Home Cookin' | Canine Care


If you are interested in feeding your dog a home cooked diet.
Any food that causes stomach upsets or digestive problems in your dogs should be avoided. Like people, some dogs cannot tolerate certain foods

Meats should be boneless and it’s best if the skin is removed. 
Make sure if you are using 'ground beef' that it is free of
pink slime. You can research online to find out if your local supermarket is carrying ground beef with pink slime.
To be safe you can always get a piece of beef and have it ground instead of buying pre-ground beef. Pink slime is only a concern in red meat.

Some people like a RAW diet. Some people rather cook. If you cook meat do not over cook. Keep it 'rare' so you don't kill the enzymes.  ESPECIALLY FOR SICK animals. However all Fish and Pork must be well cooked. Also note - totally Raw and cooked diets should never be mixed at the same meal as they digest differently.
Skinless, boneless chicken breast Skinless, boneless turkey breast Fish: do not feed TUNA as high mercury content - be careful of small bones.
Do not feed 'cold cuts'. They are high in salt and nitrates. Can lead to kidney and digestive problems.

Most are GREAT for your dog and they should have them!
Dogs have shorter digestive tracts than humans and cannot digest most vegetables whole or in large chunks. It’s best to put them through a food processor before giving them to your dog- best veggies for your dog are:
Carrots (for healthy dogs) (not for cancer dogs though as high in sugar) Green Beans Lettuce Sweet Potatoes (one of the best choices as low in pesticides and very high in vitamin content. Superior to Carrots)

Avoid RAW Spinach, Swiss Chard, and Rhubarb: While these are not toxic, they are high in oxalic acid, a compound that interferes with calcium absorption, so don't feed these very often.
Grains should not be given in large amounts or make up a large part of a dog’s diet, but these foods are generally safe in small amounts:
Rice Bread (not white breads or anything sugar or that converts to sugar) remember the simple rule feed no WHITE colored foods!
Dairy products:

Nonfat plain yogurt; cottage cheese is good in small amounts. Some calcium is needed when cooking to add the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio - specific details in the article below on making your own pet food.

Use caution with dairy products that are high in fat and can cause pancreatitis, gas and diarrhea.

Want to make your own pet food?
We've put all the info below for putting together your own dog food. However you might want to also check out Dr. Harvey's ready to cook food. It's freeze dried - all organic and all you have to do is boil water and add meat. Read more here at Dr. Harvey's. Another is  Monzies Organics  

Your basic ingredients for an Adult dog:

  • 60% lean meat, meaty bones, eggs; sardines and small amounts of organ meats
  • 30% veggies (see list below- will include pumpkin; sweet potatoes; green beans)
  • 10% starches (see list below- will include organic brown rice; millet; barley; peas)
  • Puppies 50-75% Meat/Fish + 25-50% Veggies & Grain
Meat and Poultry should be slightly boiled or baked- but NOT OVER COOKED! RARE (not RAW) is best.
You can cook and pack into portions for freezing and then just thaw and use as needed.
If you add anything "canned" make sure it's NO SALT or extremely low in sodium or you may damage your pets kidneys and also cause pancreatitus.
NEVER give Pork Raw- it's not the 1st choice for meat... and NEVER give KIDNEY  or LIVER unless it is from
certified organic animals, otherwise they contain too many toxins-especially heavy metals. Use only occasionally. It is good for anemic pets but should not be given daily. Heart is better for more regular use.
Fish should be frozen 1st since the freezing process will kill parasites. Do not give fresh water fish too often. Avoid TUNA as its high in mercury. Best fish: Canned Sardines (no salt), Mackerel and Salmon are wonderful. SEASON BRAND is low in salt.
Some people feel raw poultry or whole eggs are OK. This is a choice but we feel slightly cooked is the safest.  You can give YOLKS raw but WHITES should always be cooked. Some dogs might have an egg allergy!
VEGGIES & GRAINS:  if you 'juice for yourself' then save the pulp for your pups and add to their food. Just make sure you have washed and cleaned the veggies thoroughly before you juice.
Best veggies: Tried canned pureed pumpkin (pure pumpkin- not pie mix). Brussels sprout; green beans; sweet potatoes  are wonderful for and highly recommended.  Beets are high in sugar and therefore not recommended.
Veggies must always be pureed or they will not be properly digested. Do no over cook. Use a mix of fresh or frozen veg, not canned. Not too much spinach, kale or cabbage. Try ideally to mix daily, 1/2 green veg with 1/2 root veggies. No CORN or ONIONS.  Corn is high in sugar and onions have a compound in it that depletes red blood cells. Cooking doesn't alter this so best to avoid..  carrots (no carrots for cancer dogs see info on cancer diet at top of page). You  use frozen vegetables, which retain a higher level of vitamins and minerals than do canned vegetables. We actually give our dogs frozen organic green beans and brussel sprouts as treats since they love them.
Best grains:  Oats; millet; quinoa; brown rice; kasha.
Grains should be organic if possible. Also measured after cooking for portions or you will give too much grain.
Add DAILY or when you can the below:
  • Cold pressed olive oil or flax oil (add often) (1-4 teaspoons according to size): (i.e. small dog 1tsp./med. dog 2 tsp./ large dog 3tsp/extra large dog 4 tsp.)
  • 1/2 Brazil nut per day - per 50lbs dog) (high in selenium –fights and prevents cancer) do not exceed dose-  read more here
  • Brewer's Yeast (add often)
  • Cod Liver Oil/omege fish oil (aprox 1000mg per day per 40lb dog)
  • Cottage Cheese - l tbsp. (add after everything is cooled)
  • Plain Yogurt - l tbsp. (add after everything is cooled) Best is GOATS MILK as it's tolerated better
  • check out Wholistic Pet Canine Complete- it's all ORGANIC so we think it's better than the 'Missing Link'
  • dash of the following spices: Cinnamon; Parsley; Oregano; Tumeric. add after everything is cooked as heating spices will make them lose their potency.
  • a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (keeps the body alkaline)

Add occasionally
  • Garlic, Wheat Germ oil, Kelp,  1/4 tsp.
    Also bean sprouts, parsley, or alfalfa. These are sources of many minerals, vitamin C, and fiber. Your local health food store can usually provide a variety of seeds that you can grow in plastic or glass jars at home. It is a very easy process and you have an abundance of sprouts in no time. Mung beans are the most popular and lentils have an excellent mild flavor. Most sprouts will keep for seven to ten days in your refrigerator
You can
add fruits (see list below) to the food.

For TREATS- Frozen pieces of meat/ Cheeses can be given -such as low fat cheddar etc. Along with Fresh Fruit (not grapes or citrus) and RICE CAKES (no sugar added ones!) Try stuffing in a KONG DENTAL STICK or KONG LIKE TOY. Safe and long lasting treat.

Also we recommend giving your pets (if they enjoy) chunks of fruit for treats such as organic apples; pears; bananas; papaya; blueberries and melons. Avoid Grapes as they are dangerous and also anything with a pit. Do not give citrus fruits as it can irritate kidneys.
An example is:

For breakfast, my dog gets a bowl of oatmeal with a small amount of meat or fruit mixed in. Lunch and dinner are composed of meat, grains, and fruit or vegetables. With either lunch or dinner I add yogurt or cottage cheese for calcium. Plain, nonfat yogurt contains 450 mg. of calcium per cup. Yogurt is easily digested by pets and will replace the good bacteria in their systems if they are on antibiotics. Cottage cheese contains 155 mg. per cup. One cup of low-fat milk provides 300 mg. Calcium can also be obtained from other natural sources: 3 ounces of canned salmon with the bone contains 180 mg. of calcium and 3 l/2 ounces of sardines with bones, 400 mg. Two tablespoons of whole sesame seeds contain 175 mg. of calcium. Many vegetables contain calcium although in lower levels than the foods mentioned above.

How much calcium do our pets need per day? Martin Zucker quotes Nancy Scanlan, DVM, in his books, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Natural Remedies for Cats: “The recommended dosage for toy dogs is 100 mg. daily; small dogs, 200 mg.; medium dogs, 300 mg.; larger dogs, 500 mg. Large puppies can use 10 percent more.”4 She recommends the following for cats: “50 to 100 mg. daily. Increase the amount by 25 percent for kittens.”5 Dairy products provide calcium that is readily absorbed by both dogs and cats.
Riveriene Farm, a holistic nutrition website, describes various forms of calcium supplements in their Nutrition Index and notes that some of the calcium supplements can cause problems when added to a pet’s diet. According to Riveriene Farm, bonemeal used in many dog food recipes, “contains absorbable calcium but may be contaminated with lead.” You can purchase bonemeal that is certified free of heavy metal contamination, lead, mercury, and arsenic. If you are going to add a supplement, certified bonemeal is the best choice. The Nutrition Index describes calcium chloride as irritating to the intestinal tract, and calcium phosphate interferes with the absorption of other nutrients when included with other supplements. Neither calcium chloride nor calcium phosphate is a wise choice as a source of calcium for your pet. The conclusion reached in the Nutrition Index is that “the best sources of calcium are natural, organic food sources.”6 In his book, How to Have a Healthier Dog, Wendell Belfield, DVM, advises, “It’s too much, not too little that bothers me most in regard to calcium. Dog owners have this great urge to over-supplement calcium. A balanced vitamin and mineral supplement should contain all the extra calcium a growing dog or pregnant or lactating bitch needs.”7 Individual animals have individual needs. If you are going to supplement the diet of your dog or cat do so only under the guidance of your veterinarian.
Other things to keep in mind:
Cancers thrive on refined sugars and high carbohydrates- keep your pet off them! White carbs convert to sugars.
Fresh GARLIC-contains numerous compounds with demonstrated protective effects against various cancers but use in LOW DOSES as too much can deplete blood cells.
MILK THISTLE (Silybum marianum) seeds are very useful in supporting proper liver function. Its active constituents include Silymarin, a flavonoid complex that has antioxidant effects

If salt is ever added in pinches it should be an UNREFINED Sea Salt - Celtic or Himalayan -not a regular sea salt

AGAIN -NEVER GIVE SUGAR OR COMMERCIAL DOG TREATS most contain CORN SYRUP which will fuel cancers. Corn syrup is only for dogs in emergencies that are hypoglycemic.
And remember - if you are NOT sure if a food is safe thoroughly research it on the web before giving! I've found sites that say nutmeg and raisins are safe but they are not. Always double check.

(see notes below for diabetic dogs)

(for a more expansive list see our
dangerous foods page and our home hazards pages

These Foods Are Not Safe for Pets:

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association

- Alcoholic beverages - Chocolate (bakers, semi-sweet, milk chocolate) - Coffee (ground, beans, chocolate-covered espresso beans)  - Moldy or spoiled foods - Onions and onion powder - Garlic and garlic powder (safe and good in very SMALL doses) - Salt - Yeast dough - Macadamia nuts*** - Raisins and grapes - Avocado - Hops (used in home brewing) - Fatty foods - Bones - Milk - Raw eggs - Raw or undercooked meat - Products containing the sweetener xylitol (xylitol is deadly)
***GOOD NUTS are Peanuts and Peanut Butter -but always use ORGANIC and SALT/SUGAR FREE as Peanuts are high in chemical sprays. Also we DO recommend giving 1/4 to 1 BRAZIL NUTS each day as they are high in selenium and anti cancer - but you must not overdose - you give according to weight. PLEASE READ the info on BRAZIL NUTS before giving as giving to much can be dangerous!

Other foods to avoid are hops (used in home beer brewing), tomato leaves and stems (green parts), tomato leaves and stems (green parts), rhubarb leaves, avocados (toxic to birds, mice, rabbits, horses, cattle, and dairy goats), cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, moldy or spoiled foods. BONES raw and cooked are
Rawhides-only from time to time and most importantly - buy only made in the USA as others are dusted with arsenic during processing. Arsenic builds up in the body & is toxic over time causing health problems.
Never let a dog chew rawhide bones unsupervised - they can choke on them. Better alternatives are NYLABONES and BULLYSTICKS. But the IDEAL TREAT is a KONG DENTAL STICK that you can stuff with organic peanut butter or frozen meat. They can't choke on it and it's a long lasting healthy treat!

Notes for Diabetic and Cancer Dogs
Please note for Diabetic dogs:
When giving supplements containing vitamin A, remember that Diabetics cannot convert Beta Carotine to Vitamin A once metabolized. This is the one instance we DO NOT recommend Omega 3 Oils as it will increase blood levels of low-density lipoproteins and cholesterol as well as blood sugar-And LDL is EXTREMELY BAD NEWS to a diabetic!!
More info on this can be found at http://www.newmanveterinary.com/Diabetes.htm
Also- NEVER give supplements containing GLUCOSAMINE as this nutrient must be avoided by diabetics because Glucosamine blocks the formation of insulin. Also DO NOT feed your a diabetic pet any pet foods containing GLUCOSAMINE. Many 'Senior Foods'  (such as NUTRO-Max SENIOR - a non human grade food so we do not recommend it) have this added now to help aging pets with arthritis and joint mobility. It is a good thing for arthritic and older dogs but NOT if they are DIABETIC! In March 2001 issue of PREVENTION Magazine tells more of the dangers for diabetics and this supplement both in HUMANS AND ALL ANIMALS. It is shown taking Glucosamine if you are Diabetic can trigger INSULIN RESISTANCE. This means that the body stops recognizing insulin and, as a result sugar in the blood can build up to a dangerous level. Another online article on this is found here at Nutrition Science News For more see our page on Diabetes.

Notes for Dog with Cancer - Please read above and also this link below:

Do not give Cancer and sick dogs chews/rawhides or pork chews of any kind

Your pet's taste buds may change due to the chemo, ask your vet or post on the boards for ideas and suggestions of what you might add to make your pet eat when this happens.
Diet is an important thing to discuss with your oncologist!