Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Small things make me happy

Kip is getting a bit thin, so I gave him an egg today in addition to his normal meat, and before I fed it to him, I had a bright idea - mush up a organ meatball into it, since it's still hit-or-miss if he eats them on their own. The result - a perfectly clean bowl, and no vomit - yippee!!

So, until the "organballs" are gone, I think that's how he'll get his daily allotment. And the egg should be good for his coat too.

Yes, it's a small thing, but it's amazing how happy you get when you finally figure out how to get your dog to eat something!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The heart of the matter

I am a lucky person, really. Kip is a GREAT dog. He's easy to train, he has a great temperament, and he has had no health issues to date (knock on wood). Kip has never destroyed anything except his toys, was a breeze to house-train, and loves every person he meets.

For my first-ever dog, Kip is a blessing.

But he will NOT eat his organs. Sigh.

Again, I should really count my blessings. He eats chicken, beef, pork and turkey now, with no problems. But the three things he had either refused or had issues with - beef heart, liver and kidneys - we are still trying to deal with. Heart is a meat, not an organ, so the fact he won't eat it isn't a big issue - but I had a few pounds of it, and didn't want to throw it out. The fact that he refuses kidneys, and doesn't deal well with liver, however, are bigger issues - he needs organ meat as a necessary part of a balanced, healthy diet.

I decided to grind up the heart, kidneys and liver together, freeze in 1 ounce portions, and feed one or two a day as "treats". My thinking was that he will eat liver, and will eat tiny bits of heart as long as they are frozen solid, so this might work.


Day one - ate one in the morning, no problem.

Day two - ate one in the morning with some convincing on my part, ate a second that evening, and promptly vomited. Okay, let's limit it to one a day, until he gets used to them.

Day three - ate one in the morning, no problem.

Day four and five - no way, not eating that.

So, last night, I thawed one, and spread it on the turkey he was getting for supper. That worked - as he had no way of getting the ground-up meat off the turkey meat.

Keep you paws crossed that that continues to work, and hopefully I'll find some chicken organs to try him with next. I really don't want to have to continue to make organ pate for my dog...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Turkey - person, place or thing?

Turkey the person - that would be me. Turkey the thing - that would be the two turkeys I thought I was getting a great deal on.

It's Easter, and turkey was on sale for $1.79/lb. I figured there would be less waste (i.e. a higher meat-to-bone ratio) in a turkey than a chicken, and at that price, I'd be getting a good deal. Additionally, turkey would add a bit of variety to Kip's diet, always a good thing.

Let me stop for a moment and review some things. I want to stay at ~10% bone, averaged over a few meals. Chicken can range from 20% (breasts) to over 40% (wings and back) bone, and even averaged over time, any meal with 40% bone is not a good one, in my opinion. Kip eats around 1/2 a pound a day, and I try to portion that into 2 meals. So, 4 oz. of chicken breast (20% bone) can be followed by one 4 oz. meat-only meal, while 4 oz. of chicken leg can be followed by 2 meat-only meals. As a rule-of-thumb, boneless meat is more expensive to buy, so it's a balance between buying cheaper meats with bones and buying enough boneless meat to average out the total bone amount. Clear??

After portioning, I decided to take the breast meat off and feed as boneless, and to discard the rest of the rib/breast/back bones - they just appeared much too bony for my liking. Maybe it was just the way I portioned the turkeys, but when I looked at the back and breast sections, once the breast meat was removed, I saw a lot of bone, a lot of skin, a lot of fat - and very little meat. (They went into the stock pot to make turkey soup for me, so they weren't a complete loss).

So, at $1.79 a pound, I ended up with 22 days worth of food (44 portions) out of two rather small turkeys, at a final cost of $1.66 per day. That is by far the most expensive meat I've bought to date, when calculated by portion rather than by pound. To put that into perspective, I also bought 3 beef roasts at $1.99/lb, that worked out to $1.11/day - not bad for beef!

Now, if you had a larger dog that ate more than 1/2 pound a day, then whole turkeys (and whole chickens) might be a better deal, as the portions can be adjusted to have a better meat/bone ratio. But for me, from now on, unless whole poultry is really cheap, I'll stick to the legs I can by for $1.47/pound - they work out to be a much better deal, even though I'm not getting the breast meat.

And Turkey the place? It's just there to make the title flow better :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Things I've learned so far

1. Teaching your dog to take all of his treats on his pillow DOES NOT work for raw food. Note to self - start feeding in the crate, and wash the pillow covering. In hot water. With bleach. Then throw it away.

2. Egg shells are fun. Fun to lick out. Fun to chomp into tiny little pieces. And fun to leave scattered about the carpet. Note to self - eggs with shells are now outside food.

3. You get really strange looks from the check-out clerk when you buy ~$30 worth of meat - and nothing else. Especially when half of it consists of heart, liver and kidney.

4. Seeing beef roast on sale at $1.99/lb gives you a warm tingly feeling. Note to self - must really look into getting a real freezer soon.

5. You start to look at roadkill in a slightly different way...

6. Kibble breath is not a problem anymore. (But sardine breath isn't that great of a replacement - fortunately, it's temporary.)

7. You also get really strange looks from people when you tell them you feed raw.

8. And it's frustrating when you explain all the reasoning, the fact that it is no more expensive than good quality kibble, etc., and they still think you are "spoiling" your dog.

9. My parents surprised me though - it does help that they have a cat that kills and eats anything he can.

10. It's a lot easier that I was expecting!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Have a heart


This is how last week went:

Monday am: last of the kibble (yippee!!)
Monday pm: beef heart, whole chunk - wouldn't eat, so I removed it after 15 minutes or so, put it back in the fridge.
Tuesday am: ditto beef heart
Tuesday pm: ditto
Wednesday am: cut up the heart - no go
Wednesday pm: tried freezing the cut-up heart a bit - no go
Thursday am: ditto
Thursday pm: was at Mom and Dad's. Mom caved in and gave Kip some raw chicken
Friday am: wouldn't eat the beef heart
Friday pm: ditto
Saturday am: ditto
Saturday pm: I caved in, and gave Kip chicken to eat

Out of 10 meals (from Monday night to Saturday night), Kip ate once.

He will NOT eat beef heart. ARGH. It is a cheap, readily available form of beef, and he will literally starve rather than eat it. He eats chicken, he eats pork, no problem. He eats other beef cuts, no problem. But not heart.

And he can survive without eating beef heart - but it is so affordable for beef, that I'm loath to give it up. Plus I have a bunch in the freezer that I'm sure as hell not eating!

I also have to solve the organ dilemma, to stop Kip either not eating the organ at all or vomiting them up everywhere. I'm tempted to grind up some of the heart, kidneys and liver in appropriate ratios, freeze the resulting mixture in small "meat balls", and see if that works - give one or two every day as a treat, or as Kong stuffing.

Finally, Kip has out-stubborned me in something. One thing in two years - that's not too bad, right?