So down at the park, I’ve had a lot of people surprised by the fact that Mallei is 9 years old. I’m surprised by the fact that he’s 9. He doesn’t act 9, he doesn’t get sore joints yet, though he sometimes grumbles when he lays down – he’s been doing that for years. He’s still a happy, jolly fellow who looks great, and, according to the vet, has absolutely no sign of arthritis in his joints, and has amazing teeth. Now, look, I know that 9 isn’t in the throws of death for an Aussie, but I got a letter last year from our old vet telling me Mallei was a senior dog now.
This is what we did to that piece of mail…
All that aside, I figure, Mal is in pretty darn good condition for an old fellow- even though we make fun of him being old, he’s really holding it all together pretty well. Someone at the park said today: “9?!?! We need some of what he’s got!” gesturing to an old and slow Labrador.
So, here’s what I think has largely helped Mal stay in such good health.
Raw meat and bones.
More specifically – chicken frames.
I brought Mal up, as a puppy, on a shocking diet. I’m talking Pedigree Pal- I was 18, you just buy whatever’s in the supermarket, right? At some point I wised up, tried to do better. And at some point, later down the line, I figured- hey, dogs are like… wolves… wolves eat meat… why would my dog be eating cooked biscuits. And so, most accessibly, he got chicken. Frames. One frame a day.
This seemed perfect for him – he rarely put on or lost weight, and he has excellent teeth now and is ageing gracefully. Look, I know, it’s not the most ‘balanced’ diet, and I supplemented with red meat bones here and there, but really, we’ve never had an issue. These days, we don’t leave near a good chicken shop like we used to, so he gets a cup of kibble every other week for a few nights, sometimes a roo tail when we’re out for a long day, but I really do think that meat and bones are the best thing for dogs. They’re meant to eat meat and bones.
At the moment Lumen is getting mostly kibble – every now and then a drumstick, or some raw meat with her dinner, but because we do so much training and shaping, I kind of need to be able to feed her kibble or else she’ll put on weight, fast. All her training food is her regular food. So I don’t know how to rectify that because I’d ideally like to be giving her more bones- I think her teeth will naturally get all gross (some are already yellow-y, what?!) and so bones will help tremendously with that.
So, look, I’m not a vet, and I haven’t trained in dog nutrition (though, honestly, a lot of people who approach you in pet-stores claiming to know everything there is to know about nutrition are being paid to sell a brand of dog food, so let’s just keep that in mind- I don’t represent any ‘chicken frame’ company), and I did read a lot of websites that were probably biased toward my point of view, but I have a young, sprightly, arthritis-free, clean-teeth’ed ‘senior’ dog who, for years, had very little other than raw meat and bones as his diet.