Well my wife has always been the 'healthy' force in our family and since I've known her I've become more educated on health and well being. Recently she has been studying up on a fad if you can call it that of feeding household pets according to what they were designed to eat so they will live longer and be more healthy. Cats and dogs are naturally carnivorous though even wild canines as I understand will suppliment with grass. They however do not naturally eat a high volume or even a small amount of carbohydrates. Commercial dog food it turns out is mostly carbohydrates and some protein. Long story short, this trend involves feeding your dogs and cats raw meat which to me at first mention sounded 1. messy, 2. expensive and 3. gross.
It immediately occured to me though that wild dogs eat strictly raw meat and occassionally grass and nothing else to my knowledge so the gross part was more for me to cope with than the dogs. The next concern was cost but after crunching the numbers it turns out we are spending about $21.50 per week on pet food but if we took this route we would only be spending about $15 per week and less if we're diligent to seek out good sales at the butcher.
So this new diet began today with basically very good though mixed results. The food at this point is uncooked chicken which the butcher was kind enough to chop up for us. The animals (2 australian shepherds and 2 cats) all reacted differently.
The cats - "hmmm... what's that divine smell? Oooooh my is that a chicken in the bowl? Can't be! The humans have only ever given us brown crunchy nuggets and only they get to eat chicken. No no it is... it IS CHICKEN!!! OMG! Holy crap holy crap holy crap! Quick before they realize what they've done!!" *rip tear* *chew* *devour* *chomp* (essentially there was a feeding frenzy at the cat bowl)
Samwise (the older and more finicky of the two shepherds... in, I imagine, an English accent like Stewie Griffin) "Oh jolly good its breakfast... but wait. What the duece is this?? Someone dropped a raw chicken leg in my bowl! You there... human! What the Hell am I supposed to do with this?? It... is... RAW you imbecile! Cook it immediately! *Al begins to try his* "Al what do you think you're doing?? Oh well he's always been dim... Now see here I refuse to sink to the level of a common wolf. I am a pure breed and I demand tasty brown nuggets this moment! Here I shall remove this thing myself and you can give me nuggets! *Picks up chicken leg and drops it on the kitchen floor*... oh ewww it got in my mouth... it... ummm... hmmm now this is a curious sensation. This raw food has started me salivating uncontrollably. Maybe... um just a taste. No I can't... well maybe. *tentative lick* Err umm... well it isn't a crunchy nugget but its not horrible. *lick lick* *bite*..." etc etc.
So Sam very daintily ate his breakfast and cleaned the bones but left those in the bowl. Al on the other hand...
Al: "Food... looks different... not small and round. Food all the same *Chomp*. What the...!? This is raw friggin meat! THIS IS AWESOME!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* *CHOMP* I am a freakin carnivore, baby!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* Blood!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* Bones!!! *CHOMP* *CHOMP* "Hey humans, next time let me kill this thing myself will ya???"
We think Al is going to end up getting slightly larger portions than Sam will but the 'experts' say dogs only need about 1 or 2% of their body weight though some may eat up to 3 or 4%. Oh and the thing we discovered with chicken bones is that they are only dangerous to dogs when fried. They are not normally brittle and do not splinter when raw and Al literally ate EVERYTHING in his bowl.
My first concern about it being messy though is a valid complaint because the dogs don't want to sit at their bowl and eat a chicken leg... they want to take it and go eat it on the carpet or worse a couch so we have to isolate them while feeding (Al in his kennel and Sam in the kitchen with the baby gates up.) Also now that the food is so much more enticing we have to feed the dogs separate from the cats... one of the cats approached Al's bowl and I swear he almost took its head off. We will have to make sure we wash the bowls well and the prep surfaces and all that but not any more cleaning than for normal food prep for the 'humans'.
We'll see how this new pet food works and there are several other 'raw' options we've read about, one being whole eggs. I guess dogs will eat the shell and all and it is good for their coats... again though the messy factor is a concern for me but we'll see. So far so good.