Old Yeller. Marley and Me. Because of Winn-Dixie.
Turner and Hooch . . .
Most people love a good dog story.
Anyone who has had a dog can relate to the annoying-mutt-turns-revered-hero plot of every one of those movies mentioned above. We know how annoying it is when our own dog picks the highest traffic area in the house to lay down and sleep, causing everyone trying to negotiate the obstacle in their path to mutter and curse under their breath.
And we know that same be-cursed canine is equally adored by every last person in the household in spite of his irritating habits, rude sounds, constant slobbering and countless other flaws — and that our hearts would be crushed into kibble-sized bits and pieces were anything ever to happen to him.
Yes. We can relate to those movies because — we “get” dogs.
I’ll admit it. My wife Beth and I both sobbed shamelessly at the end of Marley and Me. It would have been terribly embarrassing except the other members of the packed audience never noticed.
They were all too busy crying too!
Now I have to be honest. It doesn’t take much to make me cry at a movie. Heck, I cried at the end of Charlotte’s Web even though, as far as I’m concerned, spiders are the worst idea that ever crossed the good Lord’s mind! I swear — it had to have been a really off day in heaven for him to have even considered such a thing!
And when Bambi lost his mother? Don’t even get me started! Suffice it to say, I was totally humiliated, especially considering the fact I watched that one with my entire 6th grade boy scout troop. I hadn’t been prepared for that one . . .
But those were mere warm-ups for the conclusion of Marley and Me. In the name of all that is holy — why didn’t somebody warn us about that one!!! I haven’t sobbed that hard over a movie since, well now, let me see. That would have been Old Yeller.
OK. You get the picture. People love their dogs. Those big (or tiny) floppy, furry, lovable creatures are our friends, our companions, our shoulders to cry on, our ego boosters …
Now, before you start thinking of bringing out the violins, let me assure you — I do have a sense of perspective. I know that dogs are dogs. They’re not human. But that doesn’t make our Maestro any less a part of our family.
I believe that when you become a dog owner, you assume a sacred trust: You agree to take care of that pet: to keep her safe and to train her and exercise her — and to feed her nutritious food. She depends upon you for these things.
I suspect you’re getting an idea where this is headed:
Natural homemade dog food.
Why would we choose to make this the main subject of a blog?
The answer is because the alternative is commercial dog food.
And what is wrong with commercial dog food, you may ask?
It was the book, Dog Food Secrets by Andrew Lewis first opened my eyes to the pig slop most of us are feeding our dogs. It forced me to look at what I was feeding Maestro and, from there, it was only a matter of time until I reached the logical conclusion. I needed to start making natural homemade dog food for my own beloved dog . . .
So, Beth and I have decided to dedicate this blog to sharing information about healthy habits and diets for our four-legged family members. We continue to research what is happening to our dogs . . . why so many seem to be getting tumors and dying young . . . and how a good, nutritious diet can make a big difference in our pets’ longevity.
We’re not experts. But as we stumble across facts in our explorations that we think may be of interest to you and other dog owners, we’ll post them here. Occasionally, if we are especially impressed with a product, we’ll post a link. No high pressure sales pitch. If you like what you see, buy it. If not, that’s fine too. The main purpose of this website is to learn from each other. So, please, feel free to let us know what you’ve learned too. Share a recipe. Share an experience. Tell us how you overcame a dog-related problem. We welcome your input.
In the meantime, welcome to our site! We hope to have some healthy recipes up on the site for you soon.
We’re Jaime and Beth McKittrin . . . and we love our dogs!
Why A Raw Diet for Dogs?
I’ll start with the obvious: Dogs are carnivores by nature. The fact of the matter is grains are not biologically appropriate as the main staple of a dog’s diet. In fact, they contribute to many of the degenerative diseases, as well as allergies, common to dogs.
For thousands of years now undomesticated dogs have lived on raw meat, and fruits and vegetables in the wild. Case in point: When was the last time you saw a wild dog or coyote roasting their rabbit or wild turkey over a barbecue spit? Never, you say? There’s a reason for that – and it has nothing to do with the lack of opposable thumbs.
Dogs need meat in its most natural (and digestible) form — raw. They need the calcium and natural healthy bacteria that comes from raw pliable bones.
And, just like you and me, they need fresh fruits and vegetables as a natural source of healthy complex carbohydrates and other nutrients their bodies and coats require for optimum health.
The pursuit of good health has become a major focus among humans today. Current trends dictate a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes regular exercise and other healthy habits.
Humans today work hard to achieve maximum physical fitness. Thankfully that trend toward good health is also influencing the way we care for our beloved pets.
Beth and I feel that making our own natural homemade dog food has been a good first step toward maximizing Maestro’s health and prolonging his life . We have already seen very positive results from feeding him only homemade meals rather than that melamine-laced kibble or canned mystery meat we see on the grocer’s shelve these days.
Of course, there are some exceptions if you start reading labels and are willing to dish out a year’s salary for a week’s supply! But even then, the canned varieties still have a good deal of the nutrients cooked right out of them (which then has to be “fortified” — or shall we say re-fortified — with vitamins and minerals).
So, after doing some research, Beth and I have decided to take it to the next level: We decided upon an all raw diet for our Maestro. We are following a program that we downloaded online. (If you’re interested, you can view it by clicking here). Since the author of this program worked hard, and is selling her book (at a very reasonable price. I might add), it would not be fair for us to reveal all of the specifics in this blog. Suffice it to say, it’s a well balanced regimen consisting of raw meats, including fish and liver, veggies and fruits, and eggs.
We should, however, be able to discuss the merits or disadvantages sufficiently for you to decide for yourselves. Okay?
Now, then. What are the advantages of a raw diet for dogs?
1. No Allergies.
Does your dog suffer from allergies? Is he constantly scratching at his skin or ears, or pulling out his fur? Do you spend more time and money at the vets than you care to admit hoping to find a cure or medication or other treatment to relieve him of his itching?
Just think about the additives that go into that kibble or can. We’ve talked about this in previous posts. In fact, it’s the whole point of this website/blog: Natural Homemade Dog Food — and we still advocate that as the route to optimum health for our canine buddies. Going raw is just another step in this quest for doggie well-being! An experiment, if you will — but one from which we are already seeing amazing results!
As I mentioned before, the cooking process removes most of the nutrients, natural oils and good bacteria that your dog needs to be healthy. Then the manufacturers re-fortify the nutrients to replace all the good stuff they just cooked out.
They also add dyes to make the food look more appealing (to the dog or to the human? To tell you the truth, I don’t know which is their target on that one!). They add artificial flavoring, and preservatives to keep the kibble “fresh” long after you and your dog have departed this earth for greener pastures.
It becomes the doggie equivalent of junk food — only infinitely less appetizing than Cheetos (my personal junk food of choice).
#2: No Bad Breath or Stinky Ears
Besides the itching, your grain-based kibble causes your dog to have atrocious doggie breath.
And, no, folks. That is not natural to a dog.
If your pup’s breath smells like a cheese factory, just try feeding him raw for a week or two. Then take another whiff. You’ll be amazed at the difference.
3. A Shiny, Healthy Looking Coat
With commercial grade canned or kibble, the only creatures who will find your dog attractive will be ticks and other six and eight-legged varmints because that beef flavored, re-fortified, well preserved commercial dog food also gives your dog a dull coat.
4. No Mystery Ingredients
The dog food manufacturers use meat by-products and other meats in their products that have failed to meet the standards for human consumption – and yet we feed them to our precious pets! Just think of all the recalls we’ve had in recent years over the contents of our dog’s food. Many dogs have actually died from ingesting that “healthy” dog food.
You may be thinking much of the above is the same reasoning I gave for making your own natural homemade dog food, and you would be right. Cooked or raw, homemade is better. We can be sure our pet is getting a well-rounded, healthy diet and we know the ingredients are safe and nutritious.
Going raw just brings additional benefits to the table (or the dog dish). Raw is the most natural and compatible with a dog’s digestive system and makeup.
Beth and I were so excited about Maestro’s new diet that we decided to have him keep a journal of his progress. (And this was no easy task. Maestro hates journaling!) A raw diet for dogs may not be for everyone. (It may not even be for us. Time will tell. ) But we feel the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. See what you think.
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day 1: Or What Are They Trying to Do to ME??
Maestro: Mom mixed up a big batch of what appeared to be slop – veggie slop no less. I feel like a resident of the reptile house at the zoo! It appeared to be a hodge-podge of odds and ends from our refrigerator: Lots of vegetables, some eggs (shells included) and fruit. Mom even sampled the concoction before serving it to me and declared it … well, not half bad. But I’ll be the judge of that!
Mom/Beth: And “judge” he did. I could almost read his mind as he walked over to his doggie dish and sniffed. “Highly irregular,” he thought, as he so often does. “Highly, highly irregular.”
Then, with one last sniff, he turned tail and walked out of the kitchen. Later, I tried to persuade him to just sniff the container. You’d think I was offering him hemlock!
He literally did turn tail and run — skittering out of the kitchen and keeping a watchful eye on me from behind the dining room table! Not only did he dislike it;she was afraid of it!
Maestro: No doubt about it; I was going to have to nip this “raw food” business in the bud. The only way I could think of to do that was a good old-fashioned hunger strike. Works every time. One day without eating and they’re at my mercy, begging and cajoling me to eat. But I hold out for the good stuff — table scraps and doggie treats. (I have even been known to eat doggie biscuits for dinner on occasion.)
So began the royal stand-off. I can’t tell you how many times Mom pointed to my dish and said, “Maestro, eat. Eat.” Then to Dad, “He’s a dog, for God’s sake. Dogs eat anything.” To which I say, “Anything but that slop!”
Mom/Beth: I can’t believe it. He went the whole day refusing to eat! Finally, I caved and offered him a meaty beef bone (still raw, so I was still technically legal). He rather smugly accepted this (clearly thinking he had won Round 1!), and trotted off to the living room to devour it on my light beige carpet. I didn’t argue. I was too relieved to see him eating! I think that makes it a draw.
There is a chapter in the e-book I’m using regarding how to handle a finicky eater. Thankfully, it does allow for a little fudging at first, so I finally gave in and doctored his veggie slop with some chicken broth, a tad of kibble (just this once), and a little ground beef. It worked. We all slept well that night.
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #2: Fish Day!
Maestro: Fish day. I LOVE tuna! This diet’s not so bad after all.
Mom/Beth: I think Maestro likes fish day. Just gotta watch out for that doggie (fish) breath! We went with tuna because – well, have you seen the price of fish these days?!! I can get a small can of tuna (water-packed) at Shop and Save for $.56; probably even less at Aldi’s. Add a little yogurt and VOILA!!!
Maestro: There is nothing like the taste of yogurt to transport me back to my days as a pup back on the farm, romping with my brothers and sisters. Tuna and yogurt – what could be better! Today was a great day. We’ll all sleep good.
Here is a great video of a fellow-fish loving dog — a Golden Lab named Nikki. This video is a tribute to her memory. (If an ad pops up at the bottom of the screen, just click it off — we have no control over these YouTube ads. It’s nothing we’re trying to sell; I assure you.)
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #3: Ah – Dem Bones, Dem Bones!!!
Maestro: Now Dad’s joined in the conspiracy. What are they trying to do to me? He gave me a marrow bone surrounded by a mass of raw beef. “Highly irregular.” Of course, I just sniffed it and walked away. Never saw meat that looked like that before!
Besides, you’ve gotta be consistent with these humans if you want to get them properly trained. When Dad finally got smart and cut the meat off the bone, I agreed to accept his offering – altho’ even then, I feigned reluctance.
Dad/Jaime: Maestro even accepted the smidgeon of produce I mixed with his meat. After eating, he took his meaty bone and trotted off to – you guessed it – the living room again. I think I’d rather replace the carpet than interrupt his meal at this point!
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day #4: Parts Is Parts
Maestro: “What the …? Where the heck is my kibble?” Suddenly their idea of dinner is raw ground poultry? And mixed with some sort of fruity soup with eggs. What are they trying to do – kill me? Dad actually called Mom at work to give her a progress report after I ate it. Who knows when I’ll see my next meal. Better take it while I can, I say.
Dad/Jaime: Had to call Beth to brag about how willingly Maestro gobbled up his meal today – even the veggies. I think we’ve rounded a corner. This raw food idea just may work yet! It’s even more economical than that expensive dry dog food we were giving him between table scraps. We’re all gonna sleep good tonight!
Raw Diet for Dogs — Day 5
Maestro: Mom’s at work and Dad’s mixing my meals. I’m practically inhaling it now! I’m either adjusting to this new diet or . . . Dad’s cheating!
Hm-m. I am tasting a hint of honey in my veggie mix these days. Maybe that’s why I’m finding it so tasty. But I’m not about to tattle on him!
Dad: In my defense, honey is one of the ingredients. I think he’s just become accepting of his new diet. He actually seems to be enjoying it!
Mom: I need to pick up come organ meats. So far, that’s an ingredient that’s been lacking in this new diet. Maestro is definitely showing a lot more enthusiasm for his meals than I’ve seen in a long time. I guess we were stuck in a rut before – even though we were making it homemade. We had fallen too much into the habit of just feeding him leftovers. Now we’re focusing on a well-balanced eating plan.
After just a little short of a week, Maestro seems to have more energy and looks forward to mealtime. He is getting more liquids which means a lot more getting up and down for us to let him outside, but, then, we could use the exercise. And, most importantly … we’re all sleeping well.
by Jaime S. McKittrin
Did you know there are good proteins for your dog that are essential for your dog’s health? And there are proteins that are practically worthless to your pet?
Is your pet among the more than 30 million dogs in America’s that is getting an inferior diet because they eat commercial dog food that contain inferior proteins?
The good proteins for your pets include muscle meat, eggs, organ meats and dairy products such as yogurt and cottage cheese.
The inferior proteins come from vegetable sources such as soy, rice, wheat and corn. These vegetable proteins cannot be easily digested by your dog. If his diet is made up of vegetable proteins he will likely develop hormonal imbalances and other health problems.
How does protein affect a dog’s body?
The muscular building blocks of protein consist of twenty-three amino acids. A normal healthy dog produces thirteen amino acids internally. The other ten must be obtained through the food the dog consumes.
If a puppy is denied these ten outside amino acids it will simply fail to grow and develop and will die.
An adult dog that develops a deficiency of these essential amino acids will grow weak and may develop symptoms such as slow growth, weak or deformed bones, chronic ear infections, skin infections, tumors, aggression or timidity, spinning and tail chasing and cancer and epilepsy.
Protein is very important for your dog’s coat, skin and nails. Without protein, his coat will dull and and he will eventually start losing hair rapidly.
The immune system relies on proteins to continue to protect the body from diseases and infections. Without a properly developed immune system, a dog is more susceptible to chronic diseases that can bring early death.
For this reason the United States requires all commercial dog foods guaranty that their product contain a minimum of 9% protein. That figure, by the way, is probably too low to sustain vibrant health but has been established as the required minimum nonetheless.
Manufacturers of commercial dog food often satisfy this guaranty by filling their product with nutritionally inferior vegetable proteins. Why? Because vegetables are much cheaper. The manufacturers can then meet the government requirement and still keep their profits high!
That dog food companies sacrifice the health of your animal for profits should not be surprising. One investigator took a list of 68 requirements for a safe, nutritional dog food. She then compared every dog food manufactured in North America to her list.
What were the results? She discovered only 9 commercial dog food brands that met the 68 point criteria.
At first glance this may seem a stretch. But, then, how was it that thousands of our pets were poisoned in the dog food scandal of 2007? Why are more dogs dying at an earlier age from cancers and other ailments?
Protein for dogs is an essential part of their diet. Do you know if your dog is being fed with good proteins or inferior proteins? Is his diet safe or unsafe? Your pets depends on you to keep him or her safe!
We recommend 9 dog foods in “The Confidential Dog Food Report”, which have been researched and we know contain all the high quality protein your pet needs.
by Beth McKittrin
Natural Homemade Dog Food
Free Natural Dog Food Recipes
Wow! Everyone seems to want to make their own natural homemade dog food — Jaime and I have been flooded with requests for a free recipe book!
Naturally we wanted it filled with recipes for healthy, natural food for your dog.
Sorry to say we haven’t fully prepared our own yet, but knew of a book that was prepared by a trusted friend of ours, Mike Mullins. Mike, dog lover that he is, told us we could go ahead and offer it to you on our blog.
And, because Mike is such a dog lover, he told us we could give it away for free!
You can download your free copy of Pamper Your Dog – 130 Recipes for Your Canine Friend right now….with one proviso.
Jaime and I have been working on a newsletter. For right now it will start out as a mailing list that we can use to send you great information about your dog’s health, training, and any great news related items that will affect your pet.
We know everyone who visits our site will want to join this list!
Then Jaime came up with the a genius idea.
He said we should offer you Mike’s book when you join our list…
Sort of killing two birds with one stone (what a horrible analogy for an animal lover’s website!)
So that is what we have set up.
Join our list by adding your first name and email address, below, and, once we confirm your email address (done instantly), you can download this great free natural dog food recipe book!
The book includes 130 natural homemade dog food recipes and other goodies for pooch!
By the way, we have had thousands join our list, and we have NEVER given a single e-mail address to anyone! We keep them completely PRIVATE! That is our promise to you.
Remember, when you make these natural homemade dog food recipes — get your kids involved!
They will love doing something good for their pet and it will bring you closer together as a family.
Don’t forget — it’s their dog!
by Beth McKittrin
Nobody likes a rude dog. Do you find your dog jumping on people who come to visit to be a humiliating experience?
Would you like to put a stop to this bad habit and train your dog not to jump on people?
If so, the discussion below will save you future grief and hopefully keep you from losing friends because of Fido’s “faux paws.”
If your dog loves visitors as much as ours does, you too must be constantly asking yourself how to go about solving this behavior flaw. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a mixed blessing. Jumping on people — friends and strangers — is a sign of our pet’s exuberance and love for humans, which is a good thing.
But it’s also just plain rude – and nobody likes a rude dog.
No matter how well intentioned your pet may be, your guests should not have to be subjected to an assault on their person(s) every time they want to see you in your own home. This is especially so when it is a guest who does not share your enthusiasm for those of the canine persuasion — and believe it or not, there actually are people out there who are not fond of dogs.
So, what can you do to stop your dog jumping on people?
First, a brief explanation as to why dogs jump on people in the first place
No doubt, if you have spent even a short period of time with your own beloved pup, you have discovered on your own just how much dogs crave attention and love from their humans. They keep it no secret.
They don’t know the meaning of subtle.
Dogs are completely “in your face” when it comes to expressing their adoration for you — wet tongue and all. But they don’t reserve this honor exclusively for you — their master and meal ticket. No. It is a gift they may bestow upon any two-footed creature who happens to enter their domain (i.e., your front door).
So, attention is the key. And how do you make sure Fido has the attention he needs to prevent him from ambushing every visitor who crosses your threshold?
Here are a few tips that readers have sent in that have worked for them:
Painful as it may sound, a reader named Ellie found that curbing her dog’s enthusiasm was accomplished by showing him absolutely no attention when she first walks in the door. Ellie said when her jumps on her, she turns her back immediately and make no eye contact with him.
Another technique was suggested by a reader named Don, who writes:
“When your dog jumps up, grab his paws and hold them tightly. Don’t squeeze them so you hurt the animal, but don’t let go when he tries to pull away, either. This will let your dog know you are the alpha partner in your relationship. Do this a few times and he will get the point!
“Once the dog has all four paws on the ground and is calm, you may then kneel down and greet him with a calm pat or a hug on his own level, but at your bidding. He will soon come to expect such a greeting.”
There are two suggestions you might try.
Remember, dogs are creatures of habit, after all. Both of these techniques, done over time, will teach your pooch that if he wants your attention, he must give you a proper greeting.
Your friends and other guests will soon start coming back, knowing they will not be toppled like ten pins the minute they enter your home!
If you would like some professional help with this jumping problem, I have picked up many tips from Chet Womach, one of the very best dog trainers I have ever followed. He has some simple lessons to teach your dog to stop your dog from jumping on people.
His course is relatively inexpensive (under $40 on line) and I found the entire program outstanding. The stop jumping training is just part of a complete dog obedience training course which also includes
If you are trying to teach your dog to stop jumping up, here is the best resource I have found to stop your dog from jumping on people. It is relatively inexpensive (under $40 on line) and I found the entire program outstanding.
The stop jumping training is just part of a complete dog obedience training course that also includes, to name just a few:
- Teaching your dog to stop barking for attention
- Training your dog to sit quietly for children
- Teaching your dog to stop biting when he plays
- Training your dog to stop chewing
- Teaching your dog to calm down (hyperactive dogs)
- Training your dog to diffuse his aggressive behavior
If you are humiliated by your dog jumping on people, you’ll appreciate the quick and easy tips Chet teaches that really work.
Perhaps you have your own success training your dog to stop jumping up. If so, let us know how you did it so we can share it with others.
Whatever you decide, the important thing is to stop this bad behavior in your dog.
Why not try a few of the tips our readers sent in? If you need more help, try Chet Womach’s training course.
by Jaime McKittrin
A recent report on the news got me thinking about substances that are toxic to our pets; you know — foods dogs should not eat.
The subject of the report was xylitol, the active agent in TicTacs™, as well as many other sugar-free candies. Apparently, a woman’s black lab had a propensity to sneak tasty morsels out of his master’s purse, including TicTacs™ and Tums™.
Now, I don’t know about your four-legged friends, but I know for a fact that if I stuck a handful of Tums™ in my 90-pound Briard’s food dish, she would turn up her aristocratic little French muzzle at me, rudely sneeze and walk away – no doubt muttering under her less than fragrant doggy breath.
Or, er, the doggy equivalent of muttering.
The idea of a dog wolfing down (no pun intended) a container of breath mints might seem humorous until you consider that this particular dog almost died as a result.
Apparently xylitol, which is a natural substance and quite acceptable sugar substitute for humans, can adversely affect a dog’s insulin levels, as well as his liver.
Although I am not in the habit of slipping Maestro breath mints of any kind, tempting as it has been at times, I have to admit I wasn’t aware of the dangers. Now that I am, I wanted to pass it along to you.
If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, contact the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) at 1-888-426-4435. This information is recent enough, even your vet may be unaware of the danger.
After hearing this news item, I decided to research other edibles that are toxic to our canine companions. I’m sure most dog owners are well aware of the dangers of chocolate to a dog, as well as onions. But maybe a few on the list of foods dogs should not eat will be new to you.
Here they are:
- Alcoholic Beverages — goes without saying, right?
- Avocado — those Omega-3s are great for your heart, but don’t give avocado to your dog!
- Coffee / Chocolate — caffeine, caffeine, caffeine!
- Macadadamia Nuts — my favorite, but not for Fido
- Grapes and Raisins — can cause kidney failure within 24 hours!
- Garlic* and Onions in the raw form — worse for cats than for dogs
- Yeast Dough
- Moldy and/or spoiled food — goes without saying
- Raw Salmon — if you your pooch eats raw food, NO SALMON
This is a pretty basic list. Please feel free to add to it if you are aware of other foods that can be fatal to a dog. Just leave a comment.
After all, the welfare of our pets is what this blog is all about.
Here is a video of Martha Stewart discussing this very subject with a veterinarian on her show. It’s worth a look:
A FEW OTHER THINGS DOGS SHOULD NOT EAT ARE:
1. Old Flea Collars
2. Putrid flesh of other dogs and cats
3. Road Kill
You probably think this is a joke in poor taste (no pun intended).
Actually, it isn’t. This is what your dog is eating with most commercial dog food brands. Don’t believe me?
* An update, by the way, regarding garlic. While it can be toxic to dogs, it can be eaten in small dosages or mixed into their homemade dog food. The acceptable amounts are based upon the dog’s size and weight as follows:
- 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove
- 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove
- 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves
- 75 to 90 pounds – 2 and a half cloves
- 100 pounds and over – 3 cloves
This according to several reliable sources, including Dr. Pitcairn who authored The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.
Jaime McKittrin – 3/25/11
Natural Homemade Dog Food – Free Recipe Book
Here are some very basic natural homemade dog food recipes. Recipes like these will make up a large portion of the food you prepare for your pet.
Remember, making homemade dog food can be great fun and can be a family project.
Family meal time is the perfect time to set aside food for your dog. Extra food set aside during food preparation saves time later. After you’ve eaten your meal, keep the scraps (no bones) in a sealed container in the refrigerator. These scraps will become the basis for tasty meals for the furry member of your family.
Some notes on these recipes:
All meat we recommend is cooked. A limited portion of beef fat is fine and can promote a healthy coat. If your dog is overweight, however, it is best to restrict calories — substitute a tablespoon of olive or canola oil.
Fowl (turkey, chicken, etc.): all meat should be off the bone. Cooked turkey and chicken skin is fine.
Many of recipes call for specific vegetables. Not all dogs like all vegetables. If you are hand blending, your dog will let you know her the vegetables she doesn’t like by not eating them. (However, if you prepare her meals in a blender she’ll never know).
On these basic recipes we have called for mixed vegetables. In fact you can use any green or yellow vegetables (except onions). Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, when called for, will be specifically named in the recipes.
We love to use a blender or food processor. Chop up the food, divide into meal size portions, feed your dog one portion, refrigerate portions for another two days, and freeze the rest. It is best to not prepare meals more than a week in advance. And remember each night to take the next day’s meals and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Portions vary by size of dog, and you will want to experiment with this. Recipes in recipe books will be more specific and will give you nutritional information such as calories, etc.
We have listed the actual recipes on the sidebars in order for them to stand out and be easily copied.
Okay. Are you ready? Here we go — have a ball!
Don’t forget to let your kids take part in the preparation. Your pet may be the family dog. But she’s your kids’ dog first! Let them feel the satisfaction of doing something good for their dog!
UPDATE: Now we have a free book of 130 Natural Homemade dog food recipes that you can download immediately! Click here to go to the download section.
Before you go….think you could teach this pooch to roll over? The task appears to have him a bit challanged!
One of the reasons (in fact the biggest reason) I started a program of making homemade dog food was because of a book I read entitled Dog Food Secrets by Andrew Lewis. Andrew wrote the book after his dog, Noble, died. Like any of us, he loved his dog very much.
In his book, Mr. Lewis recounts how he held Noble in his arms as the vet gave the animal a lethal injection. Andrew watched, and felt, Noble’s life slip away as he held him close to his chest. He wanted Noble to know he was with him until the end.
As I read about Andrew and Noble, it struck a chord with me. I went through a similar situation with our old and trusted family friend, Maggie. The one difference, however, is that I opted out at the end.
I took Maggie into the examination room. I cried shamelessly and held her and hugged her. But when it came time for the shot, I had to turn around and walk out.
I just couldn’t stay for the final scene.
Maggie was 13 years old. She was a fairly large dog and had lived out her allotted years. She had a good life. At the end she was nearly blind and incontinent and frequently angry because she was in pain.
She hadn’t always been that way.
Maggie was our family dog for 13 years. Each of our three sons claimed her as “his dog.” And each of them was right. Maggie watched them grow into tall, strong young men. She had played with them, slept in their rooms, and watched over them.
She was there when they were sick, she licked their wounds, and she commiserated with them when they were sad. She made them laugh and she protected them.
These strong young men weren’t so strong when it came time to accompany her on that final trip to the vet. Each came and took ten or fifteen minutes with her, alone, to say their goodbyes. Not a one of them had dry eyes.
But I was alone on the drive to the vet.
Looking back, that drive was the hardest part. I kept stroking her head and telling her, as I had many times before, “It’s okay, Maggie.”
I felt guilty trying to comfort her because I was betraying her. I told her everything was going to be alright — but, of course, it wasn’t.
Most importantly, though, I thanked her sincerely, and from the bottom of my heart, for being such a good dog.
And I meant it. She had been, and was, a very good dog. There could be no greater compliment paid her.
I have to remind myself that Maggie really did enjoy a good life. We live in the woods so she had the freedom to chase squirrels, wild turkeys and deer.
She loved the freedom to run when she was younger, and liked to spend autumn afternoons outside laying in the sunshine on the warm driveway as she aged.
She had a family that loved her very much and she knew it.
To this day, when we are all back together, we still tell Maggie stories. Perhaps I will share them in another post on another occasion.
But back to Andrew Lewis and Noble. Noble’s situation was different.
You see when Noble died, he was only four years old. A few months prior to his death Noble had appeared healthy, energetic and playful. What happened? Noble was poisoned.
Now before you assume it was a fanatical neighbor or a mean-spirited teenager pulling a ghastly prank — let me tell you that it was neither of those.
Noble’s kidneys were failing. The vet told Andrew the condition was caused by preservatives in the dog’s diet. Andrew fed Noble commercial dog food. Not cheap commercial dog food, mind you, but “natural” commercial dog food he bought at one of the big box pet supply stores that sells the pricey stuff.
Noble’s death was the catalyst that catapulted Andrew on a mission that would last three years: Find out why the commercial dog food he fed Noble was deadly. He spent that time doing research, traveling, and paying for lab tests. He spent twelve thousand dollars of his own money.
Why did Mr. Lewis go to all that effort and spend all of that money? If you are a dog lover, you understand why. If you aren’t, I can’t explain it to you — except to say that sometimes it’s not enough to do the right thing.
Sometimes you have to make someone pay for doing the wrong thing.
When you read the book, this will all become very clear to you.
The book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. The damning documents and the graphic photos you’ll see will make you very mad. All in all, it is the most enlightening book (or article or paper) I have ever read on pet nutrition.
The book is named Dog Food Secrets. I t will change the way you feed your dog and your dog will thank you for it.
And as an added bonus, you will add many years to your dog’s life.