The chicks are checking out what’s happening in the lovely Jamie Disterhaupt’s kitchen today! She’s been a writer since she was five. Currently she’s on hiatus from chasing the dream, but does occasionally blog at http://jamiedisterhaupt.blogspot.com (We know what an amazingly fabulous writer Jamie is–she’s one of our critique partners! 🙂 ) Let’s see what’s she’s got cooking…
I never thought I’d be one of those people who cooks for her dog. But I am, and I do, and here’s how I got sucked into it. Five years ago, my old yellow dog Louie developed a stomach ailment that made him have to run outside and gobble grass, which, I understand, is a dog’s way of soothing an upset digestive system. These painful attacks occurred after every meal, and the only thing besides Tums that soothed him was the bland rice and chicken diet our vet prescribed him. The food came out of a can and smelled awful, but Louie thought it was manna from heaven, and because HE got to have chicken and rice, Buster, his younger companion, refused to eat the old dry food he’d been given since puppy-hood. He embarked on an actual food strike, I kid you not. So rather than watch him starve, I shared Louie’s special canned food with him.
When Louie passed away, I thought we could ease Buster back into the dry food, but I was foolish to even entertain the idea. However, the prescription chicken and rice cans were too expensive and nutritionally deficient, so I did some reading and concocted my own recipe. Buster’s been on this diet for almost four years and he’s amazingly limber for a ten-year-old German Shepherd, his coat is beautiful, and he has tons of energy. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—and since he’s the best boy I know and I want to keep him with me as long as I can, no tasteless, dry dog food will cross this house’s threshold again.
Here’s the recipe, which lasts about 3-4 days. Yes, it’s ridiculously expensive to feed him this way, but we don’t have kids, and Buster’s my best friend—my very happy, healthy best friend. Enough said.
In a large ol’ crock pot (we have a beat-up one we bought at a garage sale for this exact purpose), cook the package of chicken with 3-4 cups of water on high for 5-6 hours or until thoroughly done. It won’t hurt if it’s overcooked.
Remove chicken from crock pot, set aside, and pour rice into remaining water in crock pot. Cook until rice fluffs up and absorbs most of the water. This isn’t an exact science, just eyeball it for readiness.
Drain cooked rice and put into an extra-large bowl. Grind up cooked chicken in food processor until it’s like meal and add to bowl with rice. Grind up cooked vegetables in food processor until mushy and add to bowl with chicken and rice. Mix it all up with a big spoon. It takes muscles.
I then spoon the mixture into one-pint containers and feed Buster half of a container at every meal. He eats when we do, so by bedtime he’s had about two pints of food. If he were younger, I would probably feed him more. He also gets fish oil capsules and a doggie multi-vitamin every day. I spoke to my vet about this diet and the vet loved the idea. There’s a lot of room for substitution in the ingredients, but always be careful to avoid foods like onions, grapes, etc. that could be toxic to a dog. The Internet is a great resource for what your pet SHOULDN’T eat. Corn is something Buster eats in moderation because it’s mixed in with the vegetables I buy, but it’s supposedly a food you shouldn’t give your dog in large amounts. For snacks, Buster likes a little raw broccoli, mashed bananas, sweet potato, and leftovers if they’re whole foods and not packed full of butter, sauce, etc. In other words, don’t give your pet anything that would be bad for him or YOU.
By the way, Buster also likes Milk Bones. He is, after all, a dog.