Can Home Cooking Make Your Dog Live Longer and Lower Your Vet Bills?
Over the years I have fed most diets out there. Being a believer in the works of the incomparable Juliette de Baircli Levy, whose dogs great health is legendary, I do believe in raw diets. But quite honestly my own dogs have fared best with home cooking.
The healthiest dogs I have ever seen were Whippets decended of the famed English Pennyworth bloodline that ate whole rabbit and chicken, pressure cooked with just a bit of vegetables until the whole contents was mush, cooked until the bones were jelly. Because they were consuming a whole animal everything was in balance. There was no guessing as to the phosphorus/calcium ratio because the bones were completely digestible being pressure cooked to jelly. May I remind you that pressure cooking retains all the vitamins and minerals in the food. They are never cooked out. One reason this diet worked so well for these dogs is because they are sighthounds whose ancestors survived on small game. I am a firm believer in feeding a dog as closely as possible to his original country of origin diet.
That being said,I feed the Japanese Chin a diet rich in tofu and root vegetables as well as fruit. The above photo is a typical meal. It consists of sweet potatos, salmon , tofu, peas, carrots and broccoli. If you don't have a pressure cooker or don't want to, here is a simple recipe that you can adjust for your dog that is based on NRC guidelines and is 30% protein, 40% carbs and 30% fat. The quantities given are for a 50 lb. dog. I half the protein and fat for Gilby as he was rescued with a bileous liver and we don't want any pancreatic attacks. But for a normal healthy dog, these are very good proportions.
Pick one protein:
1 1/2 cups cooked meat such as chicken, turkey, beef, or lamb.
1 1/2 cups unsalted salmon or tuna
4 cooked eggs, preferably organic
1 1/2 cups tofu
Pick one carb:
3 cups cooked whole brown rice
3 cups cooked sweet potato
3 cups pearl barley
3 cups cooked regular potatoes
4 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal, no sugar or flavorings.
To this add 1/4 to 1/2 pureed vegetables and dogsafe fruits such as peas, broccoli, carrots, or brussel sprouts.
One tablespoon fish, flax, or coconut oil.
I generally give a little fruit as a treat like blueberries or a bit of banana or pumpkin so I tend to leave it out of the meals. I also make enough on the weekends to feed all week and bag it up and freeze it, thawing it out as needed.
I have been blessed with healthy dogs for years who live a quality of life well into their teen years. Gilby will be 15 this fall and he plays like a puppy. And he is on no meds whatsoever. If you have a picky eater or a senior dog who can't chew up his food well the above suggestions should help him or her get the most nutrition out of their meals. The biggest problem with home cooking that I have found is that the dogs want to eat all the time!