This week I was alerted to two more pet food recalls.  The first one was a follow up to a warning given by the FDA that chicken jerky treats could harm or kill dogs.  After repeated warnings by the FDA, Nestle Purina refuses to recall the Waggin Train chicken jerky treats made in China.  Supposedly these treats were causing kidney failure and death in dogs because of melamine found in the treats. 

Imagine my horror when I found these treats to be given to one of my pet sitting clients–yikes!

On the heels of this news that these treats were not being recalled, Diamond Foods had an additional dog food added to their list of recalled foods–Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul.  These were being recalled due to the possibility of salmonella contamination.  Just two weeks before, Diamond Foods had recalled all of their pet foods manufactured in a South Carolina plant again due to possible salmonella contamination.  Two of the brands that Diamond manufactures for are two brands that I feed my dogs–Solid Gold and Natural Balance.  What is going on?

I’m currently reading an excellent book which exposes the pet food industry as being less than honest in the manufacturing of their products.  The book is titled “Buyer Beware:  The crimes, truth and lies about pet food”.  The author, Susan Thixton, did an excellent job of researching the pet food industry.  She found that pet foods which list “chicken meal by-product”, “meat and bone meal by-product”, canola oil, dyes, etc. are truly unhealthy for our pets and are causing them to die at younger and younger ages along with getting chronic conditions such as skin allergies and cancer.  If you love your pet(s), please read this book and understand what you are really feeding your dog or cat.  I have been cooking for my dogs for about a year now, but what I cook has been used as a “topper” on their kibbles.  I’m going to redouble my efforts and try to cook more for my dogs using fresh and organic ingredients when available.  Even if meats, etc are not organic, cooking fresh meat is still better for your pet than feeding kibbles.

I’m going to include a recipe for Carrot Cookie Dog Treats that you can make and that your dog will love.  Please replace any Waggin Train treats with a wholesome treat such as this recipe!

Here’s what you need:

2 cups cooked,mashed carrots

1 cup garbanzo bean flour (or all purpose flour if your dog is grain tolerant)

1 egg (or 1 tsp flax meal mixed in 3 Tbsp water and let sit for 10 minutes)

1/4 cup real maple syrup (or substitute honey)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat over to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together mashed carrot, egg, maple syrup, cinnamon, ginger & baking powder.  Mix well.  Add in flour, stirring until fluffy combined.

Drop 1 tsp blobs of the mix on the baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

This recipe makes a soft homestyle cookie.  For something a little crunchier, turn off the oven and leave cookies to cool overnight.

As we humans are discovering, the foods we eat to nourish our bodies can really help us maintain homeostasis or bring on disastrous consequences such as diabetes, obesity, cancer and other chronic conditions.  The same is true for our precious pets.  If you are inclined to feel that the premium pet foods are too expensive for your budget, just remember that veterinary bills add up a lot quicker than the difference in pet food prices.  At the very least, become a pet food ingredient label reader and reject any foods that contain “chicken meal byproduct, bone & meat meal byproduct, canola oil, dyes, and any byproducts in general.  The health of your faithful 4-legged companions are relying on it!

In my next post I’ll outline some of the pet foods that I have used and would recommend.  Until then, please read those labels and understand what you are feeding your dog or cat!

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