where the crap did they get rice from when they were roaming free?
We had them on Orijen, a food common in North America and actually Canadian made, but whatever they do to it here just does not agree with our boys' systems. While eating Orijen, a high quality dry commercial food, they became stinky, Roscoe's coat started falling out in clumps, their eyes were constantly oozing and Roscoe's  ear issues flared up again. Not to mention, we were paying more for poorer results. I had wanted them eating a kibble, even if only at every other meal, to keep their teeth clean, but after those results Orijen was scrapped from the menu. We went back to Nature Diet.
The problem with Nature Diet is that  I'm not sure I trust the packaging process, or perhaps the store we are getting it from is not storing it properly, but whatever the reason, ever since switching them back to Nature Diet Roscoe has had slimer, runny poop three times; just randomly. The food doesn't smell bad to me when I dish it out, but he'll start whining at us to take him out. Sometimes he has to go almost immediately after or it will be hours later. This has happened on more than one occasion when Mr. K and I are 100 percent sure he didn't have any treats, bones or eat anything playing off leash. So, it has to be the food. We can't have a guide dog who randomly has diarrhea. Well, no dog with diarrhea is very nice, but Roscoe is expected to go into public places. We can't risk him having an upset tummy and him exploding all over a mall.
Thankfully, he's really good at warning us, but the other morning his warning wasn't enough and I wasn't able to get him out. He pooped all over our foyer floor. Have you ever tried cleaning up runny poop off of a wooden floor? Yuck! It was that time that I had had enough. Before that, his horrible poop was flung at me during a wind storm and ended up caking my jeans. It was the mess on the floor that decided me: we needed a new food.
I spent the greater part of Saturday researching commercial foods. What I really want, if this were a perfect world, my dogs would be eating raw, but meat isn't cheap. So, I researched probably close to ten different brands. Out of those brands, and the dozens of  others I dismissed because I already knew they contained rice, I found only two that didn't have rice or grains. These foods are considered to be a part of the BARF diet and contain only a protein source and some fruits and vegetables. It's so expensive though.
Mr. K and I ordered just under what we would normally pay for a month's supply of Nature Diet and are going to see how long it lasts us. There is 18 kilograms of frozen dog food supposedly headed to our flat. My only concern is where we're going to fit it all. Well, I'm also wondering how the boys will take to it, is it going to be more expensive than the Nature Diet and will Roscoe's tummy approve? The brand we're trying out is called "Natural Instinct." I have never heard of it before my incessant researching, but that doesn't mean anything.
If this food fails, I'm not sure what we'll do. Maybe I'll go to the local butcher and see what he can offer us. The only thing is I think his prices might be a bit outrageous. Someone told me that he charges close to ten pounds for a rabbit. Ten pounds! I have two dogs both weighing close to or over seventy LBS. They'd eat one rabbit for a meal between them. I just hope this new food works and one day, when I am rich and famous, we'll be able to raw feed our dogs. Until then, let's hope Natural Instinct (Working Dog Beef/Chicken/Turkey) doesn't break the bank or Roscoe's intestinal tract.


road-dog-tales said...

hehe This sounds like our peeps! Always searching for a good, healthy food for us. Healthy treats are even more difficult to find, right? Hope the new food takes care of the poops. That's not fun for anybody!

The Road Dogs

Frankie Furter said...

Like YOU.. we here on my hill have some major concerns with a RAW diet. We DO get a few tastes of it now and then..butt mom mostly Cooks our meat.
She does sometimes cook Rice into our foods..butt mostly it is Barley.. we do need some carbs and plant proteins and that is how SHE gets them into us.
Our foods are SO very MUCH impawtant to US. hehehe
so sorry about the poop shooter going wild. It does happen to the best of us.. Perhaps it was just a little intestinal BUG.

Jen said...

I hope the new food works out. I couldn't do the raw feeding thing either.

K-Koira said...

Natural Instinct is sold in my local pet store. I haven't fed it to my dogs, but have considered it. It looks like a good food. But you are right, very expensive.

You probably already know that I feed raw. Frankly, I find raw feeding cheaper than feeding high quality commercial dog food. Something you should look into if you are thinking about raw feeding is get on the raw feeding Yahoo group and see if they can connect you to a local-to-you bulk buying list. They often have great prices and good deals that way, since a large number of people all buying together can get the bulk discounts from suppliers that single people would not be able to get.

For the clean up after feeding raw- a lot of people feed in a crate (which is what I do). But others train their dogs to lay on a mat while eating, then just pick up the mat afterwards and wash it as needed. For the most part, the dogs clean up every tiny spilled drop, so once a week washing would likely be sufficient. You could probably even use a plastic crate tray, which could be wiped down easily after the meal then stored upright so it didn't take up floor space.

Jess and Glacier said...

Thanks everyone. These are really good suggestions and comments. :)

Torie said...

I have Ushi on Royal Cannin maxi sensible. The guide dogs association pays for it.

Why do you have to have other things for the dog to eat raw? Would the food not just stay in the bowl?

I'm a bit of a germaphobe so would never go the raw meat thing.

Xxx. Oh and i think there is a food called Berns"? My friends dog is really bad with alergies and i think it doesn't have grane or that.

Jess and Glacier said...

The Guide Dog Association pays for that food here as well, but Glacier and Roscoe don't do well on it. The ingredient list isn't what I am looking for as it doesn't actually have a real protein source, has vegetable oils and corn products in it. The other brand you mentioned doesn't have a full protein source either and 63 percent of the food is comprised of rice. Again, not what we're looking for for Glacier and Roscoe. I'm glad your friend's dog does well on it though. It's all about finding what works for your dog.
As for the raw feeding, you have to have a space of sorts for the dogs to eat in to keep the meal contained; just in case any of it gets free from the bowl. It's kind of for sanitation purposes. Hope that helps. :)

Agnes B Bullock said...

We have Chips and Tasha on Nature's Variety Instinct due to food allergies and they are doing great on it! Yes, it is pricy, but they eat the venison chunks and the kibble and only need two of the chunks a day with less than a quarter of a cup of the kibble with each chunk. Thai and Ginger are eating Frankie's Mom's recipes and are loving it. (Thai also has to have the Science Diet CD for his bladder stones, as does Chip) Anna Rose is on the Royal Canin renal diet.

Brooke, Cessna, Aspen, Canyon & Rogue said...

I'm not sure if you'd be able to get it, but there is a woman in Australia who uses it so I'm thinking you can get it delivered. It's a food called Canidae or something like that. I'm not totally sure if it is rice free but I do know it was gluten free since we used some of their canned foods for Phoenix.

I'll e-mail you more of my thoughts, but here's one kibble suggestion, just in case this frozen option doesn't work financial wise.

NCmountainwoman said...

One of our Goldens has a sensitive GI tract and would have intermittent and unpredictable episodes of gas and diarrhea. After much trial we finally found a food that gives her nicely formed stools. We feed her (and our other Golden) "Taste of the Wild" which has no grains at all. We use the venison and buffalo one. (Web address:tasteofthewildpetfood.com)

We also substitute one-fourth cup of canned pumpkin for one-fourth cup of her food twice a day. The one other thing we have done is to give her a canine probiotic with a bifida culture.