I would like to forestall any arguments about the right or the wrong of the “correct” way to feed your dog. You must decide for yourself. I present ideas that are in my opinion the best approach to feeding Scottish Deerhounds, this does not mean that it will be right for your dog.
The “Raw or Barf diet” is excellent, fantastic however it is the experience of many deerhound owners that deerhounds get less and less fond of raw food as they mature. I am a little leery personally about a purely raw diet unless you can provide meat and bones that are chemical, antibiotic and hormone free. If you are buying your raw food from the grocery store or an abbatoir how likely is that? There are many raw food proponents who will say leave it they will eat it when they are hungry & this is probably so. For the deerhound owner who has trouble keeping weight on their deerhound this is not always practicable. I am a believer in the middle road the “Flexatarian” view. There is no hard and fast rule- feed raw using the right balance of meat and bone if your dog will eat it and it works for you. Dogs of all breeds have lived with humans for thousands of years, they have thrived/ or not eating what their human masters have fed them. I feed my dog both raw and cooked. Whatever you do include variety.
Deerhound Husbandry (Section 2 of Primer) used with the permission of Barbara Heidenreich.
Feeding: Up to 6 months
1. Leave a bowl of dry kibble +- 22% protein, no soya usually labeled “maintenance” or “adult” out for your puppy out to nibble when it feels hungry;
2. The prepared meal (3 to 4 times daily): use a suitable quantity of dry meal (kibble) as much as will be eaten in 15 minutes) may be moistened with a touch of boiling water over it to soften slightly and bring out the flavour. Don’t turn the kibble into mush; pour a cup of evaporated milk (dilute using 2 cans evaporated milk to one quart of whole milk and 2 egg yolks, but no whites) and a doggy stew made from soup bones, chicken necks, carrots, apples, greens, etc. over the above. The stew is preferred chilled in summer and warmed in the winter. Also mixed with the above, add yogurt (1/2 cup) and 1 tblsp corn oil.
3. A big bowl of whole milk with an egg yolk (no white) beaten up in it once a day is appreciated unless your puppy exhibits an intolerance for lactose, then try a livestock lactose free milk replacer.
4. Raw chicken necks or backs (bones and all… but not the long leg and wing bones) daily (4-10 necks) is good and also a chunk of raw liver weekly.
5. Fresh Clean water at all times.
DO NOT SUPPLEMENT YOUR PUPPY WITH VITAMINS. Big lumpy joints are normal for a large breed puppy that is growing rapidly. So is toeing out during the teething stage.
A DEERHOUND PUPPY WILL NEVER OVEREAT. Feed it as much as you can coax it to consume and it will grow out better. Picky eaters are likely not getting enough exercise. Exercise before eating, not after.
Author B. Heidenreich breeder and Deerhound aficionado for more than 40 years. Order your copy of the Deerhound Primer at – Fernhill.com
Never change kibble abruptly always add small quantities of new kibble gradually increasing quantity. It is a very good idea to have your dog adjusted to more than 1 kibble just in case one becomes unavailable or is recalled. Only buy top quality kibble. Avoid ingredients such as corn, Soya & preservative ethoxyquin. Should you choose a grain free kibble? The debate over carbohydrates in dog food rages on and on & would best be left for another discussion. Due to the sheer numbers of dogs to feed perhaps your breeder is constrained by budget which will not apply in your efforts to choose a kibble that is pleasing to your dog. Try using the kibble recommended by your breeder, introduce a premium highly rated kibble gradually. Ask your pet food supplier for samples when trying a new food. Diarrhea may be the result of too sudden a change & is not necessarily a sign of intolerance. (info. on diarrhea later)
In general, growing puppies require twice the dietary energy, (calories) as adults for body maintenance, activity, and growth. The need is greatest from birth until maturity about 11/2 years in a deerhound. It is widely thought that excessive caloric intake may support rapid growth in excess for proper skeletal development in large and giant-breed dogs. Body conditioning controls excessive growth and as long as your puppy has plenty of opportunity to play and run (preferably with another dog) you will find growth to be steady. You would be hard pressed to exceed the dietary requirements of a deerhound puppy if you follow the above suggestions for feeding.
Rob Horsfield’s site www. Scottish-Deerhound.com (a great discussion list for Scottish Deerhound and other Sighthound owners where you will find lots of discussion on any subject you might be interested in that relates to Deerhounds.
Be Prepared for Emergency
Just as we all need to have a disaster plan and preparations in place for our families, it is very important to extend those preparations to the care and feeding of our pets. In the case of a natural disaster-flood, hurricane, fire, ice-storm, tornado whatever- electricity is always dicey. God knows there have been lots of them.
Having food on hand that is portable and easy is essential.Whether or not your dogs are on a raw diet having an emergency supply of fresh good quality kibble on hand is a good idea.
I would suggest esp. if kibble use is only occasional to buy grain free & a protein percentage of about 24%, it is a little difficult to find grain free that doesn’t have an extremely high protein percentage, I personally use a kibble that is wheat,corn, soy free but does have brown rice. Use as a training treat or cookie treat to prevent it from going stale or bad. If your dogs are not on a raw diet try introducing elements of the raw diet – There is no hard and fast rule that if a dog is eating kibble they can’t eat anything else.