Tuesday, May 14, 2013

popo's PMR diet - part 2

if you've read the whole chunk in my previous post on popo's transition into a PMR diet, and wondering / doubting / considering it, let me also share with you some of the doubts and concerns i had.

is kibble really rubbish?
when my grandmother first saw me cutting up the chicken for popo, she commented (in mandarin), "good ah, this one fresh. those dry ones processed before one". that got me thinking. a 70 year old housewife saw it so easily, why did it take me so long to realize that?

* does kibble look anything like chicken? beef? pork? fish? no right? so something was done to the meat. i don't know, all that came to my mind is this huge container where everything is just dumped into it, mixed and cooked, artificial stuff added, then come out from the machine as what we call, kibble.
* i read somewhere that someone compared dogs eating kibbles to human eating cereal. it's has all the nutrients, but try eating it everyday. it sucks eh?  
* no matter how grain-free they claim to be, there'll always be grains. they're used as fillers, to form the shape and texture of the kibbles. dogs don't need, and can't digest, grains. it's also one of the causes of allergies. 
* how can it stay on the shelf for so long? this is common sense - preservatives. like maggi mee. i bet you can survive on eating it every day. but will you be healthy in the long run?

i also read that most owners who switched to raw never switch back to kibbles, unless they're unable to afford raw meat anymore, or that it's harder to find meat sources in their area. besides, if you've tasted steak, would you go back to cereal? :\

furthermore, think about this. have you seen articles anywhere that recommends kibbles and are not written by a pet food company? i personally haven't. yet there are so many articles encouraging raw feeding, written by dog nutritionists and holistic vets and experienced raw feeders. if they don't earn by spreading this information, why do they still do it? 

however, having said that, i do know people who still feed their dogs kibbles, or feed it interchangeably with raw food. some reasons i gathered - for showing purposes, too expensive (especially for big dogs), or that the dogs cannot take raw food. truth be told, it is a fact that some dogs can be healthy eating kibbles their whole life, and some dogs can't take raw. it was also one of my concerns if popo could and would thrive on raw food. but you never know if you don't try, right?

eating raw meat makes the dog bloodthirsty (first thing my mum said)

look at her face. popo bloodthirsty? for her soft toy perhaps. *shrugs* but i understand where it's coming from. popo growled for the first time during her first chicken wing meal. that was when i tried to move her from the newspaper to the towel. that night, she growled again when we played tug-of-war. 

now, for play-growling, i asked my best friend google, and he said she was most probably getting quite confident and not afraid to show me she's having fun. that's not a bad thing isn't it? building popo's confidence is what i've been trying to do. also, sometimes when we play tug-of-war, i'll quickly swop the toy with my finger to see if she bites. she realizes that almost immediately so she just licks it. and she used to nibble my nails way before i changed her diet, and still does. -_- anyway, she doesn't growl anymore during tug-of-war. :X

however, i'm going to be honest about it. resource guarding is a common result of raw feeding. i used to be able to stick my hand in her kibble bowl with no problem, but apparently not the same for raw. once i made the mistake of trying to grab the wing from her when i thought she might choke on it. i didn't succeed in the end, but it got her all scared and nervous, and got me thinking and doing more research on this. here's what i learnt from the experienced raw feeders.

* any dog will bite. which is something naive me refuses to believe. maybe i'll wait till popo bites me then.
* while it might escalate into a bite, resource guarding is not aggression.
* resource guarding has nothing to do with diet. it can be anything that the dog deems valuable enough to put up a fight for, like food or toys. i guess to popo, kibbles and cooked chicken just ain't worth the effort. :P
* resource guarding can be countered by training, something i definitely need to work on. she has also taken very much to guarding her stuffed toy; she carries it around in her mouth. i've been working on that one first, and so far she does let go of the toy when i ask her to.
* dogs have the right to eat in peace, and you should only give food that you don't need to take it back. my mistake. i try not to let people crowd around her. she's pretty okay with me monitoring her nearby so i'm still doing that. i leave her alone when i'm not feeding bones though. (sometimes i hand-feed her to make her realize that I'M the one giving the food, so there's no point guarding it against me.)

germs and bacteria on/in raw food
yes, there are germs and bacteria on it, and you may think it's safer to cook them first. but cooking destroys the nutrients and live enzymes inside, so what's the point then? and don't forget there's also germs and bacteria on the floor, their bed, their bowls, their toys, your hand, the sofa, everywhere (don't pretend you don't know they lick their butt)! 

according to the many articles online, dogs' saliva can eliminate bacteria. i guess that's why people say their saliva has 'healing properties'. their stomach acid are also strongly acidic, which not only kills bacteria but also speeds up the digestive process. add that to a shorter intestine, and the bacteria (or whatever is left) gets pooped out before they have a chance to manifest. 

nevertheless, this was one of my worries, despite having read so many assurances. in western countries (somehow the westerners are more willing to share pictures and information on this topic), they feed their dogs outside the house. on the grass. no problem eh. some feed meat that has gone a little bad. no problem. some dogs bury the meat in the garden and eat it days later. no problem. some eat roadkill. no problem. some give the chicken directly, head and feathers included. no problem. i keep telling myself, as compared to all these, the human-grade (which means suitable for human consumption) meat i buy from the supermarket, washed, and that she eats it on a towel, must surely be cleaner.

and parasites INSIDE the meat. (freezing kills parasites.) chicken was not that bad i suppose. but i was quite hesitant when deciding what meat to get next. i can't feed beef at home due to religious reasons (which to me is unfair because popo didn't ask for it), people have been telling me duck is poisonous and pork is unclean, and that mutton results in a smelly odour. -_- i can't remain with chicken only, so what can i feed?

i've read about this before. seriously, we need to stop using our human standards to gauge or measure the dogs. what WE think is good or bad for us/them, may not be true in actual fact. let's go with mother nature. i believe if mother nature designed them to eat meat in the wild, she would have made sure they're equipped with the necessary stuff to deal with and survive on it. raw feeders in singapore feed all sorts of meat with no problem so i guess it takes a little of that worry off. :|

p/s. kibbles aren't as clean and sterile as you think they are

yes. i'm still very worried about this. dogs don't chew in their mouths. they'll gladly swallow if it's small enough, and give a chomp or two if not. which is why i always monitor when i give popo a bone meal (or make sure someone's watching her). initially i was super hesitant to give bones, so i searched for videos and photos of papillons eating bones. managed to find a pappy puppy gnawing a wing and that made me so much more assured. while it's an understandable concern, i don't think it's a reason not to give bones. because they can *touchwood* choke on anything - bones, kibbles and treats alike.

i was getting advice from someone who wrote a book on the PMR diet. here's what he said.

of course there are. PMR is not as easy as scoop and pour, although i guess it's easier than homemade BARF. main difficulty would be the nutrient value. kibbles or prepacked raw already come with pre-allocated nutrients, but for PMR, we have to monitor ourselves. as they say, a poorly executed PMR plan is just as bad as kibbles.

we also have to separate the food into individual packets (sometimes i weigh sometimes i don't) so it's easier to take just that amount down to thaw. and we have to remember to take it down to thaw, or popo won't have the next meal (though i've heard some dogs prefer stuff frozen or semi-frozen). 

expenses-wise, my mum buys majority of the chicken at the market (she pays!) so it's pretty cheap. i think she got the liver for free too. but i buy my chicken and pork from the supermarket (i think it's safer), which is slightly more expensive. saw the prices of lamb and beef and am horrified lmao. overall, i spent $20 (cost price) on her initial pack of kibbles, which could last a couple of months comfortably. last month, she ate like, $30 of chicken, and that's gonna go up cos chicken is the cheapest. nevertheless, i'm still pretty happy that she's eating natural healthy food (loving it too!) and can't wait for everything to work out.

of course, the biggest disadvantage about this diet, is that reading about it opened me to more knowledge on dog nutrition. which made me think back about the kind of food we were feeding bobby 10 years ago - pedigree (crap kibbles), rice (grains) and wet food (enhanced). perhaps, just perhaps, we were slowly killing him with the rubbish he's eating? perhaps i could have more years with him if i had known about all these back then?

one more thing, don't expect to get help or advice or information from your vet on raw feeding. lol. most vets (i believe there's just one semi-holistic vet in the whole of singapore) don't know or encourage or advise or recommend raw feeding. from what i gather - firstly, vets are not nutritionists. they only solve problems. secondly, vets have limited nutrition lectures in school, which are often by pet food companies. thirdly, i don't believe they don't earn commission from selling the food in their clinic. the vet clinic which i go to is considerably one of the better clinics and i got a curt "no comment" when i asked if raw food was better. i bet she could say more if i asked which dry food was better! tsk.

Oh wells. The end! From what I see, raw feeding is indeed still very 'new' and unknown among majority of dog owners in singapore. If I weren't working here, I guess I would never have gotten popo nor found out about this diet. It's pretty common overseas, but locally, the only places I could find information on this was through the forums, and even there it wasn't very comprehensive. Usually raw feeders will reply to a raw-feeding question, but not share about their own experience. I guess I'm pretty lucky to be able to befriend a few experienced raw feeders and to have them guide me and answer my long-winded questions. XD

Therefore I decided to share my experience for newcomers to get a brief overview of what raw feeding is about. Of cos, I didn't cover all the points. That's for potential raw feeders to do some work themselves. I know it's contradicting cos I don't take meat myself, but as of now I'm really enjoying feeding and seeing her eat her meat. I really really hope everything goes well cos I really really don't want to go back to kibbles. LOL.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...