Banning the Bag
When Chase was just a puppy, he had several conditions that affected his immune system. He was the sole litter survivor of parvovirus, and then promptly caught the mange. He was so small that I used an Igloo cooler to dip him twice a week into a medicated mixture that didn’t seem to work. The vet suggested a diet rich with immune boosting foods so I cooked for my puppy for several months until he was fully recovered.
Thirteen years later mealtime was becoming a battle of the wills. Molly and Chase were fine with kibble but Charlie refused to eat it until we layered shredded cheddar cheese on top. If the other two saw us garnish Charlie’s meal, they demanded the same treatment. Charlie usually abandoned the bowl once the cheese was gone and Molly and Chase would finish it off for him. Older dogs, dry dog food plus days filled with napping caused serious weight gains. The vet declared Chase chunky in April and I hurt my back trying to give Molly a bath. I knew they needed a change.
I threw out the dog food and headed to the grocery store filling my cart with ground turkey, chicken, spinach, peas, green beans, sweet potatoes, apples, carrots, zucchini, brown rice and light red kidney beans. Then with my crock pot I assembled a meal that would last three dogs a week. Very quickly, the three-pack began to associate the crock pot with their meals. They watched me each Saturday evening as I chopped and assembled layers within the large appliance and they smelled the meal cooking all night long. They waited very patiently, until at least six in the morning when they barked until I fed them. They became excellent judges of time. Meals were at 6:30 in the morning and 6:30 in the evening and they would not allow a deviation from the schedule.
I also explored sweet potatoes as dog treats (sliced and tossed with olive oil and cinnamon and baked for 3 hours at 250 degrees). These were also a success. The best indicator, however, was a vet visit at three months. Molly and Chase had lost ten pounds each and Charlie was down by two. The vet was very pleased, the dogs were content with their new and improved diet and I was now the official crazy dog lady.