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Dealing with Pet Food Recalls

By Matt Williamson
Info Guru,
Thursday, June 2007

The Recent Recall of Many Dog and Cat Food Brands May Mean You'll Be Making Your Own Food For Fido or Fluffy

Over sixty brands of certain canned (and pouched) cat and dog food have been recalled because they are suspected of causing kidney failure. So far, all of the brands involved are manufactured at one plant in Canada (Menu Foods). Surprisingly, some of the top names, such as Iams and Science Diet are among the list.

Since the list seems to be expanding and the state of anxiety among cat and dog owners is growing, it may be wise to make your own food for your animals until the exact culprit in the manufactured food is determined.

Listed below are some simple pet food recipes that you can make. Although it may seem like a lot of trouble, remember that you can make a entire week's supply and refrigerate it. Just take out the amount you need for each feeding and zap it in the microwave (on a paper plate) for about 10 seconds.

** DOG FOOD **

You can make this recipe with any type of meat or poultry your dog likes. You can use beef, pork, ham, lamb, and chicken also. And, instead of the white or brown rice, you can add in some cooked rolled oats for fiber. You should be able to find both beef and chicken livers at your local supermarket in the meat department. They're always available and very inexpensive.

-- Basic food mix (dogs)

Just boil two to four pounds of beef or chicken livers in a pan of water on the stove. Boil them until they are completely cooked and are tender; then drain most of the water off. Stir in a cup or two of steamed, diced vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, green beans, etcetera. Finally, stir in some dry kibble. Serve warm and refrigerator the leftovers for up to a week.

-- Turkey and Vegetable Mix (dogs)

Two pounds of ground turkey and a bag of chopped, mixed vegetables.( turkey is easier to digest than beef.

Place the ground turkey and the vegetables into a large skillet with a little bit of water. Cook on the stove over medium heat. When the ground turkey is no longer pink, the veggies should be tender. You can add some other healthy things to this turkey and vegetable mix, if you choose. Stir in a couple cups of cooked white or brown rice - delicious and healthy plus a great way to control diarrhea. If fleas are a problem, just sprinkle in a teaspoon of garlic powder. Or, if you want to fortify your dog's diet, crumble up some doggy vitamins and mix them in.

Mix some of the homemade food into their regular dry food. Add a little more of the new food and use less of their regular food at each meal until the switchover is complete. Dogs don't seem to mind eating the same thing each day, but you can vary their menu by alternating chicken, beef, etc.

** CAT FOOD **

If you're a cat owner (or more accurately, if you are owned by cats), you know that cats can be picky eaters. This can be a challenge because the more nutrients and minerals they get from their food, the healthier they are. Changing their food might be the last thing you wanted to do.

But you may be pleasantly surprised, because this current crisis gives them just what cats prefer: homemade cat food with meat, poultry, and dairy products. A few simple ingredients, and your cat will thrive. Since most cats adore chicken, liver, turkey, fish, lamb, and veal, you can use any of these meats and poultry foods to make up your own homemade cat food recipes.

Just remember to cook their food thoroughly. And then either cut the meats and poultry into small, thin slices, or grind or puree it in your food processor or blender.

      (continue next column) 

-- Homemade Chicken Soup (cats)

Boil a pound or two of chicken parts such as livers, hearts, and giblets in a pan of water on the stove. Or, use the same amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead. Either one works fine, but the latter is more expensive to buy.

Boil the chicken until it's tender and is cooked thoroughly. Then, stir in a cup of steamed green beans. Pour the mixture to your food processor or blender. Grind it up or turn it into a puree, whichever your cat prefers. Then, add enough chicken broth to make a soup, and serve.

Store any leftover chicken soup or other homemade cat food in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week. Cats do not like cold food straight from the refrigerator, so place a serving of the food on a microwave-safe paper plate. Zap it on medium power for approximately ten seconds. (The exact time will depend on the wattage of your microwave oven.) The homemade cat food shouldn't be served too hot or to cold or those finicky felines will complain.

-- Tuna treat (cats)

Here's another taste tempting treat for your demanding feline: The ingredients are one can of tuna fish in oil- don't drain it- and a scrambled egg or two, depending on their size. Then, simply mix the tuna fish in with the egg and mix it together well. Note: do not feed your cat too much canned fish as there are concerns about mercury poisoning.

-- Tips (cats):

  • If your cat has a problem with diarrhea, mix a cup of cooked white or brown rice into any of these recipes. The rice will help to bind their bowels and stop the problem naturally without giving them drugs.

  • Never feed a cat onions, starchy vegetables, like peas and corn, salt, sugar, chocolate, fruits, nuts, mushrooms, caffeine, spices, peppers, and bones. Cats can usually chew up and digest soft, canned salmon bones, but they can't handle chicken and other hard, small bones.

  • And finally, remember to rotate your cat's homemade food choices. If you feed him or her the same food every day, your cat will tire of it quickly.
Things to Remember While You're Dealing with the Pet Food Recalls:

  • Cats and dogs typically love chicken, liver, turkey, fish, lamb, and veal.

  • Never feed your canines or felines chocolate, mushrooms, onions, fruits, nuts, sugar, etc.

  • Store leftover cat and dog food in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week.

  • Homemade pet food doesn't contain the chemicals that store-bought does, so it's healthier but also a bit richer, so watch you pet's weight.

  • If you're switching over to homemade food just to keep your pet happier and healthier, make the transition gradually by adding some of the homemade food into their regular food. Add a little more of the new food and use less of their regular food at each meal until the switchover is complete. (DO NOT DO THIS NOW, AS EVEN A SMALL AMOUNT OF THE CONTAMINATED FOOD MIGHT MAKE YOUR PET SICK.)

  • Rice helps alleviate a problem with diarrhea because it binds the bowels.

Homemade pet food is no more expensive than buying dog or cat food. But if you make sure to include all the nutrients they need, it can be far healthier, even when you aren't faced with an emergency like pet food recalls.     ###


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