Reach out to local farmers and visit local farmers’ markets. It is important to only feed your dog pasture-raised, antibiotic-free and hormone-free animals. The drugs that factory-farmed animals are fed can transfer to your dog, affecting health, growth and they even stay in their DNA!
I feed Ardesia, a 90 pound mastiff puppy for about $4-5 a day. If i fed her high quality dry or freeze-dried food, it would cost me $15-20 a day! Hearts can be fed as muscle meat and are only about $2-3 per pound. Chicken necks are great, $1- 1.50 per pound, the cartilage in them is an excellent source of glucosamine and chondroitin.
I would do some online research to see what feels best for you to feed, based on your dog’s needs. The Calcium-Phosphorus ratio is important. Large breed puppies need more bone in their diets, than full-grown dogs for example. You want their bones to growth healthy and strong, not overgrow too fast with too much protein going to the muscles. I feed about 50% raw meaty bones, 30% muscle meat and 20% veggies. Liver should only be fed a couple times a week. Other than that, as many different parts, of as many different animals you can feed is best. This fits well with what is available at given times of the year. My friends that hunt give me deer legs for her. Also, I try to mostly feed animals she could ‘take-down’, so less beef, more lamb and pork and I don’t feed beef load-bearing bones. The nice thing is, that dogs thrive on many of the animal parts that humans don’t eat regularly, which means these are less expensive to purchase.
For veggies, I use kale, sweet potato, celery, cucumber, beets, zucchini, pumpkin, a little ginger and apples. Other fruits digest too quickly and can ferment before the rest of the meal is digested, so bananas, pineapple, papaya, blueberries, strawberries are better for snacks. I pulverize the veggies in the Cuisinart, then freeze them for 24 hours, so they are very broken down. Your dog is really not getting the nutrients so much as using the fiber to move everything through. A good fiber diet of veggies and ground flax seeds help scrub the intestines and prevent parasites from being able to settle. 90% of a dog’s immunity is in their intestines, so it is very important to keep healthy!
But WHY Should I Switch?
Let’s say you were to eat fast food, twice a day, for your life. Do you think you would be healthy? How would you feel? Mentally? Physically?
When your dog needs to go to the vet, you panic, right? Is he or she ok? What could it be? You love them so much? They are a huge part of your life? So maybe think about that each time you feed them, and prevent, as best as you can, those future ailments, and panics.
By Julia Dunning, Owner,
Dolce & Ardesia Yummy Treats LLC