Dining with the Dog: What Are You Feeding Your Pet?

Hang on a sec; I’m not suggesting you eat your dinner on a bowl on the floor, or that you invite your fur child to join you at the table.

I’m talking food prep!

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that so many people seem to assume that cooking food for their dogs is an incredibly time-consuming task, when many feel that very same way about cooking for themselves or their family!

With less than 60% of meals being cooked at home[1] for those of us to happen to walk on two feet, cooking for our four legged friends would likely be seen as even lower down on the list of priorities.

For reasons ranging from not having the time, feeling that there are already plenty of healthy pet food options on the market or it’s too expensive[2], chances are that even in a household where the human component of family has become savvy about what they’re eating, Max may still be eating the dog version of junk food.

Even dog food brands recommended and sold by your veterinarian aren’t necessarily such that you should purchase without a closer look.

I couldn’t help but to take a peek at a can on the shelf at my vet’s office only to see an ingredient panel[3] eight lines long:

Water, Chicken, Beef, Beef By-Products, Pork Liver, Rice, Cracked Pearled Barley, Whole Grain Corn, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Iodized Salt, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Ascorbic Acid (source of Vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Lysine, minerals (Zinc Oxide, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate), Iron Oxide color, Beta-Carotene.

Corn? Rice? Soybean Oil?

And many brands get far worse than that.

With pets eating store bought food such as these, it’s no surprise that over half the pets in the US are overweight[4].

What’s worse, many pets are coming down with a host of illnesses and allergies that they never had before.

And then, possibly after medications, tests and various procedures, some owners may opt to look at, and change their diet.

Sound familiar?

So why not do for our pets what we do for ourselves?

Prevent disease by eating real, whole food in the first place?

Yes, buying grass fed beef for your dog is costlier than a can of poor quality pet food, but how much will you pay in vet bills later on when he or she is suffering from Cancer?

Granted, it is a little bit more hands on that just sautéing up some ground beef; as it’s essential to make sure your dog or cat is getting the exact balance of nutrients they need.

Korinn Saker, a clinical nutritionist at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University, who treats animals at the school’s teaching hospital, said in a piece in the NY Times that she was not against people cooking for their pets and she prescribes such diets for some of the animals she treats. But she cautioned that if it was not done correctly, the consequences could be harmful[5].

However, making your pet’s food properly still isn’t the complicated, time consuming task you might have imagined.

You can consult with a holistic veterinarian or refer to a reference such as Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.[6]

Cook in bulk, store some in the freezer and some in the fridge and in just an hour or two per week you can prepare enough food to feed the pooch for the whole week.

Incidentally, you can do some of your food prep at the same time.   It’s not just me who likes to have some bone broth on a regular basis; Preston, the almost one year old Weim pup loves it just as much.

If you’re doing all you can to be a proactive, responsible pet owner in terms of feeding your dog or cat real, fresh food, you can rest assured they’re going to be around a lot longer!

What’s not to like about that?





[1] “The Slow Death of the Home-cooked Meal.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016.

[2] http://www.care2.com/greenliving/home-cooking-meals-for-your-dog.html

[3] “Hill’s® Science Diet® Adult Chicken & Beef Entrée – Canned.” Hill’s Pet Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016

[4] “More than Half of U.S. Pets Are Overweight or Obese, Survey Finds.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2016

[5] Storey, Samantha. “A Sniff of Home Cooking for Dogs and Cats.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Jan. 2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2016

[6] Pitcairn, Richard H., and Susan Hubble. Pitcairn. Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2005. Print