Archive for May 19, 2024

What do I feed MY dogs?

19 May 2024

Everyone knows – well, not always do the newbies know!  But everyone ELSE knows that if you ask ten people in the dog world a question about dogs, you get eleven different answers.  Even I might give two different answers on two different days, because there’s no manual that is ultimately timely & contemporary and upon which the majority of people in dogs might agree!  Except maybe about things like ‘what gender is your dog?’  That one’s unequivocal.  ;>)  Although Piper was a pseudo hermaphrodite, she DID conceive & whelp two litters and produced some gorgeous puppies.  So, if someone asked me what gender was she?  I would say, ‘Female!’  (Still with me?)

Lady Pipes and her five day old puppies. New Year’s Day, 2021.

I DO get asked a lot of questions and I’m usually happy to answer, unless I’m sleep deprived or you get my evil twin.  I’m considerably nicer than my evil twin but she pretty much stays in her closet and we don’t have to worry about her too often.

Recently, one of my favorite ladies in the Kensington posse asked me what I fed my dogs, as her dogs were preferring food out of another dog’s dish and she really sincerely believed that she was doing her best for her dogs but they seemed not to be satisfied.

HOW FUSSY IS YOUR TIBETAN TERRIER?

How do we feed ourselves? My weekly share from Pete’s Greens in Vermont.

As an introduction, I will say two things about what to feed a fussy Tibetan Terrier:

You have the bigger brain.  You can outsmart your dog.  If you can’t?  You’re in the wrong breed.

Secondly?  You have the bigger body.  You should be alpha over your Kensington Tibetan Terrier in a gentle, kind, firm and Buddhist way.  It is of utmost importance that your dog knows you are boss and if that means waiting him or her out?  Then, you wait until the dog is hungry enough to eat.  They will never choose to starve!  They will always eat!  And while you are waiting them out?  They will be waiting you out, knowing that there are always other options that will get presented.  And they will and they can get into things that are ‘different’ or have the right ‘mouth feel’ or for whatever reason – are of interest to their noses.

Do not let them run the show.  Bad move.  And with spring here?  Be extra careful to keep your yard clean and keep your dog on a leash, especially when in new territory.  Spring smells bring many more options into the mix and some of them are rather dreadful.

Kristof (now Julius), as a very young puppy. Great chest, lovely movement and strong shoulders.

Dogs are scavengers by nature.  REMEMBER THIS!  They thrive on a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates and the right amount of proper fats.  The amount of protein they eat can be varied, depending upon life stage and each situation.  Too much protein is not what you want to feed, if your dog has kidney issues, is a young pup or they are seniors.  It is wise and I strongly suggest using ‘puppy’ kibble with younger animals and ‘adult’ kibble with canines over ten months or more.

Dogs are lactose intolerant and that means you should NEVER offer them milk.  I don’t offer goat’s milk, either.  But if the milk product has been fermented and the lactose is gone?  In my opinion, they can be offered bits and I mean BITS of high quality cheese and fat free live culture yogurt.  The live culture yogurt is like a probiotic, with lots of live organisms that can aid in digestion.  I use it to hide small pills.  Or in the case of a lactating young bitch, I use it to hide 500mg calcium tabs when necessary and always ONLY if she appears to need it and my repro vet agrees.  Except for probiotics, I do not give any supplements without reason to augment the normal diet of a dog.

Outdoor winter play at Maple Street. Always under supervision!

So, with all of that said, please know that these are my opinions.  I have no professional training nor do I have a degree in canine nutrition and I really prefer to listen to and believe folks who graduated from Cornell with a degree in canine nutrition or from somewhere similar and with a similar degree.  The woman who founded Nature’s Farmacy is one such person and I have certainly learned quite a bit from her.  Most of the supplements I use are from Nature’s Farmacy.

The following is MY protocol and you can call it the Kensington Method, if you’d like.  It is MY method and others surely have their own protocols.  Please keep this in mind.

BEFORE BIRTH

Your puppy’s life begins before birth and that means that what I feed my pregnant or lactating bitch is what provides nutrition to her developing puppies.  I do my best to provide what I believe to be a rich and appropriate diet of professionally ‘engineered’, if you will, kibble designed for pregnant and lactating bitches from Royal Canin.  This is the brand I trust for my pregnant, nursing and young dogs.

I use Royal Canin 42D for the first two trimesters of a girl’s pregnancy.  Then, I switch to the Royal Canin STARTER, which used to be called Gestation/Lactation kibble.  That is what I feed the pregnant girl in her third trimester and also, what I feed her throughout the time that she’s nursing her puppies and up until the puppies depart for their forever homes.  Then, she goes back on the ‘formula’ I feed all adults.

AFTER BIRTH

Our lovely GRCH Piccolo and her five babies. 26 Nov 2019.

Puppies get their nutrition through their mother’s milk and so, in addition to the RC kibble I’m feeding mum?  I augment her food with dried liver from pasture raised cows here in Vermont for the folic acid necessary to avoid cleft palate, among other birth defects, and a mixture of 90% animal/10% fruits/veggies thawed frozen raw food from Vermont Raw.  I use the chicken and turkey blends (they are separate), because they are organic birds from Misty Knoll, also here in Vermont.  And bone is very important for the calcium necessary to pregnant and nursing mums.  Dogs can digest and absorb the nutrients in bone, especially when it’s crushed and wet.

I only use raw as a supplement with pregnant or lactating bitches, as the formulation in the kibbles I use are appropriate for adults and don’t need augmenting.

The formula I use is a base of Purina Pro Plan Sport kibble (a chicken based kibble) with small amounts of two other kibbles added in for variety:  Royal Canin medium breed adult and Fromm salmon based adult kibble.  I also use two supplements proactively and they are Dogzymes Probiotic Daily Balance and Keep It Pearly from Pet Naturals in Vermont.

naturesfarmacy.com

petnaturals.com

vermontpetfood.com/vermont-raw/

Remember the importance of low calorie healthy treats and feel free to treat with blanched green beans, broccoli and snap peas; raw carrots, pears and apples.  Don’t feed food scraps from dinner, though.  The spices, fats and rich flavors aren’t good for your dog’s digestive health or behavior!

From 2018 to 2019. Raven and her favorite blue bowl. Too funny.  She outgrew it!

I also weigh all of my dogs on the 1st and the 15th of each month.  You want to be able to feel the undulation of the ribs, when you run your finger down the side of your pet’s body.  The vets call this your pet’s “condition”.  Keeping your dog leaner is better than their carrying unnecessary additional fat on their bodies.  The same goes for humans!

So, I hope this helps you come up with a good regimen for feeding your own dog, whether Tibetan Terrier or other breed.  When in doubt, consult your wellness vet for their opinion during an office visit.  And get in the habit of weighing your dog regularly, as weight loss or gain are important things of which to be aware.  It’s great to have a history, if your vet ever needs to know!