Saturday, September 25, 2010

What's for breakfast? Hint: it's a big chunk of raw meat

Now that we're home more than on the road, I'm consciously making the effort to consistently put my dogs on raw food again - at least for this rotation and until things get super busy again (soon) with work and life. A few years ago I fed exclusively raw - grinding my own chicken and buying Bravo in bulk every month. But, if I've got a bit of time for this rotation (3-4 months) let's see if I can sustain the momentum on raw. Besides, with the options from The Honest Kitchen we really don't have to try to travel with raw food any more.

Because I'm trying to keep them to TCM cool foods right now I'm somewhat limited in my selection. All the manufacturers have lots of chicken grinds and mixes available (chicken is somewhat less expensive) and some with novel proteins, but I really had to look for a pre-made mix that was a TCM cool blend.

Primal Pet Food's Canine Turkey & Sardine Formula
One of the cool blends I decided to try was from Primal Pet Foods - Turkey and Sardine Mix. Containing lots of bone and protein - heavy on the turkey and sardines.
Ingredients: Turkey Necks, Turkey Wings, Whole Sardines, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Celery, Cranberries, Blueberries, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Almonds, Organic Cilantro, Organic Ginger, Organic Coconut Oil, Alfalfa, Spirulina, Mixed Tocopherols (source of vitamin E).

The boys loved their primal! I fed one part Honest Kitchen Preference to two parts Primal. I found that the boys didn't require any adjustment - and honestly you can't get any easier than to feed a raw pre-mix. Thaw one patty at a time and you're ready to go. The problem is of course that you pay for convenience. At $38 for eight lbs of patties it could get really pricey to feed a couple of hungry and fit golden retrievers.

The Honest Kitchen's Preference
The Primal Formula was complete - I technically didn't need to add THK preference - but I'd been looking for a reason to try Preference. I'm currently an Honest Kitchen Ally - which means that I'm lucky enough to be able to share Honest Kitchen samples with folks in the dog community. At one point or another I've fed all of the Honest Kitchen's formulas - except preference. If I'm going to recommend the product to others, we'd best eat our own dog food right?

By design preference is a pre-mix. It's an incomplete diet to which you add your own meat - in varying ratios depending on age and activity levels. This would allow an owner to hit up all of the sales at the grocery store for turkey, chicken, beef, fish, etc or to tailor their dog's diet based on allergies. Your dog can't eat flax and must eat white fish? Bingo - make friends with your local fish monger and pick up a box of preference and you're good to go.
Ingredients: Alfalfa, sweet potatoes, cabbage, celery, apples, spinach, organic kelp, coconut, bananas, zucchini, honey, tricalcium phosphate, choline chloride, zinc amino acid chelate, vitamin D3 supplement, vitamin E supplement, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, iron amino acid chelate, copper amino acid chelate

I loved the earthy smell of Preference's alfalfa - it reminded me of the hay cubes that one of the stallions at Hardscrabble had to eat. Karny was retired and had contracted heaves years before, so he ate his portion of hay in cubed and rehydrated form. Not unlike Honest Kitchen actually...My two gobbled up preference and licked their bowls (and my spoon) clean.

Turkey and Chicken grinds from Vermont Raw
Eatting LOCAL!!!!
We also picked up a couple of grinds from a local raw food company "VT Raw". Like the folks from Primal - the foods from VT Raw come in two basic formulas - one that is just meat and bones and another formula that is a complete diet - bones, vegetables, fruits, etc.
I elected for the basic grinds - this gives me the option to add my own pre-mix.
Turkey formula Ingredients: Ground turkey bones, turkey meat and organ meat

I also picked up a couple of tubes of their chicken grind formula as well - it's frozen so it'll keep for a few weeks until I'm ready to cut the boys over to a bit of chicken.

Oma's selection of foods: Meat and bone grinds, 
necks,  marrow bones, tripe, ground mixes - 
including novel proteins  like Kangaroo!!
PFW also carries a full line of Oma's products - both grinds and mixes. Again, I'll leave the mixes on the shelf and stock up on the grinds. A couple more 10# tubes of ground turkey and one large 5# tube of green tripe - which smells as bad as you might think it does, but the goldens go absolutely ga-ga over! Yummy delicious stinky tripe. Equally tempting are the whole mackerel - which is another 'outdoor' meal around here.

Primal's Sardine Grind
Also available in turkey, chicken, beef,
buffalo, sardine and lamb.
I'm quite well stocked for the next few weeks - you should see the contents of our freezer - between bags and bags of apple pie filling (from our tree), huge tubes of ground turkey, tripe and chicken, a couple of bags of Primal formulas and of course the assorted menagerie of frozen birds (feathers included). When the time comes to reorder I plan to special order some of the Primal Grinds - specifically the turkey and the sardine - both of which are available in 2lb and 5lb sleeves (chubs). This will allow me to mix 1 part turkey to one part sardine to one part preference for my 'cool' mix..

The Honest Kitchen's Embark
This brings us back to The Honest Kitchen's Embark for the times when (like every busy pet owner) I forget to thaw dinner - or more often than not, underestimate the length of time it takes a 10# tube of ground up turkey bits to thaw enough to portion out for dinner. I also can't rave enough over the ease of feeding The Honest Kitchen. It travels well - gone are the days (for me) of a meat cooler in the car for their raw food (I don't miss melting ice, water seeping into my containers of raw food creating salmonella-cooler soup) and then packing another car cooler for cooked foods and dog treats, beverages and snacks.

I can keep tupperware containers of my Honest Kitchen food with me on the road and have their dinners ready in five minutes - which is a really big deal for my two starving golden retrievers.


Nicole on homemade dog food said...

Raw meat is not the only important ingredient. You must also feed your dog with carbohydrates like brown rice because they need energy to digest the meat.

. said...

Dogs do need carbohydrates in their diets - however, dogs do not need those carbohydrates in the form of grains. IMO, there are a lot of better options nutritionally than brown rice (though brown rice is better than white rice). Quinoa is a great option, as are beans, carrots, potatoes.