- Lesson from Tom and Sugi: After years of feeding Tom and Sugi a packaged ‘raw’ diet, and trials and experiments with homemade diets and dried processed diets, I have finally achieved a homemade diet that is both nutritious, ethical and tasty. This vegan meal is a combination of either organic rice noodles or buckwheat noodles, and an organic homemade puree. This diet must be supplemented with good quality vitamins and omegas*.
- Sugi says, “Don’t feed me fibrous foods. They make my tummy feel bad and makes my skin itch!”
Noodles + Mash #1
I feed Tom and Sugi each 3 times per day. Both dogs are 20 pounds each*:
- combine about 3/4 to 1 cup of cooked, drained, cold water rinsed organic rice noodles or buckwheat noodles (zaru soba)
- about 1/4 to 1/2 cup Mash #1
*Health Tip: Add a vitamin powder to the meal (I use “Total Health” from Whole Hound). Add a digestive enzyme to each meal (I use “Digestive Support” from Whole Hound) which will aid in digesting the legumes. Add a squirt of organic flax oil for omega 3 and 6 support.
Recipe for Mash #1 (= 8 cups):
- 2 parts squash – [small butternut squash, cooked, puréed (4 cups yield)]
- 1 part green vegetable – [small bunch kale + 1 bunch bok choy, chopped, steamed, puréed (2 cups yield)]
- 1 part legume – [1 cup soaked overnight, cooked, puréed adzuki beans (2 cups yield)]
Story: The vets always promoted feeding a packaged raw meat and veg diet for the dogs and the occasional bone to chew on for calcium and teeth cleaning.
However, I noticed that any time I gave the dogs bones, they had bad diarrhea and even vomiting afterwards. After mentioning this to Tom’s vet, Michael Goldberg, he said that schnauzers tend towards pancreatitis – a disease where they can’t digest fat. Pancreatitis can result in symptoms of abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. I stopped giving them bones and the symptoms cleared up. I wish I had known sooner that schnauzers were prone to pancreatitis!
When I got the dogs, I became a vegetarian, so the idea of feeding them meat was unappealing. In addition, the fat in meat seemed like a bad idea. My goal was an organic vegetarian diet. I tried a book of recipes by “Hilary” that included the use of a vitamin powder to add to the meals. Using these recipes for a few weeks, Sugi started to develop a bad skin rash and both dogs needed to go poo about 6 times per day. In passing, one of my vets mentioned that homemade foods needed to be puréed. Dogs have a shorter digestive tract than humans and can’t digest fibrous foods very well – they end up pooping out most of it and not absorbing the nutrients. This bombardment of fibrous foods with too much variety played havoc on Sugi’s digestion and in addition to the skin rash, he developed thinning hair and weight loss!
We had to go through a long-term elimination diet to figure out that he had allergies. Finally we were able to find 2 stable foods: organic buckwheat noodles and puréed butternut squash (with a vitamin and flax oil supplement). We used this as a base to add new foods once per week and see how he reacted. Buckwheat noodles are a good source of carbohydrate, have high protein and are easy to digest, and dogs love squash! We also used Medi-Cal vegetarian dried food for one of the 3 daily meals to make sure they were getting vitamins and supplements. However, I am skeptical of packaged dog foods. I think they use the cheapest ingredients and rely on nutritional additives. My goal was to get them off this packaged food.
To improve Sugi’s health he also went on a traditional chinese medicine (si wu xiao feng yin) recommended by Sugi’s vet, Sue Pollen, for blood support and the same probiotic that I was on recommended by my naturopath, Jennifer Doan, (bacillus laterosporus before bed, and intensive acidophilus blend in the morning). Both Sue and Jennifer suspect that Sugi is prone to leaky gut syndrome. The probiotic helped clean up his skin and digestive tract and helped him digest more foods! The Chinese medicine helped him develop more energy and stamina.
Now on this diet for a few months, the dogs are benefiting in many ways: they are a good weight, their skin is healthy and their coats are shiny. They never have diarrhea, vomiting, gas or other digestive ailments. For now, I am steaming the veggies because I find that raw one’s give Sugi’s tummy a hard time. Tom eats either raw or cooked! ; ) I also add a bit of water to the food to make it more digestible.
I want Tom and Sugi to live a long healthy life, so I want to know that they are getting the best possible foods. I am continuing to develop new recipes and will post new ones as they develop.