Monday, December 7, 2009


I have a confession to make. Reagan is not my only kibble eater. Riley is also a full-time kibble consumer. As you know, Reagan suffered coat problems over the summer and I finally concluded that she simply was not extracting nutrients from raw food. For some unknown reason, Reagan simply requires that her food be cooked. She now eats a very high quality kibble and is doing very well on it.

Well, during all of this I started to notice that Riley's coat got very dull and dry. The red stripes in her coat looked bleached out and yellow (see below).At first I couldn't believe that I would actually have a 2nd dog that did not do well on raw food. What are the chances? I had fed raw food for 10 years happily and with no problems with seven greyhounds. I started to feed Riley half kibble and half raw and the improvement was almost immediate. Also, like Reagan, Riley never produced the kind of poop that raw diet feeders rave about. She was actually better on kibble as well. I finally switched Riley to a full time kibble diet. Now she is a picture of health (except her trademark ears... we can't do anything about those :-).Reagan and Riley's issues really threw me for a loop. With 2 young dogs eating kibble, what would I feed future dogs? I am happy with how my four seniors are doing on raw food, so I was not about to switch them too.

I decided that I was not really comfortable with my veggie mixes. Dogs have a hard time digesting fruits and vegetables. The availability of the nutrients depends on my ability to tear up the cell walls of the plant material. You can do this by using a juicer or a food processor, but I was not confident that I was doing a good job or providing enough quantity. So my seniors all get 1/2 a cup of kibble instead of veggie mix now. In the future, I think I will continue with a modified half and half diet and adjust accordingly if I have a hound that clearly does best on one or the other.


BrittBeah said...

Wow. I am happy that you have found a food the dogs do well on. What are you feeding for kibble, if you don't mind me asking.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Its a secret!!! Just kidding. Still feeding Acana Grasslands. It is grain free and the lamb variety.

Jemma the Chihuahua said...

This may not be a popular opinion with many people, but I honestly believe it has more to do with the overall protein % than not being able to extract nutrients from raw. I'm sure I mentioned like 100x that Jemma went through the same thing and like you, I saw major improvements on a commercial diet. But then I changed to a home-cooked diet, still pureeing my own vegetables, and her coat is the same as when she was on commercial. Super soft and silky now...and no patches!

I have done cooked in the past as well and it also failed, but there is one major difference this time around -- the protein % now (30% of total calories) is quite a bit lower than before (3/4 protein and 1/4 vegetables, as per a holistic vet's advice, which equated to around 50% (protein) of total calories). BTW, that doesn't mean that only 30% ratio of her diet is protein; that's just the caloric breakdown from a nutritional analysis. The % breakdown of protein/fats/carbs is VERY close to a commercial diet now.

The ingredients are the same, the meat and vegetable sources are also the same...only difference is the protein %. Nowadays, I refuse to let anyone tell me that the higher the protein, the better because I have seen opposite of that for both my dog *and* cat.

I am so happy for you that Reagan and Riley are doing well with the coats! :)

P.S. Which guideline/ratio did you use to feed your dogs raw?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I don't know. Too me it sounds more logical that Reagan needs cooked food than lower protein. Why would more protein make her hair fall out? I'm not saying you are wrong, but it just does not make sense to me.

Reagan's bloodwork, for example, showed low B12. A meat eater cannot be low B12 unless they simply cannot absorb it. Reagan was only low B12 on raw, so I can only conclude that she couldn't access B12 when it was raw.

It makes sense to me that cooking does break down cell walls making nutrients easier to get to. But you certainly have studied more than I though and you might be onto something. And our dogs might have different problems, but similar symptoms.

Her current food is 33% protein. When I feed raw I have never analyzed it down to ratios and percentages. I just eyeball it. I really do not think healthy individuals are suppose to get a perfect balance everyday. Wild canids with needs like Reagan, Riley, and Jemma would obviously not survive and reproduce.


Kathy said...

Jen--I'm glad Reagan and Riley are doing so well. Blaze and Rio seem to be doing really well on the modified (1/2 kibble, 1/2 raw) since we talked this summer about it.

Mad Red Hare said...

I feed all three of my greys, plus one foster, kibble. My last foster Dave came to us with a very ugly coat. He is black, but actually looked like a dark brindle! So we have been giving him 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed. He, plus all my own pups, have gorgeous coats now! Easy and inexpensive.

gyeong said...

Sometimes it's just a matter of finding what works for that specific dog. If I found out that Walmart's Ol' Roy was the only thing that gave my hound good poo and a shiny coat, that's what I would feed her :)

Life at Star's Rest said...

I went from feeding a full raw for years to a kibble plus raw when I was having multiple surgeries last year and just couldn't manage the logistics of feeding straight raw.

Like you, I saw an immediate change in one of our greys who had coat issues and also frequent muscle cramps that were horrible for him. Our vet could find no reason for the cramping in his head and neck nor could an animal chiropractor. After switching to kibble plus raw, his coat improved and slowly, the muscle cramping went away.

I don't know why they are doing so much better and I don't care!

Paul said...

I didn't know Riley was on kibble. I'm glad whatever the problem is with Reagan and Riley, it's working with the kibble diet. I know this probably has nothing to do with it, but could it be an age thing? You got Reagan and Riley at a young age.


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Sientay, I don't think its an age thing. My friends feed raw to puppies that are 6 weeks old and they do great. Katie and Travis started on raw at 2 and 3 years old.


Barb said...

This is so interesting, and is a perfect example of how there is no one perfect diet for every dog. I feed raw too, but wouldn't hesitate to switch to a cooked diet or a commercial one if needed.

Regarding the veggie mix, I don't remember if you've said how you prepared it. I use a blender for soft leafy greens and add some apple cider vinegar. Harder veggies like carrots or squash or the stems of kale go through a juicer. I package everything up in baggies and freeze them hard for a week or so. I think the freezing helps complete the process of breaking down the cell walls.

Barb said...

Is there any possibility that Reagan and Riley are related? It is odd that you'd have two young dogs who both have absorption difficulties.

Glad you've got things straightened out!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Barb, I put veggies through the food processor. I think you are wise to use a juicer on the harder veggies.... I think you probably get a lot more value that way. I didn't think of freezing as a way to help make things more digestible, but all of mine were froze for than a week usually.

It would be interesting to look at pedigrees. Reagan and Riley share one great grandfather (HB Commander), but nothing else. Riley is actually closer related to Katie and Jes who does/did great on raw food, BUT neither of them have HB Commander in their pedigree. Hmmmmm. So I checked my other senior raw food dogs and only Allie has HB Commander. Her grandfather is actually HB Commander X sister breeding. But she has an iron gut. So who knows!

Granted Wishes Greyhounds said...

I meant to mention: Have you ever heard of Honest Kitchen? I'm going to try their Preference blend, but they're a company that dehydrates perfectly balanced raw food meals. Preference is veggie only... add your own RMBs. I think Force might be good for Reagan, and it'd be a step up in quality from kibble. However, it's kinda pricey.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I think the problem would still be that Honest Kitchen products are still raw (unless dehydration makes them more digestible). I'm not sure.

Granted Wishes Greyhounds said...

I would think the dehydration + rehydration process would make things a bit more accessible to her... I don't know.