Thursday, July 18, 2013

Raw Vs. Kibble

Few things cause more controversy among dog enthusiasts than the debate over feeding raw vs. feeding kibble.  The topic is discussed often, and I have seen many dog owners avert their eyes or change the subject when asked that one question many of us fear "what do you feed your dog?"

There are some hardcore opinions on both sides, and that simple question can often go from discussion, to debate to downright mudslinging.  Nothing sends a dog owner into a frenzy faster than implying that they are not offering their beloved pet the best care they can offer.

I have had raw feeders refer to kibble as "death nuggets", and kibble feeders accuse raw feeders as being "lazy" or "uneducated" about the dog's digestive system.  The kibble feeders imagine a raw feeder as someone who just tosses left overs and spoiled meat at the dog, or letting the dog forage for road kill.

I have done both, I have fed good kibble, bad kibble, prepackaged raw, and home processed raw.  The answer is easier than that.  And more difficult.    Just like humans have different dietary needs, so do dogs.  We tried going raw with Kyra, because of her many allergy issues.  Then we tried raw with Hemi, to try and encourage him to eat more.  We then added Boo as well.  Let's just say it was a complete and total failure. We spent hours power shopping to find good prices on meat that wasn't full of fillers, or antibiotics, or other evil things.  We would spend a whole weekend cutting up whole chickens, sometimes grinding up bone/meat of other animals, and packaging for meals only to have to start over the next weekend.  We followed the recommended process of switching the dogs to raw; the protein and bone to meat ratio.  No matter what we did, someone was always running at one end or the other.  Vomiting, or explosive diarrhea.  I called on my mentors who fed raw and sought out their advice, and adjusted bone percentages on the dogs to try and firm up their digestive tract, always to no avail.  In the end, we gave up. Yes, I admit it, I'm a failed raw feeder.

Currently, Boo is eating I/D.  (Somewhere a dog enthusiast just fainted).  Boo has IBS/IBD, and was unable to tolerate anything else.  Now that he is on I/D, and taking prednisone, he is a happier, healthier dog.  He even has more energy to run agility.  Would I immediately run out and buy such a food for my new dog?  No.  But, I have done what I feel is best for all of my dogs.  If Boo is healthy, and is not suffering from gastric distress by eating the I/D, then that is what I will feed him.

In the end, I think pet owners just want what is best for their dogs.  I try not to judge what others feed their dogs, and hope they don't judge me.  I remember the days when we fed our dogs Gaines Burgers and Purina kibble.  There are so many more choices now, and I think it's important to treat each dog as an individual and find what works best for them.  Maybe, just maybe, one of these days, we'll be able to have more than 1 dog at a time on any given food.

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