Clover has always had an “iffy” constitution. When she was a puppy, I had to teach her to stop eating on command to slow her down otherwise she would inhale her meal and most assuredly it would come back up within a very short time. The slower she eats, the better the food stays down. At one point I was convinced that Clover had that projectile vomiting down better than Linda Blair in the Exorcist. By the way, a plastic dust pan is a great scooper for picking up dog vomit. Just thought you might want to know.
A couple of years ago, Clover started to shed and it didn’t seem to stop. The back of her legs were practically bald, and her stomach and chest area looked like she had been dipped in Nair. For her first two years or so, she had terrible acne with big pimples on her chin and mouth that would only clear up with antibiotics. It wasn’t until the acne came back and the shedding problem persisted that I asked the vet if they could be connected. The vet here in Virginia thought it might be a food allergy and said I could do a bunch of tests on her, or eliminate certain foods from her diet to see if that helped. I chose the diet route.
Now, I could have chosen the easy route and bought the special allergy diet food from the vets, but no, not me! I decided to cook for my dog. And, cook I did.
I read a couple of books on nutrition for dogs, especially Labradors, and came up with a plan. I bought a Costco membership, and set out to buy some large packages of salmon and the big box of sweet potatoes. I went to the farmer’s market to buy organic veggies, and to Trader Joe’s for organic brown rice and barley. It took me a while to get the right balance, but Clover didn’t mind eating all of the “mistakes.” I finally came up with a basic recipe that worked:
- Couple pounds of sweet potatoes. Cut up (not peeled) , boiled and then mashed. I kept the sweet potatoes in a separate container from the fish/veggie mix.
- Couple pounds of salmon or tilapia fillets – steamed.
- Couple pounds of yellow squash or zucchini – cut up and steamed with spinach, carrots, and green beans.
- To this, I added chopped apples, blueberries, avocados, and whatever appropriate veggie or fruit I had on hand. And occasionally some cooked brown rice or barley (organic of course).
- And each meal (about 1 1/2 cups twice a day) was topped with a teaspoon of good olive oil and some garlic powder.
By eliminating the corn and wheat that is prevalent in commercial dog kibble, Clover’s acne cleared up for good, and the hair started to fill back in where she was going bald. I continued to cook for her, and have to admit a couple of times to heating up some of the fish and veggies for myself. The vet was extremely impressed with Clover’s good health as was I. She looked great — shiny full coat, no skin problems either.
I realized it was time to look for a good commercial food when one day, my mom called and she could hear the cooking sounds in the background. She asked what I was making, and I told her “fish and vegetables.” She responded, “I’m so glad to hear you are eating healthy!”, to which I told her that was what the dog was eating and my lunch was a microwaved hot dog.
Have you ever read the ingredients on a dog food package? What the heck is all of that crap? This just shows a part of the ingredients off of a bag of very popular dog food sold in the grocery store. Where’s the meat?
Ground Whole Corn, Rice, Salmon Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Meat and Bone Meal (Natural Source of Calcium), Chicken By-Product Meal (Natural Source of Glucosamine), Natural Poultry Flavor, Wheat Flour, Animal Fat and it goes on and on ….
After a whole lot of research, I decided on a food that the dog(s) love and I feel good about feeding it to them. Clover’s shedding is normal now and she is no longer bald. I am always recommending the Wellness Brand, and feed my two dogs the Wellness Simple Duck (or Venison). They both have ingredients that I understand and the dogs can digest without any problems:
- Ground Rice: With the bran layer removed, this quality carbohydrate source is highly digestible.
- Deboned Duck: Chosen as a “novel” protein source due to its unique amino acid profile.
- Rice Protein Concentrate: Highly concentrated, easily digestible protein source, specially selected as a unique protein complement to duck.
- Sunflower Oil: High quality fat source rich in Omega-6 fatty acids that help maintain healthy skin and shiny coat.
- Whole Flaxseed: Outstanding fiber source for healthy digestion. A naturally rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
I did try feeding her the Wellness Fish and Sweet Potato version, but to tell the truth, it made her urine and poop smell like dead fish.