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.
Reverting to the culinary preparation of animal food, it is again urged that when the popular method, boiling, is applied, in every instance the water or broth be fed out with the meat because this contains important elements, extracted during the cooking, which the body must have for its support, especially if under heavy drains, as during gestation and nursing.
As practically stated, to occasionally vary the form of the meat in the diet from cooked to raw is advisable, but the latter can scarcely be wisely given with vegetables and starches, unless it is finely minced and so thoroughly mixed with them it cannot be picked out. Hence, when it is to be but a part of a feed, it should be withheld until the last, for the other foods might be left untouched - the keen edge of the appetite having been taken off by the much more palatable morsels.
As for bones, they have rightly been called the dog's tooth brush, for by means of them matters which accumulate on the teeth are largely removed. Those which are soft and can be easily crushed, as the body bones of calves, sheep, etc., should be given at frequent intervals, but hard bones endanger the teeth; and the small and dense, which sliver on breaking, are especially forbidden as likely to cause intestinal obstruction - an accident which has proved fatal to many valuable dogs.
A word as to horse-flesh. That of healthy horses which have been killed by accident or in consequence of accident can safely be accepted as good food for dogs, whereas the flesh of horses destroyed by disease should be considered dangerous, although of course it might not always be so.
Meat with all its bearings having been freely discussed, there remain for consideration a few other animal foods of value in the kennels; and these are milk, eggs, and fish.
Milk, Nature's first food for a certain class of animals, necessarily contains all the elements required for the growth of the body, and therefore it must be placed high in the list of materials at command for feeding dogs - old as well as young. But while a perfect food for the latter, its value lessens as age advances because its important elements are so diluted with water; and before a mature dog could obtain enough of them it would be necessary literally to swamp his alimentary canal. In fact, were it alone depended upon a dog of the largest variety would scarcely find support in less than a gallon of milk daily; and this quantity taken continually would speedily injure his digestive system; moreover, he would soon weaken unless kept much at rest, for while milk builds up tissues they cannot withstand very hard labor.
But notwithstanding all this, new milk is a valuable food for dogs of all ages, and beyond its supportive effects it has an admirable action on the skin and coat. And really no more solid rule can be fixed than to let all dogs make their breakfasts on it, either alone or thickening slightly with some of the starchy foods.
Skimmed milk, as all must know, is simply milk that has parted with a certain amount of its oleaginous matter or cream, while its tissue-building materials have all been retained. It is therefore nourishing, and merely lacks the force-producing elements of the milk.
As for buttermilk, this also contains all of any value except the fatty matter, while, like skimmed milk, it is scarcely less refreshing and nutritious than new milk; and those who cannot afford the latter should by all means, in summer certainly, be well supplied with one of the others - the cost of which is but a trifle comparatively - and give it to their dogs in generous quantities for breakfast.
The difference between the skimmed and the new is not likely to be noted; but buttermilk is at first less agreeable to the taste, yet a fondness for it is generally soon acquired, and it can always be gratified, for this milk is no burden to digestion, nor is it at all likely to affect the bowels unpleasantly, as many think it inclined to do.
Some dogs take kindly to sour milk, and if so it can safely be allowed them in reasonable quantities, but breeders will do well to withhold it from very young puppies, although within the experience of the writer it only occasionally does harm. As for its anthelmintic powers, which are generally thought to be considerable, if it possesses any such they are of small account.
This list of animal foods would be far from complete were eggs not included, for in conditioning the well and feeding the sick they could scarcely be dispensed with. Like milk they contain all the elements needed to sustain nutrition, yet some of them are greatly in excess of what would be required for support, while other and no less important essentials appear in such small amounts that in order to obtain all his system demanded, were a dog of the largest size to live on eggs he would be obliged to eat very nearly two dozen each day.
There is, of course, no truth in the popular saying that "an egg is as good as a pound of meat," for in proportion to its weight it is equally as nourishing as meat, and no more. But it has qualities which in some directions make it more valuable as a food than meat; and herein it greatly resembles cod-liver oil - for the yolk is very nearly one-third fat. In fact for medicinal purposes, the relative proportions of fatty matter duly considered, eggs are of no less value than that medicine.
When "spoon-feeding" is necessary, as in times of sickness and once in a while in conditioning for dog shows, no other food can approach the egg in importance, being as it is concentrated and so easy of digestion that even if the organs concerned in the process are enfeebled they are yet able to dispose of it speedily and advantageously.
Again, eggs are most efficient accessories, for the reason that quickly and easily digested and absorbed as they are - except of course when in large quantities - they scarcely lessen the appetite for other foods, hence can be given in the morning, also at noon if required in special cases, and the evening meal will generally be as acceptable and taken with as much relish as if it were the only one of the day. Beyond this, nearly all foods can be fortified by them without their presence being detected.
In feeding the sick, the whites as well as the yolks of eggs can be given in ail instances where the stomach will retain them; and when vomited, if the yolks are removed and only the whites administered not only will they generally remain on the stomach but have an agreeable, soothing action on its lining membrane.
To a dog that has fallen off in coat and is under weight no better dietetic treatment can be administered than plenty of new milk with one, two, or more - according to his size - raw eggs, lightly beaten up in it for breakfast, and the same number at noon in about half the quantity of milk taken in the morning. And if he is a dainty feeder, when night comes another egg or two can wisely be mixed with his meat.
If merely suffering from derangement a dog is quite sure to "pick up" quickly under this treatment, and he will very often do so even when down with disease; while in the presence of good health raw eggs can be given frequently, with the assurance that the dogs will be all the better for the change.
It is scarcely necessary to add that whether for man or dogs the eggs should always be fresh, for when stale, even if they have made no near approach to decay, they are far less easily digested than the new-laid.
The subject of fish is one soon disposed of. All kinds that have been recently caught and properly cooked can occasionally be used in feeding dogs, but merely to vary the diet, for while nutritious, as usually served they are not very digestible; moreover, dogs seldom show any fondness for this food and generally eat it under protest, as it were.
When it is to be prepared specially for dogs the method to be employed is boiling; and unless the fish are very large it is advisable to enclose them in bags made of thin and coarse materials before putting them into the kettles.
After thoroughly cooking with a few vegetables the "meat" should be picked from the bones and returned to the broth, which should then be thickened with bread or some starchy food that has been well cooked.