Gizmo's Grand Plan
I recently had a lovely conversation with the dog mom of a very active Yorkshire Terrier/Maltese puppy named Gizmo. At 2 years of age, Gizmo is an adorable and active little guy - he's also learned to work his "Puppy Eyes" magic on his family and gets constant 'treats' from his family's meals - rotisserie chicken, beef, fish, fresh veggies and fruit, a bit of muffin, spaghetti, and a cookie here and there. Ahh he know the good stuff! As a result, Gizmo now refuses to eat his kibble. His family pours kibble into his bowl when they see that it's empty, which it rarely is, since he's managing to feel full on table scraps.
I don't recommend kibble diets, and while I love to see dogs eating unprocessed fresh food, there are a few concerns with this scenario. First, this type of diet is extremely unbalanced and missing quite a number of the key nutrients that dogs require. For a very short term, this may not be a huge concern for an adult dog, but long term, this is not a healthy way forward. Second, the fats and oils in kibble become rancid the longer the kibble is exposed to air and light. Kibble should be used up within a few weeks of opening the bag in order to avoid the risk of feeding rancid fats to dogs. Nutrient degradation and storage mites are a further concern once a bag of kibble has been opened for a few weeks. The large sized bag of kibble currently being used to fill Gizmo's bowl has been opened for a number of months. The kibble in his bowl might possibly sit there for a week at a time, and it's quite likely that the fats in the kibble have spoiled, and that nutrient loss has occurred.
For a number of reasons, Gizmo's family is not ready to embrace a raw diet right now, but would like a better way forward for feeding their dog.
The Solution? A gently cooked diet. Gizmo's family loves to cook, and the daily caloric requirements of an 8 lb Morkie mean that they can batch cook a month's worth of meals for him at a time and easily portion and freeze his daily amount of food.
The good news is that Gizmo is currently healthy with no digestive, skin, coat or health issues.
Gizmo's Plan - The Highlights
We can start Gizmo on a properly balanced, gently cooked "stew" of:
One type of lean meat - I'm using turkey for Gizmo's first recipe.
Two to three types of organs - I'm using beef liver, beef heart, and beef kidney (the recipe will be adjusted if kidney is not available).
Vegetables - I'm choosing low oxalate veggies for Gizmo. Gizmo hasn't had trouble with calcium oxalate stones to date, however, since he's part Yorkshire Terrier, and this breed has a predisposition to calcium oxalate stones, it's a good plan to avoid vegetables with high oxalates (spinach, kale, chard, beets).
Eggs - Read about why I like eggs for dogs: https://www.yvonne-king.com/post/eggs-for-dogs
Supplements - Vitamins, calcium and other essential minerals, and fatty acids to start.
Omega-3s - Gizmo loves water-packed canned sardines so we can use those as part of his omega-3 fatty acid requirements. We'll also need a marine sourced supplement to raise omega-3 levels in his diet to optimum levels.
Since Gizmo is already accustomed to a wide variety of meats, fruit and veggies, we can add familiar ingredients to the stew right away, but we will need to slowly incorporate the supplements to test tolerance. I have suggested that Gizmo's mom keep a diet diary for Gizmo so that we have a record of when each supplement is added. She will then note any stool or digestive changes, or any health changes (itching, biting of paws, watery eyes or nose, coat changes etc.)
As part of this plan, Gizmo's family will need to stop the all day graze buffet, and brace themselves against the inevitable sad puppy eyed expression. Change can be challenging at times, but I'm confident that Gizmo's family will realize the importance of feeding their boy a balanced, healthy, fresh food diet.
This article is for information purposes only and not meant to diagnosis, treat, or be a treatment plan for dogs. Please consult your holistic vet with any health related concern you may have about the health of your dog.