Since the latest recall by Menu Foods of many dog and cat wet foods due to toxicity in it’s wheat gluten many pet owners are upset and are now considering alternative, natural diets for their pets. Today, the New York Times has a great article on this concern The article talks about all the people rushing to find books on healthy pet nutrition and pet cookbooks for wholesome natural foods.
Perhaps, the best book to start with would be the highly acclaimed book.
Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann Martin, December 2002 – 2nd edit. The author warn us that the pet food industry often puts outrageously foul ingredients into pet food to maximize profits. The FDA doesn’t really regulate the pet food industry instead compliance with the minimal regulations is voluntary. The list of ingredients permitted in pet food includes rendered road kill, euthanized pets from animal shelters and vet clinics, and other animal waste; processed poultry and cow feces collected from large agri-business operations; mercury-contaminated seafood which has been judged unfit for human consumption. They then give this a vaguely healthy sounding name, like animal by-products and the like.
Many times Veterinarians don’t question mainstream pet food company ingredients and diets as many veterinary students learn nutrition from elective classes influenced and paid for by pet food companies. The book also discusses issues about how pet food can be made at home using safe and human-quality ingredients, and she provides recipes and suggestions for supplements.
Another popular and great book is Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats This book is the definitive guide to a natural lifestyle for dogs and cats. Veterinarian Richard H. Pitcairn and his wife Susan Hubble Pitcairn, noted specialists in chemical-free nutrition and natural healing for pets, show dog and cat owners how to provide the very best in companionship and lifelong care. the new edition now covers environmental matters, including pollutants both inside the home and out. They’ve updated dozens of recipes for delicious and healthful pet food and treats. With a guide to handling emergencies and an in-depth Quick Reference section, they give specific instructions for preventing, diagnosing, and treating a wide range of animal diseases and disorders with special attention to homeopathic, herbal, and nutritional remedies. (from the publisher’s blurb on Amazon)
There are several cookbooks for dogs available that seem quite good, have colorful happy graphics and talk about how cooking your pets food is vastly healthier and more natural. This can certainly be true, but be careful, many pet food cookbooks writers are perhaps more interested in selling you their book than in giving you sound nutritional advice. One book’s recipe had onions, bullion cubes called for in the recipe (many dogs can have a bad reaction to onions and bullion can be way too salty)
I suggest that if you buy a book from Amazon to read the reviews first to see if there might be any red flags.
One excellent source of information is the Whole Dog Journal.com This month they have an article on Home-Prepared Dog Food that might be worthwhile read. It’s an actual magazine subscription but can also be read online and they have a free 14 day trial if you like it, for $20.00 you get the 13 issues of Whole Dog Journal, as well as continued complete access to Whole-Dog-Journal.com. To see if this be something that interests you, check out their free sample article on “How to Chose Dog Food”