Frenchie Puppies’ First Meal – Video Version

Such cuties at this age…

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the pups are eating Pets 4 Life Lamb raw dog food. It’s mixed with warm goat milk into the consistency of oatmeal, and then put down for the pups to lap up.

Weaning puppies onto raw is actually quite easy, although I do still feed them one meal per day of kibble. I do this so that they’ll be accustomed to eating it, in case any of their new families prefer not to feed raw. I might change that in the future, however.

Video below the cut.

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Meatloaf Kills

I occasionally get the urge for a plate of really, really good meatloaf. More specifically, I get the craving for a leftover meatloaf sandwich. Is there any finer second day meal on earth than meatloaf? The overnight stay in the fridge lets all the flavors melt together into one tasty, meaty melange.

Here’s the recipe I used (BTW, I have no idea if this is actually Gordon Ramsey’s meatloaf recipe, as I found it not on his official site, but on a Blog called – I kid you not – I Love Meatloaf):

Gordon Ramsey’s Meatloaf

50g butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 celery stalks, finely sliced
1 green pepper, finely chopped
4 spring onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chilli sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
125ml evaporated milk
125ml tomato ketchup
750g minced beef
250g minced pork or sausage meat
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
250g breadcrumbs
Freshly ground salt and pepper

1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, celery, pepper, spring onions, garlic, parsley, chilli sauce, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes.

2 Add the evaporated milk and ketchup and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Discard the bay leaves.

3 Preheat the oven to 180C (About 360 F)

4 Place the beef and pork in a large bowl, add the eggs, breadcrumbs and vegetable mixture, and season. Place the mixture in an ungreased roasting dish and bake for 25 minutes. Raise the temperature to 200C/400 F and bake for a further 35-40 minutes.

5 Serve from the roasting dish.

Absolutely delish, if I do say so myself.

Unfortunately, I then had to take the bowl I’d mixed the meatloaf up in and figure out how to dispose of it. It’s stainless steel, so I wasn’t sure if it could go in the recycling bin, and even if it could, was it fair to expose all those hardworking sanitation workers to the possible risk of contamination from a bowl that had contained raw meat? I think not.

I finally hauled it to a friend’s smelter, where we melted it down. I then came home and cleaned all of my counter surfaces with a blowtorch.

What? Overkill? Not according to some veterinarians, who say that one of the risks of feeding your pets raw is that you can never really get the dishes clean that you use to prepare raw meat.

Better safe than sorry, I always say. Next time I make meatloaf, I’ll probably just burn the kitchen down afterwards – because you just never know with raw meat.

Dog's Dinner and Stem Cells Bring Hope

My dogs eat leftovers – a fact that many veterinarians will be happy to tell you is a surefire pathway to obesity, bad behaviour and possibly heroin addiction. So far, so good — I haven’t noticed any track marks, and while a few of the dogs might be a bit on the fluffy side (Hello Delilah), most of them are actually quite lean and muscular.

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Penelope Eats a Muffin

Well, here we are coming up on week two of Penelope’s “I ain’t eatin’ that” hunger strike.

We had a “woo hoo” moment where she agreed to eat a leftover can of Prescription Diet A/D that I had sitting around from when Barb sent Bunny to live with us (she had her own “not eating that” phase during her pregnancy. Too bad it didn’t extend to electronics). Unfortunately, A/D isn’t ideal as a food for pregnant girls, and even if it was, Nell had decided by the next morning that she no longer liked that stinky food in can, and could she just have a glass of mineral water with lemon (no ice), puh-leeze?

Sigh, redux.

She ate some raw, de boned chicken here and there over the weekend, but not enough to make me confident she was getting enough nutrition, and raw boneless chicken on its own isn’t enough to sustain healthy growth in puppies.

Cait suggested a sort of dog food muffin that reminds me of the baked results you get from Essex Cottage Farms dog food mix. Since there are no suppliers of either or ECF food nearby (read: within a two hour drive), I decided to look for home made dog food muffin recipes.

The most common one I found was a fairly simple recipe in which you simply added a pound of ground chicken to a commercial corn meal muffin mix. Well, that sounded fairly promising – after all, Penelope was willing to eat those zuchinni banana muffins last week. I don’t like the idea of using a mix, however — I won’t bake for myself from a mix, so I certainly won’t do it for my dog, either. Too much sugar, too much hydrogenated oil, and too little control over the ingredients.

Instead, I used the following recipe of my own, which I feel is a healthier alternative, and which I’m calling —

Fussy Frenchie Meaty Muffins


* 1/4 cup canola oil
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 2 large eggs
* 2/3 cup natural yogurt
* 1/2 cup yellow corn meal
* 1  1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1/8 tsp. kosher salt

* 1 cored, pureed red apple, seeds removed
* 1/2 of a medium sized zucchini, grated
* 2 cups ground chicken (we ground necks, bone included, and boneless thigh meat)


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray two medium sized cupcake or muffin trays
2. Stir together dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat together wet ingredients except for apple, zucchini and chicken in separate bowl. Fold wet into dry using a wooden spoon. Don’t over mix. Add chicken, apple and zucchini.
3. Drop two tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. Don’t over fill. Bake 20  minutes, or until golden brown. Makes roughly 24 – 36 muffins.

So far, so good — Penelope loved hers, Tula reacted to them like they were little golden chunks of doggie crack, and the rest of the dogs looked so sad that they each got a 1/4 muffin with their dinner.

These would probably make nice little bait treats, by the way — and they smell quite tasty.

Raw Dog Food Simplified. Sort of.

A few people have written to me asking for my ‘recipe’ for raw dog food, so I decided this deserved a post of its own.

To be honest, there really isn’t a ‘recipe’ per se. What there is is a ratio break down, which as I’ve mentioned before is:

50% or so turkey necks and fish with bones (salmon, sardines and mackerel, primarily)
5% liver, kidney, giblets (organ meats)
5% heart
25% muscle meat (beef, sometimes mutton or pork)
10% ground vegetables, fruit and greens
the rest is a mix of eggs, dairy, nutritional yeast, molasses, yogurt and cider vinegar

Bear in mind, this is MY ratio, based on what I have access to most often, and at the most reasonable prices. You, on the other hand, can muck about with this to suit your own preferences, and your own locally available ingredients.

Some people might have an easier time getting chicken necks and backs than turkey necks. Others might have a line on venison or elk in season, which they can substitute for beef. The same applies to veggies and fruits — if I’ve gotten a good deal on bananas or carrots, there’s going to be a lot of bananas and carrots in their food. Right now, my dandelion ‘garden’ is a reliable source for greens, so we’re using that (and getting some weeding done at the same time).

I don’t weigh out anything, either — I estimate by volume, using my trusty pots and pans and bowls.

I grind and chop all my veggies, and I pre bake sweet potatoes and squash. Technically speaking both of these orange vegetables are carb sources, so I keep them to a 20% ratio in my veggie mix. You can adjust as you like. For people who want a grain or carb source, try adding quick cooking oats or quinoa (although technically speaking, you don’t really need a carb source other than the veggies).

If you are confident that your dog can get through necks and backs, then by all means, skip grinding them. I, on the other hand, am confident that I’d spend a good deal of time pulling stringy bits of turkey out of the throats of my choking dogs, so I do grind. To each their own, and don’t let the hard line party advocates on either side of the issue bully you out of doing what’s best for you dogs.

Since I grind, I give my dogs recreational beef bones to chew on once a week or so.

Remember, this is all about finding what works for you. Preparing your own raw food is messy, time consuming and back breaking. Honestly, if I was only feeding one or two dogs, I’d have no hesitation about feeding them a pre made raw diet (we like the Nature’s Variety patties).

Don’t get caught in the “Unless you do it ‘this way’, you’re a dog killing heathen” trap. Too many raw feeding advocates get a sort of scary, cult like thing going on when they start preaching about their way of feeding. Personally, I don’t think any diet is perfect, unless you can make it work for you.