#WoofWoofWednesday: Home Cooking for Canines

12091164_1093123694038950_1270561461227914638_o“Carson, we’d like the tea and biskies now….” (image courtesy Mid Day Play)

That’s Oakley’s favorite place for a short rest at day care. He’s gracious enough to share the sofa with his with his friends, though. He also might be wondering what his mom is making him for dinner. Am I going to get turkey? Bison? Bunny? I know I’m getting pumpkin. Other carb veggies set my tummy off because they have too much sugar. Is Mom going to try to get me to eat spinach? It’s not as good as grass, but Mom said I had to eat spinach once or twice a week because Dr. P said so. I hope it’s turkey. Yeah, I’d like some turkey…

I think his wish came true that night. Frozen turkey (thawed and cooked, of course) and pumpkin. He’ll eat spinach now and then, but mostly then.

Spinach, pumpkin, and one of the above proteins fall on the cool end of the spectrum in Chinese medicine and nutrition. Because of the low fat and sugar content, they are least likely to cause inflammation for Oakley, keeping his tummy calm and his mother sane. I can easily find canned bison and rabbit without additives. The turkey has to be cooked from scratch after the label gets scrutinized. He can have two biscuits a day without digestive repercussions. Dr. P had suggested a vitamin powder, but every time I’ve tried one of those, it’s knocked his tummy out of whack. He seems to be doing just fine without them–his hair is smooth and soft, blood work numbers are all good, so I see no sense in rocking the ship.

This is what works for him. It’s not spoiling him any more than it would be giving him insulin if he were a human child with diabetes.  I get weird looks sometimes when I speak of making his food, but as long as he’s happy and healthy, the critics can look askance to their heart’s content.

A lot of kibble has ingredients that may be healthy for some dogs, but not so much for Oakley. Omega 3 fatty acids set him off. We don’t talk about what happened when he ate a flax-based food in polite company.

Pumpkin. Protein. Spinach. Occasionally an egg or a tiny bit of cheese. This is what works for us. Things might be very different for your fur-child. Please talk to your vet before changing over to a new feeding regimen.

If you’re interested in exploring home cooking for canines, please read Dr. Pitcairn’s Book of Natural Health for Dogs and Cats or Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Dogs and Cats. 

And someone please ring Carson for the tea and biskies.


Let’s Do the Sweet Potato Boogie!

Five, four, three, two, one, BEEP!

Orion knew that was the cue that he was just seconds from dinner, and to celebrate, he would do a little dance in a circle while I made up a song about the sweet potato boogie. The freshly nuked sweet potato would be squashed free of its jacket and mashed with some kind of protein and a vegetable of some sort with a garnish of some kind of cheese. 

Oakley doesn’t really do much of a dance. He sits or lies down next to his crate in the kitchen and pats the floor, making his grunt-grr sound to tell me he wants his dindin.

I don’t blame them. I like sweet potatoes, too. You can make them mashed, into oven fries, dehydrated for dog treats, substituted for pumpkin in baked goods, you get the idea. I’ve even seen recipes for them as a substitute for corn chips in nachos and noodles in lasagne. I’ve also used them as an alternative to rice with curries. They have tons of fiber and vitamin A and are low on the glycemic scale.

Please do not confuse them with yams, however. While the darker red variety is commonly referred to as such in some parts of the US, they are still sweet potatoes. Yams are another root veg grown in Mexico and the Carribean.

Unless I’m making oven fries, I just poke a bunch of holes and use the baked potato setting on the microwave oven. The skin doesn’t have the same charms as that of a well-scrubbed russet, so no damage done if you pitch the skin.

I made a grocery run this morning and likely will make a curry tonight. Oakley and I will be doing the Sweet Potato Boogie, and we hope that you will join us.  

The Great Tripe Debacle

In his later years, Orion started having digestive problems. He couldn’t tolerate yogurt and wouldn’t eat food sprinkled with probiotic/enzyme powder, so after some research I decided to give him tripe as part of his meals. 

He loved it. It was a natural extension of his one bad habit: cleaning up the yard, shall we say. The canned wasn’t as odorous as I had thought it would be.

I usually warmed Orion’s food to enhance the aroma, except for the tripe. One day, I’d neglected to scoop out the dinner portion in enough time for it to come to room temperature at its own speed, so without thinking, it went into the microwave without further thought. Set it for a minute and turned my back.

At :45, I swear that I saw the paint in the kitchen peel as I gasped for breath. I pulled the dish out. Orion did his dinner dance, so I just put it down for him and opened all the windows in the house. 

A couple of hours and a pack of pachouli incense later, the house was livable again. I went to work on my and Hubby’s dinner, something with lots of onions to mask anything not hidden by the pachouli.

Orion exercised discretion with the whole matter, and would have even without the extra banana that I slipped him to buy his silence.