DEAR READERS: Many readers of this column have swamped me with requests for my home-prepared cat and dog food recipes, mostly because they do not have Internet access to them posted on my website, DrFoxVet.com.
So here is the recipe for dogs -- the one for cats will be in next week's column -- and seasons greetings to all!
DR. MICHAEL FOX'S HOMEMADE DIET FOR DOGS
1 pound lean hamburger, ground lamb or mutton; one whole chicken; or half a small turkey (all raw)
2 cups uncooked whole-grain brown rice (or barley, quinoa, amaranth, rolled oats or pasta noodles) or 4 cups chopped organic potatoes
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or flaxseed oil* or safflower oil)
1 tablespoon organic butter
1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brewer's yeast
1 tablespoon calcium citrate, lactate or human-grade bone meal
*If you're using flaxseed oil, add it after the cooked food has cooled to room temperature.
Combine all the above ingredients. Add enough water to cover ingredients. Simmer, stir and add more water as needed until cooked. Debone the chicken parts, but do not feed your dog the cooked bones since they can splinter and cause internal injury. While the stew is still very hot, mix in a cup of raw, grated carrots, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, sweet potatoes or yams. You can also add a cup of blueberries or chopped apple. The recipe should be thick enough to be molded into patties -- you can add oat bran, rice or buckwheat flour to help thicken it.
Then when it's cooled, add 2 tablespoons organic plain yogurt or kefir, 1 teaspoon spirulina, 1 teaspoon powdered ginger and 1 teaspoon powdered turmeric.
For a 30-pound dog, serve 1 cup of this recipe twice daily. Freeze the rest. You can even serve the patties frozen so your dog can gnaw on them in hot weather.
For dogs less than 30 pounds and for overweight and less-active dogs, use only 1 cup of uncooked rice in the recipe.
Transition your dog onto this new diet gradually. Mix increasing amounts of your dog's new food with decreasing amounts of the old food over a seven-day period to enable adaptation and avoid possible digestive upset.
For variation, you can use cottage cheese, well-cooked lentils, garbanzo beans, lima beans or a dozen organic eggs as meat alternatives. (Note: Some dogs are allergic or hypersensitive to some foods, especially soy, beef, eggs, wheat and dairy products.)
Give your dog a daily multivitamin and mutimineral supplement like Pfizer's Pet Tabs. You can also give your dog half of a human one-a-day supplement crushed up in the food.
Since obesity is so prevalent in companion animals today, weigh your dog at weekly intervals when putting him a new diet, and adjust the amount according to any undesirable weight changes.
NOTE: Different animals have slightly different nutritional needs according to age, temperament, amount of physical activity and health status. Large dogs require less food per pound of body weight, so adjust according to appetite and weight gain. And if your dog is deep-chested and prone to bloat, give him three to four smaller meals per day.
Keep teeth clean by getting dogs, especially toy breeds, used to a daily brushing. The best and safest natural tooth cleaner is a raw, scalded 3- to 4-inch piece of beef shank/soup/marrow bone, or thin strips of scalded raw beef heart or shank meat -- the tougher the better!
AN APOLOGY TO READERS
I apologize to readers of this column living in those parts of Florida served by the Palm Beach Post. The paper had sent letters from its readers to the wrong address. I just received almost a year's worth of letters from you all. I have contacted the paper and have been assured that it will send the letters to the right address in the future. And I'll work on getting your letters answered in the meantime!
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)