Giving our beasties love is easy; hugs, kisses, long walks, running or swimming. Those broad, open mouth grins say it all… and then they come home hungry. Food is yet another opportunity to express love and affection that says “I’m here for you, dude. You can depend on me!”
There are some great dog food brands out there including special formulas for breeds, needs or conditions and some with no biologically inappropriate ingredients. We tried many of them but each time the beasties had problems including skin rashes or doggy athlete’s foot. Twice most of the Tribe needed antibiotics for a mystery all over skin fungus. “Wadi Dogs are prone to these types of things” we were told. Huh? From lazing about and snoring on the sofa? We were mystified.
Most difficult was our princess Inara. From an early age she struggled with irritability, nervousness and fear not shared with her siblings. She was about 3 – 4 months old when she changed from a happy, active and bossy puppy to an agitated ball of hyper-vigilance, unwillingness and the odd tantrum. In time, we realised her kibble gave her terrible digestive trouble. Life is hard when you have a tummy ache ALL OF THE TIME! So we changed her kibble formula and saw her much relieved. When the agitation returned, we changed her food again. And then again. At one stage her skin broke out in big dark brown shadows under her light blond fur. She was a mess and we were at a loss as to how to help her.
Some people mentioned how a raw diet helped their special needs beastie. After overcoming some hesitation (what do you mean prepare meals for the dog? I had 2 minute noodles for dinner!) and disbelief (how can ALL of them have special needs?!?!?) we did our research, consulted with the experts and headed to LuLu, our local bulk-buy supermarket.
Success! Inara’s skin cleared up and she is less difficult, Jimmy no longer has red, swollen and itchy paw pads and we have not needed to pay for long courses of antibiotics. Woo hoo!
Feeding the Tribe a raw diet changed how we give them food and allows us to add a wider variety of games, obedience training and engagement activities into meal times. While it does mean a bit more work for us in preparing meals, we do see value in lower food and medical bills and a happier Tribe. Also, we can adjust food elements as needed. Max slowly moved from his restorative stews to a raw diet as his immune system health improved.
Here is one of this week’s love filled breakfasts. Right now, we use bowl-feeding at breakfast time to reinforce beasties’ lessons in patience, tolerance and emotional intelligence around each other and each other’s food. So far, it’s working!
Keep on Wrangling!