Saturday, April 18, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Feeding Fido better

When it comes to feeding their dogs, not everyone is opening up a can of wet food or reaching for a scoop of kibble and plunking it into a bowl.

Riding the coattails of the slow-food movement for humans, more and more dog owners are trying to go one better than packaged pet food by cooking for their pets. That’s right – chicken, beef, barley, tomatoes, brown rice, bell peppers and more in an increasing array of recipes found in books and online.

”I do think it’s a growing trend. People are really starting to pay attention,” said Rick Woodford, author of the popular book “Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy Nutritious Meals and Treats” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $16.99, 224 pages). “But I’m not very heavy-handed about it. I say do as little or as much as you can.”

While some who cook for their dogs rail against the big-business pet-food industry, Woodford said dog owners can often mix nutritious kibble with home-cooked creations.

Woodford’s book has so many recipes that sound – and perhaps taste – like human food, that those who try them might be tempted to taste-test what they’re feeding their dogs. Chicken with rice, blueberry pancakes, “mutt loaf” and slow-cooked chicken and barley are among the many recipes in Woodford’s book.

Is it wrong to feed “people food” to pets?

”I’m not sure how it got labeled as ‘people food’ – it’s just food. It’s good for everybody,” said Kris Dailey, a veterinarian at the Animal Wellness Center in Davis, whose integrative medicine practice includes acupuncture and a variety of Eastern approaches.

While Dailey said she can talk of pet nutrition for hours, she also has quick tips to get dog owners on the right track: “One of the best supplements is sardines. They’re a natural source of omega fatty acids,” Dailey said. “Eggs are another easy supplement. Eggs are wonderful. They hit every category.”

Pet food, nutrition and big business are hot topics with various viewpoints, some of them contentious. This article focuses mostly on cooked food, though many owners report success feeding their dogs raw meat and bones.

In Woodford’s book, he goes into detail about portion size, supplements, foods to avoid and how to achieve balanced nutrition. There’s also a chapter on what to feed dogs with specific health conditions.

A big focus of “Feed Your Best Friend Better” is variety – providing Fido all kinds of foods. That may surprise dog owners who have long been told that switching from one commercial kibble to another should be done gradually to avoid gastrointestinal stress.

Woodford insists a varied diet not only provides overall nutrition, but it tends to strengthen a dog’s digestive system.

”I am not down on pet-food companies. I believe there are a lot of good pet foods out there,” Woodford said from his home in Portland, Ore. “I feed my dogs half commercial and half homemade.”

For sick dogs, he said, he feeds them entirely home-cooked meals.

Donna-Renee Carlos, who has two Doberman pinschers, said she applies similar standards for her dogs as she does for her husband and two sons. In other words, food with labels showing lots of chemicals and preservatives should be avoided.

”I live on the principal that anything that can sit on a shelf for a year, whether it’s crackers or dog food, is not as nutritious,” said Carlos, who lives in Folsom. “The more I can cook and know exactly what goes into their system, the healthier my dogs will be and the longer they’ll live.”

Mary Swanstrom, a former naval nuclear engineer and now a third-year kinesiology student at California State University, Sacramento, said she began cooking for her dog Kendra, a shepherd-boxer mix, because of recurring intestinal problems.

”The vet told me to put her on a prescription diet. I spent a fortune on it, and it kept getting worse,” she said. “I started reading about species-appropriate diets, and it made sense. The more I cut out grains and corn, the better she did.

”Now I do a mix. I use a store-brand food and give her sweet potatoes, rice and different vegetables. For the meat, I try to give her raw – organic chicken or anything organic that’s on sale. I try to give her a variety.”

Swanstrom said she got much of her information online at healthypets.mercola.com.

Now 6, Kendra is a healthy, high-energy dog.

Lea Kachler-Leake, of Vacaville, cooked for one of her golden retrievers, Cody, after he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

”I was constantly looking for chicken on sale,” said Kachler-Leake, a longtime board member of Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue.

Cody lived to be 17. Because she often has three or more dogs living at home, Kachler-Leake said she doesn’t cook for her dogs but would prefer to do so if she had only one or two.

”I think it intensifies the bond. There’s something about cooking their food that somehow deepens the sense of caring for them,” said Kachler-Leake. “Of course, Cody had no idea where his food came from, but it made me feel like I was giving him more of myself and caring for him on deeper level.”

Micki Voisard takes a stronger opposition to commercial pet food than Woodford. She’s the author of “The Dog Chef’s Road Food Manual” (available on Kindle, $9.99).

”Dogs have canine teeth, and what’s this stuff they give them? It’s all grains. It’s all filler,” said Voisard, who lives in southern Arizona. Like Dailey, the author is a big fan of sardines for dogs – one can a week. She also recommends adding a small amount of high-quality cider vinegar to the food or water bowl to improve digestion.

”Your dog should be eating beef hearts. Those are the best,” she said. “I always suggest using more organ meat, but that scares people. I tell them ‘It’s not cooking for you; it’s cooking for your dog.’ It’s what your dog is supposed to be eating. It’s real food.”

PUMPKIN PUPPY PUFFS

Yield: 50 treats

Light and fluffy, these are a great treat for stuffing into a Kong toy. If you’d like to give them as gifts or just speed up the process, you can use a pastry bag with a decorative tip.

If using homemade pumpkin puree, before adding the pumpkin into the other ingredients, set it in a fine-mesh strainer for five minutes to allow some of the liquid to drain off.

1 egg

2/3 cup cream of wheat or cream of rice cereal

1/4 cup nonfat instant powdered milk

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir until well-blended.

Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake until lightly browned, 20 minutes for a soft and chewy treat or 25 to 28 minutes for a crunchier treat.

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or the freezer for up to two months.

– From “Feed Your Best Friend Better”

MUTT LOAF

Yield: 11 cups

Take off your rings, because the best way to mix any good meatloaf is with your hands. Like a friendly mutt, this meatloaf is a blend of different things. It’s healthy, has tasty ingredients and easy to prepare.

3 medium russet potatoes, cleaned of eyes and green spots, and grated

2 medium carrots, grated

One (15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2-1/4 pounds ground beef (85 percent lean)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the potatoes and carrots in a large mixing bowl.

In a food processor, combine the kidney beans, eggs, rosemary and garlic powder. Process with 6 to 8 pulses, until the kidney beans are well chopped.

Combine the egg-and-bean mixture with the potatoes and carrots.

Add the beef and mix thoroughly to combine. Divide the mixture evenly between two 5- by 9-inch loaf pans and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the loaves reach 155 degrees when tested in the center with a meat thermometer.

Remove from the heat and allow the loaves to cool.

– From “Feed Your Best Friend Better”

Scripps Howard News Service

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
Child care program helps teen parents, students

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
Wood students entertain guests at Epcot

By Susan Hiland And Susan Winlow | From Page: A2

 
 
 
Solano County Science Fair continues to grow

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
 
Fairfield police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 16, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Weather for Saturday, April 18, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

.

US / World

Family awarded rights to rare coins

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
 
Dog flu outbreak sweeps across the Midwest

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
AG announces anti-bias training program

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Iraqi officials believe Saddam’s top deputy killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Germany mourns citizens lost in plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Following Alps crash, debate over pilotless planes heats up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
Time for meaningful financial reform

By Paul A. Volcker | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in history: Saturday, April 18, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: April 18, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: April 18, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My daughter is upset that I didn’t attend my former in-law’s funeral

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Idea from Adam Sandler film used to soothe dementia patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

.

Sports

Prep softball: Seldon powers Rodriguez to victory over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
JC baseball: Falcons win as Pavlovsky, Evans homer

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Prep badminton: Mustangs roll to 15-0 win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Prep baseball: Haney hurls Vanden to 3-2 win over Benicia

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Armijo nears girls soccer title with 2-0 MEL win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
SCAC girls roll past MEL 55-28 in All-Star hoops game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

SCAC boys slip past MEL in entertaining All-Star game

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Athletics fall to Royals 6-4 in rematch of AL wild-card game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Warriors, Pelicans enter series with different pedigrees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big Ten’s Delany lays out plan for freshman ineligibility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Collmenter shuts down Giants, gets three hits in D-backs win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt’s 61 trumps Masters champion Spieth’s 62

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
2 minor league baseball teams to test game with 5-pitch rule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NBA could alter schedule, but no change to playoffs, lottery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Coonan stepping down as Santa Clara’s athletic director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel says he “let down” fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
49ers fullback Miller at home in Georgia after March arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockhold hopes win over Machida launches him into contention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Martina Hingis to make singles comeback in Fed Cup match

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Injured Giants fan throws out first ball in San Jose

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Flyers fire head coach Craig Berube after 2 seasons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Hornets GM Cho: Stephenson ‘didn’t work like we expected’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brazil eyes historic medal haul in 2016 Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
2 weeks before Mayweather-Pacquiao, not a ticket to be seen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Before ruling out an upset in NBA East, listen to these guys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Western Conference teams face perilous path to NBA Finals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
This date in sports history for April 18

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Back on the USA Network: Sports return with NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Business

Secrecy shrouds decade-old oil spill in Gulf of Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
Frederick’s of Hollywood reveals closing of retail stores

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Don’t plan to line up for Apple Watch next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Glaxo recalls flu vaccine due to potency problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 4 Comments

 
California home prices hit new 7-year high, sales rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Douglas Craig Sparks

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7