Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why I cook for my dog

Ok, so I've been away for a while and now I'm back writing an article with a crazy title. What's this all about?

Sister, Mother, Me
in Laguna Beach, CA
First, let me explain the absence: my mother and sister were visiting for about 4 weeks and I only had time to squeeze in a post about carrots. We were busy sightseeing, lounging at the beach, eating as much Mexican food as possible (they don't get that where they live), and watching endless shows on the Food Channel. A good time. But they've both gone home now, and it's time to refocus.

As I was deliberating on what to post next, I was sitting here, looking at my dog, and thought "how can I combine writing about her, and food?". Well, here it is. And I'm gonna just put this out there: I cook for my dog.

I've had dogs for nearly 15 years, and over those years I've become more and more convinced that true dog health is not possible eating the Standard American Doggie Diet (SADD). Let's think this through. If you think about kibble, for instance, it's a bunch of substandard, usually "unfit-for-human-consumption" food ground up and made into something that looks a lot like cereal, and then cooked at very high temperatures to kill the bacteria. Does that sound appetizing, let alone healthy, to you?

What on Earth is this stuff, anyway?

Kibble hasn't been around for even 100 years. What in the world did dogs eat before kibble was invented? REAL FOOD!!! Usually some sort of slop consisting of human dinner leftovers and some bones and meat tossed in for good measure, and you know what? Those dogs were a lot healthier. Today, the incidence of cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, IBD, and all sorts of other debilitating illnesses are plaguing our pets, and why is that? I'm completely convinced it's because of the lousy diet they are being fed. What's missing, I believe, is the life inside real food. You know: the vitamins, enzymes, and nutrients that are taken in by eating a wide variety of foods. Your dog simply can't get adequate nutrition from eating the same thing day in, day out. There is no variety, and I've long believed that feeding something different to them very day is as important to them as it is for us. I've never believed this hogwash about being careful to not vary their diet or they'll get sick. I think that's a bunch of garbage sold to us by kibble manufacturers intent on selling us more kibble.

So maybe you've purchased a premium dog food and think you are feeding your dog better. You probably are. I mean the worst thing you could do is feed your dog (or cat) anything by Purina or any of those bargain-basement commercial dog foods that you find at Wal-Mart or the grocery store. PLEASE tell me you aren't feeding your beloved that! That would be the equivalent to you eating donuts for breakfast and McDonald's for lunch and Pizza Hut for dinner every day. Maybe you are...........mmmmh, therein may lie the problem. See, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not good for humans, nor is the SADD good for our dogs. So if you clean up your act, you might as well do the same for the pooch.

What is the solution then? You don't have a lot of time or money and you certainly can't see yourself spending hours on end in the kitchen cooking for your pooch. Well, let me tell you that this isn't as time-consuming or crazy as it may sound. I've been doing it for years. If I am running late in the morning or am not feeling well, I throw out some high quality kibble myself. A little every now and then isn't going to hurt. But I make sure to supplement it with a spoonful of yogurt on top, or some cottage cheese. For treats, she gets sliced apples, carrots, green beans or any other veggie we've got around. Sometimes she gets oatmeal and cooked eggs for breakfast, like I make for myself. This morning she got multi-grain/flaxseed pancakes.

The easiest thing to do is to feed your dog what you are eating, with a few modifications, of course. For me this usually consists of some chicken or fish, beans or eggs for protein, steamed veggies, and some rice, potatoes or pasta. I make a little extra for Lucy, and that's it. Easy. Healthy snacks? Yogurt and fruit, cheese and whole-grain crackers, carrot sticks and hummus, guess what? She gets all of that, too.
My Lucy
Now, before you begin, let me advise you to do some homework first. Radical changes too soon are not good for humans, nor their animal companions. Read up. A good book on this subject is by Dr. Richard Pitcairn, called "The Complete Guide to Natural Health". Here's a link to where you can buy it at Amazon. He's really quite the authority on the subject of natural health for dogs and cats. I highly recommend reading this.

I also have this one, which is a great step-by-step, 8-week plan for converting your dog from junk food to healthy food. It's written by the woman who started Halo's Pet Foods, found in health food stores. Click here to go to the author's website. Both books offer recipes for meals and snacks to help get you started.

Feeding your dog a home-prepared diet is perhaps the single most important thing you can do for their health. You love your dog, now get into the kitchen and make something special for them. Lucy's birthday is coming up and she's getting a steak and potatoes!


I googled dog kibble and found an interesting article. It pretty much sums up my take on the whole dog food dilemma. Click here.

If my current career doesn't work out, I might start an Orange County version of this brilliant idea. Check this out.  Then I can really put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. 


  1. This was a fantastic article. I really enjoyed reading the entire article and the different web sights! And the idea of you starting a company like the one you posted would be the perfect job to start!

  2. And I should add that there are several foods that are toxic to dogs and should NEVER be fed. For instance, raisins and grapes, chocolate, onions, and beer.


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