An acquaintance of mine picked up a boxer-mix puppy a few days ago. I don’t know if he’s a previous boxer owner or even how recently he’s had a dog in his life. This got me thinking about the huge number of boxers who eventually find their way into the animal rescue system because well-meaning, warm-hearted owners have no idea what they’re getting into and become overwhelmed by the high maintenance of this particular breed. Considering my buddy has a significant other as well as (I believe) children, the foundation of “patience” and “tolerance” has already been beaten into him. I’m sure he’s going to be a great parent to his newest family member so hopefully my thoughts here serve only to fill a few gaps if they exist. There are endless “how to” guides for new puppy owners on the Internet, so my intention was to focus mostly on my experience with the Boxer breed and the things I learned while sharing my life with one. The easiest way to describe the breed is that they are the dial that goes to 11 where other breeds stop at 10.
The single most fundamental thing about boxers (and many mixed boxers) that you have to learn, quickly, is this… Continue reading Sanity guide for new boxer (or boxer mix) owners
…February 2nd to be exact. You would have been 84 in dog years. But…
I find myself, less than an hour after I hugged your warm, furry body for the last time, unable to sit still — scurrying, even running, through every room to erase the damning evidence that you even existed. I want you to be a memory! Now! Not tomorrow, not next week, not next year, NOW!!! I want my eyes to see nothing that conjures the illusion that you are RIGHT THERE or even just beyond these walls in the next room. In fact, I’m not even sure I want you to be a strong memory. Maybe just a fleeting memory.
Continue reading You would have been 12 years old next month…
Considering I bit off more than I could chew during last weekend’s adventure with homemade dog food, I thought I’d start small. The obvious differences between “cooking for your dogs” and “canning food” finally occurred to me. It seems that building a solid recipe that my boxer can keep down, fills him up, and provides enough nutrients, is step 1. Actually canning the food is step 2. If I can get step 1 down, step 2 should be a no-brainer since I already have the materials and a tad bit of experience.
My first attempt at cooking and long-term canning of dog food resulted in a mixture that my boxer was unable to keep down. It’s anyone’s guess what ingredient didn’t agree with his fat-intolerant condition, but I suspect it was a combination of chicken skin, pulverized bones, or the inseparable chicken fat that comes from not draining the chicken after cooking.
So… I’m not using any specific recipe found in some corner of the Internet or buried in a book. Instead I’m taking a common sense approach to feeding my boxer (and eventually both of my dogs) food that caters to his fat-intolerant condition. You don’t necessarily have to prepare it in the same order I did, but here’s today’s recipe… Continue reading Homemade dog food recipe 2.0.1 (alpha build)
I shifted to the new food and fed my fat-intolerant boxer the new mixture all day yesterday. Sadly, he vomited this morning with whole green beans coming up. Back to the drawing board.
I also followed up with a simple recipe the dogs seem to love sans the “canning” process.
I’ve become increasingly cynical about the relationship between pet food manufacturers and the professional veterinarian community. While I didn’t actually have much of an opinion on feed makers, my relationship with the vets who care for my animals has been pretty solid. Over the last several years however, as my animals have continued progressing through the geriatric stages of their lives, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with getting the specialized food my boxer requires, and the hoops my veterinarians are forcing me through.
I had finally had enough and decided to cook / create / mix my own dog food while using standard household hobby canning methods to preserve it long enough for the dogs to eat safely. My main tool for this first attempt was a 21-quart All American pressure cooker / canner. The intention was to pressure cook the food, wash the pot, then use it for canning. What follows is a list of things I did wrong and what to avoid if you’re doing it for the first time. I won’t get into pressure canning mechanics or why you’d need to do pressure canning. I assume you’ve done your own research on this. Continue reading 7 things I learned cooking and canning homemade dog food for the first time