My last post in the Barf series is dedicated to the bits and bobs that come to supplement George’s diet. Although these little extras only account for a small percentage of his weekly food intake, they do play an important role in keeping him healthy and happy. So here are the last secrets of my little boy’s diet:
1) Mixer. One of the best wholemeal natural biscuits I found on the market is the Laughing Dog Traditional Mixer Meal Puppy & Small Dog Kibble. I purchase it off the Internet in 15 kg bags and store it in the garage. The puppy and small dog kibble pictured above is just the right size for George, but a bigger version – ideal for large dogs – is also available. I add one handful of this mixer to each of his meat meals. The irony is that we live only 3 miles down the road from where the Laughing Dog factory was, but never bought George’s mixer from their shop because it was a lot more expensive there than online. The company closed down about a year ago, but this product was taken over by another company who are still selling it under its original label. If you want to check them out, click on the name of the product above.
2) Dietary herbal supplements. I am always happy to recommend the wonderful supplements produced by the small and enthusiastic Dorwest team. My favourite product is Keepers Mix, a “herbal conditioning supplement for dogs and cats” (from the label). It is ethically produced and contains kelp for coat growth and pigmentation, celery seeds for free movement and suppleness, alfalfa for vitamins A, C, E and K, nettle for vitamin C, rosemary for digestion, flatulence and a healthy heart, Psyllium husks for the bowel and digestion, Clivers for the skin, kidneys and bladder function, and Wild Yam root for a healthy intestine. A complete product, which can prove particularly helpful for dogs who do not eat vegetables. If you’d like to read more about this product, click on its name.
3) Eggs. This is a tricky and slightly controversial subject. I know people who give their dogs raw egg, shell including. They literally take their dog out in the garden and give them a whole egg to play with and, eventually, eat. Some people cringe at the thought of this practice, mainly because of the risk of salmonella that we’ve been educated to expect to find in raw eggs. Although I personally don’t think the risk is that great – as long as you make sure your eggs come from high-quality, healthy chickens – I don’t feed raw egg because George hates it. The only part he’d eat is the shell, which he likes so much that he’ll try to fish it out of the compost bin. But, since eggs are a great source of protein, riboflavin, selenium and calcium, I was keen to find a way to feed it to George, and I found it in the form of scrambled egg. Although George won’t eat scrambled egg on its own, he’s happy to give it a go when it is mixed with his normal food. I feed George scrambled egg once a week, as I think it is enough for him, especially since he also gets bones on a regular basis. If you don’t like scraping pans, hard-boiled eggs are a good alternative to scrambled egg.
4) Natural, probiotic yoghurt. This is natural source of calcium and bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is beneficial for the digestive tract and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria. Yogurt helps with conditions like diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel movement, skin rashes and scratching, hair loss and constipation. It also produces folic acid and niacin which are important vitamins in pregnancy, enhances the immune system, reduces cholesterol levels and changes the microflora in the gut. A very beneficial addition to a dog’s diet, which is not required in large quantities. I simply add one spoonful of plain yoghurt to George’s dish (or let him lick it from a saucer) a few times a week.
5) Cottage cheese. It’s benefits are very similar to yoghurt, with a plus for texture. George is not a big fan of cottage cheese, but will eat it once in a while. Many people feed it as an add-on to scrambled egg.
6) Garlic. We give George garlic tablets from Dorwest as a food supplement. Although it appears that some people are not big fans of giving garlic to dogs, I couldn’t find any convincing arguments against it, but I did find a lot of reasons to give it to my dog. Garlic is a good anti-infectious agent, creating an environment hostile to parasites. This is a great advantage for us, since George is a very keen sniffer and ‘taster’, being therefore exposed to the risk of picking up nasty germs during his walks. Garlic also aids blood circulation, helps keep a healthy heart, can be used to treat coughs and helps maintain general health. Garlic powder is also available, from various suppliers, if you find it difficult to give tablets to your dog. George likes to chew on his, although I sometimes crush and sprinkle them on his food.
This brings the current series of posts about dog nutrition to its conclusion. I will be touching upon this subject again in the future as my knowledge on the subject increases. There is still so much to learn, and I will make sure to share any new ‘discovery’ with all of you who are interested. In the meantime, I leave you with the hope that my personal interpretation of the Barf diet and its principles has managed to provide some help and inspiration.