Choosing Your Shiba’s Diet

When choosing what to feed your dog, here are the factors to consider:

  • Health
  • Convenience
  • Dog’s Preferences
  • Price

Health

There is the raw, meaty bones diet which logically makes the most sense to me (see my “Raw Diet” page), but what about the price tag? What about if you don’t have freezer space or have no room for an extra freezer? What if you don’t want to deal with raw meat and bones and dividing it into the correct portions? Are there any other options that will still support my dog’s health?

Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn (“Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats: Fourth Edition”) is a strong advocate for feeding our dogs plant-based meals. I don’t agree with why he came to this conclusion, as my husband and I are huge supporters of regenerative farming, however it is interesting to note that he claims that his clients’ pets do very well on fresh, homemade, plant-based diets. He mentions that animals fed a mostly raw meat diet do not get enough calcium, but I would assume that is because they were not being fed enough bones, which are high in calcium.

He claims that dogs have adapted genetically over time to be able to digest our grains and other plants. He also goes on to mention that we can give our animals supplements to help them better digest plants and to make sure they are getting all the vitamins and minerals they need. To me that’s not sustainable or natural, though I don’t think it’s *wrong* to use supplements with your dog of course!

The reason why I bring this up is simply to mention that you do have the option of whole, cooked foods, which is different than kibble (which is heated to high temperatures and highly processed). Even though I think raw is best, I think whole cooked foods are still WAYYYYY better than kibble.

Convenience

Some people have time to portion out raw meat and freeze in individual packets. Some people have time to cook homemade meals for their pets. And some people just don’t have the time (or want to use their time) for either. You have to look at your schedule, lifestyle, and how much effort you’re willing to put in. This can vary from time to time. Some days, a prepackaged dehydrated mix might be best for you, and other times you might like buying bulk meat and dividing it out into the correct portions.

Dog’s Preferences

No matter what *I* think about a certain food and it’s health benefits, if my dog won’t eat it, I’m wasting my time and money. You obviously have to choose something that your dog will actually eat.

Price

You obviously have to consider what you can afford and what you can’t. Maybe a homemade diet is appealing to you because rice and beans are cheap. Maybe you can spend $30 a month on food and can buy some chicken backs and a deydrated raw mix and alternate between raw and dehydrated. Maybe you can add an egg each day to whatever they are eating. Maybe your kids never eat all their food, so half of your dog’s diet can be leftovers from family meals. Whatever the case may be, you can find something that works for you, and you can always change what you’re doing if needed!

What Do We Feed Our Dogs?

Our dogs’ diet varies from day to day but may include the following: raw chicken backs, raw meat mix specifically formulated for dogs, Only Natural Pet’s “Easy Raw” or “Wholesome Homemade” dehydrated food, raw eggs, leftovers, raw milk. AND… wild animals caught on our farm, like moles, birds, and mice. My personal preference at this time, taking everything into consideration, is Only Natural Pet’s “Wholesome Homemade”. My dogs hate eating it wet, so I let them eat it dry and make sure they have plenty of water available.

I will send along some of the food that the pup has been eating when he goes home with you. If you choose to feed kibble, be aware that your pup may go through some digestive upsets as he/she transitions from a raw diet to a kibble diet (just as a pup would even when switching kibble brands). 

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