Before continuing with my narrative about the end of 2010, I thought I would first regale you with the interesting – though somewhat disturbing – stories of yesterday. My first will be categorized here, in ‘Snow Dogs’, while the second will definitely have a northern living tag.
First off my dear readers, I’m sure you’ve noticed the statistical frequency with which I mention my dogs Sophie, Scarlett, and Gryphon: the st. bernard, chiweenie, and chihuahua. Well, that theme continues. Years ago, after examining the types of food available to the pups, I decided that commercial kibble was one thing that made me uncomfortable when trying to provide a balanced diet. I tried various possibilities, but it ended up that I always went back to high quality store-bought kibble and tried to assuage my guilt by feeding them far too many treats. Hmmm…I associate it with the guilt that single parents or divorced parents must feel when they give their kids outrageous gifts because they cannot afford the gift of time.
This was the result…although you might think that an increase of 3 lbs might not be too much for the average person, for a dog whose target weight is about 8 lbs, this is the equal to about 30 lbs overweight for me. And it’s all my fault. She doesn’t get the chance to run around outside at this time of year, so she’s sunk into the mid-winter lethargy of sleeping under blankets here, there, and everywhere. Ok, that’s probably just a personification of some sort, but it’s still not healthy.
Solution? Homemade food and homemade treats. Out with the commercial fillers and in with the packed freezer of ice-cube sized meals.
I wanted to do it right, though…so…I finally did something I’ve been toying with for awhile: I signed up for a canine nutrition certificate which will allow me, after about a year, to become a sort of consultant. Well, it wouldn’t allow me to make it into a career, but it will certainly allow me to understand and put together a diet designed specifically for a dog (opposed to what most believe is ok).
Basically, the proportions I’ve been working with for meals is about 50% protein, 25% carb, and 25% veggie. Although some argue for dividing meals into thirds, I make up for it with healthy treats. My dogs love small pieces of carrot and apple and I have taken to making their ‘cookie’ treats which generally include some portion of whole wheat flour, wheat germ, brown rice, or oatmeal.
There are a few exceptions when it comes to treats, though, and last night I decided to spoil them a little bit. It’s an easy enough recipe, but you really have to love your dogs to put together these squares. Ingredients? Liver, eggs, cornmeal, and the smallest of small dash of garlic powder.
Step 1: puree about 1 lb of beef liver (I think I used closer to 1.5 lbs); Step 2: add 4 eggs and continue to blend; Step 4: try to ignore the smell of blood and avoid all thoughts of Jeffery Dahmer; Step 5: add 1 cup of cornmeal; Step 6: blend in a shake or two of garlic powder; and Step 7: pour onto a heavily greased cookie sheet.
Then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Although this liver recipe is always cheap (liver – minus foie gras – is not generally sold for top-notch meals), it’s not something that smells too good when it’s baking. Blah. Not only that, though…even though the dogs go absolutely crazy for it, it can be toxic in large amounts. As a result, they’ll only be allowed 2 or 3 pieces/week. Thank goodness for freezers!
The final product can be cubed and frozen into whatever size fits your dog. I usually make mine really small which means that Sophie, the st. bernard, gets bunches…and the other ones just get jealous…