Vegetables from our garden
Homemade treats for the dogs.
We feel that raising healthy dogs and puppies is all about what they eat, what they do and where they live.
We feed our dogs a mostly raw diet with plenty of variety. A typical breakfast consists of ground raw vegetables, lightly cooked oatmeal, meat or fish and yoghurt. A typical evening meal consists of raw meat and bones, such as beef, venison and chicken. Organ meat such as liver and heart is given a couple of times a week. Additional “toppings” that are added from time to time include ground flax, ground sunflower seeds, ground pumpkin seeds, organic unsulphured molasses (for minerals), raw whole eggs, cottage cheese, wheatgerm, cooked barley, cooked squashes and sweet potatoes, green tripe, garlic, olive oil and honey.
While many raw feeders do not feed grains, we find that our dogs seem to need some grains in order to maintain their weight and coat.
Our dogs benefit from Andy’s hunting activities, getting all the bones, organs and some of the meat from our deer and necks and organs from duck and goose hunting.
While they do get some store-bought cookies, as much as possible we bake their cookies so as to avoid ingredients such as preservatives and food colouring.
We are lucky to have large vegetable gardens and we grow vegetables for the dogs as well as us, ensuring that their food is as pesticide-free as possible. The majority of our dog’s vegetables from July to December are grown by us.
We minimize the vaccinations that we give, but are aware that diseases such as parvo and distemper are present in our area and we need to protect our dogs accordingly. Our puppies get parvo and distemper vaccinations at 9 and 16 weeks. After that we have been doing yearly titres to check for immunity. We have found so far that none of our dogs have needed additional vaccinations for parvo and distemper beyond 16 weeks. We give the rabies vaccination every three years, as required by law, starting at between 6 and 12 months of age.
They are a fact of life when you have dogs! We deworm our dogs once or twice a year. We are lucky to live in an area with no heartworm, so we do not need to use heartworm medications.
Free-running is important to the mental health of flat-coats (and their owners!). It is also vital for proper development of muscles and joints for growing puppies and for maintaing good physical condition in older dogs. Our dogs get at least an hour a day of walking off-leash on our property, using their noses to follow interesting scents and racing across the prairie playing with each other. In the summer, swimming in the Oldman River is the favourite form of exercise on hot days. Field training and obedience training provides additional physical exercise and most importantly, mental exercise!
As with people, dogs are sensitive to chemicals in their environment. Pesticides such as 2-4-D have been shown to cause cancer in humans and canines. We avoid using pesticides and strong chemicals on our home, garden and land. In our house we use mostly vinegar and baking soda for cleaning floors and surfaces. Our “lawns” are mostly native grass and have their share of dandelions (which get included in the dog’s veggie mixes!).