So I have a reputation for being a little OCD about certain things and some of my friends in the Havanese community think it’s funny that I monitor Rory’s bath water with a digital thermometer and maintain a strict 100° F. I can only imagine what they’ll say when they see this . . .
I feed my Hav Rory Darwin’s Natural Pet raw food. We recently traveled for two months and it was not going to be practical to feed a food that required a freezing and refrigeration. I elected to put Rory on a dry food for the two months and chose to feed the lamb formulation of Canidae Grain Free Pure Elements which receives a five star rating on Dog Food Advisor.
I introduced the new food over the course of a week and she took to it just fine and had no digestive issues.
The first thing I noticed was the change in stool volume. One of the selling points of a raw diet is that more of the nutrition is available to the animal because there are no fillers or processing. As good a food as Canidae is, it still lists turkey and chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas, chicken fat, menhaden fish meal, and suncured alfalfa. Alfalfa is a controversial ingredient and holistic veterinarian Karen Becker, DVM recommends against it as a rule, particularly when it’s a primary ingredient in a low-quality dog food, which is not the case with Canidae.
“Menhaden fish” is just marketing. Menhaden fish are forage fish low down the fish food chain. Historians believe Tisquantum (sometimes know as Squanto), a member of the Patuxet tribe integral to the survival of the Pilgrims, advised the Pilgrims to plant the fish with their crops as fertilizer.
So back to the stool volume. I let Rory acclimate fully to the food and noticed the stool volume was still high relative to my experience with the raw. So I started to weigh her poop and log them in an Excel spreadsheet.
The bottom line is that more poop was coming out than food was going in.
Average Canidae daily feeding amount: 1.7 ounces daily
Average stool volume: 2.57 ounces daily
Average Darwin’s daily feeding amount: 3.66 ounces
Average stool volume: .56 ounces
Certainly moisture is a large part of the differential, but I find it interesting nonetheless. The picture at the top? Big stool and little stool.
How did Rory do on Canidae? In the first month, even at 1.7 ounces daily she gained a pound, or about 14% of her body weight. To give you some sense of that in relative terms, imagine you weighed in at 150 lbs., and 30 days later you weighed 171 lbs. Not good.
Her breath got bad, and her coat seemed to lose some of it’s luster (but it could be my imagination). She’s now back on Darwin’s and doing great. I don’t think Canidae’s a bad food at all and raw is not for everyone, but I’m much happier our normal program.