When he first arrived, I did as the kennels recommended and fed him a 20% protein greyhound feed - dried food from a sack, mixed with gravy. I also fed him weetabix for breakfast which he loved.
One day, I ran out of the greyhound food over a bank holiday weekend. I was forced to buy regular dog food from Tesco. I chose Autarky, which is a chicken and rice kibble, containing beneficial herbs. It does not contain wheat which reduces the chance of bloat or any irritation in dogs which are not used to it. It's made by the Working Dog Company and because it's designed for working dogs there is no VAT which keeps the price down. A £3.25 bag lasted for a week. I introduced it mixed with gravy but Cray loved it, so I started to feed it dry (as intended by the manufacturers).
The same company make a cheaper food, Gusto - another kibble which is sold by the sack in Tesco for only £5 and Cray loves this too! It lasts for almost a month which is incredible value. He now demands a handful at breakfast time (in place of the Weetabix) and has the rest of his daily allowance at lunch.
He tends to gulp his food and then cough, so I put a tin can in the middle of his bowl, forcing him to work around it and hence eat more slowly.
For a treat and to supplement his diet I stir a tin of sardines in olive oil into his meal once a week - they only cost 30p!
My homecheckers told me that if I wanted to feed a tinned dogmeat (yuk!) then to use a cheaper brand like Chappie, rather than a richer food like Pedigree Chum.
Ideally the main food should only contain around 22% protein.
Cray will eat almost anything! He even likes his greens and salad! (Of course it is possible to get a dog to eat most food by telling him what a lucky boy he is to get such a delicious morsel, but this is a bit cruel and never seems to work with medicines!)
His favourite people-food snacks are cheese (he will steal cheese if he can find it), apples (which make a fun ball and then a snack afterwards), bread (the stale end of a loaf is a great treat) and for some reason soft fruit such as plums and peaches, for which he will beg. Always remove the stone first or they will be vomited up later on.
Cray's favourite dog snacks are hide chews (the large flat pieces which come in tubs of 12), munchy rolls (the coloured hide sticks which come in packets of 50) and doggie chocolates (which are much cheaper from a pet shop than from a known brand at a supermarket. I haven't liked to feed him pig ears, and dog biscuits aren't quite as popular. Other occasional treats include Megabones (bone shaped biscuit/meat snacks) but all of these have to be well hidden or in containers which a determined dog cannot open!
If you feed treats, reduce the daily meal accordingly and always provide water.
Hiding medicines in food
My mother stuffs pills into a grape. I find that as Cray loves cheese so much, I can mould offcuts around a pill to make a cheese pellet which is gulped down without inspection. However, since I did this I have been badgered for cheese every time the fridge door is opened...
If you are looking to worm your dog, Pedigree Chum make chewy meaty worming tablets which Cray enjoyed very much.
Other things dogs might eat...
Dogs sometimes eat grass - apparently it settles their stomach. I've always been a believer that if they do this it is because they need to. However, grass causes disgusting flatulence. A dog-owning friend of mine kindly told me this when my dog had embarrassed us all, and when I stopped him eating grass the next day, the smell disappeared! Cray tended to stop and munch lush grass on walks, but I have stopped him doing this on the grounds that we have grass in the garden if he really feels the need. Problem solved.
My parents' dog used to eat cowpats, and apparently in the morning many dogs would do exactly the same thing in the field - I have no idea whether this is good for their digestion but it sounds disgusting, so if you walk your dog over farmland, keep an eye out!
This page last updated: 08 September 2004
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