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Discussion Starter #1

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Carrageenan - isn't that also an additive in human food too?

My dog was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and I've always thought the some of these additives were part of the problem. I home cook her food - there are no additives in her food.
 

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Skylar...I was feeding a raw diet a little over a year ago. It got to be too much work for me when I was going through a rough time and then packing to move and on and on. Well, I've been in my new digs for about a year and I think it's time for me to get back on the wagon. But this time maybe I'll do a cooked home made. So anyhow, thought I'd look into a cooked diet. What do you do? How do you make yours?

MF...it is in wet food...used to hold things together.

It is in some of our food as well. In fact, a lot of it! Things that need a thickening agent often will use carrageenan.

Carrageenan Side Effects & Foods List of Carrageenans - Healthy Tips

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/carrageenan#takeaway
 

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I eat a whole plant based diet (Dr John Mcdougall) for health reasons so I’m not eating foods with additives either.

Making home cooked food is a lot of work. Catherine does it for 3 large dogs (her two spoos and GSD) and I can’t imagine how much labor is involved. I’m just doing it for my minipoo. But I had a tpoo develop pancreatitis years ago before all the commercial prescription foods so I home cooked for her too. I still have the same vet and he gave me the same diet for Babykins. Low fat, moderate protein and higher fiber. I buy precooked organic turkey from Costco. I microwave carrots and potatoes. The spinach is simply defrosted and I use old fashioned oatmeal (oatmeal is cooked before turning it into old fashioned). I blend everything to the texture of meatloaf and store in zip lock baggies. DH flattens the bag so it fits nicely the freezer and defrosts quickly in the fridge. Plus I can cut it up into strips and use it for training the same way you might with meatball. There’s no calcium in her food so she gets a multivitamin with calcium and phosphorus etc. For treats she gets cut up turkey or I cook Trader Joe’s 96% fat free hamburger and sometimes cooked beef heart.

When she only eats home cooked she is completely healthy. With my tpoo I remember twice trying canned food and both times she had a pancreatitis attack. It’s horrible when they are sick so I made her food for the rest of her life and I will do for Babykins. I wonder if 30 years ago they had carrageenan in the wet food?

When you did raw, did you batch prepare and freeze? I can’t imagine preparing dog food every day but batching and storing in the freezer works for us. I know the local people here who feed raw spend a lot of time finding the raw organ meat such as hearts and lungs. I have a source for cow’s heart but I always have to call ahead to make sure they have one.
 

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Skylar yes cooking for them is like a factory operation, but well worth it for helping to eliminate and avoid some health concerns. And yes plenty of it in our food too. Not too good for us either.
 

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I home cook for mine. I buy a balanced pet mince (80% muscle, 10% offal, 10% ground bone, usually chicken and beef but some lamb, rabbit and salmon to add variety) and simmer it gently till just cooked in plenty of water, with about 10-20% by weight of vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, something green and leafy, green beans). When cooking a batch for dogs and cats I cook the vegetables separately then add some of the gravy to the cats' food. Life has just got a bit more complicated as Tilly-cat has been diagnosed with early kidney disease, so I am now sourcing muscle meat and offal separately for the cats and using ground eggshell as a calcium source (much lower in phosphorus than bone).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Skylar, one thing I learned when researching for a raw diet was that gizzards, for instance are technically an organ but shouldn't count as organ meat when feeding dogs...not rich enough in nutrients. And of course, heart is a muscle, not an organ. So, I used all kinds of other organs that I got from an Asian market...there were several where I use to live and I don't know about here but I'm finding it hard to even get kidneys. There is a farm store close and they said they'd have some in tomorrow but it goes fast so hurry and get there. lol. They won't save me any. Variety is apparently important. Those big Asian markets have all kinds of cool things like brain, (that's disgusting) lung, pork uterus and more. The sky's the limit. Then online I got raw green tripe and it came with spleen attached. So there you have it. lol.

I'd bring home various meats and organs, and start cutting things up or freeze and cut up later. That would mean half way thawing it but I'd have to be fast and get it back into the freezer. So, I'd cut up a leg of lamb I got on sale when it was close to it's due date. And make small pieces for the little ones...one meal's worth for each dog (had 3 at the time) and put in a baggie, which, when I had several, would put all those baggies into a freezer bag. Did the same with the various organ meats and labeled everything. Tiny bags for that....just enough for a meal. When and if I did vegetables, I froze those in ice cube trays after steaming and pureeing in my Vita Mix. And then took chicken bones (not necks for fear of thyroid hormone getting in) and put a small part of that in bags...3 servings per bag. Then I realized Jose` couldn't get onto chewing bones so ground those up in my Vita Mix. The bones had very little meat but because of the dogs' size a whole bone was too much so the bones had to be cut with poultry shears and just a small piece, choking size was given but I saw that they were very careful. I had to balance each meal because balance over time didn't seem to agree with their digestion. Diarrhea one day, constipated the next. So balance every day worked better.

MaizieFrosty...that's a shame. I wouldn't waste your food...use the rest but then hunt for something else. I have been using Instinct raw. I switch around the formulas. The bag that is grass fed lamb formula looks clear of carrageenan. The ingredients look pretty good to me. The trouble is, you never know how much of anything they put in. But there are no peas/legumes. I'm watching out for those like the plague, although a little bit wouldn't hurt. Of course, I don't trust these companies to just put a little bit. If it's the main ingredient or protein source, I'm afraid that's where this problem with the increase in dcm may lie.

I'm just terrified of not getting something right if I home cook. Cooking is a little more work I guess than feeding raw. But Catherine says the nutrients are better absorbed when cooked. So if I start doing this, I'll gently cook on low heat, not too well done I guess. Then weight the meat for that batch. Then figure about 10% of that will be organ, 5% beef liver, 5% some other organ (kidney, lung, spleen whatever I can find) And then I'll throw in some cooked, pureed vegetables...just enough for needed fiber for their poops. (last night I steamed spinach, carrots, fresh green beans) and today I'll cook a little rutabaga I didn't use all of, maybe a little part of a beet, maybe even a tad bit of yam) put it all in the Vita mix and freeze in ice cube trays. What do you think? Oh, and I already have some egg shell powder and some brewer's yeast. I might get some of that seaweed calcium for iodine. And feed sardines or other fish a couple times a week like I did with the raw diet. And on days they don't eat fish, a squirt of sardine/anchovy oil. What do you think? Am I leaving anything important out? I'm terrified. Oh! I already do feed eggs a few times a week. They're very good for everyone.

I read somewhere that 10% for organ isn't enough...should be more like 25%. I don't know who to believe. Now I can't find where I saw that. But see...this is all scary. What if?

Fjm...I like the Dogaware website you put up often. Much appreciated. It's full of info that sounds like they know what they're doing.

The thing that's confusing is that the commercial foods list loads of supplements. I guess that's needed when food is so over processed that those nutrients need to be put back in. I would think that if eating a variety of fresh, lightly cooked foods, that would be enough...maybe except for Brewer's yeast because it supplies selenium and chromium. Our soils are so depleted of selenium that the Brewer's yeast may help with that. For us too. I think the best would be to use Brewer's yeast AND nutritional yeast. But I only bought Brewer's yesterday when I was out and about. So what do you all think about supplements? Fish oil is probably pretty important, especially if you're not feeding fish...to get the iodine. A multi vitamin...does that supply enough of everything or enough?

I hesitate to put in grains because of the metabolic problems they contribute to. I don't think dogs need grains. But if it helps their poop, then maybe I should. Grrrr. on the fence a little.

So I love reading about what you all do who feed a home cooked diet, how you make sure it's balanced and that they're getting everything they need for sure. I sure appreciate the input. Again...did this before a few times. Does it make you nervous or am I just a nervous Nelly no matter what? :ahhhhh:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I home cook for mine. I buy a balanced pet mince (80% muscle, 10% offal, 10% ground bone, usually chicken and beef but some lamb, rabbit and salmon to add variety) and simmer it gently till just cooked in plenty of water, with about 10-20% by weight of vegetables (sweet potato, carrot, something green and leafy, green beans). When cooking a batch for dogs and cats I cook the vegetables separately then add some of the gravy to the cats' food. Life has just got a bit more complicated as Tilly-cat has been diagnosed with early kidney disease, so I am now sourcing muscle meat and offal separately for the cats and using ground eggshell as a calcium source (much lower in phosphorus than bone).
I'm sorry about poor Tilly-cat. That is such a common thing with cats. I'm really sorry and hope she can be managed pretty well for some time to come.

Is it better to be lower in phosphorus? I guess they get plenty in their meat. So is it better do you think to use the egg shells and not bone? I always thought bones were so good for them. These tiny dogs though...I have been brushing their teeth every night so I'm not worried about whole bone chewing anymore so much. How about you? Do you feed the littles bones? Well, thanks. I know you've done cooked diets for a long time. Best wishes to little Tilly.
 

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Thanks - Tilly is 16, and with luck will live comfortably for years if I take precautions to maintain her kidneys. It's only necessary to lower phosphorus if there are signs of reduced kidney function, so I will still get some meat with ground bone for the dogs. For healthy animals the main thing is to keep phosphorus/calcium in balance - 1/2 teaspoonful of finely ground eggshell to each 1lb of meat (or 1tsp per kilo) is a useful standbye, but a few raw boney meals has the same effect.

I don't use supplements, bar a little salmon oil on occasion and taurine for the cats, and my animals have been eating home made for around 8 years. I am wary of over supplementing, especially with the oil soluble vitamins. I started with complex spreadsheets, detailed analysis of food composition against the AAFCO and other guidelines, cross tabulations of fat and protein and vitamins and calcium... and then dropped into a simple routine of mostly balanced meat mix and some mixed vegetables! I have just gone through the same exercise for Tilly, and come to much the same conclusion - 80% muscle, 5% liver, 5% kidney or whatever other organ I can lay my hands on, some meat and vegetable gravy, a pinch of eggshell and a tiny pinch of taurine, plus fish oil when I can persuade her to take some.

Perhaps the most important thing is that I find it so much easier to keep the dogs at the right weight on a home made diet, and I think avoiding obesity is possibly the single most important thing we can do to keep our pets in good health.
 

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Well from starting with watching out for carrageenan this talk has taken some interesting turns, hasn't it?

I for one find it curious that with convenient prepared pet foods have come a myriad of new health issues.
 

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Thanks - Tilly is 16, and with luck will live comfortably for years if I take precautions to maintain her kidneys. It's only necessary to lower phosphorus if there are signs of reduced kidney function, so I will still get some meat with ground bone for the dogs. For healthy animals the main thing is to keep phosphorus/calcium in balance - 1/2 teaspoonful of finely ground eggshell to each 1lb of meat (or 1tsp per kilo) is a useful standbye, but a few raw boney meals has the same effect.

I don't use supplements, bar a little salmon oil on occasion and taurine for the cats, and my animals have been eating home made for around 8 years. I am wary of over supplementing, especially with the oil soluble vitamins. I started with complex spreadsheets, detailed analysis of food composition against the AAFCO and other guidelines, cross tabulations of fat and protein and vitamins and calcium... and then dropped into a simple routine of mostly balanced meat mix and some mixed vegetables! I have just gone through the same exercise for Tilly, and come to much the same conclusion - 80% muscle, 5% liver, 5% kidney or whatever other organ I can lay my hands on, some meat and vegetable gravy, a pinch of eggshell and a tiny pinch of taurine, plus fish oil when I can persuade her to take some.

Perhaps the most important thing is that I find it so much easier to keep the dogs at the right weight on a home made diet, and I think avoiding obesity is possibly the single most important thing we can do to keep our pets in good health.
Thank you so much Fjm. I am so with you on the avoidance of supplements as long as it's not necessary, which with the over processing of most commercial food, it is. But yeah...homemade, as long as it's nice and fresh should be fine. I only worry a little about selenium with our depleted soils that grow our food. You running it by me again...what you do is most reassuring. Thanks!
 

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Well from starting with watching out for carrageenan this talk has taken some interesting turns, hasn't it?

I for one find it curious that with convenient prepared pet foods have come a myriad of new health issues.
Yes, carrageenan is sort of...one of the last straws for me with commercial food, so naturally, it leads me back to the idea of fixing their food myself so I know what's going in there and relatively good, fresh food and plenty of meat won't be replaced with useless fillers that lack the nutrition they need and in some cases euthanized animals and other horrors. And I think you're absolutely onto something. It sure does seem like there are more and more illnesses popping up, not only DCM. It sure makes one wonder. I don't trust any commercial food companies, no matter their pretty pictures on the packages or their not completely transparent ingredient labels, their recalls, the mislabeling. Yep, that happens too. Sick of it. :argh:

I love reading about what those of you who home cook or feed raw do and how it's all working out. Thank you.
 

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Well from starting with watching out for carrageenan this talk has taken some interesting turns, hasn't it?

I for one find it curious that with convenient prepared pet foods have come a myriad of new health issues.
LOL - it's not even as though I am particularly evangelical about home cooking, either - I absolutely understand the convenience of just grabbing a can from the pantry! But it was interesting researching renal diets, especially for very early kidney disease, and realising that a small tweak to what Tilly already gets was all that was needed at this stage. I found much the same thing when Pippin was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism - cats need high levels of protein, fairly high levels of fat, and minimal carbohydrate. No wonder cat food can trigger pancreatitis in dogs...
 
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