Friday, February 10, 2012

How and why I got started cooking for my dogs

Way back when I was five years old, I can vividly visualize in my now somewhat forgetful brain the dinner times when Mama Marie Mancini would be making a homemade dinner for Daddy (Amedeo) and me and I would go to get a bowl and pour some cereal for my stuffed basset hound and feel so happy to be feeding him. When I was a little girl, like many little girls, I wanted a dog.  We could not get one because Daddy was allergic.  I waited 47 years to get my first dog, Snow, a Bichon Frise and then three years later, just like a potato chip, I could not just have one and I got another Bichon, called Bella.

Not ever having a dog, the first vet I saw told me never ever to give more than half a finger nail size of people food to Snow.  That concept was difficult for me since I am Italian and food is such an important part of our daily lives. I could not understand why the previous owner of Snow gave him Beniful. It was so colorful and appealing to the human eye. But it was also so full of color dye's! I did not feed my kids stuff with color dyes and was not going to feed my dog anything with color dye.  

 So off to the petstore I went trying to find the best wholesome kibble on the market.  Now I had nothing against kibble but I sure think Snow did!  There were times when Snow simply would  not eat.  I called the company and told them that my dog would not eat; they said to add some water to the kibble to bring out the flavor.  That worked for maybe a week and then he went back to his stubborn self.  I tried adding special toppings of some carrots (forget about that first vet’s advise)! But it got to the point that I was fighting with the dog yelling at him to eat his food when meal time should of been a joyful experience.

Then we got Miss Bella.  Actually when we “rescued” her from her owners at 4 months old she was called Brokyln, never understood why they named her after a bridge but we switched her name from the start.  So here I was with a new puppy and I give her a edible bone when we get home and she devoured half of it; I thought she would just nimble on it so I quickly took it away and the first night she slept with Lena and during the night she vomited and that is when I got the light bulb in my head that food is an important part of a dogs life.

I was horrified that she vomited, was it from the bone?  Was she sick and that is why the owners got rid of her?  Well, her vomiting would come and go the next 9 months, maybe happening twice a month.  But then Bella went in for her rabies shot and Distemper and the “vet” arbitrarily gave her a combination shot with Liptosporisis without consulting with me and that night she vomited unbeliebalby and within four hours her face, eyes and lips were swollen!  

It was a Friday night and we needed to take her to an emergency vet and both my husband, Adrian and I took her.  Funny, when our kids were ill, we never both took them to the emergency but for this little angel, we both went.  We found out Bella had a very bad reaction to the Lepto shot.  I was so upset that the vet did not consult with me first that I looked for another vet.  I put a shout out on Facebook to my 1079 dog friends, and found a wonderful holistic vet who recommended a book to keep your dog healthy and there was a chapter on cooking your own dog food and from that moment on, we have not had an ounce of vomit or kibble in our house.

I got to tell you, I fell so happy cooking for my dogs.  I was the type of Mom who nursed all three of my kids and they never had a bottle.  I also love to cook.  I started looking on line for dog food recipes and was shocked what junk was out there.  Some sites simply recommended mixing ground beef with ground up kibble!  So here I am, sharing all my recipes with you and truely hope you give it a try!

Please don’t be intimidated about cooking for your dogs.  Depending on the size of your dogs (mine are 11 and 17 pounds) I can cook a recipe one evening and I divide the portions up and put them in the freezer and it will last an entire week.

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