Man’s best friend sometimes eats like a man
FARGO — You wouldn’t believe what’s on the menu tonight.
Shredded chicken with pureed chicken livers, flaxseed, finely chopped apples, raw Brussels sprouts, beets, bone meal, goat yogurt, extra-virgin olive oil, two raw eggs with shells and chicken fat a la mode.
“That’s too bad,” I say. “Kita would have gladly shared her bowl.”
Ever since I’ve watched the documentary “Pet Fooled,” I have become convinced that PETA will charge me for assault with a deadly kibble.
The controversial Netflix flick calls out many pet food manufacturers for creating products that are more about clever marketing than animal health. The pet food industry is largely unregulated, says director Kohl Harrington, which means your dog’s fancy-schmancy, name-brand food could actually be made from diseased cows and rendered roadkill. It also helps explain the 2007 pet food scare, in which thousands of dogs and cats were killed by melamine-tainted food produced by Chinese manufacturers.
Any exposé worth its spots will leave you feeling guilty – and this doc did the trick. I was convinced I’d unwittingly plunged my hapless dog into the Gobi Desert of Nutrition.
It didn’t help that Kita has grown increasingly pickier as she’s aged. Regardless of what type of food I bought, Cleopawtra rejected it. I tried everything from expensive freeze-dried raw food soaked in organic goat milk to some pricey canned varieties with organic ingredients. My vet said senior dogs often have a weaker sense of smell, which means they prefer foods with a dangerously high funk factor.
This explains why Kita will turn up her nose at $5-per-can premium dog food, but gladly eat a moldy braunschweiger wrapper she found in a landfill.
(It also could be why your Great Aunt Trudy bathes herself in White Diamonds cologne.)
In desperation, I began supplementing her diet with home-cooked food. My own supper might consist of Skittles harvested from beneath my car seat, but Kita eats like a Windsor – shredded meats, riced organic vegetables, perfectly cut little fruit cubes and homemade chicken broth. I would never have the self-discipline to prepare all my meals a week ahead, yet I spend hours researching the right home-cooked diet for senior dogs, shopping for and preparing nutrient-packed meat patties then portioning them into freezer bags.
It is worth it? I’d say so. She’s never looked better, and she’s even regained some of her puppy-ish spunk.
I’ve included one of her favorite recipes, in case you’d like to try it on your own finicky Fido (does anyone name their dog Fido anymore? It’s like the Tammy of dog names.)
These recipes aren’t meant to substitute for traditional dog food, as they might not contain all the essential minerals and nutrients. (I keep out a bowl of high-quality kibble alongside her homemade food at all times). You can also make commercial food more palatable by adding goat milk (easier on dog’s digestive system than cow’s milk), Parmesan cheese or low-sodium beef broth.
Note that the original recipe calls for raw meat. I was skittish about salmonella, so I cooked mine. I did use raw eggs, though, which many vets won’t recommend. (Raw-food advocates on “Pet Fooled” claim dogs have such powerful stomach acid that they can handle many foods that humans cannot. I’m no expert though, so PLEASE consult with your vet before trying any new recipe.)
Chicken Burgers for Choosy Pups
(From thebark.com, adapted from Barbara Laino’s Homemade Dog Food)
8 ounces chicken thigh meat, cooked
1/2 ounce chicken liver, cooked*
*Dogs love liver, but try to keep it at only 5 percent of the recipe, as it can cause an overdose of vitamin A.
1 large egg (hard-boiled, if you prefer) with ground-up shells (for calcium)
4 ounces sweet potatoes with skins, boiled
2 ounces plain yogurt (I like the goat milk kind you can find at health food places like Natural Grocers)
A teaspoon or two of flaxseed
1,000 mg. fish oil
Grind up ingredients in food processor so that all foods are the same size. Form meat mix into patties and freeze in bags. Remove a bag of burgers the night before so they can thaw in the fridge.
I feed Kita about 2/3 cup a day, and she stays right at her bantam fighting weight of 8 pounds.
Consider this recipe just a base. You can add fruit or veggies as you’d prefer. Just make sure all ingredients are safe for dogs before adding them.
Now step back and watch as ‘dog bites man (food)!’