What should I feed my Aussie?

I want to discuss the very important issue of feeding your Australian Shepherd. This may be one of the most important topics in raising a quality Aussie. Just like people, animals are what they eat. Think of feeding your baby… They need brain food so do puppies so if you skimp here and feed a cheap, bargain brand food you may be setting your dog up for a lifetime of poor health.  I can’t stress enough to pick the best quality food you can find. It may cost more than the discount brands, but you will more than make up for that by feeding less and having a healthier dog that will not constantly be at the vet with health problems.  At the present, I feed a Hi Standard Dog food 24/20. We also feed Nuvet as well as we like to reward our dog with human Grade raw meat on occasion. I would also like to add that you will also need to adjust your food to the environment that your dog lives and his or her activity level. We live in a colder environment and during the winter I need the fat on my dogs to help keep them warm and have a nice coat. That is why we feed a higher fat dog food. We also work our dog and they are running so they burn more calories than a dog that is kept in a smaller area with a lower activity level. We also do not have any flea’s or ticks so we do not have to deal with the external parasites of any kind. This helps us keep our Aussie looking great all year long.

In my opinion, the marketing tactics by some pet food companies have fueled a common misconception among pet owners that dogs are obligate carnivores and require a diet that consists mostly of meat. This is not true. Dogs, like people, are omnivores and do best with a well-balanced Diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Excessive protein consumption is unnecessary for dogs at best and for some dogs with medical conditions can actually be harmful.

Proteins are the building blocks of the body and an absolute necessity for daily function. However, when a dog consumes too much protein in a meal it cannot all be utilized at one time, nor can it be stored for later. The body will then excrete the excess protein through the kidneys and out of the body via urine. This can cause issues with the organs over time and can lead to Kidney failure.

Another issue is that the meat in these diets acting as the protein source contains other nutrients that you do not want in excessive amounts. For example, when a diet is mostly meat it becomes very difficult to maintain a proper calcium-phosphorus ratio. When this ratio is out of balance disruptions in bone growth or kidney damage can occur. Well formulated dog foods have an appropriate balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates to prevent this from happening.

Protein is a calorie dense nutrient and many of the high protein diets are extremely high in calories and can quickly lead to weight gain. If a dog has kidney or liver issues consuming too much protein can increase the workload on these organs and upset the balance of nutrients leading to exacerbation of disease.

Rather than look for a dog food that contains excessive levels of protein you should find one that is specifically formulated for your dog’s lifestyle, life stage, and size. A working sled dog, for example, will have significantly different nutrient and caloric requirements than the average pet dog that ventures outside for a few walks a day and spends the rest of the time lounging. These two dogs should not be fed the same diet.

Puppies, meanwhile, require more protein than adult dogs because their bodies are busy growing. Among breeds of puppies, there are different requirements for nutrients as well. For instance, large breed puppies like Labrador retrievers need a much different diet than a Yorkie for optimal growth. Feeding large breed puppies something that is too high in protein may make them put on weight too quickly causing abnormal joint development and making them more prone to issues like arthritis in the future.

The safest diets are those that have been developed by pet food companies that invest in scientific research, consult with veterinary nutritionists, and perform feeding trials to develop their diets. This will provide a pet food that is properly balanced without any excess nutrients that are unnecessary and in some cases harmful to your dog.

I cannot feed a Full Raw but I do encourage you to try and incorporate it into your dog’s diet. If you cannot that’s okay, you can still feed your dog well with the various quality dry foods on the market.  Using good ingredients isn’t cheap!  Also, some of the brands that have a lot of advertising put more money into that than quality ingredients.  Some of the best foods will not be widely advertised.  Most can be found at the better pet stores, rather than discount stores, grocery stores, feed stores and such. Even the very best foods are still half grain, and with dogs being carnivores, they don’t need that.  Avoid the dry foods with food coloring, semi-moist bits or other “funky” things.  Just because there are pictures of vegetables, wholesome cuts of meat or other items on the bag, does NOT mean the food contains those same healthy ingredients.  I also recommend avoiding treats with the same, the semi-moist, artificially colored stuff like the fake bacon types and so on.   It is so bad for dogs! Honestly, I like to make my own dog treats and will not give them anything from a pet store or any other. I also like to feed my dogs Satin Balls her is the recipe for this. You can make these up and freeze them if you

This is the original recipe:
10 pounds hamburger meat
1 lg. box of Total cereal
1 lg. box oatmeal
1 jar of wheat germ
1 1/4 cup veg oil
1 1/4 cup of unsulphured molasses
10 raw eggs AND shells
10 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
pinch of salt

However, if you just want to try them out or have a small dog, try this scaled down version (1/10th or the original).

1 pound hamburger
1 1/3 cups Total cereal
1 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
1 raw egg
6 tablespoons wheat germ
1 package Knox unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
Pinch of salt

Here are some other recipe that I have found on the internet.

1 lb ground beef
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
1 jar all natural peanut butter
1 jar (smaller of the sizes) wheat germ
1 doz egg yolks
1 cup or so of flaked oats soaked in heavy cream

Mix up, form balls, freeze, feed as treats or food supplement.

10# hamburger meat
1 jar wheat germ
1 lg box of oatmeal (uncooked)
1 1/4 Cup vegetable oil
10 eggs
10 sm pkgs unflavored gelatin
1 1/4 Cup unflavored molasses
A pinch of salt
1 lg box Total cereal (2lb’s)
(You may also add a pinch of garlic powder to add flavor)

Mix all ingredients together well, much like a meatloaf….put into separate freezer bags and freeze, thawing out as needed. It puts weight on in a very short time, not to mention the gloss in their coat. You can use it every day when they have a show to do and it does not produce diarrhea. It can be fed alone or with kibble.

WEIGHT GAIN

Small heavy cream
1 doz eggs
2 blocks of cream cheese (room temp)
5 lbs ground beef — (I get the 27% fat)
1 sm box TOTAL cereal
(crunch up Total into small crumbs)
1 cup wheat germ
mix dry ingredients
Add heavy cream
Add cream cheese
MIX TOGETHER
Add ground beef
MIX TOGETHER
Roll into balls — I put them on cookie sheets and freeze, makes a lot —

WEIGHT GAIN

1 lb hamburger
1 package cream cheese
1 dozen egg yolks
1 jar all natural peanut butter
about 1 cup rolled oats soaked in milk
1 jar wheat germ

Mix up, measure out, feed as needed. You’ll need to mix it with your hands. It’s hard to mix and messy. I usually make this with more hamburger (like, 2 or 3lbs) and freeze what I’m not using that day or the next.

FAT BALLS
1 dozen egg yolks
1 lb jar crunchy peanut butter
1 small container oats
1 jar wheat germ
1 lb hamburger
1 package cream cheese

*Some versions of this recipe say to soak the oats in milk or cream first. Put the stuff in a big bowl and mix w/your hands. Roll into 3″ torpedo’s and put in zip lock bags and freeze until needed. Feed one or two a day.

Fatten ‘Em Up Quick Meatloaf!!
1 doz. Hard Boiled eggs, chopped
10 lbs of inexpensive hamburger meat
20 oz Jar of Wheat Germ
1 canister of Knox Gelatin, joint complex, (unflavored)
1 lg box of Total breakfast cereal
2 – 1 lb boxes of Quaker oatmeal, (the kind you cook)
1 1/2 cups Canola Oil
12 oz jar of unsulfered Molasses
1/4 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp minced Garlic, (jarred variety or fresh, NOT dried)
Box of 1qt Freezer bags

Just dump all into huge pot and dig in. It takes some effort, and you will be up to your elbows, but you want to mix thoroughly. Separate into 14 freezer bags, gently squeezing out the air before sealing. Flatten out the bags, (this will allow for a quicker thaw period), and lay
flat on a freezer shelf. Feed one packet each day, 1/2 in morning, half in evening. Breaking up into chunks, or rolling into meatballs. You can place one in the fridge each evening to thaw for the next day.

OR a smaller batch, that you can flavor for variety.

1 1/2 lbs hamburger
3 hardboiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 envelope Knox Gelatin Joint complex, (unflavored)
5 tsp molasses
5 tsp Canola vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups uncooked oatmeal
I cup Total breakfast cereal

To the above you may add ONE of the following to add flavor and give variety!

1/2 lb Cooked and pureed beef liver OR
1 small can of tomato sauce/ 1 cup of cooked rice or pasta OR
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter OR
4 oz package of cream cheese

Form into balls, layer in plastic freezer bags, freeze—remove several at a time to thaw, and feed as in between meal treats.

Fattening Treats

Doggie Peanut Cheese Balls
1 dozen hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 lb jar crunchy peanut butter
1 container of Quaker Oatmeal
2 cups of evaporated milk, (Don’t dilute!!)
1 jar wheat germ
1 lb hamburger
8 oz. pkg cream cheese
envelope Knox Gelatin Joint Complex, (unflavored)

In one bowl, pour the evaporated milk over the oatmeal and put aside. Go have a cup of coffee, while you wait for oats to absorb the liquid! In a second Large Bowl, place all the other ingredients. Start mixing together, hands work best. Add the oatmeal and evaporated milk mixture, and mix again. When thoroughly blended, form into meatball sized treats, layering in a plastic freezer container. Freeze until needed. Remove a few at a time, allow to thaw, and feed as fattening snacks!

1 to 1-1/2 # fatty raw hamburger
1/2 C wheat germ oil or wheat germ
1 pkg Knox gelatin
4-1/2 tsp molasses or Karo dark syrup
3 egg yolks
4-1/2 tsp vegetable oil
3 C uncooked oatmeal

Form into meatballs, place on cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen put in containers. To serve – microwave each meatball about 30 seconds per meatball depending on size. Give 2-3 per day along with regular diet.

Another thing to do is watch how your dog does on the food.  Does he eat it well, have a nice small, firm stool, and does he thrive on it?  Does he have goop in his eyes, dirty teeth, dry or irritated skin, loose or smelly stool?   All of these are signs of poor nutrition. Changing your dog’s food to often can also cause food allergies.  If you do have to switch foods, take your time. Mix the old kind in with the new kind for several days or a week. This is because processed food lacks the digestive enzymes that would be found in fresh, raw food.  The dog’s body must learn to manufacture the correct enzymes for whatever kind of dry food he eats, and that takes time.  This is one of the drawbacks of feeding a diet of dry food only, as it does deplete the body over time, since the body must constantly make enzymes.  Fresh, raw food has all the necessary enzymes for proper digestion, so doesn’t stress the body.  This all has a positive effect on the immune system.  Even if you can’t feed raw all the time, adding it as you can be better than none at all.

WHAT NOT TO FEED:

This is not an all-inclusive list but will have examples of common low-quality foods.  These include:

  • Beneful – all formulas
  • Ol’ Roy – all formulas
  • Alpo
  • Gravy Train
  • Kibbles n Bits
  • Some that surprised me as bad foods were Iams, Kal Kan, Purina dog chow, and Pedigree.

Any food that is of a semi-moist texture like “Moist and Meaty”, as the propylene glycol used to make it is not good for health.

Any food that has food coloring or colored pieces such as Kibbles N Bits, Beneful, and others

Any food that has food fragments like brewers rich, soy flour, “meat” by-products as those can legally contain anything including road kill and shelter pets that are euthanized.

The low-priced foods often sold at feed stores, farm stores and grocery or superstores like Wal-Mart. These may include store brands or name brands that are the low-quality end of the line of foods.

These brands are going to help your dog maintain the best health and condition possible since they are just not made of the kinds of ingredients to support that level of health.

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