Get friendly with your local butcher

GMO food is of course full in business. If it is dog (or cat) pet food, usually huge quantity is GMO; - and manufacturers produce under licenses. This is the reason why I would like to point to a possibility how we can feed our beasts not only more cost-effective but above all healthier. Well, that also has a catch: like everything in life that is of course connected with some work. The reward is high: Fewer visits to the vet, at least 50% savings in costs to feed the dogs and many other benefits.

How to do it: Here in France, butchers are paying quite a lot for the disposal of their waste sections, meat cuttings, because they should not throw them in the garbage. They're really glad if someone comes and asks for them to give this, unsuitable for human consumption, meat residues. As a compensation I usually give the butcher and his team this English jams and cakes (the guys like sweet things) but I do not pay in money. But since I saw what cutting I got, I never bought meat in a retail chain butchery!! A few other favours are also good *

In our small town (Uzes) I get from the butcher per week about 20 to 30 kg of this cuttings in one of these beautiful black garbage bags. In the garden is standing one huge cooker under which I set a fire and then cook the entire contents for about one hour. I rarely feed raw meat, only when the beasts stare at me while cooking their feed.

Raw meat firstly increases the risk of worm infestation and secondly because raw meat can result in changes in behaviour in dogs - especially for hunting dogs ...

After the cooking excess-fat must be cut out (I biol this fat extra for a while, till the fat is a liquid, add sun flower seats into this liquid, this together comes into these plastic yoghurt cups with a stick inside. Once this is dry and hard, I'm hanging this into the trees so the noisy birds have to eat as well ;-)).

For the dogs the meat residues must be cut into smaller pieces. Some dogs have so bad eating habits and would swallow half a cow. Some are simply eating too fast. Cartilage is good but 90% of the bones I throw into the trash.

Too many bones are not good and also the garden would soon look like a cemetery because most dogs would simply bury the bones which in turn also attracts rats and other unwanted animals.

However, what remains of this weekly cooking session are ultimately about 1O kg dog food (weight loss by cooking). In my case, it looks like this: a Rottweiler needs about 800 grams to 1 kg of food per day, for both this is about 500 grams uncontaminated food per day in the morning (I give it after the 1 hour walk in the fields). In the evening then they are getting this simple "GMO"dry food from one of the many vendors. It is important when you travel with your dog! They are in kind of stress when travelling, eating is not on top of their agenda then, so they simply have to used to eat this "convenience" food as well...

I someone has some ideas for improvement would be good.

what breeders did to GSDs is a typical evidence for mankind's spleen for standardisation. You will have a lot to do.

There is a big variance across animal species and then breeds of dogs to take into account as well. It takes a veterinary nutritionist/dietician to explain that but I remember that it is not just size that matters in that respect.

Interesting. I must say that my dogs are generally healthy. The border collie does canicross and agility and is ten years old now, very lively, but he has had some dandruff which the vet said was an allergy to flea saliva. However, I did come across a site called Raw Meaty Bones (from another post on SFN) which had some interesting theories about dog's diets.

Oh yes, they lick yoghurt pots clean, fromage frais or anything of the kind. I give them a couple of raw eggs a week, also the GSD gets fish for the omegas since he is now getting old and having seen one of his breed with his hips painful broke my heart, especially when he was in so much pain I took the vet's advice and let him give the shot.

But they love yoghurt and eggs. This Müssli thing is more for this Latzhosen girls

Yes, BARF is a great way to feed dogs - I also used to feed cats and ferrets that way. Unfortunately the demand is so high at all local butchers, probably hunters, that there are orders which leave little for us. We would be happy to part feed BARF and the other Theo's cooked way, five minutes in the pot only, for storing it. I have always mixed with meal/dry food of some kind but finding the ones without excessive corn grains and cereal flakes that dogs cannot digest is difficult.

Sorry for answering you all together but I don't want this post becoming too long. My remarks below are based on my own experiences, scientists may have endlessly more to say. My intention is just that you use "normal" dog food and do not buy just all this GMO food.

Yes Valerie, of course it works out cheaper. And I think giving something like 10 € for their "coffe-cash box" would also do. I get the things for our butcher from M&S in Paris. My wife was teaching him to to cook also such things like curry at a bq party, - which he is selling as chicken (even beef) curry, ready made, to artisans during the week. But this natural "material is simply better. I want my buddy's staying atheltic and not like this wobbley dogs, in praxis: we never walk less then 10 km per day, rain or not, so you can imagine the dogs are doing almost the double. This is my spiritual healing from political nonsense when writing for German media ;-)...

Liz, cooking is because the male likes to hunt. He is a 62 kg Rottweiler. He was already sitting several times on the back of a huge 100 kg male wild boar... Well, he is gentle like a bear but when someone is teasing him he can't come over his Macho spleen and really becomes kind of angry. He does this with other male dogs as well. But this then would cause problems with the hunters, or farmers, who know very well who is roaming arround their fields. They love my dogs because fearless as they are they lead them to the boars... However dogs can get aggressive when they discover the relation of a prey and raw meat. They know its the food they are getting. And then dog is dog. That's why I don't feed totally raw. The other reason is they are becoming more adaptable for worms because they don' t get the antibiotic cattle is getting these days. You have to de-worm 4 to 6 times a year if you only feed raw. The chemical impact on liver and kidneys at least for me, is unpredictable...

Frances, it is as I wrote to Liz. The reason is, I do not want my dogs chasing a prey. They are Rottweilers. This demands certain responsibilities as they are listed dogs. The last thing I want to do is to contribute to this utterly nonsense Rottweilers are dangerous! Its enough hassle when we are once a month in Paris, spending hours in "parc bolonge".

Louise, your question is clear and the answer is: no vet ever (except the nessesarry & obligatory vaccinations) My vet, an elderly Lady, is familiar for over 30 years with the breed (have had to go to the process of registering them as listed dogs because they ae Rotties). Of course there is very, very good dry feed which is around 100 Canadian dollars per 20 kg made by a family company near Vancouver. That's a bit much for us, - unless the sniffing Rottie girl continuous to find more truffles. I'm also not willing to put up at the customs with importing food from outside the EU). We went through all these minor issues all young dogs have: like a teary eye because "Monsieur" must keep his thick head out of the moving car window so he can bark for other dogs (funny macho). There were even signs of arthritis in the shoulder at him and hip dysplasia with her. Such signs are important to deal with instantly. We did this in the 2nd year of their life with traditional Chinese medicine that 100% cured it. Still the best success came simply through untreated diet, raw food.

I find this interesting. I have used croquettes for my dogs but find the differences in price surprising as they are all supposedly made from food industry waste and I know many people who pay over €60 for a bag of croquettes. Do you think the butcher's meat is better? How does it cut down on visits to the vet?

Interested in what you have to say about not feeding working dogs raw food. Have you had experience of this being detrimental to their hunting/retrieving ability? I feed raw as well, although I mainly buy specially prepared food, and believe I can really see the benefits in the dogs.

Great post but why not feed uncooked? We feed our dog a BARF or raw diet, that includes bone, cartilege, offal and raw veg, and he eats the lot, his faeces dissapear quickly and are not offensive, we would not go back to commercial dog food…

Great post, Theo. I actually keep meaning to do this as my local butchers has recently re-opened so I might Google helpful words before I go in (offal, bone, waste) and see what they say. I wouldn't mind paying them (a small amount - that's all I have) for a bag full every week. In the long term, it would probably work out cheaper than tins of dog food anyway. I'll keep you posted.