We’ve been feeding raw food to Mr. Klondike for maybe 2.5 years now. Bill and I don’t even think about it any more, but every now and then we surprise our friends and family.
They all ask the same questions, so I’m answering them here, as the person running Mr. Klondike’s catering department.
Food poisoning? Salmonella?
Do not underestimate a dog’s digestive powers! Mr. Klondike even likes his meat a little ripe, as in old, and I think it smells more interesting that way. He likes his food fresh, too. He likes everything. He takes his morning eggs raw, cracked into his bowl.
What about people? Isn’t it dangerous for the people around your dog?
No one has become sick here, so it seems quite all right. Of course, I am careful with the storing and handling of raw ingredients, and would never guarantee that it is perfectly safe in every case.
Aren’t bones dangerous? Especially chicken bones? They puncture the gut!
Again, do not underestimate a dog’s digestive powers! When Mr. Klondike swallows a big piece of bone, most of the time his poo does not contain the bone. It just gets a little whiter and crumbly if the bone is big. When we do see small bone fragments, they are rounded and tiny. Although, I should emphasize that cooked bones are a different deal, and I hear they do not melt away the way raw bones do. We only give him raw bones.
It must be expensive!
This is mostly a matter of choice. Even in the SF Bay Area where the cost of living is ridiculously high, we can easily find people grade meat under $1/lb. On the other end of the spectrum, there are stores that sell exotic meat for raw fed animals for over $15/lb. There are other creative ways to get raw food, like getting to know your butcher. On the web I read wonderful stories like getting a whole roadkill venison, raising chickens and rabbits for food in the back yard, getting extra cheap fish at the port. So it really is a matter of choice and a little creativity. Mr. Klondike needs a little more than a pound of meat and bone each day.
What about nutritional balance?
I’m not even sure what people really should be eating, and I certainly do not claim to know what is best for my dog. But we don’t need a scientist to tell us that it’s probably mostly meat and bones, he can also eat a wide range of other food, and that he needs variety. That’s common sense.
The switch for Mr. Klondike from dry to raw was mostly my intuition. I have read books and articles that support it, but a lot of dogs seems to thrive on commercially available food too, so raw is probably not the only way. That said, there were so many visible health improvements that I can’t imagine I’d ever switch him back to kibble.
The best ratio of meat, bones and organs is said to be 8:1:1. There should be variety in the kind of animals they come from, and 10-20% vegetable matter is also recommended. There is no shortage of resources on the web for those interested. I follow the guidelines loosely but pretty consistently.
Don’t raw fed dogs become vicious? Klondike is too big!
This is the face of that very dangerous raw fed dog and he weighs about 100 pounds. The killing instinct… I’m not sure I’ve seen it. He loves to have his tummy rubbed. Before raw, he was always very hungry. Almost restlessly asking for food. After raw, he is the relaxed Mr. Klondike we know. That’s the only character change we have noticed.
Do you travel raw?
We leave home with a backup bag of kibble, but there are supermarkets everywhere. It’s not hard at all.
Maybe I should try too with my dog/cat?
The best thing to start with is chicken wings. The very tip of the wings, that part is not bone, it’s cartilage. It’s not going to be dangerous even for small dogs. Some animals need time to get adjusted, so I’d recommend transitioning slowly. Swap part of what you have been feeding to chicken wings. Then gradually increase the size of the bone. Feed more of it. Then try other meats and organs. There are people who have had success feeding 100% raw from day one, without any problems. Then there are other people whose animals just wouldn’t stop having digestive issues. Know your animal, and keep a close watch.
So… That’s about it for now. Hope this page answered your questions. If you need to know more, just do a couple of Google searches.
For the third year, Mr. Klondike packed his bowls and treats and then jumped into the Klonmobile for twelve days of sight sniffing, family time, and of course snacking as we head down the coast of California from Berkeley to visit my mom in San Diego.
There are people who think constant, compulsive picture taking of their dog is insane. They are probably right. In fact, here’s some proof…
At San Diego’s Fiesta Island.
Klondike is too sexy for Milan, New York or Japan but he’s crushing it here at San Diego’s Del Mar North Beach.
Mr. Klondike models his car vest, a Kurgo brand crash-tested safety harness, at beautiful La Jolla Cove. The vest hooks to the seatbelts in the Klonmobile. We’d all rather the force of a sudden stop be absorbed by the seat belt and then spread out evenly over Klondike’s chest, not throw him through the windshield or into other occupants. Note: hidden in the rocks is a member of Mr. Klondike’s talent management team, protecting him from spies looking to steal his health and safety technology.
Mr. Klondike inside a dinosaur egg at Pismo Beach. Yes, we shared a very similar picture last year, but he looks so happy we had to share this one too.
Our friend the furry citizen seems to love the water. He doesn’t love swimming as much as some dogs (though he’s happy to swim, especially if hot) but getting wet, shaking with full force and then rolling in mud or sand is a favorite pastime. We learned long ago that you could have a happy dog or a clean car but not both. And of course, nothing beats having a happy dog.
This is what Mr. Klondike looked like as we passed through the agricultural Central Coast. The window was cracked (and often down) so Klondike could sniff.
We frequently describe Klondike as having retired from agricultural security at age one to pursue liberal arts in Berkeley. It’s a bit silly (of course), but it’s also essentially true.
Klondike came to the Bay Area thanks to the good graces of Rocket Dog Rescue. Rocket Dog rescued him from a shelter in Bakersfield, an agricultural community that probably smelled much like those we are passing through above. We understand that he was in the shelter with another dog believed to be his brother. How they came to the shelter is less clear, but we are pretty sure Klondike’s first year or so was spent as an outdoor ranch dog. Before reaching the shelter he probably lived with other dogs like himself, likely including his parents and siblings. Does he remember that life? Does he miss it? Does he miss them?
Looking at Klondike’s face it easy to imagine that he is in a pensive, melancholy mood thinking about his previous life, maybe even his original family.
He’s very healthy. We think he’s happy and aware that he’s much loved. But a tiny part of us will always wonder if there is more we can do for him.
Some Miscellaneous Trip Pics
Klondike’s cousin Tommy. Tommy arrived in San Diego with his brother and dad a few days after us. And being a young man of great taste, he walked in the door wearing his Klondike T-Shirt.
This is the front of the T-shirt. We made a bunch of these in various sizes as part of the flurry of excitement that marked Klondike’s first year with us. However, over the years we’ve either used or given away many of the shirts. Probably time for a new design and printing run!
This is Tommy’s older brother Henry with the ultimate blend of East and West, a nearly perfect rendition of a traditional Japanese bento boxed lunch but made with candy. The gift was scored by Mieko in Tsukiji on her last trip to Tokyo and earned a coveted “So Cool!” rating from Henry.
This my brother Matt, Henry and Tommy’s father and Klondike’s uncle. My late father was an anthropologist. Here Matt is unloading the 19 boxes of anthropology books our mom donated to the San Diego Public Library from my father’ collection.
Here’s a shot of the some of the boxes as we get the books ready for donation.
Below Mieko is helping my mom downsize her spice collection. Mieko started the project figuring that a lot of the bottles held the same things so she could easily get rid of the 2/3s of them. Nope. My mom is incredible. There was zero redundancy. In the end, Mieko was able to reduce the collection about 20% by targeting older stuff that had lost its punch.
Did some cleanup in my old room. Among the artifacts that surfaced was a subscription to The National Lampoon I received as a Christmas gift in 7th grade. It was a life-changing introduction to adult humor. Thanks mom and dad – love you!
Two more treasures from junior high and high school. My beloved Daisy BB pistol, bought during a trip to South Africa, and one of several boxes of electrical/electronic parts
Tommy, Klondike, and my mom. In the background are items ready to depart the house as part our early Spring Cleaning.
During this year’s trip, we visited three new dog parks. More Mesa in Santa Barbara, Carlsbad Lagoon Dog Beach in San Diego and Fiesta Island Dog Park in San Diego. They were all great. Here’s a quick summary –
More Mesa Beach is a narrow beach hidden away below the bluffs of More Mesa Park in Santa Barbara. To get there you’ll go through a ridiculously narrow trail, pass a whole bunch of private property warnings before coming to barren plain. Go over the plain towards the ocean and you’ll find a steep set of steps to the beach. It’s quiet and Klondike had a wonderful time running up and down. But between the bad access and the lack of anything but a narrow beach, we’d suggest spending time at the nearby Douglas Family Reserve (a pic or two from a previous trip here).
Klondike at the top of the More Mesa steps
The steps look broken but they were fine to walk on
Klondike tearing around More Mesa
Fiesta Island Dog Beach is a large, open slice of Fiesta Island, an artificial island in San Diego’s Mission Bay. Even bigger than the Bay Area’s Point Isabel (if not quite as pretty), it’s a wonderful place for dogs to run, swim, sniff, and socialize. We made it there twice during our visit and if we lived in San Diego we’d absolutely be regulars. http://diegodoggies.com/fiesta-island/
Carlsbad Lagoon Dog Beach is the small, undistinguished strip of beach facing Carlsbad Lagoon (also known as Agua Hedionda lagoon). The lagoon is very popular with kayakers, paddle boarders and the like. The “dog beach” name aside, leashes are required (though Klondike may or may not have been able to read that sign) and dogs are not allowed in the water. However, it is less than a mile from the freeway (Exit 49 from I5 in Carlsbad) and not a bad place to stretch your legs (all four of them) if you are heading towards San Diego and have been in the car a few hours. Sorry- no pics. https://goo.gl/maps/gECghvxGCjq
And to wind the post up, a few shots from Santa Barbara’s dog-friendly The Goodlands Hotel where we stayed (again) on our trip back to the Bay Area.
When we got back from dinner, we found our white sheets decorated with the below. Usually we are good about paw washing, but looks like it didn’t happen this time. Needless to say, we tipped the maid extra well.
At home we are strict about not allowing Klondike on furniture and he’s good about not getting up. But… we allow it on vacation and Mr. Klondike seems to enjoy being on the same level as his humans.
This is January 1, first morning of 2018.
A Happy New Year!
Thank you for reading this far!
The three of us taking a stroll on Thompson Ave. in Alameda, CA. Klondike encountered a real polar bear, probably for the first time. Happy Holidays!
Mr. Klondike agreed to let a photographer from Klondikenews.com accompany him during some of his public outings this weekend.
Saturday he journeyed to Point Isabel for some quality time with his close friend Kizzie and for a brisk run followed by a martial arts workout and a swim
Sunday was a trip to Strawberry Canyon for a mountain stroll and quick meet-and-greet with some younger members of his fan club
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Klondike’s favorite local coffee shop is far and away Zing Cafe. Family run with great drinks, fair prices and, most importantly of all, frequently a small scrap of cheese for Mr. Klondike, Klondike’s favorite morning walks include a stop at Zing. So do his peoples’.
Klondike was disappointed and then thrilled to stop by Zing this morning and see it closed.
Disappointed, of course, because it put a dent in his post breakfast, cheese treat acquisition plan. Thrilled because as proud descendent of hard working, Basque-speaking livestock guards from the Pyrenees mountains, between France and Spain, he is well aware of how much immigrants contribute to making America great and was thrilled to support May 1st, A Day Without Immigrants. He would have been more thrilled to support A Day Without Immigrants if that support had included cheese, but he made the sacrifice.
Strawberry Canyon is a great walk, a beautiful view, good exercise, and less than twenty minutes from the house. But for some reason, we hadn’t visited since it started raining heavily in October. OK, that reason was a very steep section that bipedal members of the Bill-Klondike team didn’t feel like dealing with when covered with mud. But still, four months is way too long without a visit, so Klondike and I took advantage of a ‘paws’ between showers to show up yesterday.
Perhaps because he hadn’t been there for a while, perhaps because the cool air and light sprinkle may have reminded him of his ancestral home in the Pyreneese mountains, Klondike was in a fine mood, brimming with energy.
There were tons of fallen trees along the trail, victims of prolonged drought and then torrential rains.
An underappreciated benefit of these rains is the opportunity for Klondike to put on black fashion socks (which can also decorate the interior of the car and house), and me to appreciate my waterproof hiking boots.
Of course, one of the best parts of these walks is making new friends. Klondike has high standards and only hangs out with the really cool dogs, but Willow, a nine-month-old puppy, clearly made the cut. Enjoy!
Strawberry Canyon, February 19, 2017.
A few snapshots of Mr. Klondike and his friends at the Albany Bulb, one of Klondike’s favorite walk spots.
The pictures were taken around noon by Cynthia, Mr. Klondike’s dog walker.
Before setting out with Cynthia, Klondike enjoyed a delicious egg breakfast, then an early morning walk with Mieko. Then to get his energy back for his noon walk he took a post-after-breakfast-walk nap. After hanging with Cynthia and his pals he came home and got a bone, which he explained was necessary to get into the right frame of mind for his mind afternoon nap. Of course, Klondike quickly demolished the bone and took his afternoon nap. After the afternoon nap, it was time to refresh his strength with dinner, and then set out on an evening patrol of the neighborhood with Bill.
Klondike kicking back with a stick and his best friend, Max
Again this year, Klondike, Mieko, and Bill made the drive from Berkeley to San Diego to spend Christmas with The Audrey, Klondike’s honorary grandma.
The trip was a leisurely nine days from start to finish, leaving Berkeley for La Jolla on December 22, stopping in Santa Barbara both coming and going, and finally returning home on December 30th.
The weather was great the entire time. We hit some moderate rain in Southern California on the 30th, but other than that, the only other rain was late at night, when we are all safely indoors. Klondike was also better used to long drives so while of course we did walks and park explorations, we didn’t feel the need to give him a break every few hours.
Here are some trip highlights, in very roughly chronological order
Most people don’t know it, but science has proven that Pyrenees are mammal-reptile hybrids, created by mixing wolf and dinosaur DNA. We stopped at Dinosaur Caves Park at Pismo Beach and in their dinosaur-themed playground Klondike was able to reenact his own hatching from a life-like Pyrenees egg.
And speaking of Dinosaur Caves Park at Pismo Beach, the three of us at sunset.
No Velociraptors emerged but had they done so I’m sure Klondike would have protected us. Unless said Velociraptors offered him cheese, in which case Klondike would need to give the situation some serious thought.
Klondike immediately recognized The Goodlands, the dog-friendly Santa Barbara hotel we stayed in last year, and immediately headed to the reception desk to ask about
a welcoming bouquet treats. The receptionist is honored but just a little surprised.
Still at The Goodlands and…
Where’s Klondike!! Anyone seen Klondike?
Klondike isn’t allowed on our bed at home (up until recently, he wasn’t even allowed in our bedroom), so the above is very much a vacation treat. Which he seems have thoroughly enjoyed.
We’re in La Jolla now. Here’s Mieko and Klondike on Christmas morning, right next to Scripps pier at the La Jolla Shores, a few miles down the hill from where I grew up.
Later on, Christmas morning, opening presents at my mom’s house.
Klondike is taking a break while waiting his turn to open a gift, but not too exhausted to spend time near The Audrey, his grandmother. The Audrey’s house is usually occupied by Parker, a cat. However, to accommodate Mr. Klondike, Parker was kind enough to spend his Christmas at a hotel, the absolutely incredible Helen Woodward Club Pet Boarding Center to be specific. We are grateful to The Audrey for the accommodation and apologize to Parker for any inconvenience.
Klondike posing with one of his gifts, cow ears. He usually gets much smaller pig and sheep ears, so these are a great treat.
Klondike got into the holiday spirit by generating his own snow. We’re talking massive shed. To avoid just carpeting my mom’s house, we were brushing him 2-3 times a day. What you see above was a pretty typical yield from any of the daily brushings.
This is the once clean back of the car looked after about a week.
The black and white strap you see above, attached to the shoulder belt in the top right, is attached to a yellow and black carabiner, which then clips to a shoulder harness we put on Klondike when driving. I figure in case of a sudden stop, a hundred pounds of Klon flying through the cabin would be bad for everyone.
Another shot at the La Jolla Shores. Beautiful dog, beautiful ocean, beautiful beach, not so sure about the restricted hours notice or my Santa hat.
The La Jolla Cove, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Too bad about all the regulations…
Regulations that do not overly impress Klondike. Apparently, these rules have been in place for years and years, but I just noticed them for the first time on this trip.
Unleashed at La Jolla Village Center. Klondike figures pet supply store + counter = treats on demand. He’s pretty much right. Note that Klondike seals the deal with a double handshake.
Meet The Real Pyre Paws of Orange County, our Pyre peers and their pyres. A great chance to vibe with our tribe.This shot is from the Irvine Spectrum Center, a huge and beautiful outdoor shopping center where we had dinner. Klondike is the one with the short fur, next to the
This shot is from the Irvine Spectrum Center, a huge and beautiful outdoor shopping center where we had dinner. Klondike is the amused looking dog with the short fur, next to the hunkalicious gentleman in gray.
Through Facebook, we’d gotten to friends with a member of the group and then got to know the group itself. Since Orange County was right on the way back to Berkeley our friend set up a dinner for us and the group. It was great. Wonderful people, wonderful hospitality, wonderful dogs, lots for people to talk about, and for dogs to sniff at.
Of course, being in the middle of a busy shopping mall we were surrounded by Paparazzi. “Can I pet your dog?” “What kind of dog is that?” “What a huge lab!” and so on. But I think no one minded, and some of our friends, like Klondike, enjoyed the attention.
And that, ladies and gentleman, was our 2016 Christmas trip.
Last year when we did this trip Klondike was wiped out for two days after returning, but this time he was a little sleepy for a day or so and then back to full power. I think he’s getting the hang of car trips.
Stay tuned for a summary review of dog parks visited during the trip, and have a wonderful 2017.