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.

January 12, 2011

The Healthy Dog Cookbook

"The Healthy Dog Cookbook --- 50 Nutritious & Delicious Recipes Your Dog Will Love"
by Jonna Anne with Mary Straus, Canine Nutritionist, Shawn Messonnier, DVM, Veterinary Consultant

Doggie Chef
2  out  of  5  bones

Are canned peaches a healthy ingredient for homemade dog meals? I don't think so. Yet they appear in several of the recipes contained in this book. So do instant potato flakes. Have you ever read the ingredient list on a box of instant potato flakes? Every one I've read contains a combination of chemical preservatives and other items I refuse to eat myself, let alone feed to my dog.

The recipes in this book aren't all bad. Most contain wholesome ingredients that any Doggie Chef could feel comfortable feeding their pet. Yet the canned peaches, potato flakes, and the book's lack of reputable references prevents me from trusting the recipes enough to use them.

The introductory chapters emphasize the importance of calcium in a homemade dog diet. Yet this, and every other nutritional claim made throughout the book, lacks support from a reputable reference. For instance, for the "Turkey Dinner" recipe the recipe's subtitle states, "Adding apple cider vinegar to a great turkey dinner may help with reducing fleas." The recipe that follows calls for 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar in a recipe that yields 9, 1-cup servings. The authors provide no information explaining or proving their claim that apple cider vinegar may help with reducing fleas. The only reference made in relation to this is in a text box that says, "Vet's View: Unpasteurized organic apple cider vinegar provides more nutritional benefits." That's pretty lame evidence and an unsatisfying explanation.

While the name Shawn Messonnier, DVM, Veterinary Consultant, appears in the author list (the book is "by" Joanne Anne, "with" the other two authors mentioned), The Healthy Dog Cookbook contains no narrative by him and no commentary on the book's content.

The other author is Mary Straus, Canine Nutritionist. After doing a little research I realized that Straus holds no degree or license that makes her a "Canine Nutritionist." That's okay with me. It seems I'm about as qualified to call myself a "Canine Nutritionist" as Straus, or any Doggie Chef, is. Straus has been a Doggie Chef for a long time. She's been researching canine nutrition and health and feeding her dogs homemade meals since 1998. Unfortunately, the The Healthy Dog Cookbook contains no direct quotes or commentary from Straus, or any references from her to support any of the book's nutritional claims.

I suspect this book may be a project funded, or at least assisted, by some of the entities listed in the Resources section. For instance, three websites are included as resources and described as, "Companies who make vitamin-mineral mixes designed to balance out homemade diets, including calcium."

Better books for Doggie Chefs are available. I don't recommend this one.


  1. You should write your own dogie cookbook! I am sure there are lots of people out there that would like to try homemade dog food, and that would buy your book!

  2. Hi, Garden Girl! I AM writing my own guide to being a Doggie Chef and plan to finish it this year. It includes detailed measurements on how to prepare Doggie Chef meals. Plus some other info about Gracie I didn't include in this blog: a narrative about trusting medical test results and the serious, chronic illness Gracie was misdiagnosed with two years ago; a story about why she almost died several years ago and how easily that whole nightmare could have been avoided; and a look into dog psychology and behavior and how Gracie has "told" me about a traumatic event from her life before we adopted her. Thanks for your encouraging words!

  3. That's great! I am sure people will like it. I think that people will want to read something that is written by someone with experience in the area.