Realizing that your dog has corn and wheat allergies can generate a sense of relief while simultaneously posing a dilemma: relief in the knowledge that you have identified the source of your dog’s endless itching, recurrent ear infections or weeping eyes and dilemma as to how to get beyond the seemingly bottomless pit of dog foods containing wheat and corn fillers. While there are some quality pre-made dog foods that are free of wheat and corn fillers, you may have better luck feeding your dog homemade meals.
Making the Switch
Gradually switch your dog from his kibble diet to your homemade diet to reduce the possibility of stomach upset. Introduce new meats slowly and only one at a time to allow time for potential allergens to be identified. If your dog does not react well to a newly introduced food source, eliminate that item from his diet. Raw tripe is a suggested transition meat because most dogs savor the flavor, and it is easy on their system.
Determine the correct amounts and proportions of homemade food choices for your dog so that his nutritional needs are met. There are a couple of rules of thumb to follow with regards to amounts to feed. Your dog’s ideal weight is the determining factor for calculating the amount to feed him each day.
Start with offering 2 to 3 percent of the ideal weight. For example: a 50-lb. dog would receive 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of food per day. Your dog’s activity level will determine if you need to adjust the amount. Watch for signs of gaining too much weight or losing too much weight, and adjust accordingly.
Choosing a Diet
Your next decision is what type of homemade diet to provide. Some people prefer to use the PREY model, which relies exclusively on raw meat, organs and raw, meaty bones.
Others will prefer the BARF (Biologically appropriate raw food) diet which includes 60% of raw, meaty bones and a rotating variety of 40% vegetables, fruit, eggs, organ meat and yogurt. A helpful hint for embarking on a homemade diet and gaining valuable insight for local meat sources and co-ops is to find an online group which participates in your dog’s chosen diet.
If you choose to create a BARF diet for your dog, you could expect to use a food processor to blend a chosen meat, such as chicken (pre-ground by your butcher if possible), with 1 or 2 eggs (including the shell), raw vegetables, flaxseed oil or salmon oil, chopped apples and possible some honey and/or garlic cloves. After mixing thoroughly, you can freeze 1-2 lb bags and pull them out by the day to thaw and serve to your dog (depending on his size and activity level).
A PREY model diet would include 5-10% organ meats, 5-10% heart (muscles), with the remainder being standard meats (for example, chicken breast) and raw, meaty bones.
It is crucial that all bones provided to your dog be raw, not cooked.
Examining your dog’s poop is a good indicator as to whether you are providing the correct proportion of meats to bones. If the poop is runny, you should add more bone. If it is overly chalky, you should reduce the amount of bone.
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