Recently I have discovered a Zero-Waste community over on Instagram. It is inspiring to see people around the world striving to live without leaving a trail of trash behind them. Through this community I’ve learned a number of good tips and merchants where one can buy package-free goods (here is a good one). A blog post on this is coming soon… providing my boys nap at the same time at least couple times this coming week, so I get a chance to get to my computer. 🙂
One thing I noticed people have difficulty with even among the Zero-Waste community is finding a package-free (read trash-free) way to feed our four-legged buddies both canine and feline. So, I wanted to put this little blog post together, because this area is one where one can easily shift away from packaged goods. In fact, in Russia and Kazakhstan where I come from we never bought dog food and always fixed dog food at home, using the same produce we had for our family.
Most prepackaged supermarket and feed store kibbles often utilize rendered animals (i.e., euthanized shelter animals, ill/diseased and antibiotic ridden livestock, roadkill, etc.) as their main source of protein. Some kibbles are preserved with preservatives that are used to preserve your automobile’s tires! Top name brand kibbles included.
Absolutely terrible, right?! So I’m going to share few things here, so that between all this information you can find a way to feed your furry family member in the way that is most workable for you while being zero-waste and most nutritious as well.
(no, it’s not a typo 🙂 )
Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
First I want to share the information about BARF diet. I know, it doesn’t sound particularly appetizing.. :))) But, it is a great approach to your canine’s healthy diet and is based on what the canine bodies were build to eat by nature. In a nutshell, BARF is a diet based on raw meat, fruits, vegetables and bone. However, here at our home, I can’t say we stick with BARF and we surely do not buy any special fancy BARF meals. After all, we are trying to live as close to a package-free life-style as we can. But I like the ideology behind BARF diet and try to bring it in as much as I can when feeding my dog.
Here are some good resources to read on on BARF:
What we feed our dog
Note: According to our holistic vet some dogs may be allergic to poultry or grain. Just something to keep in mind.
I was going to write that our dog Zoki eats the same food as the rest of the family, but it wouldn’t be entirely true to Zoki’s greatest disappointment. Zoki find it very unfair that she doesn’t get the same share of shish kebabs as the rest of the family. But joking aside, her meals are very similar. I’m going to list the types of things she eats.
Protein and bones
Bones are very important for canine dental health. So we regularly give them to Zoki in addition to meat.
- Raw beef meat. I buy what’s on sale at our local butcher’s shop, usually stew meat, sometimes ribs, sometimes ground meat.
- Beef or pork ribs. Occasionally I also get marrow bones, but Zoki doesn’t always like them.
- Cooked chicken — Zoki eats both meat and some bones (wing tips, neck, chest bones). According to BARF chicken bones should never be cooked, but all three of my dogs always ate bones from cooked kitchen and loved them.
- Cooked fish (meat and skin) — from time to time we make fish soup based on home made salmon broth. Zoki loves both the meat and the skin of boiled fish.
- Egg — Zoki would not come near a raw egg, but likes when I share my fried egg or a hard boiled egg. Dogs in India ate raw eggs no problem though.
- Zoki’s favorite are cooked carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, beets. Zoki does not like any raw veggies I tried to give her her BARF recommendations.
- My other dog loved cucumbers and watermelon. Some friend’s dog also loves apples and pears.
Note: according to our holistic vet grains may cause allergy in pets.
- Zoki loves cooked rice and lentil
Every dog is different
The above are just examples of what we feed our dog Zoki and what works for us. Since dogs are different, just like humans, remember to try different things to find what you canine (or feline) family member would love best.
Feeding your pet with real food instead of pre-packaged feed is really easy! I hope you find a way to fit it into your life for your four-legged friend and for our planet.