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The truth about your pet’s food

February 4, 2010

“You won’t eat junk food on a regular basis, neither should your pet.” Laura Presley

Home made dog treats

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.)

Homemade dog biscuits are the best! (I've tried them)

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

1 egg

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

1 egg

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!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 12:26 am

    Great post! I sometimes feel like a dog food spokesperson when I evangelize about the merits of good quality dog food. When we adopted our pup, she was quite unhealthy with coarse hair. Good dog food has made her coat soft & shiny! I haven’t made any homemade treats for her yet, but I think you’ve inspired me.

  2. ziabaki permalink*
    February 5, 2010 4:59 pm

    Here is an email I received from a believer.
    “Great article! So true. My cat was a sickly little runt when I adopted her, I spent so much time at the vet with various viruses. I started feeding her really good (and really expensive, unfortunately) organic cat food, and diligently reading labels (like I do for myself) of anything she eats. In the last few years she has grown into a robust, insane, wonderfully healthy cat. I have spent less than $60 in the last THREE YEARS on vet bills. My beloved companion is happy, shiny and well, and THAT is PRICELESS. :)”

  3. February 5, 2010 6:03 pm

    YES, yes…I too swear that good food = healthy pet with no vet bills.

    Thanks for the recipe…perhaps Chris and I will turn out a big batch for Joey.

    So, did you have to order the nifty bone shaped cookie cutter online?

  4. February 5, 2010 11:13 pm

    Hi Dana,
    Can I link this to a follow-up article on pets as new friends?


  5. February 8, 2010 10:51 pm

    Thankx for the recipe. I plan to try them for our dogs. You should get in touch with Keren(my daughter) about healthy cooking, She and her family have been macrobiotic for years. Her children (ages 15, 12, 7, 7mos.) have never had a sip of soda in their lives. (one example). The two older boys cook also.

  6. Angie permalink
    February 13, 2010 3:56 am

    Most pet food is so horrible. I’ve always wanted to feed raw to my cats which I read is cheaper in the long run but it seems like it’s hard to do. EVO is expensive but such a great food. I’ve bought my cats some before and a 6 pound bag lasted them like a month (2 cats) where as the food that my dad wants them on is 16 pounds and they go through it in like a month and a half. Anyway I’ll have to try this recipe for my sister’s dogs, they’d love it.

  7. February 18, 2010 1:05 am

    Dear friend,

    I found alot very helpful articels in here.

    Thanks for your sharing and keep posting.

    Moderator of

  8. October 26, 2010 7:58 am

    cat foods should be high protein and should be soft to with lots of dieatary fiber,:`

  9. November 17, 2010 5:20 pm

    the pet store here in our area offers me a great deal of discount when i buy from them -,;

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