Feeding Homemade Dog Food with Kibble by Amanda Nelson

Dog food can be expensive and confusing, with so many choices between commercial foods or choosing to make your own, the options to feed your dog are endless.

In this blog, I am going to talk about what I feed my dogs. This is just my opinion and what has been working for me, I am not a canine nutrition expert and if you have a dog that has special dietary needs please consult with a canine nutrition consultant.

I am currently feeding my dogs a combination of Acana/Orijen kibble mixed with homemade food.  I travel a lot and I am either taking my dogs with me or I have to leave them with someone, so I like to feed something that is easy for me on the road or easy for someone watching my dogs.

I also like mixing in the homemade with the kibble so they get some fresh foods and variety in their diet. Acana/Orijen is not a cheap food either, so by combining it with some homemade food I can also make the bag last longer, which is a win in my book! 🙂

I am mixing up a batch of homemade food today, which consists of:

Brown rice 

Quinoa 

Mix of veggies 

Beef muscle meat

Beef liver 

Eggs 

Cottage Cheese 

Yogurt

Yes, I do feed grains, none of my dogs have any issues with grains so I include them in their diet. (I will probably be writing more of why I include grains in a later blog)

I cook the grains and veggies in my large roaster pan, once they are cooked. (very, very cooked, I want everything to be squishy. we want the grains and veggies to be mushy so the dogs can digest them) Then I will mix in the raw beef and eggs. If you would prefer to cook your protein, you can add everything to the cooker also.

Once I have everything mixed really well, I will sometimes add some yogurt or cottage cheese to the mix as well.

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Latest batch of raw dog food (veggies and grains are cooked)

From here depends on how much time I have and how I want to feed my homemade. If I am traveling or leaving my dogs with someone I will freeze the homemade into little burger size patties, this way I can just defrost patties for each dog. Most of the time I store everything in containers and just pull containers out for the dogs as I need them. One of my containers usually lasts around 4 days for all 4 dogs. (again, depending on how much homemade I am feeding)

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Patties ready for the freezer

If I am making patties, I will form them and then freeze them on parchment paper. Once frozen I will put them in ziplock bags.

You can also use a food saver to make patties, I have used it to make large batches of patties that I freeze without taking up much room.

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Food Saver patties

When I am not traveling I tend to feed kibble in the morning with some fresh food like cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, etc. At night, I will feed only homemade, usually from the big batch I have made. If I don’t have any made up, then I will feed what I have available, some meat, little grain and maybe some veggies.

Some days, if I am busy, or I don’t have any homemade, they will get just kibble. Any time I feed kibble I always add water.

I try to also feed only homemade at least 2-3 times a week. On those days, I will feed just raw/homemade food that I have made with no kibble added. I feel like this keeps variety in my dogs meals and lets them have access to a “fresh food day” with no kibble.

The main supplement that all my dogs get is Auburn Lab’s Advanced Protection Formula. Their website is: http://www.auburnlabs.com/  I love this blend of herbs and it has done wonders for my dogs. I see a huge difference in Try who is almost 13, yet she acts like she is 3! I take the human version of this supplement also, and I notice a difference with myself as well.

All in all, that is pretty much what my dogs eat. I will rotate their fresh foods, different veggies, proteins, and grains.  I have been rotating their kibble as well, between Fromm, Acana, and Orijen, but I have been really happy with Acana/Orijen so I haven’t rotated their kibble in a while. I have been just rotating between flavors in the Acana/Orijen line.

I am really happy with the way my dogs look and I like this method of feeding. I can choose when to add fresh food depending on my travel schedule, and money. (lets be honest, feeding dogs is expensive, so saving some money is a huge plus!)  It is easy for them to get just kibble if I am on the road, or need to leave them with someone, they are used to getting both fresh and kibble so switching back and forth has never caused any upset tummies.

In future blog posts I will go deeper into the herbs and supplements I feed.

Happy Feeding!

Amanda Nelson

http://www.fluidmotionagility.com

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Whats on the menu?

 

 

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For some time now I have been getting emails asking about what I feed and if I could post my dogs “menu” each day.

I can’t promise a menu each day but I will try and post here at least once a week with what my dogs ate one day during the week.

For the most part this past week my dogs ate raw turkey, chicken, as well as some sardines and oysters.

Each day Nargles and Try eat about 14 ounces of food, ( during trialing season they will eat closer to 16 ounces) I split their meals between breakfast and dinner. When I calculate how much food they are getting I am weighing their carbs and proteins, I do not add their veggies into the weight as they do not really add enough calories to be put into the finals weight.

Daily:

8 ounces of raw turkey
6 ounces of sweet potatoes

I make a “veggie mush” of various veggies that I run through my food processor, today’s mix had:

Carrots
Green beans
Peas
Yellow squash

I give a heaping tablespoon of the veggie mush in each meal, morning and night.

Each week I also want to add heart and liver to their diet, I usually give about a 1/4 of an ounce of liver every other day. I cut up the heart into cubes, I am honestly not sure how much each piece weighs, I usually add a cube a day to their meals, I am not able to get heart on a regular basis so this changes depending on how much I have.

Try has a whole slew of heart supplements that we won’t go into here, but here are the basic ones I use:

Animal essentials herbal multivitamin – one tablespoon a day ( and this changes depending on what they are eating, but more on that in a later article)

Salmon oil – I am using grizzly salmon oil right now, each dog gets “1 pump” and Try gets about a pump and a half.

Vitamin E – each dog gets 100IU each day

B-complex – 50mg each day

Vitamin C – 50mg each day

Calcium – most of the time I do not need to supplement calcium because my meat is a “grind” that includes bone. When I do supplement calcium I use Animal Essentials calcium and they get a tablespoon each day.

I have extra supplements that I give as well , but we will talk about those in a later article.

As I said I rotate between different proteins, cooked and raw, as well as different carbs and veggies.

In future articles we will be going over my proteins and carbs in detail, as well as more menus!

Amanda Nelson

(From the Fluid Motion Blog at http://www.fmablog.com)

Pet Insurance: Is It Right For You? by Deb Maicach

Recently, I began to toy with the idea of getting pet insurance for my three Italian Greyhounds, ages

9, 4, and 4. I’ve never been a proponent of pet insurance in the past. I always figured that I’d have
the funds to cover whatever expenses came up, or I’d start to plan to put away a certain amount each
month “in case of emergency”. Well, times and circumstances have changed. And with a rash health
emergency events in our local community of dog lovers, I really began to consider the option of pet
insurance.

Let me start by saying if you think this article is going to tell you if you should buy pet insurance and
then tell you which company offers the best policy for the best price, you can stop reading right now.
That’s not going to happen. The decision to insure or not is purely personal and depends totally on
individual circumstances and preferences. Same goes for which insurance company. There are many
very good companies out there and the one you choose must be the one that best fits your needs. What
I do hope to do is help guide you in making those decisions.

So, is pet insurance right for you? Many pet owners wonder if investing in pet insurance is “worth it.”
As an alternative, some people (myself included) would advise to simply set aside a budgeted amount
for your pet’s medical expenses. That way, if you don’t end up needing the money for expensive vet
bills you could spend it on something else—like a vacation to Hawaii! An article published in 2003 by
Consumer Reports says, “The most important thing you need to know about pet insurance is that it is a
form of enforced savings that almost never covers the entire bill. You can accomplish the same thing by
paying the same monthly premium to your savings account.” Let me tell you why I’ve changed my mind
about this and how it really isn’t “the same thing”.

Yes, the purpose of any insurance is to cover future unknown risks. But you’ll never know which is the
better option until after the fact. Although saving money is always a good idea, how long will it take
you to save $3000, $5000, $7000? What if you’re faced with a medical emergency and you don’t have
enough money saved up yet? I can guarantee that your pet isn’t going to wait to get sick or injured!
$5000-$7000 is NOT an over-exaggeration of the kind of expenses you might encounter if your pet
needs to visit a veterinary specialist or develops a chronic medical condition like diabetes, seizures, or
thyroid disease. Go ahead and ask a few club members about their recent vet bills. You’ll be astounded
at the costs.

What I did was run the numbers. That’s what I do for a living. I’m a number cruncher, so away
I crunched. I calculated how much the policy I had decided upon would cost me for one year of
premiums for my three girls. Then, I went back (and oh, this was the painful part) and calculated how
much I had spent on veterinary costs over just the past year. Well, let me tell you, THAT exercise
opened my eyes! I spent WAY more in veterinary costs than I would have in premiums, and my girls
didn’t have a major medical issue!

Along with alleviating the concern of what you would do if your pet required surgery or long term care,
there is also the matter of preventive maintenance. A number of plans these days now cover (for a cost,
of course) preventative maintenance. As an example, you may find that a good policy will include one
teeth cleaning session per year for your dog. This may not seem like a lot, until you consider that before
a dog’s teeth may be cleaned, the veterinarian must do blood work because your pet will have to go
under anesthesia. In short, a teeth-cleaning session can cost a few hundred dollars. This alone can make
the cost when you buy pet insurance on an annual basis begin to look very reasonable. Add in the cost
of heart worm medication and vaccinations or titers and the numbers look even better.

If you have one major medical incident with your pet throughout their lifetime, the policy will most likely
pay for itself. However, pet insurance IS a gamble. If you have sufficient funds to cover ANY emergency
or long term illness, you probably don’t need pet insurance.

So, let’s say you’re like me and you’ve decided that pet insurance would be right for you. Now you have
to choose a plan. Should be easy, right? Wrong! There are many companies out there offering multiple
plans. If you think signing up for YOUR health insurance is hard, just wait until you’re faced with the
options available with pet insurance! You’ve got to do your research and it will help if you’re aware of
some of the basic options out there. That’s where I hope I can help.

First of all, comparing insurance companies is like trying to buy a mattress. Let me explain. You know
how on all the mattress ads they always say “We’ll meet or beat any competitors’ price on the identical
product”? Well, you know they can say that because there ISN’T an identical product out there.
Mattress manufacturers make specific and unique mattress models for each specific company. You
won’t find the same identical model at Mattress Firm and at Sleep Experts. It just can’t happen. It’s
the same with pet insurance. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. There are just too many variables.
However, these variables can also work to your advantage, allowing you to custom tailor a policy that
exactly meets your needs.

There are 6 main areas that you’ll need to research and consider:

What are the exclusions? All pet health insurance policies have exclusions. One of the most
common is the “pre-existing condition” exclusion, which can be defined loosely as “injuries,
medical conditions and symptoms of concern that were evident prior to enrollment.” Other
exclusions may include hereditary conditions, coverage for behavior therapy, physical or
alternative therapies and preventative or wellness care. As we compete in agility, it was
important to me to find a policy that covered physical and alternative therapies. It is imperative
that you know and understand what the policy covers and what it excludes. Also know that the
fewer the exclusions, the higher the premium.

What are the deductibles and the co-pay? A deductible is a fixed amount that you must pay
prior to receiving claim reimbursement. Most pet insurance companies provide a choice of
deductibles, which allow you to raise or lower your monthly premium amount. In addition
almost all policies will require a co-pay of 10% to 20% of the veterinarian’s fee. Again, the
lower the co-pay, the higher the premium. Deductibles and co-pays (also called “co-insurance”),
are intended to lessen both the number of total claims paid, and the number of unnecessary
procedures and diagnostic tests. Be sure you know how your deductible is calculated. Some
policies have a “per incident (or claim)” deductible and some have an “annual” deductible.

What are the “incident,” annual, or lifetime caps? This is a big one and varies widely from
company to company. Many companies provide a cap (maximum) amount for each covered
illness or procedure (incident cap). Some companies also utilize an annual cap, over which no
further coverage is provided for that calendar or premium year. Still another cap used by pet
health insurance companies is a lifetime cap.

Does the company apply a “schedule” after deductible or pay a flat percentage? Some
companies provide a “benefit schedule” listing hundreds of diseases, conditions, diagnostic
procedures and treatments, each with a maximum coverage amount, and will then pay you a
percentage of THAT amount, regardless of what your vet actually charged you (after meeting
the deductible). On the other side of the spectrum are the plans that pay a flat percentage of
actual veterinary charges (again, after meeting the deductible).

Is it a “one size fits all” policy? Fortunately some companies offer a variety of plans, depending
on the needs of your pet. One company even provides a policy specifically for seniors. Another
has a plan for accident coverage only. Riders are also available, for dental, extended cancer
coverage, or preventative care (well-care), among others. You might be able to save premium
costs through picking and choosing the plan that is right for you.

What are any other benefits and savings? Some pet health insurance companies are very
creative with additional benefits. One company offers coverage for 3rd party property damage
liability, holiday cancellation, boarding fees, and advertising for missing pets. Two companies
give a 5% to 15% discount for multiple pets enrolled. One company is actively soliciting
corporations to offer pet insurance to their employees as part of their benefit package.

So where does one start? Well, I started by soliciting input from our List Serve members and got a
lot of valuable information. There’s nothing like first hand experience to help one make a decision. I
also talked to my veterinarian. It made me feel good that my agility friends and my vet agreed on pet
insurance companies!

Then I found this super web site, http://www.petinsurancereview.com . Pet Insurance Review’s goal is to
assist pet owners who are shopping for pet insurance. They believe that by providing information on
benefits, pricing and customer reviews, they can help pet owners make the appropriate decision for
themselves and their pets. This website is not owned or controlled by any pet insurance company. The
user reviews are opinions submitted by customers of various pet insurance companies. The profiles of
the pet insurance companies are accurate to the best of their knowledge and are updated on a monthly
basis. I found the information on the site to be invaluable to my research and final decision.

Finally, once a company was chosen, I did extensive internet searches regarding that company and
checked the Better Business Bureau for complaints. I also verified that the company was accredited by
the American Animal Hospital Association.

In the end, I found an insurance company that met the needs for me and my dogs. It afforded me the
flexibility to customize a plan that met my budget and provided the coverage I wanted. If you’d like to
know what company I chose and why, I’ll be glad to share that information with you privately. Just send
me an email (mckinneydeb@mac.com) or catch me at one of the trials.

Remember that, like all insurance, you want to have it, but you hope you don’t have to use it. If you
never get your money’s worth, it means you never had a major crisis with your pet. That’s good news.
Our pets are often the source of a lot of good things in our lives. They keep us from feeling lonely and
often are able to cheer us up after a hard day. What price can we put on that?

Written by Deb Maicach