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I have a copy of Basenjis, the Barkless Dogs written by Veronica Tudor-Williams that I am currently rifling through. It’s quite a different read from Fula, being more of an “owner’s manual” than a story book, but it is a nice document of Basenji history regardless (I’m looking at the 1966 reprint edition). I don’t think I really need to give a full report on the book, though I find it worthy of excerpting.

There’s a chapter entitled Hints on Feeding. Note what was recommended for an average Basenji diet, before commercial kibble was taken for granted:

Adult dogs and bitches in normal health.

About 4 oz. meat, preferably raw, and some dry biscuits about 8 a.m.

About 4 oz. meat with a handful of biscuit scalded with boiling gravy, fed cool or cold, at 6 p.m. About 1/4 – 1/2 pint of milk a day can be given with advantage, and small quantities of vegetables (carrots, swedes [rutabaga], cauliflower and green, NEVER potatoes) can be added. Adult Basenjis must be kept slim and muscular, though nicely covered with no bones showing, and the amount of biscuit given should be regulated so as to keep to this ideal. Pet dogs often do better on one rather larger meal once a day. (75)

Interesting, isn’t it? She advocates a raw diet, apparently with grain (I assume an English biscuit is grain-based, but I wouldn’t know for sure). I am also curious as to why she strikes potatoes from her list of recommended vegetables, especially since it’s a common ingredient in commercial kibble, even high-quality brands. Does her anti-potato prejudice stem from a concern about starch, which may contribute to fattening a dog that should ideally be kept lean? I am inferring her rationale from her recommendations for Fat adult dogs and bitches:

If the dog is merely fat from lack of exercise and over-feeding, the obvious answer is to increase exercise and cut out all starchy food. Some Basenjis are very thin as youngsters, but provided the dog is healthy, this is a good fault, as it is usually caused by excessive energy. (ibid)

Finally, the suggestion of milk is interesting. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about giving my dogs, but I base this on some vague notion gleaned from childhood that milk for humans is supposedly indigestible to pets. Does anyone give their pet dogs milk these days?

Anyway, here’s today’s doggy dinner at the House of Two Bows:

Typical doggy dinner

Bowdu: 5 nuggets (5 oz.) Primal Raw lamb, w/ four drops of Yucca root, a dash of apple cider vinegar, 1 little scoop of PlaqueOff, a pierced gelcap of fish oil, half a pierced gelcap of flaxseed oil, a pinch of tiny dried sardines, and a 25 mg hot pink pill of Benadryl tucked inside.

Bowpi: 2/3 cup Taste of the Wild High Prairie Formula w/ roasted bison and venison, 1 little scoop of PlaqueOff, half a pierced gelcap of flaxseed oil, a pinch of tiny dried sardines.

This is more or less a typical dinner, but we change things up every now and then. We’ve been trying out lots of different kibble brands this year; Taste of the Wild is only one of them. Bowdu now gets fish-based kibble in the morning, and they both get a little dish of plain yogurt. Sometimes I beat up a raw egg and pour it over their meals.

Every now and then I feel guilty that we can’t afford to feed Bowpi Primal Raw, too. So then I slip her a couple nuggets. And then she distracts me the rest of the night with horrific farts. And then I don’t feel so bad that she doesn’t get raw food on a regular basis. She enjoys meals of raw turkey, which is sometimes on the menu. Overall, she seems to do very well on high quality kibble.