I think we can all agree that a diet consisting entirely of Chef Boyardee or Cheerios is not optimal for health. Although they take drastically different approaches, Vegans and Paleo eaters will also agree that it’s best to stick to fresh, minimally processed foods. Common sense tells us that the same should apply to our pets. Except there is no debate about dogs and especially cats being carnivores.
Since our dog was 6 months old, Nahla has been fed raw homemade meals. Puppies younger than that certainly can be fed this way, we just had some hurdles that we needed to overcome first. Convenience, freezer space, cost, and cleanliness are all valid concerns, especially for Brooklyn dog owners. Through trial and error we have devised an optimal diet that works for our dog with very little hassle for us.
First lets talk about meat. Finding Armelino’s K9 in Huntington Station, NY has been a life saver. A former local butcher shop, they now exclusively sell human grade dog food. With four different protein options (beef, chicken, duck, and turkey), it’s all ground up with the meat and bone in either a 5 or 2 pound log. Bones are an important source of calcium and trace minerals for your pet. A diet consisting of ground beef for instance would be lacking these key nutrients. While I do believe that raw meaty bones would be best (because of the teeth cleaning and recreational benefits) without any outdoor space this would be a messy option. The ground meat and bone is a great compromise for apartment dwellers. It’s also more space efficient for the small freezers many Brooklynites have. We are able to fit 50 lbs on the top shelf of our freezer measuring 20”x7”.
The second key piece for us is Honest Kitchen’s “Preference” formula. The Honest Kitchen is a phenomenal company that makes human grade freeze dried dog food. When we travel and don’t have access to coolers or refrigerators, Nahla eats their complete meals. For anyone who can’t make the commitment to raw feeding, this is the next best thing. “Preference” is Honest Kitchen’s base mix intended to have meat added to it. Preference ensures that she receives all the vitamins and minerals she needs. The Fiber content of Preference’s vegetables is just as important, considering city dog owners have an intimate relationship with their pet’s bowel movements. Over the past 4 years Nahla hasn’t had a single bout of diarrhea, and with all the poop we pick up, we feel confident declaring her the most regular dog in Brooklyn.
There are a few supplements that round out her meals. Animal Essential’s Plant Enzymes and Probiotics helps support that world class digestion we just mentioned. The benefits of salmon oil are almost never ending. Supporting the joints, heart, coat, eyes, and brain it’s an easy decision. If your salmon oil doesn’t include vitamin E you should add that in as well. Finally, on top of living a long life, we hope that she is mobile and pain free for all the years she’s with us. We use Glycoflex which is a joint supplement consisting of glucosamine and chondroitin which helps build and repair cartilage.
All of this surprisingly costs less than feeding premium kibble. A 50 lbs case of food from Armelinos lasts for a month and a half, and fits easily into our small freezer. We cut the 5 lbs logs into halves which fit perfectly into the 8 cup Glad containers. At meal times the Honest Kitchen food gets rehydrated with hot tap water, we add the meat and supplements. Prep time takes 2 minutes max and when she is done we wash her bowl, and washing the bowl after each meal should be done even if you’re feeding kibble.
Fortunately Nahla was a relatively healthy puppy when we made the switch. Even so we have seen some major improvements. We love to go hiking and ticks are an inevitability in the North East. She had already tested positive for Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis, two tick borne diseases that although manageable are normally carried for life. Since switching, her immune system has strengthened to the point that both the Lyme and Anaplasmosis are undetectable, even with laboratory blood tests. She can now also go crashing through the most tick infested woods and never pick any up without the use of chemical products such as frontline. Also; her ears no longer need to be cleaned and she has had none of the skin issues that seem to plague many dogs today.
If you have a dog who is constantly dealing with ear infections, itchy skin, or gunky eyes give raw feeding a try. If you don’t, it’s still worth it and you will soon take pride in making your dog’s food with love.
If you are interested we deliver Armelino’s food to Brooklyn for a nominal fee, and are willing to help anyone with additional questions.