All dogs, like people, are different. Some will be very picky eaters, and keep themselves skinny as a rail. Others love to eat, and cannot be trusted around any food-like substances. With that in mind, we feed a highly “personalized” diet.
First, a note of caution: raw diets must be very well planned and implemented to be a total-diet solution. For working dogs that don’t keep enough weight on them, we often supplement or switch them to a raw-food diet. This includes lots of raw, unfrozen turkey necks, chicken backs, fresh vegetables and offal. Many dogs do extremely well on this type of diet, and it is very useful in getting muscle mass built up, as well as a beautiful coat and clean teeth. All of our dogs get raw bones periodically to help keep their teeth clean: by crunching on bones, the bone actually scrapes off plaque and helps to massage and enliven the gums.
We NEVER give normal puppy food to our pups. We feed a “large-breed” puppy formula to our young’uns, but not past the age of 6 months. Because large dogs’ bones grow so quickly in the first year or two of life, giving them too much of a good thing can be extremely detrimental to their health. Puppy food is very high in calories and calcium. Unfortunately, too many calories and excess calcium cause the bones to grow too quickly, leading to hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD) and osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). For this reason, we steer clear of puppy foods for puppies. However, for older dogs that have trouble keeping weight on, puppy food can be a big help in getting them to a proper weight.
We see nothing wrong with supplementing your dog’s diet with fresh, natural people food. (GASP!) Though many people will tell you to never give your dog people food, we think this is a silly notion for a number of reasons.
- Not feeding scraps is a LAZY way to keep your dog from begging at the table.
- Dogs love variety, and get bored.
- Foods that are healthy for us are usually healthy for them as well
- Dogs can be very happy and effective garbage disposals