The following is an article written by Virginia Dunn on the subject of Raw Feeding and Cooking For Your Dog. This article also includes some basic recipes. If you would like to learn more, we have a series of videos and more recipes to help you. Click here to see the list.
THE CANE CORSO
IN THAT BAG?
Case For Raw Feeding & Cooking For
ARE WHAT YOU EAT!
is the message that we've been hammering
into our children's heads for many years.
They hear this in health class, see this
in posters on the cafeteria walls.
Americans are trying to get the message
that the foods we eat are creating
disease, and that to improve our health we
MUST improve our eating. For example, we
know that a diet of processed food isn't
good for our health. (Go rent the movie
"SuperSize Me" if you really
want to bring that home.)
what about our dogs?
quality nutrition is important for us,
wouldn't we want to extend this same
philosophy to our four-legged companions?
Doesn't it make sense that highly
processed food, where all the life giving
enzymes have been cooked out, foods that
can sit on a shelf for months or even
years without visible signs of decay,
might not be the healthiest choice for our
beloved canines? If we love our dogs, then
it's in our best interest to study dog
foods and determine how best to feed them
for optimal health and, hopefully, a long
happy disease-free life.
me digress. Dogs are carnivores. Cats too.
As such, they want MEAT! And lots of it.
When you were a kid and you read "Call Of
The Wild", do you remember that memorable
scene where the wolves invited the sled
dogs over for a big bowl of rice with beet
pulp fiber? I didn't think so. Or that
classic television episode where Lassie
rescues Timmy from the well, and is
rewarded with some oh-so-tasty soy bean
okay. Those things never happened, and
it's a good thing too. Lassie deserved a
big thick steak after that scene (which
was probably in her contract anyway). As
for the wolves, well, I wouldn't want to
be the one who offered a hungry pack a
bowl of some beet pulp, with or without
her book, The Complete Herbal Book for the
Dog: A Handbook of Natural Care and
Rearing, Juliette de Bairacli Levy
dog is a meat eater, from the teeth
fashioned for tearing and crushing, the
powerful jawbones and muscles, the small,
very muscular stomach, the short
intestines (to avoid putrefaction of flesh
foods), and above all, the very powerful
digestive juices peculiar to the
carnivorous animals - digestive juices
that can dissolve even lumps of bone.
we all know that our dogs and cats want,
need, and actually require meat to live,
yes? But here's a shocker.
grim reality of the dried kibble industry
is many of the foods we think are
nurturing our dogs and cats are actually
made of (gulp) dogs and cats!
That's right, folks. The 'meat' in your
bag of kibble may have come from pets at
your local shelter. Animals that have been
euthanized. Those poor animals have been
ground up, complete with flea collars and
tags, and still containing the poisonous
chemicals that were used to kill them. And
that is allowed in our dog food?
else does the meat come from? Would you
believe sick, dying or dead animals?
Downed cattle? Dead horses? Even road
kill? It's true. Many companies use these
sources for the meat they put into their
crunchies. Their called the 4 D's, which
stands for Dead, Dying, Diseased and
Disabled. (For more information about this
and the common practice of renderers,
check out www.k9Rx.com.
They have some really interesting footage
of an actual rendering plant, but I warn
you, it is graphic. )
might also want to read a fascinating book
titled "Foods Pets Die For".
But trust me, don't read it while you're
I feed my dog a high quality 'premium'
Hopefully, you can trust the company
you've chosen and you're pretty sure the 4
D's aren't hanging out in that bag in your
kitchen. But then, what IS in your food?
Do you ever wonder what is really in
there? Can you even pronounce some of this
one of my puppy buyers called me. He was
concerned that his puppy seemed to be
having a problem with her fur. My first
question to him was how much raw meat are
you feeding her?
not" was his answer. "My neighbors
warned me about feeding raw meat and
bones, especially raw chicken, and it made
me nervous. I'm afraid the dog will get
sick from salmonella.
I am feeding her the best high quality
premium dry dog food!"
I won't say what it was, for fear of
reprisals, but I will tell you that if
Scooby Doo uttered the name, it would
sound like "Rience Riet".
then asked him to go get the bag and let's
examine the ingredients label together. He
agreed. Here's what the label
God, man," I told him, "There's no
meat in that bag!"
corn is a very cheap source of protein, so
a lot of food companies use it. But it's
hot. Many dogs find that it causes itchy
skin, their bellies turn pink, and they
are nervously uncomfortable. This has been
especially true for the majority of the
pits we have rescued.
what about the chicken? That's good,
right? Well, what is a chicken-by-product?
It's feet. And feathers. Eyeballs. Beaks.
Stomach lining. It's what's left over
after everything else from the chicken has
been used. It's not fit for human
consumption. So let's grind it up and feed
it to the dogs!
there are good dog foods that contain
'human grade' ingredients, and are happy
to let you know what's in their bags -
whole chicken, real beef, lamb, salmon,
along with apples, flax seed, sweet
potatoes and probiotics, the list goes on.
And you'll certainly pay a lot more for
the superior quality. But it's still been
cooked down to nothing. Even with the best
ingredients, everything has been super
heated and processed down to a hard dead
piece of kibble that can sit on a shelf
for a year. Where's the health in
is why I had to look at raw food, and
cooking for my dogs. Now, let me warn you.
There are as many different ways to feed
your dog as there are dog breeds, and
everyone thinks theirs is the only way.
Some say it must be all raw. Others say to
cook. Some advocate a mixture of meat,
fruits, veggies and grains for healthy
variety. Others say it outta be 100% meat
only. It can be rather
there are countless books and websites
available to teach you how to get there,
if you so choose. I am not a canine
nutritionist by any stretch. And I will
admit that when I first started looking at
healthier feeding for my dogs, I was very
nervous. After all, those big food
companies have veterinarians and
scientists doing years of studies to
ensure the proper nutrition for my
push comes to shove, I prefer the wisdom
of nature over some 'scientist' in a lab
coat pushing soft pieces of something
resembling a miniature T-bone steak,
loaded with high fructose corn syrup,
artificial colors, artificial flavors and
I should also say that I do feed my dogs
dry food from time to time - just like you
might grab some McDonald's when you're in
a pinch. But we're not living day after
day off quarter pounders and lard-soaked
french fries, right? Neither should our
dogs be eating dry dead kibble every day
of their lives.
just to get you started, and to show you
that it can be much faster and simpler
then you may have thought, here's a peek
at what my dogs eat in an average week.
Basically they get raw meaty bones in the
morning, and then cooked stew at night,
with a few special dishes once or twice a
week. It's easy. It's satisfying. The dogs
are healthy. They look great. And they
love it! Best of all, when I feed raw or
cook for my dogs, I know EVERY SINGLE
THING that goes into their bowls. I feel
great about what I am serving
MEATY BONES AND OTHER RAW
- This includes chicken legs, thighs,
wings, backs, or hindquarters, raw and
with the bones still in them. They will
eat the skin, the meat, the joints and the
bones. This is some of the healthiest food
you can give your dog! (A note of caution:
My dogs love these, but as my corso pups
have grown, I have found that they
sometimes gulp these down without chewing.
If you have a gulper, try something larger
then a drumstick.)
- These are large and dense. The dogs
really get a workout ripping, chewing, and
then crunching up the bones and raw
marrow. Great stuff!
I get these on sale by the rack and then
cut them apart for feeding. They tear the
meat off, and then gnaw on the bones all
Good Raw Products:
- Chicken feet are an excellent supplement
as they contain Glucosamine and
Chondroitin. Glucosamine aids in the
repair and renewal of damaged or worn
cartilage and Chondroitin helps neutralize
the destructive enzymes and improves the
quality of the synovial fluid. Note: If
you have trouble finding chicken feet, try
the asian markets.
- Tripe is a real treat for most dogs. Raw
green tripe is the stomach of a ruminant
(grass eating) animal - usually a cow.
Contrary to the tripe you find in the
store, which has been scalded and
bleached, raw green tripe is full of
healthy bacteria that aids in digestion..
It is also an excellent source of fat,
enzymes and vitamins, with a perfect
balance of phosphorous and calcium. Note:
It smells really bad! I serve it while
still partially frozen, just to minimize
my gag factor due to the smell. However,
most dogs adore it!
- My dogs love these. Stock up around
Thanksgiving as they can be hard to find
the rest of the year.
- They also love pork neck bones, beef
trachea, gullets, etc. In raw meat, I look
for a lot of variety.
- About once a week I make up a special
mixture for my dogs that includes chicken
or turkey gizzards or hearts, perhaps some
liver or beef heart, some raw garlic, raw
eggs with the shells, a piece of
gingerroot, some raw organic coconut oil,
and some raw organic apple cider vinegar.
I whirl this all up in my blender and
voila! A gizzard smoothie! This strange
concoction seems to be a great overall
tonic, and has helped many of my rescues
who, after eating crappy foods, often
suffered from yeast, itchy ears and feet,
and impacted anal glands.J
FOR THE DOGS
- Dog Stew
what you might be thinking, dog stew is
really easy to make. Typically I use a
ratio of two to three pounds of ground
meat, 2 pounds of vegetables, 4 quarts of
water, and maybe a little brown rice or
barley, lentils, etc. Of course, if you're
concerned about grains in your dogs diet,
just leave it out. Remember, you control
what goes in! Here are some basic recipes
you might like to try:
2 - 3 pounds of ground turkey and throw it
in your big stock pot. Brown but do not
drain the grease. Next chop up some
veggies, for example you might add fresh
garlic, a couple of carrots, some fresh
parsley, celery, a potato, some green
beans, and throw them in the pot. Now add
a handful of brown rice and several quarts
of water. Bring this to a boil, then turn
it down and simmer for an hour. IT'S DONE!
Next turn it off and let it cool. This is
important because, as much as my dogs love
stew, I have yet to be able to teach them
to BLOW their stew before they eat it!
if you have just one or two dogs, this pot
will last you several days. All you have
to do is heat it just a little, so it's
not ice cold and the fat is reliquified,
and then serve it up! And look. There are
NO meat by products. No artificial
coloring or flavorings. No cancer causing
BHA or BHT, no preservatives and no
strange ingredients that I can't
pronounce. Just great food that I made
myself so I know exactly what's in
a couple pounds of ground beef and throw
it in your pot. Brown it but don't drain.
That fat is really good for these guys.
Now start adding some veggies. Potatoes,
garlic, broccoli, carrots, parsley, yellow
squash, cabbage, again it's whatever
sounds good to you. Next add a handful of
pearl barley, and water. Bring it to a
boil, then simmer until your house smells
word of warning: At my house, I cook every
three days for the dogs. However, often
times my boys come in, grab a bowl of
stew, add some salt, and that's lunch. So
if your dog stew seems to be going faster
then it should, see if your humans are
eating it up!
Now, this can be a bit more work, especially if your cooking challenged, but it's worth it AND you can often get whole chickens for .50 cents a pound, so fill your freezer. First, make sure you get the neck and gizzards out of the chicken before you boil it. Feed the neck to your dog raw, and cut up the gizzards, which you can toss to your dog OR throw back in the pot and cook. Now add water, bring it to a boil, then simmer the chicken for an hour. Take the chicken out of the pot and set it in a bowl to cool. While it's cooling, add your chopped up veggies, such as carrots, celery, maybe some zucchini, a bag of frozen peas, some dill weed, and a big handful of wild rice. Next you want to debone your chicken. It's really quite easy and you'll find there is a LOT MORE MEAT then you ever imagined hiding in that carcass. You also want the skin, the fat, the gristle, everything but the bones goes back in the pot! (Hint: Make sure you put those bones way down in the trash can, or your dogs will surely find them.)
Okay, what about fish, you ask? Is it safe to feed raw fish to dogs? Some people say absolutely, it's one of the best things you can feed your dog, heads, tails and all. However, my vet says no to any raw Salmon, since we live in the Pacific Northwest, and he worries about 'flukes'. (Don't ask, I don't know.)
left me in a quandary. I realize that fish
provides really valuable nutrients for
dogs. Yet I didn't want to risk them
getting sick from raw fish in my region.
Likewise, I didn't like the idea of cooked
fish bones going down my dogs throats, and
boneless salmon fillets are rather out of
my dogs price range. So here is what I
have come up with. I can purchase herring,
small mackerels or smelt when they're
running, and just freeze them intact,
heads, tails and all. Although these are
sometimes hard to find in the meat &
seafood department, you can get them
packaged for bait where fishermen stop.
Then, when I want to cook them, I throw a
few into my blender with some water and
just whirl them up! Viola! Liquefied fish,
with everything in it. Now that's 'whole
foods'! Just pour that into your pot, add
your veggies and grains as you see fit,
and before you know it, you'll have a big
stinky pot of fish stew!
Or, try this recipe, which we made last night for our dogs. I bought a couple pounds of filleted whiting that was on sale for $1.50 a pound at the local WinCo, and threw it directly into the pot. No cutting as the fillets fall apart when they cook anyway. Then I added carrots, parsley, yams, some chopped kale, dill weed, and some fancy shmancy California Whole Grain Brown Rice. Took about 45 minutes and the dogs were drooling in the kitchen. What could be easier?
there is lots of room to get creative
here. Sometimes I add apples to the mix.
Or blueberries. Sometimes beets, which are
great for liver cleansing, although they
do turn the stew a weird shade of pink. .
If you do add beets from time to time, use
the entire plant, including the stems and
greens. Excellent for your dog. Recently I
saw a great sale on frozen catfish pieces,
which are now hanging out in my freezer.
Use your imagination, and your good
I Never Add:
Onions. Dogs can't digest them.
Raisins or grapes.
Green bell peppers, as these can aggrevate
Noodles, pasta or wheat. Too many dogs are
allergic to wheat products.
Salt. They just don't need it.
That's a whole other chapter. Many raw
food passionates say that no supplements
are needed when feeding an unprocessed
diet. Others think they are absolutely
essential. Time will tell. But for corsos
in particular, who are so prone to hip and
joint problems, I have to recommend
Ester-C. You can find this in such
products as Liquid Nutrition's Level 5000.
There are many other great supplements on
the market. You decide what feels right
for your dog.
you'd like more information about feeding
raw, cooking for your dog, or what goes
into commercial dog foods, there are lots
of great resources to explore.
are some books to get you
Your Dog A
by Dr. Ian Billinghurst
Guide to Natural Health For Dogs &
by Dr. Richard Pitcairn
by Kymythy Schultze, A.H.I.
by Pat McKay
Pets Die For"
by Ann Martin
Complete Herbal Book for the Dog: A
Handbook of Natural Care and
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
here are some great online
"Does Your Dog Food Bark? A Study of the
Pet Food Fallacy" by Ann Martin