I've currently gotten into feeding my dogs "real food"/"human food".
I have a friend who makes all her dog food, and I tried it and now I like mixing their food half kibble, and half veg/meat. I no longer buy treats, but use little bits of cooked liver and carrots.
It's a bit more work, and I don't do it every meal, but it does seem to make the dry food last a lot longer. Plus my dogs poop doesn't stink as much and their fur has never been so soft. It works for me; Plus I've never seen an animal so excited for meal time as mine, when they see me with their bowls on the counter haha.
I've been doing research on what is and isn't safe for dogs, but I'm trying to figure out how to portion it? Is half in half ok? Or should I beef up the "real" food portion? Their weight doesn't seem to be dropping or accumulating...so I'm assuming it good?
So far they have had: rice, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli stems, peas, liver, chicken and eggs. I have some whole frozen mackerel in the freezer, and once I cook it up I was planning on giving them each a head.
Suggestions, experience, advice and insight all welcome :)
My dogs also get regular food along with their kibble: apples, carrots, peas, bananas, cantelope, eggs, rice, any meat that is just meat. The both love fresh berries. They'll even eat celery on occassion. My rule is that the food has to have 1 ingredient and obviously not be on the "no" list (onions, garlic, grapes...).
It's funny because dogs and humans are both omnivores - we've just created "dog food" because it is convenient. I try to make it convenient for me to feed my dogs real food by just putting select leftovers from meals in the fridge and putting a bit in the dog's bowl for the next meal. Easy for me and exciting for them. I know people gasp at feeding "human food" to dogs but this is heathful food that would otherwise likely be thrown away and eventually the dogs quit acting like God herself has decended from the sky with tidbits so the "bad habits" issue is irrelevant once the awe wears off.
I would keep it at 1/2 and 1/2. Kibble is formulated to meet all of your dog's nutritional needs, while homecooked diets tend to have a lot of nutrients missing. By adding in the kibble you will hopefully help balance out the diet. A few food companies sell packets you can add to a home-cooked diet to make it balanced, but I'd have to do research to find the companies (if you search home made diet on here you will probably find where i''ve posted the link). I can't remember the company off-hand
I used to give my large breed dogs raw fish heads on a regular basis. I would not recommend cooked fish heads because the cooked bones can be a problem. True of other types of bones as well.
Even if they're been frozen it's still ok to thaw and give?
Yes, as it would still be raw. Dogs in the Arctic are fed frozen fish all the time. If you give it frozen, you have a fishsicle, may be nice in Summer :-)
If you are from the Pacific Northwest or your fish is sourced from the Northwest do not feed Salmonids (salmon, trout, etc) raw. It is common for them to carry a parasite that carries a bacteria (confusing I know) that can be quite deadly. Its called Salmon Poisoning Disease. If you do opt to fee raw salmonids make sure if your dog develops vomiting/diarrhea or any other symptoms to tell your vet ASAP and inform them that he has been eating raw fish. We actually see this disease quite commonly among raw feeders when they opt to feed fresh caught salmon here in Northern California.
Salmonids can be fed raw provided they are frozen for at least a month beforehand! Or so I hear.
The only thing I wonder about is that freezing will kill the parasite but will it kill the bacteria that is the actual cause of the disease? I have never really looked into it since #1 I don't feed raw fish and #2 there are so many other types fish out there that are safe to feed. It'd be interesting to know how hearty the bacteria is.
I'd stick with 1/2 and 1/2 keeping the meat proportion well with some veggies. We usually just feed dog food on most days but once in a while we'll make a "doggie salad" as we call it. Where we have some veggies with chicken or ham. Often when we have holidays like Thanksgiving we will scrap all the meat off bones and divide it equally to all 7 (yes we have 7!) dogs along with some of the sauce to give the dog food some flavor plus makes their coat nice as the oils in it set in a tad. They also seem to really like the fat off ham and what not, but make sure not to give them too much if you do! Also we have found to sometimes give them veggie treats where we take a veggie and cut out maybe the inside of something small and shove a little peice of meat in it or something. ;)
If you wanted to do more than half and half I would definitely consult with a canine nutritionist to make sure you are accomodating for all of their nutritional needs. Just watching their weight is not enough IMO.
One thing to keep in mind is that kibble is a dehydrated form of food, so very nutrient dense compared to canned dog food, or food from fresh ingredients, be it an especially made diet, or simply leftovers. When you consider doing 1/2 kibble 1/2 fresh, if you simply measure by quantity, you will shortchange the dog substantially, as fresh food is 80 to 90% water, so you need to give proportionately more. Adding a few appropriate leftovers for interest is not a problem and can actually be quite beneficial, in spite of what the dog food companies would like you to believe..
I wanted to mention that if you can't get the measurements correct, don't wing it. I remember reading that cats fed cooked meat exclusively died of heart failure because cooking killed the taurine that they needed. Kibble has the same problem but then they spray the nutrients back on...