Keeping the Animal Free: Pets

How badly some people treat their pets. Some are actually ignorant and arrogant enough to feed dogs a vegetarian diet. I've seen it. It often makes them fat, immobile, flatulent snorting machines. Then they die young, often of heart failure.

Here's our two beasts during a hike behind our cabin in Arnold, CA. American Rat Terriers. Nanuka ("Nuke") in the foreground is a 3-yr-old champion female. Rotor, in the background, a 9-yr-old male in pristine health.

Rotornuke

There's three things we do that keeps them as fit as they are.

  1. Lots of play.
  2. Lots of walks, including off-leash; not so much so they can run as that they can sprint, all out.
  3. Ultra-high protein, ultra low carb. No grains or HFCS: EVER!

Now, if you have the time, money and attention, then maybe BARF is for you. But while I'm interested to try it out on the munchkins, I just don't see how it could improve things. Anyway, for better than a year, now, they've been fed exclusively EVO. For snacks, they get the dried chicken and duck meat...ingredients: chicken; duck. The end.

Evo

It's pretty easy to obtain, but go to all the stores in your area that carry it. Some have better stock than others. The dry comes in red meat and chicken / turkey. Canned comes in (all 95%) venison, rabbit, duck, beef, and chicken / turkey. I rotate off on the dry, and then get the three more exotic canned meats. Needless to say: they love 'em, especially in the morning when they each get a teaspoon of lard mixed in. 

Curiously, they will often spontaneously fast and let their bowls sit there untouched until the evening. I never worry about it. I've thought of fasting them every now and then in order to simulate natural pressures. But I don't think I could take those perplexed, sad eyes glaring at me. And, since they seem to fast on their own intermittently, it relieves me of the chore.

Comments

  1. We try to feed Charley and the Meatball as close to pure meat as we can get. Always seems to be a lot of grains though. Will try Evo.

  2. Jeremy:

    I get mine down at An-Jan on the Alameda & Branham, I think it is.

  3. I'm going to look it up on line to see if they have cat food. I have 7 cats..and adore them.
    The best homeopathic vet in the south bay is Cecille Greenleaf O'Brian. She makes house calls!! On the higher side of costs, but you seldom see her because your pets are healthy!!!

    Thanks!!! for the information. We are currently making our food, but would like a little more variety for the kits.
    Joy,
    Karen

  4. Hi there — just thought I'd drop by and offer my comments on a high protein/fat diet for pets.

    I've been feeding both my pets raw diets for over a year now. If you visit my blog and scroll down, on one of the right side bars there are a bunch of raw diet links. I'm of the opinion that this prey model method of feeding is far superior (and way cheaper!) than any commercial canned or raw (ground) diet because it cleans the teeth. There are also potential benefits from the food enzymes which predigest the food. Just to add my nosy two cents, I wouldn't recommend BARF. Wild animals do not chew on weight bearing bones of their prey (dogs have somehow lost this instinct to know not to do this or never learn not to do it, and they will break or wear down their bones by doing so) and some of the other recommendations of BARF are completely inappropriate from an evolutionary standpoint.

    Here's a video of my cat eating raw, with how I do it and how much it costs for my pets:

    http://sparkasynapse.blogspot.com/2008/10/where-i-post-graphic-videos.html

    And here's a 5 month before and after picture of my dog on a raw diet:

    http://sparkasynapse.blogspot.com/2008/06/dora-and-junior.html

  5. Pam Maltzman says:

    It's bad enough that some people try vegetarian diets on their dogs, but it's basically fatal for cats, as they need an even higher level of protein in their diets.

    I've been feeding my cats Evo. They like the dry, not the canned. I also give them cooked and raw meat.

    The oldest one was adopted at 7 years old and iw now 11 years old. Her previous owner fed her cheap crap supermarket dry food, and she had to have two teeth removed, plus her breath was horrible. Although she is still hooked on carbs somewhat, she does, however, really go for raw London Broil cut into little bits and drenched with blood.

    The now-7-year-old red tortie's coat has gotten even prettier on Evo.

    The youngest cat, now about 3 years old, adopted directly from rescue, is still figuring out that not all food is dry and hard. Rescue groups feed almost exclusively dry food, so you have to re-educate the cats to eat real food. She is slowly learning to eat other stuff (such as real meat).

    However, when I was feeding a couple of part-Siamese strays outside, they had no trouble recognizing real meat as food.

    I would think that one argument for a raw diet and against a canned diet would be the same as for us… better for humans to eat real, non-processed, non-canned food for the bulk of our diet. There may be some unwanted additives even in the best canned foods.

  6. Pam:

    I've heard cats really love raw chicken wings, the whole thing, with skin and bone. Really cleans the teeth.

    BTW, in case you aren't aware, ALL raw bones are safe for dogs and cats (including chicken & other fowl) but NO cooked bones are safe.

  7. Pam Maltzman says:

    Richard, I haven't tried whole chicken wings on my cats yet. I did buy a used-but-hardly Tasin meat grinder on eBay (one of the recommended kinds, but have not implemented a raw diet yet. Haven't had the time yet.

    But the cats do get bits and pieces of cooked chicken, and when London Broil's on sale, I make sure to cut some up for them.

    There's a self-published book by Michelle Bernard on the subject of feeding cats a raw diet, and she also has a website (got to find my copy of the book). She favors game hen body parts for cats because of their small size, but chicken is obviously quite a bit less expensive.

  8. Pam, thanks for that information. I have not heard of this book and in fact I have thought about writing one myself. I'll have to check it out!

    I prefer game hen pieces to chicken for cats, as well. They are very appropriately sized. Because I am cheap and the only game hens I can find are from Tyson, a company I now refuse to support for reasons I won't get into here, and because I now have 2 cats instead of 1, I use chicken.

    I just got one of the cats two weeks ago and she has already adapted to eating chopped up chicken wings. I am gradually introducing her to larger and larger pieces. Quite amazing how fast she got used to it. She is young though. You are right, cats imprint on foods at a young age and are difficult to wean onto new foods.

  9. Pam Maltzman says:

    For anyone who is interested, here's the URL for Michelle Bernard and her book:

    http://www.raisingcatsnaturally.com/

    It's a good book, but I think it could have used some professional proofreading (my only major complaint about self-published/print-on-demand books in general).

    Also, some things could also have been better explained. For instance, she gives a recipe for a cat shampoo which is purported to treat ringworm, a fungus infection… however, she leaves out most of the instructions on how many times and how often the shampoo needs to be used in order to treat ringworm. (It needs to be used once per week for three weeks in a row.)

  10. Pam Maltzman says:

    Monica: I also refuse to buy Tyson products (Clinton connection, plus I don't like to buy poultry that has had to travel far to get to my supermarket).

    When they're on sale, I buy Foster Farms or some other California-grown chicken… not because it's California-grown, but because it's more or less locally grown.

  11. Pam Maltzman says:

    Another oddity of my oldest cat: She loves pork meat. When we have a pork roast for dinner, she begs for pieces of it.

    When I get hold of wild-caught salmon on sale and cook some, the two older cats (the carb addict and the red tortie, but not the young rescue kitty) hang out in the kitchen waiting for their share.

    I'm still a little bit nervous about feeding them pork. Heck, among some folks, pork is still a controversial meat for humans. I probably would not feed them raw pork. Still worried about Mr. Trichinosis.

  12. Matt Robuck says:

    Great site and fantastic job with your fitness. Evo is a great product, however, I have been turned on to feeding my pack of four dogs, raw. In the transition phase, everything I have read, everyone I have talked to who feeds raw, swears by it. It makes a lot of sense to me as it is much more along the lines with what dogs would eat in the wild.

    I was feeding Blue Wilderness at $50 for a 26 pound bag. Feeding raw is actually going to be cheaper as I can get Chicken Backs, Turkey necks, etc and well under $1 a pound. I start here: http://leerburg.com/feedingarawdiet.htm.

    Keep up the good work.

  13. Frank Rigney says:

    Just saw this post today. We have two rat terriers and they also are on the same Evo and chiecken jerky diet. I made the switch after stumbling onto this site last year:

    http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/

    I realized that i was totally ignorant about what was actually in dog food. Since switching to Evo (they love the new salmon and herring flavor) they seem to be more active and their coats look better. They also do the fasting thing, usually nibbling in the morning and then eating around 6-7pm even though the food is out all day long for them. It works for them though and I feel better knowing that they’re eating something that they were designed to eat.

    • I think I’m going to switch my dogs, even if that means I have to pay for it. BARF is too much time/money, but EVO is right up my alley and the added beef liver slightly bridges the gap.

  14. Pam Maltzman says:

    For dry food, I’ve also fed my cats the following brands: “Taste of the Wild” venison and salmon; and Eagle Pack Holistic Chicken & Turkey for cats.

    If you go to a feed store or other specialty place that sells different brands, there are a lot of canned foods that sound scrumptious if you read the label. However, cats are still picky no matter what you pay for the food. Mine also will eat Trader Joe’s… it’s got some grain in it, but IIRC their canned cat foods were not part of the recall scandal.

    Other than feeding my cats scraps (cutting up round steak or London Broil), I’m probably going to wait until we get out of California to completely switch over to a raw diet.

  15. I just noticed the chicken jerky and the Quackers. Do you know where they come from? Just wondering, as it seems that the great majority of that stuff comes from China. I won’t feed my critters anything that doesn’t come from the good ol’ USA.