Meal time used to be real simple. Kali and Kloe each ate dry food for both breakfast and dinner. Initially Kloe got high protein puppy food and was on a slightly different dry mix than Kali. But eventually when Kloe got old enough they were on the same food. Back in the day meal time inventory check: two dogs, two bowls, one dry food bucket, one food. Simple! Scoop scoop wham bam thank you dad.
Meal time used to be real simple.
Over the past year Holly and I introduced raw meat into Kali and Kloe’s diet. We’re fortunate to have good friends who own a pet shop and are quite informed and knowledgable about canine nutrition. Owners Dee and George made suggestions for the raw meat and over the first couple of months we experimented with different types, varying portions, etc. Wanting to still provide good grains to the girl’s diet, and after a few calculations to consider caloric content of the dry, the raw, and each dog’s weight, we landed on a regimen of dry in the morning and raw in the evening. The raw meat is sold frozen and we buy it in quantities of 25 one pound flat pieces. Every two days we would put two one pound portions in the refrigerator to thaw for two day’s of meals. So, still not too bad, right? Not as simple as two dogs, two bowls, one dry food bucket, one food but definitely worth the extra meal planning and preparation to yield a healthier diet for the girls. Plus, they absolutely love the raw meat it keeps their weight down. And did I mention they love it?
When Koda arrived three months ago we put her on the same dry food that Kloe and Kali eat but the large breed puppy version that is high on protein. Then about a month ago we began giving Koda a portion of raw meat with her dinner. She too is crazy for “the raw”. So let’s do a another meal time inventory check at this juncture: three dogs, three bowls, two dry food buckets, two dry foods, and varying portions of raw at dinner. And as the old television commercials for kitchen gadgets used to say, “But wait – there’s more…”
Kali is slightly overweight and we wanted to reduce her caloric intake so we introduced some variations for her. For breakfast she gets half a cup of dry food and half a cup of scrambled egg whites. For dinner she gets a portion of raw meat and a half cup of salt free canned green beans. It’s getting complicated isn’t it.
Real time meal time inventory check: three dogs, two dry food buckets, two dry foods, three bowls, varying portions of raw at dinner, scrambled eggs in the morning, canned green beens in the evenings. Based on our highly scientific caloric calculations dog size, age, and overall weight management goals the dry food and raw portions are different for all three pups but at least the eggs whites and green beans are the same portions for Kali. Hurray for small victories!
Meal time used to be real simple. But are my girls healthier and happier? Yes. Is it worth the planning and coordination and
calamity amusement of three dogs squirming at your feet during preparation? Absolutely!
The pace of the meal
Kali and Kloe used to finish their meals at almost exactly the same time even though Kloe’s portions were bigger. Now with Koda who has relatively large portions and eats a little slower (thank you puzzle bowls), and the variation of portions and content, they all finish their meals at different times. Kloe is always finished first. Koda is second, and Kali – who has the smallest portions – finishes last. Sometimes by a good 5 minutes after the other two. What Golden Retriever doesn’t love food, right? But Kali takes it to the extreme. Kali worships her food. To watch her eat with the deliberation and devotion one might think that meal time is a spiritual experience for her.
Before Koda, when Kali and Kloe finished at the same time, it was amusing to watch them in unison like synchronized eaters move to the other’s empty bowl and lick around the edges and grooves of the puzzle bowls. Now that finishing times are staggered Kloe typically walks off and asks to go outside having her sisters behind to finish up. Kloe finishes next and it’s endearing to watch her watch Kali finish. As Kali methodically addresses the meat and green beans that remain in the bowl Koda stands or lays nearby showing respect and does not try to steal any of the food. But she’s not shy about getting her face right next to the Kali’s bowl.
And Kali just keeps eating seemingly in food bliss methodically conducting her business while her baby sister watches.