Saturday, August 11, 2018

Home Cooked Pet Food

Charlie, Jack and Marlene by the lake early in the morning!

Hi Everyone :)

I promised I would keep you all updated about how things are going with the pets and their new home cooked diet. This is a LONG post and chock-full of information. I don't expect all of my friends to get through the whole thing but anyone who may be interested in switching their pets to a home cooked diet might benefit from this post. If this subject isn't your cup of tea, that's okay! :) I'll be back to my usual blogging and visiting all of you friends very soon! :) xxx

In short: It's going really well!! 

#1: They LOVE it...I'm the best fur-mommy ever, just ask them! ;)

#2: We are weening Oscar the cat off his allergy meds a little at a time and so far, he's doing very well, no symptoms! Yahoo!

#3: Our nervous nelly of a husky, Marlene - her digestion has improved so much, we're so pleased about that.

#4: No mystery ingredients!! Though I feel like my hands smell of chicken liver and pork constantly gah! ;)

#5: I haven't spent any more money on ingredients than I have on kibble in the past. I expect that some months, depending on the prices, it will be more and some months it will be less. I just ordered a pressure canner and when the budget allows, we'll be buying lots of supplies to can when they are on sale! :) So exciting...

Research: I can't begin to tell you how many hours I spent researching home cooked, raw and kibble diets for dogs and cats. There is A LOT of information out there, but finding credible sources was a little more difficult. I suggest reading a book written by a holistic or even an enlightened veterinarian who isn't just trying to push the expensive kibble on you. There are many YouTube channels out there too from credible sources (like vets). But really...if you come across a person who has been feeding their pets a home cooked diet for YEARS...and the pets are healthy? That's a good enough source for me!

This blog post is divided into FIVE main parts:

Part One: Supplementation
Part Two: The Food
Part Three: The Amounts We Feed
Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area of Canada
Part Five: The Recipes

I also have a section that lists all of my sources. So AWAY WE GO!!! :)

Little Marlene

Now's the time for this: 

*Disclaimer: I'm adding this paragraph because I've had some, let's say, rude, pushy, know-it-all stern advice given to me in the past regarding my pets and it's never appreciated so PUHLEEZE...any armchair "experts" out there who think they know better than me? You have the right to your opinion, but keep it to yourself okay? Thanks! But I am very open to all friendly advice, suggestions and comments! Please let me know what you do for your own pets if you like. We can all learn from each other!*

Part One: Supplementation

Calcium: Our pets need calcium and they may not get enough in a home cooked diet so supplementation is necessary to balance the phosphorus and keep them in good health (strong bones and teeth, primary body functions such as blood coagulation, muscle contraction, and nerve function...). Because our pets don't eat bones, we have opted for egg shells. Dried and ground up egg shells provide them with a good level of calcium. We never run out of egg shells!

Multi-vitamin: We're none of us just to make sure they get all of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids they need, we give them a kelp multi-vitamin powder supplement. It's not too expensive and for us, it's more like insurance to make sure they are healthy. 

Glucosamine: This isn't vital for their diets, but I wanted to mention it. Marlene and Jack are getting older so we give them a glucosamine supplement daily. We've really seen a big difference in Marlene's legs...remember Bambi? Marlene was doing that, my gosh, her legs would just give out on her...and she had a lot of trouble just a month ago climbing the stairs, now she bounces off them like she's wearing springs on her paws! This stuff really works well. For Jack, it's prevention considering the weirdness that happened to him over the winter...still shaking my head over that one. If you need to kill time, I wrote about that in three posts (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3).

Pro-Biotic Powder: Just for Marlene because of her poor digestion - we've been supplementing her diet with this for years...maybe one day we can cut it out completely. The other dogs get some homemade yogurt each day but Marlene needs a little boost.

Cranberry: Our poor Marlene came to us with a host of problems. She had crystals in her bladder which led to frequent urinary tract infections. Since we've been giving her a cranberry pill daily, she's had no issues. I also did research on what foods could make her condition worse, and the only thing I came up with was that too much spinach could exacerbate the crystal problem, so we just won't use that in their food.

A note: Marlene was prescribed the Royal Canine Urinary Formula Kibble. This quote is from the Royal Canine website: "Increased sodium chloride content encourages consumption of water" this kibble. Eegad.

Coconut Oil: We all know the benefits of coconut oil for us humans and I wanted to make sure it was okay for the pets too. I read an article by the American Kennel Club that stated the many benefits of coconut oil for dogs...they had me at "eliminates doggy odour" lol...but it's also very good for the coat and the skin. I found the same information out there for cats, and a bonus is that it helps with hairballs. The only downside is that if you feed them too much, it could result in diarrhea. So, we don't overdo it.

Part Two: The Food


This is the first time I've ever fed cats a home cooked diet. From all of my research, I came to the decision that the cats need 90-95% of their diet to be meat, so that's what I'm following. 

The dogs...well it varies depending on what expert you refer to.

Spencer and Winston, my late great Pugs - miss those boys!

I used to have 2 pugs and their diet consisted of 30% meat with an egg each day. I switched them to a home cooked diet when my little fella Winston was diagnosed with Stage 4 Kidney Failure. I was told he likely had about 6 months to live. He was nine years old when diagnosed. With my home cooked diet and a good pro-biotic, he lived another SIX years and his Stage 4 downgraded to a Stage 2. My other pug Spencer lived to the age of 19. So for me, the proof is in my own experience, the diet I cooked for them worked to keep them as healthy as they could be.

Why Kibble Scares Me: My pug Winston had been eating the kibble that was recalled in 2007, the Melamine contaminant recall where melamine was found in the vegetable protein sources that were imported from China.

Definition of Melamine: A white crystalline compound made by heating cyanamide and used in making plastics.

Tens of thousands of dogs, cats and farm animals developed and/or died of organ failure due to this poisoning (**these are statistics I found on the FDA website). It was never proven that this was the cause of my Winston's kidney failure, but what a coincidence... More reason to avoid kibble...we just don't know what's really in it. There are horror stories out there that I will not share, but they are disturbing.

So...what meat do they get? Whatever is on sale is what they get. Anything under $3 a pound is what I buy and so far it's been a mix of chicken and pork. I slow cook the meat after taking the skin and fat off. With the broth, I cook the brown rice (thanks Joyce!) so that nothing goes to waste. The cats also get a wee bit of chicken liver in their meat ration (too much liver can cause Vitamin A toxicity).

Cat Days of Summer

Brown rice

This is a good source of energy and fiber for them. It also contains some protein and they just love it. As I mentioned, I cook it in the bone broth and they get so many good things from that. If you want to read an article on the benefits of bone broth, I'll add a link in my sources section. We should all be drinking it!


There is a long list of vegetables (and fruits!) that the pets can eat. Again, there is a lot of conflicting information out there, so I took my source from my books. We feed the dogs sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green and yellow beans, peas and carrots. Again, whatever is on sale and in season is what I'm going for so this list may change. Eventually I would like to grow enough vegetables to feed them year round so I don't have to buy them anymore.

As for the cats, they really don't need vegetables as they are true carnivores. Any vitamin, mineral or amino acid they may be lacking in their diet will be fulfilled by the Kelp supplement that we give them. Plus...I TRIED...they do NOT like veggies, finicky felines.


These are SO good for your pets, as long as they are cooked! I poach the eggs each morning for the dogs. So far, the cats aren't getting any but that again, may change.

Keep those egg shells! Rinse, dry and bake for about 20 minutes at 300F. Then grind them up into a powder for that calcium supplement.

Part Three: The Amounts We Feed

Dogs (1/3 meat, 1/3 brown rice, 1/3 veggies + extras and supplements):
Charlie (65 pounds)...she weighed 90 pounds last winter...big girl was a little overweight. Her ideal weight is 65 pounds so we are feeding her accordingly. She gets a generous 3 cups of mixed food a day.
Marlene (55 pounds)...she gets a level 3 cups of food a day.
Jack (25 pounds)...he gets a level 1 1/2 cups of food a day.

Charlie and Marlene get 1/2 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. Jack gets 1/4 tsp of egg shell and Kelp each day. They all get a little homemade yogurt and a small 1/8 tsp of coconut oil. Charlie gets a whole egg. Jack gets a half. (Plus all of the other supplements)

Oscar the Cat

Cats (90% meat and organ meat, 10% brown rice + supplements):
Dana, Leo and Oscar all weigh about the same. Most cats between 10-15 pounds will eat between 4-6 ounces of food per day.

Leo eats 1/2 cup of food per day. Dana and Oscar eat a generous 1/3 cup of food per day. Oscar gets some fish broth on his food because he's so darn picky. That gets him eating his entire portion!

We feed them twice a day. All of these amounts are based on their activity levels too which is L for LAZY. :)

It's difficult to find information on how much to feed each critter. It's case by case depending on their weight and activity level.

We will weigh them monthly to make sure we are not over or under feeding them. We will be watching them and adjusting the amounts accordingly if needed.

Part Four: The Cost - our cost in our area in Canada 
(our budget for kibble/meds was $290 a month for the 6 pets - not including the Glucosamine, Pro-Biotic Powder, Cranberry pills and Coconut Oil)

Here is August's example:

Pork roasts ($2.99/pound) - 56 pounds $168
Chicken thighs (skin on , bone-in)  ($1.88/pound) - 25 pounds $47
Chicken liver - 2 pounds $12
Eggs - 4 dozen $8
Veggies - 25 pounds $23
Brown Rice - 11 pounds $12
Kelp Supplement - $28

Total: $298.00 

NOTE: I bought too much rice for one month...I may need more veggies though...I have more meat than I needed for the month of August so some of this cost will roll over into September. But basically (for now) I need about 70 pounds of meat each month for all of the pets. The meat is the big cost. And we are lucky enough to have access to a year-round market with very reasonably priced fresh vegetables.

Jack: The Apple of My Eye

I know how expensive this can be for people, especially those who have big dogs (Dianna!)...and all we can do is our best for them. Up until recently, we were kind of drowning in vet bills. Every few weeks it seems we had to call or go to the vet, it was getting to be way too much. And by the way? In March we were told that Jack would never be able to climb stairs again...JACK IS VIBRANT and bolting up and down the stairs like a puppy...trusting the vets blindly is not ever a good idea. It's the same with doctors. WE know our own bodies, we know our own pets. I'm not knocking modern medicine, but sometimes the fine line between profits and pet care is messed up.

Another Scary Kibble Bit: Taurine is an essential amino acid found in animal protein that is VITAL for the cat's health. In the 1970's many cats were dying of heart failure or going blind. After years, this was traced back to the deficiency of taurine in commercially-made regular and premium cat foods. Now, many companies manufacture taurine chemically to add to the cat food. Instead of using REAL meat protein, they can fill up the food with soy, corn, starches and chemicals as long as they add that taurine, they can label the pet food "complete nutrition".

We personally believe that health starts with what you eat. We are happy and proud, knowing that our pets are getting the best food we can afford to feed them. We hope that they continue to thrive and remain healthy and happy! After all, they are our fur-kids. :)

Part Five: The Recipes

Dog Food

I cook every three days or so. These ingredients make enough dog food for 3 1/2 days:

6 1/2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
9 cups cooked brown rice
9 cups mixed veggies (washed chopped, peels left on)

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones then use the broth to make the rice. I steam the veggies and use my hand blender to mush them up for better digestion. I have three containers in the fridge (meat, rice, veggies), enough for about 3 days of food, then I cook some more.

Leo and Dana on MY (former) porch love seat!

Cat Food

I cook every three days for the cats too. These ingredients make enough cat food for 3 days:

2.2 pounds meat (fat/skin trimmed)
1/4 cup chicken liver
1 cup cooked brown rice

I slow cook the meat, remove any bones and use the broth to make the rice. I mix the meat and rice together and add 2 1/4 tsp of egg shells, 1/4 tsp coconut oil and a large tsp of Kelp. This stays in the fridge and is good for about 3 days.

If you read all of this BRAVO AND THANK YOU! :) I hope the information I've shared is helpful! If you have any questions, ask me!!! :) Just remember I'm not any type of nutritional expert...just a gal wanting to do her best for her fur-kids. :) On my side bar under "Other Posts and Pages", I'll make sure to add a link to this post so it's easy to find.

Miss Charlie


You Can Heal Your Pet, Elizabeth Whiter and Dr. Rohini Sathish
Holistic Pet Care, Shannon Hines
The Holistic Dog Book, Denise Flaim


Products (that I'm NOT promoting, but that I am using)

YouTube Channels and Videos

Monday, July 30, 2018

End of July Update

Hello my friends!

I made a little video for you today, just another update on what's been happening here lately. :)

I'll be visiting you all soon! I hope life is very good for you! :)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer Living

Hi Everyone,

How is everything in your neck of the woods? I've been trying to get back into my painting and drawing lately, I did this watercolour on the porch yesterday in the sweltering heat. I love having my easel on the porch with me! :)

Here's a quick 1 minute video I took this morning with the dogs in the woods. Just an update on what's happening here with me. :) Thanks for all of your wonderful comments the last few posts! They make me happy! :) 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Hi Everyone :)

The theme for today's Scribble Picnic is "Crunchy" what could be crunchier than a nice crisp fresh carrot? Bugs thinks it's the bee's knees!! :) (Follow the link for more crunchy scribbles!)

Have I mentioned this before?? According to the creators of Bugs Bunny (Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett), Clark Gable eating a carrot in the movie "It Happened One Night" inspired them to give Bugs Bunny that carrot crunching characteristic. :)

And this is my watercolour version of "Crunchy" - it's the forest floor. Have you ever walked in a pine forest on a warm and dry day? All you can hear is "crunch crunch crunch" from the pine needles underfoot.

You can't sneak up on anyone in a pine forest! :) The dogs hear even a chipmunk running around from tree to tree.

Speaking of crunchy, this week I made my Cinnamon Crunch Knots. They taste just like donuts, we love them!

The crunchiest part of these delicious treats is the cinnamon sugar mix that melts off the pastry during the baking and hardens into a sweet, burnt and crunchy treat! :)

Another crunchy treat is a BLT on homemade toasted bread with fries! I love my "diner" baskets! :) We've been having dinner on the screened-in veranda and it's so nice and relaxing!

I wanted to show you an update of the container garden - mainly the potatoes. We had about 3 days of rain, then 3 days of lots of sunshine and everything has "jungled-up"!! The "tater tires" are booming! The two containers in front have carrots starting to come up too. This container garden has been a lot of fun this year!

Besides lots of porch time, mothering the container garden and keeping an eye on our robin's nest in the lilac is very good here in the mountains. We had a few veterinary challenges lately...Oscar the cat kept scratching at his ears to the point where they were in need of medication and the dreaded cone...Poor him...but as I type, he's all better and free again. :)

In February we had to rush to the vet because Charlie's face swelled up like this, we thought maybe it was a spider bite...I took this photo in February...but last weekend, the SAME THING happened, I woke up to her face triple the size it should be...because it was a holiday weekend (of course right?), all the vets were closed, so I gave her doses of Benadryl for 24 hours and she's just fine now thankfully. So, we were thinking, two pets got sick in the last week...that must be it...Nope...

Marlene hurt her front leg. She was running around in a wood pile and started limping a few days ago. I had to stop the dog walks each morning, just to let her heal. She seemed better today too so I took a chance and walked the dogs in the woods, I can happily say she's fine too. We don't really know how old she is...could be anywhere from 9 years old to 13 years old...we've noticed she's been having trouble with her hind legs too so we are starting Glucosamine for her...and for hound dog Jack since he's 12 years old now.  These shelter pets are so endearing and we would do anything for them. :)

July is just around the corner! Time is flying way too fast!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Plump! Summer In The Laurentians :)

Hi Everyone :)

The theme for the Scribble Picnic this week is "Plump"! :) Any Looney Tunes fan will remember Porky the Pig's constant giggling in the classic Robin Hood Daffy as he plays Friar Tuck. :) 

Here is a two minute slice of that funny cartoon.

Speaking of plump, I've been making lots of desserts lately! Hmmm...I'm guessing I'll need to be walking the dogs a little longer each morning to work off this Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

Besides lots of desserts, we've been enjoying the abundance of lettuce that is thriving in the garden! But you know me, there must be cheese...I tried a "cheesy bread" that seems to be very trendy lately. I made some garlic butter, spread it on my No Knead Bread, added some shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar and Parm and broiled it, then added some home grown parsley. Very nice with a Cesar salad! :)

Some great news! We found another robin's nest in the lilac tree! Alex had to really stretch up with his phone to get a photo of the nest!

We were just checking out the container garden when we heard a bird flying away and we saw the nest just above us.

It's pretty close to the house so we can keep a good eye on it. We tried to save a baby robin a few weeks back that fell out of the nest but the poor little sweetie didn't make it. We rescued him, Alex climbed the tree to recover the nest, we put the nest in another tree and were so pleased to see the parents found him again and fed him worms. But...nature can be cruel sometimes. We're still dealing with that little loss, we really got attached to the little fella. :( 

We are hoping this one will make it! I kind of feel like the robin nested this close to our home because she knew we'd help her watch over her little one. :) I'll keep you posted, send some prayers up north for this little bird!! :) You can bet we'll be guarding the nest just as much as its parents!!!

We've had such a busy week...we found a GREAT deal on my favourite cookbooks. A lady was selling these 24 books for $35, they were used but in excellent condition! The downside is that she lived in Montreal, which is a 2-hour drive away. Alex and I promised each other we'd never set foot in Montreal ever again. With our upbringings, that was a healthy decision, best not to open old wounds right? But...we felt it was worth the drive because we've been slowly accumulating these cookbooks online the last few years at a cost of about $15 each. Including the gas expense, these came out to just about $2.25 each.  Good deal! :)

We were going to go for ice cream but opted to revisit one of our old favourite pizza joints instead! :) We really don't go out often, we're trying to save money, but once in a while, it's a real treat!

But as usual, the stress of driving back to our home town, the stress of the traffic, our nerves...we both felt under the weather for a few days after and spent most of our time in bed watching movies and eating ice cream! :) We have both realized that if we never have to go to a city ever again, it'll be a happy day for us. Being home in the mountains feel right. :)

I can't believe tomorrow is the Summer Solstice already....time goes by way too fast for me, especially in the warmer weather. I hope you're all doing well!! :) I suppose we'll all catch up this winter lol! ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Three Colour Challenge - Spring Garden - Comfort Food!!

Trees in Season. :) 

Hi Everyone! Today for Michael's Scribble Picnic, the theme is a Three Colour Challenge. I decided to aggravate challenge myself for this watercolour idea I had. 

I pulled out my roll of masking tape, sketched some trees on the tape and Exacto'd out the shape. I think I pulled several muscles in my hands and arms doing this lol... It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, the tape kept tearing and curling, but I managed to get it on the watercolour paper to do my painting! Might I say...never again? :) Well, maybe but not with such detailed objects!

Aah...Pepé Le Pew...a romantic little stinker with love on the brain! This is my three colour piece for my drawing contribution! :) If you'd like to see other people's lovely art, follow the link above!

Porch life. The porch is tiny but usually all 6 pets can fit while I'm sitting on my love seat! One dog and one cat is missing from this photo, but they were just inside on the rug by the door, keeping cool. We had about 4 days of hot and humid summery weather at the beginning of June, then spring decided to arrive with hot days and cooler nights. That works for me since Alex and I have decided to try to live without air conditioning this summer. I may regret that in July!

The spring garden...soon to be summer growing nicely! I love how the world turned green almost overnight!

The Jungle. Every year we have a plethora (I love using that word!) of ferns that pop up and give us a nice privacy hedge of sorts. It's really nice. :) And the potatoes are really doing well in the tires! I've "hilled" them to the brim with soil so now I just have to wait until they push through the soil, flower and can be harvested!

Look at that garlic! :) As soon as the scapes start to curl, we are harvesting them for soups and dips. That should make the garlic bulbs grow even bigger so I've read! Thanks Mama Pea for your garlicky guidance! :)

I've been growing all of my lettuce inside but this is the first pot that's nearly ready to harvest that I planted in late May. We've been eating a lot of salad lately, it's wonderful!

But...woman can NOT live on salad alone...a poutine is needed at times! :) I know, where are the fries you ask? Under that MOUND of Mozzarella and gravy!!! :) I found a great recipe for a Poutine Gravy that I tweaked just a little bit. I always serve the poutines in these aluminum containers to make them look "diner-authentic"...makes it more delicious! :)

I made a Peach Pie the other day and it turned out very well! With my homemade vanilla ice cream and some Cheddar cheese melted on top...a triumph! :) (Here is the recipe for my Strawberry Ice Cream...minus the strawberries and you have a nice vanilla ice cream!)

I hope everyone is enjoying life! My posts will be here and there while I enjoy every moment I can of our very short spring and summer! I'm going to spend some time this week catching up with my Blogger friends too! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

💔 It's The Beating Of That Hideous Heart!!! 💔

Hi Everyone :)

I'm trickling back to the internet today! It's raining today, so porch life is out, I thought I'd catch up with my Blogging friends and join in on Michael's Scribble Picnic's theme today: Classic! (follow the link to see other wonderful scribbles!). Firstly, as I always try to include a Looney drawing, I thought about how Bugs Bunny took on the role of Leopold Stokowski. Bugs conducts a "classic" while he gets revenge on the tenor who annoyed him earlier in the day. 

Here's a 2:45 clip from that short. I loved this one! :) Bugs is such a stinker! :)

When I think of the word classic, I automatically think of the Classic Tales of Horror! Ooooh! Shiver!!! :) One of my favourite author/poet's is Edgar Allan Poe. This is my watercolour version of The Tell Tale Heart where a mad man murders an older man...only to admit to his crime as he begins to hear the old man's heart beating incessantly beneath the floor boards. You NEVER get away with murder...maybe the police won't figure you out, but your conscience will...well, unless you are a sociopath...but let's leave that for another discussion! :)

Actually, the Simpsons did a funny version of this horror!

Oh do you like Christopher Lee? I loved that man! If you do, take the next 15 minutes, turn off the lights and listen to him reading The Tell Tale Heart! You'll sleep with ONE eye open that's for sure! ;)

I'll just give you an update on what's been happening here at the cottage. :) The potatoes are GROWING AND GROWING!!! All of my 16 containers are producing from 4-8 plants each! Yippee! It'll be a spuddy winter that's for sure! :) All of the other produce is doing fine, except sadly my strawberries. :( Only 2 of the 12 roots I planted are doing okay. Oh was an experiment!

In the kitchen it's been summery fare. I made our first Cobb Salad of the season! Homemade Mozzarella makes it that much tastier. :) I am SO grateful for home grown produce right now! At the moment, all I can harvest is lettuce and herbs but already that brings me so much joy...I can't wait until I can pick some of my own tomatoes too!

I made a Nectarine Dutch Baby one evening when the fruit was nice and ripe.

We've been eating sandwiches for dinner on the more humid days. BLT's with cheese and some tater salad hit the spot! :)

Oh I woke up to this the other morning! Poor little fella...I was glad to see him doing okay. I have to remember to turn the dog's water dish upside down at night. He couldn't get out! I helped him out and he's doing fine. :)

Marlene, Proud Jack and Charlie - Enjoying Their Mountain Hikes!

Besides enjoying food and the garden, I've been walking the dogs on the mountain twice a day now! Exercise and Nature and my little furry doggies...what's not to like? :) And btw...a pox on that horrid vet who arrogantly INSISTED that Jack would be "disabled" for life after the mystery accident/illness in March...he's just fine, limber, active and excited about life! Could she admit she was wrong? No idea since a week after we saw her, she didn't work at that vet hospital anymore...interesting... (always question the diagnosis and listen to your gut!!!) :)

Oscar, Leo and Dana - Safe On The Porch and MESMERIZED by the Bird Feeder!

After getting the container garden up and at 'em...I am now enjoying the porch life. I hope you're all having a fantastic end of spring and beginning of summer!