Ours is a home of many dogs. One was a deliberate purchase; one a deliberate adoption. The other 12 came from bad circumstances, all requiring effort on our part to get them, most requiring medical care to make them healthy. Only one spared us the usual inconveniences by just showing up in our driveway, relatively healthy. Due to various physical and mental problems, these dogs proved un-rehomeable, and since it makes no sense to save a dog only to abandon him, here is where they stayed.
From the outside looking in, the loss of 1 dog in a home of so many wouldn’t be felt as deeply as the loss of an only dog. But the loss of our Arrrmando (the second ‘r’ is silent) due to mycotoxin contamination of his commercial food not only broke our hearts, but completely changed our attitude toward commercial dog food over all. We considered ourselves “lucky” that only Arrrmando ate the toxic food while the others ate different brands.
We began experimenting with fresh foods, gleaning recipes from books and web sites. Looking closely at these recipes however, they seemed deficient to us, even for a human. Books with cookie cutter attachments and pretty pictures were replaced with veterinary textbooks and peer reviewed journal articles. Texts in organic chemistry, physiology, general nutrition and others became bedtime reading. Classes were taken, some good, some bad, with certifications and diplomas earned.
In the end, rather than work from a recipe, we decided the better way was to first determine the nutritional requirements of a dog, using data currently available (NRC, 2006) and then formulate the diet to meet those needs. Since every dog is an individual, once the basal (theoretical minimum to meet basic needs) requirements are met, the ingredients could be further manipulated to meet the specific needs of an individual dog.
Our intention when we started this journey was to provide safer food for our own dogs. We did not anticipate the total transformations we saw in them. But a soft coat and bright eyes are not true indicators of the adequacy of a diet or even the health of a dog. Repeated blood work as well as recently incorporated fur mineral analyses have proven the value of fresh foods and the ability to manipulate whole food ingredients to meet the specific individual needs of any dog.
This journey is far from over. New research emerges every day. Our promise to our own dogs, and to our customers, is to stay current on available discoveries in dog health and nutrition, and to put that knowledge into The Barkista meals and diet plans.
Healthy, happy dogs; whether they’re yours or ours, are our obsession.