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 5, 2011

Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets

"Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets (Second Edition)"

by Patricia Schenck (DVM, Ph.D); 2010

Doggie Chef Rating:
1  out  of  5  bones

In an effort to further customize Gracie's homemade diet as she grows older, I'm reading more books about homemade dog food and canine nutrition.

A dangerous error appears, several times, in "Home Prepared Dog & Cat Diets (Second Edition)." The error is alarming enough to cast doubt on the book's entire contents and credibility.

Chapter One provides information and advice about homemade diets. Under the subtitle, "Assessing a Homemade Diet Recipe," author Patricia Schenck discusses what a homemade diet recipe should include. After mentioning carbohydrates, proteins, fat, calcium and calcium/phosphorus supplements; Schenck claims, "Calcium carbonate (baking soda) or bone meal (source of calcium and phosphorus) should also be present."

Calcium carbonate IS NOT baking soda. Yet Schenck claims it is, throughout the book.

Baking soda should NOT be present in a homemade diet recipe for healthy dogs. According the the Merck Veterinary Manual online, feeding animals baking soda is recommended when animals have acute kidney disease and high levels of blood acidity. The baking soda affects the pH level of their blood. Maybe that's why Schenck includes it in recipes for dogs and cats with renal failure. Yet it doesn't explain why, in Chapter One, she mistakenly suggests baking soda should be included in all homemade diet recipes.

Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) is often used as a dietary calcium supplement. Baking soda IS NOT.
Baking soda (NaHCO3) is sodium bicarbonate. It's often used as a leavening agent in baking.
Calcium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate are chemically different and will affect a dog's body differently when ingested.

As mentioned above, "Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets (Second Edition)" contains many recipes for dogs and cats with renal failure. These recipes use baking soda as an ingredient. This is acceptable, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual online. Yet each time baking soda appears in a recipe ingredient list, it's defined in parentheses as "calcium carbonate." Schenck did not just make a one-time flub in Chapter One. The author mistakenly defines baking soda as calcium carbonate throughout the book. And baking soda is also used in at least one recipe for pets with cancer.

Such a dangerous error leads me to question all the information contained in "Home-Prepared Dog & Cat Diets (Second Edition)."  It seems that a doctor of veterinary medicine should know better.
I do not recommend this book.


  1. I will have to look into this. That would be a good thing to have.

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