Friday, December 05, 2008

Tactical Retreat

After all of the agnosing and calculating, we've made a decision to pull back from the raw diet for the time being. The immediate reason is that the dogs are at the kennel for a week and we couldn't really expect the kennel owner to refrigerate a week's worth of raw dog food.

The secondary reason is that December is going to be a madhouse and not having to shop for and calculate the dogs' food ration is an item that I'm happy to have fall off the edge of the To-Do list.

We found a dog food called Real Nature that is probably better than anything we'd ever be able to assemble for them. Its primary ingredients are Angus Beef from South America, Barbary Duck, and some kind of fancy herring. Best of all, no corn and no wheat. I'd give you a link to the food, but it doesn't seem to have its own web site. It's made by a pet store company in Germany.

I was a little concerned about the propensity of kibble to expand with water, so I did an experiment and soaked a piece in water for a long while. Because of whatever special way this food is processed, it doesn't puff out the way regular kibble does. It just disintegrated over time. So it should be both yummy and safe in Callie's tummy.

Both dogs have taken to the food well, so we might just continue with it past the end of December. The downside is that we have to travel 30+miles one way to get it, but making that trip once a month wouldn't be bad. (Two bags should cover a month.)

I took the dogs to the kennel on Monday. It killed me to do it, especially leaving Callie for the first time. I hated leaving her after only 10 days, but it had to be done. She seemed fine with it, much more fine than Toby. He still hates going into the run, but I've perfected my technique and can get out of there before he's clamped onto my leg like a recalcitrant toddler.

The kennel owner, T, put Callie in the run and she trotted in with no fuss. T saw a problem though that I didn't quite understand, until she pulled up the outside dog door. Callie's too tall to fit through the door to the outside part of the run. The top of the door didn't even reach as high as her back. Oops. T assured me that she could take Callie outside a few times a day for bathroom breaks.

Just like prison, the dogs get play time in a fenced yard right behind the kennels. T is going to put Toby and Callie out for exercise together. This will double the amount of time they get and will also increase their exercise and burn off their excess energy. No matter how hyper he is, when Toby's outside by himself, he tends to chase his tail a little and then collapse in a heap of boredom. (Before we got Callie, I'd have to walk around outside to get him to run around at all.)

As much as I like my quiet, responsibility-free mornings, I really miss those damn dogs. On the drive up to Dublin, Peter said that it would be interesting if the dogs were able to send us texts about their stay at the kennels. The idea intrigued and amused me. So far, my imagination has gotten two texts from Toby.

The first simply said Suxors.The second said you broke my life. Maybe so. I'm looking forward to fixing it next week.

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At 5 December 2008 at 11:13, Blogger Babaloo said...

Yeah, I had meant to ask you about the raw food business. I think I've seen the food you have now in Maxi Zoo, sounds like a good choice. But also sounds expensive... Will have to check it out next time I go.

And no texts from Callie yet? ;-)

At 5 December 2008 at 19:12, Blogger -Ann said...

It's 60 euro for a 15 kilo bag, which will last us 15 days. (Callie gets 700g, Toby gets 300.)

Callie is way too cool to 'write' home.

At 6 December 2008 at 04:54, Blogger The Finely Tuned Woman said...

Well, the most important thing is that this food is good and nutritious and that the dogs like it. I try to find what the Überhund likes best and then I jazz it up with broth and a slice of wurst. Anything to get him to eat and no cheap food either. He is just a very fussy eater and won't just eat any old food. I am sure you know all about it.

At 6 December 2008 at 17:05, Blogger Faye said...

Leaving your pooch at a kennel is a lot like leaving a toddler at day care. I look for a lot of signs. Willie jumps out of the car willingly and marches into the reception area with tail wagging? Yes. Do they greet him like they're happy to see him? Yes, like he's the only dog to show up that day--good customer service. Does Willie hang back when I hand him over or does he trot back into his condo without being tricked? Yes. Does he get daily walks? Yes, you can pay extra for a daily "nature" walk.

It's hard to leave them any time, but comforting to know that it's not too upsetting to the dog. I'd still love to see what goes on throughout the day in the kennel.

At 7 December 2008 at 10:26, Blogger DogLover said...

Dogs are one's life, aren't they. Great comment about Boscoe, by the way - so that's how they did it! but how does he get down?

If anyone doesn't understand this comment, please go to:

At 8 December 2008 at 14:41, Blogger Kaycie said...

Jack has a terribly sensitive tummy, so both of our dogs have been on a corn and wheat free diet for a good long while. We use Innova kibble(Laurie's suggestion) supplemented with pumpkin, yogurt, canned Innova, and some fresh meat. The only time Jack has trouble is if the children leave bad human food in his reach.

I've never left the dogs in a kennel as I've not had the need in the two years we've had them. Thank goodness for family members willing to dog sit!

At 8 December 2008 at 15:24, Blogger Noelle said...

If I were to own a kennel, I'd totally text the owners. But maybe they are having fun, like I did at summer camp. I loved being at camp, because it was a change from the every day. But I did miss my parents a lot, even if I didn't miss my house. On the other hand, I had some great cool friends at summer camp who I missed while I was back at home.

Either way, I was fine without raw meat for those few weeks.

At 11 December 2008 at 18:12, Blogger -Ann said...

TFTW - Yes, older dogs in particular can become fussy eaters alirght.

Faye - Our regular kennel is booked for Christmas so I found a different one to take them to. I'll be interested to see if Toby reacts differently to the place.

DogLover - Maybe Boscoe jumps on Riley's back, sort of like a reverse boost, to get off the bed?

Kaycie - Mmm organic pumpkin. This is another downside of big dogs, you'd never really feel comfortable asking family or friends to look after them, since they are so huge.
It's one thing to have two little cuties bounding around your house and quite another to have our lot. :)

Noelle - My grandmother always said that when she was a kid, she never got homesick but she always got campsick when she returned home.

At 3 July 2009 at 15:20, Blogger catherine said...

Hi Ann

Found your Blog whilst researching "real nature". It is a fantastic food!!! Just started my Loki on it. Its cold pressed not dehydrated (hence the none puffyness)!
Sorry to hear about your kennel experience. I too had this problem and so to find the solution, I have started a small business called Woof Rehab based in Ardmore. I used to live in Co Cork too, moved here about 6 weeks ago for the business. If its any help, take a look at
I hate the idea of my Loki being pent up in Kennels, so I began an in home holiday home for dogs! Get in touch if you need any more info and Im sure the dogs will write soon :)

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