Gracie is now 13 years old!

For nine years she's eaten REAL, HOMEMADE FOOD, NOT commercial dog food. This blog shows how easy it is to be a DOGGIE CHEF and how healthy a home-fed dog can be.

August 7, 2012

Gracie is Alive and Well!

Sorry it's been SO very long!

Just wanted everyone to know Gracie (and her Doggie Chef) are alive and well. She turned 13 this year and continues to thrive on a homemade diet. Below are some photos taken during playtime yesterday.

I'll be posting regularly again very soon and introducing you to Gracie's three new "friends."

Here she is! A bit older and a bit whiter around the muzzle; but still strong and beautiful.

                 Look at her jumping up to catch a tennis ball...

...and springing into action to grab the bouncing ball.

                               This 13-year-old dog is still REALLY FAST!

Still happy and healthy after all these years; thanks to a homemade diet, a little bit of luck and lots of love.
Hope all you Doggie Chefs and dog lovers out there are doing well. We'll "visit" with you again soon!

August 2, 2011

8-2-11 Ground Beef Breakfast

Ground Beef

Whole Wheat Bread

White Rice

Greek Style Yogurt

Cooked Green Peas

July 24, 2011

No Heartgard/Flea Treatment - More Stamina?

We've had some REALLY hot days this month. I thought for sure Gracie wouldn't be up to playing outside, but she wanted to go out every day --- even when the outside temperature was at least 90 degrees F and the sun was blazing. She looked so glum when I told her we couldn't play outside, I HAD to give her five minutes of "Tennis Ball Fetch." Then she'd take a rest in the shade under the trees, take a drink of water and come back for more. I refused to keep her outside playing in that heat for longer than 10 minutes.

During past summers, Gracie would take playtime a lot easier on hot days. Since she's 12 this year I thought she'd noticeably slow down. I believe a homemade diet can improve and maintain a dog's health. Yet at some point in life, old age will inevitably get the upper hand. Apparently, that's not happening to Gracie yet.

Why, though, does she seem to have more stamina this summer than she did last summer and in year's past? It's really puzzled me. Then I realized this is the first summer, in all the years I've had Gracie, that I've not given her Heartgard preventive. It's also probably the first summer I've never given her any topical flea and tick treatment (I can't remember, 100 percent, about the flea and trick treatment but I'm pretty sure she's had at least one treatment every summer).

I know Heartgard preventive and topical flea and tick control are very helpful under many circumstances. Yet I suspect withholding these preventive meds from my dog this year is the reason she seems to have so much more stamina this summer, even though she's now 12.

Yet even a very energetic dog will seek shade during a game of fetch on a hot summer day. Below is a short video clip of Gracie doing just that when we played outside recently.

July 5, 2011

Hot Weather Not A Problem

It was VERY hot and humid this past weekend. I didn't want to let Gracie outside but she insisted on having her regular playtime. I made sure to bring out  a big bowl of fresh, cool water for her. I thought she'd be ready to come in after 10 minutes but she played fetch for about 35 minutes, taking periodic breaks to lay on the grass in the shade when she needed a rest. She was not interested in coming inside right away! Not bad for a 12-year-old doggiel! 

June 30, 2011

Scallops & Meatloaf Dinner

Gracie loves seafood. Usually her seafood meals are limited to canned sardines or salmon, but when we enjoy special seafood meals we gladly share with her. I recently made broiled scallops with butter and Parmesan cheese. I gave Gracie two with her Doggie Chef Meatloaf and she was very happy!

2 jumbo scallops cooked with butter and Parmesan cheese

Whole wheat bread

Chopped, cooked cabbage

June 21, 2011

No Heartworm Preventive This Year

After years of going along with "the program" and feeding my dog a monthly dose of insecticide each summer, I've decided to take what I believe is a small risk with her health for what I believe is a larger benefit to her health.

I AM NOT GIVING GRACIE HEARTWORM PREVENTIVE THIS YEAR. The decision was not made easily. For years I've given Gracie three or four doses of chewable Heartgard during mosquito season. Last year I gave her three doses of Heartgard Plus. She just tested negative for heartworm so three doses were apparently enough to protect her last year. Maybe none would have been fine too.

I suspect the heartworm preventive manufacturers push a little too hard in selling their product to veterinarians, and in encouraging veterinarians to sell it to pet owners. I also suspect some veterinarians blindly go along with the program, while others exaggerate the necessity of heartworm preventive in many parts of the country in order to sell heartworm blood tests and preventive.

The active ingredient in Heartgard is ivermectin, which is an anti-parasitic insecticide; used primarily against worms. Ivermectin is used around the world, by humans, to combat river blindness and other conditions caused by worm infestations. Ivermectin does not kill adult worms in humans or dogs. It works by killing the microfilariae --- the tiny larval form of the worm. Ivermectin has helped a lot of people. It's also helped a lot of dogs in areas where heartworm is a big problem. Yet I don't think it's a big problem in my area or in many areas of the United States where it's pushed on easily-panicked pet owners.

Researching the subject online led to conflicting data. According to, heartworms can only go through their development stage in a mosquito if outdoor temperatures remain at or above 80 degrees F (20 degrees C) for approximately two weeks. Wikipedia says if temperatures drop below 57 degrees F (14 degrees C), development will not occur. Yet claims outdoor temperatures have to only be over 57 degrees F (14 degrees C), day and night, for one to two weeks for heartworms to go through their development stage in a mosquito!

It supposedly takes about six months after a dog is infected with heartworms by a mosquito for the infection to show up in a blood test.

After doing some Internet research and re-reading chapters about heartworms in Dr. Richard Pitcairn's "Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (2005)," and in Dr. Martin Goldstein's "The Nature of Animal Healing," I decided against Heartworm preventive for Gracie this year. She is 12 years old and at this stage in her life I think it's more likely her good health will be harmed by several doses of heartworm preventive than by a heartworm infection.

Both Pitcairn and Goldstein believe a heartworm infection is a serious matter and will not outright advise against administering heart worm preventive, especially in areas whee heartworm is prevalent. Yet both veterinarians seem to think a heartworm infection is not a guarantee in an unprotected dog, and not necessarily a death sentence for a healthy dog with a strong immune system. Especially if only a few heartworms are present, or if the disease is detected early.

Goldstein suggests  all dogs not on heartworm preventive be tested twice a year for the disease and that's what I intend to do for Gracie. Early detection could make treatment easier on the dog. I just had Gracie's blood tested this past week and the results were negative for heartworm. Still, mosquito activity in our area probably starts around  May and ends around October. So I probably should be testing Gracie for heartworm around November and April, to properly monitor against heartworm infection in our area. Eventually I will adjust her blood testing schedule accordingly.

Blood tests are no fun for Gracie, of course. Yet I think two blood tests a year will be easier on her health than three or four yearly doses of even a "beneficial" pesticide.

Of course I have doubts about deciding against heartworm preventive for Gracie this year. For the most part, I believe this decision is best at this point in her life. I realize this decision could turn out very badly for Gracie and for me. If it does, I might never forgive myself but I I know Gracie would forgive me. She knows I only have her best interests at heart.

June 16, 2011

Gracie's "On Vacation"

Sorry for the new post delay. Let's just say Gracie's on vacation! We are having a very busy start to our summer. New photo and video posts are coming soon.

--- The Doggie Chef