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Friday, August 22, 2014

Dog Food Bowls????

 Dog food bowls - what kind of a blog is that??  We could have gone on an extended trip to Europe if we had the money back we spent on food bowls. The three in the photo above are the ones in current use. Our three guys are all different feeders and each require a different bowl to regulate their feeding. We feed them three times a day because they eat kibble with the occasional gravy real meat chunks mixed in. Our guys go from eating their kibble to getting a large drink of water. If you have ever seen kibble after it mixes with water it swells up to several times its original size.

German Shepherds are prone to stomach torsion which is mostly fatal but a very serious condition. It is where the stomach twists and blocks the digestive tract. It stands to reason if you feed them once a day the required amount their stomach coupled with water will extend very large. Hence we space it out over the day, feeding them three meals.  We have read it is best to feed them this way. We also feed them off a shelf a foot off the floor which is more natural for them to eat from.

On to the bowls themselves: Our two males have slow eat bowls where they have to navigate around protrusions which forces them to slow down. Our female is a nice slow eater and her bowl is in the middle. One male is a gobbler and he can scoff up food at alarming rates. The other male just needs to be slowed down a little and the bowl accomplishes that. The bowl above is a gobble bowl and proved little value in slowing the gobbler down. He would grab the bowl by the bone and tip the bowl over and still gobble the food. A waste of money but a challenge for a couple weeks for him. We now have gone back to his slow feed bowl but only divide his portions into two helpings. That forces him to slow down as he has to wait for us to give the second half of his meal.

A little more time consuming but effective in spacing his food out more evenly. If we didn't pace his eating out he would be much more prone to stomach torsion. We also have a little ritual we go through at meal time. The three have to sit and wait until I tell them 'come'. I make eye contact with each of them before they are allowed to eat. I am telling them in dog language that food is mine and I'll take it back if I need to. Hence none of our best friends are food aggressive and that problem is eliminated. It may sound like a lot of extra work just to feed our loved fur friends and it is but keeping them well balanced and healthy is more important to us than time expended.

Feeding is only a small portion of caring for our beloved fur friends. Today is Pet-a-cure day and also brushing day. They may be called German Shepherds but in reality they are German Shedders. I will get enough loose fur off them to stuff a sofa with. We try to brush them every 2-3 days so it is not so overwhelming. Still they are mostly in the house except for walks and when they go out in the fenced in back yard. They go out and sniff out a place to do their business and then head for the door to come right back inside. If we had the time it takes to satisfy their needs and could put it elsewhere we could solve the world hunger problem. I'd rather spend the time on their needs because the returns we get far exceed the time we devote to them. I guess you would have to be a dog lover to understand that aspect of living with dogs.


Bruce said...

Comment by Pat:
I didn't know about a slow food bowl... will tell Wendy about it, as Shiloh wolfs down his food... Well, not entirely...

First, you put the dry food in his bowl and make him sit until you say it's okay. Then he runs to the bowl and sniffs.

Then he looks back at you like, "Seriously? You people just ate a steak dinner and you expect me to eat this crap?"

So then you say, "All right, all right..." And mix a little shredded cheese in the food... Oh, he does love cheese...

Then he wolfs down the food...

So I think Wendy needs to try a slow bowl for Shiloh, unless, it becomes like him deciding it was beneath his dignity to roll over for a snack.

One day you could just read it on his face... "Hey you don't roll over for a snack and neither will I!"

And that, my friend, was the end of that. He has never rolled over on command since.

Shiloh is such a wonderful, loving dog, but he is so smart and has such powers of reasoning. He's a real challenge -- you have to keep ahead of him to stay Alpha dog.

Bruce said...

As a special treat about once a week we mix in a small can of Alpo real meat and gravy. It changes routine up for them and they love it. A small can about the size of a tuna can split three ways is just enough for three dogs.

Bruce said...
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