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.

March 30, 2010

How We Make Doggie Chef Meatloaf

Doggie Chef Meatloaf is easy to make and easy to freeze in portions, for future meals. This is what I currently put in Gracie's meatloaf:
Lean ground beef (about 92% lean)
(When Gracie was a younger dog I used fattier ground beef. In the winter I sometimes still use 85% lean ground beef to provide extra energy for outdoor play and warmth. Or I add some corn oil into the lean meatloaf mixture for the same reason.)


Grated carrots (I prefer the taste of peeled, organic carrots so that's what I use in Gracie's meatloaf. I always grate the carrots finely for easier digestion.)

Rolled oats

Powdered milk (For added calcium)

Wheat germ

Herbs for flavor (I use parsley, sage, basil, rosemary and a very light sprinkling of salt and black pepper.)

Corn oil (To grease the baking pan and to provide extra fat during the winter months.)

How I make Gracie's meatloaf: 
Preheat oven to 350 F. and put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl:

Mix thoroughly, by hand, until all ingredients are incorporated:

Form the mixture into a loaf and place in a baking dish or baking pan greased with corn oil:

Bake at 350 F until done. Cut in half to check doneness:

Slice into portions or mash into a meatloaf mixture:

Serve and/or store in refrigerator or freezer.

March 23, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Gracie ate St. Patrick's Day dinner with us this past week and really enjoyed it! 

Boiled corned beef

Whole wheat bread

A piece of boiled carrot

Some boiled cabbage

Cottage cheese

March 16, 2010

"The Pocket Idiot's Guide To Homemade Dog Food"

"The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Homemade Dog Food," by Margaret H. Bonham, copyright 2007

Doggie Chef Rating:
2 out of 5 bones

This is a very short book (128 pages of content, excluding the index). The author advocates homemade food for dogs and provides reasons for making your own dog food. Yet she also presents arguments for feeding commercial (store-bought) dog food. This is all done briefly in the first chapter. The rest of this small book is filled with recipes, interspersed with some very general information, including a chapter on, "Nutrition Basics."

Due to the brevity of this pocket guide, no subject is addressed in-depth, so this book may leave new Doggie Chefs with lots of unanswered questions.

On page 5 the author mentions supplements made to nutritionally balance homemade dog food meals. Yet the name of only one of these supplements is mentioned (the book provides the website address for purchasing this particular supplement). The author uses this supplement as an ingredient in many of the book's recipes. I suspect this brief book is really a "commercial" to subtly advertise this supplement.

March 9, 2010

Egg Whites Breakfast 3-9-10

Gracie's Breakfast:

Egg whites cooked in corn oil

Whole wheat bread

Cottage cheese

Chick peas

Bone meal powder

When Gracie was younger I fed her a whole egg twice a week. As she grew older I thought it would be healthier to feed her less cholesterol and more protein. Around the time she turned nine I began feeding her a whole egg only once a week and two egg whites twice a week.

March 2, 2010

Homemade Doggie Chef Biscuits

I don't like feeding Gracie too much of anything, including dog biscuit treats. Everything in moderation, with the aim of sustaining the best health.

I give Gracie one large crunchy biscuit in the morning after she eats breakfast, and one at night after she eats dinner. She gets a small crunchy biscuit in the late afternoon when she comes in from her “bathroom break.”

Gracie receives additional biscuits at specific times:
Bath Day: She gets a large biscuit to coax her into taking a bath, and three small biscuits to coax her into shaking herself dry --- and to thank her for enduring the bath!
When Training: Gracie gets an additional small biscuit or two, broken into pieces, if I’m training her.
Manicure Day: She'll also get a small biscuit, broken into pieces, when I’m clipping her nails (one piece of biscuit after each clip).

Several years ago I came across a dog biscuit recipe in the back of a Fanny Farmer baking book. Gracie loves these biscuits. She literally jumps around in anticipation when I’m getting her one and she eats them with noticeable delight:

Homemade Dog Biscuits
(From Fanny Farmer with some Doggie Chef modifications)
This recipe can be doubled
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2 eggs
2 Tablespoons soy flour (okay to omit; I rarely use it)
2 Tablespoons wheat germ
2 Tablespoons nonfat dry milk
4 Tablespoons water (approximate; add more, in small amounts, if needed)
2 cups whole wheat flour (or unbleached, all-purpose flour; or a mixture of both)

Slightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Add soy flour (if using), wheat germ, dry milk and water. Stir until smooth. Add flour and mix with hands. Dough will be stiff and dry. Pat dough into a rectangle one-half inch thick and cut into shapes with a knife or cookie cutter. Or roll dough into logs (3/4 to 1-inch diameter) and cut log into 2-inch segments. Flatten slightly to keep from rolling off cookie sheet. Or just break off biscuit-sized pieces of dough and flatten each between your palms to form a disk. The resulting biscuits won’t be as attractive, but your dog won’t mind.

Place shapes 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 325 degrees F, about 20-25 minutes on one side. Turn each biscuit over and bake about another 20-25 minutes. Turn off the oven when biscuits appear done. For hard, crunchy biscuits, leave them in the oven to cool for an hour or more. The longer they cool in the oven, the harder and crunchier they’ll be.
For extra hard, crunchy biscuits cool completely in the turned off oven. Then bake again at 325 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes and cool in the oven once more.

While baking dog biscuits is pretty easy, it’s much more convenient to buy them ready-made. Especially in the summer, when baking heats up the kitchen. All Gracie's meals are homemade, but I fed her Milk-Bone traditional, unflavored dog biscuit treats ("small" and "large") regularly before I discovered the homemade dog biscuit recipe (shown above). And I've given Gracie Milk-Bones when I don't have time to bake biscuits. Milk-Bone traditional biscuits contain no artificial colors or flavors and their ingredient list isn't too complicated to investigate. However, they do contain preservatives. Now that Gracie's older I've decided to stick with homemade biscuits only.

**** Post Update: Here's what I do (click on the following phrase) When There's No Time For Homemade Dog Biscuits.

**** New Homemade Dog Biscuit Recipe -- Posted Jan. 19, 2011