So another of the many things you know, if you’ve been reading this site for long, is that one of my many eccentricities is a penchant for concocting home-made dog food for the hounds. This is not very hard to do, nor is it very hard to find out what should go into it, since a number of university veterinary programs and similar credible sources publish discussions of canine nutritional needs.
Vets, when they find out you do this, get very nervous: they define “people food” (a derisive term) as fast-food burgers and pizza. Naturally, anyone with half an ounce of sense does not define junk food as “people food” — or, come to think of it, even as “food.” No. The Funny Farm canids get a mix of something over a third high-quality meat protein, about a third mixed, ground vegetables (yes, Virginia: dogs are omnivores), and about a third starchy food known to be highly digestible dogs. Do not fear: dogs have been living with humans for something over 16,000 years, during which time they have been sharing the humans’ diet with no ill effect. Specially formulated magical “dog food” was invented and sold to a waiting world in the first third of the 20th century…to no great improvement in dog life expectancy.
So, okay. While Cassie has been struggling with her current life-threatening ailment, I became scared by the Veterinary Babble about DIY dog food. (Why this should scare me escapes common sense: it was, after all, MarvelVet’s ill-conceived scheme to convince me that the dog had Valley fever that made the poor beast sick unto death.) But that notwithstanding…during all this, I feared that maybe the home-brewed chow was inadequate, and consequently started feeding her exclusively FreshPet with a little canned food to top it by way of tricking her to swallow pills.
FreshPet is the stuff that comes in rolls. Read the ingredients and compare with other pet junkfood and you’ll see it comes closer than most of them to real food, and it’s available in several grocery stores, obviating yet another annoying trip and yet another stand in line in yet another annoying retail establishment. [If you like to scare yourself, read the ingredients on a can of Pedigree “chicken” dog food: makes a great Hallowe’en tale.]
This seemed to work OK. Cassie doesn’t care. She’s a corgi. Corgis will eat anything.
The dog survived many weeks of debilitating illness. She still lives, though not well.
A couple weeks ago, I took it into my feeble head to cook up some real food for the dogs. Why, I do not recall: probably to clean out the freezer.
Put a dish of this down in front of Cassie…and she inhales it with obvious joy. The other dog is jumping around in ecstasy, too.
Hm. Okay. They like real dog food. Apparently they like real dog food better than they fancy the factory-made gunk.
I did this on December 4.
Within a day — on December 5 — she was significantly improved: up to a 9 on a scale of 1 (moribund) to 10 (normal). Dayum!
She continued to have her ups and downs, but overall the trend from there on was upward. After an episode where she backslid to a 5 or 6, yesterday I would say she was as close to a 10 as she’s ever going to get. She was actually running around the backyard after Ruby.
That’s something, since this dog has barely been able to walk on occasion.
Will she recover her old self?
How do I doubt it? Let me count the ways. But it’s beginning to look like she may survive. And it’s even possible that most of the time she won’t be unthinkably miserable.
Here’s the problem with making dog food…well…one of the several problems: Holidays.
…a holiday comes along, you will run out of dog food. This means that to buy ingredients for the next batch, you will have to do battle with endless lines in grocery stores. That’s assuming you can find a grocery store that’s open.
Making dog food is a rather messy and time-consuming job, and really not what you feel like doing while you’re wrestling with holiday activities. And certainly not something you want to have to do under the time pressure posed by the holiday closure of the stores that carry the ingredients.
And yep. As is the case every year… Here we are, two days before Christmas, and we run out of dawg food.
So I spent half the afternoon in the kitchen, up to my elbows in chicken grease — the process was made much messier by my having stupidly purchased bone-in chicken thighs instead of Costco’s best boned, skinless things. With, we might add, a bandage that goes halfway up my forearm, having cleverly burnt the bejayzus out of myself yesterday.
We now have a giant pot of dog food.
The dogs eat about a pound of it a day.
This means we will run out…yes…right before New Year’s Day.
And that will mean yet another Costco run. Ugh. Amidst mobs of armchair sports fans stocking up with food and booze for the New Year’s Big Games.
As for now, though: it’s away to choir. Compline. You should try it sometime. You’ll like it.