I was reading some homemade dog food recipes earlier when I came across an article suggesting that everyone should switch to meat sawdust as an alternative to quality meat. There was a time when I had actually thought of sticking to this option, but something happened one day that made me realize that going for cheaper alternatives isn't always the best idea, and may often lead to tragic consequences.
What is Meat Sawdust?
But first, what is this meat sawdust? What's the big deal about it and why do many Facebook dog owners recommend it?
Meat sawdust is a combination of ground pork and ground beef. Other groceries and meat shops mix it with other variants such as ground chicken, ox, or fish as well. You might hear some Filipinos call it "pinag-tabasan" because generally, these are the "wastes" from cutting meats that are re-packed straight from their machines (and chopping boards), and sold for a very affordable price.
Sounds healthy, right? Well, that's what I thought.
Jordan - The Senior Black Labrador Retriever
|Jordan - a sweet old labrador retriever who finally got the chance to explore the world for the first time.|
He didn't want to eat kibbles so we fed him homemade dogfood during his first 4 months in our care. We were spending more or less Php 500 a day for his food only. His health and energy obviously got better but he was still a little underweight. We had to add a little more protein to his diet but since I was already 7 months pregnant then (not to mention that I was having a high-risk pregnancy and was spending atleast Php 20,000 for my meds and follow up check-ups) and I could only do so much, we knew we had to think of other options.
Our Experience with Meat Sawdust
|Jordan - 4 months after we got him. His energy, appetite, and body improved, but he was still underweight and his skin and coat was still in not-so-good condition.|
That's when a friend advised us to feed him meat sawdust instead. There's a reputable meat shop a few blocks away from home so we tried it immediately. Jordan liked it that it only took him less than 5 minutes to finish a whole large bowl of boiled meat sawdust mixed with rice. We also gave the same "special diet" to our picky-eaters, Mhershey and Archer. This continued for more than 2 months until the meat shop suddenly closed and left us with no other option - buy from the mall's grocery.
While the latter may sound harmless, many people from this city would probably agree that the meat from the grocery of this "huge mall" has a distinctive smell. It doesn't taste good either.
However, we couldn't just change their diet immediately without undergoing a 3-day food transition, so we only bought a few packs. When I opened a pack, I already smelled something like that of a rotten egg. When I started washing the meat sawdust, I felt some strange tiny stuff mixed with it. I thought they were just crushed bones but my horror came true when I looked at them closely. They were staples! I also saw a few crystal-like stuff that were like broken glasses. Without any second thought, I put everything we bought in a garbage bag and dumped it outside.
What if I didn't see these tiny killers? I couldn't imagine the possible scenario if I had chosen to ignore those hard stuff I felt while washing it. Sometimes, my trust issues can be helpful too.
I posted it on an online forum for dogs that night. Many members shared some similar experiences as well. We're talking about different sources here - not only about the grocery where I bought that last meat sawdust.
Important Note to Dog Owners Who Feed Their Dogs Meat Sawdust
This is a big lesson not just for me, but for all of us. Maybe some of you who are meat-sawdust-fans haven't encountered a similar experience yet, but this should be your starting point to be more careful in what you choose to feed your dogs.
If you still want to continue feeding sawdust, check for possible inedible items in the meat. Wash it more than twice. If it has a foul smell and/or if you felt something strange in the meat, dump it immediately. Most importantly, never feed your dogs raw meat sawdust! I've been seeing some dog owners on Facebook feeding this to their pets. One of the dogs I saw eating this got an infection called "Listeria" eventually.
While raw feeding dogs has its own benefits and risks, it only applies to quality and fresh raw meat... not the scrap ones taken from meat grinders or contaminated chopping boards. However, I wouldn't recommend this kind of feeding since we haven't tried it yet.
Alternatives to Meat SawdustAs responsible dog owners, we always want the best for them. Instead of feeding them meat sawdust, there are other healthier alternatives like chicken (and liver), turkey, beef, lamb, bison, etc. Some fruits and vegetables are good, too!
If you really like a cheaper alternative, I would personally recommend premium kibbles like Acana, Go Naturals, Taste of the Wild, or Orijen.
These premium kibbles are made from high quality and all-natural ingredients. We've already tried these four brands and all showed positive results on our dogs' health, skin, and coat - especially to Jordan who transformed from a sad and traumatized dog to a happy and energetic senior pooch a few weeks after sticking to this premium diet.
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