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.

July 28, 2009

Keep Your Eye On The Ball!

I like taking photos of Gracie in action, playing ball. The camera reveals expressions and postures I can never see, because she's so quick.

July 21, 2009

Sardine Breakfast 7-21-09

Canned sardines

Oatmeal, cooked in milk

Whole wheat bread

Black beans

Fresh spinach

Sunflower oil

July 14, 2009

"Better Food for Dogs"

Better Food for Dogs
by David Bastin, Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Grant Nixon, D.V.M.
Copyright 2002

Doggie Chef Rating:
2 out of 5 bones

This book aims to provide nutritionally balanced recipes and food guides for dogs. The recipes are for healthy, adult dogs weighing from five pounds to 150 pounds.

While the book's intent is good, the meal recipes, charts, substitutions and variations  are complicated to follow. I'm also a little wary of the recipes' salt content.
The authors include iodized salt and/or potassium chloride in just about every meal recipe, along with a bone meal and vitamin-mineral supplement. The amounts of iodized salt and potassium chloride recommended for most of the meals seem alarmingly high to me. I try not to add too much salt to Gracie's meals. I do sprinkle iodized table salt on meats I cook for her. I think she gets enough additional salt from the other foods I include in her diet such as breads, canned fish and cheeses. Plus she gets additional salt from any snacks we might share with her.

One of the book's authors (Nixon) is a veterinarian. The other two (Bastin and Ashton) own Licks and Wags, Ltd., a dog cookie company. At the end of the book the authors share some of their Licks and Wags cookie recipes. However the majority of recipes provided are for daily meals.

The recipes in this book suggest using potatoes and/or pasta as often as cooked whole grains or whole grains breads, to fulfill dietary carbohydrate requirements. The authors just say, "potatoes," so I assume they mean white potatoes. I don't think white potatoes should be a regular carbohydrate source for dogs when nutritionally better ones exist.

Every meal recipe in this book includes either a fruit-vegetable mix or a few different fruits or vegetables. Yet the amount of fruits and vegetables called for in each meal seems too high. For a 60 pound dog one recipe calls for a little more than 3/4 of a cup of a pureed fruit-vegetable mix for one meal. And I question some of the suggested fruit and vegetable offerings. Maybe some dogs like and benefit from tomatoes but I wouldn't feed them to Gracie and she wouldn't eat them. I also don't feed her cooked corn. The kernels simply pass, undigested, through her body. Of course, every dog is different.

Although I don't recommend "Better Food for Dogs" as the cookbook it's intended to be, I think the first three chapters make a good case for feeding dogs whole foods and provide some valuable background information on canine nutrition.

July 7, 2009

Egg Whites Breakfast 7-7-09

Egg whites cooked in corn oil

Brown rice

Whole wheat bread

Black beans

Fresh spinach

Bonemeal powder