This section is from the book "Kennel Secrets: How To Breed, Exhibit And Manage Dogs", by Ashmont. Also available from Amazon: Kennel Secrets: How to Breed, Exhibit and Manage Dogs.
Under properly regulated exercise a dog fairly healthy in the beginning will have gained at every point before the fourth week, his muscles having noticeably filled and hardened, his step become more elastic, his eye bright and clear, his skin cleaner and softer, and his hair finer and richer in hue. Moreover his appetite will have grown better, and his digestive organs having shared in the general improvement a far greater proportion of his food will now be assimilated and devoted to flesh-building.
Consequently he will require more food, and it may be advisable to increase the number of his meals daily. But if fed twice daily, which is often enough for most dogs, the morning feed should be not more than one-third the quantity given later. Increase in quantity and frequency would of course have been hazardous under the old regime, but now that he is taking a great deal of exercise both will be perfectly safe, provided care and judgment are used, and it will also be safe and expedient to give him more concentrated and nutritious foods.
In making up the diet table for him new milk at once suggests itself as the principal food for breakfasts because it works like a charm on the skin and coat. But for a dog that is much out of condition this would scarcely be nutritious enough, therefore it is advisable to fortify it; and he who is familiar with the different foods at command and their relative values would at once hit upon eggs, for being largely composed of fatty matter they greatly favor nutrition, tissue-building and force-production; furthermore, they also have an admirable action on the skin and coat.
New milk in generous quantities and from one to four raw eggs - according to the size of the dog - lightly beaten up in it should therefore constitute the first meal of the day.
If a meal at noonday is necessary, as it generally is when the condition is very low and the date of the show rapidly approaching, the food given at this meal must be such that it cannot possibly disorder digestion. Here, again, raw eggs recommend themselves, for of all highly nutritious foods they are the most easily digested and least likely to cloy and impair the appetite for the evening meal. Consequently, unless it so happens that they cause "bilious symptoms," which is but rarely the case where the eggs are fresh, about the same number given in the morning should again be given at noon, and in milk as before; but the quantity of the latter should be comparatively small and only sufficient for the purpose of thinning down and disguising the eggs, which should have "a pinch" of salt to push them as it were even more rapidly through the stomach.
Now for the supper, the heartiest meal of the day. If the dog has very decided preferences in the way of foods, and those he likes best are perfectly suitable, he can of course be properly allowed them, but exercising freely as he is more than likely he will be ready to eat whatever is set before him. His food must be concentrated; in other words he should have a good solid feed, and it should be varied and consist of an admixture of several articles.
As for instance, if there are not table scraps in ample quantity and eminently suitable in quality for him, one supper should consist principally of stale white bread and beef, the next of mutton and boiled rice, the next of beef and Graham bread, and so on, with boiled sheep and beast heads and corn meal or oatmeal for change. Many, by the way, object to corn meal, but very likely one pronounced reason is that they have used it day after day and week after week. But if given once or twice a week it can do no harm unless it is old and rancid.
With each meal there should be one vegetable at least, and herein, also, should be variety - one night boiled turnips, another beets, then cabbages, carrots, potatoes or some of the various greens. And accepting without qualification the fact that the bowels should be regulated in the feeding-pan, not by drugging, these greens, oatmeal and Graham bread should be mainly relied upon when the bowels are confined, while boiled flour would be the proper remedy were they relaxed.
In preparing the supper the bread, crackers, rice or other starchy foods should be just softened with a good rich broth. The beef or mutton should then be chopped quite fine, and the vegetables mashed if they are turnips, carrots, beets or potatoes, or minced if they are cabbages or greens. And after the ingredients have been treated in these ways they should be all so well mixed that the dog cannot pick out the meat if disposed to do so.
A word here as to forced or spoon feeding. It is only in extremely rare instances that it is necessary except in sickness, and certainly it should not be resorted to unless absolutely necessary. But it is a fact that one at least of the most noted winners of the past could not be built up to weight without the use of the spoon. And should the reader be so unfortunate as to encounter another such he would be perfectly justified in forcing food into him, using raw eggs, highly concentrated beef broths and beef extracts for the purpose.
While the dietary recommended is the one which can wisely be employed with the most common varieties of dogs there are some for which modifications will be required. To greyhounds, for instance, but little soft food should be given, nor should they be allowed vegetables in considerable quantities; in fact they should have no more than demanded to keep their bowels free and active. Their mainstays should be boiled beef and mutton, - the latter for choice, - and with these, in the absence of suitable table scraps, should be mixed a little white or Graham bread that has been toasted or baked until nearly as brown and crisp as rusks, or occasionally a little hard and brown corncake will be allowable, and to these ingredients can be added what vegetables are required; while once or twice a week it will be a good plan to feed on raw meat, chopped fine, with a raw egg over it.