The truth about your pet’s food
“You won’t eat junk food on a regular basis, neither should your pet.” Laura Presley
Woof, woof, bark, bark, arf woof, bark! In doggese that means, “What about us!” Yes, the time has come to address our four legged friends that we love so much. We research, read ingredient labels, and try to be conscious about our own diets but how much consideration do we give our pet’s food? They may be health food nuts, but have no way to express it except to scratch, itch and fart.
Let’s take a regular old dry dog food for instance, the first ingredient you are going to read is going to cornmeal. Now cornmeal is just a big fat filler in dog and cat food. It will make your pet feel full but is completely indigestible to them and will just be pooped out. A lot of good that does them!
The second ingredient will most likely be something like “chicken by product meal.” This, loosely translated means any part of the chicken that cannot be sold elsewhere. Some examples are beaks, bones, feathers and combs. They cook it all up and dehydrate it and voila! You have chicken meal. By the way, there is very little nutritional value in this product.
If the product actually has chicken or beef listed as its first ingredient, one might think, oh that is good! But alas the meat cooks down during processing and comes out as being a lesser ingredient. Another little tip to be aware of is that if a meat is listed unspecifically like “fish meal” it usually means the scrapings off the floor of some processing plant or one of the “4 Ds.” The “4 Ds” in the slaughter industry means dead, diseased, disabled or dying prior to slaughter, which can’t be used for human consumption. Yummy!
Dry pet food usually goes downhill from there with such ingredients like sugar, soy flour, brewer’s rice, copper sulfate, animal digest and a bunch of chemical names. In all honesty, most pet foods are not really a food at all, just left over garbage from processing something else. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that they are mostly preserved with ethoxyquin, which is very toxic and forbidden from human food.
So what can one do? There are some wonderful pet foods out there that are made with love and the health of our pets in mind. The good food is harder to find, even at the mega pet stores, but your local feed store usually carries them. Locally here, you can find them at “4-Paws” in Manzanita. The nice folks there even have little sample bags to try on your pet, if you ask. We have found that EVO and Solid Gold are good matches for our pets. Yeah, they are more expensive, but in the long run cost less since you can feed your animal less and they will get more nutrition. You will also save big on vet bills and have much happier furry friends!
Treats for bow wow are made up with just as much bad stuff as the dry food so I like to make our puppy’s treats. I have experimented with quite a few recipes in substituting digestible grains like rice, oats and barley in their treats. Remember, corn bad, so don’t use any recipes with it. Here is Tessa’s favorite doggie treat recipes. (I had to talk her into sharing it. She’s not very good at sharing.)
Chicken liver cookies
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of oat or rice flour
2 tsp of dried parsley
¼ cup of veggie oil
½ cup of chicken broth
1 cup of cooked chopped liver
( I usually use chicken liver)
Mix the flours and parsley together in a bowl then blend all the wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet while mixing. After it is well blended, fold in the liver. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Roll out about ½ to ¾ inch depending on the size of your dog’s mouth and cut into shapes or just plain cut into rectangles. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or till firm. Store in the fridge or freezer. Your dog will be doing pirouettes around the kitchen! Bark appétit!
Yum yum peanut butter dog treats
1 cup of dry oats
2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of natural peanut butter
1 cup of water or chicken broth
¼ canola oil
Preheat the oven to 350. In a meduimish bowl, mix the oats and whole wheat flour together. In a mixing bowl, blend together the peanut butter through egg. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and blend till mixed well. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the counter and pat the dough kinda flat, then roll it out till about ¾ inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out, or cut into squares and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, then flip them with a spatula and bake for about another 15 minutes. It is a good idea to cool them before you feed them to Fido. Bark appétit!