Canine Cuisine

Cooking for your canine is easier, healthier and cheaper than you think.

No; this is not what I’m talking about.

If you’ve only fed your dog kibble since the very start, then I would recommend starting off slowly with so-called “people food.”  But the word “people food” is nonsense because pet food companies convinced people that pet food (kibble and canned) should be the only food your pet should ever eat.  It’s not!

But I’m not knocking all commercial pet food.  I also feed my dog kibble. There are some good quality ones to choose from depending on your dog’s age, size and breed.  It’s just that not all pet food is a healthy option. Same with our food choices; we have to read labels. Unfortunately for them, they depend on us to do the reading.

Having said that, many dogs enjoy eating their regular pet food (and what they don’t know cannot hurt them) but wait until you introduce something fresh into the mix – their tails will wag and it’ll be such a nice change.  Imagine how boring it would be to eat the same thing every single day?  I would hate that!

Many of you may not agree with me, but your dog will definitely approve – on that you can bet!

Weighing out the options of wet, dry and homemade:

If we serve dogs dry food only, their food gratification could be lost because a biscuit will never be as appealing as wet food.  Dry food doesn’t contain some of the “natural” nutritional benefits of wet food, such as vitamins and minerals because it’s more processed.

If we just feed our dog wet food, we could lose the many benefits associated with chewing – our furry friend would eat the meal much faster avoiding mastication, which is the first stage of digestion. In addition, soft food does not massage the gums, which helps when dogs are teething, nor does it help with dental cleaning.

Best Option: feed your pup both dry and wet food to take advantage of the positive features of each option. That’s what I do for Layla.  She gets dry in the morning and wet homemade in the evening.  My vet told me that whatever I’m doing for her, keep doing it.

Here’s an easy, relatively inexpensive recipe:

This recipe I found on the internet is a good base to start with.  I sometimes substitute turkey for boiled or roasted chicken and switch up the veggies.  They can safely eat red bell pepper, snap peas, asparagus and yams, cooked and cut into bite size pieces. I have checked beforehand to make sure all these foods are safe for our furry friends.

  • 1 1/2 cups *brown rice.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 3 pounds ground turkey.
  • 2 cups baby **spinach, chopped.
  • 2 carrots, shredded.
  • 1 zucchini, shredded.
  • (sometimes I chop the carrots and zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup peas, canned or frozen.

Make sure all is properly cooked.  Then you can divide it into portions which may last days or even a week or more.  You can freeze them too.

Another good option is cooked beef liver which contains vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, copper, zinc, essential fatty acids, and more. Liver cleanses the blood of toxins and supports healthy vision. It’s also a nutrient boost for dogs that have been injured or sick.  Cooked salmon contains Omega-3’s.  You can buy them frozen in pieces (wild with skin-on is best).

  • You can safely feed your dog 1/2-3/4 of a cup of food for every 25 pounds of body weight. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, you need to remember that homemade dog food is much more nutrient-dense than most commercial diets.

*Costco sells an ancient wild rice blend (with quinoa, lentils, wild & brown rice) which is a healthy option.

**Check to make sure you dog can eat spinach.  Some breeds should only have it sparingly and on occasion.

Canines can also eat the following, and as usual; everything in moderation:

  • Plain, low-fat Greek yogurt.
  • Mild cheese such as mozzarella.
  • Cooked white or sweet potatoes.
  • Cooked eggs, such as scrambled eggs.
  • Rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed. They can easily choke on the bones.
  • Google to check on which cooked or raw fresh vegetables they can safely eat. You’ll be surprised to find out how many choices they have.

If you’ve never fed them homemade, give it a go.  They already love you…but they’ll love you that much more.


Food for Thought – the Best Dog Food!

Below is a link to a very helpful article on what is best to feed your dog….aside from the usual kibble.

Photo: Tamara Gauthier
Photo: d. king

I’ve been meaning to publish this for months but put it on the back burner.  I strongly believe that dogs deserve to eat real food the same as humans for health purposes mostly.

All living creatures deserve real food. 

It is narrow-minded to think that dogs should eat only kibble.  Perhaps the thought of eating kibbles for the rest of your own life helps make the point that pets forced to do so are being shortchanged.

I’ve been making simple real food meals for my dogs for dinner since day one (day one being the day they came into my care).  Unless we’re travelling they get homemade.  Not in the morning, just in the evenings.  Sometimes in the morning they get oatmeal or eggs  but mostly good quality kibble. Aside from health benefits, the enjoyment of watching them polish off  a bowl of freshly prepared food, knowing how much they love to eat it, is enough for me to want to make it.

My male sheltie is almost sixteen.  I met him when he was eight, and he became mine furever when he was ten.  He was used to eating only kibble once a day. But on several occasions he went into a hypoglycemia shock where he could hardly function.  Twice I didn’t think he’d even recover.  So I decided to change his diet by feeding him twice a day with the second meal consisting of ‘real’ meat & veggies.  No filler. Since doing so, he has not gone into shock syndrome once.

Cost wise, buying real food is not as much as you think.  You can buy stir-fry beef or chicken on sale, mix it with plain rice, add steamed veggies like yam, sweet potato, zucchini and carrots. Then mix in frozen or canned peas. Ground turkey & fish such as salmon are also good choices.  Just like us, they like variety.   You can buy canned pure pumpkin and give them a bit of that too.  Make enough for several days and refrigerate in portions.  Your dog will love you even more for it.

Photo: d. king
Selfie in the Park

When it comes to buying kibble for your dog please carefully read the label.  Animal protein should be at the top of the ingredient list with whole vegetables, fruits and grains next.  Don’t forget to check the best before date.

Let’s keep our furry family happy and healthy for as long as we can.  It’s the least we can do for them.  They enhance our lives, we should do the same for them.