As I was cooking dinner last night, Paul said ‘That smells really good….what is it?”
Now these words don’t come out of his mouth very often. He’s not a foodie at all. He knows what he likes, and eats what he’s given.
“It’s the dogs dinner” I replied, admittedly with a note of pride in my voice.
His reply- “Dammit.” And I proceeded to make extra, just for him.
It was vegies and red lentils by the way. That’s it!
For those that have been following my journey for a while, you know what I feed my babies.
For those that are new, let me paint you a picture. A bit of background.
We adopted Charlie about 4 years ago. She was three days away from being put to sleep, and we fell in love with her immediately. She was shy, cowering, had been severely abused by her old owners and was about 10kg underweight. She’s a Labrador x German short haired pointer and you could see all of her ribs. I’d never thought about what to feed a dog before. Just the dry stuff from the supermarket or vet yeah?
So a big bag of Hills ‘Science’ diet was bought. We knew she hadn’t been getting great food at the shelter, and thought this was a major step up for her. She began to have diarrhoea, gas, bad breath and constipation.
Something wasn’t right.
I began walking her at our local park, where as fate would have it, I met another budding business owner and someone who loved his dog as much as me. Enter Phivo from Augustine Approved.
We talked food. By god, did we talk food. We delved deep and as he was formulating his now best selling product Super Boost, I was a guinea pig for him. I tried out all of his suggestions on Charlie. Immediately all of her diarrhoea, gas, bad breath and constipation cleared up.
Fast forward three years. We’d just come home from the USA and decided it was time that Charlie have a little brother. We asked the Universe for a beautiful boy who needed our love, and he was delivered almost immediately. My friend Lauren from Madame Leash had rescued a Golden Retriever from a backyard. He was locked up. Forgotten. Neglected. She rescued him from a similar fate, and looked after him until he was all better.
But now, four years after adopting Charlie, I’m well armed with knowledge of what to feed my babies, how to nurture them when they aren’t well, and what home remedies work for them.
Now, I want you all to take what I’m doing as an example. This may not help your dogs. Some of you may not agree with it. And that’s ok; what you do with your dogs I may not agree with either. But I’m sharing this with you in the good faith that it may just help your beloved pooch.
A dog’s life
My dogs have it easy. They are inside dogs, and get walked twice a day, for about an hour each time. I work from home, so am lucky enough to be able to give them attention when they need it. They relax, rest, sleep and play. They’re happiest when they’re with us (at least, I hope so) and we’re happiest when we’re with them. If we are stressed out or upset, they know. They feel it too. Dogs are highly intuitive and surrogate for our feelings and pain. My friend Sara from The Space in Between taught me that.
My darling Charlie has anxiety. She’s highly strung around new people; mostly men, and doesn’t trust easily. When she does though, watch out. You’ve got a friend for life. To help ease her anxiety, I use Australian Bushflower Essences on her.
Depending on what she needs, I’ve gone between Transition drops (great for when we’ve moved house or we are going away and she stays with my parents), Calm and Clear (for overall stress) and Emergency drops (when there is fireworks or thunder).
I also use Reiki on her. Reiki is an energy healing modality, and I’ve found it to be most effective for her. I have my level Two, again, taught by Sara.
I keep noise to a minimum in our home; I don’t like a loud TV, as I find that this worries her as well. Ever since we welcomed Hank into our home, she’s certainly calmed down. He’s been a great companion for her and they cuddle up next to each other to sleep.
This is a very common question I get asked. And it’s a short answer. And a long one too.
Basically, they eat what we eat.
I don’t feed them anything that we wouldn’t eat (with a few exceptions).
They eat twice a day. Morning and night. Some people say to only feed dogs once a day, but I like to feed them twice. They aren’t HUGE servings, but they are big enough to fill them up and ensure that they are getting everything they need.
Variety is hugely important for me. So it’s important that my dogs have that variety as well. How would you like to be fed the same dry kibble from a bag forever? Pretty boring huh?
They eat (only organic, of course) :
Vegetables – most kinds; sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrot, broccoli- especially the stem, beetroot, zucchini, and celery are their favourites. I also pop once clove of minced garlic in their food each week (helps with parasites and worms)
Fruit – apples, banana, watermelon, pear, strawberries, pineapple and mangoes are their top picks
Legumes/beans – lentils of all colours, chickpeas – they LOVE hommus, and split pea soup
Grains -I try not to feed them grains. I will feed them brown rice maybe once a month. If I let them eat whatever they wanted to, it would be bread. All day. And pasta. They are carb obsessed. The only small exception I make is if I’ve got a gorgeous loaf of sourdough, I cut them a small slice and indulge them. I can’t say no to those eyes.
Water – I give my dogs filtered water all the time; they can really tell the difference and its alkalinity ensures they remain in top condition. I am awaiting for my water filter to be installed, and in the meantime we are all drinking Saka Water from Alkaline World.
Fats – Flaxseed oil (drizzled over their food), and Vanuatu Wild Harvest Coconut Oil. They lick it right off the spoon!
Miscellaneous – Quinoa, fresh coconut meat, almond butter, duck and bird poop, sesame seeds, chia seeds, coconut yoghurt, carob bites, smoothies, sardines, curry, soup, stir fry…..again, almost anything we eat (except the poop- that’s totally their thing!)
Meat – a hotly debated topic. Very hot. I don’t feed my dogs meat at all. So does that make them vegan?
Not necessarily. I hate labels. I don’t think they are necessary. When they are at home, they eat what we eat (a plant based diet). When they stay with my parents and we are away, they will have what my parents have had (mum and dad give their dogs leftovers- they make extra servings for the pups) and dry food. Does the dry food impress me? No, not really. But, they are looking after my babies for me, and I ensure that they have plenty of carrot and celery sticks, fruit and snacks to enjoy.
Every other day, Paul will give them bones. Of course, free range, grass fed, organic. Again, I don’t love it. But they weren’t raised as puppies by us. They’ve had meat and god knows what else before. They’ve eaten mice and rats and probably dead birds. I think Hank tried to eat a frog the other day. I try to intuitively choose what I know will be best for them right at that moment. I ask them. I give them choices. And I can usually tell the answer.
So what exactly do they eat?
Vegies, and lots of them. I will gently boil up a massive pot of vegies and lentils, drizzle it with coconut oil, and add a sprinkle of Augustine’s SuperBoost by Augustine Approved. I add chia seeds, sardines, sesame seeds and spirulina powder. I also use Missing Link in their food. They love carrots as snacks. I buy a 5kg bag of organic juicing carrots for the week and they munch on them. I make extra soup and bulk it up with some raw vegies (they love broccoli stalks) and their superfoods and healthy fats. I often add lentils to their dinners. They fart a bit (sometimes a lot) but their poo is always fantastic, formed and a nice colour. Yes, I look. I take note. Poo says a lot about whats going on inside!
For heaps of dog-friendly, and of course, human friendly recipes, check out my ebooks here.
I take them to holistic vets. We had an amazing Vet, who was recommended to me by so many people. His name is Dr Avinder, and he is in Lower Plenty. He’s incredible. It was the first time I’d felt like I wasn’t crazy for not wanting to vaccinate my dogs! He supported my dogs diet, as well as the home care they get from me.
My poor Hank suffers with very sensitive skin. His breeding has probably done this, as Charlie has never had a skin issue before.
Hot spots– Coconut oil, calendula oil and cream, aloe vera gel, Super Heal from Augustine Approved and cool compresses have all helped Hanks hot spots (which are similar to eczema and can bleed when they’re scratched too much).
Bathing– Augustine’s SuperBath (calendula tea rinses), and Weleda Baby Calendula Shampoo (I know that human shampoo can interrupt the pH of dog’s skin, but when they’ve rolled around in something smelly or dead, they need a good lather).
Fleas – I’ve never given them anti-flea tablets. Ever. I truly believe that their diet and the shampoos that I use keep the fleas away, and I check them very regularly, just to be safe. But why give them a tablet when they don’t have a need for it?
Worms– Until we moved here, I’d never given them worming tablets either. They’d never shown symptoms, and were given the all clear many times by our Vet. He ‘prescribed’ them one clove of garlic in their food each week. When we told him we were moving here, it broke my heart to have to start giving them worming tablets. He told me that ring and heart worm was rife up here in QLD, and that no homeopathic remedy would help. But that’s ok. A small bump in the road.
Ticks– Again, I’d never anti-ticked them. Dr Avinder said nothing homeopathic or herbal will prevent paralysis from ticks, so we decided to go down the conventional route. If you know of great natural tick treatments I’d love to know!
Dental Care- The only time I’ve ever brushed their teeth, is if they’ve eaten other dogs poo. And when that happens, I crack open my homemade toothpaste recipe, featured in my Stripped Bare program
And thats about it.
Nothing too crazy right?
You may be shaking your head, thinking of all of these excuses…..
“I don’t have time” – make time. You make time for yourself, or you should- so treat them the same
“I can’t afford organic” – buy spray free produce from a farmers market, or wash conventional in Apple Cider Vinegar
“I can’t afford superfoods” – a little bit goes a long way, and they will last you a while
“I don’t want to spend the money on them” – well have fun paying for their Vets bills, which run into the thousands!
I don’t make excuses when it comes to my health, or the health of my dogs. They are family. Family gets the best there is.
But you know what the number one thing is that I give my pups?
Nothing beats a mama’s love. And they get plenty of it.
Go and give your pooch a cuddle. Talk to them. They can hear you, and it stimulates their brain waves. Don’t yell at them, or be cruel. Don’t smack or hurt them. Give them your heart and they will give it back to you, filled with so much joy, love and peace. Dogs are the best people.
If you want more great ideas, recipes and homemade remedies, why not check out my latest ebook?
Filled with over 80 pages, all made with love, from my family to yours!
Love, Adele, Charlie and Hank!
PS. If you’ve got a dog, or know someone who loves their dogs, why not share and like this article? Keep spreading the Vegie Head love!