Caring for our pets through food & do you keep a recipe file for your pets?
When Ruthie contributed to the apple cider thread with this comment:
I put a little bit in with my apples for pie. Also my dog gets a teaspoon a day, it helps with a condition she has of bladder stones. The vet recommended it after her surgery...
I wondered if how we feed our pets for health and happiness included collecting and cultivating recipes in the same way we keep recipes for our 'human' family members.
Do you have a recipe file for fido and kitty? Do you have special tips and treats you make for your pet? Are their special foods you give your pet when they don't feel well?
We have 5 cats (6 if you include the "stray" who has adopted us and hangs out on our porch every night for dinner.) 3 of them have health conditions which require a very strict diet, which I would not want to try and replicate myself, so they get their own special prescription food and medicine. The other three get a good, high-quality dry cat food. But we do give them treats occasionally. We found out the oldest boy -- who belonged to my husband for 10+ years before I moved in, and who would turn his nose up to any kind of human food -- loves beef roast. Since then, he's also discovered the joys of salmon, tuna, chicken, and pork. Of course, he's also the one with stomach issues so if he does get anything, it's only a little taste.
Our youngest boy, on the other hand, has no dietary restrictions and it turns out he loves everything, including tacos, chili, and waffles. He's also completely blind, so it's really hilarious to watch him "look" for food when we offer it to him.
It took a while to convert me but I now mix up chicken thighs (from WF), chicken hearts and some thighs with the bone -- grind in special meat grinder, freeze in wide mouth Ball freezer jars. (for two cats) They get 2 servings a day, mix in a little spring water. I NEVER see them drink out of their water bowl No dry food. They are extremely healthy, energetic.
This website helped me see the light: catnutrition.org.
I'm a prey-model raw feeder, so I feed my best friend all kinds of goodies. Bones and muscle and organs, oh my! But I mix it up, just like if she was hunting her food. I aim for 10% of her diet to be organ meats and she doesn't get weight bearing mammal bones. No other "rules" or recipes required. I fling meat into the yard!
And guess what she doesn't care for? Liver. So I whip out the food processor once a month or so and make pink slime, of the dog approved variety. Dump in a bunch of raw liver. Add salt-free canned sardines and a can of wild pink salmon. Blitz. Freeze in meal size portions! The emulsified product is so... viscous? But she loves it.
I do give a treat sometimes: dog sundae! Plain yogurt with a couple eggs cracked on top, with a drizzle of salmon oil. Oh, yeah, that's some puppy comfort food!
Our Golden Retriever was looking like an ottoman and we put both of our dogs on a raw meat, veggie & fruit diet. They have been on this for approximately 2 years and both are fit, healthy and spoiled rotten! We mainly feed raw buffalo (we have a packing plant just down the road from us), mixed fresh and frozen veggies, chicken necks (for the calcium) and fresh cantalope, blueberries and honeydew and frozen fruit when out of season. I do give the girls organ meats on occassion and they like the liver the best.
Ben the hound eats canned tuna in olive oil, salmon, and mackerel occasionally. He eats simply cooked chicken, pumpkin, squash, carrots (loves em raw, too), apples, blueberries, etc.
When he's under the weather (as in poopy pants), we do the standby of boiled hamburger and rice, but we also make him a chicken-miso soup now and then with lots of carrots, and he loves it.
Like Sedimental, I use the food processor to mix up "doggie cupcakes" for my Border Collie. A few years ago she tore through the ligaments in her knees, requiring two surgeries and months of recuperation.
I was told to cut her ration in half for the time that she was unable to exercise properly: which instantly turned her into Beggar Dog.
My cupcakes evolved into a mix of about 10% lean meat for flavour, canned pumpkin, cooked fresh green beans, grated zucchini, grated carrots, and grated apple. I mix the whole she-bang in a large bowl and scoop it into lined cupcake tins and freeze, then wrap individually. When she begs for more than her daily kibble, I supplement with these low cal yummies.
Had a good laugh when my visiting SIL tried to thaw one for her breakfast!
I have a very small dog. Every month or two, I pull out the food processor and grind up mixtures of meats, seafoods, veggies, select grains, fish oils/vitamins, egg shells, etc. and whirrrrr them together (labeled) and roll and wrap the mixture into logs to store in the freezer.
Each week, he gets a new log (like salmon and cous cous with fish oil.... or beef, broccoli and seaweed). He loves the variety and I am glad he gets good nutrition. Every once in a while a "log" doesn't go over too well. I try to get him to "taste test" first, before I roll them and freeze. Picky-ness usually has to do with a green vegetable......
I mix the log "pate" sometimes with various dried nugget dog food. He has Addisons disease and he is almost as good as new with homemade dog food. It has been the difference between life and death.
Also...really important: we used to pay 500 bucks to have him go under anesthesia at the vets to get his teeth thoroughly cleaned. Tartar buildup, terrible breath and small dogs are all a bad combo! No more! Since he has homemade food...the bad breath is GONE. So are all the digestive upsets. I had NO IDEA it would be *this* diet related. It is a miracle.
For training treats I mostly use Charlie Bear treats that I usually get from Trader Joes. They are small, clean handling, and reasonably priced. However I have been experimenting with meat treats - pork heart which I simmer till half way tender, dice and freeze so the pieces are loose. Heart is lean so it is fairly clean handling.
I make simple "salmon balls" for my pit bull mix. Got the recipe from the magazine my pet insurance company sends out; they called it Salmon Rollovers, and the magazine is from PetPlan insurance (which I'm very happy with BTW).
1 7-ounce can of salmon (skin, bones, and liquid included)
1/2 cup oat flour (you can sub w/dry oats blended in a food processor, or quinoa or amaranth blended in the food processor)
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Mix until well blended. Roll into 1/2-inch balls and place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes in a 350 oven. Makes about 36 treats, 10 calories each.
I also bake chicken for her sometimes and shred it, to carry on walks as a high-value reward for good behavior.
She has a sensitive stomach as well as allergies and arthritis, so I try to give her treats and food in as pure a form as I can afford. About half her diet is raw food, but she does get some commercial kibble and treats too. I ain't no Rockefeller!