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4.6 out of 5 stars
Feed Your Best Friend Better: Easy, Nutritious Meals and Treats for Dogs
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108 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2013
I like a lot of things about this book. It is well-researched and the author has drawn on his own experience with his own recipes, which I really appreciate. I think he has put more effort into trying to provide a balanced diet than do most authors on the subject. This is an author who cares very much about his dogs, and about his readers. This book is a great alternative for folks who want to home-feed but who prefer cooked meats over raw. I think the section for ailing dogs, those with cancer, kidney ailments, etc is especially good. If you have a very sick dog who does not want to eat, then especially this book is for you.

It's not perfect though and as someone who has used and relied on herbal medicines for years a few of the ingredients used or recommended here cause me concern:

A lot of the recipes call for Rosemary. Rosemary is a great plant with likely some anticancer properties, but it is also traditionally used as an abortificant, and it generally avoided by women who suffer from endometriosis, cysts, fibroids and other hormone related conditions - it's antiestrogenic properties may be helpful in some cancers, but I do not believe it is a safe thing to give to female dogs unless they do have cancer and even then only under the direction of a vet.

Ditto for Yucca - although none of these recipes call for Yucca it is listed as a good ingredient in dog food. I disagree. Yucca may be antiinflammatory, and might be okay to give an arthritic old dog now and then, but it acts as a steroid. I do not agree that it belongs in dog food.

Millet is easy on the tummy and nutritious but it supresses the thyroid -something I had personal and very bad experience with. Millet may be allright now and then, but be prepared for thyroid damage if you give a food that has it on a regular basis. Avoid this ingredient like the plague if you have a breed that tends to have hypothyroidism. The whole reason I quit buying commercial food for my dogs was to get them back on a more natural and simple diet and to get them away from having to eat this kind of stuff. Although I have no doubt the intentions are good, I would personally urge some caution when it comes to some of these nontraditional plant ingredients unless your dog has a specific medical need. They do indeed have medicinal properties but are not good for normal, healthy dogs to be eating every day.

That said, overall this is a good book, most of the recipes are sensible and its loads of fun to make tasty and nutritious meals and treats for your dogs. I think most of the recommendations here are still a much better alternative than what the dog food companies are giving to us lately. Your dog will thank you for the fresh home cooking and you will likely see a healthier dog for it. The author has worked hard to come up with these recipes, has put them through the ropes with his own dogs and it is evident that his work comes from the heart -which automatically puts him well ahead of most of the dog food companies!
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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2012
As a dog lover I have received many novelty dog food cookbooks over the years as gifts. This one though is on par with my favorite "people food" cookbooks. It is so well organized and the recipes are easy to follow. The recipes use ingredients that I often already have in my kitchen. And who knew dogs like blueberries?! My dog enjoys the food and seems healthier already. The best thing is that I can cook for my family and my dog at the same time. And the book is full of photos illustrating how amazing the bond is between people and their dogs. The photos further inspire me to demonstrate my love for my dog with wholesome and yummy food. Love, love, love it!
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
Our little 5 month old lhasapoo just joined our family recently. We are so in love and I knew that I wanted to cook for her in order to insure the best, healthiest ingredients in her meals. Honestly, I was not looking forward to all the recipe research since I knew it would be involved since it is important to include the essential vitamins, minerals, etc. to ensure a well-balanced, nutritional meal for your loved one. I came across this book early in my research and I feel in love immediately! This book is outstanding! It not only gives many recipes for meals and treats, but also includes what exact foods are healthy or dangerous to dogs and why. It makes cooking for your puppy/dog foolproof by including appropriate calorie and fat daily allowances for the size and age of your dog. Simply amazing. I can't say enough good things about this book! Don't miss it!
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
Hi,
My name is Sally & Dogs are my thing. About 14yrs ago I was working with a small dog that had lost most of his teeth, so I tried to blend his dog food in a blender & as the blender stopped I was horrified at what I saw. The top half of the blended "food" was HAIR/FUR (not sure what kind)...GROSS!!! So I started to home cook my own dog food for my pack. The problem that I kept running in to was, what foods were best for them & what are dogs nutritional requirements? Every vet I asked I got back a different response. That's why I love this book, I probably have 35 books on dogs & this is the one I go to first. I personally thank Rick Woodford for his time & dedication he put into this easy to read, everything you need to know about dog nutrition & the truth about what bagged dog food really is. Rick even puts together specific recipes for dogs with special needs like allergies, arthritis, cancer, diabetes & many more. That's why I say...it's about time that someone has finally brought the truth & common sense about dog nutrition to all of us who think that our furry friends deserve only the best. If you love your dog even a little, learning the truth about what you feed him is the least you can do. Buy this book please, read it, & pass it to someone else you know that needs to know the truth too. Thank you for your time.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
These recipes make my friends with dogs laugh because I recently made the pup loaf for the umpteenth time and gave tasters to them for their dogs as a holiday treat. Nearly all the owners confessed to eating half of it themselves -- with a little salt... just to "check out" the ingredients. The author of this book would chuckle over this, too, I'm sure. The recipes are easy and you can mass produce and store in the freezers or cut with other dog food.

Something I like about this book is the truthful and detailed chapter on what foods you can feed your dog. I went straight to the kitchen for a banana to see if my girl, Lucy, would eat it. She was smacking her lips in shock over the new treat. So this recipe book has helped me understand her foods.

A note of caution over the supplemental stew... it is pungeant... if you freeze the stew like I do in icecube trays for easy use, wrap the trays well with plastic wrap before you place in the freezer or the smell will permeate everything, to include your automatic ice machine. Just ask my mother visiting for the holidays who had a salmon oil ice water. It was pretty funny at the time. We had to throw out the ice and clean out the freezer but we got a good laugh and no one was hurt.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This IS a good book. I really like the author and was impressed to find him helpfully commenting on reviews here. You don't see that terribly often. Here is the basic rundown, because I see a lot of reviews that seemed unaware of its contents.

It contains basic nutritional requirements. He uses a 40 lb dog example to tell us how much real world foods cover certain nutrients. I'm sure he would not mind if I give an example. He says that 1/3 lb of a particular named organ meat provides enough iron to meet the iron needs of a 40-pound dog. He explains the nutrients and why they're important for a dog. Also, the possible complications for the lack of it in a diet. For example, dangerously low magnesium can cause epilepsy. Do you know what the most common ESSENTIAL mineral is that is lacking in home-cooked canine diets? Well he'll tell you and he'll tell you an easy way to fix it.

I truly love these nutritional guidelines because dogs have different nutritional requirements than humans and I'm (mostly) canine diet challenged, but I was hoping for was something with a little more diet information. Using the iron example above is very well, but exactly how much iron is that? Or even better, how much iron per each pound of dog (gosh that sounds awful, but you know what I mean)? It would be nice to have the specific amount that is needed.

To take that a step further, there is discussion about oils and omegas and which oils are better and how too much fat is bad, which most of us know but reminding us what's better for the dog is important. Now later there is a discussion about another oil that was not mentioned in the omega section. This particular oil is high in certain vitamins. So does this mean that you can give both the omega oils and the vitamin oil? Or does this mean that you can only use one of the oils this day and then another one the next? It's not very clear to me and because I'm canine diet challenged, I need a little more instruction. Then what about egg yolks? Do those count as fats too?

Oh and as far as I can tell, coconut oil did not come up at all. It is all over the stores now and is, in my opinion, superior to all other omega oils. You can even use it in place of oils in recipes and I wish he had listed this one. It's really a great secret.

I guess what I'm saying is that for a nutritional book, this is a very basic starter book. Don't get me wrong, it is absolutely fantastic to look up for a quick question, but it does not quite make it for me as a complete book on nutrition. I love the information it does provide, I just wish it would have a little bit more in there than it does.

Now as a cookbook, this is great. It's unfair to thumb the book down if you were looking for RAW diet instruction since it does not say anywhere on the product page (nor in the reviews) that it IS pro-RAW diet. Whatever it is you're looking for be sure to read about it first. This is definitely NOT a RAW diet book. Personally, I am unconvinced that raw diets are good for dogs. They are not wolves. They have been separated from wolves for over 10,000 years and they are not even genetically the same. To compare their diet to a wolf diet is like comparing a human diet to an ape diet... but I digress. The point is that the evidence is still out.

There are recipes for different life stages and at least one recipe for allergies, arthritis, DM, heart disease, kidney disease and weight loss; lists of foods to share and avoid completely; kong stuffings; a link to get full nutritional analyses on all recipes (for free, I hope that page doesn't disappear one day though); a revelation about labs and itching (totally didn't know that and I have a very itchy lab/mix and now it all makes sense to me) and a lot more.

All in all, it's a great starter book for those wanting to make their own dog food. He even encourages you to start 50/50, that is 50% commercial and 50% homemade so you can see how it goes.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2012
What a great book! Lots of great information, recipes and other helpful hints. I never knew that grapes and raisins were toxic to dogs, but now I do! The recipes for ailing dogs was great and although my beloved Yellow Lab succumbed to her disease, she didn't starve for lack of eating. She especially loved the Cancer-Fighting Turkey recipe. She would still snarf the bowl! Definitely worth getting the book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2012
I love this book and so does my dog Joy. It is so easy to understand and I don't worry that Joy isn't getting the nutrition she needs. I have cooked up a storm and I really like that it has the portions for weights for each recipe. I have many doggie cookbooks....this one is a keeper.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2012
Since switching to a half kibble half homemade food diet, both of my dogs are doing well. Of especially mention is my Flat Coated Retriever, who was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease several years ago. I was told he would be on a one protein/one carb diet for life. He now eats a variety of foods and his IBD flare ups have dramatically decreased. My Boston, Biff, adds that he loves them too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2012
After my 14 y/o English Setter had a severe attack of pancreatitis, I knew I had to change her diet. I have made homemade raw food diets before for cats, but I am not thrilled with handling/serving raw food, and wanted a cookbook that had homemade cooked food for my dog, which I felt would be easier for her to digest anyway. This book was at my vet's office and after looking through it, I realized I had found the perfect solution for my dog. I have been using the low-fat recipes for almost 2 months now and my dog's blood levels have returned to the normal ranges, liver enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, cholesterol, kidney function, and she has not had recurrent pancreatitis. She has lost some weight, looks and feels great! This book is well researched, well laid out, well thought out, and the recipes are easy to make. I make two recipes at a time (refrigerate one and freeze one in individual plastic freezer jars), which will last 8-9 days (feeding amounts depend on your dog's weight). You can combine the recipes with kibble, if you like, or make the "Supplemental Stew" which will make a completely balanced meal with each recipe. I chose to throw out all the commercial dog food we had (kibble and canned, always "premium food") and am feeding my dog entirely on the meals in this book. Without fail, she is so excited at mealtime now and eats every bit! I am so grateful for this book, and my vet wholeheartedly endorses it!!!
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