The Effects of Home Made Diet on the Run A Muck Ranch Dogs: Gracie at 15 Months

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A freak first ask forgiveness later incident happened involving Gracie Friday night, and we spent some time at the vet.  Gracie was and remains fine.

I on the other hand really need to stop seeing fatal diseases around every corner.  As long as we were at the vet, may as well make it worth it, so a blood test was ordered to see how Gracie is doing on the home made diet plan.  Gracie has been on the plan for 15 months and this is her second blood test.  This time, we ran a urinalysis as well.

   [Gracie’s Blood Results]

Humor me!  Actually click on the link to see what we found!

The elevated Creatinine doesn’t concern me since everything else was within normal limits.  Gracie was gassy – probably from scarfing her way late dinner – possibly from eating something that didn’t agree with her in the back yard that morning – who knows.  If she was bloated with gas most of the day, she might not have drunk as much as she should have, especially when the temperature had risen to the un-holy measure of 88 degrees.  Remember, none of the Run A Muck Ranch dogs can survive in temperatures above 82 degrees, and we have the electric bills to prove it!  Nothing like a little dehydration to elevate the Creatinine levels from time to time.

Other than that one measure, Gracie is straight A’s within normal ranges for everything.

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To date, no vet, not even the “nutritional specialists” I have actively sought out and paid for consultations, has asked me what I feed my dogs.    The constant recommendation from the ‘specialists’ is that I change all the dogs back to a commercial diet.  Any commercial diet, they say, would be better than a home made diet.

Am I stupid?  You be the judge:

AAFCO, which writes the guidelines on commercial dog food, has 3 ways to bring a dog food to market  (overly simplified descriptions):

1.   The proposed food may be analyzed by a laboratory.  If the nutrient content meets the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate.   Digestibility or useability of the nutrients are not guaranteed.  As long as the correct molecules are present, you’re good to go.

2.  A list of ingredients for the proposed food is imputed into a computer program. If the combination of ingredients meet the minimum requirements set forth by AAFCO, the food is considered adequate.  It is possible this way to produce food that has little or no nutritional value, i.e. it is possible to meet the ‘protein requirement’ with plant material alone and be considered adequate.  However, there is no guarantee that all essential amino acids are provided.  The food does not have to be analyzed in a laboratory, or fed to a single dog, to pass muster.

3.  8 dogs start, but only 6 need finish, a 26 week feeding trial.  At the end of the feeding trial, hemoglobin, packed cell volume, Alk Phos and serum albumin are tested.  If those blood parameters are within normal range, and the dogs in the trial have not lost more than 15% body weight since the beginning of the trial, the food is declared adequate.

There is actually a 4th way available to manufacturers of several foods, but isn’t relevant since the original food had to pass one of the 3 tests described.

Gracie's desert find is NOT on the diet plan!
Gracie’s desert find is NOT on the diet plan!

Morty, Willy and Slugger are only on a taste of home made with the bulk of their meals being commercial due to cost and cooking time issues.  That leaves 11 Run A Muck Ranch dogs being fed the diet plan solely.  9 have been maintained for longer than AAFCO’s 26 weeks (Pablo and Gertie are recent residents and not included in the dog count which exceeds AAFCO protocols – at least for now).  Blood tests are ongoing, and I check a whole lot more than the 4 parameters required and accepted by the experts.  OK, so I don’t test every dog each time, but every dog is tested and tests are repeated for each dog.

To date, there have been no health issues that can be linked to nutrition.  Remember, when Vito started having his seizures, I immediately bared my wrists, both to the regular vet and to the ultrasound vet, offering up diet as a cause.  Neither would bite.  Ultimately, it was verified diet was not a factor.

Will I convert back to commercial, any commercial?  Nope!  Until I have a veterinary nutritional expert, heck, just any vet for that matter, actually ask me what I feed (none have, believe it or not), and tells me specifically what is wrong with it, I will stay with what I’m doing, with the ultimate goal of getting the ‘neglected 3’ (Morty, Willy and Slugger) on the plan as well.

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6 thoughts on “The Effects of Home Made Diet on the Run A Muck Ranch Dogs: Gracie at 15 Months

    1. I think if AAFCO didn’t just ask the PFI what the guidelines should be, instead, looked for research from impartial 3rd parties to write the book, perhaps I’d feel a little better about their status 🙂

    1. I think the veterinarians in your neck of the woods are a little more open minded than ours.

      Do you mind me asking what you feed?

  1. You are such an amazing dog Mom, and I am sending massive kudos for the amount of love and effort you put into meals at your place!! I think we would all like to come live with you guys 😀

    I wish that i could cook for my crew, I reallly hate feeding them kibble. I hate even more when I am told by “experts” to feed a particular kibble (that costs a thousand times more) and when I flip it over and read the ingredients its made up of various types of garbage: byproducts, corn, soy, color, crap. It makes me sad for doggies world wide that those kinds of foods even exist. It’s criminal. I cook for Christmas, as she was morbidly obese and I didn’t know what else to do, and it really does help her maintain a healthy body weight, but I have no idea if I am doing well by her, and no one to discuss it with here as all vets i’ve spoken to can only recommend one of those expensive crap laden kibbles I mentioned above which I refuse to even consider.

  2. I started an e-mail to you, but then it turned into a book. Didn’t want to scare you by sending it:)

    “Home feeding” is easier than you think, but hard to think of everything, if that makes sense.

    When you have a dog infestation, it can prove cost prohibitive. Even we have the neglected 3 – Willy, Morty and Slugger who only get a taste of the fresh food, and mostly kibble. Gertie was on that list until her vet situation last month. We had no choice but to convert her. And then there’s the preparation time factor and the immense amount of time spent cleaning up if your food processor explodes 🙂

    If you want to ‘chat’ and won’t be afraid of what may turn into lengthy e-mails, let me know!

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