Our Vitamins & Minerals for Home-Cooked Dog Food are custom blended for us in Vermont by PetNaturals of Vermont using ingredients that are sourced globally and, therefore, are from a number of countries. We use only human grade ingredients as these are subjected to quality control and handling procedures beyond what is required for feed grade ingredients. A statement regarding our ingredients from the Quality Control Manager at PetNaturals (a division of FoodScience Corp.) may be found here.
No. In an ideal world we'd all - canine and human - eat fresh, wholesome, nutritious homemade meals every meal. Reality is that most of us rely on convenience foods for at least some part of our diets. If making all of your dog's meals does not suit your lifestyle for whatever reason, figure out what you can do and build as many homemade meals into her diet as is comfortable for you. Even the occasional homemade meal will be a welcome change from commercial, convenience, food.
Furoshnikov's: fancy enough for a special treat; nutritious enough for everyday meals!
No one will be in your kitchen looking over your shoulder, so you are truly free to do what feels right for you and your dog. We recommend a gradual introduction to avoid any unnecessary GI tract upset for your dog and clean-up for you. While it is probably true that most dogs will have absolutely no problems, yours could be the one in a million who responds to an abrupt change of diet with a bout of late night diarrhea. I would be most concerned about dogs who have been on the same dry food for years and least concerned about dogs whose diets are already varied over a range of dry and canned foods and maybe even the occasional home-cooked. If, after her first exposure to REAL FOOD, your dog is spitting the kibble on the floor and begging for more Furoshnikov's, you might consider a shorter transition period, but at least give it enough time to see how her system responds before making that decision.
Dry dog foods tend to have a lot of fiber in them because fiber is, in part, what makes it possible to produce those cute little bits and bites. Fiber will also tend to make your dog's stool firmer. Compared to most dry foods, Furoshnikov's provides a very digestible, lower fiber meal, and, therefore, a softer stool. If your dog is not experiencing any obvious difficulty when eliminating, is going out on her regular schedule, and the stool is easy to clean up despite being a bit softer, you probably don't need to worry. If you or your vet thinks your dog could use a little more fiber in her diet, try substituting ground flax seed for some of the oil in the Furoshnikov's recipe. The brand I sometimes use suggests substituting three teaspoons of ground flax seed for a teaspoon of oil in any recipe. One or two tablespoons of canned pumpkin in a batch is also a good source of fiber. Remember, though, more fiber is not necessarily better. If you choose to add fiber, add it a little at a time - pardon the indelicacy, but you don't want your dog to be straining to do her "business." If your dog is having difficulty eliminating, if there is mucous or blood in her stool, or if she has diarrhea, please consult your vet as soon as possible.
No. Fats are an essential nutrient for your dog, and Furoshnikov's basic recipe will provide balanced nutrition only when prepared according to directions - that includes adding the oil. The best way to have a healthy adult dog loose weight is simply to feed her less of a properly balanced food, and to make sure she is getting appropriate exercise. That said, keep in mind that the actual calorie count of a batch of Furoshnikov's will vary somewhat with the ingredients you use, especially the meat, and the way you measure. If your dog is a little on the plump side, be sure to trim excess fat and skin from the meat or poultry before adding it to the rice and carrots. And watch those treats - they add calories and should be counted towards your dog's daily calorie intake! Also keep in mind that each dog's needs are unique. Consider working with your vet to devise an appropriate weight loss program that takes your dog's health status, lifestyle, and breed characteristics into consideration. This is especially important if she has any other health concerns.
If you mean things like beef versus chicken or canola versus olive, no. Whatever your dog likes and tolerates is fine.
If you mean things like fatty versus lean or the bottle that has been in the back of the cupboard since you can't remember when and the one you bought just yesterday, yes.
For those of us who do it, home cooking is about quality. Use the leanest, freshest meats and the freshest, least processed oils you can afford. And don't forget that water is also an ingredient! If you don't drink the water that comes out of your tap consider cooking with and offering your dog filtered or bottled water as well. Speaking of oil, the October 2005 issue of Whole Dog Journal was touting the health benefits of coconut oil ("Crazy About Coconut Oil," Whole Dog Journal, Volume 8, Number 10, October 2005). If you don't have access to this issue of WDJ and don't know much about coconut oil, you may want to do a little research to decide if you want to try feeding it to your dog. If you do decide to try coconut oil in your dog's food, be sure it is the "virgin" or unrefined type.
That depends on your dog's specific needs. I'm often asked if Furoshnikov's Formulas includes some specific herbal supplement or a nutraceutical such as glucosamine. The short answer is "no." Furoshnikov's is formulated to provide the nutrients your dog needs for a complete and balanced diet. We've left out other supplements because the herbs or neutraceuticals that are good for one dog are not necessarily good for another dog. At best, ingredients that the average dog just doesn't require may add extra expense to a food with no real benefit to you or your dog. In addition, the amounts present in a food may or may not be at a level that is therapeutic even if your dog might benefit from the ingredient. Furoshnikov's is about good nutrition, and is flexible enough that if your dog has some specific dietary needs as a result of a particular illness or injury you can probably work it into the formula. Be sure, however, to consult your vet or vet nutritionist before adding any additional vitamins, minerals, or other supplements.
Furoshnikov's is formulated to work with a cooked diet using our basic recipe. It is not formulated or recommended for raw diets.
If you don't cook for yourself because your schedule doesn't have even a spare two minutes to stop and smell the roses, then cooking for your dog may not be for you. It does require some extra time on your part - time that I believe you will find well-spent, but time nevertheless. Do the research to determine the very best commercial food that you can afford to feed your dog, and go for it. If, on the other hand, you don't cook for yourself because you are culinarily-challenged - take heart. Furoshnikov's was designed with you in mind. As long as you know how to boil water to cook some rice and turn on the oven to roast some meat, you probably have all the cooking skills necessary to provide your canine companion with culinary delights on a regular basis! Who knows? Cooking for your dog may give you the courage to try something new in the kitchen for yourself!
Furoshnikov (fûr ōsh ni kôv)
When Ellie came to live with us from the Animal Humane Society, my husband and I were playing and wrestling with her in the living room. She was making all sorts of barking and growling noises and we were calling her "ferocious beast." Then she started leaping around and over us in a most graceful and elegant way and we thought of Mikhail Baryshnikov - the famous Russian ballet star. "Ferocious beast" and "Baryshnikov" were soon compressed into "Fursohnikov" and we gave Ellie that last name! (We know Mikhail pronounces his last name with an "f" sound at the end, but we like the "v" sound at the end better).