Opinions vary on what’s best for dogs—kibble, canned, cooked, or raw? Most vets I’ve encountered advocate in favor of packaged foods like kibble and canned. The main argument being that those foods are “balanced.” The main reason I bring this up is because I chose to feed my dogs a cooked diet believing I could cook healthier foods than I could buy in packages. Packages that can sit on a shelf for months or even years and still be “fresh.” The logic escapes me.
However, fresh food doesn’t automatically provide all the nutrients needed in a healthy diet. So where do we find support, encouragement, and direction?
Before I started cooking for my dogs, I read several books on the topic. Here are some of my favorites:
- Food Pets Die For, Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann N. Martin
- Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats by Beth Taylor & Karen Shaw Becker, DVM
- The Whole Pet Diet by Andi Brown
I’ve also found helpful information on these forums:
But books don’t provide encouragement or answer questions that come up along the way. Most of my support comes from a couple of friends who also cook for their dogs, but there are also online discussion groups and some vets who are interested and informed. In some cases you might be able to find a nutritionist who has specialized in raw or cooked diets for dogs and cats. Any of these could be good resources.
The reason I’m writing this post, though, is because it’s been a lonely and kind of scary journey. Judging the right path is a combination of intuition, observation, and doggy biometrics. My boyos are four years old; they’re happy, maintaining a healthy weight, and full of energy. They eliminate well and sleep well. Overall, they have good temperaments, though they are Shelties and tend toward the vocal and excitable. Blood tests done by their vet come back within normal range.
All the above leads me to believe I’m on a good path with their nutrition, but there are no guarantees. Many adverse effects of poor nutrition might not show up for years. I guess the same can be said of eating highly processed, preservative filled dry food. What are your thoughts on taking a road less traveled? Easy peasy or lonely and scary? How do you handle going against the grain?