Where the heck did days 13 and 14 go?? Well, on Day 13, we were cleaning up after the typhoon, spending quality time together (hey, in a military family, you take what you're given!!) and bringing our oldest furry baby to the vet eye doc. (yeah, they actually specialize after veterinary school and can be opthamologists... this guy was trained in the good ole USA, so he spoke decent English, too!) That in an of itself was the highlight/lowlight of the weekend. Yes, she's completely blind (well, can see light vs dark) in the right eye and the left eye is clouding up fast. History:
Cheyenne is our 9 year old purebred Labrador retriever... never again will I get a 'purebred' dog... she has hip dysplasia, the opposite knee is arthritic due to a puppy 'injury' (jumped over a baby gate when she was only 5 or 6 months old), got type 1 diabetes (insulin dependent) just last year before our move to Japan (that's what held me up from moving sooner), seasonal skin allergies/irritation, and her newest thing besides the fast moving cataract/blindness is that a blood test for her liver enzymes were VERY elevated. *sigh* It took a while for the vet's staff to figure out what to call it in English: translation = "biliary sludge". Grrrreeeeeat... What to do?
Just so happens that I had started reading up on Raw Food diet for dogs just about 2 weeks ago... it's kinda like having her go Paleo!! I also heard about raw food diet from my host family from Hawaii last March... I am still amazed that chicken bones are dangerous when cooked, but OK if raw. Like everything I do, I decided to read up on it and have been doing so for the past two weeks. Hubby wasn't crazy about the idea as it just sounds strange. I'll be sharing my links with him, too. Well, since Paleo works for humans... let's see about dogs:
DOG RAW FOOD DIET:The premise behind a dog eating raw foods is that they are all from a common ancestor , the wolf. What is a wolf's diet in the wild? Raw meat that the pack kills, carrion found, and scraps humans leave behind. What type of animal is a wolf? A carnivore. Not an omnivore like us. That means, they are uniquely suited to eating a diet of meat, bones, organs, etc from another animal. NOT grains. For those of you who think differently about wolves and the domesticated dog (they're not that far off from each other, really)... read this. I challenge you to read the contents of dog food... here's ours:
DRY "healthy weight" Dog food:
1. ground yellow corn
2. chicken by-product meal (that's OK... dogs would savange that from a slaughterhouse, I suppose)
3. corn gluten meal
4. soybean hulls
5. whole wheat flour
6. rice flour
8. soy flour
9. animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols
11. a bunch of things I cannot pronounce come next.
Wet/Canned Dog Food that we put in for 'flavoring':
1. sufficient water for Processing
3. Meat by-products
4. wheat flour
7. wheat gluten
11. and more stuff I cannot pronounce, much less they shouldn't be eating!!
Well... crap. So, I changed my life and am changing my health through weight loss and exercise, but what about my dogs?? Buddy, our 5 yr old MONSTER poodle (he's a standard, but the biggest I've ever seen much less had in my family!!), has always had grossness on his teeth... could this be why? There's even SUGAR and SALT in dog food!! WHY? Is that so that it appeals to the human owners??
So... cost... that was my last hurdle until her visit to the vet. So, here's the cost break down as I see it:
1. dry dog food = $17.69 (price from PetSmart online)... we use 2.5 cups (9oz) per meal x 2 meals a day x 2 dogs = 36 oz per day = $2.56 per day in dry food.
2. wet/canned food = $.69/can and we use 1/4 per dog's evening meal($0.17 per dog = $0.34 for two of them a day as they're only fed once a day with wet in the food)
3. both meals together for 2 dogs = approx $2.90 a day in food. Not bad... no wonder why we feed them this way!
Now, at the commissary, I price checked meats (on the bone), chicken parts (necks, livers, tails, etc) and pork pieces. The literature I came up with online recommended that you start a dog on 1/4 chickens (thigh and leg, yep... bones, too - as long as they're UNCOOKED) for the first week. (look here for the amount to feed). (Another great source for beginning here)
1. bag of 1/4 chicken = 8 pieces at $3.99
2. recommendation is 1-2 quarters per meal for dogs my dog's sizes = $0.50 per meal for one quarter chicken... so, let's say 1/2 chicken for one dog... even a 'whole' chicken for the 2 = $2.00
3. I know the price will go higher once I add in the organ meats or other parts, but that'll probably end up being breakfast in the long run... I'll update the costs on that when I begin that next week.
So much for this being more expensive way to feed my dogs!! Now, I understand I need to throw in some organ meats and other 'body parts' to make it a nutritionally sound diet for the dogs, but the chicken meat/bones will be a good start for us.
So, last night was Cheyenne's first night of the raw chicken for dinner. Now, she's a gulper and usually will 'eat' her dinner in less than 90 seconds (we timed her once). So, in keeping with being a mom and upon the suggestion on a website, I held the food for her. I'm glad I did. It gave her a chance to figure things out and to chew and break the bones. Now, this is chicken from the grocery store.. so the only 'blood' I encountered was the bone marrow as she broke it up. Not dirty, not bloody, not gross. Then again, I am a weirdo who dissected anything I got my hands on when I was a kid and had all those anatomy classes in high school through university, so this is not gross to me. I kinda felt like a mommy bonding with her child... again. It was nice. Cheyenne did well. No coughing or choking at all. Compared to how she normally eats, this was smooth and easy (I had to teach her to 'calm it down' when she would be gulping down her food as she would start coughing and hacking up bits of the dry food). I talked to her throughout and she was wagging her tail the entire time. Poor Buddy came up to us after finishing his food (he got the 'normal' dinner) and was wondering why he couldn't get in the fun. To Cheyenne's credit, no growling, just kept eating.
I did my 'normal' thing of checking her blood sugar curve after dinner and until bedtime, then again in the morning... she didn't need her insulin until about 10pm cause she was sitting around 120 an hour after dinner, instead of her normal 380!! So, around 10pm, her sugar actually went up to 301 and I gave her only 15 units (normal lately has been 18 with the blood sugar only getting down to 180-220 AFTER the injection).
There was no period during the evening that she raced for the door, and believe me, I watched her like a HAWK! I have to admit, I was afraid something would get caught and we'd be searching for a animal ER to remove a stuck bone. NOPE. Woke up this morning, not by my typical hungry dog, but a dog who was excited to see ME. Typically, she will cry and whine to wake us up if we're not feeding her by 5am... I got up at 7am. This is a HUGE change. We did her 'normal' morning routine of Proin (bladder incontinence) and cheese (very small amount), then her new liver pills :(, and then her NSAID eye drops. She got her 3 frozen green beans and did not need her am dose of insulin as her blood sugar was only 161 (as opposed to her 'normal' morning blood sugar of over 380)... so at about 1030am when it went up to 310, she got another 15 units of insulin. She still wasn't hungry nor asking for food by that time!! Just happily ate her 2 frozen green beans after her shot (that's been her treat from the start of her diagnosis with diabetes to stay away from high calorie foods like store-bought dog treats).
When DID she get hungry? 4pm. Whats amazing is that she typically will bother me or my hubby starting around 2:30pm for dinner. Unfortunately, she had to wait an extra hour as the chicken thawed in the sink (though I had it in the fridge, it was still semi-frozen). We did the same thing as last night... I prepared Buddy's dinner as usual and took Cheyenne out back to feed her the two 1/4 chickens (thigh and leg with bones intact) and we just had a great time together... me holding the food and her figuring out how to pull on it with her front teeth and grind the bones with her back teeth. Buddy came out again, and this time, I did have a treat of a turkey neck for him. After Cheyenne was done, I held the turkey neck for him. He went straight to gnawing with his back teeth and breaking the bones. I even let him have it after he was so successful and gentle with me holding it. That was great! I now think I can bring him over to the raw diet without 'teaching' him like I have to with Cheyenne. :) Unfortunately, I was using him as the store-bought dog food finisher and now realize that may have to change.
Back to the Primal PT:
Well, this girl got on the scale this morning and lost another 2 pounds!! Yippee!! Is this the end of my plateau?? (won't be if I don't get my butt back to running!!)
BREAKFAST: two fried eggs and 2 pieces of bacon with a banana - forgot to drink my coffee!!
LUNCH: greek yogurt with blueberries and water to drink
DINNER: It's cooking while I'm writing, so I'll post the pictures below after we eat... I'm modifying (slightly) a recipe for Manhattan Clam Chowder for tonight that I've made all my life... YUM!! Tonight, I did not have carrots, so substituted left over peas (which sure look pretty in the pot) and I have to admit I never use the thyme anymore as hubby dislikes that herb.
Manhattan Clam Chowder
1 medium onion chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 pieces bacon, sliced/chopped
2 cans clams - reserve juices
1 can diced tomatoes - no salt added kind
1-2 large sweet potatoes (mine look white as they're the Japanese kind that are purple on the outside)
2-3 carrots chopped small (I didn't have any of these tonight...)
pinch sea salt
ground black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
Cook up bacon and add onions and celery, continue cooking over medium/med-high heat until clear then take juice from the clams, add enough water to make 3 cups and pour into pot. Add diced tomato (include juice) to the pot. Next, add your root veggies... and bring to a boil. Cover and turn down heat to low and simmer for 30 mins or until root veggies are cooked. Add salt, pepper and thyme, then clams last, right before serving.
Typically, I would serve with corn bread that I made during the cooking of the root veggies... forgot that tonight, so no bread. However, I am resolved to figure out a Paleo-ish cornbread that doesn't just substitute one other 'off limits' flour for wheat flour. When I find one, I'll let you know!!
Also, since I did not have the carrots, I figured we needed more veggies in the soup, so I poured in the last bit of peas from a bag in the freezer. Sure made it look purty. :)