Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A perfect dog day, and eating turkey with Knightley!

10 months 6 days old

A photo you may have already seen of Knightley pelting
down the drain. The water runs nicely clear after the first
couple of hours of rain (I think at first the storm water drains
need flushing) and it's really great exercise as the water gives
 him extra resistance when he's running so he tires out more
 quickly. With a 10 month old pup, this is a GOOD thing!!
Well, after yesterdays's insanity, I badly needed a quiet day - so that's what I got. Unfortunately Knightley was completely recovered from his long day yesterday and was full of beans, virtually bouncing off the walls. It was quite wet outside this morning, but wasn't actually raining so Knightley and I had a longish slow walk via the storm water drains which had quite a bit of water in them from all the rain yesterday. Knightley had a ball running up them, in and out, getting thoroughly soaked. It was a pretty chilly day, so I made sure we kept moving and didn't stop so Knightley wouldn't get chilled. I made that mistake a week ago or so after he'd done some splashing around, and I decided to do some loose leash work and walked him back home very sedately. On the way back I started to hear something very strange, and finally I realised it was the poor thing's teeth chattering!! I didn't even know dogs did that. So now I make sure he keeps running, and he seems to be fine. It's actually quite amazing with his double coat (Golden Retrievers have two 'coats', a rougher outer coat which is nominally waterproof and a fluffier undercoat which actually stays quite dry), unless he actually gets literally wet to the skin, his undercoat can keep him relatively warm and only the outer coat gets wet.

We continued on up to our local sporting/high school oval where recently he has made some friends with some local dogs and their owners and had some fun romps. No dogs were there, but the oval was nicely waterlogged and made for some great rolling fun, and general galloping around. By the time we got home Knightley didn't quite look like the dog of impeccable breeding he is!!! I gave him a really really good rub off (Golden's are prone to fungal skin infections unless you dry them thoroughly), and he curled up in his bed and slept for a couple of hours.

Clipsy, my lovely previous dog when he was about
Knightley's age. He died far too young from a genetic
heart murmur as so many Cavalier King Charles
Spaniels do. I still miss him, but having Knightley
has definitely helped.
Hubby and I also took him to the dog park today and he had a great time. We hadn't been for two weeks! Shocking! He has so much more stamina these days... he runs around with the other dogs for a lot longer than he used to - he actually used to get tired out pretty quickly. Definitely not an athlete is my Knightley boy. The last time we were there he humped a very cute tricolour Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which is what my last dog was.... and once again today, he couldn't resist what we think was the same dog. Poor thing, we had to eventually go and grab Knightley's collar. He didn't care about any of the other dogs, just this little Cav! Knightley has definitely grown up a lot recently. When we first started taking him to the dog park at five months old, he was the biggest sissy lol... jumping onto his back in submission for every single dog, even the tiny ones. Now the tiny ones are often submitting to him! I have to say though.... I am rather looking forward to having him de-sexed when he turns 18 months (or so). He looooves humping his bed, and now it's obviously starting with other dogs.... who knows where it will go next. Hubby is sad about the de-sexing of Knightley though, I think it's male bonding and sympathy!

So tonight Knightley had one of his big meals. I vary the size of his meals a bit, as well as the type of meat, complexity of the meals, and cut. Tonight it was a turkey leg, which takes him AGES to eat, so I got my camera out and took some photos as he ate. It's actually a fascinating process, almost like giving your dog a meaty kong. It isn't as easy as him just going chomp chomp chomp, but he has to think about strategy and try different techniques. Not to mention the physical workout!

We start in his crate with the very large chunk of turkey. This is one of his meat/bone meals. Every fortnight he eats about 5 meat/bone meals. Today I chose to give him one because his stool was a little runny and bone helps firm it up. Raw feeding is as simple or as technical as you make it! This photo is at the beginning of the feeding session. He's looking at me wondering what I'm doing with the funny black thing I'm always pointing at him! What a gorgeous dog, if I say so myself.

Knightley's now getting into the turkey leg. I usually feed his food semi thawed, mostly because the large cuts don't have time to thaw, even if I take them out the night before. I do like to chose on the day anyway, not the day before, depending upon what I think he needs for optimum health. You can see how he puts his head right down on the side so that he can use his molars to cut the meat away from the bone. He'll do this for a while, then pull the chunk he has cut away with his front teeth.

To make it easier for himself, he removes the skin as he goes. He licks the skin to get a bit sticking up, then just holds it in his front teeth and lifts the whole leg off the floor. It peels away, then he cuts it off with his molars. Smart little doggy. The skin can be quite tough, so he'll often eat that first before starting to cut with his molars again. It's important that he gets some skin, as that contains all sorts of good nutrients. If you feed skinless chicken/turkey, it is a good idea to supplement with some other fat. I get bags of grass fed beef fat from my butcher free to supplement Knightley's leaner meals, and Knightley LOVES it.

You can see he's really getting somewhere now! He has the bone exposed, and once he has stripped more of the meat from around it with his molars like you see in the photo, it'll be really down to business! He's eaten a good chunk of meat already at this stage though, and sometimes he will have had enough and will just stop. I find that Knightley self regulates his feeding on raw WAY better than he did on kibble. In fact, he just didn't on kibble. With kibble, he ate everything in the bowl. Because it takes so long to eat a turkey leg, it gives him time to realise whether he is full or not. He usually finishes he raw meals, but not always. I think that is a very good sign that he knows what is right for himself.

The next stage, bone cracking time! He usually lies down for this and sometimes pins it down with a paw. He loves the taste of bone marrow and will start splintering the bones and then rather elegantly licking the marrow from the split bones. It's quite funny to watch. When you start feeding edible bone you generally start with chicken bone, nice soft ones. As time goes on you can feed everything up to the weight bearing bones of large ruminants. Leg bones of cows, deer, elk etc are all out, and shouldn't even be given to gnaw on. They can easily break teeth as they are too dense. Leg bones from sheep, pigs etc are acceptable. Turkey leg bones give Knightley's jaws some reasonable exercise without taking forever to eat. It is quite scary how strong his jaws are now though.....

Crunch, crunch, crack! The type of raw feeding I do is called whole prey, where you try to give your pet as much of prey animals as possible over time - many different meats, organs, blood, bone and so on. Without this variation your dog will be seriously deficient in many different nutrients. It is even more important when raw feeding cats. They MUST have a very high level of variation in their diet, and must eat a diet with high levels of taurine - so feed lots of red meat. This is the case with dogs too, but it isn't quite so imperative.

Only a little 'stump' left and virtually all the meat is gone. I monitor Knightley when he is eating, especially when he is eating bone in meals. You never know. I am hopefully going to do a canine first aid course later in the year, which I think a sensible idea for anyone with a working dog partner, and also for anyone who raw feeds. Something bad can very very very occasionally happen when your dog is eating, eg choking, or just scratching. It is more likely to happen if your dog is what they call a 'gulper', which can usually be fixed by simply feeding very large chunks they can't swallow at once, and feeding their food frozen. Thankfully Knightley is a chewer, so I don't worry. But I still watch.

I hope you enjoyed a mealtime with Knightley. It took him forever to eat that turkey leg!!! I was falling asleep!

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