I've fed my dog homemade food for many years. I enjoy sharing my experience and advice with others who are considering homemade dog food.
Why You Should Consider Cooking Your Dog's Food at Home
Feeding your dog home-cooked meals prepared “from scratch” requires time and effort, but the advantages make it worthwhile. Preparing dog food in your own kitchen with ingredients you select lets you know what your pet is consuming and the conditions under which the food was prepared. Homemade dog food puts the safety and nutrition of your pet’s diet within your control, where it should be. After all, who loves your dog more than you do?
Your reason for preparing dog food will not be profit, which is the prime incentive of the commercial pet food industry. Instead, your desire to keep your furry friend healthy and happy is ample motivation for giving DIY dog food a try. Feeding your beloved pet a home-prepared diet from safe, nutritious ingredients may even prolong her or his life. For me, that possibility makes the time and effort I spend making dog food worthwhile.
Many commercial dog foods (even expensive “premium” brands) have been recalled because they were contaminated with deadly toxins. Unfortunately, pet food recalls usually occur after contamination has already caused the serious illness or death of beloved pets. The possibility that a commercial product may be tainted makes feeding it to your dog seem more like a risk than a health decision.
Food Recall Updates
There were 1162 pet food recalls listed by the FDA from 2007 to October, 2012, and 1100 more from 2013 through 2015 for numerous types of contamination, often salmonella. These recalled pet foods included some of the so-called “premium” brands that most pet owners trust. Still feel safe feeding your dog "premium" commercially sold food? For recalls after May 1, 2013, you can visit the FDA's website for animal and veterinary recalls.
Sure, it’s more convenient to buy a bag of dry kibble and simply pour some into a bowl for your dog to eat. That convenience, in my opinion, comes at too steep a price. I am no longer confident that any commercial dog food, whatever its cost, marketing hype or “rating,” will always be safe, and I’m not willing to take a chance with my dog's life.
My miniature schnauzer girl's health and potential longevity are very important to me. Since entering my life in March 2005, she's given me incalculable joy. How can I give her less than the best? With her well-being in mind, I decided after a spate of pet food recalls to begin making her food. I continue to be happy with that decision. Watching her eat every meal with gusto assures me she enjoys her homemade food.
At first, I was hesitant about my ability to provide an appropriate canine diet, but I did a lot of research about home-cooked dog food on Websites maintained by veterinarians and canine nutrition experts. I also discussed the issue with my dog’s vet, who offered specific advice and encouragement about supplements. Once I gave the process a try and realized how easy it was, I began preparing her food on a weekly basis. Cooking for my dog soon became second nature, and now I do it as automatically as I prepare my own meals. The entire process—start to finish--takes less than an hour.
Most vets and animal nutrition experts agree that dogs need an adequate diet consisting of meat or another digestible protein plus vegetables and a small amount of healthy fat. What these experts can't agree on is the appropriate ratio of the recommended dietary components. Varying with the "expert" making the recommendation, suggested percentages go all over the board.
In recent years, there's been a great deal of controversy about whether or not dogs should eat grains. Unlike wolves, domestic dogs evolved to digest carbohydrates, and grains add fiber to their diet. Most healthy dogs do fine when a small amount of one grain is included in homemade food. However, some dogs may be sensitive to one or more grains. Wheat or corn may be the culprit if your dog has itchy skin. If you know your dog has a grain intolerance, just avoid using that ingredient. You can get a Nutriscan testing kit at www.hemopet.org (Dr. Jean Dodds' lab) that uses your dog's saliva to determine food sensitivities or intolerance.
Since there's so much leeway among the pros about how much of each food type to include, I experimented and found a "middle ground." Except for the protein, which never varies by weight, the amounts I use of other ingredients don't fit neatly into a scientific formula. I'm flexible about the types and amounts of vegetables from batch to batch, though I limit grain to one type and approximately the same small amount. Her dietary plan seems to be working. My dog thrives on her food, lost those extra pounds she didn't need, and maintains her weight.
How to Make Your Own Dog Food
I start with two pounds of dense, very lean, organic, grass-fed meat and add enough other ingredients for the final amount to equal two 8-ounce cups per day and last an entire week. I don’t measure the remaining ingredients, and I vary them, but I’ve learned to look at the cooked, mixed food in the large stainless steel bowl I use and know if the amount is adequate for seven days. If not, I add a bit more veggies.
There is no need to add sodium chloride or salt since most meats and vegetables contain a small to moderate amount of sodium without adding any. Your dog doesn’t want or need “flavor enhancers” the way humans do. While there are two schools of thought about very small amounts of garlic being okay for dogs under the supervision of a veterinarian, I prefer to be cautious and avoid it. My dog doesn’t care. She eats every morsel in her stainless steel food bowl and licks the sides and bottom of the bowl so clean it looks washed, so it’s evident she enjoys her food with its natural flavors. She never ate kibble so enthusiastically as she does her home-cooked meals.
Feed your dog human-quality meat, preferably not that which originates on factory farms (the politically correct term these days is Industrial Farm Production Operations or IFPOs). Factory-farmed meat is no healthier for dogs than it is for humans, and buying it only perpetuates the numerous severe problems these so-called farms create.
If you live in the U.S. and buy traditionally produced (read: factory farmed) meat at the supermarket, it is more likely than not you’re eating toxic residues, such as veterinary drugs, heavy metals, and pesticides that are contained in the meat. A report by the USDA confirmed these toxins are common in the nation's meat supply because the national Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is “woefully inadequate” to monitor its safety.
In short, the meat under that plastic wrap may look and smell “okay” to you, but the only way to really know what you’re eating if you bought it at the supermarket is to have it lab tested! A much better option is to purchase your meat from a source you can trust: a small local farmer or rancher, or a reputable online producer with verifiably safe and ecologically sound practices.
When I first began preparing pet food at home, I chose lean grass-fed bison for my dog's protein for a specific health reason. Puppy Girl requires a low-fat diet due to an unfortunate propensity for developing pancreatitis if she has a higher fat intake. Schnauzers and some other dog breeds, such as poodles, tend to develop increased lipase levels if they ingest too much fat, so their diet should not include the 10% to 15% fat other breeds may be able to handle. A maximum of 5% is adequate for a low-fat diet, and most of that should not be derived from the meat source as it will be saturated fat.
However, if it isn’t necessary to restrict your dog’s fat consumption that much, you may wish to use grass-fed beef instead of bison and add a bit more fat to the cooking pan. Organic coconut oil appears to be a healthy oil for dogs, but don't use a lot. In fact, you can just put a "dab" on a paper towel and wipe it around the inner surface of the cooking pan.
Another good protein choice for homemade dog food is organic (natural, pasture-raised, no antibiotics or hormones added) chicken breast, boneless and skinless, with fat removed. Dark meat, which is more economical, is okay if your pet doesn't need the lower-fat white meat. Again, I’ll emphasize: Poultry from factory farms is not healthy for humans or animals for many reasons too numerous to describe in this article. I'll save that topic (and rant) for a separate article.
I now alternate between feeding my dog cooked organic chicken breasts and organic ground turkey breast, which I can buy locally at Whole Foods Market. I trim all visible fat from the chicken, and the ground turkey contains a very small percentage of fat. I cook the chicken covered in water, let it cool in the refrigerator until it's easy to cut, and then dice it in small pieces. I cook the crumbled ground turkey in a skillet on low until the pink disappears.
When bison was the choice, I ordered it already ground in one-pound packs online from Northstar Bison, and it was shipped to me frozen and packed with dry ice. I usually bought at least 15 one-pound packs at a time, sometimes more. The meat is frozen solid when it arrives and can be placed in the freezer immediately, and the amount needed should be thawed in the refrigerator before cooking. Pasture-raised bison is a very lean meat:
Northstar Bison is a family owned and operated business and a reputable source for grass-fed, hormone-and-antibiotic-free bison, beef, and lamb. They also sell and ship organic pastured chicken and turkey, as well as locally farm-raised elk and ostrich. All animals are raised humanely and holistically, harvested with minimal stress and processed in Northstar's own facility. The company's shipping plan is fast, safe, and cost-effective. By the way, I'm not plugging Northstar strictly as a source of protein for homemade dog food! Their product line is much healthier/safer for humans who eat meat than anything you'll find in your local supermarket. Members of my family who are omnivores enthusiastically praise Northstar bison steaks and roasts. (This is a non-paid endorsement.)
Veggies and Fruits
Excellent vegetables for dogs include carrots, green beans, peas, yellow squash, butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, pumpkin without seeds (canned will do, but don’t use pumpkin pie filling, which includes sugar), small amounts of white potatoes (cut away the peel, sprouts and any green beneath the peel), and occasional leafy greens, such as cooked spinach. Spinach can be very beneficial for dogs, but should not be a routine ingredient, as it may thin the blood if given too frequently. Occasionally I add a few steamed pieces of broccoli to the bowl and mash it into the food.
My dog likes veggies, so the volume of vegetable ingredients I include is greater than that of the meat or grain. Puppy Girl loves green beans and carrots! She never seems to tire of them, so I add one or both of these nutrient-rich veggies to every batch of food.
I also add a can of organic pumpkin, which is great for her digestion. I make a habit of never buying anything in a can unless the label reads, "BPA-free." Fortunately, there are several brands of organic pumpkin puree that are packed in either cans without BPA linings or in Tetra packs. There is one sold just for pets (and it costs a bit less than pumpkin in the baking aisle, but looks and smells the same and has no additives). The brand is Nummy Tum-Tum. Farmers Market brand is also good.
My girl also loves slices of organic cucumbers, so, whenever I peel and slice a cucumber for my own lunch, I save her a few slices of cuke and hand-feed them to her as a treat. I don't add them to her food because she seems to like them crunchy.
Adding a bit of fruit to her diet provide variety and be especially tasty, as most dogs like fruits. Puppy Girl adores chopped apple, unsweetened applesauce, banana slices, pears, and blueberries. She prefers a half banana as a hand-fed treat, and organic fruit is better for her than processed treats.
I can pick up a banana from the fruit bowl while she is asleep in another part of the house, and she's suddenly standing beside me waiting for the fruit before I can peel it! Our routine is that I get one-half of the banana, and she gets the other half. Yummy! By the way, I only buy organic fruits, both for myself, my guests, and Puppy Girl. Traditionally-raised fruits have some of the highest levels of pesticides of any produce.
Even dogs like variety, so I alternate a small peeled, cored (no seeds!) and chopped apple with banana, and she loves it. Just be very careful to steer clear of fruit seeds (which contain a type of arsenic), stems, and pits. Also, avoid those fruits known to be highly toxic to dogs, such as grapes, raisins, and prunes. (Ingestion of only seven grapes can be fatal to a moderately sized or smaller dog, something you don't want to chance.) Avocados and macadamia nuts are also very dangerous for dogs. This is so crucial I will repeat it further in this article, along with an expanded list of foods known to harm dogs.
As mentioned previously, carbs provide good fiber for a healthy and active dog, and whole grains are the best carb choices, preferably organic to avoid both pesticide residue and GMOs. Dogs don’t need a lot of grain, so keep the amount a small percentage of the total food. Note: When I first began making home-cooked dog food, I used brown rice, the preferred whole-grain type (which I also ate at the time); however, after reading a news report that brown rice grown in the U.S. actually harbors more arsenic than white rice, I switched to organic white basmati rice.
The source of the rice crop is also important. It seems that much rice is not safe because of toxins it picks up from the earth in which the crops are grown. Asian rice is frequently grown near industrial sites with heavy runoff. Rice brands that are grown in some U.S. states are also high in arsenic.
Fortunately, I read an article from a reliable source stating that Lundgren's organic basmati white rice (grown in California) tests lower for arsenic than any other rices, significantly below the 'allowable' level, and I've since seen charts showing arsenic levels in rice products that substantiate that claim.
Although I've switched almost exclusively to certified gluten-free oats for Puppy Girl's grain, I occasionally use the Lundren's organic basmati rice for variety. Sometimes I add either cooked sweet potato or white potato to the mixture instead of oats. Why wouldn't dogs like some variety in their diet? Humans do, and dogs have evolved to be very like humans in many ways!
I purchase organic, gluten-free oats, usually buying them online because there are only a few brands that are both organic and GF. Oats give the food a good texture, and the pumpkin holds the blended food together.
I vary at least a couple of the veggies and fruits in the mixture from week to week to give my dog some variety. Again—I wouldn't want to eat the same veggies and fruits day in, day out. Variety is, as the old saw goes, the spice of life.
Foods That Are Toxic to Dogs
This is where I become redundant, but I gave you advance warning and hope you'll read all of the following caution. Repetition aids memory, and I'll add to the list of foods that are toxic for dogs. It’s vitally important to never feed your dog any of these items:
Some common foods may be dangerous to dogs even in small amounts. Avoid onion, grapes, raisins, prunes, raw eggs, dairy products, avocado, more than a very small amount of garlic, wild mushrooms, nutmeg, nuts, green potatoes, non-ripened tomatoes and foliage, excess salt, fruit seeds/ pits/stems, raw salmon, liver, chocolate, rhubarb, yeast and cassava root. Xylitol, which is an ingredient used in sugarless gums and toothpaste for humans should be kept away from dogs, as even a small amount of xylitol can be fatal to a dog. Read labels to avoid this poison. The smaller the dog, the more likely one of these foods will severely sicken or even kill him or her.
Small amounts of garlic may not harm your pet and may, indeed, have some health benefits—some people swear it repels fleas—but garlic should be used with caution, preferably with the supervision of your vet, because a lot of it can cause organ damage. Since my dog has a compromised immune system because of a very serious reaction to a vaccination, I choose to be cautious about any ingredient with the slightest potential for harm. (I haven't been diagnosed with OCD, but there are family members who would swear I have it—especially where my Puppy Girl is concerned!)
Now that you've selected what goes in the dog food, here's how to prepare it:
Assemble all the ingredients, cooking pans and utensils. I cook the meat separately until tender. When using ground meat, I sauté it in a large stainless steel skillet on medium heat with a tiny bit of organic virgin coconut or olive oil just wiped over the surface of the pan so this very lean meat won’t stick. These are the healthiest oils, for dogs as well as humans, and are beneficial to their coats. If you'd prefer to forego the oil and steam the meat in a very small amount of purified water, that will work just as well.
After breaking the meat apart into small bits with a heavy-duty steel spoon, I stir and brown it, and then cover the pan with a lid to let it finish cooking on a low heat setting. As soon as there’s no pink showing, I turn off the burner and leave the lid on the pan. At that stage, it remains moist until I'm ready to mix it with other ingredients.
When I use chicken breasts, they are simmered in water until done. I remove them from the broth and transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate while I cook the veggies and (if used) grain so the meat will be easier to dice before adding it.
Chopped veggies are boiled or steamed together in a separate large cooking pot while the meat is cooking. I drain them in a colander and use a potato masher so they'll be in small bits before adding vegs to the meat.
When using instant organic/gluten-free oatmeal, I use two packets for one batch and stir it into the moist still-hot ground meat mixture before the cooked veggies are added. This mixture contains enough moisture and heat to "cook" the instant oats. Just be sure to stir all the way through the meat and again when veggies are added so oats are evenly distributed throughout the food mixture.
I also add organic pumpkin to the ground meat/oat mixture and stir thoroughly. The heat helps the pumpkin get mixed very well. The only difference in method when using chicken breasts is that after I drain the veggies (catching about 1/4 of the vegetable broth in a cup), they go back in the pot while still very hot, and then I add oats and pumpkin. The diced chicken goes in last.
By the way, I eat only organic vegetables and fruits, and I feed my dog the same quality organic produce that I consume. She doesn’t need to eat pesticide residue any more than I do! Dogs are as vulnerable to cancer as humans. You may say, “That’s too expensive for a dog," and, of course, that's your prerogative. We all must establish our own priorities; however, I can't resist asking this question. Do you want your dog to be healthy and have a lifespan within the range (hopefully, on the far side) that is normal for her or his breed?
If you do, you may decide it's worthwhile to shop organic for your buddy, too. You can do without all those pricey drinks from Starbucks if the sacrifice will make you feel better about buying organic produce, especially since commercial coffee drinks are loaded with sugar you don't need. I consider the cost of organic foods a preventive that's much cheaper than medications or other medical treatments for disease. Viewed in that perspective, you may find organics less expensive in the long term, both for the human members of your family and your much-loved pet.
If your dog, like mine, tends to eat fast and keeps the chewing to a minimum, her prepared food should have a “mashed, but lumpy” consistency. The nutrient-enriched water in which the veggies and grain were cooked makes her food moist. Dogs that eat moist food may not drink a lot of water, but the vet says that’s okay as long as water is always available. A good bit of a dog's water requirement is provided in the food.
I mix the meat with all the other ingredients in a very large bowl that has enough room to thoroughly stir it until well mixed. I've had people walk through my kitchen while I'm doing making dog food and say, "Mmmm...that smells good. Will dinner be ready soon?"
You can imagine the reaction when I reply, "It's for the dog."
I put enough food to last three days (feeding twice per day) into a glass bowl with cover and refrigerate it. The remainder is frozen in daily amounts that can be easily defrosted overnight in the refrigerator.
Calling Puppy Girl to Dinner
Just before serving her meal, I add 2 tablespoons of chopped organic parsley and fold this into the food. I also add the recommended amount of plant enzymes and probiotics for dogs, as well as a natural seaweed calcium supplement (you can use bonemeal if you prefer) and stir. This supplement is a natural digestive aid, and she rarely has a tummy upset.
One of the enzymes, amylase, helps dogs properly digest starchy carbs such as starchy veggies and grains. I encourage anyone making dog food at home to add enzymes and probiotics. The very good brand I use (Animal Essentials) is shown in a photo below and is available online in two bottle sizes from Amazon. Give your dog a daily canine vitamin and mineral supplement, and ask your vet to recommend any other supplement necessary for your dog's breed, size, or any specific health issues.
Puppy Girl has good “table” manners. While I put her filled food bowl in place beside her water bowl, she sits quietly on a nearby rug until I tell her, “Okay, you may eat now.” Only then does she go to her food and “dig in.” Isn’t she a good girl?
Since she tends to eat too quickly, I only spoon 1/3 of her food into the bowl at a time. Once she's slurped it down (that's the sound she makes), I tell her to "back up to your rug," and she does. She's so cute backing up and sitting until I give her the "okay" to eat another portion that I often laugh when I see her do it. This happens again until she's eaten the third portion. Then I use a baby wipe to clean her whiskers and give her a chewable vitamin/mineral supplement (the latter with her first meal of the day only). She rarely drinks water just after eating, but usually returns a bit later to the water bowl.
Miscellaneous Tips for Your Dog's Mealtimes
Healthy crunchy treats, including those formulated for doggy dental care, will give your dog something to chew that will help keep her teeth clean. Cruncherz dog biscuits (formerly known as Barkwheats), actually contain no wheat, a grain to which some dogs—including my furry friend—are sensitive. These treats, which come in several flavors, contain antioxidants and have minimal calories. Unfortunately, they also contain canola oil, which I've learned is not healthy--despite the hype.
That's why I began making Puppy Girl's buckwheat treats myself, using organic buckwheat flour, organic ground ginger sprinkled into the dry flour and mixed, adding organic pumpkin puree and organic unsweetened applesauce. With the applesauce, there is no need to use any oil. I roll them out, use a small cookie cutter (about the size of a quarter) and twice-bake them slowly, like biscotti, so they will be hard and crunchy. This makes them keep well in the "cookie" jar, and I give Puppy Girl a couple to crunch on as a treat.
A regime of daily tooth-brushing with toothpaste formulated for canines—never human toothpaste, which may contain ingredients harmful to dogs—is recommended for thorough doggy dental care—especially important when feeding your dog moist home-cooked food. Moist food will stick to the teeth and form tartar that hardens into plaque and causes gingivitis if not removed. Prevention is better than cure, since professional cleaning of a dog's teeth requires anesthesia that can cause complications, and the procedure is costly.
The amount to feed depends on the size, age, activity level, and breed of the dog. Ask your vet to recommend the appropriate amount of food intake per day. Don’t forget to factor in treats to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity isn’t any healthier for dogs than it is for humans.
Puppy Girl’s weight at age ten stays at 20 pounds, and two cups of food daily (half in the morning, half in the late afternoon) plus fruit and homemade treats are just right to keep her trim and not overweight. She's a miniature schnauzer, and this breed tends to chow down fast and empty the bowl almost as soon as it’s available. This is even easier for a dog to do with softer home-cooked meals than when eating commercial kibble. Now you see it, now you don't! Dividing her day's food into two meals keeps her from eating too much at one time, helped by three separately spooned "servings" at each meal. This is a good procedure to use when feeding dogs that customarily eat too fast.
Don’t forget to thoroughly wash and rinse the food bowl after every feeding and the water bowl daily to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. You wouldn't want to eat dinner off that dirty plate smeared with dried food you used at lunch, would you? You'd be surprised (then again, maybe you wouldn't) how many people never wash their dog's food and water dishes!
That "Special" Ingredient Called Love
Sometimes I think Puppy Girl has an internal clock, for she just reminded me it’s time for her supper. She’s right, so I’ll go feed my girl after leaving you with this final tip.
When you prepare your dog’s food at home, you will add one other very special ingredient—the same one my grandmother mixed into the batter of her soft-as-air biscuits. It’s an ingredient not available in any store or online site. You can't put a price tag on this addition. It’s called LOVE.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: Is it okay to add ground flax and chia seeds with vet-approved fish oil to my dog's food?
Answer: You don't say what amounts of these seeds you're adding, your dog's age/size/breed, or if your vet knows about these additions. Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in valuable nutrients, including omega oils and fiber; however, they are higher in omega-3s than omega-6s. You should get input from your vet about the proper ratio of these two omegas, especially since you're also adding fish oil. As long as you're adding the appropriate amount of each to your dog's diet, they can provide energy as well as healthy skin and coat. Your vet can tell you the right amount for your dog.
© 2012 Jaye Denman
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 01, 2020:
Thank you so much for your comment, Chris. More people are preparing healthy food for their dogs these days, and that is a good thing.
Chris David from Santa Fe, New Mexico on June 30, 2020:
It's one of the finest way to prepare dog at home, because when you get pet food from outside, it might not genuine or healthy! It's always recommended to prepare dog food at home only! Meat dog food is one of the greatest ways to maintain your pet healthy, buying premium quality meat for pet also an important thing! Love this information, thank you!
Buy premium quality meat from top rated butchers .. https://www.beckandbulow.com
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on June 26, 2020:
Hi, Crystal. I'm glad you're going to feed your mini schnauzer homecooked food. For every cup of cooked protein, a rule-of-thumb amount to mix in will be ¾ cup of steamed vegetables (carrots, green beans, squash, or broccoli) and ½ cup of cooked carbs (oatmeal, sweet potato, or rice). If you add plain pumpkin puree for good digestion, count it as a cooked carb. Be guided by your vet for vitamin and mineral or herb supplements, or you can purchase Mercola's Meal Mix (a vitamin and mineral ground supplement) online at mercola.com. It comes in packets, and you don't have to measure each vitamin, etc. Good luck! I know your schnauzer girl will enjoy her mommy-cooked meals!
Crystal Lam on June 20, 2020:
Hi Jaye, thank you for your informative share! I have a miniature schnauzer girl as well! My baby weighs 15lbs, and in a similar health condition as your puppy girl. I'm starting to consider making homemade food for mine, do you have a suggestion on the portion in meats, veg & fruits and carbs?
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 08, 2019:
Thank you so much, Vanessa. I'm glad you're feeding your two furbabies healthy homemade food. Good for you!
Vanessa Cohen on May 01, 2019:
So grateful for your article! I agree that it's really important to make your own dog food and get away from commercial pet food. I've been making food for my two pups for years and it makes such a difference. I also add a mix in supplement called Azestfor to make sure they are getting all their nutrients which I think is super important.
Puppy Girl is one lucky pooch :)
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 18, 2017:
Thank you, Freki. I hope the suggestions and recipes in this article will help you feed your miniature schnauzer healthily from the beginning. Best wishes to you and the new four-legged family member who will be coming to live with you soon. Mini schnauzers are delightful and loyal dogs. You are certain to enjoy him (or her) and get lots of love in return.
Freki on May 17, 2017:
Thank you so much for the article! It's been a real pain in the neck to find a good easy-to-put to use article! I'm planning on getting a Miniature Schnauzer next month and really don't want to give him any canned or dry food! Been looking on Russian sites, since I live in Russia, but later decided to check some international sites, since I really want all opinions possible on that matter. Thanks a lot!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on December 19, 2016:
If she's losing weight while eating plenty of nutritious food with a good appetite, the vet should check her thoroughly for anything physical that might be causing the problem. I no longer trust either canned or frozen salmon labeled "wild" because much of it is processed in Asia (China or Vietnam) where quality and safety standards do not exist. Often when you pay for what you think is wild-caught Alaskan salmon, you're really getting farm-raised fish from a really nasty and unhealthy environment. If your girl can't tolerate beef, can she eat chicken, turkey, lamb, duck, domestic rabbit, or bison as a protein? Also, a daily canine supplement containing multiple vitamins and minerals may be helpful. You should, however, be guided by your dog's vet in selecting the appropriate diet for her to keep her from getting too thin. Also, those "lumps" might herald something more than fatty cysts, so a biopsy may be in order. I don't mean to frighten you, but it's better to be certain there's no tumor causing weight loss. Best wishes for you and your sweet girl!
SamanthaCamille on December 14, 2016:
Great article. Well written. Your dog sounds so cute. I started feeding my 8-year-old girl American Bulldog/boxer/Staffordshire mix fresh homemade a couple months ago, after feeding her canned Halo salmon canned food + Wellness Fish and Sweet potato Kibble for years. I do REALLY similar to you. I only make 3 days worth at a time though. I do a mix of 5-7 different organic veggies (green beans, peas, carrots, broccoli, spinach/collard/kale, butternut squash, zucchini etc) with about a cup of lentils and either rice or sweet potato in a 3-quart pot. When cooked, I add a 15-ounce can of wild salmon, + a banana + some baked sweet potato + wild blueberries, + a few teaspoons of kelp, some dulse, and some turmeric. Plus I pour in (eyeballing) some olive oil, maybe 1/4 cup? I also pour a good few T flax oil on top of the food in her bowl, and add apples or more sweet potato and sometimes some warm oatmeal to the meal. She LOVES it and drools a bucket at every meal, but she has gotten VERY skinny. :( She was a bit portly at 70 lbs before we started this, according to vet—but passed where she looked "lean and mean" and sleek, and now looks too skinny. Weighing her (weigh self, then holding her) showed 59 and now 56! I think 60-62 would be right for her, but more to the point than numbers is how she looks–she just looks gangly now. Her ribs show, her spine shows! I feel like she is getting protein from the fish, oil from the fish, olive oil and flax, and plenty of carb from the veggies, rice, fruit, oats, and potato. Also, I give her a probiotic, selenium, and spirulina. (And some Chinese herbs the vet rec'd for lumps we dont want to remove yet.) What am I doing wrong? Does she need more of one macronutrient or maybe more food overall? It seems like more food than the kibble/canned? I feed her about a cup and a half of this glorious mash each meal (2x day). Maybe 15 oz salmon per batch spread over 6 meals (3 days) isnt enough "meat?" (she's always eaten fish—beef doesnt agree with her.) Love your thoughts. PS I get hungry when I look at and smell her food too!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on September 19, 2016:
Cynthia - Here are a couple of sources about the danger to dogs of raw salmon:
Cynthia on September 19, 2016:
Most of the items you list as bad foods to feed to dogs I agree with, however raw salmon is fed as a main staple for sled dogs in Alaska and they thrive on it.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on April 24, 2016:
Thank you so much, Jay Thomas, for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed this article and hope it proves helpful to you.
Jay Thomas on April 22, 2016:
Great post it is a adorable site.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on March 24, 2016:
Hi, Peggy - I use an 8-ounce measuring cup. However, your dog may require a bit more food if he gets more exercise than my fur baby. You can always adjust the amount if he either still acts hungry or doesn't eat it all at once. However, I've never seen a schnauzer that didn't have a big appetite! Thanks for joining the discussion.
Peggy Chong on March 22, 2016:
Thank you Jaye for sharing the above detail information. I also have a Schnauzer, 9 years old boy, and i have been struggling in finding a right meal for him. He has a hyper sensitive digestive system and very easily have upset stomach and diarrhea, and he almost killed by those commercial dog food! From kibbles to raw food, they are poorly produced and have very bad ingredient. So, I am now making food for my boy. However, I encounter a big problem is I don't know how much food to feed him every day. I feed him twice per day just like what you do to your girl, morning and evening. I mad him Chicken/Salmon (boiled / streamed) (50%) with carrot (10%), potato/sweet potato (20%) (my dog cannot eat rice or grain as he has allergy), pumpkin (10%), small amount of leafy vegetable (5-10%), and half egg white, then I will sprinkle some enzyme and multivitamin into his meal. I saw on the above photo you use a cup to fed your puppy, can I know the cup size? My dog is around 15lbs, how much food should I feed him per day?
Appreciate so much for your help in advance
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on February 05, 2015:
Thank you, Marie. I'm glad you found this hub helpful.
MarieLB from YAMBA NSW on February 04, 2015:
What a great hub, so full of good, solid information. I knew that some things are dangerous for dogs to eat, but I was not aware of several items you mentioned.
Very interesting, thanks.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 23, 2014:
So glad it's helpful to you, Mary. We have to take good care of our babies, don't we? Looking through the hub I realize that I need to make some minor revisions--just updates. One of those things I'll 'get around to' as soon as I have time.
Great day to you and Baby.....Jaye
Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 23, 2014:
Thanks so much for responding to my concern about Baby's diet. I will use your recipe for dog treats, in fact I've copied/pasted your reply to save it, cause I know I won't remember it.
I used to give Baby Milk Bones as a treat, but then after I read the label, I see they have a grain in them (can't remember which one), so I no longer give them to her because of her gluten sensitivity.
I bookmarked this entire Hub for future reference.
Have a wonderful day, and kiss Baby Girl for Baby. Mary
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 22, 2014:
Mary- I'm delighted to learn that Baby is improving on a home-cooked diet. And, regardless of what your vet says, I know that some dogs are sensitive to gluten. My Puppy Girl can't eat wheat without scratching, and I haven't given her a bite of it for years. The oats don't bother her, but I've switched to the steel-cut brand. Sometimes I substitute Basmati rice or potatoes. Oh, and I always add some organic pumpkin to her food now. It's great for a dog's digestion, and she loves it.
I also began making her crunchy buckwheat treats at home. They're much cheaper than the pricey ones, though I do still buy them occasionally. I use organic buckwheat flour, organic pumpkin (from a BPA-free can), organic unsweetened applesauce, a drizzle of organic honey and a bit of filtered water if the dough is too thick to stir. Sorry I can't give you measurements, but I'm the type of cook who just dumps ingredients into the bowl until the dough looks and feels right. I roll the dough into two balls, cover in a large bowl and refrigerate for several hours. I use a cutter to make cookie-like treats, place them on cookie sheets and bake about 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove and cool completely, then put in 250 oven for 15 minutes. Turn oven off and let treats and oven cool together. It's like making biscotti so the treats will get hard and crunchy, as well as keep in her 'cookie jar' for a while. They don't stay there too long, though. She loves them and 'tells' me she wants a couple first thing every morning!
I'll read your hub about dogs and gluten sensitivity.
Give Baby a kiss from me.....Jaye
Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 22, 2014:
Just wanted to give you an update about my Min. Schnauzer, Baby. If you recall in my comments earlier to this post, I started feeding her homemade food, and she continues to improve. I found out by trial and error, she is sensitive to gluten! My Vet. poo poos that idea, but if I give her any bread product, she will scratch within the hour. I wrote a Hub about her sensitivity of glutens.
I just reread this Hub, and now I'm afraid I'm not giving Baby vitamins as I should; this was a good reminder for me.
Also, I wonder if she is getting enough protein by just eating chicken, rice and green veggies.
I'm sharing this great article again, cause it is a very important article for us dog lovers.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on June 28, 2014:
Torrilyn - Thanks. You're right that we can only know what we're feeding ourselves, our families and our pets if we choose the ingredients. That's why it's so important that we do this rather than rely on processed food corporations (selling products for humans and pets) to provide safe and healthy nourishment.
Anita - I've been using a potato masher for some time so that the veggies are actually a mashed consistency rather than the 'chunky' ones shown in the photos. However, I also add a powdered supplement that includes probiotics and enzymes. The enzymes include amylase, which breaks down starchy carbs so that dogs can digest them thoroughly. Since my dog is blind, I take her outdoors on leash for potty time, so I know her stools don't contain undigested food. (In fact, if there is such a thing as 'perfect potty', hers fits the description each and every time. Haha. I would advise anyone home feeding dogs veggies or grains to include the appropriate enzymes needed in each meal. Thanks for adding this comment to the discussion.
Anita Saran from Bangalore, India on June 28, 2014:
Just a note here JayeWisdom - I just read a well known book which says that we need to puree the veggies because otherwise they are not digested and come out whole in the feces. But I think you do mash all the veggies, don't you? It's a new learning for me.
torrilynn on June 27, 2014:
I would have never thought to make homemade dog food. you never know what they are putting in dog food these days or food that we eat. great hub. very explanatory and well written.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on June 19, 2014:
Thanks, Anita. I'm glad you cook for your dogs, too, though with a pack of nine, you're cooking much larger batches than I am! I've never thought to give Puppy Girl mangos, but I'll bet she would like them because she enjoys apple and pear chunks. JAYE
Anita Saran from Bangalore, India on June 18, 2014:
Voted up Jaye! Very informative and Puppy Girl is such a cutie! I too cook for my dogs - I have 9 now. Some love fruit such as banana and mango and all eat their veggies.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 31, 2014:
Joe - Great, and you're very welcome. I love to learn that more people are feeding their pets home-prepared food with quality ingredients. I just fed my dog her second meal of the day, and, as usual she licked the bowl clean (but I'll wash it anyway). She has a 'built-in alarm clock' in her tummy so she can remind me it's time to eat!
Joe from north miami FL on May 31, 2014:
she did and thank you for writing this hub.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 31, 2014:
Joe - I'm sure your dog will love homecooked food, which is healthier, safer and undoubtedly better-tasting than anything in a bag from the store. Give your pup a hug for me, and thanks for your comment. Jaye
Joe from north miami FL on May 31, 2014:
My dog's going to love this thank you for the hub
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 25, 2014:
Mary - I'm so glad Baby's new homemade diet is controlling her food allergies so she doesn't itch. Give her a hug for me. Thanks for sharing this hub. I do hope more people will prepare healthy food for their beloved pets. Hope you're having a great weekend. Jaye
Rebecca - You needn't win the lottery to homecook for your dogs if they don't have food allergies or need to be on a low fat diet. Organic chicken thighs are a more cost-effective protein, especially when you find them on sale and buy in quantity to freeze, and some organic vegetables cost very little more than their traditionally-grown (with pesticides) counterparts. Thanks for reading. Regards, Jaye
Audrey - Thanks for reading and your kind comment. Jaye
Lisa - One way you might get your 'fussy eater' to change his diet is to cook a small batch and add just a bit to his current food every day, gradually adding more until you've made the switch. If your dog can be coaxed to eat a bite or two of table scraps from your hand, it's likely he will enjoy homecooked food. After all, it smells so good while cooking that humans think it's for them! Jaye
Lisa VanVorst from New Jersey on May 25, 2014:
This was a great article, especially with all the pet recalls. It is unfortunate that these recalls come after so many of our dear pets died. I always check to make sure my dog's bones are made in America and not China! My dog eats people food too, but unfortunately it is not the best and my dog is 9 1/2 years old so trying to institute new food won't work he is a stubborn pure breed and very fussy about his food.
Audrey Howitt from California on May 24, 2014:
Just such a great hub!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 24, 2014:
An interesting sounding recipe for sure. I'll bet the dogs go nuts over it! Mine all seem to be doing OK, but I will keep this in mind should I win the lottery LOL!
Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 24, 2014:
I remembered you and your love for your Schnauzer, Baby Girl. After I first read this Hub I began cooking for my 7 yr. old Schauzer, Baby. I get her chicken from Whole Foods market. I am still including rice and she loves green beans.
Her itchy condition is so much better now, I give her NO table scraps anymore. I was giving her a prescription diet from the Vet for food allergies, and her condition worsened!
I hope your Baby Girl is still well and healthy, Voted UP, etc. and shared.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on April 29, 2014:
Tirelesstraveler - You're not the first person to make that comment. Actually, my dog eats better than I do! At least, her part of the grocery bill is higher. I enjoy a plant-based diet (organics). She eats more protein, and its cost is greater. (She's worth it!)
Judy Specht from California on April 28, 2014:
I am eating dinner with your dog tonight. Yum. My dogs would love to come too:)
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on February 08, 2014:
Dear Nellieanna - What an amazing experience—hearing the kitties meow at that exact moment. It must have seemed as though they were welcoming George, and I can understand how it provides comfort for you. Pets are such an integral part of our lives that I cannot believe they don’t share in any afterlife.
The ophthalmology vet told me last year Puppy Girl would need the enucleation procedure because, even though I put thick nighttime eye ointment in her eyes every couple of hours (day and night), that treatment doesn’t guarantee she won’t feel pain. She hasn’t experienced ulceration, but she does have some scarring on her corneas. Dogs are stoic by nature and tend to hide pain or injury when they can—a by-product of the days when weakness might mean death by a predator. I don’t want her to suffer any pain, so I studied about the procedure, looked at photos of dogs who’d had it done (on blinddogssupport.com, by the way, which I joined several months ago) and read a couple of books about how the aftermath affects blind dogs. Everything I read was encouraging and made the decision easier for me.
Puppy Girl can’t see anyway, and it won’t matter to her whether or not she has eyes. It is only a wimpy human such as I who will grieve for her dear eyes, but I’ve already grieved for her lost eyesight. After a slow start, she’s adjusted to blindness quite well, and I think (from what I’ve read about other dogs’ experiences and what her primary vet assures me) Puppy Girl will most likely feel much better and gain a “new lease on life” after recovering from the surgery.
As for the other procedures, she has a small tumor on one shoulder of the type which could later become cancerous (it’s been biopsied twice and has no malignant cells), so the treatment—removing the tumor and surrounding tissue—will be curative. While she is already anesthetized, her teeth will also be cleaned. Since I brush them daily, they don’t need major scaling so that process will only take 10-15 minutes, at most. A complete blood workup will be done the morning of the surgery, and should anything look even slightly worrisome, the surgeon will postpone surgery until it’s alright.
Once surgery is over, she’ll be monitored in “recovery”, and they’ll keep her at the clinic overnight under continual observation. This veterinary practice believes in pain management, so she will be kept comfortable. If necessary, she may stay two nights “in hospital.” My feeling at this point is that I just want to get it done, over with, and Puppy Girl back home recovering. Dreading a medical procedure on behalf of another (including a pet) is worse than anticipating it for myself—and I’ve had 18 surgeries so far.
I’m sure I’ll be a basket case from the moment I leave her at the vet surgical suite until I pick her up when she’s released, but I can get my angst out of the way before I go back to get her. When I cried about her blindness I went into a room and closed the door in an attempt to hide my distress from her. Dogs pick up on humans’ negative or stressful feelings, so staying positive around her is something I must endeavor to do.
I will pack her “bag” with one of my tee shirts to sleep with so she can be comforted by my scent while I’m not with her. I intend to stay as busy as possible while she’s gone to keep my mind occupied, though (knowing myself all too well), it would be foolish to say I won’t worry until I know she’s safe from anesthesia. Thank you, dear Nellieanna, for your concern. I appreciate it. Not everyone understands one’s oh-so-real worry about a pet, only those whose pets have been part of their family. (When Puppy Girl first went blind, a friend suggested I have her put to sleep! I still haven’t recovered from that recommendation and am not certain the friendship has either.)
I do most of my shopping online except for produce, frozen foods and perishables. Many of the other products I once bought at the supermarket can be delivered right to my door with no shipping charge. It’s wonderful! Since I apparently wasn’t born with the “shopping gene” (a joke my daughter and I share), I have no desire to visit malls or large stores (although I think the big discount and warehouse stores provide mobility carts just as supermarkets do).
I’ve often wished I could take power naps during the day to refresh my energy, but—alas—falling asleep for a short time leaves me feeling drained and foggy-brained instead. You’re fortunate you are able to take cat-naps and gain the desired result from them.
Employing self-discipline to make good (healthy) choices seems easier now that I have time to focus on myself and my own needs. I don’t think that’s selfish for, like you, I believe the “occupation” of taking good care of myself as I age may help me stay independent. You’re so right—there are many possibilities still to come! Every new day holds so much promise, doesn’t it?
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on February 07, 2014:
Yes, dear Jaye, those kitties did have a really wonderful, long and happy 17 years and they filled ours with the pleasure of their company. You know, at the moment George drew his last breath six years after they died, I truly ‘heard’ them meow. A little spooky, but it was very real. It still brings tears to my eyes, along with a sense of comfort.
I could go on and on about them, but at this moment, I am overwhelmed with the seriousness of your Puppy Girl’s upcoming eye surgery. I’d never heard of enucleation, - so, of course, I looked it up. I hadn’t realized your girl had a serious eye problem, but obviously, for that surgery to be indicated, she does. It seems such a major thing, but I did find a site which was encouraging and made me feel better for Puppy Girl and for you. You may have read it yourself, but in case you haven’t, you might like to, if I may include its link: http://www.blinddogsupport.com/what-to-expect-when...
I’ll be thinking of you and hoping it goes as well! Do stay positive about it. Somehow I know it will have good results, having read more about it, and knowing how well you care for your doggie. It’s especially wonderful to feel that confidence in the veterinary surgeons, too. You didn’t mention what the other two procedures during her anesthesia are to be, but obviously, the enucleation is the one of greatest concern.
Oh, I can imagine how valuable those mobile shopping carts are, as needed. Isn’t is great that they’re provided! I’ve always been a strong walker and still enjoy walking briskly and vigorously, but I’m aware that my endurance is not as great, and my feet especially give out when walking on the hard surfaces, as are typical of floors in most stores and all malls. In fact, my mall visits are rare nowadays. I simply time my forays to suit my endurance, which seems to improve by using what of it I can summon. I try to focus on using what I can while I can.
Anyway, online shopping is more satisfying, at least for many things. For on-hands shopping, I’ve become a Sam’s girl for so many things which I used to shop the malls to find. One-stop shopping for everything from casual clothes to laundry products and electronics is rather convenient. I also find many things I use at the health food store. Gone are my Neiman’s days, except for a very few items, which, luckily, don’t require frequent replacement, and even those can be ordered from Neiman’s online, usually with free shipping. It’s a pretty good era in which to move forward from one’s ‘heyday’ into a new ‘prime’. (I like your explanation of that!) I can’t help but pity those older folks who have avoided the techie age, and one of my dear friends is one of them.
I like your alternation of ‘work’ and ‘fun’ activities, too. I also find it wise to take breaks from the chores I once did like a marathon till completed to my satisfaction. I still do that with writing, but writing isn’t as tiring as other, more physical endeavors. I’m apt to take impromptu cat-naps during the day, too.
Yes, it is good to have great freedom of choice of scheduling our lives in most every area. I can decide at the last minute to open a can of soup for my evening meal rather than cooking a more regular meal (after I’ve made and eaten my regular fresh veggie salad, of course). Self-discipline is probably all the more necessary now, but one still can decide about it, which is really fun. In many way, I find that I’m more “myself” in this lifestyle than I’ve ever been. I loved sharing my life for 30 years with my beloved George, with whom we were a working team, as well as other times of my life when I was involved in demanding work & responsibilities, but it is sort of nice to have the one main ‘job’ now of caring for an older person - ME. ;-) It is rather a valuable occupation, so that no one else has to take it on. I hope to be able to continue it in a positive fashion for many years to come; hopefully, for all the years I’m to be allowed to live. It also gives me legitimate options to do and tend to those things ‘my way’, which I know will personally contribute to that goal, from the physical to the care of mind and soul, and to pick and choose my other involvements, without feeling guilty or neglectful. I do have many close and satisfying involvements with others, but they are not the same as commitments of partnership and marriage, or outside work. So life at 82-going-on-83 is pretty great. I would not want to go back. There are too many possibilities still to come!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on February 07, 2014:
Nellieanna – I took your advice and wrote this comment offline to cut and paste here. Good idea....
From your description of the kitties traveling with you and George, I’d say you gave them a wonderful life (which I’m convinced enriched your own). I chuckled when I read about the cats giving you the “cold shoulder” after you returned from England.
Fortunately, I don’t have to drive very far to the new market—actually, to any of the markets where I shop, which are all fairly close at hand. The main thing I have to consider when I go to a bricks-and-mortar store is whether or not they have mobility carts. I can’t walk long enough now to traverse an entire store before my legs “give up.” (I so miss long walks!) Those motorized shopping carts are wonderful for anyone with a physical challenge.
I love your statement, “What is done matters more than whatever isn’t.” That’s the philosophy I’ve adopted since I have so much less energy than I did in my heyday. (I refuse to use the word “prime” since I feel there are different degrees of “prime” in one’s lifetime.) If I need to rest, I relax on the sofa with a good book and Puppy Girl curled up beside me. When refreshed, I tackle a combination of chores and activities I enjoy. I no longer try to multi-task, but start with “work” and then do something “fun”, back to work next and so on. That’s the joy of retirement—setting my own schedule. However, I’ve noticed that some of the things I formerly considered work are more enjoyable now that I’m doing them whenever I please!
My little girl dog will be having surgery early next month, three procedures while she’s anesthetized. The most serious and the one I expect to affect me emotionally is the enucleation of her eyes. I know this is necessary to ensure she isn’t in pain, but it will be traumatic (for me) just the same--a psychological effect. The vet convinced me that she will feel much better afterward, so that’s the most important factor, and I will become accustomed to her altered appearance. After the surgical wounds heal, I’ll let her long wild schnauzer eyebrows grow out as long as possible, and they will probably cover her incision scars. I have confidence in the veterinary surgical team and know they will do everything they can to take care of my girl. There’s always some risk with anesthesia (even with humans), but I’m doing my best to keep my thoughts positive.
Hugs and love right back to you, dear friend. JAYE
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on February 06, 2014:
Oh, Jaye, I’ve had that happen when a post just disappears. I often just write them offline and copy & paste to the comment box. Same with emails at times. At least, then if it still disappears, one has the offline copy to try again. I don’t always do the offline thing, though, so it still happens from time to time that I lose it. So maddening! Even when one is willing to start over, it’s not quite the same.
Yes, it was terribly sad to lose those kitties. They were born in the bottom of my closet shortly before we married and had been with us constantly. The only time we were ever separated from them was when we went to England. We had a ‘critter sitter’ come to the house to care from them daily, and they were OK, but would hardly speak to us for a bit when we got back a month later!
On every other trip we ever took during their lives, they accompanied us and either had their RV home on the road or rode happily from one of our ‘places’ to another. They were so aware of those places. They slept through the actual trips in the back seat of the car, but as we began to approach our house here in Dallas or the RV we kept in Del Rio or the cabin we built ourselves at the ranch, they came to full attention, meowing and looking out the windows excitedly. Even the streets en route to our house in Dallas roused them to excited anticipation. They went on our trips to the ranch for 13 of our 15 years of regularly going on them (till George really had no business being so far from medical help). And over their lives, they went with us to numerous lakes in Texas, to Las Vegas, Phoenix, The Grand Canyon, Indiana, New Orleans, Florida and on several trips to Branson, with trips to those places before the ranch and scattered among those, too.
I’m conservative with cleaning products, too. Helps to not be as intense a house-keeper as I once was when my children were growing up, when more old-fashioned products were the way it was done. I always prefer the more natural products, but if sometimes I’ve used the more commercial ones conservatively, the cats never came in contact with any of them at home. Just in that motel. sniff, sniff.
These days I do not travel far from home to shop if I can avoid it. There is a Natural Foods store in my area and both the local Fiesta, Albertson’s and Kroger’s have pretty good selections of organic produce and other products. Even Sam’s offers a few. I avoid processed foods almost totally and don’t eat quantities of meat. I try to stick to organically produced meats, eggs, etc. I wash produce well before eating it. The Farmers’ Market is so far away from my home and through downtown traffic. I’m not confident that it is all home-grown, anyway. I rather suspect they buy the imported produce & massively produced stuff which the grocery stores provide, but they can minimize the overhead of the big stores, so that’s the advantage they actually offer. What is vital to me is to eat plenty of fresh produce of the best quality I can get within reason. I miss the days when George and I had a huge garden.
I’m sorry to hear of the difficulties your Puppy Girl has had and still shadow her life. Yes, you are minimizing her risks by giving her the best foods possible. I hope she enjoys many more years of happy life!
I empathize with delays in answering comments and even with reading all the new hubs I’d like to read. There are just so many hours in a day, and I confess I get lost in whatever I am doing, usually. I look at the clock one minute and the next minute, it’s hours later, too often most of the night! My life is such that if anything gets done, it is up to me to do it. and I’m not the same dynamo I have been in past years, nor do I really want to be. I enjoy getting absorbed in things. There are many things I can become lost in doing, from reading, writing, pursuing various creative projects, taking care of finances and taxes, legal stuff and the ranch, visiting with people who write to me, come by or call, writing in my journal, planning, caring for house plants, even just keeping myself in order, fed and rested,the laundry done, the house tidy; - they all eat up the time, don’t they? There aren’t enough hours, but I just try to take it as it comes and as I can do it. What is done matters more than whatever isn’t.
And I LOVE to just do something ‘else’ that appeals to me, even if it’s not on the “6 most important things to be done’ or even the ‘most pressing’ thing! It’s sort of like Jay Leno has been saying this last year on the Tonight Show whenever he’s said or done something objectionable or off-the-wall: “I don’t care. I’m here for only a short time, anyway.” In a way, that’s all our fates in this life, isn’t it? When we’ve done our best, we can afford to give ourselves some breaks now and then. :-)
You needn’t apologize, dear Jaye! Hugs and love to you. I consider you a real friend.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on February 05, 2014:
Nellieanna - You were far ahead of the trend to feed pets people-quality food--a trailblazer while on your own quest for personal health. It's heartbreaking that you cared so well for your cats Camille and Toulouse only to lose them to toxins acquired away from home. The commercial cleaning products used by hotels contain strong toxic chemicals. Pets either lick surfaces or get the toxins through their foot pads. It's dreadful. I'm so sorry you lost your beloved cats in such a tragic way.
Unfortunately, the cleaning products with familiar names that most people use in their homes also contain harmful chemicals (parabens, phthalates, etc.) Safe, inexpensive white vinegar, baking soda and low-percentage hydrogen peroxide are much better for cleaning--not only because of pets, but for humans. Children shouldn't come in contact with unhealthy ingredients.
Since Puppy Girl has a compromised immune system because of a severe vaccine reaction suffered when she was younger, I do everything possible to keep her well. Feeding her a homemade diet with organic ingredients is one aspect of that care. Sadly, she's had many health issues, including some disorders to which schnauzers are predisposed. My thinking is that healthy food at least gives her an edge that she wouldn't have with commercial dog food, so I continue to prepare her food weekly.
It's ironic that you mentioned Whole Foods Market because I've been missing the WFM where I shopped when I lived in the Dallas area for eight years (during the late '80s and early '90s) until I moved to Mississippi. That is...until yesterday, when the first Whole Foods Market in the state opened not far from my home. I'm delighted that a broader selection of organic foods will be available to me. During the summer I go to the farmers market regularly, but the majority of farmers in this state who sell produce still use pesticides and justify the practice because of the hot damp climate that results in many insects. However, there are a few organic producers, and it is necessary to arrive at the market early before their produce sells out. Since WFM has a policy of buying local produce when possible, I hope the new store will encourage more organic produce farming in the area.
Thanks for reading and for sharing your own experience. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to this comment (after losing my initial try--no idea why it disappeared into the ether), but I did something unusual for me last night. I relaxed on the sofa to read for a bit and fell asleep for nearly two hours! Instead of relaxing me, naps leave me groggy, so I didn't try to concentrate on anything other than a novel for the remainder of the evening.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on February 04, 2014:
Nellieanna - I wrote a long response to your wonderful comments, but when I clicked on "Post Comment", I suddenly had to log in again and my reply disappeared. Arrrgh! I've had that happen before, and it's very frustrating. I'll come back later and try to reconstruct what I wrote the first time. In the interim, I'll just say, "thanks." Jaye
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on February 03, 2014:
What a wonderful guide for dog care, Jaye! As you say, one must be cautious about one’s own food sources and one’s pets deserve no less concern. Not having had dogs, I hope you won't mind if I share a little of my experience with cats.
When our two cats were born in 1985, there was very little attention being given to or needed for some food-growing problems which have developed in the last couple of decades. Remember when we could rely on the safety of our foods, in which only gourmet items were imported, while our regular meat and veggies were grown on fairly local farms and ranches and didn’t involve artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, and were raised in natural pastures, not in the kinds of sardine-can factories which plague our our food supply sources and artificial processing today?
Even so, I was in my 50s & becoming extra health-conscious, intending to preserve my health for a long life to come, shopping at Whole Foods Market and reading up on best choices.
So for Epi’s benefit, yes, cats benefit from home-cooked healthy cat food, too. For most of their lengthy cat lives, our two beloved pets enjoyed & benefitted from home-made cat diet, derived from guidelines in the original “The Natural Cat”, subtitled “A Complete Guide for Finicky Owners”, by Anitra Frazier. It was revised and expanded in 1990 and the title included the word “New”. It has advice for everything cat owners need to know about organic, natural holistic cat care. I just looked it up and see that there is a newer version titled ’The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care” by Anitra Frazier and Norma Eckroate. The authors consistently emphasize that each cat is unique and believe that they deserve respect as well as loving.
When our cats went for their annual vet checkups, he would ask us what we fed them to keep them so healthy. Indeed, they were. We’d actually been concerned about what would happen to them if and when they outlived us! They simply never suffered any illnesses during their entire lives. They traveled everywhere with us in the car pulling our RV for our overnight stops, or traveling directly from our house in town to our RV permanently in Del Rio and on to our cabin at the ranch (overall a 500 mile trip) so they were always in their own surroundings and were strictly indoor pets. On those trips, we sometimes had to modify the recipe for their food, but it remained mostly from recommended ingredients we normally used in making it. If we had to substitute commercial cat foods on occasion, we were very finicky about the brands and their ingredients.
They were still healthy at 18 years and surely would have lived much longer, had we had not taken them with us to a motel for the only time in their lives, on an occasion when we found it necessary to stay overnight on a trip when we didn’t have the RV along because we expected to travel between the ranch via Del Rio and home in one day, but decided to stop and visit with some family in Austin en route. While we were out of the room, our precious kitties obviously got into something fatally toxic in that motel room. Camille didn’t survive much longer than by the time we got home. Toulouse seemed to be slipping away too, but he rallied, though the same symptoms overtook him suddenly a bit later.
I admire and am quite impressed with the extent of your care with making your dog’s food, Jaye. It is so well written and presented, too. What an adorable Puppy Girl she is! If I should ever have a dog, - and I love dogs, too, - I will certainly heed your advice! Thank you for sharing it! If I ever have another cat, I’ll be even more aware, from having read your article. Buying reliable ingredients online is something I’d never considered at this level!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on January 31, 2014:
Theresa - I've been doing it so long that preparing my dog's food is as "second nature" to me as cooking for myself or guests. In fact, I can almost do it with my mind on something else.....and probably would if I weren't afraid of setting the kitchen on fire! :- )
I appreciate Kathleen's kind words and your passing the comment along to me. I enjoy editing. (Crazy, I know!) JAYE
Thanks, Audrey - Cooking my fur-girl's food is only one of the things I do to (hopefully) prolong her life. She's a sweetie, and it's no trouble at all to give her a healthy diet. Thanks for your comment. JAYE
Audrey Howitt from California on January 31, 2014:
What an informative hub! Your pup seems loved and well cared for!!
Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on January 31, 2014:
Jaye - What a terrific and helpful and informative Hub. I have two cats, but if I had a dog I would cook their food at home.
BTW, Kathleen Cochran says you are a marvelous editor. :)
Hope all is well. Blessings. Theresa
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on January 28, 2014:
Hi, BoscoGirl - Sorry to hear your schnauzer has diabetes, but thank goodness it's treatable in dogs.
When my schnauzer girl turned 9 years old this month, I switched to a geriatric formula (supplement) produced by Vetri-Science Laborabories. It's Canine Plus Senior. These are bite-sized chews that contain everything needed to support health of older dogs. This formula does not contain wheat (as the one I'd been using did), but does list barley flour in the inactive (non-vitamin & mineral, the active) ingredients. I buy it from Amazon.com and will add a link to this hub.
Good luck with your furbaby, and I'm glad you're homecooking for her. Take care....Jaye
BoscoGirl on January 27, 2014:
Can you tell me what multivitamin you use. I also have a miniature schnauzer & she was just dx with diabetes. I home cook for her. The grain I use is millet. She is doing much better on millet than oats & barley. Millet is gluten free.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 13, 2013:
Gypsy Willow - Thanks. I hope you can adapt this homemade dog food recipe for your dog's needs. Corn seems to be one of the most prevalent canine allergens, and--as far as I'm concerned--GMO corn is dangerous for animal or human consumption.
Thanks for the read and feedback.
Gypsy Willow from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand on October 13, 2013:
What a lucky little Puppy Girl. Sensible advice as most commercial foods list Corn as the first ingredient. GMO anyone? Our dog is highly allergic to this and gets a bad skin rash if she eats it. thanks for the advice.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on September 18, 2013:
Thanks, Mel - You're a good pet parent, and I'll bet your dogs love their meals. You don't have to worry about toxins in commercial dog foods, and your beloved pets will probably live longer as a result. Good for you! I appreciate you're reading this and your comments.
Mel Jay from Australia on September 18, 2013:
Wow, great information here - I have been making our dog food for years, but I will be sure to tweak things after reading this - Cheers, Mel
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on September 17, 2013:
Thanks, Peg - It's worth the effort of preparing wholesome food to know we're feeding our sweet furry friends safe and healthy meals. I'm so accustomed to the procedure now that I reach for the ingredients and cookware automatically--the same as when I cook for myself or visiting family. I've read from many sources that good nutrition can add years to a dog's lifespan, and that's motivation enough for me to continue her homecooked meals.
I chuckled when I read about your dogs watching for dropped scraps. Puppy Girl likes to hang out in the kitchen when I'm cooking, too. When she gets in the vicinity of the stove, I say, "Back up! Hot!" and she moves back.
findwholesome - You're quite welcome. I hope there's something in this hub that will be useful to you.
Kat McAdams from Midwest on September 17, 2013:
Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on September 17, 2013:
What a great Puppy Mom you are to prepare home made meals for your dog. I had to cook for my Lab after he developed intussusception as a puppy and had to have surgery. Afterward I fed him (and my other sweet one) boiled chicken with rice and added green beans. They really loved the process of preparation and watched me carefully in case I dropped any scraps.
Thanks for sharing your process and recipe here. Sounds great!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 06, 2013:
Hi, findwholeness--Thanks for reading. I made some edits to this article before seeing your comment, and I'll tell you (below) what they are. First, I'll answer your questions.
I do warm the food rather than feed it to her cold, but I just barely get it warm (not anywhere close to "hot"). It's just a bit warmer than tepid. I guess you'd say I get the chill off so it won't give her colic.
As for how much home-cooked food to give your 70-pound dog, you should preferably ask your vet (who knows your dog and his/her age, activity level, health, whether overweight or not, etc.) for a recommendation. Otherwise, you might use one of the many dog food amount calculators available on websites that suggest amounts to feed. (Put "how much wet dog food daily for a 70 pound dog" in the search engine, and you'll get a lot of sites.) Generally, a larger breed dog that is not overweight and gets daily exercise may need 3 or 3 1/2 cups food per day, fed in two separate meals--especially since eating too much at once can cause bloat in larger dogs with large chests. I hesitate to make a recommendation since I don't know your dog. Why not ask the vet?
Here are the edits I made to the article:
1. I no longer use rice at all in the recipe. As I'd written earlier, I stopped using brown rice after reading reports that it tested high in arsenic. More recently, I read several reports that any rice grown in any part of Asia tends to test high for lead. Well, neither arsenic or lead is good for dogs or humans, so I've stopped buying/using rice altogether. There are other healthy grains, such as couscous, barley and quinoa, but I find myself using organic oatmeal with flax added for my dog's recipe most of the time.
2. My dog is becoming a couch potato, which may be because she is 8 1/2 years old, or because I'm not physically able to run with her. (A couple of times around the perimeters of my half-acre back yard is the most I can manage for her daily walks, but she seems satisfied with that.) When her weight inched up a couple of pounds, I reduced the amount I feed her to 1 1/4 cups per day, divided into two equal portions for morning and late afternoon. She's lost the added weight and is doing fine. Schnauzers just like to eat, so I have to be careful not to let her eat too much. As dogs get older and exercise less, they don't need as much food as younger, more active dogs.
And don't forget the vitamin/mineral supplement, especially if you don't give your dog raw bones to chew.
Good luck making your dog's food.
Kat McAdams from Midwest on May 06, 2013:
This is great information, thanks! A couple of questions: do you warm up the food or feed it to her cold? How much would you feed a 70 lb dog of this mixture?
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on May 04, 2013:
Hi, Au fait. I can't feed my dog table scraps because of her food allergies and high lipid (cholesterol) level. She's already had pancreatitis (schnauzers are prone to it), and the vet said to feed her a very low-fat diet. Even then, there's no guarantee she won't get it again.
Most dogs love carrots and other veggies. My girl even likes cucumber and zucchini, but especially green beans. Added to a very lean protein, that's all better for her than any commercial dog food, even the most expensive. I've become so accustomed to cooking for her once a week that it's no trouble. I could almost do it blindfolded!
Thanks for reading, the vote and your feedback....Jaye
C E Clark from North Texas on May 04, 2013:
Commercial pet food is of course more convenient, but growing up on a farm, my parents would have never even considered buying pet food for our dog or cats. They would have considered it a waste of money. They ate the scraps from our table and my mother used to make our dog a big pot of oatmeal every morning. He was healthy and happy and his coat was shiny. Our cat was an outside cat and so it had the run of the farm.
I coworker I remember from one of my jobs years ago used to raise purebred St. Bernards. She told me how she and her mother would cook up a huge kettle of buttered carrots for the dogs from time to time to keep their coats shiny and their skin healthy.
This seems like a good idea to me, making one's own pet food. Voting up, useful, and interesting.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on April 29, 2013:
Thanks for reading, Peggy, and for your feedback (as well as the tweet!) That last ingredient should be in everything we cook for people and pets, right? Too bad the government agencies that have missions to protect the safety of our food supply look out for the interests of Agribusiness and chemical companies instead of citizen consumers!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 29, 2013:
I love that last ingredient that you put into your dog's food. Everyone can use more of that! It struck me as I was reading this that many of these tips on eating healthful foods serves people as well as our canine friends well. It is disheartening to read that U.S. grown brown rice contains even more arsenic than white rice. It is amazing that our food sources are not better monitored for safety. I guess that is a big order! I'm going to check out that bison website you mentioned. Thanks for writing this. Up, useful and interesting votes. Will tweet.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on January 03, 2013:
Thanks, KoffeeKlatch....I hope your two "little ones" like my recipe. If they're like my own fur baby, they will thrive on it. You won't be sorry you began giving them nutritious and safe home-made food. I shudder when I think about commercial dog food.
Recently, I began making up a double batch when I cook my dog's food. It lasts two weeks (all but three days' worth of it frozen in daily portions). This makes it even easier to prepare her meals.
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on January 03, 2013:
I've been thinking for some time about making my own dog food. I read so much about how unhealthy some of the manufactured dog food is. I think my two little ones would love your food. I will be trying it. Awesome and up.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on December 01, 2012:
Thanks, Lady E. I eat organic food because I don't trust conventional food with pesticide residue, GMOs and other unsafe chemicals. I feed my dog home-cooked organic food because commercial dog food is even worse than "regular" people food, and that's saying a lot!
Elena from London, UK on December 01, 2012:
I like the way you look after your Dog. Home made Dog food is definitely the best option. If the food industry can put so many preservatives and God knows what, in human food..... who knows what they put in pet food.
flacoinohio from Ohio on November 26, 2012:
What is the cost for your prepared meals say on a weekly basis? I have a special needs dog that needs specially prepared for him to encourage weight gain and when he has reached his proper weight, maintaining that weight. Just curious if it would benificial to try something new with my dog without having to increase what I am already spending to feed this dog his special diet.
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on November 26, 2012:
Your schnauzer girl is adorable! You've done a lot of research on homemade dog food, and I'm glad you've had so much success. I agree that the discrepancies about the right proportions can be very frustrating. It sounds like you got it right...and I agree about skipping the garlic since it's rather iffy. We don't have a dog right now but we doggy sit often, so this is all good to know. I'm actually hungry after reading about all these delicious organic ingredients! : ) Voted up and shared.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 17, 2012:
Thanks, TToombs08....Glad you found this article helpful. I appreciate your reading, the vote and sharing. JAYE
Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on October 17, 2012:
Great information! Voted up and shared.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 11, 2012:
Thank you so much, Barb, and I hope your Cee Cee will enjoy my doggy recipes. You're so right that a healthy, happy dog will make you happier, too.
Barbara Anne Helberg from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA on October 11, 2012:
@JayeWisdom...Wonderful information for dog lovers! I'll definitely print this off and try some recipes.
I have a little Border Terrier mix in my life now -- used to feed a Newfie (Ebony)! Anything I can do to make Cee-Cee healthier is a bonus for both of us!
Thanks for sharing this Hub!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on October 09, 2012:
NSayani....I'm glad you're homecooking for your rescue dogs. I'm only an individual and have no access to a community of home chefs (for pets or people); however, you can use a search engine such as Google to look on the Internet for others who cook for their pets. As for finding homes for them, I suggest you advertise locally--where you live. If you live in the U.S., Craigslist is a good place to advertise for free online. If you live outside the U.S., you will probably know the best way to advertise for your area. There are often people who are looking for pets who are willing to take rescue animals. It may be more difficult to find potential pet parents who are willing to make home-cooked meals for them. Some might be willing if you share with them the health advantages for a dog that is fed good quality food prepared at home versus commercial dog foods. Good luck!
NSayani on October 09, 2012:
Hi. I have been making food eerily similar to yours for my dogs. I add grated carrot and cucumber sometimes too. However, I buy the meats at the supermarket and must change that now!
I have rescue dogs that are 1 yr old now and have been with me since birth, and the biggest problem is people do not want to give home cooked food, so it`s been almost impossible to have them adopted. Is there a community of home chefs I can reach through you, and can you please help me find even one suitable home.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on September 25, 2012:
Thanks for bookmarking this hub, Mary. I've read about the thundershirts for calming dogs, and I'll check out your hub about Baby's soon. Jaye
Mary Hyatt from Florida on September 24, 2012:
Hi Jaye, I just came to reread this article. I forgot to bookmark it before, but have now. BTW: My schnauzer, Baby, was terrified of thunder and loud noises . I got her a Thundershirt, and it makes her calm. ( I wrote a Hub about that).
I cook for my Baby, but not to the extent you do. Good info here.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on September 03, 2012:
Thanks, Dr.Mark....I appreciate the link. Will check out your new hub soon. Jaye
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 03, 2012:
Hi Jaye I just wanted to let you know that I linked to your hub again, on the Slentrol/weight loss hub I just published. The diet you have written about here is certainly a lot better option than putting a dog on another drug!!!!!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 30, 2012:
I only have one dog, a 7 1/2-year-old miniature schnauzer female, and I do love her dearly. You see, I never had a pet in my life until I got her when I was 61. (It was necessary to repeat the sentence, "I have a dog," to several family members and friends. To say they were surprised, even shocked, would be an understatement because I'd never expressed interest in getting a dog.
I had to retire a few years earlier than planned because of health issues and limited mobility, and she's been wonderful company for me. My little fur-girl has given me so much joy that I regret having spent so much of my life without a dog. My wish is to take very good care of her, and preparing her food (so I'll be sure of its ingredients and safety) is one part of that responsibility. Once the process becomes a routine, it doesn't take more than an hour...usually less.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Phoebe.
Phoebe Pike on August 29, 2012:
Wow, you must really love your dogs and care a lot about them to put so much time and effort into their meals.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 28, 2012:
Thank you, idigwebsites....I'm delighted you enjoyed this hub and appreciate your kind comments. Jaye
idigwebsites from United States on August 28, 2012:
great idea!!! this really helped me a lot. I love this hub!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 21, 2012:
Thanks for reading and for your comments, darkbunnys. I hope the information in this article helps you when/if you start making your dog's food. Jaye
Mary from Memphis,TN on August 21, 2012:
This is interesting was considering making dog food for my dog thanks
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 17, 2012:
Thanks, Dr.Mark....I appreciate the links. I'll check out your new hub about supplements tomorrow.
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on August 17, 2012:
Hi Jaye, just wanted to let you know I linked this excellent article (again!) to my new hub about dog food supplements.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 17, 2012:
toknowinfo....Thanks so much for your positive comments, votes, feedback and sharing. I'm glad you found this article helpful. Feeding our canine friends safe and healthy food is a very important factor in taking good care of them, which everyone who loves his or her dog wants to do.
toknowinfo on August 17, 2012:
This is a really great hub. Thanks so much for all the useful and healthy tips. I wrote hub about pet food allergies, and it is amazing how many people probably don't even realize what they are feeding their pets. I am definitely going to use your tips. What wonderful hub this is. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome. Also shared on twitter.
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 12, 2012:
Hi, Klaraweick....I'm so glad your furball recovered from pancreatitis and is doing well. That can be a very scary and dangerous condition.
Turkey and chicken (particularly if you can get the organic variety from a whole foods store rather than factory farmed) are good proteins and low fat if you don't cook the skin to keep fat content low. Your dog may not like red meat because it doesn't agree with her, and the fat content may be too high. She's protecting herself by not eating it. Beef is also one of the foods that may cause allergy in some dogs.
Dogs can eat eggplant as long as it's chopped small and cooked (or it won't digest properly), but make sure you don't get any of the stem, leaves or flowers of the plant mixed in with it. When people say to avoid or be careful of the nightshade family of plants for dogs (or humans), it's because those foods (which include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and beets) can trigger inflammation and aggravate arthritic conditions because they contain a chemical alkaloid called solanine. So, eggplant is okay if your dog doesn't have arthritis, but be sure it's cooked, no stem/leaves/flowers included and just feed in small amounts.
There are lots of veggies and fruits that are good for dogs that they'll enjoy. You can feed your dog raw lettuce, but most leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard) should be chopped and thoroughly cooked. Cooked celery, peeled cucumber, chopped parsley and asparagus are good. Yellow squash, zucchini and butternut squash are very good, too. Since some green vegetables (celery, spinach) are naturally high in sodium, keep the amounts small and never add salt.
Many fruits are good for dogs in small quantities: bananas, apples, pears, peaches, even a bit of orange (NOT seeds or pits, which are toxic), blueberries, cranberries, also melons (no seeds).
Just as with people, dogs thrive on veggies and fruits in a wide variety of types and colors to get the best nutrients. My dog doesn't digest green peas, so I don't give them to her any more, but she can eat cooked lentils just fine. She loves cooked green beans, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, smaller amounts of white potato (I'm very careful to cut off any green under the skin because that is toxic). I love fresh pineapple, and she likes to eat a few bits of it out of my hand!
One of the things you will need to do is research to discover which vegetables and fruits don't contain a lot of magnesium, since your dog can't process it. Also, even though you can't give her a supplement because of the magnesium, you can buy taurine for dogs separately. Taurine is essential for good heart health.
Good luck! I'm sure your fur-baby is enjoying her meals.
klarawieck on August 11, 2012:
Jaye, I keep coming back to this article you wrote since I started making home-cooked meals for my 11 year old American Eskie. She can't process magnesium so I switched her to Petguard which is a natural ingredient can food; but lately I noticed a strange color and texture on cans that were supposed to be fresh. This happened at the same time that she began to walk away from her plate, and shortly after that she developed a mild case of pancriatitis. So I began to cook her meals and she is now doing very well.
What are your thoughts on eggplant? Is that something that could be fed to her? I did give her a bit of broccoli a couple of times together with the white rice. Of course I didn't know it was harmful to dogs, so now I won't do it again.
So far, her diet consists of chicken and turkey. She was never a fan of red meat for some reason. And I've mixed green beans, eggplant, peas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and apples. Other than the sweet peas, she has responded well to everything else. I also add 3 drops of cod liver oil to her night feeding since I can't give her any type of multi-vitamin supplement due to the magnesium.
I really can't affort to buy the bison online. I've been buying regular chicken breasts and ground turkey breast at the supermarket for her, but I'll start buying it from the whole foods store. Any other suggestions for my furball?
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 11, 2012:
Thanks, Bill. Cooking for a loved pet is a satisfying experience. I do it once a week, and it always makes me feel good because I know it's healthy for her.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 11, 2012:
Well that was helpful and interesting! I'm passing this on to my better half and we'll give it a try. Thanks for the great information!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on August 05, 2012:
Hi, Bob....Thanks for your positive comments about my method of preparing home-cooked dog food and for recommending the "Jaye Waye!" (That kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?)
It's so important, when preparing pet's food at home, to ensure you're giving your furry friend healthy, well-balanced meals that meet her or his needs, including any special needs. Supplements may also be required. That's where your vet needs to be in the loop.
Bob Bamberg on August 04, 2012:
What a great hub, Jaye...sensible, responsible, well researched. I'll be recommending it to folks I know, and subsequently encounter, who feed home prepared meals. Your writing is such a departure from a lot of stuff we read, online or hard copy, written by folks who prepare home cooked meals for their pets. Some of it is head-shaking. Their hearts are in the right place but clearly science has been subordinated by emotion.
Coming from the pet food side of the aisle (retailer for 20+ years) I have more faith in the commercial foods, but I certainly have no quarrel with your position.
I just wish everyone who does feed home prepared diets was as diligent about it as you are. I've talked to vets who have had to intervene when inadequately prepared home diets endangered the dog's health.
Everyone who feeds their dogs a home prepared diet should do it the Jaye waye!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 27, 2012:
Thanks, suzanne....Great tip! Perhaps I should adapt it to an e-book, for I know a lot of people no longer have confidence in commercial dog foods.
The homemade food you're giving to your pets is probably light years better for them than the stuff in bags at the supermarket, and it likely tastes much better as well.
justmesuzanne from Texas on July 26, 2012:
You should sell this as an e book! ;D Great ideas! Unfortunately for my dogs, making dog food is a way to save money for me! I think it's still better than commercial food but not nearly as luscious as what you prepare.
I had a problem with inappropriate ads on a couple of my HUBS. On one, a critic left a snide comment directed at me, and then the ads disappeared. On another, I changed the title and keywords, and the ads changed.
Voted up and useful! :)
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 15, 2012:
I published this evening so hopefully people will be coming by to read your directions. I recommended a few other ingredients for cancer therapy but your basic recipe is great. I need to be feeding my girl like yours!
Jaye Denman (author) from Deep South, USA on July 15, 2012:
Hi, Mark. You're quite welcome to describe my "recipe-that's-not-exactly-a-recipe" in your article. As you know from reading my hub, the food I prepare (such as the batch I made this afternoon) is not measured (at least, nothing is except the two pounds of ground bison that provide the protein). "Nutrition facts", such as you see on labels of all commercially processed foods are not included, either. However, I will be glad to have my method and ingredients disseminated via your article and hope the information will prove helpful in keeping many dogs healthy! I think you and I have the same goal: good health for dogs.
P.S. Don't forget to emphasize that "special" ingredient!
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 15, 2012:
Hi, I just wanted to let you know I am working on a natural dog health article on cancer and would like to include your recipe. There are several other herbs to add for a cancer diet but your food is excellent. I am not sure how many people will add that extra special ingredient, but I am sure that will help too!!!!