I used to feel kind of intimidated about cooking for my dog. For one thing, I heard repeatedly from many sources that it’s very difficult to prepare a “balanced” diet for a dog (or cat), and that my pet would suffer from nutritional imbalances. Another thing that held me back was the idea that I had to buy a meat grinder and large quantities of meat and bones, plus a chest freezer to store everything, and knock out a wall and expand my kitchen so I could fit all of this into the house. Isn’t it amazing how our minds lead us down a path of impossibility, when reality is so much different?
Don’t get me wrong, purchasing a meat grinder, large quantities of meat and bones, and a chest freezer is not a wrong way to approach cooking for your pets. In some cases, it really is the most cost effective and efficient way to do it. In my case, with one 13-pound dog to feed, it’s kind of going overboard. No matter what your situation, I have a solution for you! Today I’m reviewing 4 books that I have found helpful, in one way or another, on my home-prepared doggie delish journey.
As you read below, please note that the images of the books on the left hand side are clickable links that will take you to Amazon in a new tab. If you choose to purchase a book, I will receive a tiny commission as a result. I have all four of these books on my shelf, and I have gifted these books to others. I am recommending them to you because I have found value in them.
Dr. Ihor Basko, “Fresh Food & Ancient Wisdom” This book is hands down my favorite. Dr. Basko, who is a vet in Hawaii, has filled 304 pages with great recipes that look like what we’re used to seeing in the Betty Crocker Cookbook. We’ve been trained to measure our ingredients by the tablespoon and cup, and that’s how Dr. Basko cooks for dogs. His approach is “Food is Medicine,” and there are chapters dedicated to cooking for specific health conditions. I credit this book with converting me from being afraid of cooking for my dog Maple, to making it completely do-able. Mahalo, Dr. Basko, for writing this wonderful book!
Dr. Karen Becker, “Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats” As much as I love Dr. Basko’s book, there isn’t much in it to help us cat lovers. That’s where this book shines. Also, if you are cooking for a large pack (or clowder of cats), her recipes will help you scale up and keep everyone’s belly full! Dr. Becker is an integrative wellness veterinarian practicing in Illinois, and you can follow her blog here.
Dr. Ernie Ward, “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter” Dr. Ernie Ward founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and speaks around the country on this topic. His book has a chapter on making home cooking healthy, with recipes for meals and treats. He also has great tips for helping your pet lose weight safely.
Dr. Richard Pitcairn, “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats” Dr. Pitcairn founded the Animal Natural Health Center in Eugene, OR to better understand and utilize homeopathy in treating animals. His book, now in the third edition, is much more than just a cookbook, but good nutrition is featured as a pillar of good health. All pet owners could benefit from having a copy of this book on their shelf!
You know, when you cut up a bell pepper as a snack for your dog or share a bit of your scrambled eggs with your cat, you are cooking for your pets. It doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Share with me how you prepare food for your pets. Tell me what you’re concerned about, so we can all help each other!