Friday, May 24, 2013

I knew you were trouble when you walked in

The Two Best Dogs Ever, Spike and Peanut, have had birthdays recently, and are 13 and 11, respectively. Not puppies any more, they spend most of their days napping.  Spike's kidneys aren't doing so well (typical for an old dog), so the vet put him on the Hill's k/d special food which is much lower in protein.

This food is expensive, but that's fine. We're in "do whatever it takes" mode with these guys, since they're both fairly healthy and don't seem to be in pain. The problem, though, is that Spike HATES this food. To the point where he will leave it in the bowl and just not eat. 

This is a BEAGLE, y'all. You know, canine garbage disposal? Crumb vacuum? This is the dog that spent 15 minutes trying to get at a chickpea that rolled under the stove.  For him to refuse food is baffling. And sad. He actually got skinny, down to 21 measly pounds from his fighting weight of 25. 

So we caved and started giving him Peanut's food, which is a high quality dry Old Dog food.  Or maybe it was Fat Dog food.  It was the lowest protein content we could find, around 18%, but not as low as the vet-suggested food.

But Spike's latest bloodwork showed that his kidneys were still not working well, and we needed to reduce his protein intake to help. The vet asked me if I would consider home cooking for him. I looked at him like he was crazy. Then I said yes.

I still can't believe it. But Spike is my second baby. Despite all his annoying barking, refusal to do anything that HE doesn't want to do, and the tiny black and white hairs ALL OVER EVERYTHING, including BabyM, he's part of our family. And I'm willing to do what it takes to keep him healthy.

So here I am, cooking for the DOG every 3-4 days. Fortunately it's pretty easy.  I mix equal ratios by weight of meat, vegetables, and grains after cooking, and the doctor gave me a list of each to choose from.

Meat: beef, chicken, tofu, beans, turkey, cottage cheese
Vegetables: Pumpkin, squash, green beans, carrots  (no leafy greens or onions)
Grains: Brown rice (best), quinoa, amaranth, white rice (no wheat or corn)

Doesn't actually look too bad, right?

So far I've used ground beef because it's inexpensive and easy to cook, canned pumpkin because it's easy to open a pre-weighed can, and whatever grains are languishing in our pantry now that I haven't been cooking them (all of which I can just throw in the rice cooker).  So far he's had quinoa and wild rice and likes them both.

The size of my pans and bowls limits me to cooking about 6 lbs of food at a time, which is about 4 days' worth.  I've been trolling the "manager's special" meat section at the grocery store, because they mark down the meat with sell-by dates coming soon.  I cook the meat the day I buy it, so that works well.

Spike is also taking a bunch of supplements to help his kidneys, and fortunately we can just add the pills to his food, and he doesn't even notice.

Because Peanut is over 100lb, I decided not to cook for him. He'd require 4 cups of food a day which means I'd need to cook daily to make enough for both of them.  So he gets whatever is left over after portioning out Spike's food, and is happy about that, but seems a little sad the rest of the week when he's eating his regular food. I'm not THAT crazy yet.

In 6-8 weeks, we'll go back to the vet and see how Spike's kidneys are doing. I'll be disappointed if all this effort isn't helping.  Then again, I haven't seen him this excited about his food in a long time, so that's something.

If you need an ego boost, I recommend cooking for a dog. Never has anyone been so excited about my cooking skills!

So, would you cook for your pets?

9 comments:

  1. I was wondering what had spurred this trend. :) I hope it works for Spike! I know all about doing what it takes for those furry kids. ;)

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  2. OMG i LOL With your comment about Him trying to get the chickpea From under the stove. I commend you for doing this Because so many other people would not. I tried cooked food and raw food with Pookie And he would have nothing to do with it. So since he was 15 at the time I decided to let him live out his life. It was easier knowing That he wasn't in pain.

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  3. I love it! Yes, I would cook for my dog if I had one :) I'm the one who never let my kids eat jarred food (don't slap me) so I always think my cooking is worth it :) HAHA!

    I love that your dog appreciates it :)

    PS love the new look on the blog!

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  4. Yeppers....I would cook for my fur baby! Kudos to you for taking such good care of your pooch!!!

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  5. I think I probably would... I am a sucker!!lol.... this post did make me giggle!

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  6. We just discovered our cat Dukey has kidney stones and we've had to buy special food and keep it separate from Kitty's food. If we had to we'd cook for him too! Those furry things do take up a lot of space in our hearts!

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  7. Our pups are 11 and a half and almost 12 now and also getting on in age. A few years ago we started on the modified BARF diet for them and it did both well. SO to an extent we do cook for the,

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  8. Yep - we started making chicken / rice / carrot mixtures for our doggies when their appetites waned as they got older (we could mix it with dry food and they'd eat better). It's no fun to watch your sweet puppies get old, but you do what you have to do to maintain their quality of life as long as you can.

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  9. We have. Mainly rice and boiled chicken if our dogs are sick. We would supplement with some chicken or meat but that was usually leftovers from baby throwing food on the floor. I have also used canned pumpkin.

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