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?